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I remember the first time I saw her. She was beautiful. Rich brown hair flowed down her back which added charm to her uniquely attractive and sophisticated face. Just looking at her made me feel extremely ugly. It seemed as if our relationship was impossible, but I know it existed.
I had found her in a police database. I had access because my uncle was a policeman and I visited him at the police station on the rare occasion. I snuck onto the database one time and found her. Her name was Melanie Voncisco. She was born on April 27th, 1975. Her address was there too, and her phone number. I remember pulling my phone out right then and there, and dialing *67 and her number.
“Hello?” she said, her voice sounding clear and formal, but at the same time friendly. I was stumped. I didn’t know what to say. I hung up. Then, I printed the information from the database and left the police station without a word.
For days afterwards, I dialed the number into my phone and cancelled it right before pressing the “talk” button. I did break through after a while though, and decided to call her to listen to her voice just one last time. After that, I couldn’t stop calling her again and again, always promising myself that this would really be the last time. It never was though. Every few days I’d call her and listen to her “hellos” and threats to stop calling. Soon, it just didn’t seem like enough, so I started calling her everyday. Eventually, even that wasn’t enough.
“That’s it.” I thought, “It’s time to take action.”
I rolled up the rug on my hardwood floor and I pulled out a plank of the wood to uncover a small hole. I pulled out the piece of paper that I had printed her address on. I don’t know why I pulled it out. After all, I had already memorized all of it.
“Ralph! Dinner is ready!” my mom said.
“Coming!” I replied and quickly put the paper back into the hole and put the plank back in place. Then I headed downstairs to get dinner.
“How’s school?” my mom asked while were sitting at the dinner table.
“Fine.” I replied.
“Typical sixteen year old.” My dad smirked at my short remark. I didn’t really care for his opinion though. All I was thinking about was “her”.
“I’m not really hungry.” I lied, “Can I go?” My mom sighed and waved her hand for me to be excused.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. But I’m angry that they hadn’t told me that I was adopted for so long. They gave me everything a kid could ever wish for. They were rich and everything. Despite the wealth though, sometimes I just didn’t get enough warmth from my dad. Sometimes I think he decided to adopt me for a publicity stunt to get a better reputation in his “super-important” job. He was a successful businessman.
Anyway, my point is, I never really felt appreciated that much so I preferred to keep to myself.
I grabbed my coat and threw it on. It was mid-November, so it was already dark outside. The wind stung my cheeks and occasional trees dropped pastel leaves upon the concrete. I got on the subway and headed for Queens.
Every time I’m on the subway, I wonder, “What would happen if the subway was stranded in a tunnel?” I usually look around at the people on the train and I try to figure out who would be the hero of the story, and who would be the “close to killing anyone who approached them” type. I wonder who I would be.
I got off the subway. It was getting colder and colder. I zipped my coat up to my Adam’s apple and kept walking. I finally got to my destination. It was a block’s-worth of attached three-family townhomes. I had imagined it differently. I thought she’d be living in a tall apartment building. She didn’t. Her house was a pretty townhouse made of dark burgundy brick. The house had heavy mahogany doors. It was a really nice house. No wonder. “She” lived there.
I sat there, in front of her house for a while. I watched, and watched but she didn’t appear. I figured I’d just go home.
The next day, I was back. I got out of school early and headed for Queens. When I got there, I sat on the curb on the other side of where the house was located and waited.
That’s when I finally saw her. She looked so beautiful in the picture; I really didn’t think it was possible for her to be any more stunning. But it was. She came out of the townhouse, her sable hair flowing in the wind as she skipped down the steps like a little girl. She seemed very content. I was curious where she was heading. I followed her.
She walked a couple of blocks and then she got on the bus. So did I. We rode for a couple of stops. The she got off the bus, and I did along with her. She walked a block and turned at the corner. She was walking quickly because she was cold. I could tell she was cold. I turned at the corner too and saw that she was heading towards a café that was at the end of the block. It was a nice, artsy type of café. It looked like a place where a group of intellectualists would meet to discuss the latest published books.
She went inside and sat at a table by the window. This was my chance, my chance to finally talk to her, meet her. I went inside the café. I started walking towards her.
“Excuse me.” a woman said as she passed by me. She walked right to “her” and gave her a greeting hug. They both sat down and began to chat. I just stood there for a few seconds in deep disappointment. I was so close! I hated myself for not walking faster. Finally, I turned around and headed for the exit. I’d wait outside.
Once again, I sat on the curb of the sidewalk and waited for her. It was taking her an awfully long time. I checked my watch to see how much time passed.
Twenty minutes…forty minutes…one hour…two hours…
Finally, she was leaving. It was slowly getting dark when she said goodbye to her friend and left the café. I rose to my feet and went after her.
When we got to the corner where she turned, she started to look back. By the third time she turned around and I failed to hide, I realized she was looking back at me.
She quickened her step. She was trying to run away from me. I quickened my step too. She looked back again. This time, I didn’t even try to hide. She started to run. I ran after her.
Finally, she turned into an alley. I followed. When I turned, I realized that the alley had a dead end.
As I approached her, she was scratching the brick wall in hopes of climbing over the wall. No luck.
As I got closer, she clasped her back to the wall. She was trembling.
“What do you want from me!?” she screamed with panic in her voice.
“I’ve looked for you for so long.” I said, coming closer.
“Who are you!? What do you want from me!?” she continued screaming, tears running down her face.
“It’s okay,” I replied, “I won’t hurt you. My name is Ralph Van Buren. I’m your son.”