The Day After I Found My Name in A Missing Person’s Ad, I Met My Mother
A True Story, Part II
We agreed to meet at Grand Central station.
I didn’t want to sit down and eat with her, or travel to her doorstep. I felt like my pregnant body would break down when I saw her, so I picked a public place. I had my boyfriend come with me for support and I didn’t tell my adoptive family.
When I was little, I had a social worker named Marina. She would come check on me from time to time and one day she picked me up instead of her usual in-house visit.
“We’re going to go visit Linda, your birth mother.”
I fought Marina with everything in my 5-year-old soul. I held on to the concrete, scratched and kicked. The only reason I calmed down was because my little body was tired. We were heading to a prison and I didn’t know it yet.
I had fallen asleep and then realized we were on a highway still en route, so I unlocked and opened the door. Marina screamed.
The door flung open and I felt my body being suctioned out. The only thing keeping me in was a loosened seat belt and Marina’s right hand grabbing my left foot. Marina jerked the car to the right lane, grazing the ajar door on a brick wall. I don’t know how she did it, but she grabbed me by the legs and pulled over safely. We both hugged and cried for a minute.
We would make these trips consistently over the next few months. I blocked them out of my memory.
Around Christmas that year, Marina walked me to an apartment building and Linda answered the door.
“Look at you. You’re so beautiful, just like mommy.”
I had an overnight bag and no say-so as to whether I wanted to be there. But she was still my mother and she had a right to see me. The place had no furniture, the windows were small, and the hallway smelled like urine.
Linda was happy, but she was a stranger to me.
Eager to take me around the city, we ended up at Macy’s in Herald’s Square. She had good intentions that day, but she was also jobless and fighting some personal demons. By nightfall she ended up handcuffed in a holding area.
Did you know that Macy’s on 34th street has holding cells for shoplifters? I found this out when I was five.
This was my last clear memory of my birth mother, Linda. I would hear my adoptive mom speak ill of her through the bedroom walls however.
“She’s a crack addict. She will never be a mother. She tried to sell Aiesha when she was born.”
I didn’t tell her I was going to meet Linda at Grand Central Station that day. I didn’t even know if it all was true. I was just eager to see her face again. I could get my answers later.
I saw her immediately when I entered the station.
Her deep brown skin contrasted her clothing perfectly. She was draped in all white from head to toe so she would stand out, even to a stranger. She wore a hijab and all sorts of beautiful layers, which was humorous because she was curvy like me and even in her modest dress, her hips poked out. This made me smile. From fifty feet away, I could see her nose looked just like mine.
I walked into her line of vision and she walked toward me with her arms open and we hugged.
“Alhamdulillah, look my baby. You are so beautiful. Just like mommy.”