This is when I have a revelation, a memory of an address on an envelope I found as a child. This is when I Google “Thea” and have an actual last name to end it with. This is when I find her, right?
No. This is when I am in Vienna, where I always knew I would end up. This is where the sadness of the end of an amazing trip sets in and I fully come to terms with knowing this: I will never know who I am named after. And I have to be okay with that.
But I do know a lot more about what my grandpa went through when he was ten years younger than I am now. I know about the horror and thanks to Father Hetzler, I know about the laughter. I understand my grandpa a little better now, I appreciate him even more than I already did, and I really realize how much of an impact he had on my life. Not just in my name, but in everything I became.
I wonder if Grandpa ever thought I would make it here, Vienna, looking for some pieces of his childhood, when I ended up with ‘Thea’ as a name. I wonder what he thought of when he looked at me. I bet at first it was her, but as I became a new person, my own person, he must have seen less and less of the original Thea. I feel a little bad about that, that I took away some part of her as I grew up with her name and made it mine. But maybe that gave him some joy too, witnessing me grow as he could never witness her.
So this is where I leave her: somewhere outside Vienna in a field, flowers to her waist and a blurry face that appears to be smiling.