“And what were the first two hours like after you were dropped off at the home of your new adopters?” my therapist asks.
Wait! Can I first tell you how painful it is not to remember? As if my life was erased by the callous indifference of those I depended on to remember, to hold me in mind and heart. But there is no one who holds me. I am falling, falling, and there is no bottom. There is no story. There is no me. There is only the falling.
Because my life was erased. Twice. Can I tell you that? Can you remember for me so I don’t disappear?
But I do disappear that day because there was no one to remember us.
I sit in the car with the social worker who is dropping us off for the last time at the house of our new adopters.
Wait! I need to tell you something! I need you to hear me! I don’t want to get out of the car! I don’t want to open the car door! I don’t want to step onto the pavement! I don’t want to walk up the steps! I want to vomit as I am greeted by the people there, as they guide me into the house. I don’t want to go in!
Now the social worker is leaving. Her car is driving away. Inside myself I scream. “NO!!!!!” But I keep up my act. I betray nothing of what’s behind my mask. I walk up the stairs. I am shown a bedroom that I will share with—who?—my brother, they say. The social worker is gone. My life is gone. I am betrayed. Tricked. My first mother said ‘No.’ My second mother said ‘Yes,’ then said ‘No.’ Now I have a new mother who is a stranger to me, a new father who is a stranger to me. They already have a son! I am not their son. I am nobody. I am not theirs or anyone’s. This is a trick! This is an insult! How can this be!?
They point to bunk beds and tell me mine is the top bunk. I can hardly breathe. Why don’t they go away? I just want them to go away. I just want to be alone. Tears well up from the core of my being, impelling me to life. But I do not cry. I refuse to live. I am not safe!
I retreat. I wrap myself in the velvety darkness of the black hole inside me, muffling the world outside. Someone is speaking to me but I don’t understand what they are saying, can’t string the words together, can’t make sense of them. Nothing makes sense. The whole world is just bits and pieces that don’t fit together. I let the world fall apart.
I stare into space from the safety of my black hole. I do not move. I do not speak. I cannot look anyone in the eye. Yet something stirs in me, begins to take root, something that flourishes in the desolation of the black hole: