A whole fucking day, half a fucking tank of petrol, a bottle of single fucking malt whiskey and a fucking birthday cake. All four of us. Me, Angela, the girls. One and a half hours, same back, Saturday fucking traffic. For what? For a fucking “father” who contributed fuck-all to my childhood – not a fucking penny – turned up every couple of fucking years and freaked the fucking shit out of me with his vicious turns in temper, or phoned up pissed making loud pally jokes which I did not get. As I got older, his questioning of my studies, my values, my marriage, my temperament on the fucking golf course, my whole spineless existence. But now, in his decrepitude, his nagging need that we visit – he has no other family, none – him in the shitty flat he inherited from his shite mother, which he shares with his latest woman-devotee, and hear again about his miserable childhood, his New York rock-and-roll-man crazy glories, his unavoidable failures, about which he is truly sorry but what can you do? Now his fucked-up cancer operation, his colostomy bag, how he nearly died in hospital.
Later, after tea and cake, we are sitting together at the bottom of the garden in front of the large naturally-seeded bed, a tall elegant jungle, with sea-fresh May sun on our backs. Now his death is the topic, but the moment is one I’ve known intermittently, only and fully with him since my earliest years: belonging.