I only have two memories of my father because my parents were divorced
when I was still very young
. A friend of mine is adopted and it was
crucial for him to find his biological parents
, yet I don't even
feel particularly curious about the father I have not seen since I was a
toddler. Perhaps I would feel differently if I was motherless too.
Oddly I am
curious about the children from his next marriage.
In one of these memories he has taken me to
a park and -- this is the reason I remember it -- I ride on a wooden horse
and its head whacks my chin. Hot tears.
Probably this was a post-divorce visitation
before we moved away.
Here is the other memory:
I am standing on tiptoes on a boat looking back towards the riverbank.
My father is smiling and waving.
Water churns and the boat lurches; he
moves further and further away from me.
His newspaper is dislodged and falls into the river
dancing this way and that on the eddies and currents.
The reflections dazzle me.
I look up at the bank and my father has gone.
Why do I retain this, and so vividly? On the surface it doesn't seem to be
exceptional in any way, something worth remembering.
But after writing it, I realise that it is a metaphor
for abandonment. That is the reason why this image was fixed in my
young brain, as an emotional symbol.