I was born to a schoolgirl mother & adopted when I was six weeks old. My father knew of my existence as he held me shortly before I was given away. To my eternal good fortune, I was provided with a home by the two most wonderful, loving people any child could wish to have as parents & it is they whom I call Mum & Dad. By definition therefore, my mother & father are two very separate & different people. As I got older the desire to find them, to understand where I came from, became ever more compelling and increasingly harder to ignore. So it was that at the age of 24 I would find my mother & with her a close friendship that has since prevailed.
The search for my father would take much longer & ultimately become all consuming. Sixteen years after finding my mother & twenty years after I began my search I eventually found him. It was a further year however before he agreed to meet with me, to allow me the 'one hour of your time discussion' that I felt he owed me. I had my hour (actually an hour and a half) & the experience was surreal, fulfilling in as much that I had achieved my goal yet frustrating because I wanted to discover so much more about the enigma that was my biological father.
I was surprised to be invited to meet up with him for lunch almost one year later, just prior to Christmas. Whilst it was intriguing to meet with him again, it became very obvious that he had arranged to see me out of some kind of latent parental obligation to see if I was ok. Maybe steak with sautéed potatoes in a middle class brasserie was enough to assuage his guilt (I know that he did feel some guilt.) Despite the exchange of pleasantries over lunch, the conversation proved to be as cosmetic as his promise that we would meet again. "Next time Simon, you must let me pay." The next time never came & save for a couple of Christmas cards simply worded 'Merry Christmas' (they don't even have mine, my wife's or his grandchildrens names on, nor are they written in his hand) that was the last I saw of him or heard from him.
Over 8 years have passed. I'd always held the view that one hour of my fathers time would be enough; enough to get answers to the questions that I wanted & enough to break the ice that was seemingly preventing him from wanting to get to know me, from wanting to see me, from wanting to build a friendship. And that's what I wanted, a friendship, a couple of
beers two or three times a year, maybe lunch now & again, after all I had my Dad & no one would ever be able to take his place. But I have learned that I was wrong. I have learned that I am surplus to any ancillary requirements that a man who is emotionally inept & unable to live with the magnitude of his folly from the swinging sixties may have. There's comeback, there's always comeback. Since last seeing him I have developed a fierce sense of injustice, of anger, of feeling short changed. These are jaundiced & arguably unjust emotions. What is most certainly very real is the massive feeling of rejection that has so confused me, surprised me & hurt me so deeply.
And so to this song; the shattered image is the stark contrast between the incurable romantic I had a vision of & the dispassionate, inhibited stranger that I met. The sweeter moments are when Gerry met Valerie on that fateful coach trip to Southend-on-Sea so many years ago & fell in love. The burning memories belong to her, how deeply she loved him & how she became so wounded by that love & its consequences. The recollections are his; the matter of fact sentences he used in remembering the moment of my creation. As for the crimes of my heart they are exactly that; I just can't let it all go when deep down I know that of course I should. In short this song has been a long time in the making but is everything that I have come to feel about my father; the search, the meetings & everything that is left as a result. Maybe recording it is more than we both deserve. That lunchtime, when I last saw him, I realised that the search for him was indeed Over & Done.
I knew it, as he said goodbye to me that day, I could see it clearly; it was in his eyes....