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Golden Slumbers

I haven't been able to sleep from a young age. It's not from fear, or excitement. It's not that I have insomnia, or that I drink coffee in the evening. It's that I'm like my father. He would hate me for admitting this, but he's dead so it'll be our little secret. He knew that I'm a spinning image of him. Curly blonde hair, sea green eyes, dead serious attitude. We're both clever in a tricky sort of way, almost like con-men. And we have demons. He tried to drown his with Johnnie Walker Black. I've tried to bleed mine out, I've tried to run from them, I've tried cover them up with success. I could try one million different ways, but they will never fade. Because I am my father, even if I don't want to be, I am and always will be- he's just a little worse than me. This I believe.

My father could have been a good man, but he wasn't. He lived taking the easy road everywhere. Taking shortcuts. Throwing more and more little monsters over his shoulder. He was a strong man, but he couldn't carry all these ghosts and guilts by himself. When the burden became too great he employed Johnnie Walker to lift some of the weight. He slayed men with an aluminum saber and paraded about in armor of tin foil. He had plenty of illegitimate children, with plenty of women he didn't love. He was chased out of Ireland by some of his demons, and he took three of his b******s along with him. My big brothers Seamus, and Klaus, and then myself. He took us to a trailer park where we lived for sometime. He beat us, cussed at us, and drank until we didn't annoy him anymore. He picked up the bottle when he woke up in the morning and didn't put it down until he passed out in the evening.

He spoke to us in his slurred accent, “B******s, you want to hear a story? Come 'ere I'm tellin' yous a story,” He always called us b******s when he was feeling like one himself. “Och you got it good. You know what my pop did to me when I was a little devil like the three of you? He'd break chairs on me! Aren't you lucky I'm a good pop?” And then he laughed. He laughed because we'd had chairs broken on us too. My father was a sick man.

Not before long, Child Protective Services- the devils that they are- stepped in. Seamus, Klaus, myself, and my father were separated. Seamus ran away to New York where he became a very unsuccessful bell boy for a very unsuccessful hotel on a very unsuccessful side of the city. He resorted to joining the Army and fighting for a country he didn't love in a war he found pointless. He has demons now too. Klaus and I found each other after being shoved around the system for a little over a year. He was like my dad as well, but we got along better than anyone else in our twisted excuse for a family. I later watched him fall to his death from a cliff while on a camping trip.

I was adopted, unadopted, and left to rot in an orphanage quite a few times, I tried not to count. Then, I was adopted by and old Japanese woman who was good to me, and spoke about three English words on average. I tried not to count those either, I may not have been raised with outstanding morals, but I was not rude. I was ten years old, and she seemed to be in her seventies. She cooked me food I had never tasted before, and life was good. Soon enough, my biological mother and half-sister, Stephanie, found me again. They are fine I guess. But I still can't sleep. It's hard to sleep with a guilty conscious.

Last year, my father found me and told me he had liver failure and wanted to see me. I knew he didn't want to see me, he wanted to see me having my blood tested to see if I would be able to donate a portion of my liver to him. I went anyways. However, I refused to get tested. I was his only hope. He was an aging alcoholic, he didn't have a chance to get a donor's liver. But I was convinced that this was my revenge. That this would make us even. That I would go from powerless to powerful if I let him die. Like I said, my father's a sick man. Like father like daughter. So I watched him die over the occasional visit every two months or so. I saw his eyes go yellow, his skin stretch tightly over his bones, and his stomach bloat to an inconceivable sized globe.

The last time I saw him, I began to really regret my vengeance. We argued about who wronged who. I yelled at him for the first time in my life. And the hurt in his eyes radiated in the core of my bones. I told him that no one would be at his funeral, that his grandchildren wouldn't even know about him, and that he was a lowly man, unworthy of love or respect. All his did was look down at his mother's Claddagh ring (a common Irish token of love, almost like a wedding ring, which he wore on a chain around his neck) and considered it, running a rough hand over the silver hands which clasped a crowned heart. It was a pure moment. My father saw himself for what he was. He nodded, assuring me, and himself the death sentence I gave was the correct punishment for his sins. He pulled the chain from his neck with his frail fingers, and dropped it carelessly on the floor, while locking deadly seriously sea green eyes with my own. Tacitly suggesting that neither of us deserved it. That we were even. He died a painful and lonely death in late April of this year.

And now I am officially my father. I have blood on my hands because of my pride, because I couldn't put my demons aside for five minutes to take a blood test. I have caused someone pain and agony because I made it about me and my pain. I felt slimey then. I still do. And now I know that I will never sleep again, because I am my father. I may be more successful than him. I may receive a higher education than him, I may be well-liked, and be surrounded by the right crowd. But I will always have him within me. He will always be locked away in one of my heart's chambers screaming profanities, and pounding the walls with his fists. Keeping me awake.

The demons I drag around with me from day to day are very similar to his. Fallen friends, dysfunctional families, fear of being hurt, being too ashamed or prideful to love someone. But the heaviest demon, with the biggest teeth is ourselves. We are the ones who ruin our lives. I can't continue to blame my father for the causes I've made, for the blood I've shed. I need to look myself square in the face and take responsibility, or I'll meet the same fate as my father. I've found that when demons are left to their own volition they begin to feast on whatever they can find, they munch on dignity, take an occasional bite from integrity, and they murder friendships and families like you wouldn't believe. They eat sleep for breakfast.

I must find a way to sleep. I believe that when I finally do sleep, I will no longer be my father. If I am no longer my father, then I would be free to live my life as I want. It's possible that I could flip the situation around. Perhaps I will find a loophole. I could take sleeping pills, or take up drinking. Would I sleep then? Is that what my father thought?



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