“Hello?” My voice was small and shaky.
“Hi. Anne Marie? This is your Aunt Diane.” My smile must have shown through the phone connection as did hers.
For the first time in my life, I was talking to a blood relative other than my own children. The moment was incredible. She told me how thankful she is that I have found them. She told me that my Mom often talks about me and had always hoped I would return. My aunt said that the pictures I sent to her over the Internet were remarkable. She said that my mother and I could pass as twins.
“Does she know about any of this yet?” I asked.
“No, not yet. I don’t want to take any of this away from her. I want you to be the one to call her.”
“Me? Are you sure? You don’t think you should warn her first?”
“No” said my aunt. “I know my sister and she will be fine. Just let me call her and make sure that she is free to talk tonight with no interruptions. I’ll call you back in a minute.”
“Okay.” I said and hung up the phone.
This was it. The moment I had waited for so very long was about to finally happen. I turned on my stereo and put in a Paul Simon CD, playing the very first track, “Mother and Child Reunion.” I fell into a chair and tried to relax.
I sat in the dark as Paul Simon sang:
“Oh little daughter of mine, I can’t for the life of me, remember a sadder day. I know they said, let it be. But it just don’t work out that way and the course of a lifetime runs over and over again.
No I would not give you false hope on this strange and mournful day, when the mother and child reunion is only a moment away…”
The phone rang.
“She’s there,” said Aunt Diane. “She’s there all by herself and no distractions. I told her to be expecting a phone call. I also told her that she would mark this day down on her calendar! Are you ready for her number?”
The reality of it hit me hard for a moment.
“You know, for so many years I would look at the telephone and think, ‘If I only knew what ten digit combination to press, I could talk to my mother. All the numbers are there, if I just knew what order to press them in.’”
“Well sweetheart, here’s your combination….”
I hung up with my aunt and stared at the piece of paper I was holding in my hand. I listened to the song finishing up on my CD player, breathed deeply for a moment and dialed the number.
It was her. It was the woman I had been searching for my whole life. After thirty years I was finally hearing her voice again. I wanted to be an outsider for a second. I wanted to hear her voice and listen to her speak. However, after she said hello for the second time, I knew I had better say something.
“Um, hi.” Nervous giggle on my part and then a short pause.
“You’re sister Diane gave me your number.”
What was I going to say? I am sure there is some proper etiquette I should follow here, but for the life of me I have no idea what it is. I moved my mouth without speaking, without making a sound, as if she could see me she said,
All I could do was blurt out a name, my name, my birth name.
She gasped and started to cry. I laughed, cried, tried to speak, all at once.
“Elaine? Elaine is that you?”
I must have muttered, “Uh hum” at some point.
“Oh Elaine, I knew it was you, I just knew it. When Diane told me that I would mark this day on my calendar, I knew it had to be you. Nothing else would have made me this happy!”
I was still sobbing at the sound of my mother’s voice.
“Oh Elaine, I knew you’d find me someday! I knew you would come back to me. I must’ve died and gone to heaven! Am I dead? Is this real?”
“It’s real, it’s me.”