Tuesday, August 02, 2005

One minute into my birthday. And since it's my birthday, I thought of a passage that I wrote a few years ago appropriate for the occasion. I was driving, and pulled over to write it so the thought wouldn't fade.

Here it is:

On my drive to work the other day, a song by U2 came on the radio called, Where the Streets Have No Name. I don't know why, whether it was the emotional guitar chords whirling to a crescendo or the fact that the song had given me chills as an eighteen-year-old when I first heard it, but all of a sudden I had a profound thought about what it meant to be adopted. It meant that a woman had spent nine months of her life with me as a part of it. Just as I was sitting behind the wheel fully conscious of my life, the music and the warm sun on my hands, she had done the same thing with me inside of her.

For some reason, all this time I had only imagined the birth, but never imagined her pregnant. I had played the scene over and over in my mind of me being born and the doctors and nurses whisking me away as my mother held out her arms and cried for just one look. But she had spent almost a year with me, feeling me, carrying me around and doing the daily things that people do. Buying bigger clothes as I expanded inside of her and eating things she normally wouldn't eat. She had slept, drank, watched television, gone on walks and sometimes let her mind drift on the way to work and I was right along with her. People in her town had seen her in public with her stomach protruding in her maternity clothes and had probably smiled at what they saw as a proud mother to be. They couldn't have had any idea that they were seeing the only time that she and I would spend together. They also had no idea that they were witnessing the answer to a question I have had all my life. As soon as she left their sight, they probably forgot about her. For my entire life, I still have not.

I sometimes wonder at what time when I was still with her that she realized she'd never know me. Or, if sometimes she misses having me be a part of her. Perhaps she sometimes walks around the house certain that she's forgotten something but can't figure out what it is. Maybe her keys, an appointment or a letter to mail but what it is never surfaces and she's left to wonder what she's missed. Then it occurred to me that maybe when I feel I've lost something that I can't seem to put a finger on, that I'm doing the exact same thing.

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