For those of you that do not know… I am adopted. I was adopted at the age of four by a family who loved me even before my biological mom felt the need to start her life over. This same family also tried to adopt my younger brother, Rene; however, due to extreme circumstances and quite a few misunderstandings, the state would not allow it.
I searched for my little brother for quite a long time. And to be honest, as I grew older and older, I somewhat gave up on the notion that I would ever find him. Then one day, my mom (the one that took me in and loved me like one of her own) called and said she had found someone who thought they could help.
It was a full on, full-court press, but in a matter of days, and with a lot of help from so many different people: friends, family, casual acquaintances and total strangers… we found him.
It only took thirty years. And, this is what I wrote immediately after I got off the phone with him for the very first time.
On A Tuesday
by Senator Brett
The phone rings on the other end of the line… one… two… and then three times… and the whole time all you can think, the only thought in your head, is that these are the longest three damn rings of your whole life. And then there is a click in your ear and a voice that you haven’t heard in 30 years that says “Hello?” And suddenly, without warning or discourse… every word you’ve rehearsed to yourself a thousand times, every conversation that you’ve practiced in all the mirrors, every syllable that you knew you would have at hand at this exact moment… just got lost in a hiccup of the surreal.
And all you can muster to breathe is, “Hello, it’s me, Mark… is this Rene?” And then the voice returns with a “Yes”… and you almost lose your legs. The truth is that no matter how many times you’ve told yourself that you were ready, no matter how many times you have imagined it… when it’s there… right in front of you… on the other end of the line… you are leveled in ways of which no amount of practice, or rehearsal, can atone.
And then two people start to talk… to really talk… and every preconceived thought you ever had about a moment like this just flies out the window, just catches wind and soars in all sorts of directions. You find yourself hanging somewhere between What You Expected It To Be and What You Had No Idea Of… and then you find yourself okay with that movement of things. You are okay with it because if you are honest with yourself… truly honest… you know that you don’t deserve it, if for no other reason than the fact that you almost quit on it. And yet there it is… on the other end of the line.
You start talking about things that you, yourself, almost forgot. You find yourself rehashing memories that only the two of you actually share in common. You find yourself stumbling over words because sometimes the words seem too small… and yet too large at the same time… and your mouth gets stuck on the sounds of them. You discover that sometimes even the little words you thought you knew turn out to be so damn big… and it’s only because that for the first time ever… you are standing right next to them.
I won’t tell you about the conversation. I won’t tell you about what exactly we talked about… or why. I won’t tell you exactly how it felt. And it’s not because I’m trying to hide anything. It’s just because I honestly don’t know the words anymore, and I’m not even sure they ever existed in the first place. If there is one thing I have learned from my time here on this molten rock… it is that there are some things in this sweet life that you can only understand if you have held them for yourself.
And holding onto something is what makes us human… and is what makes “buying the ticket” worth “taking the ride.”
We have a long way to go, him and I. But if fortune is finally on our side… and the will is good… then anything is possible. Trust me… this last week has taught me nothing but that… by slamming it in my face.
Sometime, hopefully in the very near future… he and I will meet. I don’t know how it will go. I don’t. I won’t even try to pretend to know. Not for him, and not for me. It does no good to make something out of nothing.
But… my hope… my honest hope… is that one day soon the phone rings… one… two… and then three times… and my legs don’t give… and I don’t stumble… and the words just seem to fit.
And, we both find ourselves… Home.
Your Friendly Senator