Friday, February 11, 2011

TRDC - The World Shifted



Red Writing Hood - The World Shifted
This week's prompt asked you to begin your piece with the words, "I could never have imagined" and end it with "Then the whole world shifted."

 I could never have imagined what that one phone call would mean, which seems like a crazy claim considering I had been imagining it my whole life. As long as I could remember the writer inside me had constructed every possible sane and slightly insane outcome. The dreamer inside me had accepted each of those outcomes in a dramatic fashion reserved for future red carpet appearances. Yet with all those years of careful study under my belt, I stared at the phone ringing and felt ill prepared for whatever was about to happen. A mere 24 hours earlier my search for my birth family had been completed. Years of wondering about what really happened, whose eyes did I share, who could I blame for the premature gray in my hair; it was all down to answering the ringing phone.

A random stab in the dark at a library archive had given me the answer that calling government offices never did. Finding information on a closed adoption in the 70s had proved more difficult than the whole "was there a second shooter on the grassy knoll" question. Add to that a stack of paperwork with blacked out names and locations and I might as well walked up to NASA with a snorkle and fins and announced my intention to board the next shuttle for the moon. Paperwork that contained facts that couldn't be right. In handwriting and type it detailed a sad story of twin girls that were born to a family and then shut away because we cried a lot. Cried for food. Cried because our diapers needed to changed. Cried for love. Cried for someone to listen. Nobody did for months.

My mind had decided that this story had to be one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure". Somebody had written it wrong. I called the librarian of the very small town I was born in and asked if there had been a birth announcement printed back then for twins. I can almost imagine the little old librarian adjusting her glasses and racing to the exciting task of a mystery buried in her beloved papers. Within an hour she called me back with their names. I had my birth last name and it was so unusual that with a little googling I had tracked down an aunt, my grandmother and an unknown sister. I had talked in length to these three people who were preparing me to talk to the fourth. My birth mother. The one who had listened to the cries and done nothing.

The phone was ringing and to answer it was sending a knife of betrayal through my heart, but I had to answer it. I had to confirm or deny the stories I had heard. I kept picturing my adopted family in front of me. Every one of my cries had been answered by them. Ever since my adoption I had never cried alone. I had been warned by the people who really knew her, that she was crazy. She was never a mother. As my finger hovered over the button that would accept and connect the call, I could have never prepared myself for the sound of her voice. I didn't just push the button, I stabbed it on in a desperate act of courage.

"H...He...Hello?"

"This is your birth mother (outrageous uncalled for laughter) They all lied to you. You know that right? You'll listen to me, right?"

As the sound of her laughter faded into an echo, I realized that upon hearing her voice that I felt nothing. I had no desire to hear another word and I needed no explanations anymore. It was that moment when I realized that I no longer cared. I felt that I could live my own life even without a past. It was then the whole world shifted.

27 comments:

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

Oh...

Fiction or memoir??

I want it to be fiction, I don't want you to have hurt like that.

But if it's memoir, how brilliantly your world shifted and righted you.

Either way...powerful, powerful writing.

So Who Is The Crayon Wrangler? said...

Thank you Lori, it is a memoir that I wouldn't wish away to fiction for anything. It's ugly and not fair, but it molded me to who I am today. I get to pick which past I want and I choose the one where my cries are answered and met with love.

theworkinghousewife said...

Amazing writing.. I read the above comment, so I know it's not fiction - and I'm sorry you went through all that. You wrote this post brilliantly.. I could feel the emotions jumping off the page..

lydia said...

Wow, you really stirred me with this. I, like Lori, hoped it to be fiction, but I'm so glad that you have gained something from it.

mommylebron said...

I just, wow. I could feel the pressure building up, line by line. By the end I had the chills. Then when that it was not fiction I had tears. I'm sorry for that, but I am so proud to know the beautiful person you are.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

I was hoping for it to be fiction the whole time, too. But you are right. We are who we are because of our life experiences. We shouldn't wish them away. They shape us. Thank you for sharing yours so beautifully!

Shell said...

You are such a strong, strong woman.

JennieB said...

Really well done, full of depth and emotion. such a powerful story. Visiting from TRDC.

Stephanie said...

I was riveted. This is emotional, powerful, and I like that you have peace at the end. Knowing that you didn't let your past shape your future is a powerful testimony.

--The Drama Mama

Melanie said...

Wow. That is unbelievable! Good for you that you get to choose your own past. I agree -this is one powerful piece written really well. Totally engaged me.

Visiting from TRDC. My email address: melaniebates_nyc@yahoo.com

Love your blog design, by the way. Amazingly creative!

CM said...

Oh my goodness, I totally just got shivers. Ok, so now I'm pissed. Who is this crazy woman and who is she to treat you like that after everything she put you through? So what happened next, what was your response?

You are a strong, brave woman. What you went through made you the loving, caring mama you are today. In a way, I'm glad you didn't feel anything for her because otherwise, you might have gotten sucked into her unhealthy world.

BTW, I had a similar phone call with my possible birth father and it too was very bizarre. Maybe someday I'll write about it. Weird how we have so many things in common, my friend!

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing story...so glad that you have found closure.

Cheryl said...

Amazing. Truly. It sounds like your family raised you to be an incredibly strong woman. I am sorry for your rough beginning, but like you said in an above comment, it made you who you are today. I am so glad you shared this.

Totally Ovar It said...

This is such a powerful piece. I am shaking just having read it, having it seared into my memory. Thank you for sharing this.

tsonodablog said...

Amazing and powerful story. Very well written. Wow.

MultitaskMumma said...

Wow!! Your bravery is outstanding.
A+ for acknowledging that it molded you into who you are now.
I have a similar post but from the other side.
Great job.

Mandyland said...

I read this, scrolled to the top to check for the "fiction" disclosure, scrolled to the bottom, hoping to see it in your comments.

I'm so very, very sorry.

At the same time, I'm also happy that you got your answers and you could let go of that past and any emotional ties to it.

I have to ask, and forgive me if it's not appropriate, did you and your twin get adopted together?

Jessica Anne said...

Like everyone has said, powerful. The freeing at the end, so well done. Good for you for not caring. Wonderfully written.

Home In The Hollow said...

Been there, done that...being molded...the truth hurts sometimes. Very well written...:)JP

Blue Moon Girl said...

Wow! This is so amazing and powerful! Absolutely beautifully written. I couldn't wait until the end to find out what happened. I loved this! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Here from the Red Dress Club.

Jennifer said...

I love the line "In a desperate act of courage..." it beautifully captured that moment of throwing oneself off an emotional cliff and I was so glad that when you heard crazy in that voice on the other end that you were strong enough not to listen. I love the strength in the sentiment that you did not need a past to be you.

MarieElizabeth said...

Really good post. I agree that sometimes you actually have to get all the way to that phone call to realize you don't really need it anymore. I imagine your strength in sharing this story has prompted others to share theirs too.

SpitFire said...

It's stories like yours that make me feel so strongly about adoption. Phillip & I have a longing to adopt, in addition to our biologicals. My mother-in-law was adopted. My dear sister-in-law was adopted. I don't think the first ever met her bio's. And the second has an opportunity, but she's debating, because she knows the issues that led up to it in the first place.

They were both blessed enough to be placed in homes that dearly cared for them. I've met my s-i-l's parents and they're beautiful people. They treat her no differently from any of their other children. Which is how it should be.

I hope we can be the ones who care for the crying children. The one's who weren't wanted. We want them.

Jessica said...

Wow, goosebumps. I wish this were fiction. How hard it must have been to struggle with this childhood. It sounds like you have become amazingly strong because of it and have found a sense of peace. So impressed by your reading and your character.

Chris said...

Am so glad you became ours! Love you so much.

erin margolin said...

Squishy,

I love you. For being you, for sharing this, and for possessing strength that soars.

Your writing is spectacular here, even talking about some very serious, painful stuff.

I hope you'll write more on this...

Nancy C said...

This was tense. Heartfelt. A story of beauty and skill. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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