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Agreements

Both women were pleased with the way the meeting had gone.  Barbara because she had now eased her conscience somewhat.  She knew she had to thank Sandy for her kindness and understanding and decided she would take a bunch of flowers with her the next time they met.  A small gesture but it all helped with her conscience.

And Sandy?  She was pleased because she had found that this was a decent young woman who had made a ghastly error of judgment and while Barbara would have to live with the outcome of that, Sandy decided that she could forgive her.  And besides, she had learned much about her daughter that afternoon.

As soon as she arrived home she called both Greg and Cathy and invited them to come round.  Of course they were both eager to hear how the meeting had gone.  So, tea served , Sandy told them about the meeting.  How they had discussed her daughter and how she was convinced that Barbara was a young, somewhat confused young woman who had acted first and thought about the consequences later.  She told them that she planned to see Barbara again, and that even if they would never be friends, she would like to get to know her more.

“Oh I’m so glad that it worked out well, and so happy you found out some things about your daughter” said Cathy.  “Yes, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with her.”

But Greg wasn’t so sure.  “You cleared the air with her today but does she really understand how much she has hurt you with her little scheme.  Although how she ever thought she could pull it off is beyond me.  Did she really expect to be able to live this charade for ever?” he wondered.  “And what are you going to do about Ian.  He’s pretty angry about the whole thing.  He feels totally left out and thinks he should have been told about the half sister.”

“Well I totally disagree” Sandy hotly rejoined.  “It all happened before he was born and in no way impacted on him or his life.  I propose to tell him that a mistake was made and that Barbara is not his half sister after all.  And as for his being angry, well he’ll just have to get over it.  He has his life now in Vancouver and I have mine here.”

And sharply she added “I hope you wont tell him about the deceit Greg.  I should be very disappointed in you if you did.”

That left Greg speechless.  He could see that his ex-wife had made up her mind.  He didn’t agree with her but it was after all her decision.  She was the only one who had been affected by the charade.  He was only an onlooker.

Cathy had sat quietly sipping her tea while this exchange took place.  She could tell that Greg didn’t agree with Sandy’s decisions either about forgiving and continuing to see Barbara or about her decision regarding Ian.  Ian was his son too.  He felt he should be told the whole truth.  About how this woman and tried to put herself in Sandy’s daughter’s place.  But he accepted that they had to be Sandy’s decisions and he would abide by them.

And Cathy finishing her tea, placed the cup and saucer on the coffee table and said “I’m glad you feel able to forgive, Sandy, even if you will never completely forget.  I think the young woman has been rudderless all her life and if she has an older woman as a friend it will help her.  And you can continue to learn more about your child.  But a word of warning, please don’t become too close to her.  You may well get hurt again.

“And now, if you’ll both excuse me, I have to get going.  There is a young woman at the Centre that I’m helping to find accommodation for.  I promised to meet her and take her to a place I know.  It’s a bit like your situation Sandy.  Nowhere to turn and nobody to go to.

“And by the way, don’t forget that you are to come down to the Centre to discuss the volunteer role you could take up.  So, bye.  I’ll see you on Monday then.” With which she got up and with a brief hug to Sandy,left.

Greg felt he had said all he could.  He knew that he couldn’t change his ex-wife’s mind.  Once she set her mind to something she was very determined.  So he too left after a brief hug promising to be in touch in the next day or so.

So that left Sandy alone with her thoughts.  She decided the first thing to do was to call her son and placate him.  It would be early in the morning in Vancouver but she didn’t want to leave it any longer.

As expected, Ian proved more difficult. He repeated that he thought he should have been told about the adopted girl. He felt left out of the family. When did his father find out – was it before or after they were married?   And on and on.

Sandy let him vent for a time and then stopped him with “But Ian, it’s all a mistake. This girl was not my daughter. They had the same names and the same birth dates but that was all.

“And why would I ever tell you about it? It had nothing to do with you or our family. It happened before I met your father and yes, he did know when we agreed to get married. There were never any secrets between us.

“So though you now know about the existence of a half-sister, you can get on with your life exactly as before. I don’t like it when you are angry with me when you’re so far away. So let’s kiss and make up please darling”

After a few more grumbles, Ian reluctantly agreed to “kiss and make up”. Although he wasn’t sure that he could forgive his mother for keeping such a secret from him.

The telephone call ended on a happier note and Sandy went off to prepare dinner.

******

Meanwhile, Barbara had gone home. She phoned James and they planned to meet later that evening. She had plenty of time to think about the chaos she had caused in Sandy’s life and felt genuine remorse. She didn’t quite know how she was going to live with this knowledge but she felt better for having faced Sandy with the truth.

And now she had to meet James and tell him what happened. But more importantly she had to think about the bombshell he had thrown her at their last meeting. Did she want him to be more than a friend she asked herself. She liked him, she enjoyed his company, he was witty and charming but was that enough?

Where was the joy in thinking about him, where the excitement of being in his company. And why didn’t her heart flip flop at this voice? She had read about all these things happening to girls in the novels she had read. But perhaps, after all, things were different in real life.

She thought that if he brought it up tonight she would agree to be his girlfriend. That committed her to no long term relationship and if it didn’t work out they could always separate and remain friends, well couldn’t they?

 THE END

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Separate Ways

 

Sandy was relieved when she received the response from Barbara. She really did want to speak to her and to find out more about her.

They agreed to meet on Saturday at the same café as before, which was the first time that Barbara could be there. So they both had several days to wait before the meeting.

For Sandy it was a time of reflection. She thought about her past and about the child that she had adopted. She thought of all the reasons she had given herself for not following up on that.

She was sure the child was in a good family; the child would be disturbed if she found that her birth mother was looking for her; Ian and Val and the boys lives would be disturbed and if the child was not in a good family, what could she do about it and on and on. Many times over the years she had told herself these reasons for not seeking out her daughter or her whereabouts.

But she knew that the real reason she hadn’t tried to find her daughter was because she was afraid. Afraid that if she did see her, if they did meet she would regret her decision about the adoption.  

She never discussed this with Greg or anyone else. Greg knew about the child but never once had he questioned her about whether she would try to find the child. And now she found that the child had been searching for her.

Now, all the hurts and secrets and questions she had hidden from herself were brought out into the open. And she didn’t know how to cope.

*******

Meantime, Barbara was also reflecting on what she had done and why. She knew that she had envied the other Barbara the life she had. Her own life had not been good, a series of foster homes one after the other and at none of them did she really fit in or feel loved. She left to make her own way as soon as she could.

And now, she had to face up to the hurt she had caused Sandy in opening up the old wounds and bringing her secrets out into the open. How would she convince Sandy that she meant no harm? She just hadn’t considered the ramifications of her actions.

She spent the next few days berating herself for being selfish and thinking only of herself. 

******

So both women were a little apprehensive at the forthcoming meeting.

Barbara was there first and she was sitting waiting when Sandy appeared. She was heartened by the fact that Sandy smiled and waved her hand when she saw her. So, Barbara thought, this isn’t going to be a confrontation.

Sandy came over and sat down at the table with Barbara. They ordered and then each looked at the other to see who was going to start the conversation. Barbara got in first “I’m really sorry for deceiving you Sandy. I didn’t think of the effect it would have on you. So I apologise. And if you tell me to go, I shall just get up and leave.” With which she stood and picked up her bag.

“No, no. Please sit down again. “Said Sandy. “We can talk this through. There has been no real harm done. And probably it was time for the secret about Barbara to come to light. It certainly is something I should have told my son about years ago.

You knew my daughter and I didn’t so we can maybe talk a little about her and her life. But first please tell me about you.”

So Barbara spent some time telling Sandy about the orphanage and the foster homes. She did tell her how unhappy she’d been as a teenager but she didn’t tell her why. Nor did she tell her how many times she had run away and each time she was brought back she was placed in a different foster home.

She told her how she finally left home to make her own life. She had taken a series of jobs working in offices until eventually she had ended up working in the same solicitors’ office as the other Barbara.

She told Sandy how they became friends, initially sharing their lunches and then going places after work together. She told how she had no experience of theatre, music or any of the arts and Barbara had introduced her to these. They had little money so they spent time at the museum or art galleries where entry was free. And on the occasions that they went to the theatre they bought the cheapest seats.

Sandy could tell from the tone and the lightness in her voice that she really loved the other Barbara as a surrogate sister, and had enjoyed the time they spent together. Sandy was pleased that her daughter and this Barbara had each other as friends.

Once Barbara had finished they sat in silence for a few minutes.

“I think I understand why you tried to impersonate Barbara” Sandy said. “And I accept that you didn’t intend any harm. We can get over that. As I said it was probably time for that particular skeleton to come out of the closet. “

She looked thoughtful and then said “I don’t know if you would like this idea but I suggest that we tell the others that you made a mistake. You are not my daughter after all. We can meet from time to time and you can tell me more about Barbara.

I do know that she was tragically killed with her parents in a car crash. Maybe later on, I might want to look up her relatives but not for some time. I have a lot to digest as it is.”

She looked at Barbara who was looking pensive. “Do you really mean that?” she asked. “I would so like to keep in touch with you. But what will you tell Cathy, your husband and your son? How will they react?”

“Well Cathy has met you and Greg found out that you are not my daughter. Greg might take some convincing that it’s all right for us to keep in touch but both he and Cathy are good people who want to see me happy. The only reason they each made enquiries about you is because of that. So I’m sure all will be well.

As far as my son is concerned, well that’s a different matter. He is unhappy that I didn’t tell him about the adoption and I don’t think I can lie to him about you. I think I will tell him the truth. I will follow up the phone call with a letter in which I can put my feelings about you and about why I think we should keep in touch.”

They both thought they had said enough for this time and decided that they would meet again the following Saturday. Sandy was concerned that Barbara was going home to be on her own, but she felt happier when Barbara told her she was meeting a young man later.

So with that, the two women picked up their bags and with a brief hug, went their separate ways.

“Friendship,” said Christopher Robin, “is a very comforting thing to have.”
― A A Milne

To be continued….

 

Surprises

Barbara was surprised to receive such a warm response from Sandy.  She thought never to hear from her again.

Then she began to question whether in fact it was a friendly response . Maybe by the time they met (if she agreed to do so) Sandy would have had a change of mind and taken legal advice about what Barbara had done.  Once again she thought she would talk to James to see what he thought.  After all there was no hurry to answer this email.

As soon as she arrived at work, Barbara called James to arrange to meet him at lunch time.  Once again, the time dragged until 1 pm when it was time.

James was smiling broadly when he saw Barbara enter the cafe , but he could see from her face that she was still worried.  After ordering and taking their seats James asked “So, did you send the email?”

“Oh yes and I have had a response.”she replied. “Sandy said that she was very upset at what I had done.  How I set out to deceive her but she would like to meet me again to discuss it. I really think she is prepared to forgive me.”

“But do you want to meet her again”

After sitting for a while in silence, eating her food, Barbara said “I think I owe it to her.  After all because of me, her secret has been brought to light and a whole lot of old wounds have been opened again.

I don’t feel I can just walk away now.  Other people know her secret and they’re involved in this. How will she go back to the way things were before I brought all this on her?”

Now James sat quietly for a few moments.  He pushed away his plate, leaned his arms on the table and said “Well, if thats really how you feel, then you must answer the email and agree to meet her.  Otherwise you’ll be bugged by this little adventure for the rest of your life.

Now let’s have a cup of coffee and let me tell you about a good thing that’s happened in my life.”

“Oh I’m sorry James.  I’ve been so wrapped up in myself and this affair, that I didn’t ask you how you got on at your interview.”

“Well, the good news is that I have been promoted to Sales Supervisor.  Next step manager and then the sky’s the limit.  I haven’t told anybody else about it.  I wanted you to be the first to know.” he said with a huge grin on his face “and it means a substantial raise too.  So now perhaps we can talk about seeing more of each other.  Perhaps even going on a proper date, rather than just sharing lunch occasionally.”

Barbra had no idea that James felt this way.  She had always seen him as a friend; oh a good friend in whom she could confide but as a boyfriend?  She didn’t want to hurt him as he had been so good and understanding, but she wasn’t sure about him as a boyfriend.  So she said “Let me just get this meeting with Sandy over and then we can talk about us.”

James, being James, agreed.  He really liked Barbara and wanted to her to be his girlfriend, in fact much more than just a girlfriend, but he knew she had to get this situation with Sandy sorted out before she could move on.

So with a smile and a friendly peck on the cheek he stood to leave.  “Promise you’ll let me know when you are going to meet Sandy.  And you do know if you want me to come with you, you only have to ask.  In any event, let me know what happens.” so saying he left her sitting at the table.

But she knew she had to go back to the office and compose her response to Sandy. She also had to think about this situation with James.  She thought “two weeks ago my life was simple, but now I have not only sort out the situation I’ve created with Sandy, but also any change in my relationship with James.”

“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Episode 15 – The Sandy Saga.

 

 

Another Day, Another Lunch, Another Pool

The third and final day of this holiday weekend found me driving over the Rimutaka Hill with a friend for lunch at yet another friend’s house.  What a social butterfly I am becoming!

The sun was shining brightly when we left but before we reached the Hill the weather became overcast and really looked as if it would rain.

Rimutaka Hill Road

The Rimutakas Range is one of several mountain ranges in the North Island of New Zealand that form a ridge running parallel with the east coast between East Cape and Wellington.  The narrow and winding State Highway 2 crosses the ridge from the Hutt Valley** to Featherston. At the summit is a lookout point where there was a cafe, but after disputes over toilets and land ownership between the Greater Wellington Regional Council and a series of tenants the building sat empty and was severely damaged by fire in April 2009 and later was demolished.

So we wound our way over The Hill with the steep drop on our left (our driving side) and as always we were  glad to reach the summit and to know we are on the way down.  The steep drop is still there on our left but somehow going downhill is not as scary.  Of course, the same thing happens on the way home but this time the drop is someone else’s problem.

 

Greytown

Our destination was Greytown, best known for its collection of beautifully restored Victorian buildings and boutique shops, one of the most complete collections in the entire country. The main street lined with trees and impressive examples of colonial architecture is also home to a wide selection of cafes and restaurants. For those in the mood to shop, the quirky local stores and designer boutiques feature everything from jewellery to gourmet chocolates and antiques.

Westwood

And then to the house.  

Another day, another pool, another lunch.  Of course, my friend, the owner of the house, greeted us warmly and as always, made us feel very welcome.  This friend established a bed and breakfast operation in the house when her husband died very suddenly several years ago.  Westwood is a boutique, thriving operation.

Lunch was a beautiful smoked chicken salad eaten beside the pool, complemented with a bottle of Moet provided by the friend who accompanied me today.  And as I wasn’t driving, I had a glass or two.

How lucky I am to have the opportunity to visit friends and family who live quite close but in different parts of the Wellington Region. 

“Friendship is a rainbow between two hearts”
Judith Baxter, Mother, Blogger, Friend
1938-

** Note – The Hutt Valley is where I used to live with The Architect. It’s approximately 37km NE of Wellington City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note – The Hutt Valley was where I used to live with The Architect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday in the Summer Sun

Another glorious day on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand comes to an end.

I spent this day with my son and his wife lying at the side of their pool and idly gossiping passing the time of day. How very pleasant it was. Hot sun and cool drinks, perfect.  But it was a tall glass of lime and soda for me – our drink drive laws are very strict and so as I was driving home tonight, I had no alcohol. But who needs alcohol to enjoy oneself?

I did briefly think of Sandy and her dilemma but decided that could wait to be sorted out on another day.

Raumati jpg

Sunset at Raumati Beach.

 And the sunset at the beach reminded me of one of my favourite Max Lucado quotes 

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless,
remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers,
“Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

It’s Wellington on a good day

It’s Saturday again and time to join the gang at Six Word Saturday. Click on the badge to play along.

This has been the most perfect January day. Temperatures in and around 30 degrees. This is hot in this temperate climate and the pool at my son’s house was in high demand..

Lunch at a friend’s house but we decided it was too hot to eat outside so three elderly ladies ate lunch inside. Much laughter, exchange of stories and general well being. Some three and half hours later we decided that lunch was over.

How incongruous on this hot day the man delivering winter firewood arrived.

Back to lunch and how different was today’s lunch to yesterday’s.  Another beautifulWellington day but this time lunch with a friend who has dementia. Added to that is the problem that she is unable to walk without her Zimmer frame and you can see lunch was not a bundle of laughs.

I picked up my friend and we went to the beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens. 25 hectares of landscaped gardens, protected natural bush, specialised plant collections and of course the famous Lady Norwood Rose Garden.  Nestled into the Rose Garden is the Begonia House set in a Victorian conservatory. And at the side of the Begonia House under the same roof is a delightful cafe. As you can imagine on such a lovely day it was full of people chatting, laughing and enjoying lunch.

Our lunch was a quieter more somber affair.  My friend who used to be the centre of any gathering was very quiet.  She has trouble remembering. Oh, she remembers names and who you are.  She has difficulty remembering events and words to describe her thoughts and feelings.

How scared she must be and how scared will her family be. She is aware that she isn’t making sense and gets annoyed with herself and there’s no way for me to help.

After a short run around the waterfront (in the car of course) I delivered her back home to her lovely husband.  I made us all a cup of tea and then left once again saying thanks to whichever god is looking out for me.

I really feel for this once vibrant, educated and intelligent woman whose life is now confined to their apartment and who now has to wait for a friend or family member to take her out. When I think of all the ills that could befall one, this would be the hardest to bear.

 

 

Curiouser and Curiouser

They sat talking about the things that the two detectives had found out and also but the extra things that Greg had discovered.  For instance, he discovered that the wife had a twin sister who lived close by and she and her husband had two boys,  and an aged father who lived in a retirement home.  So that Barbara had a family whom it appeared were devastated at their loss.

He also found from some of the things that Barbara had let slip that she worked in a solicitors’ office in Holborn,  It would be quite difficult to track down which one, but with the help of Cathy’s friend he was sure they could do it.

Then Sandy suddenly remembered the email.  She had managed to put it out of her mind while they were discussing the new developments.  But now she hurried to the printer and brought it over.  She read it out loud.  The other two looked stunned as did Sandy.  Barbara was not Sandy’s daughter but had tried to pass herself off as her.  She had known Sandy’s daughter and was her friend.

What to do about this?  Had she committed a crime?  It appeared not but Greg said that Cathy should check with her policeman friend   Cathy and Greg talked about what they should do.  Should they confront Barbara and find out what she really had in mind when she started this.  Sandy suddenly joined the conversation “But she hasn’t done anything wrong.  Nobody has been hurt.  She just wanted to be part of a family”

Greg looked at Sandy as if he couldn’t believe what she was saying.  “So do you want to just let this go?” he asked.  “Don’t you think we should check whether she should be charged with an offence? And what will you tell Ian and Val? They have a right to know that this fraudster had been trying to get into our family.  To become a part of all our  lives.  I think she should be made to answer for her actions.”

In turn, Sandy couldn’t believe what Greg was saying.  “She’s just a confused, young woman, who wanted to be part of a family.  A family she has never had.  How hard her life must have been. Shunted from foster home to foster home.  She just wanted to be part of a normal family.

“Imagine how she envied the other Barbara. She had also been given for adoption but she had landed with a loving family and she also had come close to finding her birth mother.  How would that make her feel?”

Cathy asked “So Sandy, what would you like to do?  You are the one most affected by this woman and her deceit.”

“I don’t know.  I think she has had a very raw deal in life and I don’t want to make her life any more difficult.” Sandy answered “I think I should respond to her email.  Telling her how upset I am that she felt it was alright to act in this way.  I will also tell her I would really like to meet her again and talk about it. I would really like to know what she was thinking about when she started out to deceive me.”

Greg and Cathy sat quite still and looked at Sandy.  They both spoke

“What will that achieve” asked Greg and “If you think it wise then that’s what you should do” said Cathy.

“Yes.  It is what I want” said Sandy.

After talking more about this Sandy’s decision was acted upon.  Between them they came up with the wording for an email which Sandy wrote and sent to Barbara.

Having had another cup of tea and a stilted conversation about other things, Greg and Cathy left after Sandy promised to call them as soon as a reply to her email was received.

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining
and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”
Cicero, 44 B.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

On Monday morning while Barbara was wrestling with her problem, Greg received a call from Ted, his Private Investigator friend.

“I’ve done some searching starting of course on the Internet. Obviously, without many details, I couldn’t find much but I did log onto a local paper in Cowley that gave information about an horrific car crash in which the occupants of both cars died. The strange thing is that there was a girl in one of the cars with the same name as your girl. Do you think this is a coincidence? And do you want me to look further into this?” he asked.

Greg asked him if he would check out the story and see if there were any relatives he could talk to. Thanking Ted, he rang off and sat for a while with a grim look on his face. Julia had already left for the beauty salon she owned and as he worked from home as a freelance IT Consultant, he had the house to himself.

He decided to do some checking for himself.

At about the same time, Detective Inspector Steve Royal, Cathy’s friend, was speaking to Cathy. He too had found this other Barbara and wondered at the coincidence.

Cathy was concerned for Sandy and also for Barbara. She had really liked the girl and wouldn’t like to think she had done anything illegal. However, she asked whether Steve could check with the local police to see if there were any relatives that they could talk to. That done, she hurried round to Sandy to tell her of this development.

*****

That afternoon Barbara hit send on the computer. She had decided that the best policy was honesty and had told Sandy how she had known her daughter at work and how they became friends. She told her how devastated she was after the accident, and of going to the funeral. She assured Sandy that she meant no harm. She was looking for a family and thought that she could convince Sandy she was her long lost daughter. But now she realised that she had committed identity theft and was frightened that if she went any further she would cause more hurt to Sandy.

She finished by saying how very sorry she was to have opened the old wounds. She had enjoyed meeting Sandy and also had loved her friend Barbara. Sandy could be proud of her dead daughter.  She didn’t really feel much better after sending the email. She had still committed an offence but as she hadn’t benefited from it financially or in any other way it was Identity Theft rather than Identity Fraud. During the afternoon she had taken the opportunity to discuss Identity Theft and Identity Fraud with one of the junior solicitors in the office and he had explained the difference to her. So she now had to deal with her own conscience rather than the law.  She really felt bad about tricking Sandy as she had done.

 

*****

Sandy was surprised to see Cathy on a Monday morning and immediately asked what was wrong. Gently Cathy told Sandy of how she had asked her friend to do a little digging into Barbara. She said that they hadn’t come up with much but there was this girl with the same name who, with her parents, had died in a car crash a couple of months ago. They had no way of knowing if this was in any way connected to the Barbara they had met, but Cathy’s friend had agreed to talk to the local police in Crowley to see if there were any relatives they could contact.

Sandy sat there with her face contorted in shock. But before she could say anything the phone started ringing. Excusing herself she went to answer the call.

It was Greg passing on the information he had gained from his friend and he also had some further facts that he had gained himself. Could he come round now to see her?

Meantime, Cathy had decided that tea was called for and went to the kitchen to make some.

While Cathy was occupied in the kitchen the computer pinged and there was an email from Barbara. Sandy was too confused to read it. She decided to wait until Greg arrived and then the three of them could decide what to do and also read the email.

In no time, Greg was knocking on the door. Cathy went to let him in and they sat to discuss what they had learned.

Life is a journey to be experienced;
not a problem to be solved.
Winnie the Poo.

 

 

 

Honesty

All day Sunday, following the meeting with Sandy and Cathy, Barbara thought about what she was doing and the ramifications. She didn’t think it illegal to take on someone else’s identity, but she wasn’t sure.

 She had told no one of her plans to impersonate the other Barbara, and really she didn’t know what she expected to get out of it other than a ready made family. Well that was a huge thing wasn’t it? And if she convinced Sandy she would then have to convince the rest of the family who might not be as ready to believe as Sandy. She decided to sleep on it and think it through tomorrow.

But on waking the next morning she was no closer to making sense of what she had started. She wished she hadn’t sent that original email and wished she could take it back.

She turned on her computer as she was having breakfast and she saw there was an incoming email. It was from Sandy and she asked questions that Barbara feared. She didn’t know the answers. Oh, she could make up stuff about growing up but of course, there were other family members who could be traced easily. Oh what had she got herself into? And how to get out of it?  Why had she ever started to convince somebody that she was somebody else? 

She could just refuse to answer the email and turn her back on Sandy and her friend Cathy. Or she could make up the answers to the questions. But what if Sandy decided to come in to see her at her rooms or worse still, at the office. Then the game would really be up. The name on the flat/rooms was hers not the other Barbara’s and at the office of course, they knew that the other Barbara had died. 

She hadn’t thought where this thing was leading when she sent the original email. And was she really being fair to Sandy? She realised after meeting her, that she had opened some old wounds and they wouldn’t close easily. Sandy had kept this secret for many years and now at least one other person knew of it. And no doubt, Sandy’s son had been informed and how was he reacting? 

As she got ready for work she pondered on the problem. She didn’t know who to talk to about it. There was a young man with whom she had lunch on occasion and so she decided to talk to him about it today. She copied the emails and as soon as she arrived at work she called him and arranged to meet him at one o’clock. 

All morning while trying to work her mind, kept going over and over what she had done and how  was she  going to handle it. One o’clock eventually came round and she was now worried at how her friend, James, would react to what she had to say. 

Greeting her with a smile and a friendly wave, James was already seated in the café when she arrived. “You don’t look very happy.” he said. “Is something wrong?” Barbara suddenly found herself crying and blurting out the problem to James. He put his arm around her and tried to comfort her.

“Let’s order coffee and something to eat. You’ll feel better when you have some food inside you.” was his advice. “ I suppose you haven’t eaten anything at all today” 

So with the food ordered and the coffees in front of them, he asked her to go over the whole thing from the beginning. 

“Well, you’ve got yourself into a bit of a mess haven’ you?” and “How are we going to get you out of it?” he said. 

Barbara was pleased to hear him ask that. She felt that with his help she could put this right or if not right, make some amends. 

The food came and they spent the next few minutes eating; the only conversation was about the food. “This is good” and “How’s yours?”

 “So now let’s look at what you’ve done” said James. “You’ve sent an email purporting to be somebody else. You’ve met with the woman once in the role of this other Barbara, but I don’t think you have done anything illegal. It’s not a very good thing to do, and it’s not particularly honest and the impact on this woman, Sandy has been great. But you can get out of it.”

 “How” she asked.

Well, the options are, do nothing and hope that Sandy leaves it at that and doesn’t try to find you. Though I think that’s unlikely from reading the emails. She seems to be very keen for you to be her long lost daughter.” 

“And the other option?” she asked. 

“Well that is you send her another email saying that you made a mistake. You are not her daughter and you are sorry for any hurt you caused. You didn’t intend to hurt anybody and you hope that she is successful in finding her real daughter. Or words to that effect. It’s not going to be easy but I think this is the least you can do. You might want to tell another lie and say that you have been looking for your birth mother through several avenues and have now connected with your birth mother after all”. James sat back and finished his lunch.

 Barbara thought about what he had said and realised that the second option was the only one that would allow her to get out of the situation she had created. It wouldn’t be easy but it would be the only honest thing to do.

 Thanking him for listening and understanding she left James at the end of lunch feeling happier than she had all morning. Now she knew what she had to do. She would spend some time thinking of the words to use in an email to Sandy.

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.”
― Virginia Woolf

 

 

Questions

After she  left Greg. Sandy drove slowly around the streets on her way home  She thought about Greg and how lucky she was to have him still in her life.  So many of her friends had acrimonious divorces and didn’t speak to their ex husbands.  She knew that she and Greg would always be friends, and they had Ian and his boys as a further connection.

She also thought about what he had said, and about the email she would send to Barbara once she got home.

So engrossed was she in her thoughts that she almost missed the young cyclist who came barreling out of a driveway.  She shook herself and concentrated on the road the rest of the way home.

After making a pot of tea she sat down and wrote the email:

“Dear Barbara.  I was so pleased to meet you yesterday.  It brought back memories of a time that wasn’t happy for me but I was glad to see the outcome of those times.

Of course, I should like to know more about you.  You were a little vague dear about where you lived and worked and of your life when you were young.  Do you have any relatives, cousins, aunts or uncles, and if so, do you see them still?  So many unanswered questions.

Perhaps you would like to answer some of them in an email before we make plans to meet again.

You must understand that this whole thing has come as a shock to me after  it having been kept secret for so many years.  It has brought to life old wounds and feelings and  I need some time to collect myself.  I also want to make sure of my feelings towards you.

I do hope you don’t think I am distrusting you. It’s just that after so long there are many questions.  And I’m sure you have an equal number of questions to ask me.  Please feel free to do so and I shall do my best to answer them.

Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Regards, Sandy”.

She read it and rewrote it a couple of times before she sent it.  She didn’t want to upset Barbara but of course there were all the unanswered questions and evasions looming in her mind following yesterday’s meeting.

She copied it to Greg and then she rang him.

“Do you think she’ll be upset?” she asked him “Or will she understand that I’m just  being careful?

I’m just so scared that if she isn’t who she says she is, I’ll have been taken back to that terrible time, with all the wounds reopened for nothing.  I really do hope that she is my daughter.”

“I know you really want her to be your daughter but there are things you need to consider.  For instance have  you thought about  how she will fit into the family yet?” Greg asked.  “She certainly can’t think she could just turn up and become one of us or could she? And we need to find out what Ian really thinks about this development and the impact on his life and his family.

“He is our son and has been brought up thinking of himself as an only child. Imagine how he is trying to cope with a the possibility of a half sister coming into his life now.  And let’s remember that he is already upset that we never told him about your other child.

“I think that after you receive a response to your email, we should phone him together and discuss this as a family.  What do you think?”

“I think that’s a great idea.  I knew I should talk to you.  Thanks. I’ll call you when I hear from her” She said, putting down the receiver.

Then she sat thinking back to the time when she had become pregnant with the girl and the worry unhappiness then.  It was so very different to the time when she had become pregnant with Ian. Then it was all happiness.  She and Greg looked forward to the birth of the child, not knowing or caring whether it would be a boy or girl.  They just both knew that this child would be welcomed by both of them into their loving family.  And so it had been.  They showered their only child with love in a safe and secure family environment.  He knew how much he was loved.

And when it became obvious that there would be no more children, they became a tight knit family unit of three. Sandy felt quite sure that if Barbara was her daughter, then after a short time to get used to the idea, Ian would welcome her into the family.  But what Val would have to say about all this, Sandy couldn’t begin to imagine.  The wife/mother-in-law relationship was certainly easier now that they lived so far apart, but Sandy always felt that Val looked down on her considering herself better than Sandy.  Well she would just have to wait for a couple of days and then after talking to Ian again, would see what Val’s opinion was.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday
because I was a different person then” said Alice
Lewis Carol – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Episode 11 in The Sandy Saga