A Ghost at the Door

There he stands outside of my house, a ghost at the door. Strangely, he knocks.

He passed from my life more than a quarter century ago, but today he looks of flesh and bone, feeble and aged.

I do not remember his voice, but his eyes are unmistakable. They are sad and weary, soft and hopeful. They are my eyes.

I am no longer a man. I am a ten-year-old boy. And I am frightened.

I close the eyes that we share and wish him away. I wish him to remain a ghost, scary as they may be, because sometimes people are scarier.

But here he stands. And here I stand. And I have things to say.

I tell him that I resent all of the pain he caused me; I tell him that I do not blame him.

I tell him that I made it without him; I tell him that I could not have made it without the gifts he gave me.

I yell and ask him why he failed me; I yell and ask the world why it continues to fail him.

I tell him of the turmoil he has caused my mind; I tell him that I want nothing more than for him to have a quiet mind.

I tell him that I hate him; I tell him that I still love him with a son’s heart.

I tell him that I care about him and want him, just not enough to overcome how little the world cares about him.

My voice fails so I tell him nothing. My voice fails so I tell him everything.

Am I to be haunted with regret for having not opened the door? Am I to be haunted with the regret of having opened the door?

I am frozen, hand on the door, inches from this spectre who silently promises a father’s comfort to his hurting child.

And I know that he cannot pass through. Cruel, because soon he will pass. Because our time together has already passed.

And in this moment, we as we pass.

So he stands outside my house, a ghost at the door. And I stand inside my house, a ghost at the door.


thanks to the great Kathryn Ordiway for editing this work.