I both want to write about it and absolutely DO NOT want to write about it. It was a great evening. I stayed late. We did dinner, did her nails. Evening stretched on and on looping the conversation like a spirograph. All was well until some brain connection came apart. Like someone flicked a switch and erased everything that is Mary, that is me, from her memory. She could remember her parents, her brother, my dad, my brothers. It was just me that had been surgically excised.
Budding neuroscientist nerd girl Mary was fascinated by this.
Kind child daughter was devastated. Again.
“You look familiar. What is your name?”
“Mary. Mary Dusing.”
“Oh, am I related to you?”
Not realizing yet my life lies on the cutting room floor, I answer, “I am your daughter.”
“I don’t have a daughter.”
“Oh, OK,” I say in a small voice.
The nerd girl takes over with her cool dispassionate ways. Kind daughter fades as she must in these moments lest she make things worse with her uncontrolled emotions. But the nerd girl can be poking, can be ruthlessly thorough bordering on unkind in her quest to know.
“But you look familiar. You look like me.”
I have heard this a million times, as has she. “Well that’s odd.”
“Do I know you?”
Nerd girl is not sure which trap any given answer might spring, so she falls back to the therapy ruse of answering a question with a question. “I don’t know. Do you?”
“Who are your people?”
“My parents’ names were Rose Marie and Hank.”
“I have four brothers.”
“Their names are Jim, Tom, Skip and Phil.”
“Those are MY boys’ names.”
“Those are my brothers’ names.”
“You are my daughter?”
“Yes!” nerd girl answers hoping we have refilled that hole. But no.
“How come no one told me I had a daughter?” she cries.
Nerd girl pushes Kind daughter out to try and undo the damage. Kind daughter does tears. Nerd girl does not.
Two hours later she is asleep, clutching Red the teddy bear in one hand and a set of purple Mardi Gras beads Kind daughter passed off as her rosary in the other.
Kind daughter sits in her car, waiting for the emotional shit storm. But there is none. There is only numbness and the faint ache of a phantom mama.