I knew the moment I laid eyes on him he was mine. His tiny four year old face stared at me momentarily before he hid himself in his Mother’s coat.
“He’s shy,” she told me.
“No problem,” I replied, shuffling uncomfortably.
It was not too long later than the confirmation I knew I would get came through.
“He’s mine,” I told my sister.
“No shit!” she responded, “He’s your double.”
That night, the first night I knew for sure that my inclinations were right and he really was mine, I sat in a hotel room with Anje and the little one. I sat on the floor facing her and leaning against the bed he slept on. I just watched him breathing in and out, watched his little nose crinkle up and I cried.
“In all the time we dated I never saw you cry,” she said to me.
“I’m not crying!”
“Liar,” she said.
“He’s just so.... perfect,” I said. “He’s so...” And I couldn’t find the word. I couldn’t find the word to finish that sentence. I don’t think there is a word to verbalise the feeling of your heart popping out of your chest in excitement or every happy emotion you have waited for expelling itself all at the same time. There’s no one single word to say how incredibly happy I felt at that point. So she interrupted.
“I’m sorry I kept this from you for so long.”
“Let’s forget about that. If I hold grudges the only person who will get hurt is him.”
And when I looked at his little hands and feet and his sleeping eyes I knew that I would do anything in my power to stop him from feeling any pain.
Unconditional love. I would have wrapped up the moon for him – I still would.
One day he will be old enough to really demand the full story about why I wasn’t around in those first four years – about why his life started in Russia. And I will tell him the truth when he’s old enough. But I will remind him all the same that anything his Mother did was with his best interests at heart, that she loved him as much as I do.
And she really did.