Monday, November 29, 2010

Que reste-t-il

I am sitting in my room, surrounded by papers and books and newspapers and magazines. Old tickets, pictures, letters. In some ways they say something about my life; in others, they only provide the slightest of clues. Detritus of a life. A collage of memories and emotions, good and painful.

The emotional impact of going through things that have sentimental meaning is powerful. Take, for example, a letter written to me by a long-ago lover, a charming Englishman who was working on his Ph.D. at Cambridge when we met and shared weekend trysts in London. Coming from different parts of the country, we would always find each in British Museum, in the gallery with the Neo-Assyrian wall reliefs, and usually in front of my dear, dying lioness.

In any case, Andrew's words can still conjure up feelings of great happiness in me:


It was so sad to leave you in such an unceremonious way today. There was something deeply inappropriate about your just having to step off a Tube and disappear after after such a beautiful happy (for my part, at least) two days. Thanks for everything, baby; for fixing up the den of trysting, for being  so beautiful and so much fun, for sharing in such a delicious adventure.

I'm really sorry for marring this by a couple of pillocky outbursts. What I want is what we've got--it fulfills all my dreams just now, and I've not reason to construct straw men. I do trust you and believe you, my love, and I want us to enjoy just being together in our friendship--nothing must spoil it. I start behaving like a rational man from NOW.

I smile when I think of the 22-year-old I was, making my way around England and Ireland, learning, reading, and writing poetry. Absorbing the landscape and searching for myself, although I didn't know it at the time. Thinking about his courageous knowledge of self and acceptance of criticism, and a love for me that meant a willingness to change. Haven't seen that in anyone for quite a while.

One of my favorite songs about nostalgia is Charles Trenet's "Que reste-t-il de nos amours" as he asks what is left at the end of a life: une photo, vieille photo, de ma jeunesse, Que reste-t-il des billets doux, des mois d'avril, des rendezvous, un souvenir qui me poursuit sans cesse.

I am trying to find the happy amidst the sad, but it's hard going. Talked to my brother today, which made it all the much harder. Apparently everything depends on C being willing to have a relationship with me, which will be a cold day in hell; I just cannot understand how a family lets her control so much. What a nightmare. More to follow on that when I am not beside myself in tears. Why does it all have to be so hard, so guarded, so awful?


Amanda Woolston said...

I'm so sorry about your brother :-(

jhancock said...

I'm sorry Kara. I sure wish I was your brother and you were my sister. *sigh* Life would be so much better.


Susie said...

Adoption ~ the gift that keeps on giving. How sad that grown adults cannot stand up for themselves and have a relationship with their sister. I'm sorry...

ms. marginalia said...

He was so cold and took her side on everything. I told him that she said she wished she'd aborted me, and he said he wasn't sure she'd said that. I asked if he'd been in the room, and he said, "No." Well, then. Why would I make something so horrible up? Not to mention I have a witness, my friend Nalini.

Why can't adults have relationships that aren't contingent on how others feel about you? It's enormously sad. He said he was worried about me with my suicidal ideation, and I said, "Why? Why now?"

What hurts most terribly was how cold he was. He kept saying how hard this was for him. I get that, but there wasn't one word about how hard it was for me to be kicked out the family not once, but twice, and treated like garbage. He argued with me on the garbage bit, but when I pressed the issue (sending a "break-up" e-mail from Afghanistan, not returning any of my messages or bothering to tell me he was back--I said I was being treated like a criminal.

Latest is that C called me last night but didn't leave a message. I guess I am in for it. She has told everyone they're not allowed to have a relationship with me until SHE wants one with me, so I am getting ready to be yelled at. But I can give as good as I get.

Amanda said...

Sorry to hear about your brother.

I wanted to answer you here, so I would be sure you'll see my answer. (regarding susies blog).. you wrote me:

"“ ‘One of the biggest lessons for adoptees is love is not unconditional or even to be expected. ‘

Do people really believe that? It sounds like such an absurd thing to believe. Is that ther adoptee part of me shining through? ”

I am not trying to fight with you Amanda, honestly, but it seems like you were proving my point in half your comment and calling it absurd in the second half."

I think you misunderstood what I said. I do not believe in unconditional love. I suspect that's because I'm an adoptee. I just think it's silly and romantic- especially in regards to biological parents and children. Does that sound jaded? I suppose it is. I don't think what YOU'RE saying is absurd at all. what I meant to say is that I think the idea of unconditional love is a little bit absurd. Almost as if I feel that it applies to other people but probably no to me.

I can't tell you what my birthfamily feels. But I can tell you that it's easier for some of them to pretend I don't exist. I sympathize on some level...because I understand that their avoidance and reluctance to talk about their feelings probably stems from some sort of upsetting thoughts regarding my relinquishment. Which *most* of them completely supported. I guess my compassion for their feelings only goes so far. After all...they chose it. And I also guess I'm a little ashamed of that.