I first met my father when I was 7 years old. He was a prisoner of war and he’d been released to come home.
Before he came home there was only my mum, my sister and me. It was during World War 2 in Germany. My mum would often go away for days at a time to barter for food. We didn’t have much to eat, sometimes only potato skins to make soup. There was not real school because everything was bombed; we learnt what mum taught us. We would have to stay with neighbours and if the air raid sirens went off we would all have to run. One time they went off and I couldn’t find my sister. I made it to the shelter and when I came home I found my sister hiding under the sink.
When my dad came home, everything changed. I didn’t like this strange, stern man that would look at me with his mean eyes. It always seemed like I did everything wrong.
My mother would often stay in her room for days at a time and I remember my father telling me not to upset mum. We didn’t know it then but she had bi-polar and would later go on to take her own life.
When the war was finished, eventually we were able to go to school and I liked school. I didn’t have to be home and sit in a quite house under the disappointing gaze of my father.