Because I didn't used to wonder about them, but now I have this burning curiosity to know them. Not in some sort of desperate attempt to shed myself of my adoptive parents, but just to know them, and to see if, despite a life-long separation, I have picked up any of their quirks.
At this point I am more eager to find my father than I am to find my mother, because I think my mother is dead. I have this terrible feeling that she killed herself, because having the lows that I had living in the house-hold that I do with two sound-minded parents, I'm sure my sadness is genetic. I wonder if she is dead, and if she is there are scores of other questions to go with that.
When did she die? Did she think of me and the biological sister that is somewhere out there before she killed herself? Did she do it because she felt bad about giving us up? If she is alive, would she accept me as her flesh and blood or tell me hello and then send me on my way? If she is dead, how did she do it? Did she do it in England. That's the last place we heard that she was, she called about 9 years ago to see how I was doing, and how the family was doing in general. What if I keep passing her on streets and in airports and I never know it, and finally when I realise I recognise her from somewhere it will only be because the woman on the street or in the airport is in the obituaries? Do I look like her? Do I look like my sister? Does she think the way I do? Does she pick at her lips when she gets tense or nervous? Does she wander around because she feels incomplete? Was I an accident? Did my father care that she wanted to get rid of me? Where was he during all of this?
They left me with so many questions. Sometimes I wish that my adoptive parents had never told me I was adopted. I don't think I ever would have found out. The way they told me was that they gave me a children's book explaining what adoption is, and told me I was like the little boy in the book. It was called The Chosen Baby and since I could read when I was three, that's when I found out. They also gave me this framed poem that hung over my bed until we moved out of Pollock Pines:
Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously,
Somehow my own
And don't you forget
For a single minute
You grew not under my heart
But in it.
I wonder if I felt detached then? I wonder if I had these same questions when I was a kid. I remember not wanting to meet my mother, being terrified of having to make a choice between families. My adoptive mother tried to explain to me that my biological mother couldn't take me away, but what if I met her and spent the rest of my existence longing to be with her instead? I crave difference but I loathe change. Part of me is dying to know about this whole other life that's been going on without me, and another part yowls in anguish thinking that she's been having the time of her life void of the fruits of her womb. Would she be proud that I learned to read at three and that I skipped a grade? Would she be ashamed that I was too lazy and consumed to finish high school the regular way and ended up studying independently and finishing three months early? Would it make her sick that I wasn't popular and that I have forsaken the blonde hair that I was born with?
I realise that the way I keep myself out of emotional muck and gloom is to not think about these sort of things, and I don't know how I was doing it, but for the past three weeks or so I had some sort of strange distraction that fizzled out this morning. I'd rather not think about them, but there they are.
I'm going to bed. That's the only safe place I can think of that will always wrap me up in its warmth no matter what choices I make in life.