The Richest Girls in Town/ 3He came forward, his sneakers making a sucking noise on the marble floor. His hands were jammed into his baggy cargo pockets, and for a moment I was frightened. There’d been a rash of church robberies and arsons during the winter, but the elders had agreed that a church justcouldn’t lock its doors until late in the evening. You will find Him among the murderers andthieves, I reminded myself, and walked down the aisle to meet him.He stopped back at the last pew. “Mrs.—O’Connor?”A serial murderer wouldn’t know my name. I walked closer. “Yes—I’m the minister here.”“I know.”His voice was deep but it wavered, echoing in the stone sanctuary. He stood thereirresolute, his shoulders bunched, his hands knotted into fists in his pockets.I knew that stance from years of counseling church members and students. He was introuble of some kind, and embarrassed about it. “Is there something you want to talk about?”He yanked his hand out of his pocket. He was holding nothing lethal, just a folded piece of paper. He thrust it across the yard or so divide between us. The paper felt rough and official as Ismoothed away the wrinkles. A notary’s raised seal rubbed under my fingers.It was a birth certificate, with the state seal in the middle of a field of marble green. Thefirst line read
Adam Paul Wakefield.
On the line labeled “mother” was my own maiden name.
Ellen Elizabeth Wakefield.Unknown
was named as the father.There were other words and numbers, but the paper was rattling in my hand and I couldn’tread any more. “I don’t understand.”“I’m Adam. Or I was. When I was adopted, my parents—my adoptive parents—named meBrian Warrick.”I kept staring at the birth certificate, but still it made no sense. “I don’t know why myname is on this.”Suddenly he was curt, almost disrespectful. “Isn’t it obvious? You’re my birthmother.”