Why now? That’s what my friend said when I told him of my plans. Why now? I’ve had twenty-two years to find out who I am and where I came from. What has happened to make this the time, this the year when I find out who Moses Haygood really is?
I had no answer for him … at first. We go through life not always thinking about our real needs. I was working, making money, getting by, surviving. The nagging lack of identity shoved away into my myriad filing cabinets. I was looking but not full time; on weekends, evenings or between jobs.
For the first six months I was in the mental hospital, I was on television, in newspapers and radio asking if anyone knew me. On the first year anniversary of my “appearance”, the local news station revisited my story but still, no one came forward.
My Cherokee friend told me not to sweat it. “You’re people will find you at the right time.” What that right time would be, I was at a loss. So, for the second year’s hospital commitment I passionately looked for answers.
On the next anniversary, the reality of my situation sank in. The outside world moved forward while inside, I stagnated. It was as if nothing occurred prior to 1989. Time moved around me but I was not a participant. So, with courage kicked into me by my dear Indian friend, I jumped into a world I had no memory of.
From my first job until just a few months ago, I participated in the world. That is not to say, I forgot my ambition of discovering my heritage, roots or any left behind crimes. It had become a hobby but one never far from my thoughts. I always carried a small notebook to record any evidential pieces I might find. But it was more dilettante pursuit than obsessive quest.
That is until my friend Jules Morrow grew ill. My artistic Grandfather, he more than anything else pushed me back into the investigation of … me. You see, Jules worked as a writer and teacher all his life. He spent so much time practicing his craft for the singular purpose of being good enough.
Yes, good enough. He had a novel bubbling inside him since his early twenties. But feelings of inadequacy kept him from committing it to paper. His life spent continually practicing to be worthy of his story.
Finally, after a life of perfecting, his opportunity grabbed away, his novel lost with his passing. The last thing he told me was to stop waiting. Go out, discover who I was. Moses Haygood is a mask I wear to survive. And that is all he is.
So why now? The real question, why so long in coming? Not knowing has pulled chunks from my psyche for far too long. I wish now to find out, to fight, to make contact with at least a single element of myself prior to 1989. Maybe then I can begin to remove the mask and no longer act the part of human but fully participate in being human. No matter where that path leads.
When I voiced this, my friend simply replied, “That makes sense.”