Danielle GaudetteDanielle GaudetteDanielle GaudetteDanielle Gaudette

The First Meeting

It’s all very sticky in my mind. It’s like a stone path with big sections of stones missing. So you just stand there for a while trying to figure out how you’re going to get to the next stone, and then just resolve to walk in the mud.

I don’t remember that whole phone conversation. I don’t even remember how it started.

It was as if I was straining to hear, in a perfectly quiet room.

I remember a raspy voice. Was there in emotion in it?

She was surprised that my voice was not raspy like hers.

I remember three questions that came relatively quickly:

Kate:  Are you happy?

Danielle:  Yes

Kate:  Are you pretty?

Danielle:  I don’t know, my boyfriend thinks I am

Kate:  Do you believe in God?

Danielle: No

….well, not in the way that you probably mean, so I’ll just go with ‘no’….

What else did we talk about?  I think that she went on to tell me that she did believe in God….something something….something something….

She then told me that she wanted to meet me.  She said that she was going to fly to Boston, and that she would be here in four days.

Oh God Oh God Oh God.

I hung up, cancelled my cab, and called into work.  I can’t come in.  I’ll explain later.


I did not eat a morsel of food and had diarrhea for four days.  I was, as they say in Colorado, a “hot mess”.

We were to meet for dinner in the lobby of the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. My sweaty palms gripped the steering wheel as I drove up looking for parking.  Calm down Danielle, please try to calm down.

I pushed through the glass door and entered. There she was.  I knew it was her right away, although I had never seen her before.  She stood up and approached me with a look in her face… what was that look? Was it sorriness? Eagerness? Tenderness? Was she just as overwhelmed as I was?  I think so.

We embraced, I think.  Did we speak?  We must have. She was shorter than me.  We went upstairs to the restaurant. She kept pouring wine into my glass.  Glass after glass of white wine.  I didn’t even feel a slight buzz.  I was miles away from my body, reeling.  I ate a lot of nuts.  I just kept crunching away at those big Brazil nuts to calm my nerves.  I don’t even like Brazil nuts.  Or white wine.  Did we order food? Chicken I think. I barely ate it.  What did we talk about?  I  don’t remember.  At one point we were sitting side by side and she said, “Hm, where did you get those thighs? Those aren’t my thighs.”

No, I didn’t have her thighs or her body at all.  But I had her face.  The shapes of it.  The jaw line, the mouth, the nose, the freckles…I finally found where my face came from.

After dinner we went upstairs to her hotel room and there she called my biological father to tell him that she had found me, and was sitting next to me.  He was surprised, to say the least.  “What a great father’s day gift” he said.  Oh yea ~ it’s father’s day, I totally forgot about my dad.  His wife also got on the phone.  She was excited too.

The next evening we had a big dinner at Jimmy’s Harborside with my entire family.  I have a relatively small Italian family and they were all present except for my cousin Paul.  My cousin Carly, my aunt Gail, Uncle Frankie and his wife, my nana and papa, my mother, father and sister Renee. Everyone came to let this lady named Kate know whose family I was really apart of! That is the nature of my passionate, emotional, over-protective, loyal and deeply loving Italian family.

I have to hand it to Kate. She was so brave!  I didn’t know then how strong she really is. But there she was, in the middle of this emotionally explosive tribe known as my beloved family.  Someone from a television network happened to be sitting at a table nearby,recognized her, and kept sending over wine.  And she kept drinking it.  She told the story of how she gave me up for adoption and began to cry.   Upon seeing her tears, my mother and grandmother also began to weep and console her.  I worried about them so I ran over to make sure everyone was alright, and when I looked up,  every single person at the table was wiping their eyes.  I couldn’t believe it.  Except for my sister. She sat with her head down, but I don’t think she cried.  It was all too close to home for her, since she was also adopted and had not met her biological parents.  So she took off – said she had to go do something.  And there I was, the only set of dry eyes at the table, running around from person to person, telling them all that it was ok, that everything was ok.

After dinner, we drove Kate back to the Charles Hotel. She would catch a flight to LA the next morning.  I was sitting next to her in the back seat and she was holding my hand.  From the front seat, my mom was turned around and she was holding my other hand.  Then Kate said, “How does it feel to have two mother’s holding your hand?”  How does it feel, you ask? How does it feel? It feels like all circuits in my brain are shutting down.  It feels like everything is coming undone and I’m trying desperately to keep it together.

I think I smiled.

Kate got out of the car. We said our goodbyes.

As we drove away, and she was out of sight, finally the numb, frozen statue that I had become in response to the whole event broke, and I collapsed into tears.  My parents tried to comfort me but there was nothing that they could say or do, because even I didn’t understand any of it.

I cried for three days.

I have been healing for sixteen years.

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