Dirty DNA

The first things to go were objects that he’d touched. I couldn’t hold any of them without washing my hands afterwards in a vain attempt to wash him away, his dirt, his crimes.

Photographs followed. But I didn’t just cut out his images leaving a hole as a reminder of my abhorrence of him, each photo of him went. So I no longer have any pictures of my grandmother either.

At the age of 18, it was my surname’s turn. A visit to a solicitor ensured that I no longer bore his name, the paedophile name.

Next were the noxious and burdensome secrets. By disclosing his sexual assaults against me, all contact with him came to an end.

And now my grandfather is dead and buried, his body is the last thing to go.

He’s there when I look in the mirror, his genes infiltrate my body, contaminating me with dirt.

But as a direct descendent of his, his DNA resides in me and there’s nothing, nothing, I can do to get rid of it and expunge him from my body.

I’m not like him, I’m not like him at all. But he’s there when I look in the mirror, his genes infiltrate my body, contaminating me with dirt.

But my sweet, maternal grandmother lives on in me too. So I envisage her virtue crushing his depravity within me. Or alternatively, I think of my brother, another descendant of the child molester, yet his opposite.

The adverts extolling genealogy research are a painful reminder of the man who sexually abused me. No, I don’t want to know how he came to be.

I know to many people, my anguish will seem stupid and pointless.

But carrying the paedophile’s DNA feels like another way for him to torture me, another lasting legacy of his cruelty.

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