into memory. There, in that vast, mirrored hall where dreams echo without change, illusion gains transparency. Linger awhile and the murky water of recollection parts, allowing essential clarity. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.
Holly FAMILY DYNAMICS Are not static. They can change with a choice. A whim. Happenstance. Mikayla goes to a party. Gets busted. Gets grounded. Without technology. She actually picks up a magazine. Time. Sees a story about how the Internet is changing the way adoptees locate their birth parents. Have you ever thought about trying this? she asks. I mean, c’mon, Mom. No-brainer. And the weirdest thing is, no. I never thought about using Facebook to try to find my birth parents. I’ve talked about searching for years. Apparently, Mikayla paid attention. You want to know where you came from, right? Don’t all adoptees? Oh, I guess some claim not to. But how could you really not want to know where you came from? Why you look the way you do. Why they gave you away. 116/881 Threw you away. I’ll help, Mom, Mik says. So yeah, of course she volunteered so she’d have a legit reason to be on the computer. But she hasn’t offered to help me do anything since the last time we baked cookies together. She was maybe eleven. She’ll be eighteen in less than five months. I’m betting she’ll hit the door running two minutes past graduation. Maybe doing this research together will help us grow a little closer before life wedges us completely apart. Tell me what you know about your birth parents. No names, right? No names. No ages. No real clues except, “Your grandma told me they were from Elko and my mother got pregnant in high school.” Mama may have known more. But she wasn’t about to share it with me. I think she worried I’d love my birth mother more. Maybe. Mama wasn’t the nicest woman. So you were born in … God, Mom, you’re going to be forty. “Don’t remind me.” All the running in the world won’t fix the corners of my eyes. Laser erasure 117/881 beckons. “I can almost see the Grim Reaper.” Mom! Don’t say that . She shudders. You are not allowed to die. Ever! MIK STARTS HER RESEARCH I think about Mama and Papa and how they arranged my adoption through their church. My childhood was weighty with Christian expectation. The kind that makes a person never want to set foot in a church again. The kind that bumps a girl into teenage rebellion. Or maybe I inherited the tendency—some hit-sixteen-and-go-crazy-wild gene. Mikayla, in turn, seems to have gotten it from me. What else did I receive via DNA? My stubbornness? Distaste for chocolate? Rabbitbrush allergy? What roll of genetic dice gave me these topaz eyes and burnished bronze hair? I didn’t dare investigate while Mama and Papa were alive. But with both of them lost to cancer, I’m free to try. Connection. The idea shimmers like summer heat on a stretch of distant highway. Vanishes, a mirage, within the very real possibility of never finding it. Okay, I think I know what to do first. I’ll see if Elko High School is on Facebook. 119/881 I can get on the computer, right? Mik drops her voice. Dad doesn’t have to know. CONSPIRACY FIRMLY ESTABLISHED I allow Mikki an hour on her laptop while I return to my desktop web surf. I’m thinking about going back to school. I had almost five semesters in before I dropped out to get married and have my own babies. It wouldn’t take that much to finish. A degree would be something all mine. Not sure why I want it. Probably won’t ever use a BA in English. But ever since this writing bug chewed into me, I’ve had a fever to put words on paper. Might as well make sure they go down right. Uh … correctly. Maybe I could even take a class this summer. I’m looking into that when I come across this: High Desert Muses invites all local writers to join us for communion and critique. Second and fourth Wednesday