I don’t know who I am. I know my name, I know my age, the way to work, the way to my apartment, but I do not who I am. I was born alone. Physically with people around me, but with people I never knew, I’ve never met, talked with. I do not have a memory of a face that brought me into this world, who was fondling her stomach until the very moment I was born. Scars spread around my body, invisible, but not painless, pain me every time I try my hardest to bring the memory of the scent, touch, the feeling of that someone who was patiently waiting for my big arrival. Where is she? My mother? No.
Mother is a woman of a child she takes care of. Some children that never knew the women that gave birth to them, had their mothers in their life. Nobody has the right to say ’your real mother’. Some kids have two moms who take care of them, no matter the fact of which one went into labour. Some children have one mom, that gave birth to them, some have moms that didn’t give birth to them, but are still their mothers, and some children don’t have a mom.
I had people in my surroundings ask me „Do you know your real mom? Would you like to find her?“. My answer was always „I have a real mom, I don’t know what you are talking about?“ I don’t blame them, how could I? They don’t know my opinion, that I consider the woman who took care of me, my real mom.
The stranger. That is what I am to her, and what she is to me. Strangers. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Would I like to meet her? Well... I don’t know. Perhaps.
We do have history; it would be silly to ignore that fact. The history that I do not have a memory of, and she does. Would she remember the feelings she had while waiting for me?
The burning sensation under the fingertips. Moving them like ballet dancers their legs, gently across the belly. You were coming closer to your belly button. You felt my kick with the foot, and you had a huge grin on your face. You shouted, calling your.... husband? Wife? Friend? Whoever it was for you. You had all the feelings that you couldn’t explain, flooding your tiny body exhausted from all the cramps I gave you. Your breath was slower, and it was really hard for you to breathe. The organs move as the baby grows larger, that resulted in your short breaths. You must have known that. You wanted the baby and because of it, you went to the doctor regularly. He told you about the breathing. I am sorry mom! I would tell you. For causing you all this trouble!
Why does one leave a baby? You know it is hopeless without you. Were you alone? You couldn’t handle me? Tell me! I want to know!!
I could scream into skies and seas and you would never hear me.
I am, sometimes, excepting a miracle to happen, guess I am like that. I can’t and I won't change it. Maybe I got that from you, the person I met, but do not remember? I would be wrong to say that I have never met you. As the doctors pulled me out of your body, they leaned me towards you and gave you the baby to make the first contact. For me to feel you and smell you.
Nothing more than imperfect beings.
As I said, I can’t blame you for not being with me because I don’t know your story.
It is so hard to hate you! But I don’t love you either.
Why do this to me? Okay, leave if you want, but why don’t give the reason to at least hate you?
Since I can’t hate you, I hate the fact that I know that you exist. Till this point, I knew who I was. I wasn’t alone. But now... I am not sure if this name belongs to me. If the address where I live belongs to me, the money that bought me the clothes I am wearing, the, almost, dead plant, sitting on my window feeding with the sun but not with the water. That is how I feel if you would truly like to know. I feel like this stupid plant sitting on my stupid stool. Feeding with the sun, everything in life that I already have and had since I know of myself. And then you come with your stupid invitation to some apartment, asking me to meet you. How rude of you to intervene in my life that was amazingly going well. And now I am parching. Like that stupid plant, am I right?
Why now? Why are you so selfish that you needed to rip of my identity and leave me like... like...?
You won. I’ll meet you. Still not sure if I hate you, though.
After I look you in the eyes.
Hear your voice.
Feel your touch.
Hear your story.
I will now.
The light flickers.
I am here... I whisper.
I look at the letter you sent me and check if I am in front of the right apartment. That is it. Apartment 34. I knock, twice. The hinges creak as the door slightly moves by the force of my knuckles.
"You are late." A womanly voice echoes.
The blinds are closed. The dust has risen as I made my way into space. I am looking around, trying to find the face of light in the room of darkness.
She is nowhere to be found.
"Come closer" Again, the same voice stuck in my mind as I heard it somewhere long before coming here.
My feet move without my intention to move. Right in front of me, there is a desk, a pen, paper, and a necklace.
"Take a look."
I listen to the voice, not minding the weirdness behind that, as it is normal to me. I take the piece of paper from the desk and dust it off.
I unfold it, and look at just a few words written on it. Someone wanted to write more, but as they didn’t have the time. The pen was still there, ready to be written with.
As I sum up the courage to read the written words, I check the necklace. Inside of it is a picture of I woman I have never seen before. She is beautiful, nonetheless. She has rosy cheeks, small lips, big eyes, and ginger curly hair. Her smile, so warm, put my heart in flames, but it didn’t hurt.
I love you, Jess. And I shall always love you, my sweet child. The letter reads.
The unknown tear slides down my cheek. Jess? I don’t know any Jess, why do I feel like I do?
"Because that is you."
I quickly turn and there she is, the woman from the picture.
"Who are you and who is Jess?!" I demand to know.
Before she had answered anything, my body shivered. The woman before me makes me believe I am in a dream. I can see through her... the door, the picture behind her. I rub my eyes and as soon as my vision cleared, she utters with a soft voice.
"I am your mom. You are Jess."
My heart races. Shivers are more intense, and I feel cold. Anger? Hatred? Love? No. None of that. I feel something strange, something so different that is very unfamiliar. The mixed feelings of love and hate and confusion. Everything tangles up in my mind. How come I see a ghost? Am I dreaming? Am I hallucinating? What is going on?
"I don’t have much time Jess, or whatever your name is now. For me you will always be Jess, my sweet baby. The strong emotion emerging from you since when you read the letter keeps me here like an anchor. The letter I wrote 25 years ago before you were born was the first letter, I wrote you and the letter you read before coming here. It was a sweet gesture I came up with so you could read it when you grow up. So, you could feel what I felt back then, instead of telling you the stories of how it was like for me before you were born.
The second letter on the table you found was the latter I started writing before I went into labour. That is the reason why I’ve never managed to finish it. You see, my dear, I died. I died giving birth to you. That is why I was never by your side.
Your strong emotions that you had when you read the letter, whether sadness, love, or hatred, bound me to this place. The place where I’ve lived before I died.
If you look closely at the letter, you’ll see the date when it was written. I presume you didn’t look closely enough, because you were distracted by the words written on that piece of paper.
The address to this apartment will disappear as soon as I disappear. It wasn’t there when I first wrote it because I couldn’t know what would have happened. That is why there was just a letter of the stories of your mom.
The address is just an illusion created so you could find me here, and so I could see you.
I don’t know how you found the letter, but what I do know was that I was brought here, in this very apartment number 34 where my life used to be. My first guess was that you somehow found it, and I had to do something so you could find me."
I lost all my words. Tears are pouring down my cheeks. My heart hurts like it is being stabbed with millions of knives. I want to ask, want to say something, but words don’t leave my mind. She truly didn’t have much time because the very emotions I had when reading the letter disappeared as the new wave of emotions took place. Before I could say something she just smiled and disappeared before my eyes.
As she told me, I had to look at the letter so I could see if the address would still be there. As she promised, it wasn’t there anymore.
I nestle the only memory of her close to my chest and get down on my knees pouring my soul out through my tears. She was gone my whole life, and all of sudden so close but at the same time so far away. And now... she is gone for good. There is nothing more of her I could smell, touch or feel, than this apartment. This space called ’34’ is my home, my bond with her.
I don’t hate you, mom. How could I hate you for loving me? For dying for me, so I could have a life?!
May you rest in peace, I love you.