It was early summer. I was visiting my wonderful loving family in Pensacola, and I just could not get the thought of my biological father out of my head. Realistically I just wanted to see him from afar; the thought of sitting face-to-face with the man (whoever he might be) just kind of made me scared slightly shitless.
No biggie. I just wanted to see his house one more time. For no reason. Just wanted to see it. I did not want to meet him. I did not want to meet him. Right?
It was around 2:oo in the afternoon, I think. I turned down his street and slowly drove toward the house.
There’s a little blue car parked out in front. I drive on by.
And then I drive back. The car–parked. He’s home. He’s got to be home. I look at the car again. It’s nothing special. Cheyenne, 4 years old at the time, is snoring and sweating in the hot backseat, completely oblivious to my emotional turmoil. I’m not going to do it. I look at the car again. I’m not going to do it. And then, I notice the car’s bumper sticker: A cross with a bible verse on it.
I’m so doing it.
Before I could think, I pulled up in the driveway, took Cheyenne out of her carseat, and walked to the front door. I can’t believe I’m actually going to knock. I’m not even in myself right now; I’m just standing back and watching. I’m crazy. And I’m knocking.
I’m starting to hyperventilate.
I freeze. Did I just knock on the door? My heart is the size of a basketball and it’s pounding and it’s in my throat. Should I run back to my car before it’s too late? But it is too late. A tall woman opens the door and instantly looks at me funny…but friendly.
“Hi,” she says.
I take a deep breath. “Hi. Is Terry home?” I ask, quickly and quietly, averting my eyes away from hers, and ready to bolt. Cheyenne sleeps soundly in my arms and it’s hot outside and I don’t know why I am there or what I am doing.
“No…He’s at work right now,” says the lady, still looking at me, intently.
“Ohokaythankyou,” I manage to breathe out, and I turn to leave, hoping that the lady will give no thought to a random stranger popping over and asking about her husband.
“Wait,” she says, before I’ve taken 2 steps away from the door. “Who is your mother?”
A great relief washed over me and tears sprung into my eyes. The woman is smiling and her voice is patient and kind. I half whisper the name of my birth mother.
“Oh, my God. Sweetie,” says the nice woman. “I think I know who you are.”
And from that point on, I am crying. The nice woman’s name is Michelle. She is Terry’s wife. She knows about me. They have a daughter who is not much older than Cheyenne. I have a sister. An actual blood-related sister who is actually blood-related–to me. I apologize to Michelle for showing up so unexpectedly. She tells me not to worry about it at all. We talk for what seems like forever, right there on the porch, although I know it probably wasn’t for more than 15 minutes or so.
She tells me that Terry did wonder about me; and that he had one picture of me from when I was 8 years old, and that he knew I had gotten pregnant at 15 and that he asked my grandparents how I was doing. He hadn’t wanted to intrude on my life; he had hoped that I would one day come looking for him.
I get ready to leave, and she tells me to call or come by anytime. She will tell Terry I was here, and that she hopes I will still meet him. I smile, but on the inside, I know I won’t come back–my moment of pure insanity has passed. As we are finishing up our conversation, a man pulls up in a truck and she says, “This is him! He’s home! He’s home early today for some reason!”
I felt like throwing up. I feel like running, literally running, away. I was nervous. I was scared. I was sad. I was excited. I didn’t want to meet him. I just wanted to look at his eyes. I just wanted to hear what he sounded like. I just wanted to ask him one or two questions and I didn’t have the guts to finish what I started.
“Terry–guess who this is,” said Michelle. She seemed to radiate excitement and under normal circumstances, her happiness would have been irresistably contagious. But I was still totally sick to my stomach. Cheyenne, now awake, clung to me and I clung right back to her, my convenient little human shield.
Terry was a shortish man with a stocky build, hairy-beyond-hairy muscular arms, and a ruddy complexion. He lumbered up to the doorway and when I looked at his eyes, I knew where mine came from. A deep voice boomed quietly (make any sense at all?) out from behind his excellente moustache. “I think so,” he said, and I forget what happened beyond that point because after Michelle said some words that I wasn’t listening to, Terry gave me and Cheyenne the bear-hug of a lifetime. And we both cried.