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Life As I Know It
The year was 1996 when I was brought into this world and she was taken from it. Everything was supposed to be so simple that morning, just an easy drive to the market for some peanut butter, pickles, and ice cream. Regrettably, things don’t always go as planned. The seaside fog was too thick. A leisurely trip to the corner market ended up as a trip to the hospital with the utmost urgency. She had a head-on collision with a garbage truck. The impact caused her spine to snap, paralyzing her barely seven months into her pregnancy. Not a soul could tell whether or not the to-be mother and child would make it as they were rushed to the nearest hospital.
She was without family or friends. They still hadn’t decided what to do with her and were in complete shock due to the fact that she was sixteen when she got pregnant. She had tried to run away from all her troubles to California but some would just not leave her be. The damage was too severe, even after numerous surgeries, she died. Yet, with death, comes life. That was the day her daughter, Callie Rhinehart was born. I am Callie Rhinehart.
That event took place exactly fourteen years ago. So in retrospect, today is my fourteenth birthday. The timing was perfect because today was also the last day of the school year and so I just had a major party with all of my friends. Through out the entire celebration I could feel something was up but it didn’t hit me until both my parents came upstairs to wish me goodnight. Usually I’ll just say it at dinner to my mom and over the phone to my dad at work—that’s it. Except Dad came home early and the routine was broken. Together, they revealed to me that I was adopted.
When I heard the news I suppose my brain didn’t register it right because I felt absolutely no emotion whatsoever. I wasn’t excited about a new family, curious about who they would be, or even angry that my parents had waited until now to tell me.
Even though the clock on my nightstand says eleven o’clock I’m calling up my cousin Jacquelyn. She is four years older than me but might as well be my best friend.
“What’d you think they’re like? No, I know! They’re like you! I mean you always were kind of different, or would they not be like you since you weren’t raised by them…”
Jack (Jacquelyn) blabbered on but my mind drifted elsewhere. I’ve always known I was a bit different. My parents, I mean my adoptive parents and I have the same traits like light colored hair, skin, and eyes but our features varied slightly in sizes and shapes.
It wasn’t just our appearances that had me wondering because I’ve always had a sort of premonition about things like this. Its hard to explain it but it’s kind of like an idea pops into my head and everyday that idea grows stronger feeding off my memories and knowledge…growing until the moment it becomes a reality.
“Callie!!!” Jack shouted, nearly busting my eardrum in the process. When Jack’s voice jolted me back to reality I dropped my cell phone. Now I scrambled to get it.
Trying to return the favor, I yelled as loud as I could, “What?!?”
“Why—don’t—you—look—for—them?” she asked sounding aggravated.
“I wouldn’t know where to start…”
“Why don’t you ask aunt Evy?”
So that’s just what I did. It’s now a month later but still all I can think about is my birth mother and missing family. Of course I’ve never brought it up in front of my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I do love them but with such little I knew about my birth parents, it had me wondering. Today is the day I am finally going to act on those thoughts. Jack is driving me to the adoption agency where my parents found me. Second Chances was what the sign on the building in front of us said. I took a deep breath.
“You ready?” she asked
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” My voice quivered as I said it but I still got out of the car.
My legs started to shake as we reached the desk of the only person who could point me in the direction of my birth family. The words I wished to speak died in my throat. The woman looked at me expectantly. I was at a loss of what to say and Jack knew it, she took over for me. I was embarrassed and I felt myself blushing. I stared at my shoes as Jack asked the questions to the answers I longed for most.
“I am sorry dear but any information we have on a Ms. Callie Aria Rhinehart is classified. To have this information you’ll have to be escorted by her adoptive parents.”
“Isn’t there any way…”
“I’m sorry but you have to have their consent… forms to fill out…signatures…”
I sat down in the waiting room while Jack persisted. A man walked in but the woman was too preoccupied with Jack to notice. He looked around and noticed me sitting by myself. He took the empty seat beside me.
“What’s going on over there?” He inquired.
“My cousin is intimidating her to get my information.” Oh, sure now my mouth works and I said the completely wrong thing! He looked at me like I was crazy and I tried to laugh it off. “I mean she’s just trying to find my background information… because I’m adopted…I know practically next to nothing about my birth family…”
“Oh, I can help you with that.” He declared. He rose from his chair and walked over to the desk. Curious, I trailed after him. The woman behind the desk stopped mid-sentence as she recognized him immediately.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Colborne. How are you doing this fine day? Is there anything I can do for you?”
“As a matter of fact there is. Sofia, can you pull up the file of this young lady?”
Sofia left and returned with a single sheet of paper and said “I’m sorry but there is not much information on a Ms. Callie Aria Rhinehart.”
“Does it say anything about her family or past history?” Mr.Colborne asked.
“The only thing here is where she was born; Sierra Vista up in San Luis Obispo.”
“Thank you, thank you so much Mr.Colborne.” I said and we rushed out the door.
Straightforward, hospitals freak me out. Needles especially give me the creeps. Around every corner I imagine a man with a needle, waiting to inject a suspicious liquid into my bloodstream. I cringed at the bright florescent lights and the intoxicating smell of alcohol. This time there was a man who directed us on where to go. The Records Office; where we found hardly any information to satisfy my craving for the truth of my past, but at least now I know that my mother had died in childbirth and didn’t just abandon me.
There’s silence the entire drive home. I’m disappointed and Jack knows not to even attempt to cheer me up.
She just dropped me off. Now I’m getting ready for bed even though my clock only says five o’ clock. A premonitional dream came to me that night.
The sign says Welcome to Desmoines, Iowa and I’m thinking what the heck am I doing halfway across the country? There was the sound of a car screeching as the stink of burnt rubber filled the air. My eyes zeroed in on the man seconds before he got hit. I’ve never seen him before. Still, I feel a strong connection to him. There’s an ambulance roaring past me and they raise him onto a stretcher. I know he won’t live to see another day.
I awoke with the notion I could’ve saved him. When I went down for breakfast, I told my mom all about my dream. She took it for what it was; a sign I had to go to Iowa.
I felt confused and rushed as we boarded a plane set for Desmoines the following week. I have this lingering sense of urgency and when I think of how much time has passed since that night…my stomach twists. I believe that that event will take place if I don’t stop it but I’m scared. I don’t know how or even if I can stop it.
We wandered around Desmoines for two days until it finally happened; or almost did. This time I actually saw him at the crosswalk. He looked to be in his thirties and he was texting! He was oblivious to his surroundings and apparently so was the driver.
I didn’t hesitate, I ran directly across the street to him. I could’ve sworn someone yelled my name but it was too late, I had a date with destiny. I heard tires squealing and smelt burnt rubber; as my dream had predicted. Only it left out how painful it would be to push a grown man out of traffic and then get hit by a car.
The pain was excruciating and unlike anything I’ve been through before. My stomach felt shredded and my head was on fire. I couldn’t even feel my legs which was the only relief from the agony that ripped over the rest of my body. Why, oh why couldn’t I just die already? That was my last thought as I blacked out.
When I came to consciousness I was in a hospital bed. My adoptive mother was standing over me and the man was behind her.
“Honey, meet your birth father.” She said.