I look a lot like my dad. Everyone tells me that. (At the care home, on the day before he died, one of the administrators, meeting me for the first time, said, “Yeah, you look like him.” With the gallows humour I also inherited from dad, I thought (but didn’t say) Hopefully you mean before, because I scarcely recognized him anymore.)
I sound like him, too, and have pretty much since my voice quit cracking after puberty. More than once, when I lived at home (or, later, was visiting), I’d answer the phone and have someone call me JJ and ask me if I’d like to go for coffee, or if I could grant an extension on a computer science assignment*, or something like that. It always seemed to throw the caller for a loop when I’d say “Uh, hang on,” and give Dad the receiver.
The other day, I was washing my hands in the bathroom sink, and I happened to look up at my reflection. Something about the set of my mouth—a little wry smirk—and the stubble of a week’s worth of not shaving, combined with my eyes under, let’s face it, shaggy old-man eyebrows, really looked a lot like he used to. Back when he was my dad, not a lost stranger living in the care home.
I look like him. I sound like him. I carry on.
* That only happened once, I think. As tempted as I was to mess with the caller, I handed the phone over to Dad.
My dad passed away recently. I’m going to be posting little memories of him for the next little while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.