2006 and I had just got off the phone to my Mum. Flinging my arms around a friend outside the school gates, I cried.
Mum told me it was nothing to worry about, Dad had dropped a radiator whilst working as a Heating Engineer and cut his hand. They took him to hospital to find he had done damage to a tendon. It knocked him for six. Six weeks in fact. He was off work for what seemed an eternity, and most likely doing my Mum's head in!
Dad worked. That's all he seemed to do. He left the house any time between half 6 and half 7 every morning. I know it was between this time because we'd always be fighting for the shower so I could get ready for school. So much so that he threatened my Mum with the idea of installing an en-suite in my bedroom. He'd come home around half past 4/ 5 o clock in the evening. The time he didn't spend at work, he watched TV, played on his computer or spent time with me and my Brother. I used to hate how much Dad worked and couldn't get my head round the fact that when he was "on the phones" (assigning jobs to workers at the company as the calls were being directed to Dad) that he was still working. I wasn't stupid, he was at home, and so was I, and I wanted him to play with me.
Dropping the radiator was strange but we just accepted it as an accident. Until a few years later when we would look back and pin-point this time as when Dad changed- PSP may have caused Dad to lose control of his grip & drop the radiator.
The only way I can describe it is Dad just started being weird. Doing weird things like being obsessive about the volume on the TV (it was not allowed to go above 12), he demanded dinner to be ready at 5 o clock on the dot.
He came to work at the local supermarket with me after working all day. I HATED it! It was so embarrassing & I couldn't think why he would have wanted to do that? He then started to work for Kleeneze, collecting catalogues and taking peoples orders. My.Dad.Doing.Kleeneze? It didn't make sense. Both of them he seemed to give up on. He would make a fed up noise that resembled a horse and was reluctant to carry on.
The company that Dad worked for were not getting the work. Or at least that's what he had told us. It wasn't until his manager called both my Mum and Dad into a meeting to explain there had been complaints and queries regarding Dad's ability to work. They urged him to get medical assistance.
The obsession with the TV and dinner turned into more things to do with time like my Brothers bedtime. Squabbling at night-time was almost a routine, both Dad and my Brother disputing what time bedtime actually was. I was so frustrated. I wrote him a letter. I was reaching out to my Dad. I started saying I would talk to him but I'm afraid he won't listen. I expressed my anxieties about going to University in case everything just fell apart.
He just seemed to give up everything. We didn't understand. There were so many arguments, frustration towards Dad. He didn't listen. He didn't seem aware of what was actually happening. What was wrong with him?
Both me and my Brother presumed Mum and Dad were getting a divorce. Having thought about packing our bags and going, Mum was at the end of her tether. "Why aren't you fighting for us?" I screamed at Dad, so hurt that he didn't care. When really it wasn't that he didn't care. PSP had destroyed him.
The letter I wrote him ended "I just want my Dad back."