In 1977, Priscila Uppal's father drank contaminated water in Antigua and within 48 hours was a quadriplegic. Priscila was two years old. Five years later, her mother, Theresa, drained the family's bank accounts and disappeared to Brazil. After two attempts to abduct her children, Theresa had no further contact with the family.
In 2002, Priscila happened upon her mother's website, which featured a childhood photograph of Priscila and her brother. A few weeks later, Priscila summoned the nerve to contact the woman who'd abandoned her.
The emotional reunion was alternately shocking, hopeful, humorous and devastating, as Priscila came to realize that not only did she not love her mother, she didn't even like her.
Projection is a visceral, precisely written, brutally honest memoir that takes a probing look at a very unusual mother-daughter relationship, yet offers genuine comfort to all facing their own turbulent and unresolved familial relationships. (From Dundurn Press)
On the flight, I am seated beside a woman named Dalva with gorgeous olive skin and friendly eyes. She introduces herself, telling me her name means morning star. She points to my phrasebook.
"First time to Brazil?"
"You look Brazilian. Are you visiting family?"
I note that this beautiful Dalva is acting motherly toward me. Do I look like a need a mother? I'm not sure that's a look I should be going for.
"You'll be fine. Just relax. You're from Ottawa, aren't you?"
"How did you know? My accent?"
"I work at the Brazilian consulate. Not at the booth, but in the office. I saw you today. I saw your application. I knew your mother and father. It's a coincidence that we're on this flight together, but I know your story. It's a sad story. You haven't seen your mother for some time."
Excerpt from Projection by Priscila Uppal ©2013. Published by Dundurn Press.