Chemistry

Many people considered father to be charming, amusing, interesting, and kind, all of which he was.  Many women found him attractive and some of them became romantically involved with him, but only about two years after my mother died. I was pleased because these interactions appeared to elevate his mood.

One of the first serious relationships that I was aware of involved Dad and ‘M’, a former home help from Scandinavia, who had lived with us for at least two years back in the early 1960s. M lived in Scandinavia but visited Dad in London several times. Although I had liked her a great deal when she was looking after my sister and me, my opinion of her had muted considerably when I saw her again many years later whilst she was visiting Dad.

On one of her visits, my sister kindly drove Dad and M down to Brighton for the day. She said that the amorous couple sat in the rear of her Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ and hardly uttered a word either to each other or to my sister, who felt that she had become a chauffeur rather than a daughter.

Whenever I was staying at Dad’s home for the weekend, I used to hear him speaking to M on the ‘phone. I knew that he was talking to M because he spoke in a tone that differed from his normal one. One Sunday morning I was sitting in our living room after breakfast and could just about hear Dad speaking in this strange tone. When he had ended the call, Dad entered the living room, and said:

“You know, Adam, it’s always difficult breaking up with girlfriends.”

For a moment, I was lost for words. Then, I said:

“Well, Dad, I could not see that you and M had much in common.”

Walking towards the door, and pausing in the doorway, he turned to me and said: “That doesn’t matter. It’s chemistry, you know, Chemistry.”

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