“I want to know who I am,” I blurted. Tears sprang to my eyes and my voice caught in my throat, surprising me. I hadn’t realized how deep and painful that wound was. I thought I was doing fine in my pursuit of normalcy. Where did the tears come from?
I sneaked a glance at Brant. He leaned against the tree, arms folded across his chest, and stared at the ground, listening to me with a sympathetic ear.
Like cracking a dam, once I had started talking, I couldn’t stop. “I want to know if my name is Ilona or Kelsey.” Tears were coming faster now. “I want to know why I am always shifted from place to place, why mysterious people seem to know me, why I’m never allowed to be adopted.” The tears were falling on my hands, splashing and making wet spots on my pants. Brant hadn’t moved. “I want to know who my parents were...” My voice caught and I drew in a long, shaky breath. “…and how they died.”
I was out and out crying now. I didn’t even know if my words were intelligible, but still they came. “I want to know why Jeremy died.” A sense of desperation came over me and my voice rose to a scream. “Why? WHY?” I pounded my fists into my legs, feeling relief with the pain, and screamed again. The agony inside my chest was almost unbearable. No wonder I hadn’t let myself say these things before. The weight of them was going to crush me. I slid from the swing and sank onto the ground, sobbing. Never had I felt so helpless. It was me against the unseen forces of the universe – an impossible match, like wrestling with a fog. “Jeremy!” His name wrenched from my throat. I dug my fingers into the grass and clutched the ground like a drowning man. Through my tears, I looked up and saw Brant. He still leaned against the tree with his arms folded, but he was looking at me.
And there were tears in his eyes, too.
I was not alone. I screamed again, eyes locked with Brant’s, just for the sake of hearing myself. Once again, his eyes were like calm pools, cooling the heat of my anguish. The tension and fear drained from my body. I leaned forward until my forehead rested on the grass, and I cried. I cried all the tears I had been hiding for months…years. I cried until I could cry no more.I don't know how long I cried. But, as my sobs subsided, I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. For a moment, I stared into the dirt and grass, letting the waves of relief and sorrow pour over me. I felt limp, like a newborn kitten who hasn't yet decided to breath.
It was then that I heard Brant's voice, close by my head. His words were soft and reassuring. “You’re going to be okay,” he said.