This was not the first time I had fallen so easily into his kindness trap. He rarely played this card but every time I fell straight into it. I was longing to see a normal father figure so any kind of decent gesture was seen as a dramatic change in his personality.
Whether it was offering to do the washing up or take out the recycling bin, these little moments were ones I longed for. However, he would offer this and ruin it almost immediately with a little snipe about me.
On the 25th May 2009, I fell head first into his kindness trap.
My father never cooked for me in all the years we lived together. He made it clear he did not want to ‘work’ for me. Yet he often hovered over me in the kitchen and if he liked what he saw he expected me to cook extra for him. If there wasn’t enough for two then he would become agitated that I had not planned ahead to meet his needs. He would even suggest that I should make something else for myself so he could eat what I was cooking.
At the start of 2009, my father began eating healthier food. He asked one day if I would eat a recipe he was doing that night as there would be enough for the two of us. I accepted his offer as it would’ve been pointless to refuse and offend him. Also, I saw it as a kind gesture, that he wanted to cook for me.
I wandered into the kitchen around dinner time to get a drink. I tried to be as silent as possible not to disturb him. Unfortunately, he noticed me as I was leaving and he ordered me to stay.
“You should learn this too,” he said suddenly, “it will only take a few minutes”.
I knew it would be longer than that.
He handed me two pieces of fish and told me to de-scale them. I told him I would rather not and that I would watch him instead. I did not ask to be a part of it anyway.
“I always have to work for you don’t I.” He muttered, grabbing the fish from my hands.
“I don’t want to mess it up Daddy,” I tried to calm him down by my making myself weak. It didn’t work.
“It’s not as if I have a million other things to do is it!” he remarked sarcastically.
I turned away and bit my tongue as not to react to him. It was only for a second but before I knew it, he was shouting at me,
“Just go away idiot! Get out!”
“What?” I ask, surprised at him, “I didn’t say anything”.
“Are you daring to answer me back? Well, are you?”
I looked down at my feet. Was it worth a confrontation? I spent a few seconds weighing up the situation and realised it was not the best time to aggravate him by giving a response. I shook my head to stop him from verbally attacking me any further. Once again, my attempts failed.
“You have the attention span of a child! You’re a grown woman and you behave like a petulant child! Are you looking for a fight?”
I snap and shout “No!”
Realising I should not have raised my voice to him, I stepped back as he launched into a rage. Raising his hand to my face in one sharp movement he screamed,
“You belligerent scum! Why am I slaving away in the kitchen for you?! I must have done something awful in my past life to have a daughter like you.”
Stupidly, I apologised.
I felt belittled and pathetic but I had to apologise to ease the atmosphere. He never acknowledged or accepted apologies from me, but it was better that I did it than not. Thankfully, he let it go. For the one time, he let it go.
I was called down to dinner half an our later where we sat at the dining table together and ate.
In total silence.