Unkown Timelines…

I have a friend, I’ll call him Jeff for reasons which will soon become apparent.   Jeff is a hard working guy, with a family and a lot of friends, I have become one of those who at times just sits and listens to a few lamentations or lends a listening ear when the stresses of life nearly overcome him.  Today I went to visit him, just to say hello, and see how he was doing…From the outset I could tell there was something wrong, tho I couldn’t quite coax it out of him..  Finally after he was sure there was no one else around he began to ramble.  Two hours later I knew the reason for his countenance… It seems when Jeff was a young man, playing the field, he had a couple of girls he quite liked.  One of them a tall blond woman, the other one an attractive brunette.  He dated them both for quite some time, and frankly I think he was deeply in love with both of them.  He married the Blond sixteen years ago, and they have five children, the Brunette married  eight years ago, and has two children.  The story goes like this.  When he discovered that his future wife was pregnant, and planning to go back to the Southwest where her family could give her support, He did the honorable thing and proposed to her..she decided to accept his proposal and they were soon married. The brunette was deeply in love with him, and took the news of his impending marriage to another woman very very hard. He said she wept in a way that really bothered him…I think he realized how hurt she was to discover he was marrying someone else.

I suppose this kind of "breaking up is hard to do" thing happens all the time, but in the years I have known him I have heard him refer to the girl he didn’t marry a time or two and always with some consternation about her distress at his choice.  After that night when he told her, they saw each other seldom, and now sixteen years have gone by and life has led them in different directions. She got her education and has become quite successful.  He has a good job and his family is doing well.  It was with some pleasure that he told me he had bumped into her two weeks ago at a local grocery store…and that they had talked briefly.   I think she wants to know how I am, he told me, so I gave her my Email and she sent me a note.    In their communications she gave him her facebook page so he could see pictures and share a few of her experiences.   

So does she still love you? I asked…I don’t think so, he shook his head…then whats the problem? Are you having an affair?  NO NO, its not like that…so whats the problem  I pressed him.  Well I started to look thru her picture albums…I see her husband and her two daughters…he paused…Then he got this look of panic…her oldest daughter is the same age as mine…and she looks JUST LIKE ME…. 

What? yeah, I think when I told her I was getting married….she may have been pregnant.  ARE YOU SURE?… NO and…and …but I dont want to ask either.. It seems that Jeff is faced with the possibility that he has just discovered a daughter he never new he had, and knows if such a revelation comes to the surface, it may affect his current life in ways he can’t even imagine.  In some ways, he sighs, I don’t want to know…but IF she is my daughter don’t I have some obligation to her? …I just sat there and listened to him list the possibilities…outline the dilemma…and wonder in a subtle whisper…what to do…what to do…

I have long said I don’t want anyone else’s  problems…and tonight I am reminded why I say that…WHAT A TWIST of life he faces.   It reminded me of My Adopted friend who when he found his BIRTH MOTHER, and she announced to her six children that she had given up a son to an adoption when she was just 16, some of his half sisters refused to accept him, and were so angry with their mother that they refused to speak to either of them for years.    I began to think of how his current wife might react to such news. I have a good friend whose husband had a child by another woman that she has never known about….how do you tell someone something like that?  I just don’t think its my place to break that kind of news.    Anyway,  Jeff is beside himself with both fear and curiosity… Some times life throw us some real curves…This one could be a bean ball…headed right for his left ear.  So what are you going to do?  I asked him.   I donno…I donno…I donno…   One thing for sure, I can’t ask…but what if she tells me…?

Well the Author of Lake Wobegone Days Garrison Keillor, tells a story of a Man who met a Medium…When she touched him she announced to him that she knew the nicknames of his sister and brother, that his father had passed away three months before, and named a favorite aunt or some such thing…impressed he listened to her…until she told him she knew the name of  the woman, who if he married, would make him happy his entire life.   She then asked if he wanted her to reveal the name…  (now you must know he was at that time engaged to ILENE because, well she had written him long letters during the War and he had only sent short post cards, and she claimed that it proved he was selfish and didn’t love her…so to prove he did love her he proposed) …He considered the impact of discovering the name the medium would reveal  MIGHT NOT BE ILENE…and decided that NO, he didn’t want to know the name.   Sometime later in life he admitted he has often wondered what that name was… (I suppose confirming that he has concluded that it wasn’t Ilene)    So Jeff is in a quandary… and I am a friend willing to listen, and give as little advice as I can…after all what do I know about stuff like finding out you have a daughter you never knew you had… so tell me Jeff, what does the future hold…is it even half as obscure as the past?  

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2 Responses to Unkown Timelines…

  1. Sharon says:

    …are you sympathetic to the plight of a player? ok so he was young, and stupid, but what about the two women he theoretically loved? how much love did he have in his heart (truly) for either one of them if he was cheating on both of them? call me a wench for being somewhat judgemental and not saying "oh poor man, he didn\’t know about his other child", but my empathy is with the brunette who raised her child alone for 8 years before marrying. Maybe she is thinking about both "Jeff" and her daughter\’s rights/hopes/feelings/needs by allowing him access to her facebook – it has provided him the opportunity to "do the right thing" again, if the child is his. trust me i know it\’s a frightening prospect to lay yourself open to rejection from the child you left behind (for whatever reason or "justification", or excuse we can come up with). But above all… he does need to ask the brunette if the child is his and if they (mother and daughter) want to know him or need his presence in their life, for everyone\’s emotional health.

    • Thotman says:

      And what of the mother of his three kids?… The ones who he supports and loves and who do not know anything about this… which he could lose if this becomes common knowledge?…

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