Sunday, 19 March 2017
"Man-tra" Flash Fiction
Some words are incontestable. Words like fuselage and undercarriage elicit only one possible association. There are no shades of meaning, no half-life decay from their etymological root. But then there are other words who offer an artist’s palette to choose from. Like the word ‘Father’. A myriad of fathers festoon our lives. From religious pastors tending the spirit of their flocks, through to founding fathers who establish nations and institutions and bodies of thought. Protectors and providers all.
But there is another cohort conjured up by the word. A far more abstract genus. Abstract as in absent. Associated with a hole. A fissure. An absentee god the father who never shows himself. Or the more humble father my progenitor, who created me. Implanted me in my mother’s womb before skedaddling. A brotherhood may well be about fellowship and fraternity, but fatherhood is a singular mission. A one-to-one commission. A vocation. One which you have avoided and voided. Oh my father why have you forsaken me?
‘Father’ is a richly bankrupt word for me. Multiply duplicitous. It should represent constancy, a shroud, an aegis set over me. Instead every day it sets my heartstrings a thrum with lack. That I am on the move, constantly vibrating on the lookout for my missing father. Questing in the arid desert. That I am forever recriminating myself with guilt and doubt that I must have driven him away. That he could not love me because I am unlovable. That I do not deserve a father because of my inherent undesirable being. But today I am aware he is held within the fuselage of a plane, whose undercarriage I await the lowering of in order to requite him to me.