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Text:Tom Hathaway - Memoirs of Forbidden Love/Reunited by Biological Mom

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I got a phone call last summer that changed my life. “Hi, mom, itʼs me … your son,” the strange voice said.

My heart stopped beating for a moment and moved into my throat. I couldnʼt speak. “Uh … uh ….” I mumbled.

“Bet you never expected to hear from me,” he continued.

I had given him up for adoption when I was sixteen. I got to hold him once as a naked little screamer before he was taken away from me … forever, I thought. Iʼd gotten pg. in high school, the father couldnʼt handle it, he was my age and neither of us were able to be real parents. Back then girls couldnʼt go to high school with a baby like they can now. I didnʼt have much choice. I cried and cried about it, then signed the adoption papers.

“So … uh, Karen, whatʼve you been doing … all these years?” He knew my name but I didnʼt know his. I could hear a trace of a grudge in his voice. The guilt Iʼd been feeling for twenty‐two years washed up over me again. “Iʼve … Iʼve been missing you,” I stammered.

I knew adoptive children could now find the identity of their birth mothers, and Iʼd hoped he wouldnʼt. Now, hearing his voice, I was glad he had. Maybe if we really wanted to and worked at it, we could heal an old wound for both of us.

“Well … I missed you too,” he said, sadness replacing the sarcasm in his voice.

“Can I … see you?” I asked tentatively.

“Sure … Iʼd like that.”

I breathed with relief. I liked the sound of his voice. My son.

He suggested we get together tomorrow for dinner. I wouldʼve thought lunch would be more appropriate — dinner sounded almost like a date. I suggested a restaurant, and he hadnʼt heard of it — he must not be from around here. I gave him directions.

“How will I recognize you?” he asked.

I wanted to say, Iʼm your mother, youʼll know, but I said, “Iʼll wear a blue dress.”

We recognized each other instantly. He looked like my younger male alter ego. He also reminded me of his father, my first love. Seeing him released a stream of long‐buried feelings; I was captivated by his presence.

He smiled but looked hesitant and guarded.

“Iʼm so glad to see you … at last … again.” I forced the words through the tension in my throat. “Tell me about you.”

“Not a lot to tell,” he said

But of course there was, and we found we could talk despite the pressure of twenty‐two years of compacted feelings. Gradually, after the easy surface details of his recent graduation from college and my recent divorce (not from his father, whom I hadnʼt seen in twenty years since heʼd joined the navy), we got into deeper waters. I cried my apologies for abandoning him, told him of the remorse that still haunts me. He told me of the rejection he had grown up feeling and the insecurity that bred. I told him I would do anything to make up that neglect to him. He said just seeing him and talking to him were a start.

What a nice man! I thought.

We began meeting every day, sometimes taking a walk, sometimes sitting at my place, always talking in a flow of emotion. I look upon it now as kind of a delayed bonding. While we chatted, I felt a powerful urge, a need, to suckle him. I could see the baby heʼd been then and the man heʼd become, and I wanted both of them. I watched him with fascination. With a shock of familiarity we found we had many similar traits, mannerisms, interests.

As the days went on, my attraction grew deeper. Getting ready to see him, I would fuss over what to wear, select the right perfume, primp with my hair and make‐up. I felt like a teenager again. When we were together I acted flirtatious and seductive. I had to struggle to keep my hands off of him. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair, stroke his face, smell his skin. It was like finding my soulmate.

Later I discovered that other reunited pairs report similar experiences. Thereʼs even a name for it — genetic sexual attraction. In some cases itʼs overpowering for both of them, and the relationship becomes also erotic. Unfortunately in our case it was overpowering only for me.

After trying unsuccessfully to tempt him with low necklines and short skirts, with lustful looks and invitations to dance, I broke down and kissed him goodnight … on the lips … with my arm around his waist and my hand on his cheek.

He politely untangled himself and said, “Gee, mom, wasnʼt quite what I had in mind.”

I felt crushed, rejected, angry, ashamed. How could he not want me? Itʼs a question Iʼm still trying to answer. I donʼt know why. I just know itʼs true. He made that clear. I ended up humiliating myself like a total fool until I alienated him and drove him away. I saw what I was doing but couldnʼt help myself. I was like a zombie. One day he just wasnʼt there anymore. Disappeared.

I searched all over, then finally hired a detective to track him down, but only to give him the letter of apology Iʼd written. Maybe when he reads it, heʼll want to get in touch with me again. Itʼs my only hope.


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