This is my worst nightmare.
Awakened by a loud crash from downstairs, I look at my clock. 3:24 A.M. I get on my robe and quietly creep down the stairs. The house is usually quiet at this time of night, but I hear some shuffling in the direction of my parents' room. As I walk past the dining room table, I feel a sudden pain in the bottom of my foot. Looking down to see shattered glass on the floor by the window, I'm in pure shock. A brick is lying past the remains of the broken window. It looks like someone threw it in, which can only mean one thing. Someone is inside the house. Still half asleep, not knowing at all what to do, I grab the closest thing I can find for protection, an old lamp, and head toward the noise of the intruder.
"Dangit!" A deep male voice echoes loudly in the quiet house.
I'm suddenly jolted wide awake out of my sleepy haze. I see that the lights are on in my parents' room, but they aren't there.
"Where is it?" The intruder says.
I can hear him searching through all of my parents' things. 'What is he looking for?' I wonder. 'Are my parents in danger?' I head closer towards the light in my parents' room and hear a crash and shatter of something breaking.
"Shoot!" The man says.
I'm pretty sure he knocked over my mother's antique vase. She is going to be furious. I hear the ringing of a phone. The ringing stops as the man answers the call. "Hey. No luck." There's a long pause. "Yea, I still can't find any clue that she was ever here if she was. These guys are masters of covering their tracks."
Was he talking about my parents? They aren't covering any tracks, like they have any to cover up. My mom has had perfect grades since elementary school, which she now teaches, And my dad's in law enforcement. The worst thing my parents have done is donated a large amount of money to charity against their financial advisor's advice. The man must have the wrong people.
"YES!" The man exclaimed.
He then tells the person on the other end of the phone, "I just found a safe behind their bed! Yea, I brought the safecracker. It's eight digits, so it will only be a few minutes. We're finally going to know the truth!"
I hear some odd spinning and clicking noises and then a big "POP!" I suddenly fell over. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had been so focused on what the intruder had been saying that I leaned forward so far I had lost my balance. All the noise he was making stopped.
"Hello?" He said. I didn't dare speak.
"I know someones is there." Shoot.
"Just come out. I won't hurt you." I wasn't so sure of that but decided to confront him anyway. With all of my courage gathered up, my lamp at the ready, I stood up and said, "Who are you? And what the heck are you doing in my house?"
He doesn't say a word. Instead, he stares at me.
"How do you know my name?" I ask.
"Bea, Bea, Bea." He starts walking towards me, but I back away, wielding the lamp like a bat.
"Don't come any closer," I yell firmly. The man looks taken aback. He stares at the floor and looks up slowly at me.
"Bea, it's me. Your dad. Your real dad." I stare at him in shock. My hand moves to point at a framed photo lying on the ground, the glass shattered. The picture inside is of my parents together in Hawaii.
"You're not my dad. That is my real dad." I say. He shakes his head.
"Sweetie, I..." I cut him off.
"Don't call me 'sweetie.'"
"Bea, I have been looking for you for 15 years. Looking for the people who took you. And I finally tracked down the monsters who did."
He points to the same photo.
"Those people are the monsters."
No. No. No. Not my parents. Not my wonderful, perfect parents. They would never do something like this. "You're lying. They wouldn't. They couldn't have."
"But they did. When you were two years old, I let you go to my best friends' house, your "parents," for the day. You never came back. When I came to pick you up, they had taken you and left everything behind. Got new names, new jobs, moved states. Bea, your real name isn't Bea Crawford. It's is Bea Landon. I'm your dad, Andrew Landon. I didn't know where you were until now. I thought that they had lost you, or worse..." He trails off but then pulls something out of his pocket. It's a sheet of old paper and a couple of photos. I reach for the piece of paper.
"That is your birth certificate." He says as I look at it. It says Bea Landon at the top and says my birthday is March 18, 2004, which was strange because I had celebrated it on February 12 my whole life. Some strange things that happened in my life suddenly made sense. Why we never were close with my parents' family, why they were so secretive sometimes, why I never knew about their lives before they "had" me, why we moved often, and that one memory I have of an unfamiliar woman holding me. Then he holds up the photos. It's a picture of three people, one of them is him. There is a baby and a woman with a headscarf holding the child. She looks like the woman in my memory.
"This is you as a baby, with your mom and me. She had cancer at the time, but you were still her main focus. She loved you with all her heart. She was so similar to you."
"What do you mean 'was'? You keep using past tense." Andrew sighs, his eyes brimming with tears. He looks down at the ground again.
"She fought long and hard. She fought with courage and strength, hoping to see you again someday, but she lost her battle with cancer three years ago. I wish she had known you were okay. I made a promise to her to find you, and I finally did." My eyes now full of tears, I told him
"And I am so glad you have." I had a million questions for him, but the first thing I asked was
"What was I like as a baby?"
"Very funny. You used to call me an-daddy." He chuckles. "You were the cutest baby I've ever seen. I've missed you, sweetie. So much." He steps closer to me, but this time I don't back away. Instead, I lean into him and hug my real dad for the first time in 15 years.