Have you made your bucket list? Now’s the time — write about the things you want to do and see before you become dust in the wind.
There have been posts similar to this. I turn my nose up at them and call them foolish. There has been a reversal in fortunes in my life that has put any sort of wish/bucket list beyond my reach. Yet, I will share this one thing; I suppose it was twenty years ago that I first conceived the idea of me, my son, and two son-in-laws taking a trip on the Dempster Highway in Canada. I wanted to take the road until it came to a dead end. It was mapped out in my mind and envisioned in my dreams. I could see the smiles on my son’s and sons’-in-laws faces. With that now beyond my grasp I dream of it as already occurred.
Here is the second part of a short story started yesterday.
The case that they were working on together was over in three months. In that time they were able to spend much time together. Their families bonded less their mother who was kept in the dark. In that time Braxton and Jefferson became closer than brothers.
Jefferson felt it was time for a talk.
It was cool fall day on the shore of Lake Michigan. Jefferson and Braxton walked along the lapping waves. The sound of traffic to the west and the smacking waves to the east. Grey clouds hovered over the city.
“Tell me about my mother?” Jefferson asked.
“She’s a racist,” Braxton said.
“That was blunt,” Jefferson said.
“If in the future you would ever choose to meet her I think that would be important to know,” Braxton said.
“Was I the product of a rape?” Jefferson said.
“It is something that only our mother could answer,” Braxton said. “Their has never been a hint of another marriage, child, rape, or an affair.”
“Families can be tight-lipped about such things,” Jefferson said. “When did your mother and father marry?”
“A year before I was born,” Braxton said.
“What year was that?” Jefferson said.
“’68,” Braxton said.
“So you were born in ‘69?” Jefferson said. “In Chicago?”
“Yes,” Braxton said.
“Are you sure?” Jefferson said.
“Yes, of course, Braxton said. “Why do you question me?”
“Your date of birth is July 23rd 1969, right?” Jefferson said.
“Yes,” Braxton said.
“The FBI has a lot of resources at it’s disposal,” Jefferson said. “There was no Braxton Williston born on July 23rd 1970.”
“Records get lost and misplaced,” Braxton said. He stopped and tugged on Jefferson’s arm.
Jefferson turned and looked strangely at Braxton.
“When were you born?” Braxton said.
“July 23rd 1967,” Jefferson said.
“You’re sure of that?” Braxton said.
Jefferson curled his lips. “I wouldn’t check yours without checking mine also. I don’t know how the FBI missed it, but there is nothing of a baby born to our mother on that day either.”
Braxton’s right eye partially closed. “So what did you find?”
“I found twins born to our mother on July 23rd 1968,” Jefferson said.
“We are twins!” Braxton said. “But you’re more black than white and I’m white at least I think I am. Is that possible?”
“Yes it is,” Jefferson said. “But we are likely twins.”
“Why was our date of births changed?” Braxton said.
“That is something that perhaps only our mother or father may know,” Jefferson said. “I suspect somehow to cover things up and add a layer of confusion.”
“We have no idea what happened back then,” Braxton said as he continued the walk. “Pressure may have been put on her in some way,”
“Clearly there was a decision to give me away,” Jefferson said. “That doesn’t bother me, but yet I would like to know.”
“I can’t help but think that if my mother had a chance to know you she would have never willingly given you away.”
“You said she was a racist,” Jefferson said.
“It difficult to define,” Braxton said. “Since this whole thing has come to our attention it has caused me to rethink things and events.”
“In what way?” Jefferson said.
“Knowing what I know now,” Braxton said. “It is nearly too difficult for me to relate. Mom took me to a park one day. She seemed to insist I play with a black kid over the white kids. The mother of the black kid had a younger child, a boy. She had to use the bathroom and asked Mom to hold him. Mom held the child for the rest of the time we were at the park. We got in the car and Mom cried. It was quiet, but deep. I asked her what was wrong? She said every time she saw a black child she saw a lonely child.”
“Braxton,” Jefferson said. “If we don’t do something for your mother…”
“In spite of all,” Braxton said. “In her heart she is still your mother, but what do we do?”
“Tell her you met a man who looks just like you, but he is African/American,” Jefferson said. “See how she reacts and proceed from there.”
“That sounds reasonable,” Braxton said. “Until this point I’d be inclined to say I could expect no less from my older brother, but as it turns out we are the same age.”