lviii

I’m in the studio again, the wind outside, with a bowl of ice cream and ready, and yet… The typewriter moves when I use it, the oak so clean and smooth that the carriage shifts the machine around as I tap out each letter, shunting it sideways at the return.

The conversation I’d anticipated before came a little earlier that I would have liked, and on the phone, which isn’t good. But it’s hard to say anything either way without feeling I need to qualify what I’m saying – it was good that it came out, that it tumbled out, that I simply stopped holding it back. But the result wasn’t good, however cathartic.

I want the talk to be levelheaded, open and slow, calm, not reactive. It’s naive – there was always going to be a reaction at first, an outoftheblue feeling to the breaking of the silence, because that silence had been so effective, so silent, that nothing was expected.

The timing is not perfect. And yet, again, the timing was perfect, because without the current tight situation of strain and mortal questions this would not have come to a head so naturally, so inevitably, it would have been forced, fabricated into being and all the more confusing because of it.

I can remember everything that ever happened to me but I struggle to recall incidents from both sides, exchanges with two perspectives. I am focused on one position, one outcome, one memory-track, and remembering and justifying and backing up statements is not my strength.

But my fears over being under defended only stem from the very issues which needed to be broached and talked and understood. And it is mightily reassuring that my mother, who I had taken to emotional breaking point with my reveals, now echoes the point I hold on to – it’s not really abut what has happened before, it is what I feel now which matters.

I anticipated having to make this argument, having to stress that whatever the reasons behind whatever the issues, what I want to express is how I am left to feel, what I am left feeling, because if I feel these things so strongly then there must be a reason, and that is what needs to be explored.

That’s not to say that the next conversation, the next reveal, will be anything less than traumatic. I wholeheartedly expect it to run into similarly high emotion territory, to trigger the same desperately confused grasping in the dark, the same shock and awe, as it was put. The same explosions.

But this is dynamite which has been buried deep and covered often. The impact will be deep and I cannot predict how long it will last. I only know that I have to keep talking, that although I am even now swinging between questioning whether I have done the right thing and knowing that I have but being unsure of how to restart the process, the development.

In the end, however, I know in my soul that I will always carry this, that it will always choke me and suffocate me if we don’t do something about it. And through what happened last night I discovered a difference in the issues I have with my parents, in how those issues affect me and in how important it is that I break away in different ways.

I’ve always talked about not having role models, about seeking other examples, but the truth is that I did hold these people as my role models, that I did look up to them and respect them, and that this is exactly why I found it so impossible to break the silence, and so hurtful that I had to suffer in silence.

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About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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