There is a rainbow upon the horizon.
’Oh when you left us, you didn’t really go.
I know you’re watching me from my head to my toes.
And I will not go without,
I won’t walk without you, no.’
-J.P Cooper ‘Raised Under Grey Skies’
It’s Sunday and I’m home alone. James Vincent McMorrow is whining in the background and the scent of a black coconut candle punches the air.
Such rarity that this is, the thing I enjoy most in these moments is the ability to think in peace. There is a difference between managing my thoughts in silence and trying to catch glimpses of my sanity through chaos.
This Sunday is particularly wonderful. This weekend exposed things that reminded me why no matter the hardship, I’ve fought so hard to remain in my same mind and want to encourage everyone to do so. My rainbow is on the horizon. And I’m so happy I withstood the storm.
But there is one thing I still struggle with. The absence of my Dad.
They say good things come in three’s and for each good thing that fell in my lap this weekend. I wanted so badly to call only him. it did not help that earlier this week, Esme produced a picture of him and I which she had plucked off the shelf. Once I had got past explaining the U rated version of heaven, my insides felt like hell. To add salt to my wound, I’m alone this evening as Papa B is visiting his father, who is here on holiday. I would never tell him I’m jealous that he still gets to make his Father proud. That would be awkward.
Sometimes I get so angry at my own father for leaving me so abruptly at the door of adulthood without even the courtesy of a goodbye. And then of course I’m immediately embarrassed that anger is an emotion I would bestow upon someone who I doubt wanted to break my heart at all.
Its not just the cadence of his voice I’m now struggling to remember but also the touch of his thumb and forefinger upon the nape of my neck. He would thoughtlessly do this whenever we were snuggled up on the sofa. I now find myself doing this to Esme. Be it through habit or longing is another question entirely.
I desire to be in the passenger side of his ride once more. To have him blasting some hip-hop or current new pop act that he had found online and shown me. Through politeness I always allowed him to think he was teaching me a thing or two.
I’ve picked up his habits. The lack of not picking up mugs for a start. I remember once I went to the kitchen to make a drink and found the mug cupboard to be bare. I then proceeded to go on a hunt and found eleven mugs dotted around the house with stale coffee and fermented Ribena. Papa B gets very annoyed with me for this very reason. So whilst I wish they had met, they kind of already have.
His frankness scared me. He was never one to delay honesty, no matter how scathing. And honestly sometimes when I do something i know he would be most displeased with, I’m happy a lifetime separates us yet.
But if I could, I would take his vocal disappointment over this continuous longing.
Whilst the road to healing never quite has an end when it comes to this kind of thing, I admit i haven't cried about him in a long time. Crying doesn't bring him home to me. it gives me a headache and aggravates my sinuses. And I could hear him now;
‘The tears are a waste of time, Kid. You need to get on with it.’ and he would throw his arms up, bringing them like a cradle behind his head, gap toothed smile mirroring my own.
And I am. I’m not really in the business of self praise but I pat my own back in my efforts to live a life filled with joy, no matter what I’m lacking. I never thought that I could live a life I could not see. But here I am, making strides I’m sure my ancestors are dancing about.
And I miss his dancing. Not just Puff Daddy like in features, the dance moves were that of Sean Combs too. It was all in the shoulders, a slight bend in the knees and an attitude most modern day rappers would pay for. The dancing in the kitchen was the best.
But Papa, I’m ready to make good on a few promises. Like how you made me promise on that late summers evening at the end of Russel Road, that I would remember the dreams you deferred because you were raised in a time where dark skin overshadowed your goals. You told me that I was coming up in a time where whilst racism would still live, my talents could help thwart it’s blood supply. I think I was twelve. And perhaps you thought I wasn't listening.
Oh how I would love to hang on your every word once more.
Instead, I’m hanging by myself on a Sunday evening. Another of your favourite things. I think I’m going to change the playlist and dance around the kitchen. There is a lot to celebrate. You’re more than welcome to join me.