It’s not many times that a son gets to etch words onto a piece of paper, for his dotage, decrepit father. Or rather, the patriarch that nobody wanted.
I’ve watched you for years, nay, for millennia, because that is how I think time is spent inside your mind when inebriation is all that the mind has known. But, we are not here to rebuke or repudiate or elude, the alcoholic is my father and I would happily wear that on my arm, if it was a particular brand of whiskey, sure. The crevices that he hid and the nooks and crannies which he surreptitiously divulged told me everything. It told me that being left aside isn’t as revolutionary as one would purport.
He died, and he lived. He died in the arms of his family, and he lived in the arms of his bottle. Ah, that bottle! I still remember the clanking of the bottles and the clonking of those bottles – it makes me reminisce the red that I saw, it was like the Red October, but less subjunctive of Stalin or Lenin.
Again, I digress! When will this inebriated mind learn that the words that come out have to be understood and not slurred? I think it finally understood that, I think he speaks with a language filled with imprecations now. He spews his words like he spews the last sip into his throat, and then he waits. He waits for him, he waits to understand the other person, he waits for the violence to begin and the glass to shatter. He waits!
He sees it all, he witnesses it all and yet, waits to cry right at the moment when the “other one” tarnished it all, he wants to hear the head thud on the ground. He waits for the moment when the recuperation of the “other one” begins, which would ensure that he gets to resplendently expound his actions or vehemently desire to be as gracious as his amnesiac counterpart. The tenacious generally remember, but it’s the vengeful who make you rue. His was his wife and his children. They made him feel laughably lonely, whereas lonely is a word he had never known ever since that first sip all those years ago. But, his firstborn raises her fist in an act of vengeance, whereas he raises his innocence under the guise of solemnity.
The firstborn doesn’t want to awaken the “other one”, she has been tormented, mistaken for an apparition of the “other one’s” betrothed, she has seen it all and been vengefully calm about it. But this isn’t a diatribe, rather it’s a pantomime, chuckles the younger one. But, now they all hear the sound of the footsteps of the “other one”, he has awakened from a slumber that he didn’t wish upon himself, he wakes up but is somnambulant. He looks around, waiting, being wary of the attack, the attrition that could knock him down, once and for all. He has no saviours or arch angels, he only has dire enemies in the name of family.
He hears a growl. Alas, it’s the pet he has ignored, it’s the pet who grows old with him. But again he harks something close to him, something ravenous, something waiting to attack. The “other one” has physicality on his side, but the sound has the numbers on theirs. The younger one proclaims pacificity, whereas the eunuch is called for an approbation of the mind, while the firstborn and the lady gawk, rather hark to the panegyric that would leave the young one untarnished and unfathomably benevolent.
Here we come to the rebuke of the century, here we come to the last utterances of a eulogy, here we come to the attack of the lad whom he called his younger one. He misses his first shot, as if he was an amateur at this but he connects with the second, and clonks the face of the “other one” on the ground. With this comes to an end of an age old adage, “Comest the fist with all its might, clonk the head with all its height”. He stops, the younger one, he stops because his tremble makes him, his solicitousness towards his soul is unfathomably real, as his feigned concern towards the mother and the sister is unfathomably disconcerting.
But, enough about the speech, enough about the physical, enough about the bottles. This, as we said before, isn’t a diatribe, or we wish it was, but this is a preface and a eulogy for someone so tarnished by time; for someone who knew travailing better than the woman who had seven miscarriages; better than the woman who had none – his sisters he calls them – but does biology dictate euphemisms for siblings who have an utter anathema towards one of their own? Or rather was it envy? He hears it then, envy says: “It was I who made it all happen” while my father finally realised why “the other one” exists. He exists so that envy can’t prescribe its catechisms of living among the dead, and with that, we finally turn to the page which would explain it all, which would explain the dewy eyed man who stands before us.
He is tied to the bed post, with his legs protecting, nay, coddling him. He feels coddled by them when the ailment known as the patriarchal cane falls on his knees, he feels it, he reveres it, and yet, he dreads every time it walks. But then, the child hears a ring at the door, it’s not the front door of his house, it’s the front door of his consciousness where there stands a more mollified version of himself, where the anger has turned into gaiety, where the appeasement is no longer essential, and where words don’t have to meet the actions, and yet, will concurrently lead into an execution.
He lets this stranger in, and with this begins and ends the story of our hero, the father, my father, the alcoholic!
Pyotr Tchaikovsky is a novice writer.