I watched as she walked up those steps. She was clutching the straps of her rucksack so tight her nails looked like they were digging into the fabric.
Crouching behind a nearby bush, I surveyed my surroundings and quickly jotted down a few descriptive words on my notepad. Run-down, abandoned, roof on the verge of caving in. We were at the edge of the city, the ghetto, as some would call it. No one with a dollar in their pocket would ever bother with this neighborhood and investors and developers had long given up on revitalizing this part of town. As the matter of fact, I wouldn’t even step foot in this neighborhood if I wasn’t a passionate journalist chasing a story.
“I’m your daughter,” she said as the door creaked open. The woman stood still at the other side of the screen, her hand placed over her thin stomach. Her brown greasy hair was bunched up in a messy bunch and from the look of her outfit, she looked to be just now finishing up a shift at a local fast food chain. Behind the bush, I watched the woman’s reaction change from confusion to blank to anger.
“I don’t have a daughter,” the woman said flatly, “Whoever you are, get the hell off my property.”
“But -” I could tell she was beginning to panic. Calm down, I willed, like we’d rehearsed. “But I’m your daughter. You left me at the outpatient entrance of the Community Hospital and I’ve been searching for you for the past 16 years. Please, I just -” she paused and sucked in a breath. Good girl. “I just want to get to know you.”
From inside the house came another voice, harsh and demanding, “Who’s that?”
“No one!” The woman answered before turning back to the girl. “Look, let me be frank with you. I don’t know who sent you. I don’t know what game you’re playing. I don’t have a daughter. I had a son. He died 16 years ago when he was a baby. I am exhausted and don’t like to be bothered. So I would appreciated if you leave and don’t bother me again, got it?”
“But -” she pleaded. She was in tears. “Please!”
“Go,” the woman said slowly, “before I call the cops.”
Without looking back, she ran down the steps into my arms, bawling. “I’m sorry,” I said.
I had known her ever since the night when my mom brought her home from the hospital. She was found in a basket outside the outpatient entrance, crying and soaked from the rain that night. She was an infant, I was five. We bonded the moment we met. She was the sister I have always wanted. She was always the happier sister, the stronger of the two of us, and the most determined. When she approached me a year ago about finding her biological mother, I jumped on board at once but I had never imagined to see my sister so sad and distraught.
An original story written and published on April 30, 2014
Revised and revived on January 5, 2017
Feature Image Credit: Google