In our father’s image

My father was a quiet, slow-moving man, as large as a wrestler and as soft as the pink of my bedroom.

I recognised in Jon the same immovability and I knew he could be the ballast for my rocking boat. I’d always thought love was a game. Between us it was more a rigged match. Slow moving Jon, so willing to trust, had no chance against me. Within a year I had his ring.

Jon never drank. Whenever I asked him about it he’d mumble about his family being tea-totallers, and laugh his soft, high laugh. It wasn’t until months after we married that his sister, Cleo, told me about their father’s father. He’d driven into a river in a grappa haze, too drunk to remember his youngest child, asleep in the back seat.

On our wedding day, after I’d had too many wines myself, I told Jon he should loosen up. I poured him a glass. ‘Come on big boy. Don’t spoil the party.’

I don’t know why I did it. Perhaps it was to please my father who, in his own, plodding way had eased through two bottles. As Jon put the glass to his lips Papa struck up a song.