My mother sang, “Tu prends peut-кtre du retard
Tu as peut-кtre ratй ton train
Tu ne peux peut-кtre pas me pardoner” as she carried me to the orphanage.
My friends say that I couldn’t possibly remember something that happened when I was so small.
They’re all wrong, of course. I remember it.
I remember it still.
The words. The music. The lilt to her voice. The delicate way her lips phrased the words. I reached up to her lips to catch them in their movement.
She stopped singing and kissed my hands and my face. “My baby.” she whispered. Tears fell from her eyes. “Je t’aime, bébé.” She kissed me one more time. One last time. And the memory stops.
That single memory has haunted me for all of my life. I’ve tried so hard to shove it out of sight and mind. I’ve practiced yoga and meditative backwards chants.
Yet, that memory lingers like an early morning dream.
Sometimes it catches me off guard. Such as the time I went to Paris to study Prosaic poetry. There I was in a genuine French café with my fellow poetry students drinking the blackest coffee and eating French macaroons.
A woman began to sing. “Tu prends peut-кtre du retard…”
I jolted out of my seat and looked at her. But it wasn’t her. She was too young and too plain and her voice was too flat American.
I can’t help wondering if she still lives. If she still misses me. If she still wants me. If she still loves me. If she still sings softly hurting lullabies.
Has she moved on with her life? Has she forgotten me?
Why did she abandon me? Why didn’t she keep me if she loved me?
I want answers. I want a happy Hollywood ending. I want to meet cute her at the laundromat. I want to bump hands with her while watching a sopping sad Nicholas Sparks movie in the theater. I want to know that she and I are alike. I want to know that I have her laugh, but my father’s eyes. I want to see her smile.
I can’t remember her smile.
I only remember her tears.