How To Be A Man

Scene 1

too young to know anything of death

get sent upstairs when someone
knocks on the door on a Saturday

Scene 2

too young to come back down until you’re told   eavesdrop

auntie    are you sure you’re OK?
dad        I’m fine

Scene 3

see your dad return from hospital after overdosing

the kind of overdosing where the body forgets itself slowly
how to walk    how to speak    how to swallow

Scene 4

watch your sister hugging the would-be futurefather of her child

go to the other room    computer    television
a comedy impressions show and a joke
about someone’s stature
laugh harder than you should have or wanted to

Scene 5

go back to the front room
recount the joke about stature to the seated family

dad       I know    we heard    are you OK?

say you’re fine

see your dad’s face like an empty box

Background character notes
you thought you knew how men
were meant to grieve
you thought all men were punished by their fathers
you thought all men grieved like small Greek women
in black who say the bread still needs to be baked
you thought men simpy carried on
when your dad unfolded in front of you
nobody had taught you how to fix him back together
and then he died

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