One night in the summer of 2024, I was talking with Dad. I had been living with him since I graduated from college and was inquisitive about my mother who had died when I was four years old. I just wanted to know all about her and their relationship. I first asked Dad why Mom had left him. Dad was very ambiguous which made getting information difficult. I think she might have left him because he drank a lot, never cleaned the house and didn’t have a steady job, but those were just my guesses.
Dad switched the subject and asked me to go into his bedroom to get a magazine for him. He didn’t tell me exactly where it was, so I had to look everywhere. While I was looking around, something fell on the floor from underneath the mattress. I wasn’t exactly sure what had just fallen, but it caught my eye. I was shocked to see that it was actually pictures of Mom or someone who looked like my mom’s twin. I had never seen those pictures before.
While there were several people in the pictures, the only ones I recognized were my mom and my brother. I recognized Jared because he looked like my father’s twin or a male version of me. In most of the pictures, Mom was standing next to a man and a girl. The girl was my stepfather’s daughter Alex. Alex had brown hair and big brown eyes. She was three years younger than me, but a year older than my brother. I was surprised to see this because Dad had told me that he had thrown out all the pictures of Mom after she had died.
The first set of pictures was dated February 9, 2000. I was confused because this date was so long ago. I was unsure of what to think. I went downstairs to where Dad was and asked him what he was doing with those pictures. Dad shifted in his chair and didn’t answer me at first.
Finally, he said, “Your mother’s still alive. She didn’t die after the car accident.”
When I heard that, I was in shock. I couldn’t find my voice, and I struggled to speak.
“What do you mean… she didn’t die? What happened to her?” I was furious at this point, and I could barely breathe.
Dad finally answered me after a minute. “Your mother got amnesia after the car accident. She was in a coma for a while, and that was before she took those pictures.” He took a deep breath and opened the floodgates: “She remembered everything else, except us. She didn’t believe me when I told her about us.”
Dad looked at me and continued. “I thought it would be easier for me to forget about her. I couldn’t argue with her about it because I hid all the proof. I tried to move on with my life after that happened. I couldn’t tell you the truth because you were still very young.”
Dad took another deep breath as he continued to talk. “I just let you think that she died after the car accident. I didn’t know how to explain it to you, and I was also trying to get over the shock myself.”
I couldn’t stand to hear any more of that. “Enough! Stop! Just stop talking, Dad. You’re a liar! I don’t believe you!” I screamed as I ran out of the door.
“Victoria!” My dad called after me, but I didn’t turn back. I just kept running towards nowhere.
Later that year, September 2024
I ended up at Danny’s house. He has been my boyfriend since I was 15, and we were going to get married the following month. Danny had just finished medical school. We had gone to Boston High School together, just like my parents did. I ended up staying at his house for three months. I just couldn’t stand to go back to Dad at least not yet.
“I feel like my father betrayed me,” I told Danny after we had a romantic Italian dinner.
“How could he keep this from me for the past twenty-eight years?” I asked him.
“Maybe he was trying to keep you from getting hurt,” Danny suggested.
“How do you think I feel now?” I retorted.
“What?” I asked him. “Don’t I have a right to be upset?”
“Of course you do, but maybe…..” His sentence trailed off.
“What?” I asked him again.
“I know what will make you feel better, how about we go to the beach or the mall?”
“No, I don’t want to go to the mall or the beach. I just want to stay here with you and tell you how much I appreciate you for staying true to me. Rather than tell you, I will just show you.”I got up, and I walked over to his bed.
“Are you sure you want to have sex?” Danny asked me. “We never did it without a condom, I don’t know…”
“Yes, I am sure. Now shut up and kiss me.”
Danny kissed me, and I kissed him back. I pushed him on the bed and then I started to take off my shirt and pants. Danny kissed my neck as he softly whispered in my ear, “I love you, Victoria.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck. As I locked my legs around his waist, I whispered back in his ear, “I love you too, Danny. No matter what happens, I will always love you with all my heart. Forever and always,” I murmured into his ear.
Danny took off his shirt and his pants. I was thinking about taking off my bra and underwear, but I couldn’t concentrate enough to do it, so I just knotted my fingers through his hair. Danny’s emotions ran wild. He got up, and he leaned me against the wall as he started kissing me everywhere. I was a little uncomfortable, but I didn’t stop him. I screamed his name in delight as he went inside me.
A month later, October, 2024
One morning, I felt a little light headed and nauseated. I didn’t understand why because I had gotten my period only a couple of weeks before, and there was no reason for me to feel sick. I didn’t know what was wrong. I hadn’t been eating much and thought that maybe it was finally getting to me.
I got up out of our bed, and I went downstairs to eat something. I found a box of cereal, and I poured some into a bowl. I ate quickly. I was so hungry that I ate two bowls of cereal. I was washing my bowl at the sink when I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up. I ran to the bathroom and then I was violently sick. I could still taste the sour aftertaste in my mouth and started to wonder if I was pregnant.
I went to the pharmacy to pick up some pregnancy tests. When I got home, I went straight to the bathroom because I felt like I was going to be sick again. I grabbed the bag with the pregnancy tests, and I locked myself in the bathroom. I was sick again and then I pulled the wrapper off my first pregnancy test stick. I took the first stick, and it said that I was pregnant. I was not surprised to see that I was pregnant, but I took the second pregnancy stick I had gotten to make sure. The second test came up positive. I ran upstairs to our room to wake Danny up to tell him the wonderful news.
“Danny! Wake up, honey!”
“What?” Danny groaned
“Danny, I’m pregnant!”
“What?” he asked me again, after he was sitting up in bed.
I said, “I’m pregnant!”
“Are you serious?” he asked.
“Yes, I am,” I said. “Why would I be joking? See for yourself.” I showed him one of the tests, and he was quiet for a long time.
“You’re pregnant!” He screamed. “We’re going to be parents.” He picked me up and hugged me as he said, “I’m going to be a dad!” We kissed and hugged each other.
Nine Months Later, July 2025
I sat in my chair to wait for Dad. I was going to ask him about things that happened between him and my Mom and tell him the sex of the baby. A minute later, he came in our kitchen, and he sat down as he said seriously, “I’m sorry things have been so tense between us while you’ve been pregnant.”
“It’s okay, Dad. I love you.”
I started to cry, and Dad got up from his chair. He went around to my chair to wrap his arms around my shoulder in a hug, and I buried my face in Dad’s chest as I cried.
He waited a few minutes until I calmed down. When I could speak again, I said, “I’m okay, Dad. I’m just so happy that you’re supporting me, but I want you to promise that you will be in my child’s life unlike you were to me and Jared.”
I continued, “Jared didn’t even know you. Do you know how much you hurt him? I knew you, Jared wasn’t so lucky. Do you regret that choice now, not knowing Jared for twenty-six years?”
Dad looked at me and answered. “No, I do not regret not knowing Jared for the past twenty-six years because Mary prohibited me from seeing him. I only saw Jared once in both of our lives which was the day he was born on June 22, 1998. You saw Jared too. I took you to the hospital the day he was born, you were only two years old.”
“I remember that day was the last time I saw Jared. Mary prevented me from seeing my son. I was fortunate to spend three years with you before I knew your mom had the affair with Michael and before we decided to divorce. I saw you grow up, and I never saw Jared grow up. That is the biggest thing I regret about not being in his life and watching him grow up like I saw you grow up.”
“Wow, Dad, so do you want to have a better relationship with Jared now after twenty-six years of not knowing Jared as well as me?”
“I really wish I could have a better relationship with Jared. If he lets me, I will have a relationship with Jared.” He paused: “Does Jared know about Danny being your husband and the baby?”
“Yes, Jared knows that I am carrying Danny’s child. Jared was one of the first people who knew that I was pregnant. Jared and I reconnected at the wedding and Mom too. We asked Jared to be the godfather of the child, and we asked Danny’s older sister, Jessica, to be the godmother with him. They both said they would be the godparents together.” I had a question for my father so I asked him, “Why did mom never let you see Jared?”
Dad paused and then said, “While she was pregnant with your brother, we fought the whole pregnancy. Your mother didn’t want me to do the same thing with Jared so she didn’t let me see him ever.”
“Wow, how could you do that to Mom? Didn’t you love her, Dad?”
“Well, at that point, our marriage was falling apart and we weren’t as close as we had been. After Mary told me that she was pregnant with Jared, I was shocked. When we had you, Mom and I talked about having another child, and we both decided that we didn’t want a second child. We were both shocked and surprised when your mother found out, but I blamed myself the entire time that she was pregnant with Jared. Instead of trying to talk it out together, we blamed each other.”
“I know that you are shocked that I would do such a thing to my wife, the woman I had two beautiful children with, and the only woman I ever dated, loved and married. I regret my choices and hurting her.
I never truly realized how much my father loved my mother in all the years they were together. “When you saw Mary at her beach house the summer before your junior year for the first time, was it love at first sight?”
“Well, when I saw your mother for the first time, I knew she was the woman that I would marry and that we would have wonderful children together. When I first saw your mom’s face, I knew it was love at first sight and that we would be together forever.” I wondered what he felt kissing my mother for the first time.
“When did you kiss Mom for the first time and where did it happen?”
“I kissed Mom for the first time after our senior prom in high school. It was under the stars on the porch of her parents’ house. It was very romantic. I will never forget it. It was the first time either of us kissed anyone before, and it was such a special moment in both of our lives.”
“How long did you guys date before you got married?” I asked. How did you propose to her, and where did you propose?”
“Well, we dated for both junior and senior year so that’s two years, and I proposed to your mom on the front porch of her parents beach house on the porch swing. I got down on one knee, and I asked your mom to marry me. She said yes.” Dad continued, “She started crying when I showed her the ring, and it was a very special moment in our lives. I realized on that day that I would never love anyone as much as I loved your mother.”
It was quiet while we were lost in thought before Dad asked, “Was this baby planned?”
“Well, Dad, it was planned because Danny and I had talked about having children when we were in college, and we both agreed that we would wait a few years after we were married before we started a family together.”
After I finished my thought, I put my hand down on my growing stomach. I felt my son kick against my hand and decided to tell Dad that Danny and I knew the sex of the child. I said to him, “Dad, do you want to know if the baby is a boy or girl?”
“Of course, what is it?”
“Well, it’s a boy. You’re going to have a grandson, what do you think?” There was a moment of silence as Dad absorbed what I had just told him. During the silence, I felt my son kick again hard against the hand I had on my stomach. I said very quietly so my father didn’t hear me, “I love you, John.”
The baby kicked again when I said his name. I guess my son knew his name, and I smiled as Dad looked up as he asked me, “Why are you smiling?”
“I’m smiling because my son knows his name. He kicked very hard when I whispered his name to my stomach, my son knows I’m his mother, Dad.” I started to cry. Dad got up from his chair, and he embraced me in a hug as I cried into his chest. After a few minutes of silence, I asked Dad, “What do you think about having a grandson?”
“I think it is wonderful, honey. I have always wanted to be a grandfather. Since you were born, I have imagined being a grandfather with little grandchildren running around my backyard, and I always pictured you as a wonderful parent to your children, unlike I was to you.” Before I could respond he asked:
“Have you and Danny decided on names for my grandson?”
“Yes, we have decided on a name. We had picked out a couple of names, but we finally chose a name we could both agree on” I explained. “We decided to name our son John William.”
It was quiet for a few minutes as I let my father absorb the information I just told him. I got up as I went over to the kitchen counter where I had left my phone. I picked it up as I started going through my Contacts until I found Danny’s cell phone number. I prayed that he would pick up his phone. Sure enough, he picked up on the first ring, “Hi, sweetheart, what’s up? Did you tell your father about John yet?”
“Yeah, I did, where are you right now?”
“I’m at Dayna’s house, why?”
“Can you come home?”
“Sure, in about ten minutes because I’m watching movies with Dayna, okay, is everything all right?”
“Yeah, everything is great. I just want to see you. I’ll be in our room. I love you, honey.”
“Love you too, sweetheart, see you in a few minutes. Tell Dayna I said hi, okay?”
“I will. Bye.”
I heard Danny hang up, and I closed my phone before I turned around to face Dad who was drinking a beer, as he was reading the newspaper. I said to him, “Dad, I’m going to bed, see you in the morning, okay?”
“Oh, okay, Victoria, good night, see you in the morning.”
“Okay, night, Dad.” He nodded.