Sunday, December 31, 2006
To and Fro
Gads, am I glad to be at someplace, rather than between places. My trip to Florida was quick but something I needed badly. And I think Mom did, too. She occasionally does still speak with Carter, but it's getting less comfortable for her. He's still a familiar voice on the phone, but they have nothing to talk about. But that voice is still what she associates with her child, so it's probably good for both of us if we actually try to spend some more time together, let her get comfortable with me in a way that's kind of tough on the phone or via email.
Of course, I wasn't the only one trying to reconnect with my family during the holidays. Wednesday evening I got home to see Amy in my building's lobby with her suitcases. I asked her what was up, and she said she wasn't sure she should go home, even though they were shutting her dorm down for the holiday break. She had a plane ticket in her hands that she looked at without really seeing, and didn't meet my eyes as she said that. I invited her in to talk.
I had to admit, she had a poser on her hands. The Sanadas were her biological parents, but as we discovered at the start of the month, they weren't the people who raised her - even if the nanomachine overload just suppressed memories as opposed to erasing them, she doesn't have warm feelings about them that will suddenly come rushing back.
Don't get me wrong - she likes them, even loves them a little, considering how much they tried to protect and help her these past months. Knowing that those actions are based upon a misapprehension - that she's the girl they've known since birth, just a little damaged - creates a lump in her stomach when she thinks of getting off the plane, having them come to hug her, take her home to spend time with her supposed family...
"Well, if you want to stay here over the break, we can go get a duplicate key made for you. You'll have to put up with Gertie trying to figure out your story whenever she's around, but there's worse ways to occupy your time." She looks surprised, like that's not what she meant to ask, even though it's the question she came in with. "No, I didn't want to..."
"So the question really is, what do you do when you get out there?"
I told her that it was like a decision tree. You can tell them or not. If you do, they may not believe you. That's how it was with my biological brother, originally. In that case, they'll probably try to help, and you'll maybe feel guilty. They may believe you and love you anyway. They may believe you and decide they want nothing they want to do with you. That may be good or bad, depending how you look at it. How do you look at it?
She says that would make her life harder - good-bye Harvard, hello living on her own - but it might give her a clearer conscience. Maybe, she says, but what about them losing their daughter all over again?
Well, in that case, I said, you can keep your mouth shut. If we and the FBI understand the situation correctly, it's not like there's a "real" Amy Sanada out there anywhere - not like I used to think there was a real Michelle (there still might be, but it's starting to seem rather unlikely). You've got as much right to be Amy as anyone.
She grumbled that it didn't seem right - after all, I had been so insistent on telling everyone in my life the truth.
But, she figured, she at least had a cross-country plane ride to think about it on.
That story hit me pretty hard. I do tend to believe that honesty is the best policy, but if you have to start totally fresh like Amy did... Well, maybe just going with what you've got is best for everyone. That's what I told my mother when I got to Florida, before asking her what she would have wanted in that situation.
She said it was a silly question. What you'd want in an outrageous hypothetical situation has little relation to what best when it all plays out. Looking back, she thinks it may have been better to know - the year we lost while waiting for me to feel safe telling everybody isn't something we can get back, and that looms large at her age. But, then again, if I had tried to be Martin right away, I might not have been able to become the woman I am today; I could have wound up angry and bitter and ashamed, and then we wouldn't have everything that's coming.
My mom's wise.
There was also a little rum in our egg nog for this conversation. I was wiped out from flying down, having a hassle picking up my rental car and checking into my hotel, and I started regurgitating that whole deal when she asked me about my week. I probably wasted about a hundred bucks on the hotel room because I selpt on her couch that night.
We drove back into town the next morning, since I hadn't brought a change of clothes to her place. She held up one of my skirts and made a comment about how I didn't like wearing shorts as a kid. I replied that I looked better than that chubby kid did, and she said she wasn't going to compare. I did feel a little weird about some of what I brought down, but she pointed out that my generation didn't invent the mini-skirt, and, besides, it was warmer down here than it was in Boston.
I did eventually choose something a little more conservative, though, since one of the things she wanted to do that day was to take a family picture. Nothing fancy, just me and her, with a rush put on the enlargement so that we could pick them back up on the way to the airport Tuesday. I already hear that her neighbors - at least the ones who don't know about Martin and the whole story - are telling her that we share features.
We did some touristy stuff Saturday and Sunday, but stayed close to her home base on Christmas. She made me cookies to bring home and a dress that I'll have to find some reason to wear, even if I don't know quite what occasion it fits. Because, really, for my mother to make me a dress... That's huge.
And, of course, we had to stick around for when Nat and Marty called. It wasn't until almost nine - they are, after all, in Seattle, and Marty's other grandparents had a big Christmas celebration at their place. Mom looked so delighted listening to his voice on the speakerphone that I had the stray thought that I hope she gets that excited if I ever (sort of) give her a grandchild.
And then it was back home. A short, but fulfilling vacation. Of course, I wasn't done traveling yet - Kate convinced me to play hooky on Friday - but I don't have a lot of time left to get ready to head up to Jen's for their New Year's Eve party, so that'll be a story for another day.