I stood in the open doorway of my mother’s hospital room watching her sleep peacefully. Even if what Debra said was true, there was no way I wasn’t going to have affection for her. Just watching her sleep knowing I only had so much time to see her left in my life hurt.
I entered the room quietly and took my usual seat next to her bed and she rustled away when I cleared my throat.
She looked over at me with eyes that looked beyond tired, beyond pained.
I wanted to ask the questions that were now on my mind, but I couldn’t she was too frail, too vulnerable, now was not the time.
I wasted no time in connecting with Debra again. We met at a little cabin she was renting by the ocean and talked over coffee next to a crackling fireplace.
She officially brought me on board by showing me an old newspaper clipping from the Asheville Citizen-Times again which told her story. About how my mother had taken me from her and about how she was looking for me. There was even a picture of my mother in there to confirm that is was her they were talking about. I would call the newspaper to confirm the story just to be safe and the young editor I could get on the phone confirmed they never ran any retractions to the story based on their archives, but she would check with the one old timer on the staff she thought was working back then and they would call me back with the info.
I was speechless, but soon had endless questions and Debra was able to answer all of them.
Who was my real dad? A man she had dated briefly who supposedly joined the Navy and then promptly disappeared.
Why did my supposed fake mother steal me? She was an obsessive babysitter she had worked with for years who lost her mind when she got into heavy drugs.
Why did they never find me? Things were different back then. There was no Internet. A lot of people didn’t even have TV and people didn’t obsess over kids the way they do now. They tried, but there was never a clue to where I was and the police didn’t care that much.