I sat down the mahogany chair of the small café, looking at the glass pane and out at the rainy scenery outside. I glanced at my watch once more and my anticipation and irritation heightened. She’s late, I thought. I remembered fixing the date and time so that both of us would be here at the same time. Yet she managed to be late. Typical of her.
Thunders rolled outside again. For the nth time that afternoon, I weighed my options. I could, of course, stand up, go out to my parked car and forget this incident. But then again, I could stay and wait for her to come.
This is the last time, I thought. After this, I won’t wait anymore. I won’t contact her again.
I took another sip of my coffee, which had been sitting there for almost two hours now. Wait for another minute, I said to myself. She’ll come. Have patience.
After five more minutes, a woman stepped inside the café. She was totally wet, and her hair looked as if she never combed her entire life. Then, searching the crowd of unfamiliar people, she spotted me and walked towards my table. It dawned upon me that moment: She was whom I had been waiting for.
“Nicola,” she said in a weak voice. “It’s nice to see you.”
I shivered as I heard her voice, and an inexplicable anger for the woman in front of me suddenly spread throughout my entire body.
“My name’s not Nicola.” I spat at her. “I’m Alexandra.”
She smiled as she sat down. Perhaps she did not feel the tension between us. “You may be Alexandra to them, but you’re Nicola to me.”
“You’re late, by the way,” I snarled.
“Yes, I know. I got caught in the traffic. It’s raining rats out there.”
I smirked. “The saying is ‘raining cats and dogs’, not rats.”
“I wasn’t using figurative language, Nicola. It was literally raining rats out there. I walked through a street and rats were everywhere.”
“I told you not to call me Nicola! My name’s Alexandra!”
“But you are Nicola. No matter what they call you, you’re still Nicola. I named you Nicola. I named you Nicola so that we’d have the same name.”
“I don’t see any reason why you should call me Nicola.” I pointed out to her. “After all, that isn’t the name I have on my birth certificate. My name is Alexandra. I am Alexandra.”
“I’m your mother, Nicola, and I named you Nicola.”
Hatred surged through my veins for this woman second after second.
“Biologically, yes, but I don’t think it goes beyond that.”
“You’re still Nicola to your mother.”
“You are NOT my mother. Remember that.”
Tears sprung from her eyes at that very moment. I looked away. Did she have to make me see her tears right when all I could feel was deep hatred and intense anger for her?
“I am your mother. I was the one who bore you for nine months. I was the one who had problems with my pregnancy.”
“But your being my mother stops from there. My mother took care of me for the last twenty five years, and she still takes care of me. She never left me alone, unlike you.”
She couldn’t look at me in the eye for minutes.
“Can’t you tell me the reason why you gave me up? Why did you give me to some people you hardly know?”
“I did that because of you.”
I laughed bitterly. Who was she kidding? “Because of me? Tell me the truth. Why? Because of money? Because of what? I need to know.”
“Because of your future.” She started.
“I knew you had no future with me. I was a penniless twenty-year old when I had you. I was impregnated by your father. When he realized that I was pregnant, he left me. My parents—your grandparents—disowned me the moment I told them about you. I had no one and nothing on my name.
“I only knew of one thing that time: to keep you. We could live together and have a beautiful life. Months later, reality hit me. I couldn’t keep you and give you a beautiful life at the same time. It was just too impossible. When I was nearing my ninth month, a friendly couple took me and offered to take my child as their own.
“At first, I didn’t like the idea, but later I realized that they could give you something that I never could. You could have that wonderful life with them, something that you’d never have with me. I had no choice at the matter.”
“You had a choice.” I pointed out. “You could give me to them or you could live through it with me. If you chose the latter, we’d have a different life. Together.”
“Yes…but did you ever think of the life I can give you? I never finished college, I had no job…I had no home. I had nothing. If I were to keep you, what would I feed you? You would only have a miserable life with me. I couldn’t give you the education you have now.”
“That’s NOT the point.” I spat resentfully. “You should’ve thought of what I’d feel, living without a real identity of my own. Everyone called me Alexandra, yet I wasn’t. The parents I grew up knowing weren’t mine. They weren’t real. If I lived with you, it’d have been different.”
“But do you think you’d have this…this ‘real identity’ if you lived with me? Nic—Alexandra…you wouldn’t have anything of what you have right now if you lived with me. You wouldn’t be happy…We’d both be miserable then.”
I shook my head, and a tear fell from my eye. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know what I would’ve felt…or what I’m still feeling right now.”
“Did you honestly think it was easy for me to give you up? You were my child, my only child. But I knew I shouldn’t think of myself, but of your future. I couldn’t give you any of the material things they could…I couldn’t give you anything. I had to think of you, my child.”
I shook my head once more. “I don’t believe you. All you thought of was yourself.”
I stood up afterwards, took a few dollars out of my wallet, put down some on the table, and handed the others to the woman in front of me.
“That’s what was exchanged for me before, right? Money? There you go. Goodbye.”
I walked off and headed towards the exit and was about to open the door when someone put a hand on my shoulder. I looked behind, and there she was, tearful and sad. On her hand was the money I gave her.
“Someday soon you’ll realize what I had sacrificed for your sake. It’s worth more than any money, Nicol—Alexandra. You’ll know that.” She handed me the money and left.
A fortnight after seeing my biological mother, I was in an important meeting regarding the sales of the company I worked for. I was in a good mood, and I felt as if it was a great day. My fiancé just talked with my parents about our upcoming wedding and my parents were nearing their 35th wedding anniversary.
Just then, I had an unexpected phone call from my biological mother. She said she wanted to see for one last time, because she would leave the state and go to Texas to spend her time with her friends.
“Meet me at the same café,” she said.
Of course, I had no intention whatsoever to meet her. She was never a part of my life, and she would never be.
I remained inside my office for the next five hours, and our meeting time passed. Maybe now she knew what it felt like to be kept waiting. Just then, I decided to meet her. After all, it would be the last time that it’d ever happen.
I took my car and sped off towards the café.
Traffic was horrible that day. The cars would move about an inch for a second, and then wait for thirty minutes until the next movement in the traffic. I was getting irritated and I realized that it was never a good thing to meet her in the first place.
I looked out of my window and asked another driver about the traffic.
“A car accident, perhaps. This highway is prone to accidents, after all,” he said. After I thanked him, I listened to some music and called my fiancé.
“Where are you again?” he asked. I answered his question, and there was silence on the line.
“Wait a moment. I’m checking the news channel for accidents or whatnot.” I could hear the familiar sounds of the news channel he was checking. It was then that I heard it.
“Yes, there’s an accident. Involving a car and a bus. The driver of the car’s dead. It’s a woman, named…Nicola Anderson. Well, I guess you’ll be stuck there for a long time.”
I couldn’t hear him afterward. Surely…I was just mistaken. There were, perhaps, hundreds of Nicolas in America. It wasn’t that much uncommon. But what were the chances of another Nicola in this very highway, besides me and my biological mother? I shut the phone off, went out of the car, and walked towards the accident. I needed to know.
My heart was pounding as I neared the accident area. There was an ambulance, many police cars, and people all over. I searched the crowd for a sign of her anywhere.
And then I saw it.
The ambulance took her body. Her pale features showed no life, no strength. I cried as I looked at her closed eyes, to her lips.
I looked at the officer in front of me. His face was full of concern.
“Are you a relative of the victim, miss?”
I shook my head. “…No. Thank God, no.”
I left the scene right after that and headed to the café as fast as possible.
When I reached the place, I searched for my mother, and I saw her, sitting at the exact table like two weeks ago. I rushed to her side.
I hugged her deeply, thanking God for keeping her alive long enough for me to realize how important she was to me, and how much I’d suffer if I lost her without even telling her how much I longed for my real mother’s touch.
“What’s wrong, Alexandra? What happened?”
I shook my head.
“I’m not Alexandra. I’m Nicola. I’m your daughter.”
-Written during high school for my school paper. I’m glad I was able to keep a copy; most of the stuff I wrote had long been forgotten and thrown away.