Monday, April 21, 2008

Search and Reunion: Today is the Day


SEVEN YEARS ago today, when I had no hair and still looked like a little boy, I saw my birthmother's face in person for the first time in my life. It's hard to believe it's been so long. Hard to believe there have been so many twists and turns. Great celebrations. More separation. Confrontation. Reconciliation.

But this was how it was, as I documented in my book, on that Sabbath evening seven years ago:

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1
It is dark. It takes them a little while to locate the right unit. Craig anticipates what’s about to happen, his anxiety stiff and peaked like whipped egg whites. What will she look like?

The time is near.

Will she recognize him?

The time is near.

How will she react?

The time is near.

They find the right unit. Uncle James, still talking on the phone with Sonja, knocks on the door. Job aims the video camera at the door.

Craig stands away from the door, away from his husband and uncle. James knocks again.

“Who is it?” a voice replies. Is it hers? Or his sister’s?

“It’s Uncle James.”

The door opens. She appears in blue-green shorts and a white T-shirt. Her face shrouded with hair.

“It’s the CIA.” James laughs his shrill and infectious laugh.

“I thought you weren’t coming until tomorrow.”

“Well, I’m here now. Mind if I bring my friends in with me?”

“Not at all. Who are your friends?”

They exchange pleasantries.

Craig shakes her hand, quickly, and steps inside, trembling.

“So who are your friends?”

“This is Job.” Job shakes her hand.

“Job’s full name is Jacobus, which means James.” Cell phone still live with Aunt Sonja, Uncle James steps inside and away from Craig.

“Who is this?”

“You know who he is.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

With the back of her right hand, she pushes her long hair out of her face. She studies Craig’s face. He has her protruding bottom lip. She studies closer. He has her exact caramel-colored skin with the reddish tint.

Closer.

He has that slightly squinted left eye that reflects her tightly squinted right eye.

And closer still.

She cocks her head subtly to the right, but not so subtly that he doesn’t notice, and furrows her brow.

“It’s been thirty-three years.”

But she doesn’t hear Job, because she already knows.

“My son?”

He nods.

Wow.” She raises her right hand. “Joseph.”

He nods again.

She steps forward to hug him. He clenches her.

“Oh, my God.”

His water breaks.

“Oh, my God.”

His earth quakes.

“Oh, my God.”

His bow breaks.

“Oh, my God.”

His heart aches.

“Oh, my God.”

He can’t let go.

“Oh, my God.”

He won’t let go.

“Oh, my God.”

She rocks him slowly side to side.

“Oh, my God.”

“It’s okay,” she whispers.

“Ohm’God.”

“It’s okay.”

“Ohm’God.”

He buries his head in her shoulder.

“Ohm’God.”

She strokes his head.

“Ohm’God.”

She rocks him slowly and strokes his head.

“Ohm’ God.”

His earth quakes

“Ohm’God.”

His water breaks.

“Ohm’God.”

And he wails three decades and three years of tears.

And time stands still.


The day after. From left: The grandmother, the husband, yours truly, the nephew, the sister, the birthmother, the auntie, the eldest uncle, the younger uncle

4 comments:

Jop said...

Happy anniversary baby. Wow, its been 7 years....time flies.
What a journey it has been.

elize said...

hope you had a great day today.

love Elize

em said...

Wow!
I was there, my milk came in! I wept for you. And for Jop, who had to wait, by your side, and wait for this person, your birth mom, to accept you. Did she? Do not tell me. We want to buy your book and read it ourselves. That way we can experience it first hand, not to mention all that great verse. We know it has a better than average ending.
I can hardly wait!
You look good with no hair but better with your new style. I had no hair seven years ago, as well. I have changed since then,and as soon as the scars lesson, I am sure my spirit will soar once again. I hope your seven year journey post reunion, seperation and reunion was less painful than my imagination. I love the poet in you! I love all good poetry. I can hardly wait. Oh, I already said that.:-)
Happy anniversary and congratulation for having the courage to take the journey!

oddman said...

Hugs to you, Craig. Thank you for sharing yourself.