Tuesday, August 16, 2005
One phone call changed everything. It was an ordinary Saturday, but it's amazing to me how every little nuance about that day has been forever forged in my memory. The smell of coffee and bacon lingered in our little apartment from breakfast. Dust particles danced in early morning sunlight, streaking through vertical blinds that opened onto a small deck. The air conditioner hummed, adding to the laziness of the weekend. My husband occasionally dozed off while watching a random sporting event on television.
The phone rang, breaking through the laid-back atmosphere. I could see my husband wasn't going to move, so I pulled myself away from the newspaper to answer it. It was some woman named Joan from the agency that handled my adoption. My instant reaction was that they must have been calling for a donation. I quickly found out otherwise. She told me my biological father was looking for me--that he wanted to meet me.
I jumped in before she could say anything else.
"Did you send him my letter? I sent a letter… about a year ago… it tells my biological parents that I turned out okay, but that I really don't want to meet them." My heart pounded in my chest.
She said she hadn't seen the letter. I panicked. If she can't find the letter, I wondered, what else is going to be screwed up in this process? I heard paper rustling in the background. Joan said she was holding a letter from him. Did I want her to read some of it to me?
Wow. I couldn't believe it. I was curious, but I didn't want to open Pandora's box. I didn't want to know too much. Not yet, anyway. I needed to process this. I asked her to read it, but to withhold the names or any identifying information. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. It was all so surreal. I needed to ground myself by taking notes.
Joan began, "Well, I suppose I should start by telling you something that may be a little bit troubling to you," her tone was hesitant. I braced myself. "He's in prison. Apparently he's a severe alcoholic. He says he robbed a bank." I wrote down "prison--robbed a bank" mechanically, as if I could forget that tidbit of information.