We lived out in the country with our nearest neighbors about a mile away. Life was slow, and still, and quiet. Needless to say, I was discontent.
My dad, a hunter, would be out in the pasture with his pick up truck running, an AM radio station tuned to a ball game with a deer strung up on a tree that he was skinning, a bucket beneath it to catch the blood. (I once picketed his hunting with handmade signs saying “Don’t Kill Bambi!”)
My mom, then a stay at home mom, would be in the kitchen reading a Harlequin Romance novel with a Diet Pepsi and a Little Debbie brownie.
Then there was me. A city boy trapped in a country boy’s body. With my Cyndi Lauper and Prince albums. My science fiction novels. My strange obsession with Vincent Van Gogh. I longed for symphonies and art exhibits. For skyscrapers and the hustle of pedestrians. For theater and exotic food.
What I got was Volunteer Fire Department fish fries. Pigs and county fairs. Barns and mud. The annual Hay Day.
My first thought was that I’d been switched at birth. But after casually fishing for information from my mother, it was revealed that the only other baby in the small hospital at the time I was born was a girl.
So one night when my father was watching TV in his recliner, and my mother was in her bedroom, rubbing lotion onto her legs in a ratty bathrobe with a towel wrapped around her hair, I went into her room and asked her the question that had been plaguing me.
“Am I adopted?” She looked up from what she was doing, surprised. I went on to add, “It’s okay if I am. I can totally handle the truth.”
She pondered this for a moment before answering. “Yes. You’re adopted. Here are your adoption papers.”
As she reached into the metal filing cabinet where she kept all of her important papers, I was beaming. A ridiculous grin stretched across my face. All of my suspicions were confirmed. And now I’d be able to be reunited with my real family!
Then she handed me my birth certificate. Clearly showing her name, and my father’s name as my biological parents. My grin disapeared. I was crestfallen. My smalltown country legacy was inescapable.
But the question remained. If I wasn’t adopted, where did I come from? How did my simple, working class, country loving parents manage to have a sensitive, artistic, city loving son?
The only possible answer?