What I’ve left out until now

The savvy reader may have pieced together the secret story of these posts so far. On a personal note, I hate it when the implicit is made grossly explicit in writing, and so I often bury my meanings in events and descriptions. I do this fairly intentionally, but also because the meanings seem so painfully and embarrassingly obvious to me. My writing has been critiqued for not making its points clear. I like to think that it is not important to “get it” in the traditional sense, and that “getting it” is of little value without some act of transformation being perpetrated on the reader. But that is a discussion for some other time and in some other forum.

This story, now, please, is about a transformation that is coming about intentionally and with an abundance of surprises. Flying North, instead of Northwest, across the pole. I mean, really people, The North Pole. Coming to a city that is rebuilding itself before our eyes. Being in a hotel with folk tales and history inscribed on its 18 story facade. Walking into a world of idioms and fables.

Ellen explained to Katherine, whom she adopted from Vietnam over 12 years ago, that Daddy may be excited because he has never done this before, that the two of them got to make a family together long before he showed up, and that he is finally getting to do this too. All true. And.

I must admit, I must admit, that although I could anticipate what would change, that although I knew, in advance, the route, the journey has wrought deeper changes in me, and my family (already) than I had imagined possible. Had I dreamed of the possibilities? I dream deeply, my friends.

Let me share these dreams. There is this tiny nearly 10 year old girl who won’t go to sleep because she is reading a book of princess fairy tales retold as Barbie stories written in Chinese that her Papa and Mama bought for her. Shi Hui and I speak virtually none of the same language, but we open Google Earth and look at the world together, places near here, places in Africa, Antarctica! She unclasps my watch from my wrist and puts it on her slender wrist and takes it off, and puts it back on mine, takes it off, puts it back on…

I am watching a good/bad Hollywood movie with my family all in the bed together. My wife has turned over, all but asleep at 8pm. My daughter, Katherine, has her head on my shoulder. I am hiding my daughter, Shi Hui’s hand in mine chanting “Where is the hand?” which she repeats back to me. “Where did it go?” More of the same. “I don’t know!” She’s still keeping up. I open my hand, “Here it is!” Laughter. Katherine asks, “Why is she laughing?” and nuzzles in a little closer. My wife snores quietly. “Where is the hand?”

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Brian Brennan

I am a writer and a teacher. I have lived in Philadelphia, Binghamton, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Northern Virginia. I have sailed on the ocean and flown over the North Pole. I write fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

One thought on “What I’ve left out until now”

  1. My friend, I knew these would be your thoughts and I can see the excitement on your face. You are making a family. This is a piece of the family added that you have been a part of since the beginning. It takes nothing away from the family before China, and only adds a beautiful dimension. To have your daughter throw herself in your arms and claim you was a feeling I am sure you felt to the depth of your soul. Revel in these moments!! I am deeply moved and so happy for you and Ellen and Katherine and Shi Hui!!!

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