One evening, I woke up from a nap and again found that my mother had gone out. The way the apartment was laid out, I had to go past a breakfront between my room, which was a huge combination bedroom and den, and the bathroom. The breakfront had a glass window, and drawers underneath at the sides. I walked slowly past the glass, seeing the shadowy girl in the glass, so much more transparent than the one I was used to looking at in the mirror.
I felt myself being pulled toward her. “Who are you?” I had to know, and so reached for one of the side drawers, normallly off limits to me. The drawer released a perfume smell and was full of papers. After running my hands over those on top, I shoved them to the side and burrowed to the bottom of the drawer, at last seizing upon a photograph. It was me as a child, only thin or sick. On the back was written a “K.” Other writing had been erased.
I held that photo for a long time. Based upon the stamp along the edge, it had been taken in France. Mom had said at our first meeting on the pier so long ago, “You’re Jewish, and your family all died. You’re going to be adopted into our family.”
Now I wondered about that. There had to have been others. What had my family looked like? Could they be alive? Did they wonder about me?
Even as these questions came into my mind, I stuffed them down with other thoughts. I could not ever let my parents know about these questions. I was grateful for the home, food, and education they had given me. And the clothes! They bought me so many beautiful things. Though I didn’t have the talent of Michael or Martha, my parents loved me and it would hurt Mom and Daddy too much for me to ask about my family.
I finally put the photo back and said nothing about it to my parents.
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