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I was born to be forgotten.
My biological mother wanted to forget me. Even as she held on to me for the first time, she wanted to forget. I didn't always think about my adoption this way, though. When I was younger, I used to pretend that my mother was in some far away kingdom and couldn't come to get me away from my adopted parents because she had royal duties to attend to first. I always left one chair empty at my tea parties in case she showed up or looked for someone who looked like me in the malls or at the grocery store between the fresh produce.
After one incident where I hugged a woman who I thought was my mother, my adopted mother, Caroline, told me that my mom wanted a closed adoption. Even though she didn't say it, I knew by the way her eyes seemed to sag that she even knew my mother didn't want me; my real mother didn't want a mistake. It's not that I don't love Caroline, I do, but she's not my real mom. It's a crushing feeling knowing that my real mom didn't want me and having all these unanswerable questions that I want to ask Caroline. Did she even hold me? Did she question giving me away or did she just give me away without a second thought? Did she look at girls on the streets and wonder if that was me? Did she love me? DOES she love me?
I guess the last question is something I can answer myself. If she really loved me she would have kept me.
But this story isn't about my mother. I guess it is kind of about her since she was the first to forget me but only part of this story is hers. The other part belongs to Beckett Chase.
The first time I met Beckett was at the gym. This is usually the part in the story where people get confused so I'll clear it up for you right now. I HATE working out. Running, sports, even gym volleyball makes me want to throw up. I wasn't at the gym because I wanted to be; I was there because as had to be. I was working at the gym for a few hours each day to earn some extra cash for college. The day that I met Beckett, I was cleaning the floors when he tripped over my bucket while sprinting through his next lap. The water splattered all over my clothes and make a mini river of dirty water that traveled to nowhere. He kept apologizing and used a wad of paper towels to help me clean it up. He was so nice to me. But that's not why I remember that moment so well. I remember it because when his eyes locked with mine, I could feel him staring into me rather than at me as if he could see my soul. No one had ever done that before.
Beckett was too good for me. He was too good for anyone, actually. He was tough and harsh but also gentle and kind when he needed to be. I loved both sides of him and all the other sides too. I could love every corner, every inch, every face of him as long as it was the same Beckett who helped me mop up the water. The more time we spent together, the more I knew that I had fallen in love with Beckett. Who wouldn't? He's funny and caring and remembers your birthday and buys flowers just because he liked the color. Girls used to give me dirty looks when I'd walk around with Beckett on my arm and whisper to who whoever would listen that Beckett was just something I wanted to show off. Sure, I'll admit it was kind of an ego booster to have the most wanted guy in our school holding my hand and kissing MY lips, but what I really loved about Beckett was all his quirky things. He used to dip French fries into strawberry shakes and if he got handed a candy bar, he'd be on a sugar high for hours. I liked how his thumb swirled around the back of my hand while he threaded his hand through mine. I liked his eyes; I liked his smile; I loved his laugh; I loved him.
I remember when he read me a passage of his favorite book before we left on a date. He told me to close my eyes and I did, but when he started reading I peeked a look at him. He was fully concentrated and his eyes were moving quickly across the page like he couldn't say the words as fast as he wanted to read them. His hair turned golden from the sunlight streaming through the window. I wanted to reach out and touch him to make sure he was real. I'll never forget that.
The funny thing is that even though I'll never forget him, he's already forgotten me.
My pencil taps the desk in an erratic rhythm and Sarah Down shoots me a dirty look. Good- I don't like her anyway. The rest of the class starts to file in slowly. Some people come in laughing with their friends and others come alone. Beckett comes in with Jenny. Every day I think it's going to be different. Every day I think he'll look at me and remember when I ran my fingers through his hair or kissed him quickly before I ran into my house when he got me home too late. Everyday it's the same. Even now I know that he'll walk by me with a blank gaze and a smile and say," Hi, Katie," and I'll say hi back hoping that he'll remember anything, something, and one day, everything.
When I visited him in the hospital, I don't know what I wanted. I guess I wanted him to hug me and ask me if I was okay like they do in the movies. I wanted him to tell me it wasn't my fault that while we were driving a drunk driver hit our car even though it was; I was driving. What I didn't expect was to walk into the bleak hospital room and have him surrounded by the roses that I brought in and have him not remember who I am. What broke my heart even more than the words,” Hi, it's nice to meet you" was when I saw the shallowness in his eyes. He couldn't see what was in me anymore; He didn't even know me. Maybe that's selfish but who isn't? All I feel is hurt, deep and aching, and he doesn't feel anything besides the need to be nice to me because I won't stop leaving him alone. Everything I feel when I look at him used to be mutual but now it's just me. And I don't ever think I've been so lonely.
Beckett comes down the aisle slowly and smiles at a few of his friends on the way down. He laughs at something one of them says and I know it's stupid but I feel jealous that that laugh wasn't for me, for something I said. I'm getting what I deserve I guess after not seeing that car come speeding down the highway. Agonizingly slow he walks down the aisle. Inch by inch he comes closer, just close enough now to where I could reach out and touch him. As each inch goes by, I pray that things could be different this time and he'd remember something. As the inches become millimeters, my thoughts slowly wither away.
His eyes are crystal clear blue and they match his shirt. His hair is messy but I think he intended it to be that way. This isn't the Beckett I know. That Beckett died in the car.
"Hi Katie," he says smiling. He's always smiling. Nothing is the matter now. How could there be when you can't remember anything in your life that was worth worrying about? "Hi Beckett," I choke out, fighting the urge to call him Beck like I used to. "How are you?" The pit full of despair tips and spills into every cell in my body. I sigh and let my eyes close for a second so I can will the tears away. He doesn't remember today either. Why would he? I'd be stupid to think he would have. I don't think he'd want to hear that I'm not okay and I don't want to say it so instead I tell him, “I’m fine." I'm a liar. It's what he wanted to hear. "That's good," He grins and then the bell rings. He takes his seat in the back of the classroom where he belongs.
Strangely, all the memories that I have of him don't come flooding in and tear me apart. The only thing that comes to mind is my real mom. My real mom forgot me too. Did she go on with life too? Did she have other kids and tuck them into bed at night like she could have done with me? Does she even bother to look in the mirror and wonder if I might look like her? Does she still feel something there, an ache, love maybe, or nothing at all?
The teacher shouts over the class to be quiet so she can start her lesson but the noise stays at the same volume. I turn around so that I can see Beckett whispering something to Jenny. She brings her delicate hand up to her mouth and laughs, a tinkling sound. While she laughs Beckett turns away for just a moment and meet my eyes. For a second, I think I can see something swirling in them. Understanding, maybe, or possibly he is remembering something. I let hope perch on my heart for a moment and lean in, expecting the grand finale of a lifetime. Except there isn't. He turns away a moment later to fish his notebook out of his backpack. I face forward again as hope spreads its wings and flies away from me hopefully for good this time.
I let the tears come after that.
I was born to be forgotten. I just didn't know until now.