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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 58 | volume XI | January-February, 2008



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 58January-February, 2008
Prose

Father

From “Fourfront – Contemporary stories translated from the Irish”


/9
p. 1
Micheál Ó Conghaile

How was I supposed to know what to do – once I'd told him? I'd never seen my da crying before. Even when mum died nine months ago in the accident, he never cried as far as I know. I'm sure of it because it was I brought him the bad news. And I was around the whole time up to and after the funeral. It was my job to stay with him. His brother; and my mother's brothers – my uncles – made all the arrangements, shouldered the coffin. And it was the neighbours, instructed by my sisters, who kept the house in some order. There was a sort of an understanding – unspoken, mind you – that it was best I stay with dad since I was the youngest, the only one still at home all year round.
    That's how I'm nearly sure he didn't shed a tear. Not in the daylight hours anyway. He didn't need his hanky even. Sure, he was all over the place, you could hardly get a word out of him. Long silences would go by and he just stared into the fire or out the kitchen window. But no tears. Maybe it was the shock. The terrible shock to his system. But then again, you wouldn't really associate tears or crying with my father.
    That's why I was so taken aback. Mortified. Not just the crying. But the way he cried. In fact, you couldn't really call it crying – it was more like something between a groan and a sob stuck in his throat. Yes, a muffled, pained sigh of revulsion a few seconds long. You'd've thought he choked on it like one of those horrible pills the doctor gives you. And he didn't even look at me, except for a stray watery glance that skirred by when I told him; afterwards, it was like he was trying to hide his face from me, half of it anyway. It should've been easier for him in a way but not for me, there was no way I could look him in the face, for all my curiosity. So, while he dithered about, I sat there like a statue – only for my body-heat. The breath was knocked out of him; and me. Then I realized that even his smothered cry – if it could be let out – was better than this silence. Maybe


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