A letter came from the bank the other week addressed to my dad, which was a bit odd considering he died over twenty years ago. It is such a weird feeling to see his name on an envelope – even the pattern his name made on a page – official proof that he was a person, that he mattered enough in this life to have correspondence, that he was once here on this planet. When a person dies, after the dust settles and the years creep on, these small things become so big because it feels that the person only lived in family folklore.
The letter was because the bank had found another account belonging to my dad, so they wanted my mum to mosey along and officially close it. We were all a bit flummoxed – how come now, so long afterwards, had this account come to light? I was torn between being cross at the bank for not being thorough at the time and pleased at seeing my dad’s name. Perhaps my dad had kept secret savings for a rainy day – perhaps it would be a little windfall for all of us. We had to find the certificates that sum up a person’s life – two small squares of paper – birth and death. No clue as to what the years in-between had covered apart from here stand I. Do I answer the sum? Does my brother? It’s hard to know, isn’t it?
It turns out the grand total was £6. We laughed and shook our heads, but later I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It seems a very long time ago now that people would think of starting a bank account with five pounds. It made me think just how long he has been gone.
My mum shared the money between me and my brother. I took the coins and felt like I could never spend them. It might not quite be pennies from heaven but I do feel like dad has given me the last of my pocket money. I promise not to spend it all on sweets.