The Sting

I never knew what to do with an aching heart. My parents had never expressed their feelings openly and I wondered what it would be like to be able to talk about anything and everything. I wanted to scream and dance and not worry about what they would say. How they would act. Would they join me in my dance, or would they tell me later I was a little too excited in my dancing? Being an only child, all I wanted to be was connected to my family. But I think my parents weren’t planning on having any children at all because even though they went through with the basic motions of parenthood – food, shelter, school conferences, the like – they never seemed to come to the school plays, sporting events, ballet dances. 

I wanted to ask them to come to more outside events, but I also worried about bothering them. Was I a bother? A burden? I wanted to work up the courage to tell them what I wanted and what I needed, but I was nervous. A few months ago, I found a picture of a baby dressed in the same clothes I had worn as a child, but the baby was clearly not me and my parents had never talked about any children other than me. When I flipped the photo over, the scribble on the back said Matthew, 09/1980. As I studied the handwriting, I became more and more convinced it was my mother’s handwriting. I had a brother? A sibling? I wasn’t an only child after all? 

If my parents had been home at that very moment, I would have rushed to them and demanded to know who Matthew was and why I didn’t know anything about him. I would demand to know the entire story and why they had never talked about him. But as it was, they were both still at work and I knew by the time they got home, the courage I was currently feeling would be gone. I pulled out my phone and took a quick photo of both the front and back of the picture before putting it back exactly where I found it. I needed to research the past of both of my parents and was excited but also nervous about what I would find. When I did find out about who Matthew was, I was stunned. My heart ached more than it ever had, but then my fury bubbled over. How could they not tell me? How could they use Matthew as an excuse to ignore me? To not love me? I began to pace my room and after a few hours I knew what I had to do. And I knew my parents wouldn’t like any part of my plan. But it was up to me to pull my life back together. 


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