I spent some time with the kids at my mom’s new house. As I waited for lunch, I did what I often do when I’m at my mom’s house for a while: I browsed through her old photo albums.

With everything in a different place in the new house, the photo albums I found were from before my time. I had never looked at these ones before.

I saw pictures of my mom and her family living in California. She was in her teens, the oldest of four children. She looked happy. There were pictures of various landmarks around LA, school pictures of friends, all neatly labelled, and pictures of family and friends at various functions.

All through the years, in all of these photos, my grandmother posed in a specific way to hide the fact that she was missing a hand. How that must have felt, to always be self conscious of it, being sure to hide it as much as possible. I never knew exactly what happened. I asked her when I was too young to know better, and she told me it was an accident. I asked where her hand was now and she told me it was probably buried somewhere. My young mind imagined a skeletal hand being found in a field somewhere someday.

Further on in the album, as it came nearer to the end of the ’60’s, there were photos of my mom in a graduation cap and gown, presumably for her high school grad ceremony. She was ready to move on to the next chapter in her life. So young and optimistic before the decades and the one one big, bad decision wore her down to the person she is now. A person who gave up in many ways.

The next album showed my mom hanging out with various people, at various locations. One was labelled “our apartment”. From what I could gather (I did not want to bother my mom about details of her past), she spent a few years after high school just hanging out, having fun, and living on her own. There appeared to be two serious relationships during this time period.

In 1973, the pictures now included my dad. They were sometimes dressed up like they were going to a wedding. I imagine a lot of their friends were getting married in their early 20’s. Other pictures were more casual. Lots of pictures with the two of them kissing or goofing off. Two lovebirds completely infatuated with each other. How that would change.

Wait a minute, I thought. I looked back to the time period between graduation and my father. I was looking for signs of a pregnancy or a gap in time where a pregnancy could’ve gone undocumented, hidden away like my grandmother’s injury. Too many photos were unlabelled to tell.

More than 18 years ago, my girlfriend, Marie (the awful one who cheated on me, who I’ve never forgiven), let it slip that my mother had another son. Marie assumed I knew since her mother, who was good friends with my mom, knew. I never verified this. I could never ask. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. I’ve been sitting with this information for almost 20 years now, not knowing what to do with it.

If my mom had a child before us, it could’ve been anytime before 1977. I think it most likely would’ve been between her leaving home and meeting my dad. Even more interesting is the fact that both boyfriends in that time period have the same first name as my alleged lost brother.

Maybe it’s all just a misunderstanding. I don’t know how I would find out the truth. Casual conversation? Hey ma, did you have any other babies besides us two? I don’t know, I can’t even ask what year my mom and dad split up. And I was there.

So in 1973, my mom and dad were so very much in love. In two years, they’d be married, and in another two years, my brother would be born, and in another two years, I would be born. How much longer was it before my mom decided to throw it all away? I think it was 7 years later. All because of that loser she started seeing?

I was going through a tough time when I lived with my mom in my early 20’s. I actually asked her about breaking up with my dad after all those years. She told me that he didn’t seem to care that she’d be out all night. Maybe he didn’t want to seem the jealous type and that blew up in his face?

I turned out to be very unlike my dad that way. I cared where Carol was going and I expected that she least tell me the where and when. I gave the same to her. Here’s where I’ll be and here’s when I expect to be back. When she worked late and said she’d be home by midnight but came home a while later, I knew was doing something after work. I just assumed she hung around having beers with the asshole and didn’t want to tell me because she knew I didn’t like him. Beers and bitching about me. That’s what I figured she was doing. I thought she would’ve been at the very least too lazy to engage in anything else. All she ever wanted to do was sleep.

Oh, how I ramble on.

I have questions I should be asking to the people I love. Why don’t I? Do I have another brother? What would it mean to know the truth? Does any of it matter?

Dunno. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know a goddamned thing about my own life.

2 thoughts on “1973

  1. I know u think u ramble, but honestly, from a woman’s point a view, I actually like reading that a man thinks of these little, may be meaningless?(idk) things but none the less.. (:

    Liked by 5 people

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