Preparing for reunion. Maybe. Maybe reunion, definitely preparing.
Preparing for the vast uncertainty ahead.
Practically speaking there are decisions to be made, tasks to be completed, lists to be made, notes to be taken, etc.
The number of possible outcomes feels impossibly large. The number of likely outcomes feels disappointingly predetermined. I feel so uncertain about my preferred outcome that it is even hard to fantasize about an ideal outcome. It doesn’t feel clear that meeting this woman will be good for me or her. I do want it. I want to see her and believe it is her. I want to see that she is ok. I don’t know if I want a relationship with this person. I don’t know. I just don’t. I feel like I should want to know her. It scares me. I’m worried about the complexity of the relationship. I’m scared the differences are too wide to find mutually beneficial common ground.
I want to be able to love her.
The desire, which is conscious, to confirm her existence, to validate my own, is driven by an internal yearning and made possible by a sense of entitlement. I feel entitled to know my story, to know my roots, to know my blood.
I am infringing upon her wishes by returning, by attempting to make contact again. She has expressed her desire, or rather lack thereof, to see me or hear from us again. I feel the weight, the power of privilege. Privilege obtained through the trauma of relinquishment into a western culture. Power from a middle class upbringing and education.
I feel I deserve to be able to continue this search because I need it for my own growth. Is that wrong? Absolutely not. But it doesn’t mean its fair or the right thing to do. It is selfish in an reasonable way.
What does she want? What are her desires? Is reunion healing? Does it provide closure? Could it rupture a life, scatter pieces patched together? Who gets to choose?
I get to pay thousands of dollars, take paid time off from my pension accruing position and fly over borders, lines on paper, and expect her to be there, waiting, 28 years later, with open arms. This isn’t about who deserves what or what I “need” emotionally. She should be allowed to deny me. She has lived a life on the other side of this trauma and deserves to continue to co-author this experience.
How do I continue healing without hurting her?
I’m made uneasy by the power I wield. I want her to retain the ability and truly be able to exercise her right to remain out of reunion. By returning, I am ignoring her wishes. I am visiting and asking to see her, asking for her to see me.
What has this woman experienced? How has her life been defined, determined and decided? What agency has she had? Has her life been a series of decisions made for her, without her consent? Is this just another reminder of the lack of control she has over the trajectory that her life takes? What right do I have……?
I’ve always wielded power or influence over this woman. In some ways her life has been defined by my existence. I don’t mean to blame myself for strife she may have experienced, but I do mean to point to it as a dynamic, as part of the complex context of this next stage in our relationship.
I feel I need to go, that I want to go, for me. There is some shred of me that, fantastically, wants to use the possibility of this being a positive experience for her as a mechanism to alleviate the guilt, discomfort, I feel in overstepping boundaries, crossing lines she has drawn, unequivocally. Maybe seeing me will change her, maybe having me in her life will change her life for the better, maybe she falls asleep every night hoping, wondering why and when I will return. Maybe. Regardless of those possibilities, she has expressed her wish.
I will go.
In fact, I went.
Not all parts of the trip, not every step we took felt right, or felt comfortable. At times I wanted to shrink away and disappear out of discomfort, at other times I was immersed and present, mostly though, I felt stressed out. I don’t know if we pushed too hard, time will tell, or, it wont. I’m glad I went. I’m glad to have gone and for it to be over. I am very glad for it to be over, even though it is not. I will likely return, maybe not to search, maybe not to try to meet her, but maybe to share space, maybe even time with her.
I feel connected now, connected to her small house, to the concrete slab that serves as a bridge across a narrow ravine, connected to the heat, connected to the Kaveri. I want these connections, I want more, this clarity only apparent after the journey.