Today I am Samantha, and it is my twenty-first birthday. Well, according to this ID and credit card that’s my life. I go down to Denny’s for a free breakfast. The waiter asks to see my ID because he swears up and down that he saw me in here last week. Last week I was Zora and I had blonde hair. He examined the girl in the small card with kinky black hair, mocha skin, and big gray eyes. Once my breakfast arrives, I scrape it off the white scratched up shiny plate into my big brown messenger bag, then I slither out of the door like a fly on the wall.
I sat at the bus stop scooping eggs out of my purse with a flimsy piece of bacon watching everyone standing around hoping to catch someone dropping a wallet. That’s usually how I find the credit cards and steal identities. I’m on my eighth identity right now. I usually can get away with it for a month or two before I have to change a new one.
Right now, I am Samantha– a rich chick from Brookman Hills with six credit cards who dropped her wallet at the gas station. I have been Samantha for twenty-three days so far. She probably lives in a big Spanish style home with a large built-in pool and a bar and grill area in the backyard and drives an expensive red or silver convertible. Her rich daddy probably got her all new credit cards the same day. If not, she probably didn’t want to seem irresponsible to her daddy and hasn’t told him she lost them yet. I always get curious about the lives of the people I’m living as. But, my number one rule about being an identity thief is: never get too close, for they are merely lifeless pictures and names painted on little rectangle cards, or you’ll get caught.
But there’s something about this chick. She looks so much like my mother, so much like me. I’ll break my rule this one time to go to princess’s house. I’m sure it’s huge. I decided to switch buses and ride to her house. It took four buses and a ten-minute walk to get here, but as I stood in front of the large white house, with the perfect little picket fence, sitting on six acres of luscious green grass I knew it was princess’s.
I have my pepper spray and a fork from the restaurant if I need to protect myself. I slowly walked up to the door pass a Tesla, a two-door BMW, and a Porsche. I rang the doorbell and waited patiently, gripping onto my purse, for someone to ring the doorbell. A woman answered the door, but not the woman whose life I have. It’s the woman who gave me life.
“Mom?” I said.
“Excuse me?” my mom said.
“You remember me. Stop fucking lying.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I was only months when you left me out in the cold on the shelter’s doorstep, but I remember your fucking face!” I screamed.
She just stared at me like I was a stranger. That’s why princess looks so much like me. I went back to that night in my mind. I was seven months old when my mom left me on the doorstep of that rundown shelter. I remember her emotionless gray eyes and her curly black hair falling in her face as she sat a jar of carrots in the Easter basket she left me in to get me to stop crying. And she acts like she doesn’t remember me–the baby she didn’t love.
“I think you’re confused, honey,” my mom said.
“Where the fuck is Samantha?”
“I’m not giving that information to you.”
“Still don’t remember me?”
“I have no idea who you are.”
“How could you deny that when I look just like Samantha! Like you!”
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Not until you admit you’re my mom.”
I stood at the doorstep peeking inside of my mom’s home, her life, but she tried to shut me out. She shut me out all these years and acted like I never existed.
“Samantha, please leave,” my mom said.
“What? My name is Samantha?
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“And your new daughter is also Samantha?”
“What the fuck?’
“I was so young and I couldn’t do it.”
“And you couldn’t come find me once you got rich?!”
“You’re a terrible mother”
“I was sixteen! I–”
“So you abandoned me! Then you got a rich husband and a new daughter and gave her my fucking name like I died or never existed!”
“I’m sorry. Can you please leave now?”
“I didn’t know my name for years! They called me X all my life! I was a letter of the alphabet in their files, an object that was never adopted!”
“Samantha, I’m sorry.”
“No, you don’t get to name me.”
My breathing became heavy. I began to sweat. The house, the roses surrounding the porch, my mother– it all became a blur of colors. I was having a panic attack. Without even thinking about it, I pulled the rusting fork, with dried egg debris in its creases, out of my purse.
My life played like a silent movie in the blinding reflection of the dull silver. I was only months when she abandoned me. What could I have done in a few short months to make her want to never see the baby she birthed again? Eating, spitting up, crying, pooping, vomiting, and needing love were all instincts I could not control as a baby. It wasn’t my fault if I broke her. She shouldn’t have broken me too.
I grew up in the foster home telling all the little girls that my mother was some incredibly cool and rich woman who was coming back for me. And, every time a new batch of young, pretty, adoptable girls came in as all the others were adopted, I would tell them a new story. My mother has been a princess, a queen, a movie star, a famous singer, a world-renowned surgeon, a sergeant in the army, a flight attendant, and a famous ballerina in Russia.
She was none of that though. And, I have never been who I pretended to be. I was X all my life. A girl without a name, a home, or family. I was sitting in there expiring like exotic black molded cheese surrounded by fresh and young white mozzarella. No one ever wanted the kinky-haired black girl with the stick legs and boats for feet. Shit, the nuns probably wouldn’t even have taken me in if they had a choice.
I don’t know why I ever even expected anyone to want me when my mom didn’t even want me. Could I have been Samantha if I was never left on that dark doorstep? Not the Samantha that was left on the doorstep, but the Samantha with the rich father and the cute BMW.
Seventeen years’ worth of haunting noises from my childhood began to screech in my ears–a baby crying, the same two church songs I heard every day at the shelter, whispers of the child-less couples who would come in and stare at me with pity in their blue eyes when they would come in and leave with a blue-eyed trophy… And, my mother’s last words to me– “it’s not you, it’s me”.
Her soft voice in my head made my insides throb and my blood boil. The fork began to twitch in my hand, then I remembered where I was and what I wish I had the mind and strength to do the day she left me. My fork ran towards the woman’s shoulder and she let out a scream. I ran out of the neighborhood. I ran pass the life I never had. I ran pass the bus stop. I just kept running.
I have a ninth life–Samantha whatever my last name is– the unlovable orphan. I liked my other identities better, when I could create my own perfect story and fantasy of the life I lived, not this bleak bullshit reality.