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This is a question Siblings

Brothers and sisters - can't live with 'em, can't stove 'em to death with the coal scuttle and bury 'em behind the local industrial estate. Tell us about yours.

Thanks to suboftheday for the suggestion -we're keeping the question open for another week for the New Year

(, Thu 25 Dec 2008, 17:20)
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Siblings...I've had a few...
I've been jolted out of my recent QOTW torpor by this one, though it isn't so much of a light and frolicsome piece as a case study in secrets and lies. Come to think of it, the tale bears a remarkable resemblance to the Mike Leigh creation of the same nice. But I assure you, dear readers, that however prone to exaggeration I may sometimes be, that this is utterly and absolutely true.

And massive. Sorry about that.

Until the age of fifteen, I cavorted and stumbled about the place under the misapprehension that I was the eldest of two kids.

Mnemomic Minor, I will note here, is one of the sweetest, most innocent-natured creatures that was ever besmirched and shat upon by this uncaring world, and as such is an utter anomaly within the brood of rat-bastards that comprise the rest of my family (within which designation I do not hesitate to include myself.)

He's five years younger than me, and I'm reliably informed that for several of his most influential years my pastime of choice was to perch on his (third floor) windowsill, declaring that I was about to fly off to Neverland and not return, and wouldn't relent and come down until he was in a state close to asphyxiating fits from crying and pleading with me not to go.

Which isn't as bad as when my older cousin convinced my younger cousin to drink dog piss running down a pavement by telling him it was lemonade. But I digress.

One fateful morning, when I was fifteen and he ten, my mother (generally speaking an undemonstrative creature) came into my squalid pit of a bedroom, and perched herself awkwardly on the end of my bed, hands in her lap. Disgruntled at the invasion of my sovereign space (and the unwanted interruption in my rapacious devouring of the latest Harry Potter), I grunted something vaguely approaching an inquiry as to the purpose of this interview. I remember thinking with horror that this might be some kind of birds and bees chat, as recommended in that week's Bella.

She leant towards me. There was something in her hand. So consumed was my brain with the refrain of 'please don't let it be the sex talk, please don't let it be the sex talk', pounding through my overinflated teenage cringe gland, that I failed to notice this for some moments, although it was clear that she wanted me to. Eventually, she caved.

'I got a letter this morning,' she said.
'Oh?' said I.
'Yes,' said she.
'So?' I grunted.
'It's from your sister', she said.

Turns out that, a long time ago, she'd had a child she'd been forced to give up for adoption. A familiar story - it was the sixties, she was nineteen, it was simply not the done thing. She was in denial about the pregnancy right up until the end. And this is where it gets sad (although I suspect this unfortunately won't be a singular tale in the chronicles of those times.) My teenage mother was refused pain relief by the anaethestist, on the grounds that she ought to suffer for what she had done. She had to crawl on her hands and knees down a ward corridor, because the nurse wouldn't come when she called. She gave birth for the first time, alone and terrified and with no medication, after having been in labour for thirty-six hours.

And then they came and told her the baby was to be taken away. She hadn't a say in the matter. Except then, for whatever reason, they didn't. My mother was left to look after my sister in the hospital for six weeks while they found her a suitable home. She fed her. She named her. And then one morning, my mother woke up and my sister was gone from the cot beside her. And that was it - she got her coat and went home.

I'm not a parent - although I know some of you are - and so I can't fully imagine what it must be like to have a six week-old baby taken from you. What little I can conceive of, I can't really handle. Suffice to say, it messed my mum up. Her family just wanted to forget about it, and it was never spoken of again. She told my father when they married but not us, or anyone else, even her closest friends.

When my mum told me this story, it made sense of a lot of things. I'd never really been close to her - we'd had a lot of problems and her behaviour towards me was often very irrational, with her reacting violently over quite trivial incidents. Apparently when I was born, she didn't sleep for days on end and wouldn't leave my room, because she was terrified someone would take me away. It all sort of made sense in the light of what had happened.

But to return to the story. My sister had through the help of a friend finally tracked her down, and had written her a letter seeing if she'd like to make contact. My sister had been adopted by a very well-off family (lucky swine), had had a great time of it, and was married and living in Bristol. To cut a long preamble short, they met, and then we met, and it's all worked out extraordinarily well, actually. They are shockingly similar (my sister is nothing at all like her kind but very straight-laced adoptive parents, and is a fashion designer. My mum is also a fashion designer.) And my sister is beautiful and happy and in general has a life I'm rather jealous of, in a good sort of way.

To return, though, to that morning, and to me, bemused in the bed, and having discovered I had a half-sister. Mum asked if I'd like to read the letter, and I said I would. She left the room. I had just about finished, and was trying to let it all sink in, trying to make sense of this sudden familial expansion, when my dear old Dad stuck his head around the door. (If you can, imagine his part in the following dialogue conducted in a thick Welsh accent.)

'Alright Jenny?'
"Yes, I'm alright. I think so.'
'Your mum tell you then?'
'Yes. Can't believe it, really.'
'OK. Well, there's one more thing.'
'Oh. Well you know Sam Walsh from down the pub. The barman.'
'Right. Well, he's your half-brother too. I used to be married to his mam. I'll put the tea on, shall I?'

Yes, I think you'd better.

And that, ladies and gents, is how I was shunted from the first of two siblings to the third of four in the space of around twenty minutes. Surprisingly, it wasn't all that traumatic, and things have pretty much pootled on as they always have done. But that's village life for you - we do things differently here.

Still, good job I didn't snog Sam Walsh that time he tried to grab me round the back of the village hall a year earlier. Now that would have been a Trisha special in the making.

Length? Depends on who the hell you ask, in my family...
(, Sun 4 Jan 2009, 23:55, 7 replies)
Ms Mnemonic you haven't lost your touch.

Jaw dropping stuff, harrowing but saving a moment of dark humour until the end.

This for the win.
(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 10:38, closed)
It's just one thing after another! Nicely written..
(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 11:13, closed)
I accept the invitation to be entertained by your family
and *click* for dads who know a good time to drop a bombshell when they see one.
(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 12:04, closed)
I'd be looking at nearby sheep too
in case there's a resemblance.
(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 13:05, closed)
Lovely story.
The horror of what your mum went through though. I'd have cunted your maternal grandparents in the fuck if I were you.
(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 19:36, closed)
Miss JM
that's a great story

(, Mon 5 Jan 2009, 22:16, closed)
I like this very much indeed!
(, Tue 6 Jan 2009, 14:38, closed)

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