‘Ha, here be monsters!’ he screams, as we speed past the mobility scooter. I watch the large lady shaking her fist at us as she grows smaller in the rear-view mirror.
Katie used to love his nonsense – until he started dropping things, lashing out, and wetting himself. You can’t piss your pants in front of a fourteen-year-old and there not be consequences. So, I take this trip alone.
‘Port after the lights, Cap’n Morris,’ I say, but he’s got another place in mind.
‘I be following the X on me map, lassie. You’ve been a good first-mate, but me compass tells no lies, and it be saying that you mean to maroon me and ne’er return. Be that so?’ He weighs anchor, shuts off the engine, and turns to look at me, frowning. ‘This doesn’t feel right.’ I don’t know what hurts me more, that he’s gone and driven straight here, rather than the pathetic round-the-houses route I’d planned, or that he’s dropped the pirate act.
We sit in silence in the carpark of the hospital, compass, telescope, and sea shanties all cast aside.
‘Is this it,’ Dad asks me, ‘am I to live out my days here?’
I nod, because I don’t want to start crying. ‘Sorry,’ I say, but that doesn’t really cover it.
‘Is your mother gone?’ he asks. He’s forgotten her too. Is that good or bad?
I nod. She’s not dead, just left, couldn’t bear to see him like this. ‘Ready, Cap’n?’ I ask, and go to step out of the car.
‘Just Dad,’ he says, and it breaks me.