• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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Stale, gritty, bitter and tough, that's the way my parents were. They followed a philosophy stricter than any alcoholic follows the drink and were as straight as any row of corn. It was a reputation that most scarcely attempted to believe, but it wasn't because they didn't believe me but more so they didn't want to. It's difficult to find the correct order of letters to convey the emotions that they attempted to instil. I was told that the sky was fused with the ground and the moon was nothing but a rock. Stars were lights to which were never looked at more than once a night. I left for the city a while ago and attempted to drench myself in colour; resurrect my mind and carve something out of the stone it had become.

There was love, of course, but not in the way you think you understand. It wasn't tough love. Tough makes it sound as if it were chewable. That with enough gnawing of teeth it would break down into something possible to swallow. No. This love was a ghost. It was there but it took a certain amount of persistence to believe it existed. And it did. Don't get me wrong. They allowed me to leave and made sure I had their thoughts as I left. 'No time will dissolve the way we think of you. Go live but remember you live wrongly.' That's what they said as I left with my small leather bag to leave for the train station. It wasn't surprising to hear them disagree with my decision but it hurt nonetheless. It's like when your parent say, 'I'm not angry, just disappointed.' Anger can be wiped away, disappointment is like a stain.



I came back to announce my marriage after 10 winters without seeing them. The cold had not worn their thoughts and the summers had not warmed their hearts. His eyes were still clear. Not clear like a cold glass of water on a summer's day. They were clear like being told bad news. You understood but you wish you didn't. Mother's eyes still lacked sympathy but she scarcely looked at me now. It was as if she was afraid to look but had too much pride to admit she had fear in staring at my changed face.

'Allow me to paint you, to remember you somehow.' Mother looked at father for the answer. He knew it would be the last legacy he'd have to give and so agreed. Like statues they stood as I conveyed their harshness onto canvas. The brush scraped instead of glided. The paint was stuck instead of placed. It was a way of me saying goodbye but allowed them to remind me that no matter how far I may live, their judgement will always follow.