Saturday, March 21, 2009

his Letters

I.

Near the end of February, I received the first letters written to me by my birth father.

He wrote four letters and a couple of poems. The four letters included a letter to me, to my husband, to my American father and mother, and to my three brothers.

I have received the translations of the letters written to me, my husband, and my three brothers. I am still waiting on the translations of the letter to my parents and the poems.

II.

His letters are startling and heart-wrenching in their candor and emotion.

I hesitate to share their content, because I do not want to plaster his heart all over the internet that all the world may gawk and gape. I want to protect his tenderness and his pain.

In a previous post entitled "her First Words," I share a few pieces from my birth mother's letters to me. Her words are also poignant and full of emotion.

But there is something about my birth father's letters that strike me with such a vulnerability and rawness, that is quite different from the mood of my birth mother's letters, that I dare not share even a word of their content.

Rather, I will share my experience of his letters.

III.

I have discovered that he and I have quite a bit in common, at least superficially.

I have written poetry from a very young age. My birth father says he loves to write poetry. And as I mentioned above, he sent two poems that he wrote along with his letters. He also told Mrs. Kim that he is working on a long poem specifically for me.

He wrote that he enjoys swimming, riding bikes, skiing, soccer, movies, and art. He was an amateur boxer in high school and also did Taekwondo. During my youth, I dabbled in soccer, tennis, track, cross country, swimming, etc. I love snow skiing and movies. And I just like being physically active in general. I can't sit still for too long.

Oddly enough, I owned a punching bag in my twenties during which I took kickboxing classes. I'm tiny and weigh about a buck o'five. But, man, could I wail on that thing like a squirrel shredding a bag of peanuts, if you know what I mean. I eventually had to give up my punching bag, because it got kind of ridiculous trying to lug that thing around every time I moved to a new residence. I still miss it, though.

(And I am ashamed to confess that not only do I own a Billy Blanks "Tae Bo" DVD, but that I also still work out to it! Just a disclaimer: Tae Bo is nothing like Taekwondo, and I realize it is shameful that the name "Tae Bo" even attempts to make the comparison between kickboxing and Taekwondo. But it does involve a lot of kicking and punching, and I have to say it sure is a good work out!)

And I'm not going to lie...when I was younger, I would often close the door to my bedroom and stand in front of the mirror, kicking and chopping as though I knew martial arts. As though I could feel it coursing through my body.

Laugh out loud at me. It's okay. I want you to laugh--it's pretty funny.

IV.

Also, the fact that he has owned a Harley motorcycle for 18 years is bizarre and more than a little uncanny to me.

I have always had a covert obsession with motorcycles, and particularly Harely Davidson motorcycles.

Well, it has never been a secret to my husband. But it is not something that I necessarily broadcast to everyone I know, well, that is until now. I don't know why.

I think, perhaps, because I knew I could never actually own one. And at least for me, when I really, deeply want something but know that I can't have it, I don't really like to talk about it.

Years ago, I remember stopping at a Harley Davidson Store during a road trip with my friend, Melinda. I bought this long-sleeved black t-shirt with the words "Harley Davidson" written across the chest in silvery-gray letters above a row of rhinestones.

Over the years it got stretched out and grew too big for me, so I let it go. Only now, how I wish I had held onto it!

I used to work with a lady who owned a purple Harley sportser. Man, I loved that thing. She used to humor me and take me for rides on it after work. I couldn't help but laugh from pure, utter enjoyment as we'd cruise through the backroads and countryside.

I know motorcycles are like speeding coffins. But I can't help but love them!

When I discovered what an aficionado my birth father is of motorcycles, and particularly Harley's, I about peed in my pants. Obviously, I LOVE motorcycles. I practically drool every time I see one or hear one. I just like speed.

But perhaps it's just as equally attributed to the fact I grew up with my American father who was not unfamiliar with the "need for speed." He was a naval aviator, aka Navy jet pilot, for over thirty years. That can instill a love of speedy objects in just about anyone. ;)

And also, my brother, Greg and my Uncle Larry had motorcycles for a short while when I was growing up. In fact, I have a scar on my knee from a burn I got from the exhaust pipe when my Uncle took me for a ride on his bike when I was a little girl. And a few times here and there, my brother Greg took me to soccer practice or picked me up from school on his bike when I was a teenager.

Good memories. Good foundation for developing a love of motorcycles.

V.

My birth father also drinks a lot of coffee. Another obsession of mine.

However, years ago, I decided to ween myself off, because I was starting to bleed coffee. That's when I knew I had a problem. So now I just moderate my intake. But anytime I smell coffee, I go a little crazy. And any time I'm over at a friend's house, and he or she happens to offer me coffee, well, I just have to say "Yes, sure, I'd love some."

Coffee and motorcycles. Those are my vices.

And now they are vices that connect me with my birth father.

Smile.

VI.

But those are the superficial things he wrote in his letter to me. The deeper things, the emotional things are what simultaneously warm and break my heart.

His words humble me.

His pain, his guilt saturate his every word. It is as though I can hear his heart splitting. I can almost taste his suffering and touch his pain.

There are particular phrases that he wrote, which for now I will not repeat, that bring me to tears and endear me to him with a depth of compassion and longing that I did not know I could feel for him. I want to comfort him and embrace him and tell him that everything is going to be okay.

And I would hope that if I were to utter such words that they would be true.

VII.

Some day, I hope. That everything. Will be okay.

5 comments:

sherinala said...

WOW... it's REAL, Melissa! It is REAL and HAPPENING! I am SO SO excited for you! This is so wonderful!

I hope you're doing well and you know if you need to vent or anything, just let me know! ;)

Big giant hugs!

Abby said...

how fantastic and very special. Thanks as always for sharing your beautiful journey.

Alice said...

your blogs leave me in tears every time.
good luck and i wish you nothing but the best!

Melissa said...

Alice, thank you for all of your support, and for your well wishes! I, too, hope, and ultimately trust, that this situation will work out for the best!

Melissa said...

Abby! Thanks for sharing in this journey with us...