My father, and my mother took us to the Lido: a yellow bus to Caerleon, then a walk, down a dirty, too-tight lane. Keep in, Ronnie!
I don’t remember my sisters, perhaps they were paddling, but I, I was a boy and dad insisted. The other pool!
The other pool, huge and deep, insistent, murderous, and my father said hold on to my back you bugger as he went deeper, with his crude ignorant breast-stroke disdainful of his son.
I cried, and cried, if I fall off! He was so fucking angry: I’ll drown you, you bloody baby! And my mother had to intervene. They left me clinging to the side, a coward, my father sloughing away from me, disgusted.
Later, he dived over me, knees out like a frog. Because of shrapnel, my mother said.
I was so scared of my father, but years later it would be my mother, by leaving us, who would hurt me.
Novelist, short-story writer and poet, Welsh-Irish Alex Keegan recently started submitting again after a three-year hiatus.
He lives near Reading, England and looks after two asylum-seeking refugees. A tough, warts-and-all critic, he teaches creative-writing at Alex Keegan’s Boot Camp on line and F2F.