Within minutes of my arrival at my biological father’s hospital bed, he exploded. He just went off, like a paint grenade. Blood everywhere. It had been pooling inside him for a while, then something gave way, and out it all came. Part of me suspected I had been the cause. Certain animals, when trapped, do the same – reflex bleeding, the last defence. A simulacrum of illness to put predators off their meal. It certainly got my old man off the hook. This deathbed reunion had threatened to be a moment of reckoning for a lifetime of absence. Instead, I found myself attempting to comfort the man who had silently vanished in the dead of night when I was a baby. “Just in case anything happens,” I told him, as he was wheeled away for an emergency operation that was likely to kill him, “I want you to know I love you.” I wasn’t sure if I even meant it. I just thought it might be a heartening thing for a dying man with a guilty conscience to hear. “Yes,” he replied with a puzzled grin. “I… ummm you too.” When, not long after that visit to the hospital in… Read full this story
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