The Birthmark- Part II
Read: Part One
It was still an eight. I couldn’t stop staring. I started to feel like my arm was a separate part of my body. I exist over here and then there is my arm with this weird birthmark. A week later, I’m still at a loss at what to do. Do I even mention it? Who would I ask? My dad would remind me of how illogical it is to have a changing birthmark. I could show him the eight but I was afraid to. I don’t know why, but I’m too terrified to tell him. I didn’t want to add something else on top of all the doctor’s trips I’ve had to make. Technically, I have a mother. She disappeared the moment I was born though. I don’t even know her name.
I took another glance at my wrist. The eight stared back with its pink lines as if it was daring me to ask how it changed. I kept trying to tell myself that I was wrong; it had always been an eight, I couldn’t tell the numbers apart. I tried to convince myself of this. There is no way that my birthmark changed. However, I had too many memories of people talking about my weird nine. My brain is filled with them. I wasn’t wrong, no matter how much I wish I was.
The doorbell rang. I got my backpack and headed downstairs. It was my first day back at school since the accident. Becca came over to visit a few times. She didn’t notice the eight. Every visit I would get a knot in my stomach, waiting for her to notice the change and ask about it. She noticed the nine so quickly my first day at school that I expected her to notice it the moment she saw me. I almost wished she would notice it. Becca would be able to give me a logical reason to why my birthmark changed. She watches every medical show created. I’m sure somewhere between “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” and “House” was the explanation.
Kurt and my dad were talking in the kitchen. I could hear their low voices from the staircase. Football teams this and basketball that, blah blah blah. The only sport I paid attention to is hockey. I thought it was great when I met Kurt, I could follow his game and know what I was talking about. We haven’t talked about hockey much when we hung out. He wanted to know about my childhood and all my moves. He asked a lot about injuries and if I had any freak accidents. That particular conversation was quick because I had never had anything happen to me. I never broke a bone, fell off a trampoline. I’ve never even slipped on tile. The car accident was the first thing that ever happened that injured me. The only exciting thing that happens to me is that I move every few years so I get to see different parts of the world. England is still my favorite.
“Stacy!” Kurt said, smiling at me as I walked into the kitchen.
I didn’t want to go to school. I knew it was irrational, but I was afraid everybody would stare at me once I stepped foot on campus. I started to lose the new girl shine before the dance. It was about to come back in full force. Now I’m the girl who survived the “unsurvivable” accident. My car was in pieces. They found me outside of the car. I have no idea how far away. I have no idea how I got there either. I didn’t remember and nobody else is putting the pieces together. The guy they found while I was in the hospital wasn’t the driver of my accident. He owned a similar car, but it wasn’t the one that hit me. Turns out the car that hit me, the car they believed hit me, was reported stolen right before the accident. The only person who could piece the pieces together is me. My lack of memory isn’t helping.
“Ready to go?” Kurt asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.
I nodded, a little more ready to face whatever stares I was in for at school. It was now or never.
* * *
I tried to keep the worry from bubbling up my throat. This couldn’t be good. My dad was never home this early. I racked my brain for things that would bring him home early, for him to be waiting for me. Possible nuclear bomb headed towards America and he was getting us out. National Emergency. Special top-secret orders from the president. The doctor called- everything is worse.
He walked into the living room, looking for me since I didn’t respond. I was too busy trying to put this puzzle together. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. While this was normal for most parents, it looks weird on my father. I would sooner be able to spot him in a crowd in his uniform before I could find him in jeans. Did he even go into work today? The world was ending, it had to be. Nothing was making sense.
“How was your day?” He asked, wiping his hands on a dish rag.
My stomach was in knots, turning over in my stomach like a tumbleweed. I’m tempted to not answer him. To dive into my own question brigade of why he was even home before I was in the middle of the week. I spent my whole life figuring out his army schedule. Now he is throwing a wrench into it.
I knew better though, “Normal; nobody stared at me like I was a walking circus. That was nice.”
He gave me a smile. It’s forced- I could tell. Whatever was happening wasn’t good.The knots in my stomach tightened.
“Stacy, I need to tell you something,” he said as he took a seat on the couch.
I walked over, standing near the coffee table. Bad news was best taken standing up if you ask me. You have something to do once you hear it. You can pace, you can jump, or my personal favorite, you could walk away.
My dad looked at me. The look he gave me scared me a little. It wasn’t like the one he gave me when I first saw him in the hospital. He hadn’t been crying over this, but it still made him scared and uncomfortable.
After what felt like an eternity, he spoke. “Your mother called today. She wants to see you.
* * *
My mother’s condo building was tall. It stood out next to the smaller buildings that surrounded the area. That was the only way you knew you weren’t in New York, the area around the building. If you were looking at the building, you would think you were smack dab in the middle of Times Square. I knew I wasn’t but everything about this building screamed New York and money. I’m learning my mother is loaded.
“You going to be okay?” My dad as I got out of the car.
“Yeah, I’ll text you when you should come to get me,” I said.
This whole thing was weird. I didn’t like the look on my dad’s face as I stepped out of the car. It almost felt like I was betraying him. I knew I wasn’t. He brought it up. He could have ignored the fact that she called and that she requested to see me. He could have never told me any of it and we could have lived our lives the way they had always been. Just add a few dozen doctor’s appointments for follow-ups.
What was I doing?
I took a deep breath and walked up to the giant glass door. There was a panel on the front, also made of glass so it blended in with the door. There were pastel colored buttons for call buttons. Each color represented a different tenant, their names etched on the glass.
I pressed the first button, Melissa Stanford. Her name was a stark difference from mine, Stacy Anderson.
“Hello?” said a voice. I couldn’t tell from where I couldn’t see a speaker. I couldn’t find a place to speak back. I felt the knots forming in my stomach; this was already a nightmare.
“Stacy? Is that you?” said the voice from the non-non-existent speakers.
“Yes,” I said to the glass. I hoped she could hear me and that I wasn’t proving myself to be a moron before she could see my face.
“Oh good! Come on in, honey.”
I could hear a soft chime that came from the door. I grabbed the handle, opening the door. What is this place?
The lobby was massive and all white. There were large windows with white furniture littered all around the spacious floor. Everything looked brand new, never lived in. I don’t even want to sit down for fear of ruining something.
The elevator chimed behind me and out walked the most beautiful woman I ever saw. She couldn’t be my mother. She was too pretty. My dad always said how I looked like my mother and I wasn’t that pretty. They don’t make models this pretty.
The woman spoke, “Stacey, honey.”
She opened her arms like she was about to hug me. Was I going to let her? Do I step aside? Why wasn’t there a guidebook on how to meet your mother for the first time? The knots in my stomach turned. This was worse than figuring out what I was going to do for the dance.
“Melissa?” I asked, hoping that would stop her from enveloping me into her personal space.
She stopped and smiled. “Yes, of course, who else would I be?”
Any number of the other tenants that live here, I thought to myself. I decided against saying it. I wasn’t sure how to answer her question.
“Oh honey, look at you! You have your father’s eyes. Let’s go up to the roof, it’s beautiful, and the view is amazing.”
She took my hand, pulling me to the elevator without waiting for my answer. As skeptical as I was, I was thankful that she was taking charge.
“Is that a tattoo?” She asked once we were in the elevator.
I glanced at the eight. Of course, she would notice.
“No, it’s a birthmark.”
She small, polite smile turned into a full-toothed grin. “That’s interesting.”
I nodded, still unsure of what to say. I didn’t know how to make small talk with a stranger, much less the woman who gave birth to me. Strangers were less awkward than this. I didn’t spend nine months in their stomach.
We got to the rooftop. It was beautiful. There is so much greenery, I didn’t know where to look first. It almost looked like a maze. I could get lost up here.
Melissa led me to the edge. She was right about the view too, it was amazing. All I could see was sky and the soft glow of the sunset. I don’t think I had been anywhere with this kind of view before. It was the definition of breathtaking.
“Your father always loved the name Stacy; I’m not surprised to hear he named you that.”
She didn’t even know my name? She left that quick she missed the “name the baby” part? The knots in my stomach turned to fire. My blood started to boil. She didn’t play a part in naming me. She has been a ghost for seventeen years and all of a sudden it’s “honey” and she wants to see me?
Hell no, I pulled my phone out of my pocket to call my dad. I was never that curious about my mother until she wanted to see me and now that I’ve met her, I didn’t want to know more.
“Oh honey, wait,” she said once she saw me on my phone.
“Wait for what?” I asked, my voice felt like fire.
She took a few steps to me. She was close enough to hug me if she was feeling like trying again. I took a step back, closer to the edge which I am now seeing isn’t very high.
“I need something from you,” she said.
“What could I have that you need?”
Then she pushed me.