Sunday, December 28, 2008

Postcards of People I Don't Know

Feria de San Pedro Telmo. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

At Christmas. In the kitchen:

Me: My postcard from Argentina!
Mother: I thought these were ours.

The boys could be some of us. They have the same hair-color-eye-color scheme.

I think about the difference between these boys and other blood relations who I have never met, who I have not been told about, or who people in my face-to-face or larger group of blood relations also know nothing about. There are such people. I know that.

Take, for instance: my mother said, “Your cousin is in town. A man on the side of your father’s father’s twin brother who flew to London during the war.”

I said, “Who?”

An image got into my head of our London doppelgängers: Us with British accents and flowered hats at horse races. When pressed, my father was unspecific.

At dinner, I approached the man. He said, “I am not your cousin.” He nodded to a close-at-hand woman. Still, we were very glad to meet each other. We ate lobster. She flew to Sweden.

I am always in search of blood relations. Maybe this is because my parents are so unspecific about them. One of ours might have moved to Argentina and produced the boys in this postcard. I hold close this possibility.

Maybe others raised by the uprooted feel a similar limitless sense of blood relation. It compensates for a life lacking in immediate people.

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