I don't remember exactly how my dad told us he was leaving my mum. I remember him arriving to collect us early from a church youth camp. He spoke briefly with a nun who then called my sister and I over. We greeted dad, he was distant and distracted. We collected our things and followed him out to his car. He drove a red Ford Courier which doubled as his off road racer. It had two tiny butt seats in the back behind the main cab. My sister and I used to clamber over the front passenger seat and fall into these seats, our knees touching our chins. We sat there watching dad as he looked at our reflection in the rear view mirror.
"Listen," he started "your mum and I aren't going to be together anymore."
My first thought was of camping and fishing. I guessed I just wouldn't get to do those things as much any more. I had no inkling whatsoever of what it really meant. I had lived a sheltered childhood, one that with all of my dad's misgivings as an adulterer, had provided me with stability, love and encouragement. There was maybe one or two kids at school who came from "broken homes", but it was still very far from the norm back then.
Dad started the car and pulled into the street. I looked at my sister, she was completely oblivious as to what was going on. 9 years old and thinking everything would be fine as soon as we got home. I wouldn't be being honest with myself if I didn't acknowledge that I was thinking exactly the same thing. Mum and dad had fought before, but they always ended up back together. But as dad refused to look at us in the eyes as he drove us all home, somehow I knew that this time was going to be different.