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So here I was on the
precipice of a new chapter in my life. Overall nothing had really
changed in the physical sense but after sleeping on it for a few days
I had decided that I would try to get into contact with my natural
Father because I really really wanted to see what this bloke looked
like.

I was also being nosey
I wondered how his life had turned out on the other side of the world
for him I wondered how he had got on after he had left.

In the last chapter I
told you exactly what family means to me but I was not looking for
another Dad or a replacement family here. I did not want to walk
away from the family I had got they were after all already mine and
as families go they were pretty top notch so nope I was not looking
for that.

Was I curious? Well of
course I was I mean who wouldn’t be! There was another part of me
that was walking around out there and I irrationally really really
needed to know what he looked like.

What a strange thing to
be focused on but there it was and I was not going to be letting it
go it seemed so I set to tracking down some information on this
mysterious chap.

That information was
handed to me on a plate if I am honest because it turned out that his
Mother still lived in the same house she had done 20 years before so
I managed to get hold of a phone number the old landline type that
was still the main way of calling each other back then and walked
around for a couple of days with it in my pocket working up the
courage to first make the call and secondly wondering what the hell I
was going to say!

I mean first
impressions and all that along with the fact that someone twenty one
years since gone was about to come back into their lives for whatever
amount of time completely out of the blue. I had a pretty good idea
of what that felt like so I wanted to handle it correctly.

The decision was made I
was going to make that call I really wanted to explore that new side
of my existence after all there were lots of strange things spinning
around in my head like,

“Are there any health
concerns I need to know about?”

“Do I have any more
brothers and sisters?”

“Did this chap
marry?”

“Would he be
interested in having a chat with me or has he moved on wanting to
leave it all in the past after all he did sign the adoption papers?”

On that last one I had
instantly come to the frame of mind that that would be fair enough
after all two decades had passed by so the reality of the situation
was that he may never want anything at all to do with me at all. With a
shrug of the shoulders and with an eerie sense of calm with it all
coming over me I sat down and dialled his Mum’s telephone number.

This time though the
conversation I had rehearsed in my head was holding up because that
is the benefit of being on a telephone, people couldn’t really do
much back then with a phone because they were not mobile and you
tended to be restricted to how far the cord could stretch. I say the
conversation went as I planned but what I mean is the beginning of it
did.

I started by telling
her that nothing was wrong and that no one was hurt but I thought it
might be best of she sat down whilst we were talking because she was
in for a bit of a surprise and I did not want her falling over like
in an old made for TV comedy film where folks just rolled their eyes
back in the sockets of their heads then fell to the left completely
passed out…hopefully that had broken the ice.

She told me that she
was indeed sat down and full of anticipation of what I was about to
say so what else could I do? I told her what my name was and I could
literally hear her smile before she said “I have been waiting for
you to call”.

Now that threw me out
completely because I thought that I would have had to explain who I
was and why I was calling but no here we were with her sat on her
stairs holding her phone to her ear quietly and easily taking control
of the situation in that way you don’t seem to notice until after
it’s all over only the way those lucky enough to live to an old age
somehow always manage to do.

I had decided that the
best course of action would be to send her a letter that could be
forwarded onto America that way there was no pressure from me for
this chap to get in touch with me as I would not know where in
America he was let alone what state or address but he would have all
of the information to talk back to me if he was so inclined. No
pressure there then just a reach out to say hello that could not be
taken the wrong way. I would pop a few pictures in of myself along
with my little family just to add some substance and what he did then
was his call.

Now this was a very
good idea I was told by the lady who I was worried about upsetting on
the end of the telephone and before I had really figured out what was
happening I was going down south to see my paternal grandmother to
hand deliver this letter to her so she could forward it onto America
directly and at the same time have a good feel out of this child that
had become a young man she had not seen for his lifetime at her
leisure in the comfort of her own home. I hope I am that clever when
I get to her age! Cunning very cunning indeed…top marks to her.

So a few days later I
was heading down the motorway in my 12 year old white Sierra with a
letter that had taken all of those days to put together and was
around draft eighteen if I recall correctly, sat on the passenger
seat next to me that I just had to keep checking was there by either
looking at it or reaching out to touch it every few minutes. It had
indeed been a strange couple of weeks well I say strange but what I
mean really is life changing. Not in a physical sense everything still
plodded on like it does, I still got up and went to work, the bills
wanted paying and my little family carried on growing. No none of
that was any different but I was starting to change in subtle little
ways as the truth of another family line started to sink in with me.

Oh I had my family and
one that could not be surpassed by any other Mum and Dad were great
as well as my tribe of siblings but I was the big brother here and
that has always been my life my choice and my responsibility and I
now wondered if I was on course to be a big brother to another set of brothers or sisters?

But if I had more and
they wanted to be in contact how could I be with them being brought
up the American way? Would we be compatible on a sibling front? I
was presuming the choice was mine here I mean they might hate me for
just existing and being hidden away for their lifetimes…hang on why
was I presuming I was hidden away? They may well have known about me
all along I mean that was a real possibility…you can see how these
things swirl around in your head and the possibilities of the unknown
are limitless.

I leant back into the
worn fabric of the drivers seat, this was something I was doing a
fair bit of lately in seats, and semi consciously sighed to myself
again as I pondered on the possibilities of it all.

Luckily the half mile
exit sign caught my eye on the motorway just in time and I branched off now
getting really close to my city destination of Oxford. For the
first time since talking on the phone I felt a little nervous with a
few butterflies in my stomach and understandable apprehension as I
headed into the suburbs.

A few more heartbeats
saw me passing into a cul-de-sac with a slow cruise past the house I
wanted before turning around and parking up. I sat for a few moments
knowing that this meeting was to change things even more in my life
whatever the outcome because I was about to meet my Fathers Mother
and weird as that was I had this feeling that my life was about to
change but maybe all of the control would not be mine on it’s
journey.

“To hell with it” I
thought grabbing the car door handle and getting out into the cool
morning air. A short walk along a tarmac pathway that lead to a pair
of ornate metal driveway gates about ten feet ahead and I found
myself looking to see anyone was peeking out of the curtains at me
approaching but if they were they were well hidden. I got to the
front door then pressed the doorbell button but seeing as there was
no noise I could hear I gave a couple of good wraps of my knuckles on
the door itself just for good measure.

My nerves had changed
to an eerie calm but I had started to hear voices coming from
elsewhere and no one had answered the door yet?? Hang on had my mind
finally cracked? There it was again…oh hang on it was coming from the side
door of the house just down the driveway, she didn’t use the front
door itself but a side one.

As I rounded the side
of the house there she was with her head and shoulders poking
sideways out of the doorway looking just like a stereotypical
Grandmother with hair freshly done whilst holding a slightly portly
figure and donning an apron like I had disturbed her cooking
something.

We made eye contact as
I came around from the front of the house and she instantly beamed at
me saying “Well you must be Nick then” very matter of factly
giving me a big hug as soon as I was within grabbing distance from her.

“Come in come in you
must tired after your drive” I was informed whilst being
simultaneously led without much of a choice into her kitchen where
much to my surprise I came face to face with a couple of other
people. Turns out one was an Uncle and the other a cousin and this
development left me surprised for the umpteenth time since the day
had begun because this was a development that I had not even
considered, more extended family.

Why I had not
considered I don’t know but I was new to all of this so I just kind
of took it in my stride just hoping I was not going to be some sort
of freak show side line that would have masses of folks I did not
know coming at me from all directions during the day. Well I wasn’t
a freak show but I would meet an Aunt before the visit was over and
it all felt a little odd to be meeting my Fathers family before even
seeing what he looked like but at this point I was pretty much
overwhelmed so I just kept rolling along with it all.

When I had the time
later that day and in the ones that followed I realised that I could
not blame them for all turning up on the same day after all it may
have been the only chance to see this long lost family member.
Remember this was a time before mobile phones that had built in
cameras so pictures were cherished and there were not any of me,
there was also no Internet to stalk me down on either getting a few
pics without me realising so why not just come and see what this baby
you once knew about had turned into? I would have probably done the
same in their shoes.

The next few hours
passed quickly with lots of information being dug out on both sides
of the last twenty odd years and I walked away with a bit more of a
picture of who this fella was but I had not asked to see an actual
picture of him or where he lived or about his family. I had
purposely said early upon arriving that I did not want to know that
yet as it was his choice whether to tell me it or not and this was
respected by all parties that were there.

Just before leaving I
handed over the letter that had taken so long to write to his Mother
who promised it would be on it’s way state side by the next day so it
would not be long before he got it. A nod of the head from me on
that and it was done. There were fierce hugs given all round as I
left and I was feeling a little bewildered as I walked to my car.

I love driving. Not
around cities or short distances but those long distance drives by
yourself because it gives you time to really let your mind run.
There I sat head back once again in a seat just relaxing giving the
road ahead enough concentration to be safe whilst the rest of my mind
ran through the day processing it all then filing it away for future
reference knowing that several more pathways had been opened today in
my life’s course and I wondered if I would be returning to explore
those paths in the future. Time would tell I supposed as my tyres
chewed up the miles along the tarmac…©

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