2004 was the year my father developed a taste for schedules and routines. It was, and still is, his way of making sure that things are in order, and I suppose it was his way, when we were younger, of ensuring there was some consistency in our daily lives. When Mum left, I think that was all he could think to do – giving us something fixed, something to fall back on, something to let us know that our world still stood firm even as his was falling apart.
It was never really the same, our world; he was never really the same.
Mum has always been the spontaneous one. She had always done things whenever she felt like it. I suppose that was why she could leave us just like that. She had never been one for commitment. After she left, my father came up with The Schedule. We had to follow it, and by then we were so desperate to keep one parent that we paid attention. He took great pride in us following it for a while. The Schedule gratified him. I remember Fridays were pizza days; they only had the regular pizza then, not the triple cheese extravaganza they do now, something for which I am utterly thankful; on Thursdays we took trips to the parks. It did not matter which park it was or how many times we had been there before. We just went on Thursdays. Matt, three years my junior, and I, would see how many flowers we could find that had at least an insect hovering over them while Father stared blankly into the distance, occasionally, he would smile.
Then there were Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, I was to finish whatever assessment Dad asked me to do.
I would put in my best effort to have them done to perfection and always long before he came to pick us up at Aunt’s. I would, upon entering his new black BMW, brandish out the assessment to show off to him and I had always been a honest boy so he never tore the answer key out before. Each time, his eyes would light up and tell me I was a good boy and off we...