This is entirely fiction. Completely. Utterly. Except for any true bits
August 29th; 9.17am. First Born calls. ‘I’ve had a really cool idea.’
9.20am. Call back as promised now I have (a) sat down and (b) poured a tincture of Caledonian Comfort viz a ten year old single malt. Now fully prepared for whatever horror awaits. I offer myself for ritual sacrifice.
9.49am. ‘Are you still there, dad?’ We are both a little stunned in truth. On the one hand First Born’s Cool Idea is pretty chilled – a display of pictures of the departed on a table with a sign along the lines of ‘much missed’. On the other First Born understands the delicacy.
9.50am. Promise I will look out photos of various aunts and grandmas. ‘But what about grandpa?’ Say I will raise with First Of Her Name.
10.am. Indeed the grandpa conundrum is a troubling one. There are, so far as I know, no photographs of First Of Her Name’s father – bar one. Those that we did have we were directed to destroy on his death ‘to avoid any further embarrassment’ viz he sported a portwine stain in the shape of an anatomically accurate representation of a fully erect hampton on his left cheek. Being coloured in purple only increased the verisimilitude. Even with the makeup he wore he was convinced, overtime, any attempt at concealment would fade on any photographs, revealing the proud percy for all to admire. We did as we were asked and destroyed those images.
10.01am. Only I didn’t. I kept one of the old boy holding First Born as a baby. His left cheek was hidden and I thought First Born should see it. Have managed to keep it hidden from First Of Her Name by cunning expedient of using as bookmark in 1963 Centenary edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanac certain she will never open such a thrilling tome. Can I reveal subterfuge as First Born wants?
17.04pm. First Of Her Name returns from her volunteering – this year she is saving endangered rudbeckia varieties. Show her selection of possible photos and explain concept.
17.40pm. First Of Her Name v happy with idea. I proffer the last picture I have dug out: her graduation where she is beaming at the man in front of the photographer – an inept me – whose balding head and lined neck is in full view, viz her father. It is the only other picture I have found of him. ‘That’s sweet,’ she says and then leaves the kitchen.
17.45pm. First Of Her Name is back, holding both the secreted photo and the Wisden. ‘This is better.’ She is smiling. The how’s and the why’s remain unspoken.
19.00pm. In pub, nursing pint and mixed emotions. On the one hand, having made both First Born and First Of Her Name happy, I am content. On the other am now worried that my numerous secure hiding places are not as secure as I originally thought. If Wisden isn’t secure then what is?