Like I always do in times like now, I think of my Dad. The man would catastrophically fall into my life every now and again. He is a firm believer in circles and things of a cyclical nature. I don’t think he knows that he is, but his ingrained behaviour strongly supports this to be the case.
He would appear, as always, without any notice and in the grip of some mania or another. Flipping between alcohol and drugs, he would spend a good three days ranting to me at every opportunity about various conspiracies, intergovernmental plots, and secret societies bent on world domination. Once this part of the cycle ended, he moved swiftly to begging me to tell him where ‘she’ lived. In this section of his choreographed act, he would plead, on his knees and clawing at his face, for me to let him to know where his sweet, lady was. I would play my part dutifully, remorsefully telling him I can’t, as I don’t where she is myself.
Together, we would collapse into the penultimate segment of this well-rehearsed performance. He would tell me, in detail, why he did what he did and why he had to leave. Anger, horror, and contrition would flicker across his face until his muscles grew tired and rested on blank nothingness.
Finally, exactly a week after he would show up, he’d say to me ; “Son, you’ll never see me again. I’ll never darken your door or try to contact you. I know what you think of me, and you’re right to do so.” At this point he’d make sure his tie was perfectly centered and that his cuff links were facing the correct way. “Please don’t look for me. I’m going to find her.”
And like that, he would vanish. Confidently striding away in a well-tailored black suit, with an equally well-made black car waiting for him, engine running. Someone sitting in the backseat of the car would open the door for him. Over the course of these visits, I’ve noted it’s always the same person. A woman, in a long-sleeved silver dress and a veil. My Dad would step into the car and, without a backward glance, he’d be gone.
So, I say again, it’s at times like these, when I’m about to complete my work, that I think of my Dad. I think of how his relentless, cyclical, never-changing nature, has made me into what I am. Come to think of it, I haven’t enjoyed a visit from him in nearly four years, the longest stretch of time between cycles.
I look down at work, so nearly complete. Am I satisfied with it? Were the proper acts completed? Has my own cyclical ritual drawn to an end? Staring into a mirror as I wash the blood off my hands, the echoes of screams fading from my ears, I smile. My cycle is complete, for now.
My ears prick up, the screams long gone, there’s someone walking up behind me. I turn to see a man in shadows, but clearly wearing a well-fitting black suit. He stops a few metres away from me.
“Son, I found her. It’s time.”
Cycles, I suppose, can be broken. Either that or they merge into one.