Late September, 1989
My birth mother drove me past a number of bucolic streets to an alley filled with broken glass and other detritus. She said it had been cleaner the night in October, 1949, she and her boyfriend parked there, and I was conceived.
I have no idea whether she really told me that story or not. For a long time after the horrible vacuous weekend I spent mostly stuck in her four room house, I didn’t want to remember the details of our meeting.
When people asked about it, and everyone that I ever met seemed to ask, I only said: “I was conceived in an alley.” That’s not true; that’s what I wanted to say. I mumbled something about how I was still digesting the weekend; actually, I mumbled that for the next ten years.
Though I’m a truthful person, sometimes an overly honest one, and an excellent observer, I’m not the most reliable narrator when it comes to that horrible weekend. How can I be?
I knew that going to her house was wrong but she refused to meet me at a motel halfway from my apartment across from The Central Park Zoo to her house in a small town in Columbia County, NY, before it became “in.” I explained to her that though my apartment had a plush address it was a rent stabilized studio with good bones, and many problems the new landlord refused to fix.
She thought I was lying. I know that now.