There is a picture of my mother I love. The one where you can see the clouds and sea reflected in the startling clear of her eyes. Her worried eyes which for once forgot their lot in life and luxuriated in a simple moment.
I know my father didn’t take that picture. It’s not because he’s not gifted. Pappa simply doesn’t like to look too deeply into people’s eyes for fear of seeing something rude or revealing. Especially not my mother’s eyes.
We don’t talk about her lover because we don’t have to. Its as if he never existed, except that he still does. The pain has woven itself into all the conversations we have as a family. Not in the obvious, acrimonious ways you might be imagining reading this. In this family you won’t see shards of insults flying at supersonic speeds across the dining table. There are no bloodstains on these sheets.
We worship at the altar of Keeping It InThe Family and have sworn to haemorrhage internally till we die. We even spit on it.
Words have a special place in a family where everyone writes for a living. Or you would think. Yet here, in our rooms, these melancholy alphabets struggle to string themselves into coherent sequences. They writhe in embarrassment at having had to be uttered and wish themselves dead on arrival. They have lost the struggle to construct meaning or feeling and lie there, disjointed and broken. They were littering the floor, so we’ve swept them away now.