By Renee K.
She first saw him as she walked into a cafe on Second Street. The wind was blowing the leaves around in circles outside, and it seemed to push her right through the door. Later she would wonder if it had really been the wind, or if it had been the hand of fate.
A peppy French tune was playing over the radio, filling the building as thoroughly as the scent of roasted coffee that emanated from behind the counter. She took her pale blue scarf from her head, revealing her tousled hair as she eyed the patrons in the shop. Her gaze turned to the workers behind the counter.
That's when she saw him.
The beautiful French words suddenly faded into the background as she breathlessly watched him. She felt as if she were in a dream, or perhaps a wonderful movie. He was tall and thin, barely older than twenty, with sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. Stubble clung to his chin, framing a perfect smile made up of uniform white teeth.
She went towards him, drawn helplessly. Her heart started pounding and her hands began to shake as she took her place at the end of the line, never removing her eyes from his face. What should she say to him? How should she say it? After all, she had been dreaming of this moment for so long. It had to be perfect. He was the one.
She didn't need to see any pieces of documentation or ask for a test. She somehow already knew that it was him, the son from an unforeseen pregnancy, the baby that she had given up when she was seventeen.
The background song changed into one sung by a woman. The vocals were gentle and loving, thoroughly illustrating the sentiments that she felt rising up in her heart. He looked exactly the way that she had imagined him to: perfect. A miracle.
The line moved forward, towards the counter, and she moved with it. Closer to him. She felt her heart pound even harder as she looked at him and imagined being able to hug him; to tell him that she was his mother and that she had been looking for him almost since the very day she'd given him up. She’d never guessed that the long awaited moment would happen here, at a coffee shop in an outdoor mall. She hadn’t even planned on doing any shopping while on this business trip, in a strange town and state. Why had she stopped here on her way home from the meeting? Was this moment predestined? She looked back up at him as he ran a credit card through the machine, handed it back to a man, and then handed the appropriate sized cup to the girl who was making the coffees.
She suddenly wondered what his name was, and what hobbies he had. Was he in school? Belong to any sports groups? Have a girlfriend? She pictured taking him out to dinner and getting caught up on everything that she had missed in his life. Would she be able to see him get married? Welcome grandchildren into the world?
He smiled and thanked a customer who was standing only a few feet in front of her. She noticed how happy he looked, and she suddenly felt a pang of doubt. Why hadn't he ever tried to find her? Maybe he didn't want to know that he had a different mother, another family than the one that had raised him.
But why wouldn't he want to know? She had been searching for him so diligently, and this was at long last the end of her journey. Didn't she have a right to reveal herself to him, to claim what was her own?
Or had she lost that right on that snowy day twenty years ago, when she had brought him into the world in a dingy hospital room and then signed him away at the pressuring of her parents?
She was at the counter now. He smiled down at her, and she felt her breath stop coming. His voice, smooth and soothing, asked her how she was today and how he could help her.
You could come home with your mother! her heart screamed silently. She lost track of time for a moment as she looked up into his eyes.
The eyes of her son. Her baby. Her emotions welled up inside of her, each one fighting to be the one that would control her voice. She opened her mouth.
Whose happiness was more important?
“One tall coffee with cream, please,” she said, handing him her credit card. She watched his fingers grip the edges of the card, sliding it through the cash register. She flashed back to that night, when she’d first seen him, so tiny and red and wrinkled. His hands had been so small then. Now they were bigger than hers.
“Have a nice day,” he smiled, holding her card back out towards her.
She looked up at him for a moment, expecting herself to falter. To change her mind. To point out to him how much they looked alike, and ask him if he had been adopted by any chance.
But she couldn’t.
“Thanks,” she replied. Reaching out towards him, she took her card back and stepped away.
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here