Today is Father’s Day, here in the UK. And, as it is time for the letter ‘F’, Father seemed an obvious choice. Emily has an uneasy and difficult relationship with both of her parents, but her relationship with her dad is especially hostile. Black Eyed Boy starts with these words:
“Where the hell have you been?” my dad barked.
Immediately, through Emily’s eyes, we learn that all is not well at home. She stays out of the house as long as she can, often alone, just so that she can avoid her parents. Emily’s dad, Jim, is an alcoholic. This isn’t a recent development. Emily is fifteen and he has been drunk for most of her life. His poison of choice is whisky. The drink frequently causes him to pass out or become angry and occasionally violent.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, I will try not to contain too many spoilers, but it’s safe to say that Emily’s father doesn’t get a happy ending. And if my book characters came to life today, Emily would be a sad girl this Father’s Day.
Some of us do have unhealthy or disappointing relationships with family members. On this particular subject, I happen to know what I’m writing about. Emily’s dismay and wishing that things could have been better are feelings from my own mind and heart. Some people have lost parents. Occasions like Father’s Day can be sad and bloody tough for those who no longer have their dad around to celebrate with. If this applies to you, you are in my thoughts today.
Here is an excerpt from Black Eyed Boy showing the tumultuous strains between father and daughter:
I heard a kerfuffle from down below, and stretched my head over to see what was going on. It was Dad. He was drunker than I’d seen him in a long time. He bashed and crashed into the rubbish bins. I heard him swear under his breath. He couldn’t stand still on the spot long enough to figure out which key was the right one. He stumbled on to the bench outside our living room window, clearly finding that as good a place as any to sleep. I sucked in my breath, irritated and angry with him. I wanted to leave him there. He could wake up in the morning and feel the shame of the judgemental glares from the holiday cottage dwellers as they walked by. I didn’t care what people thought. But, I thought of my mum. She did care; she would want to me to help him inside.