The years at this point feel like they are too many to recall. Looking back, the adoption was the right decision, but I won’t lie and pretend that there aren’t times that I wonder – “could it be him?” What does my son look like? Imagine putting yourself in my shoes. You are pregnant young, you and the father can’t possibly handle the responsibilities of this child and you know the future of this innocent child would be best in the hands of someone ready for the challenge of raising him. I made this decision at 17. It was, and is to this day, the hardest decision I ever had to make.
But, here I am, many, many years later, with a family of my own, grandchildren who are dear to my heart and fill me with endless joy. Sometimes, I wonder where my first son is. He would be in his mid-40s now, a grown man. Maybe he has his own family. I like to think he does. The man filling his car with gas across the station – could it be him?
These are all thoughts that live in a corner of my brain, only pulled to the front when something jogs those memories. That is, until recently when a new neighbor moved in. My apartment complex is a mixed bag of humans. Ranging anywhere from kids to seniors older than me. It’s nice. Everyone is pleasant and kind. My newest neighbors are a group of young boys that seem about college age. They can be loud sometimes, but they’re kind and respectful.
A few weeks ago when they moved in, I was coming home from the grocery store. One of the young men saw me coming and kindly held the hallway door for me when he noticed my hands and arms full of grocery bags. He smiled at me and looked me in the eyes. Something stirred in me at that moment. A hint of familiarity. That smile, those eyes. Like someone lost from my past, someone I hadn’t thought about in years.
The feeling kept with me as I tried to place it. Days later, it dawned on me – they were the eyes of my first son. His father shared those same eyes. I won’t deny that I was troubled by this. Was it coincidence? Providence? Was this my past coming back to taunt me? Or could this young man truly be my son’s son? Could it be him? Was this kind stranger, holding the door for me, my grandson?
It was the start of a series of questions that would eat at me like a virus in the coming months.