My Holocaust

by Michael Downing

My father left when I was two years old – just walked out the door without ever looking back at me, what he was leaving behind, or the hurt he caused. After that screen door slammed and the sound of his old Chevy finally disappeared into the night, emptiness engulfed me. I grew up in a world that was different than the one my friends shared, shaped by something that had been out of my control while carrying a pain only I seemed to understand. I never stopped longing for something I never knew and never had. I spent years emotionally crippled, chasing the shadows of ghosts I hoped could fill his space; making promises to myself about the kind of man and the kind of father I would be if given the chance. I wish I could have explained all those things to my own children before I left their mother, but the words never came out right.


Michael Downing is a writer of books, plays, and some occasional graffiti who lives in Georgia.