Mother-Daughter minuet, Russian style
After a shocking discovery that her daughter was switched at birth thirty-four years ago, Amanda embarks on a trip to Russia to find her biological daughter. Meanwhile Sonya, a thirty-four-year-old Russian immigrant and a former dancer, is battling her daughter’s teenage rebellion. While Amanda wades through the mires of foreign bureaucracy, Sonya dreams of dancing. Both mothers are searching: for their daughters and for themselves.
“I’ve discovered that you’re not really my daughter. I have another daughter somewhere in Russia.” Amanda held her breath. What would Gloria’s response be to this revelation? Every night, Amanda thought about ways to put it into words, to explain it to her daughter in the most circumspect manner, but she couldn’t find any better approach than the blunt truth.
“What is it?” A mischievous dimple appeared in Gloria’s right cheek, untouched by the bruises. “A twist from a new book by some obscure Russian writer? Are you fishing for my reaction? Want to translate it into English?”
“No,” Amanda whispered. Of all the possible scenarios she had envisioned during her nightly speculations, she hadn’t thought Gloria would simply discard the news. “Your blood type is ‘O’ negative. The doctor said. Both Donald and I had ‘O’positive blood. They probably switched you at birth in that Russian hospital.”
Slowly, Gloria’s hands stilled, and she lifted her eyes to look at Amanda. She opened her mouth, attempted a smile, closed it, opened it again, and then blinked.
“This is a joke?”
Amanda shook her head.
“This is the truth?”
Amanda nodded. Unable to watch emotions flickering across Gloria’s face, she surged up and kneeled in front of her daughter’s chair. “I love you Gloria,” she said hoarsely, caressing her daughter’s leg under the worn denim. “You’ll always be my daughter. But there is another one somewhere in Russia. She might be starving, unemployed.” Amanda’s throat closed. No matter how often such thoughts visited her lately, she had had to fight for air every time.
“She might need my help. Our help. I have to go there and find her. I have to bring your sister home.” She smiled weakly. “Maybe she can be your new designer. Maybe she has inherited Donald’s creativity. Say something, please.” Amanda’s gray eyes bored into her daughter’s green ones. Would she understand?
“So I have another mother somewhere in Russia?” Gloria said, her lips stretching in a mirthless grin.
“Another mother?” Appalled, Amanda pulled away.