Kara, Age 14, London, ON

My first real memory, the first full one, that had all its pieces there, was a memory. Let me rephrase that, my first full childhood memory was a memory my mother was reaccounting for me. It was a memory that haunted me more than any ever have. Like a ghostly shadow. For years I wished so much that it could be my memory, that I could see what really had happened, and not just what I had imagined. The day my Mother had met my Father. The only memory of him she had left.

It was a crisp autumn morning. The sun was shining brightly through the warm colored trees. For my Mother it seemed like just another day. Nothing special. She woke up groggy but still full of energy at her usual 6 am and went for a quick walk before breakfast. That's when she started to feel like it wasn't just any ordinary day. The feeling started, as a light tingling in her feet. It crept up her spine and stopped at the back of her neck, a buzz of adrenaline. Somehow she knew something was going to happen. Even though her curiosity was strong, she decided to keep her normal routine, and maybe fate would take it's course. By 7 o'clock she was in her car, driving down the tiny side street Brook Avenue. Her regular short-cut to work and also her mother's street. On Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings she would always go to visit. The little cottage was more than a second home to my Mother, it held all of her childhood memories. Every object, every wall, every piece of furniture belonged in some part of some story. Even though it was a Thursday, and even though she was a little behind leaving for work, impulsively she turned at the last second into the gravel driveway. She wasn't even quite sure why at the time, but she knew it was connected to that wonderfully eerie feeling still inside her. She didn't even think to knock, just pulled open the door and stepped inside.

The house really was a home. The moment you stepped inside, you could feel the warmth. The cosy living room was painted a milk chocolate brown and matched all of the mismatched sofas and armchairs perfectly. The one part of the house that really made it feel like a home was Grandmother Anna. Her face always had a look of pure joy. Just for the chance to be alive. Her smooth white hair was always pulled into a neat bun and gave her a classic Grandmother look. Still, my Mother's thoughts were not on the house, nor on her mother. They were on solving the mystery of what was going to happen on what seemed, but did not feel, like an ordinary day.

Once inside the house, my Mother called out softly, "Morning Mom, I came to see you."

She turned the corner into the kitchen and was surprised to see a young man sitting at the table. He had light gray eyes that could not be described in a single sentence. At first they seemed a plain olive green, but when you looked closer you saw everything. The light flint colored back drop circled in a navy blue band. The sky blue flecks placed almost perfectly throughout. Then the tiny, almost translucent peppermint green color close to the pupils. These, were the most interesting eyes my Mother had ever seen. No, not the most interesting, the most perfect. No, both. His long, straight hair was a bit of a cross between red and blonde, never really being neither but looking perfect all the same. He wasn't exactly short but wasn't exactly tall either. Once my Mother stopped analyzing his looks (which she absolutely loved), she gave Grandmother Anna a look of confusion. Grandmother Anna laughed and introduced them in an easy tone.

"Loraine, this is your third cousin Oliver. My cousin Sara Beth's little boy. Oliver this is my Loraine I have been telling you so much about."

My Mother glanced back at Oliver. He looked nothing like cousin Sara Beth. She was a short, stout woman with big biceps and mousy brown hair. Her husband Gregory had the same features, except with a large beer belly to match the size of a beach ball and slightly darker hair. Right away Oliver noticed my Mother surveying him and while he shook her hand he pointed out.

" I was adopted."

Those words, were ones that my Mother would never forget.

In a matter of a few months, they were married. Newlyweds in a nice little
suburban home. With a blooming flower garden, a large tabby cat, and what they thought to be all the bliss in the world.

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