A sequel image to In My Father’s House. A portrait made on a subsequent visit, and whilst my father was still undergoing chemotherapy for a golfball sized tumour removed from his large intestine.
The central placement was deliberate in this composition, not only is it exactly the view a person would see sitting opposite, it is also a metaphor for the centrality of this spot in my fathers life.
This spot at the table next to the window would have to be the place my father frequents and favours most over any other space in his home.
From my own observations he begins and concludes every day from this very spot.
My fathers day begins, (after a quick wash in the lean to), with his regular morning ritual which varies relatively little. First comes the shave. My father likes to look good and never misses an opportunity, or has any qualms, telling people just HOW good he looks, and just HOW much better he looks than anyone else. Lol! The shaving ritual is performed one handed, and is always, but always, accompanied by a cigarette, expertly brandished in the other hand.
Whilst shaving AND smoking, he simultaneously scans the TV guide, (newspaper to his left), so as to plan his preferred daytime and evening viewing schedule as well as getting into order any other things he may have to do that day – no one could argue that this man is not good at multi-tasking!
Once completed this ritual is closely followed by another.
Breakfast consists in the first instance of coffee – it comes scalding hot, strong, black and sweet, water heated in the cup in the microwave – did I say sweet?. A slice of rye bread with butter and sometimes a few deli goods accompany, and all of course is chased down by another cigarette. After the first coffee a second usually follows, (by this time I can almost taste the sugary sweetness, mingled with cigarette smoke in the surrounding air) – and without fail there will also appear another cigarette, and then another…. :)
During the day my father migrates to and from this spot at regular intervals, to lunch, to read the paper, to look out of the window with his binoculars, to have dinner and so on. I have never observed him sitting for any length of time at the other end of the table. His habit of gravitating to his special spot reminds me of a bird coming home to roost. It really seems to be where he feels most ‘at home’.
This image is not for sale
© Marion Cullen
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