My father passed away when I was in my early 20s, a good few years before I got married. He never got to meet his son-in-law.
What if I could have one wish granted and I would wish for them to meet, what would they say to each other? This is how the scene, I imagine, would enact.
We’re all seated on the dining table and my husband is as usual fiddling with his mobile phone. My father in his true military style, tells him off for doing that. Not a great way to start the proceedings but that’s how blunt my father was. He had been through two wars commanding a tank regiment and he was not one to be diplomatic. He also believed that dinner time was a time of bonding for the family and always made sure that his 3 children sat together and shared the proceedings of the day.
While I glare at my husband, he mutters something about always having to be connected and puts his mobile away. My father starts talking about an incident that happened to him on a train in Italy and my husband at once responds with a few of his own travel tales as well. This is something they both like talking about and the ice is broken. My father was an avid traveller and even when he was in the hospital for the last time, he wanted to know about my work trip to France.
The real bonding takes place after the meal when they both go out to smoke. My father was a smoker all his life but in his later years he quit when he found out that his blood pressure was high. But for this meeting he doesn’t mind lighting up. After all his blood pressure isn’t going anywhere.
This is where the conversation becomes intense. They talk about life, married life, raising children, standing up for what’s right and having faith. They come in laughing and joking as I pour out the green tea for them.
Before my father takes his leave I desperately want to know what he thought of his son-in-law and did he approve? It doesn’t matter that we’ve been married for 11 years, I still want to know what he thinks. As if to answer me, he gives me a hug and a kiss and tells me to always be happy. As he goes towards the door, he turns around to take one last look at me.
And then he’s gone.