I remember waking up at 5 am, sick to my stomach. While I waited for daylight, I stood in the bathroom, staring into the mirror. What kind of first impression would I give? Am I what she expected?
I remember driving down the highway, gazing out the window but seeing nothing. I was terrified, excited, and feeling like a little girl, all at once. I wanted to hurry, I wanted to slow down, I wanted to turn around and go home.
What would I say? How do you relate an entire childhood's worth of days into one conversation? Would I say the wrong thing? What if there was only silence, the space filled with the realization that I am a stranger and don't belong?
I kept going over and over in my head the things I wanted to say, to ask. Every time I pulled over to be sick, I worried that I was wasting time and would be late. Late? What's another 5 minutes compared to the years in between?
I remember reading the street signs, and then saying "This is it. This is the street where she lives." I watched the house numbers, but I didn't need to. I knew the house as soon as I saw it. It took every once of power I had to turn in and not just drive by. I don't remember getting out of the car, or walking up the front steps. But I do remember her saying "Oh, don't cry!" I remember that moment when she hugged me, and I said "hi" to my mother for the first time. And I will never forget looking into my mother's face.