As I remember it, the air was sweet and fresh. Dad stood in front of me, scratching at his moustache and talking about sausage sizzles. How he wanted to have one soon, underneath the bright blue sky and the red, fading sun. He said we’d put onion in bread, slap tomato sauce over snags, and sit together, breathing in the night. As a family. He said family was the only thing that mattered.
But when Mum was away – which was often, he’d pull me close, until I could feel his breath on my skin and rolling down my arm, and he’d lock his hands together. When he let go, and the air around us was thinning, I’d stare down at my body. The blue and purple hues would shock me.
But the day that I remember, the day that keeps coming back to me, is the day Dad said we were family. He said it so clearly, looking straight ahead, his eyes filled with softness, with pink. And he reached out and brushed his hand across my face, and even though he didn’t say he was sorry, the words never came from his mouth – I could see them sitting there in front of me, and somehow, Dad’s husky voice proclaiming we are family has been what’s always got me through.