Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Visit From My Father

‘Please do not say what you think but remember, I am his wife.’
‘My child, how can I forget?’
Papa’s eyes were drawn directly to my belly as he worked himself into a tin-pot fury. It was time for him to leave.
‘I met the baron,’ he persisted, ‘just after the death of your dear mother and I thought, what a pleasant, reverent person. How sympathetic and not at all a pompous, quasi-ecclesiastical prick. As he was already wed, I could hardly regard him as a future son-in-law. How could I predict that his second wife would have the misfortune to die or that he would set his sights on my only beloved daughter?’
‘Really, Papa, it is your expectation which has changed, not my husband.’ I shut the lid of the fortepiano with a bang.
‘Your husband, my dear, is a penny-pinching pipsqueak with one foot in the grave, the other in this twinkling village and I do NOT feel welcome in his home.’
There was more of this until the wheels of the coach returned him to Salzburg and his lonely bed. As I waved goodbye, I realised for the first time that Papa’s discomfort does not have to be a part of mine. By a miracle, I may have glimpsed another world. N.


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