“’Ere you are, love! Another coffee?”
The waitress plonks the chipped mug down on the cluttered, corner table, spilling liquid in the process. Adam looks at her, expectantly, but she appears oblivious, and simply picks up the old cup and walks off. Muttering under his breath, he uses a handful of thin, shiny, paper napkins to dab at the pool which is spreading on the plastic tablecloth.
Adam takes another look at his watch, and his cheek muscle twitches. He picks up his phone and swipes the touch screen with his index finger. Dabbing away at icons, he checks for missed calls, text messages and e-mails. Nothing. Every time the door opens, he glances up hopefully, and his face falls each time he realises that this isn’t her. Where is she? She is late now. Has she been held up? Why on earth did he get here so early?
He opens up his well thumbed novel. Frustrated with having to keep re-reading the same sentence, he closes up the book and lounges back in the plastic chair, gently rubbing the two day stubble on his chin with his fingertips.
When they spoke on the phone, she hadn’t been convinced that meeting up was a good idea. Isn’t it sometimes better to let sleeping dogs lie? But he had pleaded with her, and she had finally relented. But that was two weeks ago. The nice lady from the agency emphasised the need to have low expectations.
“You’ve got to protect yourself. Don’t think that this is going to be everything that you’ve always wanted. It might lead no-where. It’s been a long time for both of you.”
Adam had listened to her sing-song-y voice and wondered how many times before she had said the same thing, and how often the outcome had been positive. She said that sometimes people in this situation agree to meet, and then change their mind and don’t turn up. But Adam was sure that she would.
The door opens again and Adam sees her come in. She looks about the right age. Short, dark hair, she had said. Height and age also about right. She recognises him from the photograph he had sent her. Panic spreads over her face like a rash, and she turns back for the door. Adams heart sinks and he is about to jump up and shout out. But then she changes her mind again and walks over to his table. Her eyes dart, nervously, and her outstretched hand shakes.
He smiles at her tentatively, and then leaps up. He had spent his whole life, forty six years of it, waiting to meet his birth mother. And to fill in the gaps about who he was, and why she had given him up for adoption all those years ago.
“Mum. I knew you’d come,” he stammers, and a lifetime’s tears stream down his face.
© Vicky Newham 2012. All rights reserved.
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