Height of Man

Summary: Musings on height and family, by a teenage Carlton Lassiter. Rather angsty.

A/N: I mentioned this one in my other story, Nobody Needs To Know. It's related to secreted #2.

I live in my father's shadow.

My mother tells me that I'm like him in a lot of ways. I have his eyes and his hair color, and she says that sometimes when I smile, I look just like him.

I'm tall like him now, too.

I grew over this past summer, a lot. Shot up like a weed, Mom likes to joke.

"You're getting to be so tall, just like him..." she tells me, the pride and happiness sparkling in her eyes.

Inside, I cringe.

There was a time when I would've given anything to be just like that man. I would have glowed with pride at any mention of how my father and I were similar. I would have been all too happy to have inherited his height.

But then I grew up – grew older, grew wiser, and more aware of people.

My mother tells me that I'm tall like my father, only because she has to tell me.

Because I don't know him.

Because he's never around.

When I first started going to school, I realized that other kids had dads that lived with them. Their fathers were more than just faded photographs on the mantle. The other kids got more than just an occasional phone call. The other kids knew their fathers and had stories to tell about fishing and playing catch and hiking.

And where is my dad?

He just...left.

He left my mom, who was obviously still in love with him. Probably still is, as a matter of fact.

And he left me.

He doesn't want anything to do with me.

So I don't want anything to do with him.

I don't even want his height.

In my mind, I've decided that I'm not tall because of him. I pretend like I get it from my mother's side of the family. My grandpa on that side is kind of tall. Grandpa Ed is cool – he likes to teach me new things and spend time with me.

Not like Dad.

I can't say that I hate being tall, at least not all the time. God knows it's come in handy over the past few months.

The jocks don't bother me anymore.

As it turns out, no one messes with a guy that towers over them.

So yeah, it can definitely be an advantage.

I just wish Mom would stop mentioning it.

I am tall, like my father.

The way she makes it sound...it's like I am him. Like I will become him.

I want to tell her to stop. I want to scream and tell her, no, I am not like him, not at all. I want to tell her that I hate him for leaving her – for leaving us – and I want to ask how she can still speak so highly of him.

But I don't think that she can handle knowing that I hate my father...

I haven't seen him in seven years. I don't even know what he looks like anymore. Would he still look as tall as he did back when I was eight and thought he was a hero? Or could I, with my newly developed height, look him squarely in the eye?

I want to tell Mom to stop acting like I am my father, because I'm not.

I refuse to be.

Because no matter what my faults are, I would never do what he did.

I would never walk out on my family.