I can’t remember precisely when my mother told me I had been switched at birth, but it must have made an impression.
Like all children, I imagine, I nursed furtive fantasies that this prosaic suburban family of mine could not have produced me. My kin were the travelers in Narnia, the Murry children of a Wrinkle in Time. Many days I impatiently expected the portal to secret worlds to appear. It’s possible that I greeted her surprising news with more enthusiasm than she might have suspected. Finally! A remarkable tale of my very own.
My real family, it seemed clear to me, was an exiled coterie of royals; naturally there was never any question that I was actually a princess. My imagination never quite tackled the logistical quandary of what might have compelled the blue-bloods to Amarillo, Texas, but this mustn’t have bothered me. Perhaps they were fond of the rodeo.
In the end, my glee had only one insurmountable hurdle: I had been switched back. Rather promptly, at that. When my Mother noted the remarkably copious hair on her previously bald child’s head and found a different ID number on the little one’s bracelet, she ran banshee shrieking into the hallway. I’ve got the wrong baby! she yelped before being swallowed by a mob of nurses who had the fear of God or litigation in them something powerful. I was next door, in the arms of another woman (undoubtedly a queen), pensively wondering where her little darling’s hair had gone.
But dreams come true in funny ways. That I am indeed a changeling is the easiest explanation for how an Amarillo girl ended up with a wanderlust for those lonesome parts of the world so remote that they would have seemed like Narnia to a child. And as some will attest with rolling eyes, I did turn out to be something of a princess after all.