My birth mother is in Melbourne.
I'm in a very complex place when we meet. It's not bad, just strange. A room full of assorted lifetime bric-a-brac. Birthday photos that were never taken at birthday parties never held. Wardrobes and chests full of other lives that weren't. A sense that we are both still trying to find a sure footing, as if the floor is covered in marbles.
Down the far end of the room, it gets darker. There's an open door, beyond it's black. I don't know what's out there, whether it's bad, whether it even leads anywhere. Perhaps it's a black wall. Perhaps it's a vast unending purgatory full of screaming voices and unresolvable illogic that would throw my switch and leave me gibbering in a padded cell somewhere.
I'm not strong enough to peer through yet. Still balancing, arms out wide.
Tonight I'll take her to see jazz.
From Montreal to Lima - My latest in Inside Story, on the tortuous path to global action on climate change
7 hours ago