Written by [Name Witheld] (Part 2 of 3)
'She must be coming back', I thought with tears streaming down my face. I had just watched her walk away.
It had been a crazy 2 weeks. I still felt numb and was in a state of confusion. Everything I had believed to be true turned out to be a lie. The man I believed was my dad was not. Not only that, my whole identity was in question.
Mum had finally answered one of the many calls I had placed to her after my godmother's revelation. We agreed to meet in a pub half way between her house and mine - neutral territory. I got there first and ordered something strong as I needed some Dutch courage. This was so out of my comfort zone and I just didn’t know what to do to gain some control back.
'I prayed this day would never come' she said as she sat down. 'I gave you everything you ever needed so that you would never ask this question.' I sat there listening to this amazing woman who had raised me, who up until 2 weeks ago, I would have trusted with my life, But now, my heart was cold and I didn’t even recognise her. How could I believe anything she was saying right now? She had lied to me for 28 years and I was still waiting for an explanation as to why. Nothing made sense.
The conversation was a hard one. There was no reason for her to hide the truth, yet she still was not willing to tell me who my dad was. Why could she not see that I needed to know? I had a right to know. No amount of gifts, clothes, paid for holidays or girlie days out, could make up for this. Mum explained her side of the story and tried to justify why she had told me that my dad was someone else. I sat there and didn’t speak. If I'm being honest, I didn’t believe a word she said but I didn’t know how to tell her that. I was so confused. Her behaviour from the day I found out, until the day of our meeting was bewildering. I felt like the parent in a crazy role-reversal version of my life. I was the level-headed one who wanted to sit down and talk about things, while she wanted to bury her head in the sand.
In the space of 14 days, I had found out that James was not my dad, a life-changing revelation for sure, but Mum also had something else to share with me: my real father was white! Not that that is a problem, but when you've been raised to believe that you're Afro-Caribbean, learning that you are in fact of dual heritage means you start to question a lot. I was always slated as being 'quite pale' for a black girl and was often asked if I was mixed-raced. My mum would jump to my defence explaining that 'black people come in all shades and sizes' and that I was 'FULLY black'.
This new information twisted me up inside. I found myself asking so many questions. Who was I? Should I stop eating Jamaican food? Did I have a right to listen to reggae music? Should I eat more potatoes? Sounds dramatic and silly (I am a drama queen at the best of times) but I felt betrayed. I threw out all of my books on black history and fell into a state of deep numbness.
I had so many questions, but I could not find my voice. All I wanted was for my mum to hug me and tell me that we would work this out together. I needed her to understand why I was hurting and to take some responsibility for this mess. I had not asked to be born. She chose to have me, to raise me. She must have known that one day I would have asked who my dad was.
After Mum'd explained the real story of my conception, she got up and left. She offered no reason as to why she'd lied. No reason as to why she would not tell me who 'he' was. She simply picked up her bag and walked out of the pub. I sat there crying, thinking she may just need a minute. She'd be back. There was no way she would leave things like this.
I waited 5 hours for my to Mum return. She didn’t.