by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
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I walked into my bedroom and caught Donna, my oldest daughter, standing before my mirror holding a dress before her. Donna was always the girl of the two, her sister Cassie being more of a tomboy.
"I donít think your aunt Janice would mind you borrowing her things, but I think that you should ask first."
She wasnít even embarrassed. Neither of my daughters were. It was a trait I found irritating. "Would you like to tell me about it?" she asked.
"About what?" I asked, curious.
"Aunt Janice has an apartment next door. But she always stores a lot of her stuff here, not in the guest bedroom, in your bedroom."
"We always were close," I explained. "I guess itís a twin thing."
"Then why didnít I know you even HAD a twin until recently. All my other aunts and uncles and cousins are dead. Then suddenly, Aunt Janice shows up, Great Aunt Eibhlin shows up. Itís like you were protecting us from your relatives until we could handle them."
"Itís complicated and Iíll tell you the entire story when you are grown-ups."
"DAD!" she insisted. "Iím twenty-five! Thatís grown up!"
"No, Donna, it just means that you are an adult. Until you move out and live on your own, you arenít grown-up."
"In Ireland you live with your parents until you get married." She countered.
"Sweety, ĎIí am Irish. YOU are American. And in America, kids move out as soon as they can. I donít mind it, I like having you around. But I cannot help but wonder if you are Irish like me or lazy like your sister." Cassie was a couple years younger but still had no real job or career. She was still searching for herself. Donna had a job and a career. She also had a half dozen boyfriends but loved me enough to lie to me about what they did.
She looked at the dress again, hung it up and I noticed that my shoes were out too. "Whatís those for?"
"Just checking. Your shoes fit Cass but not me. You may be short when compared to Americans but Cass is a freakish giant. But, I can wear Aunt Janiceís clothes and shoes, though Iíd need a really padded bra. How does that woman stand up?"
"Sometimes she wonders that herself," I laughed. Donna was built but nowhere near the other women in the family.
"So, back to the question, Is there anything you want to tell me?"
"Aunt Janice? Dad! Iím not stupid. I read the books and watch the movies. Buried in with your monster movies about werewolves and vampires and zombies and science fiction and Conan and those Ďbabes and broadswordí films are movies like _Goodbye Charlie_, _Switch_, _Zerophilia_, Dr Jeckyl and Ms Hyde_. You hate Ru Paul and other drag queens but are fascinated by the whole jeckyl and hyde gender thing. And we never see you and Aunt Janice at the same time. You keep her clothes here. And Diane changes the subject whenever it comes up. She hates mom but avoids Janice. And Ruth always calls you ĎMom" but when she talks about her adopted mom, she is referring to Aunt Janice. Why?"
"Again, itís complicated."
"And you think I canít handle it? Iím not Cassie, I can handle a lot more than you think I can."
"Strange how Fiona said the same thing just before Ruth moved in."
"SoÖ" she prompted.
I went to her and plucked a hair.
"Ouch! Whatís the big deal?"
"Remember all those 3-d posters I got you, how I tried to teach you how to see aurasÖ Allow your eyes to drift out of focus and look at this. Focus your mind on the DNA." I was holding the hair before the light.
She took it, Donna listened to me when her sister argued, gazed at the hair that was before the light then gasped! "I,Ö I can see the DNA! Thatís impossible!"
"No honey, just different. Like how you know when a boy has ulterior motives so you are never taken in by a stupid line."
"Did I get this from you or mom?"
"From me. I think that was one of the things that she couldnít handle. Look at your DNA and find something different."
She tried, "I miss mom. I barely remember her but I miss her."
"Point to her," I suggested and she let the hair go and pointed west without thinking, then Ö "I did it! I know she is that way. How?"
"Hair, sweety, the hair."
She stared at me then returned to the hair. "I.. I see the strands of DNA in pairs butÖ thereís something strangeÖ one, two , I can see them separate and line up as I count them."
"They arenít doing that, your mind is rearrainging the patterns so you can understand them better. Just like you arenít seeing them with your eyes, but something else. Relax and let the images flow."
"There is an extra chromosome. Iíve read about that in school, an extra chromosome without a mate. It causes massive birth defects."
I handed her one of my hairs. "You have the same thing. Why?"
"Itís inert but replicates in need to produce a working pair. But your sister does not. You inherited this from me and your sister takes after your mother. Strange as you look almost exactly like your mother. I always worried that youíd be like her but you were your own person."
"Dad, be honest with me. Whatís with mom? Why did she leave us?"
I sighed and lay on my bed. Donna jumped in and lay in my arms. "I think she couldnít handle the separations. Your mother is very selfish and needs to be the center of attention. I guess being so beautiful helped but when I was gone at work, she was alone andÖ She couldnít handle being ignored while I was gone and so when.. he chased her, she liked that."
"And she just packed her things and left us all."
"I donít really know why she left you girls."
"Selfish people canít share the spotlight. She couldnít be the center of attention if she had to focus on us." She was lecturing again. College does that. It makes the kids believe that they know more than their parents. "So, have you heard from her?"
"About ten years ago your Aunt Eibhlin was in Los Angeles and met a nurse who helped her out after some guys tried to gang-rape Eibhlin. That nurse was your mother. Eibhlin told me that they were lovers for about six months until Jean couldnít handle being gay and found some guy with whom to run away. She told Eibhlin that she was divorced from that guy she left us for, had a baby and was forced to give it up because the guy was even more selfish than your mother. Jean lived in a small apartment and was bankrupt. Then she met this new guy, stole all of Eibhlinís money, dumped her boyfriends gambling debts onto Eibhlin and told her to move out."
"That sounds so like mom. And I wish I hadnít said that."
"A couple years ago, when I was in the pacific rescuing those womenÖ some Americans were shipwrecked on that island. Jean was one of them."
"MOM! You saw mom again? How is she? Did she ask about us?"
"Donna, sweety, we had problems. I was so hurt I had a hard time talking to her. She was so angry at how her life went after leaving us, she didnít talk much. And I was so busy rescuing all those prisoners, we didnít have much time to talk."
"So, she walked away from us and never even asked if we were still alive." She started to cry so I caressed her hair, so much like her motherís. "Honey, I think that she didnít ask because she wouldnít have been able to handle the pain. Most of those women we rescued. They had been kidnapped for breeding. Many had murdered their children when we rescued them. There was a lot of stuff going on that screwed up our lives and brought up bad memories. I think she was afraid to ask.
"Honey, for what it matters, I had your pictures on the wall of our hut and after Jean showed up, they vanished. Iíd catch her there staring at them but I was afraid to say anything for fear Iíd be sarcastic and nasty. So she probably took the photos of you and your sister."
"Thank you daddy. That means a lot to me. Whatís she doing now?"
"I donít know. After the job was done, I made arrangements to fly her home but never asked where she went. I assume it was Los Angeles. If it is that important, talk to Fiona and sheíll introduce you to some good detectives."
"Can they help me find my half-sister?"
"Assuming that her baby was a girl? Perhaps. I find that money opens a lot of doors that are locked by the law."
Donna was silent for awhile which meant that she was thinking. She was the smarter of the two but hid it well. Her IQ tests showed her to be 115 compared to her sisters 140 but I often thought that Donna faked the scores like she did her school grades. It upset people to know how much of a genius she was. Besides, smart people tend to be lazy and work