The Naked Man

“The prisoner, having reached the depth of his depression, gradually reawakens to the life around him. He licks himself and his wounded pride, opens his eyes, and finds that far away on the horizon there is still a ray of sunlight left.” – P. H. Newman

There was no ray of sunshine left for my father, in-fact his mind was far, far away and damaged beyond all comprehensibility.

I stood staring at the door.

Fight or flight at its finest…

I looked towards my Mother for some sort of reassurance, but she had none to give. How could she? She was going out of her mind with fear. Those few seconds felt like pandemonium in my frightened little mind, not knowing what to do next. It was the ultimate of dilemas;

Open the door and she might die?

Stay where I was, relatively safe and he might die!

There was still no sound at all from the outside of our room and it was eerily quiet. With every ounce of courage I could muster up, I pulled the door open.

My father was lying naked and completely out of it, having collapsed on the bathroom floor.

I don’t know why he was naked!

I thought he was dead and my mother’s natural nursing instincts kicked in ready to save his life and she checked for his breathing.

Once again…

Not this time.

He was still breathing.

It was my first experience of seeing the male anatomy and I had no time to feel shock or embarrassment.

It seemed insignificant.

And yet it was significant for the 13 year old, who was too young to witness that.

The drugs were taking there toll on my fathers body and he was an absolute mess. His head was floppy and rolling from one side to the other and his face looked blown up with being so swollen. His hair was grey and looked frantic and his belly was solid with bloated-ness.

This was my Dad.

This was the poor, fractured little boy with his ravaged mind living in the sick body of a grown up man.

A husband.

A father.

A brother.

A son.

All these things and yet none of them too.

He never ever left the prison camp.

His mind became his own prison.

My mother said his name loudly several times trying to rouse him into standing up and together we hauled his massive body upwards and he would slump back down again.

He was a big, heavy man.

Eventually he began muttering a slurry of nonsense words in his heavily confused state and we managed to get him up on his feet. He was able to take some of his own weight and we walked him to my bedroom.

My Father laid down on my bed and my Mother covered him up.

I kissed his cheek and left him to sleep.

That was the last time I saw him alive.

How I wish with all my heart that I held him tight that early Sunday morning and whispered ‘I love you Dad’ in his ear.

To love a person
is to see all of their magic
and to remind them
of it when they have

Author unknown

©All Rights Reserved -The boy in the chip shop 2019

Author: Michelle Denness

Wife, mother to three incredible kids and aspiring writer/poet. I am passionate about sharing personal stories to empower others and this space is for me to be open and free with my thoughts. This is my journey...

10 thoughts on “The Naked Man”

  1. Oh my the amount of pain you must have felt for his suffering. I just see everything that happened to him to such an expression of the wounded masculine force in our collective run amok and then crushed. Your poor father’s body must have carried deep in its cells all the trauma he endured and then the drugs which do nothing to unpack that level of trauma and shock. I know what my body goes through after two near death crashes but your father must have endured so much and you and your Mum were trying so hard to contain him. This is gut wrenching, Michelle. I really feel it.


    1. I was ready your last post whilst you were reading mine. I think I am beginning to understand at such a deep level all the questions and confusions I’ve had throughout my life that have lead to such struggle. It is gut wrenching for me to write and I’m left in a pool of emotion after I hit the send button. The other side to this is that all of the child parts of me that were unable to express themselves are now freely doing so. It’s a tough journey that I am on and one that I am grateful for too, in so many ways.
      Thank you again for reading and taking the time to comment.


  2. Ok damn, that rolled through me like an unexpected freight train running through the station without any intention of slowing down and picking up passengers.

    And I’m grateful, for that train seems to scary to ride, and yet it bares the likeness of my own locomotive filled childhood with my moms 4 suicide attempts and my dads rage that left welts on my body no less than weekly.

    There is no doubt that God uses a single like on an obscure comment to intersect lives that were meant to intersect.

    Thank you for your like that drew me to your blog.

    The light of two shines brighter than one, and the light of many have the power to quell the darkness.

    (Wow that quite just popped out, who knows what depths of the soul that came from lol)

    Many blessing


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