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Pandora’s box?

September 3, 2020

Yikes! Just hit Send on an email message I’m not really sure I should have sent.

It’s this younger brother I seem to have suddenly acquired.

As previously mentioned, I wrote him a letter (in which I observed that Kay Holmes “guarded her secrets well and took them with her to the grave. In another lifetime, under other circumstances, I think she would have made a bloody good spy”) and sent him a sort of biography of her.

I deliberately did not include a return address. I actually went a bit further than that. Not only did I send the documents in an old UBC Department of Political Science envelope (Mike, in his day as a prof there, wasn’t above pilfering stationery), but I also sent the envelope inside another envelope to a friend in Vancouver, asking her to post it from there. Bit cloak and dagger? Perhaps. (Perhaps I take after Mum more than I’d realised.) In point of fact, they were the only letter-sized envelopes in the house. Their red-herringness was a bonus.

Some weeks have passed and I’ve continued to struggle with what, if any, further contact I want to make. My long-lost cousin Jeanne, who’s been in semi-regular contact with this brother, has made it clear he very much hopes I will reach out. The man has a partner, two kids and a couple of grandkids. Surely that’s enough happy families to be getting on with? What the hell does he want/need with me?

I’ve made it through six decades without a sibling. Why would I want to acquire one (a complete stranger) now?

The few friends with whom I’ve discussed this have had mixed reactions. One would absolutely want to know. Others have understood my ambivalence. Sleeping dogs and all that. (If you have an opinion of your own, feel free to share it in the Comments section below.)

This morning I gave in to an impulse and sent him an email. Not, I confess, from my regular email address, but from an old, seldom-used one. I told him I wasn’t sure what else he would like to know, but if he wanted to meet me virtually, he could do so by watching An Unhelpful Complication. Link to YouTube provided.

Bollocks. Pandora’s box, the can of worms and the door are all now open.

From → Blog

  1. I’d be dying to know, myself.

  2. Mariam Zama permalink

    Anne – ‘it’s absolutely the most fucking bizarre year. My family legend is that we too have a half brother, son of my father, before he met my mum. Says a lot that none of us have ever asked my father about this (and now that he has dementia, not going to happen) nor made any tries to find him – that I know about of… guess you can tell where I am on the spectrum of do I want to reach out? 🙂 having said that, I don’t know what I would do if this possible brother reached out to me. Probably the same as you have done – reached out cautiously. On the other hand, your brother probably isn’t a serial killer, as those are relatively rare 😁

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