I was six almost seven when I learned that James was not my real father.
For the most part the bully of the school had left me alone most of the year but for some reason the day before school let out for the summer Randy had laid for me after class. He started shoving me and calling me names. I decided since I just had the one day left what the heck let him have his fun, but when he called me an *Indian Bastard* something snapped and I let him have both barrels.
When the teachers separated us we both looked like we had been thrown in the bear cage at the zoo and had come out the losers. After a talk with the teachers both of our parents marched us out of the school and then home.
To my shock nothing was said between my mother and I about what had happened except for my mother saying that when my father got home from his business trip the next day that we would all set down and talk about it. I did not get much sleep that night thinking about how my father was going to punish me. I wasn't worried about the fight so much; it was just because it happened on the school grounds.
Since the next day was the last day of school they let us out early, but today Randy and I both were lead out of the school from different doors and told to go straight home.
When I got to the end of the block I saw almost started to cry when I saw my fathers car sitting in the drive, but since I was always taught that when ever I did something wrong I was to stand up and take the outcome. I stepped into the house and was told by my father that I was not going to be punished at all for the fight but to put my school stuff in my room and then come down to the den.
When I arrived in the den my mother and father were sitting on the couch and had a folder on the coffee table in front of them. I was told to get a throw pillow and sit on the opposite side of the coffee table. When I was settled, my father said. "Brent, your mother and I were going to let you get a little older then tell you this but since the fight and what Randy said we feel it best to explain it to you as best we can."
He took a deep breath and continued. "In life we are not always dealt the best cards to play with but we have to play the best game we can. I can and will be the best father I can be but I am not your real father. Your father was killed in a car wreck before you were born. I met and married your mother when you were just six moths old. All I know is that to me you will always be my son no matter what. Now it is your mothers turn to tell you all she can about your father."
He then turned and told my mother that he would go out and leave us alone while she and I talked about my father.
She took his hand in hers and said. "Please stay, I want you to hear this too." She then turned to the coffee table and opened the folder and pulled out a faded picture and handed it to me, saying. "Brent this is the only picture I have of your father, Nathan. This was his senior picture from high school."
I took the picture and looked very closely at it and noticed that I had his eyes and hair coloring. I never thought about having Black hair and Brown eyes being different than the Blonde hair and blue eyes of my parents had.
My Mother continued. "Your father was half Arapaho Indian. My mother and father were not at all happy that we had fallen in love and had forbidden me to see him again. But being kids ourselves we began sneaking around behind my parent's backs and seeing each other. After we graduated we ran off and got married. On the way back a semi truck had a blowout and skidded across the highway and ran over the car we were in."
She reached in the folder again and pulled out a newspaper clipping about the wreck.
"Your father was killed instantly and I was severely injured. When I woke up in the hospital my mother and father were not too happy. When I got better and went home they found out that I was pregnant with you and started to pressure me to get an abortion. But I refused because you were all I had left of the love your father and I shared. I left home and went to live with your father's parents and started to work as a waitress where I met your stepfather here and fell in love with him. I started to feel guilty about living with your grand parents and loving another man but your grand father told me that your fathers spirit knew and approved."
I didn't exactly know what to say so I just kept quiet.
My father spoke up and said. " We know that this is a lot for you understand at this time but we want you to take this folder and look and read everything in it over. If you have any questions we will always be here to answer them."
Being just six at the time I had always been analytical in everything I did. When it came to difficult problems be it school or just in life its self I always tended to list out in my head or on paper the steps to solve the problem. I guess you could call me a young nerd. But this time it was difficult to just think. With tears in my eyes I spoke up and said something dumb. "Your not going to hate me for being an *Indian bastard* like Randy said, are you Dad?"
He was instantly around the coffee table and hugged me in his arms and said, "No son I'm not, and you are not an *Indian Bastard*. For one you are part Indian and two you are not a bastard. You were conceived on your mother and fathers wedding night. Part of what is in that folder is your mother and fathers Marriage License. And to me you will always be my son real father or not."
I took the next week or two looking over everything in the folder and asked a lot of questions. I found out that night why my Grandparents on my mother's side never paid much attention to me.
About a week later I was told that my fathers parents wanted me to come and spend some time with them. I readily accepted just to be able to find out more about my father.
I went to spend a couple of weeks with them and found out my grandfather was a Medicine Man or Shaman, as I would later find out the correct word for it.
I went to spend a month every summer with them that I could. My grandfather was kind of a summer camp counselor, telling stories and explaining the Indian way of life to the kids at camp. When I spent the summer with them I usually went with him to help out and sometimes sit in on some of his sessions with the kids.
When I was twelve I went to one of his sessions and since they needed one more in the group to round out the circle that he always had them sit in.
He started out by explaining that the circle indicated life was a circle that life was created from the earth and when we died we went back to the earth to be reborn. He went on to tell a story I had heard many times about two lovers from different tribes falling in love and losing each other to the swift current of the stream but in the afterlife finding each other. At the end of the story he had us all to hold hands with the person across from us and gave us Indian names. The girl across from me he gave the name of Morning Dove and he used the name he had given me on the day I became a man of the tribe, Running Elk. When he finished he told Morning Dove and I to stay holding hands and said. "I have just seen a vision that your two lives will always be intertwined."
Being just twelve I somehow believed that this time he was probably wrong in his vision, because what would this girl see in me. After all I was part Indian.
After I got over the shock of my father not being my real father I began to see just how much he did love me. He sometimes had to be away for a month at a time with his job but when he was around we always did things together. He was there when I got my first home run at T-Ball and he even flew back into town for two days when at age eight I had to go in for emergency surgery for my Appendics. It seemed he never got tired of me always wanting to play catch or basketball. He even had time for my sister Mary Anne who was almost two years younger than I.
Even though my sister and I were always fussing and fighting we knew we loved each other. When I came home from the hospital she had decorated my room with balloons and paper mache streamers. When I started dating she even went out with us some. When she was allowed to start dating we had double dates together.
When she was old enough she started to spend summers with my grandparents also. By the time she was fourteen she had already decided she was going to be an archeologist, studying the American Indian way of life.
As I said mom's folks had little to do with me but with they doted on Mary Anne. When she was old enough to realize that they paid all of the attention to her and none on me she started refusing their presents and spending less time with them. She eventually found out the truth about dad not being my real father. She came into my room one night before bedtime and I could tell she had been crying and I asked what was wrong.
Whimpering, she asked. "Even though we are not real brother and sister. Do you still love me?"
And I said, "We are brother and sister. We had the same mother just not the same father. I will always love you just like dad loves me even if I am not his real son."
She hugged me real hard and said. "Thanks, big brother I will always love you too."
It all came to a boiling point with my sister the night of our Graduation. (I guess I forgot to mention that Mary Anne had jumped a grade between the ninth and tenth grades. her I.Q. was way up there.)
We had a few friends and relatives over to the house that night for a Graduation Party. Although mom's parents showed up they never congratulated me or offered a present. When my sister had enough she flat out asked my grandmother why they treated me the way they did.
My Grandmother said, "Why, he's just the Indian's Bastard Child."
My sister spat back, "You always treated me like a princess and him like shit. I am proud to be his sister. He has more compassion and common sense than either of you bigoted assholes and from this night on I no longer wish you to be my grandparents."
Mother reached out and slapped her across the face, saying. "That's enough of the foul language young lady."
Mary Anne Grabbed her jaw and ran from the room with mom crying and following her.
I looked at my grandmother and said. "I know you have never liked me because you always thought my father was not good enough and I accepted that. But that was no reason to say that to my sister, she has always loved you no matter the way you treated me." With that I turned and walked away to see about my sister.
As I walked from the room I heard my father say to them. "I have always thought of Brent as my own son and you know that. But I will not tolerate your insolent behavior toward him in my house so please go. Feel free to come back when you can apologize to my son and daughter."
When I got to Mary Anne's room mom telling her she was sorry for slapping her.
"I know mom, I deserved that. But they have no right treating him the way they do." Mary Anne said.
"Brent has always known how they felt." Mom told her. "Even though they treat him that way he still loves them. His father was the same way, and he is so much like his father."
I spoke and said. "She's right sis, I still love them after all they are my grandparents too. They can't help it if they grew up in a different time and have so many prejudices to overcome. Besides the most important people in my life love me for who I am. Yes, when I was younger it hurt me for them to treat me like that but as I got older and understood why they are the way they are. I decided that two wrongs don't make a right."
I turned to mom and said, "Dad may need you now, he just told them to leave."
She hugged Mary Anne one more time and got up to leave the room, saying. "Thanks Son."
I hugged Mary Anne and said, "Thanks sis, that look on grandmothers face made my night." And we both burst out laughing.
When fall came around we both started our freshman year at the University of Oklahoma. All during college we occasionally double dated but neither of us was serious about anyone in particular, until our junior year she introduced me to Angela. Angela and her were lab partners in her Archeology class.
Angela and I started dating regularly. We still doubled with my sister and her string of fella's, but we started seeing more and more of each other. Pretty soon we started hedging around the idea of some kind of long-term relationship.
Then one day Angela met me and said we need to talk, she said that she had to go back home because her mother was very ill and she was going to have to put her education on hold for awhile to be able to help take care of her younger sister who was Sixteen at the time.
I asked if I could maybe come to visit her sometime during the summer break before my senior year started. She told me to write to her and she would know more a little later when I probably could come and visit.
My sister and I finished out the rest of the school year and went home for the summer. I had gotten a couple of letters from Angela during the time she left and the summer break. In the last letter she wrote she stated that things were pretty hectic around her house with her mother steadily getting worse and managing the house for her sister and her father and she would try and be back at school the next semester and we could try and get together then.
With that last letter I started to get the feeling she must have met somebody back home and didn't want to see me anymore. So I never wrote her back to let her know our address so if she could write me during the summer, although I did try to call her a couple of times. One time I got her father and he said he would try and tell her to call me, but I never heard back so I figured that what we had was over.
My sister and I went back and finished our senior year, and then she went back the following year and started on her Doctorate. (Yes she was that smart). I went to work for an insurance company in town as their Computer Administrator. Not a lot of money at first but with a chance at things to come in the future. That first year I had saved nearly half of my wages and invested it with pretty good earnings.
Just after my sister came home for the next summer break, she informed us that her professor had asked her to go with him and a few other students to Mesa Verde to a dig site there. She was to get two weeks home and then leave for the site and be back about two weeks before school started again. We were all happy for her but mother and father hated that she wouldn't have much time for herself before school started.
I took off the week before she was to leave so that the family could all be together before she left. On Tuesday her and I went shopping, she wanted to get some comfortable clothes to wear at the site. When we arrived back at the house there was a strange car sitting in the driveway.
Our mother met us at the door with puffy eyes, like she had been crying. "What's wrong mom? Nothings happened to dad has it?" Both Mary Anne and I said almost at the same time.
She said, "No, come into the kitchen and sit down and I will try to explain."
After we had sat down she said. "Your father and I met just a couple of months after he got out of college. It seems that he and a bunch of his frat guys went to a party and started to get drunk. He doesn't to this day remember much about that night. Well it seems that he had sex with one of the girls there. She became pregnant that night. She didn't love your father so she never tried to let him know that he was a father. She married her college sweetheart and never let him or her daughter know the real truth. When she died a few months back she left a letter confessing it all to both of them. The husband threw a fit and almost threw her out. If it wasn't for her sister he probably would have, but her sister stuck by her and helped track your father down."
Mary Anne Said, "That poor girl. I bet she feels like the roof has fallen in on her head."
"Yes, she does." Mom said. "She's in the den with your father now. I want both of you to try and make her welcome, after all she is almost in the same position you were in Brent."
"You can count on us," I told mom. "How are you taking it?"
She said, "I am fine with it. Your father and I had a long talk about it last week; we have always had a strong enough relationship. Yes, I know I should have said something to you two but having been your mother all these years I guess I knew that you both would feel the way you do. I am more worried about that girl in there than anything else. She is in an emotional turmoil right now, with finding out her father is not her father and trying to come to grips with a stranger being the her real father."
We both hugged mom and let her know that we both would welcome our new sister into the family.
After Mary Anne had shown mom what she had bought, we both went up stairs to our rooms. In a few minutes Mary Anne knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to talk. And I said, "Sure."
She sat down and tearfully said. " Angela and I were almost like sisters and you and her were getting close to being an item Brent but I feel kind of joyful that I do have a big sister now. I know you and I have been close all these years, even when grandma and grandpa treated you so badly. I just want you to know that you will always be first in my heart."
"I know sis," I said.
Just about that time mom stuck her head in the door and said that dad would like to talk to us in the den.
Mary Anne and I headed downstairs and were met in the living room by dad and he hugged us and started crying and said. "I know this is a big shock to both of you and I'll understand if you don't want to but I would like you to come into the den and meet her. She is a very sweet girl and she wants to move down here from Tulsa. Her sister is going to start college in the fall and her father just doesn't seem to want her around after that."
Mary Anne kissed dad on the cheek and said. "I have always wanted a sister to talk to instead of this lunkhead brother of mine."
"Lunkhead, I'll have you know just because you're the smart one in the family doesn't mean I'm a lunkhead." I said laughing. I then turned back to dad. "You have always been there for me so now it's my turn to be there for you. I guess you and I will have to get used to being outnumbered in this family from now on."
He hugged me again, saying. "Thank you son. Now let's not keep the young lady waiting any longer, she's nervous enough already."
When Mary Anne and I stepped into the den we both stopped in our tracks. Mom was sitting on the couch next to "Angela".
When Mary Anne, Angela and I got over our initial shock we held out our arms to her and she came running into our arms crying.
Mary Anne said to her. "I just told Brent that I considered you like a sister, now you are my sister and to me you always will be."
That sent Angela into another fit of crying while she hugged on Mary Anne.
While they were hugging and crying in each other's arms I turned to mom and dad and told them that Angela was the girl from school that Mary Anne and I were telling them about.
We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on our lives since we had last seen each other.
"He told me before I left to come here to Ft. Worth that he really did love me but it hurt too much to find out after all this time. He just wished that mother had told him the truth a long time ago so that they could have worked it out between them. I told him that I would always love him too. Then he said that I needed to come and see my real father and if things worked out with us that he just hoped that I would not forget him. It hurt him dearly I know and I know I still love him too but that hurt will always be between us and he knows it too."
Mom had slipped out earlier and about 6:30 she came in and told us that she had called in and ordered Pizza since she felt that family time came before cooking tonight and that it was on the table when we were ready to eat.
While we were eating Angela said that she had gotten a room at the nearest hotel when she arrived in town last night. Mom told her if she would like that she could go and get her stuff and sleep in Mary Anne's room in the other bed if she wanted to. She agreed and after they finished eating her and Mary Anne went to get her things from the hotel.
After they left I said to my parents, "When Angela and I last saw each other we were getting pretty close and I was about to bring her home to meet you when she said she had to go to help take care of her family. I still feel that way about her but I don't like the idea of feeling that way now that I found out she is my sister."
My mother spoke up. "You have always thought things through so just take your time and do a lot of thinking about it but just remember this. She technically is your step-sister you just don't have the same father or mother so that means that if you really love one another that would not be considered incest. I think that she is a fine girl and if you two are truly in love then I would be proud to have her as a daughter in-law as well as a daughter."
My father nodded his agreement as he said. "I feel the same way as your mother does on this issue. I think that both of you will take your time and think long and hard on this. It may not be an easy decision on either of you but you both will have our backing either way that you decide. I also think that both of you ought to talk this over and put this issue aside until the initial shock of this subsides."
"Thanks, both of you." I said. "I'll wait until she brings up the issue before we even start discussing it."
After Mary Anne and Angela returned, Angela decided that she was done in and that she wanted to go ahead and go to bed. Mary Anne took her up to her room and helped get her settled in for the night. Then she came back downstairs and set down at the other end of the couch.
She said, "Brent, Angela and I were talking on the way back about you and her. She told me she still cares very deeply for you but she doesn't think that this is the time to bring it up. She wanted you to know how she felt and to get your reaction because she didn't want to be staying here if it put any kind of emotional strain on you."
"I know sis. I still feel the same way towards her. I told mom and dad how I felt about her and we all think it best at this time to just let the subject alone for now and when things settle down then if later on we feel the same way then we can have a serious discussion about it. I really don't know whether us being step-brother and step-sister is going to have any effect on it or not but that is the most important factor I can see at this point."
"Ok Brent I'll go tell her that. She didn't think she could bring up the subject right now but she also doesn't want to hurt you either so I volunteered to ask you about it. I'll go let her know so that she will have one less worry to deal with right now."
"Just tell her that I understand and I know that this is not the right time for us to even think about it for right now."
As Mary Anne got up off of the couch she leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and said. "I love you bro, you're the best. Good night."
"Good night Mary Anne." I said.
The next few days were a drain on most everybody with Angela getting used to her new family and trying to get Mary Anne ready and packed for her trip to the dig site.
When Saturday rolled around she started wanting to call the trip off but Mom, dad, I and even Angela knew how important this would be to her schooling and ultimately towards her career. We all helped pack up her car and she left Sunday morning for the University where she was to meet with the rest of the group and take a bus from there.
A month after my sister left dad took a week off of work and drove mom, Angela and I up to get some more of her things. We got to meet her sister Melissa and she let Angela know that her father was getting over the hurt a little at a time and was starting to miss having her around. About the time we started to leave her father came in and Angela went over and gave him a hug and started to introduce us. You could see the hurt come back into his eyes when she introduced him to my father.
When I shook his hand I asked if I could talk to him alone for a few minutes and he nodded his head and pointed towards the kitchen.
When we got into the kitchen I said. "Mister Morgan, I pretty well understand how you feel. When I was just six I found out that my father was not my real father and it was a pretty hard blow for me then. I was young when I found out so that made it easier for me to adjust to the circumstances. Just seeing what my stepfather is going thru is just a part of what you must be going thru. All I know is that girl in there loves you a lot, at this stage even more than she loves her own father at the moment. You see I never knew my father he was killed in a traffic accident on his and my mothers honeymoon. I grew up with that man in there and I know he just wants the best for her. If it means coming back here to live he will give his right arm to see that she does. I think that she has the better deal because she now has two fathers and was able to grow up knowing her mother."
He shook my hand again and said. "I know it's not Angela's fault and it seems like I took a lot out on her after I found out but I was so mad at her mother I started to take it out on her. In fact I was just about to apologize to her before you asked to talk to me."
"Mr. Morgan there is something else you should know before we go back in there."
"What is it son?"
"I don't know how much she told you about college but her and my sister were in one of the same classes and my sister introduced her to me. We started to get pretty serious before she had to come back home. Her and I have agreed to postpone that part of our relationship until both of us are able to search within our selves about the step-brother and step-sister issue."
"You were the boy she said she was falling in love with?"
"Well I see at least you do have a pretty good head on your shoulders and since you and her have put that on the back burner for now I won't mention it to her. I'll let her bring it up when the time is right."
"Thank you sir."
When we walked back in the room he went over and put his arms around Angela, then he said. "Baby I'm sorry if I took things out on you but I was so hurt at the time that I just started lashing out at you. Can you forgive me?"
Angela looked up at him and said. "Yes Daddy I do. After finding out about Brent's father I actually feel lucky about having two fathers. James has told me that it was you who raised me and made me the person that I am and no matter what you will be my father also. In fact I just came to get a few more of my things so that I can spend the rest of the summer with them. Then by then we will both have things sorted out in our heads and be able to come to grips with our feelings."
"I know baby, that's part of the reason why I thought that you should go ahead and go visit with them. All I ask is that you never forget me."
"Fat chance of that." She said "You know that you will always be part of my life just like Melissa will be. Just remember I am leaving the rest of my stuff here and that means I will be back."
He hugged her one more time then let her go and walked over to my mother and father and shook their hands, telling them. "I know you will but take good care of my baby there please?"