Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Living in the shadows of my brother was always difficult. I had began to label him as the "Golden Child" in my parents eyes, he could do no wrong. He was the perfect child. He had fallen into the map of life that my mom and dad religiously planned for him. Was I jealous because my insecurity steamed from so many things? Things I never shared with my parents for fear of it causing such pain to them that I felt as a human, it was better off not to be shared.
I learned very early in life that I was adopted. I still remember as if I was that little girl with the countless freckles on my face, my short pixie hair cut, my frail bony body, I even remember the house we lived in. If I close my eyes I can see it in my mind. I remember the placement of the furniture, I remember the smells that came from the house, I even remember the address we had.
I remember going through the devastating earthquake of nineteen-seventy-one that not only changed everything from streets to homes to cars it had now changed everything and everyone's live forever. It was as if Mother Nature felt the need to let the world know she was suffering from PMS and she wanted the world to open up and feel her cramping pain.
It was Sunday morning, I was laying wide awake in bed wondering when my dad was going to get up and start breakfast. The house was dead silent not a sound from anywhere. Suddenly the entire home began shaking so violently. My mom came into my room and grabbed me from the bed and ran dragging me behind. My dad ran into my brother's room doing the very same, dragging him behind as well. I could hear the painful echoing cracks of windows, cabinets falling from the kitchen walls to the floors as they came crashing down. I began to cry for fear of not knowing what was happening.
My mom coddled me and held me tight as I clinched onto her sheer pink nightgown. Her words were strong yet reassuring that all would be okay. I remember that day when everything stopped shaking and we began to pick up our house, neighbors were crossing from house to house helping each other in their homes cleaning whatever was left.
After hours had passed and the cleaning finally came to a halt, all the neighborhood kids I had grown up with, played with since I was a baby, attended the same elementary school we gathered at the curb in front of my house. I remember Kevin the bully of the neighborhood he kept staring at me as if I had something on my face. He kept looking cocking his head side-to-side giving me a feeling of being insecure. Nancy my best friend finally asked him what he was looking at.
"I was just wondering what it feels like to be adopted. You know you don't look anything like your mom and dad right?" said Kevin. I remember asking Kevin what being adopted is and he tells me, "that is when your own parents don't want you so they give you to someone else."
Nancy jumped up into Kevin's face as would a German Shepard guarding his owner. She demanded that he shut up, she yelled at him that he is being mean to me. I suddenly found myself confused, I was wondering why he would ever say something so mean to me so cold and so calculating.
Kevin shoved Nancy to the side and that was when Gary, Nancy's brother jumped up and started fighting Kevin. Blows were taken to both faces and within moments both boys were rolling on the ground while all the boys around were chanting, "FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT" my father emerged from the house sprinting towards us to break it up and demanded to know what started the fight.
I just stood there glaring at my dad wondering now who he was. I could feel my stomach rumbling, I could feel my heart in my neck, I could feel my pain becoming more prominent. Both boys just stood there with their ripped shirts and dirty all over their bodies accompanied with bloody noses and lips.
"Why were you boys fighting, what was this about?" demanded my dad. Kevin finally spoke up with his angry grumbling voice pointing at me and telling my dad to ask me. I just turned and went into the house slamming the screen door behind me. As I entered my room I sat on the edge of my bed wondering what that word "adoption" meant. I began to think about my dad's face my mom's face.
My dad is this very tall man with sea blue eyes followed by a very large nose. He has dark brown hair he is tough but at the same time gentle as long as you followed the rules of the house he was happy. My mom constantly was changing the color of her hair. She went from Blonde to Red to Brown, she seemed to never be happy with her looks. But this time, she was a Blonde. I could hear her in their bedroom still cleaning the last bits of this morning's earthquake.
I emerged from my bedroom and went to the kitchen to stand next to my dad who was finishing up the Sunday morning breakfast dishes. He continued to wash then turned to me clearing his throat.
"So, what was that fight about, and did you really start it?" My fingers clinched under the counter so tight I could feel the pressed wood digging into my finger tips. I felt as if I want to pee my pants from fear. My legs began to shake and my heart began to pound so loud I could hear it in my ears.
"Answer me child, did you start that fight?" my dad said even more sternly. Then finally without my brain warning me, I just blurted it out.
"Why don't I look like you, why are you different then me, why do you have brown hair and mom has Blonde hair but I have red hair, why don't I have your big nose?"
My dad turned off the sink water and turned to me. I could see the shock and fear in his eyes, I could see the confusion on his face. He pressed his lips together then clearing his throat.
"What brought this on all of a sudden?' he asked with such fear in his voice as he stammered asking me.
"Is it true, am I really not yours?' I remember suddenly beginning to cry, the tears were flowing uncontrollably with such force. My dad took me into his arms and began to reassure me that I was his, that I will always be his little girl no matter what.
He lead me to the kitchen table sitting down plopping me into his lap and holding me tightly. I melted into the curvature of his big framed body. He kept telling me to relax and take a breath. I saw my brother emerge standing in the kitchen but my dad motioned for him to go away.
I looked onto those kind loving eyes that now appeared sad, they appeared to be cracked and broken. For the first time in my life I no longer saw me when I looked into his eyes. His hands appeared different to me. He was becoming a stranger with each passing second of that morning. Who was this man that wanted me to call him dad and were was my real dad. Why didn't my dad want me, why is this man holding me telling me that he loves me.
"Kevin told me I was adopted, what does that mean, is it true about me?" the entire room fell silent where we sat. I could hear in the distance my mom in her room, my brother in his playing with his toys crashing one into another.
My dad took me into his arms, the arms that once gave me comfort during those nights when I thought a monster was under my bed or my closet. The man that when he came home I would sit on his foot and he would walk all around the house while my giggles filled the room shouting "do it again daddy, do it again."
I remember I pulled away looking at him now a stranger in my life. I wanted to know where my parents were, my real parents. I asked him why they dropped me off at this house. I asked if they came here and just handed me to them. I asked him what they looked like. I asked him where they were I told him I wanted to go find them.
With in one breath....my life had changed