My dad is a bit of an enigma to me, obviously decipherable in many ways but completely baffling in others. There are parts of his character that I will never understand in their singularity but when you put the whole thing together he sort of makes sense. Sort of. But he never fails to surprise me, with his track record you wouldn't automatically turn to him for support in a crisis, but a few weeks ago that's exactly what I did.
I didn't mean to or even intend to call him in that moment but I instinctively felt like I needed to. I was half expecting some straight talking acorns of wisdom to be rammed down my throat, after all, this is the man who tells me quite unashamedly that I was conceived in the back seat of a ford cortina at the prettier end of a cornish graveyard when he and my mum were in the fledgling stages of romance.
And this is the man who has told every man I've ever dated that when I was three I got out of the paddling pool naked as a jay bird and took a dump on the steps in our then garden in full view of the neighbours.
Embarrassed much? Not really, the plus side of growing up with a dad who is straight talking, direct and brashly open is that I am mostly not easy to embarrass now. I've heard it all, and in a funny sort of way my openness is a gift from him. I've always being drawn to real, open people, anything other than that confuses me or at the very least makes me suspicious.
But with his direct manner, banter, penchant for the 'F' word and 'a mans man' approach to life, is the other part to him. The bit he wont let anyone reach, the emotionally hard part, his achilles heel, the part I've tried to drag out of him with questions, demands, furious reproaches and the silent treatment.
None of that worked.
Understanding your parents helps you understand yourself and in many ways I do, I can attribute my stubbornness, wanderlust, determination and openness to him, as well as my sense of humour and we have the same toes and cheekbones. But I don't see myself in his self centred behaviour or in his ability to be so fickle and throw away with peoples' hearts.
Maybe I needed a kick up the arse when I called him.
I didn't get one, what I did get was a frank discussion about being true to myself, empathy and 'I love you'.
Sometimes you get what you need in unexpected places or in unexpected ways, sometimes people surprise you, sometimes they don't. It's easy to write people off because they don't behave as we do or because we want them to be a certain way.
And that's a shame because one day that person may just prove you wrong, have a change of heart or be there when absolutely no one else in the world is.