Stav and his parents:
Note: ‘un parent’ in French can be a relation as well as a parent.
And when Stav talks of his parents, it’s with respect, certainly, but also with distance – as one who finds himself unable to relate to either. He is keen to honour them – because, I suspect, he can’t love them. I remember him standing in the canteen, eating a sandwich. People were joking amiably about their mums and dads.
“I could not have had better parents,” he said with unwarranted solemnity – as though the only person who needed convincing was himself. “Take them on, and you will have me to answer to!”
It was an odd remark. Who here in the canteen was thinking of taking them on? None of us knew them.
“No,” he continues. “I regard myself as most fortunate.”
“Stav reelly loves his mum an’ dad, doan ee?!”
They do say that in order to survive, the child – when given the choice of pleasing their parents or pleasing themselves – will always please their parents. They will become what the parent desires, not what they desire. This entails suppressing their true selves, and creating a phoney self to take into adulthood. Parents are the last battle for the child, however old the child is – and most will fight every other battle before that one. Certainly Stav is some way from this particular war zone.
Taken from ‘Shelf Life’ by Simon Parke (www.simonparke.com). Available on amazon.co.uk (www.amazon.co.uk).