Though I have lived a colourful and varied life, the event which had the greatest effect on my well-being was the day I came of age, for it was on this day that it had been arranged that I should be told that my father was a loaf of bread. It was a shock at the time and I still believe that my mother could have waited until my birthday guests had left before she told me, but looking back on it today I can see that I should really not have been so surprised after all. Dad had always been small in stature and concealed himself with heavy clothing, and sometimes I would find crumbs where he had been sitting. However, in my childish naivety, I attributed this behaviour to eccentricity and never asked him about it.
Other clues that I can see with the benefit of hindsight are numerous. Birds were always fond of him, and he would always refuse to sit by the fireside. What a fool I was not to have read the signs. Surely nothing else could account for his love of butter, but in my youthful ignorance, I never made the obvious connection. Finally knowing his secret has affected me profoundly. Whereas before I could badger him incessantly insisting that he come into the swimming pool instead of staying dry by the side, I now know how better to accommodate for him. It is a tribute to his strength of character that he never wavered in his good humour during these times. Situations such as these were not only limited to affecting him exclusively, however. It is with no small amount of shame that I admit to being so insensitive as to repeatedly use the phrase ‘born and bred’ in conversation with my mother, even though she would burst into tears every time.
It is only now that I appreciate the tension and difficulty that my father’s condition must have caused. When I was first told of his problem, I viewed it in a shamefully negative light. I was at first dumbstruck, and when he lifted his hat and I saw the crust for myself and I ran from the room in confusion. I did not speak to him for almost a year, but it was in his persistent letters and phone calls trying to contact me that I realized I had been despicably bigoted and superficial not to see through the wholemeal exterior to his gentle and caring heart. Now that there are no secrets between us, my relationship with my father is better than ever. Despite our troubled past, he still drives me to school every day and we play tennis at the weekend, even though I always beat him. We talk long into the early morning about life and love, and many other wonderful things. The experience, though it has been sometimes hard to bear, has taught me the value of honesty and acceptance and I truly believe that I am a better person as a result. Thanks, dad.
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