Sometimes when my birthdad, M, and I speak, the thing I am floored by the most is the similar way in which we tell stories---long winded, a bit too drawn out, somewhat convoluted. Ok, I know this might be most people who try to tell a story, but the thing about us is we've always got a punch coming for you right at the end. It makes it worth the wait. To be sure, the people who know and love us patiently stand by, having learned to hold their breath (sometimes for astonishing lengths of time) while others give up and just ask What Happened. Don't you know the art of the tale? Just when you start boring people is when you rope them into the end.
He called me from D.C; he was visiting, doing his think tank work; which, by the way, always causes me to crack uncomfortable jokes like, I hope you enjoyed your lunch with Chuck Hagel because I would've just started arguing with him if I was there. Aren't you glad I didn't come now?
Ah, the visit. We've been trying to meet since, well, I found him. Strangely enough, for such a suave and well-traveled man, he has yet to find his way to any city I live in. His terms or mine, we are both clearly stubborn and inflexible at times. I think I have a good reason, I'm not always so sure about his.
He begins to tell me about his mother. Her name means "star" in Arabic. She was stunning, he says. Stunning. The Star. The Star divorced his father when she was pregnant with M. Quite scandalous for a Saudi woman. Left the man and broke his heart, apparently. Not too broken though, because he went on to have multiple wives, but hey. Some people like variety. (Ok, I'll stop with the snarky jokes). His father was quite detached and he was raised by his grandmother who beat the shit out of me and everyone around her (his words, not mine.)
M met his mother when he was 5. Then again when he was 16. They became very close after that. His parents never reconciled and died within a year of each other. This is when he tells me, So you see, Reem, we are much more alike than you realize. Aren't we all much more alike than we realize?
He has an uncanny understanding of my birthmom, MW. It's as if he plucks the very thoughts from my head as I sit there awkwardly trying to avoid talking about her (or him to her, for that matter.) But then it hit me like an embarrassingly slow-moving mack truck that of course he would understand her. They always speak of the same guilt. As much as they don't like each other---nay, what they remember of each other---they speak the language older than words. They made a person together.
He says he's begun the application process for getting his eldest son a visa to study in the U.S. He hasn't told his three other children about me yet. Before you, dear reader, begin to have a conniption fit, I must share that my feelings also pendulum. It's either incredibly wise or terribly foolish. I guess I'll have to wait and find out. Young minds can get overly defensive and scared when things like Dad had a baby with another woman 33 years ago come out. And hell, I'm scared, too. They're all so young, barely into and out of their teens. They barely know what 33 years really means yet. Do you remember the first moment you realized you could recall things from your childhood at the same time another person was just being born? People need to be out of this phase to develop that thing called Perspective. All in due time, though. All in due time.
He goes on and on. They're all going to love you! (Really?) They'll love having an older sibling they can look up to! (I'm seriously nothing like these people) Especially your sister! (Oh my god, I always forget I have a little sister now!)
Then he sheepishly shares of how he was walking out of Georgetown and a palm reader hassled him into reading his palm. He was appalled at himself for finally giving in but did (hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.) She told him he came from far away to do a business venture because his family business was full of strife (true) and that he was also on a journey to try and reconnect with someone.
You have 4 children and there is one you haven't met yet. You've waited far too long to meet her.