My fathers ghost haunts me.
I look in the mirror and I see him staring back at me. My eyes, my nose, my jawline and even my smile is so hauntingly similar to his. I am the closest I have ever been to my father when I stare at my reflection.
Never was there a time where I would stare lovingly into his eyes and idolize him as a strong , committed, loving father. So many other girls got to experience a relationship and special moments with their father, that I never had, nor will I ever get the chance to experience.
However, I know that I am not alone. Many children are Abandoned by the flesh, blood and bone of the men who helped create their own flesh, blood and bone. Many children are haunted by the mere wisps of ghost in their own features, and in some in their inherited mannerisms, intelligence, faults and sometimes even their values.
There has always been a debate on whether nature or nurture is dominant in the terms of how a child will grow and develop. I have always had the opinion that there must be a fair share of each of these ideologies in all adults’ perpetual personality.
However, how can a child who doesn’t know a parent or for that matter, their parent’s parents, know what traits he or she possibly inherited from that foreign person.
The only information I have on my father has been gleamed from the stories told by my mother and in passing interactions from my biological fathers family.
He was an alcoholic. A possible drug addict. He was highly intelligent. Musically inclined. He wrote a novel that to my knowledge was never published, but was indeed finished and according to my cousin, a fantastic science fiction novel. He could fix anything if he had the tools to do so at his possession. He went to jail…for almost beating a man to death. I think.
He watched his brother and his best friend mowed down by a drunk driver in the rural area of Linwood Ave… the car missed him. I always wonder if that is when his possible drug and alcohol addiction bloomed. Did the horror of seeing his brother and best friend struck by a car, lying in the road, bleeding to death when he could do nothing to help,irreparably tear something in his mind and soul?
I believe this with all of my heart, soul, body and mind. I feel this in my bones. I feel this in my blood.
Over the years I would listen to my mother tell me stories of the father I never knew. True stories that were not sugar coated to spare my child like imagination, yet, not told with any malice to inflict harm on the man whom I may one day grow into.
I am my fathers ghost in the flesh. What about his soul?
Am I capable of his more valuable traits? His musical ability? His writing prowess? How he could fix any inanimate object…knowing what was wrong just by looking for a few moments? I do indeed KNOW I possess these talents.
So does that also mean I will follow in his darker footprints left upon this world? Will I too become a self serving alcoholic? Will I also lose myself to drugs? To a rage so all encompassing that I would dare harm another human so thoroughly I could almost kill them?
I say no, though we can never foresee the future. I take measures to protect myself from my possible inheritance of his dark traits.
I abstain from alcohol unless it is on the weekends and only at night. I don’t do drugs of any kind, though I have smoked marijuana and find it much more enjoyable than alcohol. However, I have never tried a hard drug and don’t even take prescription pain killers unless absolutely necessary. I have never been in a physical fight in my life.
I strive to not repeat my fathers mistakes, neither to I idolize him when striving for my own mountain top. I may not be able to erase his face from my vision, as he erased mine so long ago. However, maybe I can exorcise his demons from my future, and utilize his ghost for my own good.