Staring across the counter I see a boy dazed and confused, sweat beads upon his upper lip, lost in a barrage of questions that he cannot bring himself to answer. His schoolwork and grades are slipping, he does not know why. Time spent in a classroom he cannot answer to what; a combination of blame and distrust hovers thick and dark like smoke in the air. Homwwork or none, tests taken or not, assignments finished or lost, a blackhole appears to have swallowed his brain.
Wondering why he behaves in such a way, acting out with such fervor, withdrawing into a shell behind an impenertrable fortress of emotion. I realize he sees me, not for who I am or the counteless things I have sacrificed for him, but as I saw my father. Have I forgotten what it is like to be a child?
No answer will be good enough, the feeling of stupidity overwhelming, daunting, immoblizing all but the pounding beat of a heart. Knees shaking, rage seething, teeth grinding. Taught to speak your mind yet not in the presence of an adult during certain times that is at best confusing, because children are to be seen and not heard. Not a word seems to pass through that porthole known as a mouth without an excuse vilifying the moment. But why?
Does the hypocrisy of parenthood travel from father to father? Can I not grow as a man, become a father who stands upon my own two feet without repeating generations of mistakes? Am I destined to become something I chose not too simply because cause and effect have burrowed into my pshyche, leaving me with unwilling lessons learned then placed ever so carefully into a tool box deep inside my brain to draw from when needed.
He moves like I move, laughs as I laugh, is impulsive, irresponsible, idiotic at times. Disrespectful on occasion with authority yet kind, caring and generous to those he cares deeply about. He strives to be the center of attention and will do anything for a laugh. But is this all a genetic flaw or is he gleaning all this behavior from watching me? Soaking in my every movement like a dry sponge looking for damp releif.
Not willing to concede this truth of generational discourse before I can snap back into reality it is to late. My voice has raised, growling like a starving half rabid junk yard dog the pale look of disbelief tells me more than a Stienberg novel ever could.
Have I set these wheels in motion? Will he truly become just like me? Has years of self made promises to become better than the parent before me flown out the door like yesterdays trash?
A shoulder slump, a tear rolls gently over a rounded cheek as recognition of self made failure comes to fruition in his mind.
I cannot berate his behavoir towards his siblings or others as he reacts with the same exasperation that draws his eyes from within my shadow. An ear that listens quietly as tiraids rule upon a celluar network as if the conversation was considered private inside the confines of a truck. Mimicking, learning, digesting any and all mannerisms that may help him in the future. Me not seeing the ugly circle that may emerge from my lack of filter.
Staring across the counter he stares back as a young me and I stare back at him as my father, and there it is the circle is complete.