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Listen to your gut

September 4, 2020

Fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck. When will I ever learn? Always listen to your gut. Every bad decision I’ve made in my life was a result of not listening to my gut.

My gut told me it was a bad idea to open the door, but I did it anyway.

Came home after a rehearsal yesterday afternoon to find an extremely long email waiting for me on that seldom used account. Way too much information, buddy. This is someone who clearly wants a fucking relationship with his long-lost sibling.

I made a false assumption. I thought, as he was adopted, that perhaps his parents were unable to conceive. Au contraire. Although he was adopted first, his parents then produced three other sons before adopting a girl as their fifth child. So I wasn’t far off the mark yesterday when I mentioned happy families (which it seems they were).

For considerably more than half my life I thought of myself as an only child, until my uncle broke his deathbed promise to my mother and told me about the son she’d borne and given up just after the war. It took me a while to process that, an even longer while to attempt to see if I could track him down. When that effort failed, I went back to thinking of myself as half of what had been a family of two and since Mum’s death I’ve been a family of one. Yes, there are lots of cousins, some of whom I adore, but never any actual siblings. Nor have I ever felt the lack of them.

This guy, this complete stranger has three brothers and a sister. Why the fuck does he so much want another?

Although Mike and I were together for a fair while, I’ve never married, never had children. When I first met him, I told him I had absolutely no interest in either. I’ve also never felt the absence of children.

Okay, I confess. When I was well into my fifties, I suddenly remembered this cartoon, which had done the rounds when I was in my thirties. There was no belated maternal instinct involved, simply a moment of ‘Damn. I forgot to have children. Who’s going to take care of me when I’m old and decrepit?’ (The answer to that question is no one. Even if I’d actually produced a child or two, when I’m old and decrepit I’ll be parked in an old folk’s home waiting for a pandemic to sweep through and finish me off. As I’ve said before, when the time comes, just shoot me.)

So, party of one.

And now here’s this guy, with his brothers and sister, writing to tell me about them and about his wife and his kids and his grandkids, saying: “So you see, not only did you just discover a brother, you also get a Sister-In-Law, a Niece, a Nephew and great nieces and nephews.”  (Why, I’m wondering as I read this, the capital letters?) Then he adds: “I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with that thought.” Too late, pal. Jesus Christ Almighty. Back the fuck off.

It would be ridiculous to suggest I’m completely happy as I am. For one thing, I haven’t had a back tickle for a very long time. (Say what you will about Mike – and there’s a lot to be said – he was an excellent back tickler.) Would I like to hold someone’s hand again, sleep curled up with someone I love again before I die? Why, yes, I would like that. If it weren’t for the frigging pandemic those things were waiting for me in Wales in July. Would it make me happy if my fictional juices ever got flowing again and I could settle down to finish one of those half or partially written novels? Yes, that would make me very happy indeed.

These are not things some complete happy families stranger who lives thousands of miles away can help with.

Crap. I should have listened to my gut.

From → Blog

4 Comments
  1. Donna permalink

    Hmmm…that does sound overwhelming. I think you have your answer.

    • Yeah, but how do I put the lid back on the box?

      • Donna permalink

        Well, you could simply stop replying to his messages, but I’m guessing it might be better in the long run to let him know you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this and need to take a step back. It’s okay to decide that you don’t really want to keep the box all the way open for now. Who knows, maybe at some point you may feel more curiosity and want to contact him again.

  2. krysross permalink

    I think it’s perfectly okay to say you need some processing time and stall. On one hand, it’s kind of nice to know he’s got the whole happy family thing already so you should be able to walk away if that’s what you want. (On the other, pretty curious as to what a brother of yours would be like–not likely a male version of you–but maybe. Imagine.)

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