Mom came around to pick me up from grans’ this morning. Mom and gran were talking about dad. I found it strange because it was a full on conversation not just the stiff prelimanary talks that I am so use to. I know I’m not supposed to eavesdrop but I wanted to find out what was happening with dad. I knew he wasn’t happy but I wanted to know what they had decided.
Just incase I wonder about this part of my life in the future this is what happend to dad:
The phone rings at 1am. There is a pounding down the hallway and mum repeating what is happening?
I feel the change in the air. A tightning in my stomach. A deaftening silence and I don’t realize that I am holding my breath until the sound of my fathers’ cries pierce the air. I throw the covers from me and feel my foot hook in the duvet as I struggle to hold my balance. My chest is filled with a dull ache. I manage to get my foot free and get my door open. The house is dark. I can hear the television between my dads’ sobs and my mothers’ continueous pleas.
‘Daniel, who called? Who was that on the phone? Daniel! Pull it together! It is most likely a mistake! Look at it Daniel it’s complete chaos and panic. Please! Please! Daniel can you please talk to me. You’re scaring me! It’s not official. Let’s just calm down.’ At this point I get to the lounge and dad is slumped on the couch with his head in his hands and mother looks devastated. Then suddenly the television comes into view and I realise there has been a terrible terrorist attack in Paris. That’s when it all comes crashing down.
Something must have happend to Claude.
‘Mom? what’s happend?’
She turned around and sent me back to bed.
‘But mom…’ I tried protesteing fighting tears as I realised that dad was going through the worst hell.
‘Not now Chloe, please! Just go back to bed. We are fine.’
I knew they weren’t but I didn’t argue. I didn’t want to upset dad anymore than he already was. Jack was still asleep when I popped into his room. I was grateful and I kissed his little head. I got back to bed but I couldn’t sleep. I searched for news of the attack on my phone and scrolled through the pictures and watched the scary videos. People were gunned down like their lives meant nothing. Mother was right. It was chaos and it doesn’t mean anything. Claude could be laying low. He could have lost his phone. Anything could have happend that meant he wasn’t making contact but by the following evening dad had received confirmation from Paris. Claude had been killed while at a concert.
Dad is pretty straight and honest about things. I knew from a young age that when dad was seventeen he and his girlfriend had a baby. They weren’t ready to be parents and so to give their child the best life they could he was given up for adoption. When Claude turned fourteen he made contact. He spent one Summer with us on a foreign exchange program and after he graduated from university, he was going to come and do an international apprenticeship in the South Africa. Now it was all gone. Only eight months till his arrival and it was stolen. His whole life. Our whole lives.
Since then dad has travelled to France to attend his funeral and work with the intelligence officers there. He found out that there had been enough intelligence collected to curb the attack but it hadn’t been taken serious enough and then he walked out of his job. He came home went to bed and didn’t move for a month. Mom …
It was hard on all of us. So hard.
Mom started crying and grandma turned the kettle on. Grandma told mom to pull herself together and be strong for the family and suddenly I understood my mother. And I didn’t hate her. I couldn’t be angry anymore. She was doing the best she could.
It’s hard. Parenting, like growing up, is hard.