My husband and I arrived at our destination with excitement and anticipation of a fun celebratory weekend. He really surprised me and I was a bundle of energy to get this weekend started. First we had to check in and while we did, I explored a little, trying to familiarize myself with the place and all it had to offer. I had left my phone in the car while we were checking in and upon our return, I noticed I had a missed call and a had voice message. This could have happened when we were driving because we went through some areas with poor cellular service and I was also more distracted by the scenery the closer we got to the destination. It figures that the first time Lee called me, I didn’t answer my phone. I played the message and heard his voice for the very first time. I listened to the message which was short and simple, “Hi Anissa this is Lee um I’m figuring you now have my number so if I don’t hear from you I’ll give you a call back later, all right thanks.” I could hear a little of my father in his voice, in the way he spoke. My husband watched me protectively and cautiously. He had been planning this surprise celebration weekend for a long time and he was worried about the timing of things. What if this call would dampen my happiness and excitement for the weekend? I looked at him and said I had to call Lee back. I wouldn’t be able to just put it off until after the weekend. I’m just not wired that way. And this had been nine years in the making and I couldn’t hit pause now.
I went to the most recent incoming call and hit send. And then I reminded myself to breathe. The phone rang just a couple of times and then I heard Lee say hello. I replied, “Hello Lee, this is Anissa…” and the floodgates opened. I wish I would have videoed or recorded it so I could look back at exactly what I said. No, no I don’t. I’m sure I would cringe at myself. Once again I found myself having trouble speaking but I just kept taking deep breaths and reminding myself to just go with the flow. There was no perfect script for this. I had somewhat rehearsed how this conversation would go a million times, but in the actual moment, I threw all of it away and just focused purely on the moment at hand and spoke from the heart. I found myself stumbling over my words more often than not, as if I felt some need to expel everything all at once. I’m not sure why I felt such urgency and it caused us to talk over one another at times because I was trying to corral my chaotic thoughts. Lee’s voice was calm and grounded. In his voice I sensed a person who doesn’t get rattled easily, someone who maintains composure. That is a beneficial quality to have in life, and especially in this moment when I am essentially delivering news that changes a lot of things as he knows them, or at least causes him to question them. He had read my blog which had filled in some of the blanks. As we talked, I tried to fill in more. He had questions and so did I. Since I was out of town, I didn’t have immediate access to the letters and cards that started this whole search and I really wanted him to visually see those. I told him that when I got back home I would scan everything and email them to him. While I had referenced the letters and cards in the blog, I never shared the actual ones and I even redacted some names as I wanted to ensure privacy, but he deserved to see them in their entirety.
The conversation continued on and it seemed we covered all kinds of topics. We talked about our lives and our families. We made small talk. We joked and laughed. I think we even solved a few world problems. We talked about how if we found out that somehow we weren’t in fact siblings, we shared enough in common for our families to be good friends. Yes, it was that great of a conversation. Sometimes you feel like you just click with people. Could it be the sibling connection or were we just two people with a lot in common. We were both eager to continue on to see what else we could uncover. I suggested that maybe we could have a DNA test. We spoke about that briefly and then moved on to other things in the conversation. One of my concerns when I started this whole search was that if and when I did find my brother, that I may find the wrong person, or maybe the situation wasn’t as it appeared in the letters. I was afraid of that disappointment on my end but I was more concerned about upending someone’s world over something that might turn out to be false. I stated many times I never wanted anyone to be hurt in this process. This has always been a search with a pure heart. Thankfully Lee was understanding and receptive to everything and he agreed that I had presented him with information which was possible or plausible, at least worth my further inquiry and investigation. This was so important to me because I wanted and needed to have answers and by him being open to exploring that, answers would be coming one way or another. We wrapped up our conversation. It was bittersweet because I really enjoyed talking with him and I felt like we could talk for hours but I also had a very patient husband waiting for me to complete the call so we could commence the weekend outdoor festivities that he had especially planned for my birthday. As Lee and I ended our conversation, I felt promise. I had actually spoken to Lee. Now, off to enjoy every minute of this special weekend my husband planned and then keep on moving into the next steps of navigating this new world with my “maybe” brother Lee.