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  • I haven't spoken to him for weeks.
    Maybe even a month, or just over a month.

    He has a tendency to go back on his word.
    To change his mind, to let the world revolve around him.
    To take the credit, and to be the victim.

    I was supposed to see him last thursday, the day before the olympics.
    His wife rang me. I hadn't spoken to her for months either.
    "Kat, your father, he won't be coming on thursday,
    he won't like the heat, it's forecast to be hot, and with the olympics the next day..."
    (my father hates people, noise, crowds, anything in his way)
    "oh" I say, wondering why he isn't phoning me to tell this himself.

    Several months ago I painted a portrait of myself. For me.
    I showed him and he said he wanted it.
    I said no.
    He said he'd pay and being short of money, I gave in.
    He said he wanted a portrait of himself too,
    which I duely painted.
    It's the black and white one in Face Value.
    He didn't like it, he doesn't want it.
    So I hung it up at home, on the landing. My mother screamed in shock when she was putting the freshly ironed laundry in the airing cupboard when she saw it.
    "You've really caught his controlling face, its too life-like."

    Later, when I came downstairs for dinner, the brother said the nicest thing ever,
    "can you take down that painting of dad?"
    This is nice because the brother doesn't acknowledge anything I ever do, especially anything creative, so it highlights that he has actually bothered to look at the painting,
    but also he said "painting of dad" - I never told anyone who I painted.
    It means so much that the brother recognised who it was.
    "I don't want it in my bedroom where his face judges me" I say to the brother, "do you want it?"
    "Yeh I'll have it, and I'll put it in a cupboard, face down and hidden because I don't want to look at it."

    They say when you paint a portrait, that the soul of the sitter is captured, not just their appearance.

    So I painted another portrait of the father. My mum thinks this latest one has his character even better, "it gives me the creeps" she shudders.
    I've taken a picture and emailed it to the father to see if he want this second portrait.
    I'm awaiting for a response.
    But for now I'm plagued with the many canvas faces of my father, watching me.
    I think I'll turn them to the wall when it comes to bedtime.
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