Last week I read one of the vignettes from this memoir journey at the Rosemont College MFA monthly reading. I was invited to read as an alum. I chose to read the one in which I discover the mystery baby because it was such a shocking moment, and one that I continue to obsess over.
I looked out at the audience as I read; it felt as if each word tapped on the door leading into my mother’s life. I know I will likely never know whom this mystery baby is, or was, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know. But what I hadn’t considered prior to reading last week was how, and what, this may have meant to Mum. First, was this baby hers? Did the baby die? I can recall her saying, “There is nothing worse than losing a child.” Were those words born out of a painful experience or just words we all say upon occasion?
My point is that standing there looking out at the audience, talking so publicly about my mother’s private life, I felt my heart rip a tiny bit. It isn’t that I feel as if I am betraying her, but rather aching for her. It could all be for nothing. This mystery baby might simply be a neighbor’s child, but something inside me says no, there is more to this mystery baby.