There isn’t a single instance more memorable in my life than the one where I met my mother.
It was only two years ago, so I was fresh out of college. I had been searching for years for clues to where she went, or why she left me behind and went on with her life without me, but I could find almost nothing.
“It’s all useless,” I would say after a full night of research on the internet. Birth records, local school yearbooks, everything was turning up the same thing– nothing.
But each time I would give up, my former foster dad, Mr. Greg Varnell, would find me and encourage me. “You’re doing a great job,” he would say. “I’ve fostered a dozen kids just like you, and they usually find their biological parents eventually. You’ll do fine.” He’d say this with a wink and a twinkle in his wrinkled eyes. I was just glad he was still letting me stay here while I saved up for a place of my own.
Nonetheless, it was most certainly a pickle that I was in. I didn’t NEED to know who my mother was, but the fact she was such an elusive figure was driving me completely insane. I wasn’t angry that she abandoned me–at least she had me–but I just had to know why.
It kept going like this until the day I received a package in the mail, with no return address or any other markers except addressed to my foster parents.
“What is this?” Greg said, shuffling through all the bubble wrap inside the box. Finally, after looking for a while, he found a very tiny flash drive. Written on a label stuck to its plastic was merely, “Timothy”.
“Timothy… But wasn’t that…” Greg looked very puzzled.
“Yes,” I said. “That was my birth name. I don’t know who could possibly know that to send this flash drive, though…”
It had to be some sort of elaborate prank of some sort from someone from my college. The flash drive probably had some viruses inside, determined to destroy my entire computer. So I took it to one of the unused Windows XPs in Greg’s study that he stopped using several years ago.
I plugged it in, and after a few seconds, it registered with the computer and pulled up a folder full of pictures. All of them of one woman. She was strikingly beautiful, especially in the photos taken in black-and-white, but there was no name, no real information besides these pictures. This meant that whoever sent this flash drive to me wanted me to do the real digging myself.
And that I did.
After about a week looking through the images and searching them online, I came out with a name–Erin Hughes–and an address, twenty miles from my hometown. I contacted the address, and learned that the previous owner, presumably my mother, had left in a hurry and undersold the house by several tens of thousands of dollars. As far as they knew, there was no trace of her.
Which left me exactly where I started. No trace of her, besides the name, and the general location. For all I knew, she could be across the country by now. But at least I had a name.
Erin Hughes… Erin Hughes… It was not an extremely common name, but there were still many of them in the United States. However, the one that I found most interesting was one on an online listing: “TWO GAMEBOY DS SYSTEMS FOR SALE, $20, LIKE NEW.” I contacted this Erin Hughes through the listing, and got a new address–a hotel fifty miles from my home.
I drove all the way out there, and checked into my own hotel room. “Lisa Karawitz,” I told the hotel manager. Once I had the room, I took a few deep breaths… and went to Erin Hughes’s room.
When I opened the door, there she was.
She looked exactly like she did in the photos; beautiful, though aged. She had to have been past fifty at this point.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Your daughter– er, your child.”
She stared at me silently for a moment, and then put a finger on her bottom lip. “You’re not what I expected. But you followed me all the way out here, so I’m glad you found all my clues.”
“You’re the one who was helping me find you?”
“Of course. I needed some help, so I found you. I had to see if you were worthy.”
“Of coming with me on my next mission.”
“Listen, Lisa. I have something to tell you.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “I’m a secret agent working for an international espionage division of the government. And I’m going on my most dangerous mission next month, which means I need your help.”
“What the fuck? Are you serious?”
“Yes, Lisa. I am.”
I turned around and walked out of the hotel room. “Yeah, I was looking for my Mom, not for a secret agent mission. Sorry.”
“But– I’m your mother! You can’t just–”
I closed the hotel room and walked out. I never saw her again.