My Dad came into the kitchen. His eyes were red rimmed oceans of tears that would never be shed.
“What’s wrong?” I was bewildered, concerned, awkward.
“That was the doctor; I’m dying.” Simple, clean, matter of fact.
There was no comprehension. Death didn’t happen in real life. It was something over there; beyond the hill.
“I’ve got Leukaemia and there’s nothing to be done.” All that needed saying was said and he turned back to the lounge where the green and white screen with occasional knock of wood on leather and the slow deliberate cadence of lugubrious commentary seemed to comfort the thick heat of the afternoon.
I followed by instinct. There was something that felt like anger but it seemed wrong; incongruous.
“What will you do?”
“Well I was going to give up smoking but I don’t think I’ll bother now; but I’ve got no baccy.” He began to put on his shoes.
“Would you like a cigarette?” I fumbled for my packet
“No, I’ll stick to my pipe.”
“Do you want me to get you some tobacco?”
“No, I wait for the tea interval and go round the shop and pick up the evening paper as well.” With that his attention turned back to the screen slowly gathering himself together. Shaken, not stirred.
We never talked of it again and the high, hot holy, and never ending summer roared like a lion into all the history books. It was a good year to play the West Indies and my Dad had just made the perfect cover drive for four runs from an impossible Ball.