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  • Even though this story is about my father,

    you need to understand that really it's about my mother

    and her strength.

    There were two last times.

    The first happened when I was four years old.

    I sat cross legged, gawping at the Television,

    back when they only worked when you slipped a pound coin inside.

    Rosie and Jim was on.

    I still can't sing that song or see those two ragdolls without being immediately taken back to this moment.

    My father had a bag on his back,

    he was going to work I assumed.

    He rubbed my white blonde hair

    and said something along the lines of

    "I'll see you tomorrow Tom".

    I don't remember him saying I love you,

    and I don't remember seeing him ever again.

    The second time is confusing,

    and though the first will always feel like the last time,

    I think, deep down, the truth lies with the second.

    I wasn't at home.

    I was at my grandparents, my father's parents,

    a house that I still see everytime I'm home

    and riding on the tram.

    I've always wanted to stroll up, knock on that door, and get the answer,

    but I never have.

    Anyway,

    I was a little older, maybe still four

    and somebody knocked on the door

    and for reasons beyond me,

    I opened the door.

    Maybe I didn't, but when I close my eyes

    I imagine a younger Tom opening the door

    and my mother grabbing me,

    passing me to my aunties, my other grandparents,

    and sitting me down in a car.

    I was crying.

    My younger sister, a year old, was still inside with my father,

    and I never found out what happened next.

    I asked my Mother a few weeks after I turned 18,

    and she only told me that he had tried to bargain,

    "Tom for Abbie", he had shouted,

    "You get Abbie. I get Tom."

    Abbie came home with us,

    and we never heard from him again.

    But we never had to. We were just fine.

    My sister, my mum... me.

    We didn't need him.

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