Just as I reached the train station, the skies opened up — a real monsoon — and there I was with my carefully chosen outfit plastered to me, waiting in the tunnel of the condo complex next door for the worst of it to pass. I’m sure I was quite a sight, what with my squishing shoes and inside out umbrella. Thank goodness for the close-cropped ‘do — I never have to worry my hair is mussed.
Somehow I made it to the platform as the train arrived, picked out a seat, applied a little lipgloss to hide my outfit’s other ills and settled in with my email, taking damp comfort knowing that unlike the woman sitting across from me, no one could see my panties when I sat down.
At least, I don’t think they could.
At Grand Central, I made a valiant effort of trying to dry my clothes under the nozzle of the automatic drier in the ladies’ room, but didn’t manage much progress.
The trip didn’t get measurably better right away. Afraid of getting lost (readers of this blog know that is a speciality of mine), I took a cab. The cabbie first tried to drop me off at the wrong spot and then grabbed the opportunity to order lunch from a falafel truck at a red light.
While I sat in the back and willed my clothes to dry.
You cannot make this stuff up.
Anyway, one harrowing cab ride later I was in the lobby of the appointed hotel and meeting Daniella, an adoptee who was lucky enough to find some of her birth family and who is working to make the film Beloved Strangers. I was there to chat with her for a trailer she’s creating to raise money for the project.
I don’t know that appearing in this film will help my search for Patricia Clark. I don’t know if I’m even up to being in a film, what with my too-red face and soaking wet clothes. For all I know, the director will take one look at the footage and snip me out.
But I figure I have to do my part. Daniella envisions an art film that raises awareness about the emotional and psychological issues surrounding relinquishment, adoption, search and reunion. I figure I should do what I can to help bridge the many gaps in understanding.
As we sat in the hotel lobby, we chatted about our searches (she did not get to meet her natural mother, but this week helped to scatter her mother’s ashes in the company of new-found siblings that have embraced her). We compared notes about being adopted, the many emotional bumps that accompany searching, whether you can be prepared for what you might find. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to have someone in the lobby snap a photo of us together.
The whole time we talked, it poured like mad outside. Thunder, lighting, wind and hail — it was a wild, wild storm.
Talking to Daniella, I remembered how my non-identifying information from Westchester Family Services notes that I’d been born breech — both feet first! — and how I’d adopted that as a rallying cry back when my search was still in its salad days.
Squish-squashing back to Grand Central, I decided I would take the unlikely storm as a hopeful sign for all us beloved strangers.