Maybe it was the heat that brought on the revelation. It was 115 degrees in Cathedral City and walking the dog around the retirement community was a penance. I didn’t really mind the heat; it had a relaxing affect on my body- if not a sticky, mind numbing one as well. It was as I walked the dog that it came to me, “I’m adopted.”
The retirement community was where my “father” lived. It was essentially a mobile home park but none of the homes were mobile- was it a trailer park? I couldn’t really say what it was but the houses weren’t really houses and most of the lawns were white gravel. It wasn’t so bad. It was neat, tidy, quiet and peaceful and in the 5 years my “father” had lived there, I think I had seen perhaps 6 people- on different occasions. It felt more like a movie set than an actual place where human beings lived.
My adoptive father has recently been diagnosed with dementia. So far it hasn’t been too bad. He isn’t wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants or brushing his teeth with Ben Gay but his mind is slipping. I would say it isn’t a good thing to take double doses of blood thinner- or forgetting to take it altogether. The little piles of pills placed all around the house weren’t there for convenience either. Long forgotten, they collect dust and become just another part of the décor. Like a vase, a glass paperweight, a volume of Shakespeare, the tiny white circles, pink oblongs, purple disks, are art.
At one point during my stay, I carried the lid of an ice bucket to my father and asked him what the pile of pills were that rested on top. He replied that he didn’t know and so he just left them there. A more multicolored pile was by his bedside, another on a bureau in the hall, one or two lonely ones on the carpet by his chair. I gathered them up like I was on an Easter egg hunt and began to get excited when I found hidden gems in drawers and bowls of loose change.
I imagine the dog wondered what the hell we were doing outside in the blistering heat- even though it was walk time, 5pm. I had to get out of the house and away from the old man and his son, my brother. The anger and anxiety emanating from the 2 of them was enough to power the whole of Palm Springs. A phone conversation with my sister nearly burned a whole in my head. So the heat from the sun was delightful in comparison. The dog and I slowly made our way to the pond by the entrance to the community so that she could terrorize the ducks and I could let my brain rest. But as we approached the little oasis, it dawned on me. I was adopted. For years I had noted that I was different from my siblings and didn’t seem to have much in common with anyone in the family. My mother seemed familiar in a way but there was a gene that was much stronger in me- or just totally different.
As we made our way around the block (was it a block?), another revelation came: I was the daughter of Roy Batty, a Nexus 6 Replicant, made for battle. I had his traits, the calm, yet stern demeanor, the power to endure great pain, the ability to detect weakness in others, and the true strength of compassion. Yes, I had a violent streak that came out when threatened but only when threatened. I didn’t know if my siblings had been adopted but I was certain I was not the child of the aging, demented man in the mobile home.