My father looked at me. He could see I was resolute.
“How much are they?” he asked again, a little more pointedly. Stunned into silence she wrapped them up.
Shame has many uses. In Ireland in the 20th century it was used to manipulate and control, it was used to wound and maim, it was used to isolate and silence.
But it only worked if you actually felt ashamed. The whole system crashed if you shrugged it off.
She had never met a double act like us. We were grinning at her like school boys. I still fondly remember her angry speechless face.
In memory of her disgust I still like to wear purple socks sometimes. But I do it in memory of my father too, to remember a great happiness that passed between us once. Long ago in the 1970s, when he showed what it meant to be a man.
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