‘Buy your Father’s Day present here. Let him know you love him.’ Maggie switches off the telly. If she hears one more ad, she’ll explode. Nothing but a money-making racket. It’s been five years since her Dad sent a postcard from Kenya, letting her know he’d remarried. He was good at starting over alright. Maggie wondered if wife number three knew what she was letting herself in for. At least Ken was nothing like her Dad. Ken was a solid man. Dependable. Always had her back. And now that they had Rose, their world was complete. Their precious little flower.
‘Poll: how will you mark Father’s Day?’ Ken winces as he scrolls through his Facebook feed. His Dad passed four months ago. It was unexpected, a fatal heart attack. No time to say goodbye. His therapist says it will take a while to process. Today he feels the numbness wearing off. A tightness in his chest takes hold, squeezing him from the inside out. Some say grief manifests as physical pain. Or is his heart giving up- maybe it runs in the family? The walls are closing in on him. He tiptoes to the bedroom to pack a bag.
‘Happie Fathers Day Dada.’ Rose puts down the crayon and admires the picture she’s drawn – her and Dada and Mama in the garden under the apple tree. Rose hears Mama crying in the kitchen and goes outside to find Dada. His car is missing. Is he gone to play golf? Rose wanders back indoors. Her Mama is reading a note and her shoulders are shaking. “Come here, pet. Dada has gone on a little holiday. A Father’s Day treat.” Rose frowns. “But why didn’t he bring us?” Mama gulps. “He’ll be back soon, pet. He’ll be back very soon.”