Mom seemed to jump every time the phone rang as we waited for the results of the tests. I was certain she was more nervous than I was, that’s why I didn’t bother her to
much about the things I had overheard her talking about that night in the bedroom with Daddy, just a short time before I had went in for the tests. Mom was worried enough about me, and I didn’t approach Daddy either, maybe it was because it was easier to talk to Mom or maybe because I wanted to cling on to my reality for awhile longer, but when I stumbled across a cedar box with old newspaper clippings my world would be turned upside down.
It had been almost forty eight hours since the tests, and I found myself at home alone, which was a very rare thing, but maybe because I was eighteen now they figured I
could be home alone, and maybe they hadn’t let me before because the secrets that would come out in the old newspaper clippings, secrets about who I really was.
I found myself drawn to that little cedar box, not knowing what I would find in it at first, but having a feeling they had kept it away from me all these years for a reason.
The reasons would shake the very core of my being.
I carefully opened the hand-carved box and unfolded the small newspaper clippings that were inside. It felt strange, like I was doing something I shouldn’t but somehow I knew I had to. I needed to know why they couldn’t tell me things, why we were always moving, why it seemed as soon as I got to know anyone Mom and Dad would pull me away from that friend. The clippings would shed light onto what happened, and why they were doing this, but it would also leave me searching for myself, more so than the disease that was eating at my muscles.
I opened the first article, by the date I figured I would have been about two and a half years old, give or take. I really didn’t even know the exact date of my birth
anymore only that it was sometime in July, Mom and Dad always used the fifteenth as my birthday though, but now even that would be questioned as I read the first article.
The front headlines of the Hometown Times were in bold print.
Toddler Taken From Home:
A Local family has lost there two year old daughter Heather May to the hands of strangers. Rebecca her Mother who is disabled went to check in on her, and found the little girl missing from her crib, Rebecca asks that whoever has her little girl bring
her back home safely and they won’t file charges, but if she’s not brought home unharmed charges will be brought. Rebecca is distraught over the loss of her little girl, the baby she calls her miracle baby.
On the front page was a picture of the Mother, the mother I remembered. Was this woman my Mother? Had the family I was with now taken me from the lady who was
crying in the picture? The lady I remembered singing Jesus Loves me to me, sitting in that old rocker with a cane carved out of Manzanita wood. Was she my Mother the one who worried about me for all these years, for the first time in my life I felt hated sneaking up on me for the people I had thought were my parents, and I didn’t like feeling the hatred that I was feeling. It was just that I was beginning to understand now, that I was not Jenna but a little girl called Heather May with a Mamma who loved me, a Mamma who use to sing Jesus Loves me to me.
Now I understood why we moved so much, why we never stayed in one place to long, why the people I had thought my parents were never let me get close to anyone,
because they were afraid of what might be revealed. My life was being turned upside down, and the doctor hadn’t even called with the results yet, and I doubted the results could hurt as much as finding out my parents were actually my kidnappers, and somewhere out there I had a Mother who loved me, and maybe a father. I had a family out there somewhere, a family who wondered if I was alive or dead. Maybe I even had brothers and sisters by now, and maybe my Mother would have been able to help me through my childhood not try to hide me from the world.
If these people had been so concerned about me finding out the truth, I wondered why they had saved these newspaper clippings. Did they look at me as some kind of
prize? I had always thought they loved me, but now I wondered, I wondered why they did what they had done. I wondered why they had come to my house and taken me from my parents, my real parents. I was watching my whole world was turned upside down, and it was because of these people I had grown up calling Mommy and Daddy, these people who had taken me to ballet lessons and taught me to play ball, the same people who had home-schooled me from the sixth grade to my senior year, but now I understood
the reason they did this, not because they wanted to shield me from being hurt, but it was just easier that way, people were less likely to ask questions when we moved as we so often did.
My world was turned upside down, and suddenly I knew I had to find this woman if she was still alive. I wanted to know this woman the woman who had given birth to me.I had a right to know me and she had a right to know I was alive, and although I wasn’t the picture of health I was okay.
I was thankful they had taken off for the day, because I didn’t want to deal with them not at that moment. I needed time to think, time to reflect on what happened and try to figure out why I was taken. Didn’t I deserve the chance to understand who I was and where I came from? I tried to watch television after reading the article, I wanted to read the other articles in the cedar box as well, but I could only take so much at once, but nothing could keep my mind off of the fact that I was kidnapped, that I wasn’t who I thought I was, my name wasn’t even Jenna it was Heather. Everything seemed so strange.
I tried to act as if everything was normal when they came home. I wanted to
confront them to find out why they had done what they did. What made them come in
and snatch me from my home when I was to young to carry any real concrete memories
of the lady that was my Mother, I only had that one memory, and when I looked at the
picture on the front page I knew she was my Mother, and I was the little girl, only now I
was eighteen, and a young woman. I wondered if my real Mother would be proud of me,
if she still thought about me and I wondered how they had kept ahead of the law for
nearly sixteen years, it wasn’t easy I knew that much, that’s why we moved so much.
There were so many more why’s that weren’t answered though, and I wasn’t sure they
ever would be.
It was hard pretending everything was normal when they got home. I wanted so
much to tell them what I was feeling, tell them that I knew their secret, and that I was
going to find my Mother, my real Mother, the woman they had stole me from, but I
couldn’t tell them not yet, I had to pretend that everything was okay, and that wasn’t easy.
I just wasn’t ready to confront them, and truthfully I was a little frightened.
Pretending I was someone I wasn’t, was no longer easy though, because now I
knew the truth, I wasn’t Jenna, I was Heather May, and I had a Mother who walked with
a cane, who may have the same condition I had, I would find out when the doctor called
exactly what was wrong with me, but that wasn’t upsetting me nearly as much, as the fact
that I had just found out I was a kidnapped child, my parents weren’t really my parents at
all. It was all very hard to deal with, and now I would have to pretend for awhile longer
that I was naïve that I didn’t know what was happening to me.
I wanted to confront these people, but I had to do it at the right time, I had to make sure that I did it when it was safe. I needed to make sure everything was going to be okay, that I would be safe, because although they had never been violent to me before, I knew things now, and they might think that they needed to hurt me because I knew to much.
Why did they do this?
Why did they spend all this time lying to me?
Why did they take me from my parents? A thousand why’s.
I wondered if I would ever have the answer to the why’s, if I would ever know what made them do this to me, to my real Mother. I could have lived childhood without
running every couple of years moving to some place new if they hadn’t done this to me. Now I understood why they were the way they were, but I would never understand why, not really.
I was pretending everything was okay, and that was not easy, it wasn’t easy for me to pretend everything was okay. I wanted so much to lay into them, to tell them how they hurt me, but now wasn’t the time, I just wasn’t ready to confront them, not yet. Actually I was a little afraid to confront them, especially of what the man I had called my Father might do to me.
“Are you okay?” Myra asked.
“I’m fine.” I lied, not telling her what I really wanted to tell her.
“Did they call with the results yet?”
“No, not yet, it might be a day or two before we know.”
I tried to keep up the small talk with Myra, but even that was hard, with all the emotions swirling through me. Looking at the woman who had acted as if she was my Mother was enough to break me down, and ask her why, but I couldn’t. I would face her with the why’s one day, but I would wait until Evan wasn’t around. It would be easier and probably safer for me to confront her when she was on her own.
Instead of even trying to talk to her, I went into the room I called my own in the countless apartment we had lived in, but none of that mattered, not anymore, all that mattered was I had to find out my real family. I had been away from them for sixteen years, and now I wanted to know them, and I wanted to give them a chance to know me as well