I can’t cook to save my life. No matter how many cooking shows I watch; no matter how easy the recipe; the kitchen does not agree with me.
I love books. I love their smell, the swiping sound the pages make…I even love how dry my hands feel after holding one for several hours.
Being outside is my Zen. I cannot explain my connection to the fresh air and sound of calming wind, but they call to me. I must answer.
There are all these things about myself that I do not understand because I do not know them: my parents. My mother gave me up when I was three months old. They said she was older and already had two adult sons. She was married to a very wealthy, prominent man; they had been together since high school. For reasons that were not explained to me, she and her husband separated temporarily, and she moved out. During the time she was away, she met my father. They weren’t in love, my parents; they were just having fun. She had planned on going back to her husband, and she very well couldn’t take me with her. He wasn’t interested either, so when I was old enough, they put me up for adoption.
I love my adopted parents. They made sure I got all the love I could ever need from a mother and a father. They even bought me this house when I expressed the desire to move out. But, there are things about myself my adopted parents just can’t tell me. They know me quite well, but not well enough to tell me who I am.
How much am I like my birth mother? Is it because of her that I can’t cook? Do I get my voracious appetite for knowledge from my biological father? I have his name: Girard. I am Noelle Girard. He was a Frenchman. My mother was Egyptian. She provided me with this dark skin, large eyes, and full lips, they say. Apparently she was an extremely beautiful woman, and he was someone all the ladies wanted. I imagine they must have been like two magnets; they couldn’t help but be drawn to each other.
My family does not look like me. Or, maybe I should say I do not look like them. It’s one thing to be adopted but another for it to be painstakingly obvious. People are always staring at me trying to figure out who I am; I wish I could tell them. They all have this look in their eye when we meet; I know they’re not trying to be rude. They see my blond hair and blue eyes and wonder where I got them from like I just came from a department store.
There is a term I’ve heard a few people use when they can’t quite describe my appearance. They say I have an exotic look. I know it’s meant to be a compliment, but it makes me feel even more out of place. I’ve read the dictionary, and I know exotic can mean “of a foreign origin” which would be true of me. However, I can’t say that I’m comfortable being labeled with the same adjective they use for birds and vacation destinations.
Maybe all of this wouldn’t bother me as much if I had my parents to tell me about their life experiences and culture; they’ve been gone for a long time. While everyone is trying to figure me out, I’m still trying to figure out myself.