Daddy Who?

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    I edge this rock of anxiety toward an ever-receding truth. Pausing to rest, tired eyes scan the scramble below, forests of aging files neatly bundled with pink tape. The State Archives. Adoption papers 1940 to 1963. Reams of legislation, a tangle of memorandum, amendments, letters and reports. Rage drives me forward, compassion keeps me sane. Fifty years of wondering. I push on, from foggy chasm to ridges of hope and valleys of despair. Am I there yet? Just one more admission. Is that all that’s needed? When you don’t know where you come from, agitated is the state of rest, frustration the state of mind. Confusion abounds. You can touch the pain. Disrespected. Angry. Cheated.

    How does it feel
    How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    To be on your own
    Like a rolling stone?
    Bob Dylan, 1965

    Blood runs from welts on my young legs and Johnny Ray croons on the wireless. Swirling polka dot skirts and the 1956 Olympics are all the go. My sister doesn’t look like my brother and I don’t look like either of them. The adopting couple are very short and I am tall. In fact nobody in the family looks like anyone else.

    In another suburb, not that far away, there is another family. A happier one. And one of them, my mother, does look like me. The half-brothers have a resemblance; and my half-sister is big boned like Mum and has my looks. Mum had remarried and taken the two children of her first marriage with her and I, an infant, whose father was only known to Mum, was elsewhere. A swelling tide of circumstance had snatched another babe from its mother’s arms. And for fifty years I couldn’t forgive Mum for placing me for adoption with an abusive, ignorant family. Until I found the truth.


    I edge this rock of anxiety toward an ever-receding truth.