“You’re one for the morning philosophy Joe”, said Paddy, Joe’s father, smoking his pipe and looking at the old teapot on the oak table. “Would it kill you Da to talk to me? About life and love?”
Paddy ignored his son and continued suckling his pipe. He then leant forward and touched the teapot, moving it slightly as if he was considering painting it. “You know Joe, when you sailed to America, I told you I couldn’t come to say goodbye because I was working. That was true. But it wasn’t the entire truth.” Paddy leant back in his chair, took an old Virginia tin of tobacco out of his pocket and pressed some flakes into his pipe. Joe looked at his da, as he still called him. Age had knuckled into his skin but, his eyes were still young. Still distant somehow. “I told you about your Grandad. How the British packed him off to fight in the Crimea, along with a bunch of other prisoners from Cork and Sligo. Well, I was a tough republican man by the time he returned to Ireland. I know you know all that Joe,” Paddy’s voice strained slightly. Joe thought his dad had something caught in his throat but then he realised, and remained seated. “But, I didn’t tell you how we parted,” Paddy finally said. Joe decided to remain silent but slowly shook his head to acknowledge his father. “I didn’t say anything to him Joe. I was so damn angry and sanctimonious, wrapped up in ideology and politics, I just looked at him as if to call him a traitor.” A noose of silence, filled the room. Joe noticed his dad’s hand shaking slightly.
He would like to have given him a hug. Or kissed his forehead and said something reassuring. But Paddy wasn’t that kind of man. ‘He’s my da, and I hardly know him,’ thought Joe. “Your boy Joe, tell him you love him everyday will ya?”
“I promise da”, said Joe, as he reached out and held his father’s hand.
©DMM Photo by @dartz27