I retrieved the house key from beneath the limestone rock in the daisy garden, just like I did after school each day since moving to this new house. I recognized the rock-type due to its striking resemblance to one I read about in my earth science textbook. As I proceeded to unlock the door, I paused and looked down at the pockets of my khaki pants. They were brownish-red from repeatedly shoving my hands in them while playing a few games of marble. I thought about hiding the dirt stains on my pants to avoid being disciplined, but I know trouble too well to be scared—it is my life. I finally unlocked the door, but all the blinds were closed, curtains drawn shut, and lights off.
As I reached for the light switch, the lights magically came on—I forgot they were motion-sensory. A group of people suddenly emerged out of nowhere, holding balloons and wearing birthday hats.
“Happy Birthday George!” They shouted harmoniously.
I stood in shock, holding on to my chest to prevent my heart from leaping out. It could have still escaped through my mouth, which in the midst of all the excitement, opened to an astonishing 360 degrees, yet letting nothing out—not even air. After a few seconds which seemed eternal, my breathing returned to normal.
As I regained my composure, I was greeted with hugs from the woman with whom I’ve been living since she picked me up off the street. She must have stared into my eyes for at least 5 minutes, before tears began flowing down her cheeks—they were tears of joy.
As her tears morphed into a big smile, she uttered, “Today is your birthday George, and mommy loves you.”
I was bewildered. It was preposterous that someone I’ve been living with for two weeks knows my birthdate—I don’t even know when I was born. This was the eighth family I’ve lived with, and each one assigned me a different birthdate.
“Who is my mother, where is she, and how do you know that she loves me?”
“George, I am your mother and I’ve always loved you.”
© Jenoy Merchant and merchantwritesagain.wordpress.com, 2018