“The most terrible thing is that the possibility didn’t even register until I found out his mother’s maiden name. Even then, it seemed a coincidence….but who really believes in them any more? Up till then he’d looked like the cute kid next door – makes me queasy now – and I just figured, you know, ‘Who cares if he’s close on three decades my junior? Ain’t no law against it!’ Maybe there shoulda been.”
She had been 27 when he was born – though she knew nothing about it. At that time she was roughly half-way through her PhD in Gender Studies and had lost contact with her only daughter. The survivor of a statutory date rape at the age of 12, nine months later she had given birth, via Cesarean, to a perfectly healthy baby girl. Arriving on Christmas Day, the infant was thus appropriately named Noelle.
“When he first moved in, I went to welcome him with a plate of cookies, an’ his smile… It just shone right through me; I felt more warmth than at any time since my darlin’ Noelle was born. Then, when he introduced himself as Nick, well… My heart jumped over the moon. If this wasn’t a case of fate, or destiny, or the good Lord himself telling me somethin’…”
Against the mother’s express wishes and violent protests – which may have done her case more harm than good – Noelle’s grandparents agreed to put the child up for adoption. To spare the public embarrassment of all concerned. They were never forgiven for this action. As soon as she turned 18, the mother applied for – and received – emancipation. Immediately, she moved to the part of the country farthest from the people who had betrayed her.
“I gave birth to Noelle on Christmas Day. She gave birth to Nick exactly fourteen years afterwards…to the day. To the day! He’d been taken into Child Protection at 5 years old. It wasn’t Noelle’s fault! She never had proper parents of her own, or siblings, and she was a teenager – how could she be expected to care for a child?! She didn’t know that it was wrong to hit!”
Noelle had been abused by her foster family too, so the cycle of violence was predictable, if not inevitable. All parties became unrecognisable to one another. The son changed his name by deed poll to avoid all contact with his mother…who in turn had little or no means of regaining a relationship with her own estranged parent. All made efforts to get on with their lives, to recover from their ordeals, to escape their pasts. The hands of fate regarded such efforts with disdain.
“Imagine; me pushing 50, him on the cusp of 23. It didn’t take long for us to… Oh God, I can’t say it, can’t even bear to think it! He’d come over to help with all the festive greetings I wanted to send out. Season’s greetings, you know the kind. He’d seen the small pile of cards and envelopes – it’d only been an excuse to have him over, ya see – and his grin… ‘Holiday backlog, huh?’ I’d laughed, gibbering nervously already. ‘You know it – presents, cards, all the trash that’s expected!’ Rolling my eyes, affecting a cynicism I didn’t feel.”
The warmth of mutual attraction overpowering any Grinch’s humbug. It is unsettling, disturbing, even disgusting to consider the possible existence of a hormonal connection drawing them together. A confusing magnetism out of their control and, crucially, beyond their understanding. The rush of chemical and biological pied pipery, leading them a merry dance to their doom. Their eyes meet, a spark flashes, smiles widen. The die is cast.
Do you really want to know what follows?
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…☠