Sylvan Henderson was or is my father's name. He died in 1989 of Cancer. I carry his middle name, Vincent. I'm still trying to make sense of our relationship and by that I mean coming to terms with love for my father. He was in some ways inaccessible and I never thought he had the patience for children. Not that he ever flew off the handle with us but in my eyes he was an adult with little tolerance for playful childishness.
He was what we call bright in Trinidad. He went to St Mary's College and was adamant that I wouldn't, that's how I ended up at Hillview College, I remember that much - when I said I wanted to put Saint's as my first choice he said no. I can only guess why. Being from the working class community of Belmont I imagine he saw first hand the privilege afforded the middle class at that school and wanted to spare me that, that's what I think.
My brother and I never called him daddy or dad, those affectionate terms, always Da, yes just Da.
I'd say he died before we got to know each other and in some ways I regret that. I feel as if there is a lingering resentment in my mind for my father who always seemed inaccessible.
A former police officer he never left the ways of the service behind and tended to be very official with us. He was also a teacher at some point, an insurance sales man and even managed an Ansa Mcal warehouse before becoming an Estate Police officer on campus. He would never realise his dream of being a lawyer.
I think of him as a man of the Classics. I still have some of his Bach and Beethoven records - they lay warped by the heat in our store room. At his bedside always lay The Complete Works of Shakespeare, DH Lawrence's Apocalypse and Somerset Maughm's The Moon and Sixpence. Those titles I remember along with his Rosicrucian magazines and texts.
I love my daddy and I think apart from his good looks I share his taste for the Classics. Sometimes I wish he were here still so that we could have really got to know each other.