Missed Connections

The meeting had been arranged by the agency.  It was in a city that was between the separate cities they lived in – neutral ground.
Well that was the theory, anyway.  Cora knew that theory had some big holes in it, starting with this ageless one: how do you put the lid back on a can of worms once you’ve opened it?
Arriving at the restaurant, she was led to a secluded table toward the back.  Relief shivered through her when she saw the empty table and realized that she’d arrived first.
Her relief was short-lived; only minutes later she saw the maître d leading an older woman toward her. 
Cora slid her hands into her lap, in case they were shaking, and waited for the woman to sit down and go through the ritual of ordering a drink.
Silence hummed between them as they looked at each other for the first time, face to face. 
“Thank you for meeting with me,” the older woman’s voice was low, and whispered with nerves.
“I had to think about it for a while, but…” Cora faltered and the other woman leapt to fill the gap.
“I understand.  Really.”
“Mrs…” Cora sighed a little and met the woman’s eyes directly.  “I’m not sure what to call you.
“Eve is fine.  Or you can call me Mrs. Morton, if you’re more comfortable.  Either is fine!”  She pressed her lips together as the waiter approached with their drinks.
Once the waiter moved on, Cora picked up her wine and sipped at it.  She didn’t really want it, but it gave her a chance to study the woman sitting across from her.  When Eve also picked up her glass, Cora figured she was doing the same. 
Their eyes were different shapes, and so were their lips.  But they shared a nose that turned up just a bit.
They’d exchanged some e-mails through the agency before meeting.  Cora had made sure to tell Eve that her parents loved her, and that she’d never harbored any ill will.  Eve had made sure to tell Cora that she wasn’t intending to replace her parents.  Boundaries established, a lunch date had been set.
“Cora…I’ve wanted to meet you for so long, and now that I have…” Eve frowned and looked down at her hands.
“You don’t feel a connection the way you thought you would,” Cora finished.
Eve’s eyes flicked up to lock on Cora’s, and she nodded.
Cora reached across the table to lay her hand gently on Eve’s knotted fingers.
“Neither do I.”
At Cora’s soft words, the tension banded around them snapped, and the two women settled down to enjoy their lunch before returning home.
This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write about a face to face meeting which, for better or worse, doesn’t go as planned.  I wrote about a woman, adopted as a baby, meeting her birth mother for the first time.
One of the very first questions people usually ask me when they find out I’m adopted, is if I’ve tried to find my birth mother.  It’s natural, I suppose, although it’s always struck me as sort of weird.  What if I mentioned I had a third cousin, twice removed, that I’d never met?  I’m not sure, but I don’t think people would ask if I’d ever tried to find that cousin.  (Then again, maybe they would…I’ll have to try it and find out.)
I never felt any particular urge to find my birth mother.  I have a mother, so I guess I never gave any serious thought to finding another one.  I also never harbored any bad feelings toward my birth mother, either.  I think I could best be described as completely neutral.  Meh, as the current trend expresses it.
An interesting question I did get once is what inspired this post.  Someone asked me if I thought I would just know if I ever met my birth mother.  Sort of like a cosmic umbilical cord, maybe?  Since I did live most of my life in the same, lightly populated state I was born in, I guess randomly meeting my birth mother isn’t out of the realm of possible.  If I did, I never knew it.  And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, what about the people who do try to find their birth parents and succeed?  What if one, or both, assumed there’d be that cosmic umbilical cord connection?  That’s a lot of pressure when you’re meeting a stranger for the first time!
What do you think?  What if one person felt the connection, and the other didn’t?  What if neither felt the connection but thought they should, so they both faked it?
Thank you for stopping by, and PLEASE  let me know what you think in the comments!
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8 thoughts on “Missed Connections

  1. My little brother is also adopted. His mother had died, but we made the effort of finding his father so that they could meet. The first time was a much bigger deal for us than it was for him. They meet now and then (though as he lives very far away, it doesn't often happen), but my brother knows he already has a dad, so it's not some huge emotional event for him.

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  2. I like the story, especially the part about the can of worms. I think I would like to see this from the First Person POV, though, it really felt like it needed a more intimate perspective.

    A close friend of mine was an only child. I watched her grow up an only child. Then one day in her early twenties, we reconnected, and she was speaking of her older sister. Wha-? Turns out, her mother had been date raped as a teen, the only option for her at that time was adoption. The older sister was looking for medical history answers more than looking for a mother. Long story short (especially since I'm not privy to all the intimate details) the sisters developed a tight, tight bond. Mother and daughter have a bond too, but it's not a mother/daughter relationship as much as it is an aunt/niece relationship.

    From the mother's perspective though, it was a day she was terrified would come and it haunted her until they actually met. A giant weight was lifted from her shoulders when they did. I think she always wanted an opportunity to explain why, for her own closure more than anything.

    And the third cousin twice removed…I think you wouldn't be asked about that one, at least by me. I know some of my third cousins, even the twice removed ones, and I'm not necessarily the better for it. It's only exciting during the searches on ancestry.com.

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  3. Nice piece of writing. I found myself pulled in very quickly. The narrator's apprehension feels very natural given the situation. I came to this piece from the perspective of an adoptive parent and I can attest that there are a lot of strong opinions and feelings on all sides of this very personal issue. This scene illustrates one such perspective quite well. Nice job

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  4. My friends who were adopted, like you, were adopted as infants by women who willingly gave them up. My own daughter's story is different though. Her birth mother lost all her parental rights after years of abuse and neglect. I really do worry that someday she will want to find this person.

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