its been so many years. and, i'm no longer searching. for anybody.
it was my birthday. i want to say it was my 36th birthday. maybe, but not sure. anyway, i remember sitting alone in my house. husband at work. kid in school. so i made a phone call. it seemed like years since i had talked to her. i had to psych myself up just to dial the number. a phone number i've always known and will never forget. "hello?" "hi." silence. dead silence. "do you know what day it is?" "no, what?" "its the day after my birthday." finally she says, "who is this?" you see, the day before i made that call it was my birthday and i had waited all day for her to call me. looking back i don't know why. but i did. "its your daughter." "oh." i suppose what it had all boiled down to was just one thing. for me that is.
the relationship between my mother and i was like taking a rubber band and stretching it and wondering when, or if, it would break. so goes that particular phone call. that "oh." was like a punch in my stomach. it took all i had to stay on the phone. it hurt. i hurt now as i think about it. she gives me this "oh, well, happy birthday then." like, ok, you wanted me to say happy birthday so i said it. so i plunged right in. "thanks, but, you know what i want to hear." she played stupid for a minute or two before i just blurted out "WHAT. IS. HIS. NAME?"
i suppose i caught her at the right (or wrong depending on how you want to look at it) time. finally, after 18 years she said, "why do you want to know? he never wanted to know about us. he saw us on the street and kept walking! so why do you keep asking?"
because i wanted to know. my whole life, as far as i was concerned, had been a lie. i had a right to know who my biological father was. what i knew to be my entire family (as well as family friends) knew that i was adopted and i didn't. i guess i would have felt differently had my childhood been something other than being pushed from pillar to post. but it wasn't different. i had a very angry mother. i don't remember her ever smiling. looking back i do know it was hard for her raising 2 kids and waiting for a child support check. she worked hard. she took care of my brother and i. i know that. but that isn't the point. she had kept that name from coming out of her mouth for 36 years and i wanted to know that name.
it was like a bomb had gone off. i just sat there. on my couch. in my house. holding a phone. in the silence it seemed like an eternity before i grabbed a piece of paper and a pen to scribble the name down. after that i can't remember if anything else was said; other than "thank you."
eventually i found him. eventually i understood.
she was right... and i hate.