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

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/prisoner-of-war

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
forgotten.


Author unknown

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