26 04 2017

In late June (2011) we got a call, one that we had been dreading – of course we dreaded them all but this one had a particular ‘call to action’. He was demanding to see the girls. This was the first time that he had even mentioned them since the great unravelling began. It set my skin on fire.

Executing the dead bat strategy, a negotiation was struck that he could see the girls on the condition that they wanted to see him, and that he was not drinking.  They would meet in a neutral place and my dad would be their chaperone.

When my dad delicately but directly asked the girls if they would like to see their father, Maddie’s reply was a straight ‘nope’. Clare did want to see him but only with the assurance that her grandfather would be there as well.

A Friday afternoon was agreed and my dad called Mort’s hotel room half an hour before the arranged meeting time.  No answer in his room.  The call went back through reception where he was informed that Mort was in the bar downstairs and had in fact been there for several hours. No surprises the meeting was cancelled.

Another meeting was set for a week later…an 8am meeting was probably a safer bet.

My dad and Clare settled in the coffee shop and watched Mort hobble towards them on a crutch, tooth still missing and an overpowering wretched stench enveloping him. Dad watched Clare’s face distort briefly with shock but then regain composure.  The account from Clare was that he smelled weird, his whole body was shaking and that she couldn’t understand why he kept asking when she’d gotten her ears pierced and she had to constantly remind him that she had had them pierced for two years. He was in a mental loop, he had no idea what else to talk with her about.

The meeting lasted under 30 minutes for which most was watching him painstakingly try and navigate a cup of tea to his mouth, ending up in spillage dabbled across the table and down his front. He was keen to wrap it up, dump the charade of sipping tea and get back to guzzling the vodka.

No risk of spillage there, bottle straight to the lips.





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