Writing is like photography. When you cannot think of a composition use one of the topics the camera clubs use to make a picture. Or tell a story. Today’s choice is “from the inside out”.

I cannot imagine what my father would have thought about this idea. For me sitting at the typewriter (I wish) it means that what you are inside will reflect on the outside. Sometimes when extreme emotions rule inside then it is the ability to control what appears outside that distinguishes us.

In his younger days when my father was angry inside it all escaped unchannelled into the outside world, and had us filled with fear if we had done something wrong, or confusion if we did not know the reason. Later on in his life when we had an adult relationship I would challenge him if he was angry for what I thought was no reason.

He would speak little and frown, his bushy eyebrows knitting above his darkened brown eyes. I could see his face flush as his blood pressure rose. I would look at him and ask:

“Is anyone really sick? Is anyone going to die?”

He hated talking irreverently about death. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, the way you’re carrying on looks to me that it is serious. You always tell us to worry only about health. Proto ygeas, remember? So who is so sick, or who is going to die?”

“No, it’s not like that. But..” he would be disarmed and defused, and start thinking again. I suppose I could have been easier on him, but asking him what the situation would yield in five years time would not have disarmed him. Talking about death and health did.

I was angry with myself when I got to the village in 2009 and realised I had lost my passport. I left it at the Hertz car hire counter and it had disappeared. I called them, and drove two hours back to the airport to check, but no luck. The next day I drove back to Athens and fought the traffic in Kifisia to get to the South African Embassy to apply for an emergency passport. Two days later I drove back to collect it and on the fifth day I left Athens for home. My father would have been very angry if he knew I had misplaced and lost my passport. So I had to ask myself the question:

“Is this going to make any difference in five years time?

From the inside out

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