What goes around comes around as the saying goes, yet looking back, my thoughts at the time would have put my distant past behind me. I was adopted as a baby and brought up along with my sister (also adopted) by two very loving parents whom I naturally called Mum and Dad. They brought us up well and I never questioned my past or wondered who my birth parents were. It simply did not figure in my life. I was special because they chose me, was how my Mum put it. They were there at every step of the way in my growing up, helping me get good grades at school and ably assisting me to get my 'head straight' at university when the entire experience threatened to overwhelm me. I ended up with a good degree in physics and settled into a scientific research company as a trainee in designing high power distribution networks.
My world though was about to be turned upside down when I received a letter...
I realise that this letter may come as a shock, though it does seem to be the best way to approach you and you can always tear this up should you feel the need and I will not bother you again. Yet as your birth mother I can no longer remain an unknown in your life should, as I hope, you choose to open contact with me.
Despite your adoption I managed to pull a few strings and have always known where you were. Not that I ever planned on interfering, your 'real' Mum and Dad have done a marvellous job in bringing you up and it was never my place to step back into your life, nor I expect would I have been welcome.
Still, a time has now come in my life when the regrets of the past need to be acknowledged and dealt with and so I have taken the time to write to you in the hope that some form of contact can be made and that any questions you may have can be answered.
I realise that I have no right to demand this, but simply hope that curiosity at least will move you to contact me in return.
I have attached my email address to this letter, you can also use it to contact me via one of the internet messenger services should you so desire.
For a long while I was in two minds as to what to do over the letter. I hadn't considered my birth mother for many years and even then it had simply been a mild curiosity. No bitterness and certainly no regrets. I had a real Mum and Dad, my birth mother was just someone who had given me up to those marvellous people and not a matter of any great import to me.
Finally though my curiosity got the better of me and I fired up the messenger program that was part of my PC and added Helen's email address to the contacts there. Normally, I, like many others, use Facebook for daily contacts within my family and friends, but Helen was neither and at least messenger was fairly anonymous, plus I could block contact if necessary.
Several days passed and I'd put Helen to the back of my mind when a message popped up on my screen. I've written it as I remember, as a spoken conversation, though there were many times the written word didn't entirely convey what we meant and we covered a lot of ground trying to understand just what we were getting at.
"Hello, Helen," I replied. "It is OK to call you Helen?"
"Yes, Ian," she replied. "It would be rather silly to call me mother; after all you don't really know me."
"True ... so tell me about yourself?" I asked.
"Well, I am Helen and I'm an attorney-at-law for a large firm of solicitors up in Lincolnshire. I'm married and have two children a boy and a girl who are at university."
"So why?..." I asked.
"I was eighteen and a boy I was going out with accidentally got me pregnant. He didn't want to know and whilst my parents initially pushed for an abortion, by the time I'd gotten around to telling them we realised it was too late. So I ended up putting you up for adoption, went to university and studied law, met Bill, my future husband, and we started a family. Yet I still thought of you, but knew that you were living in a loving home with good people and didn't think you needed me in your life. I doubt your Mum and Dad would have been any too happy, so it seemed best to keep my distance till now, when you could decide for yourself. Circumstances have changed in my life. I now have more time to myself and hoped you'd at least like to get to know me now. Not that I intend muscling into your life, but I do want to get to know my son as a person and not just as a part of the past that I regret deeply."
We carried on chatting over several hours about our lives and agreed to remain in contact. I had to admit Helen intrigued me, but I've always had a thing about older women finding them to be a lot more interesting than girls of my own age. Not that I was a saint. I had on occasions tried to get in the knickers of practically my entire study group's female content at university (with some little success) hence having my Mum and Dad step in to lay down the law when it looked like I might flunk out. But now I was holding down a job and had a good social life, there was no one significant of the female persuasion in it, just a lot of friends who were girls.
Helen's job did fascinate me though, her run-ins with the judiciary and the criminal elements of society and her attempts to get juries and judges to accept mitigation on the part of some people she knew to be as guilty as sin kept us talking long into the night at times. She was prepared to do her best for anyone in the legal sense despite the occasional misgivings on her part, but as she said, everyone deserves representation and that was her job.
She, on the other hand, was fascinated by my social life and various exploits, drunken and sexual. Seemed other than her one mistake which led to me, she'd lived a fairly sheltered life, other than her work.
"So, no young lady taking your fancy?" she finally asked one day.
"No, not really," I admitted. "Girls of my age just don't really do it for me. Well, no one I've met yet anyway. I much prefer ladies of your age."
"Hah!" she lol'd at me. "You don't even know what I look like, just that I'm in my early forties. I could be a fat old hag as far as you know."
"That's true." I said. "I have asked you for a pic before but you always said you didn't have one on your PC."
"I haven't," she admitted. "But if you go to my company's website there's a pic of me there, just not a very good one."
She gave me a website and I linked to it to see a rather nice looking lady, all dressed up in legal gowns and wig. Still, not bad, slim, shoulder length dark blonde hair, blue eyes (like mine) a prominent sharp nose, softened somewhat by soft lips which hinted at a lovely smile.
"Woo! Not bad at all," I exclaimed. "You'd certainly get my attention were we to meet. Well would get it if I didn't know who you are now."
"Well you'd certainly get mine, my handsome young man, simply for being so nice to an older lady," she replied.
"I'm sure your Bill keeps you occupied so that admirers stand no chance," I said.
There was a long silence and I was beginning to think I'd said something wrong.
"Bill and I lead separate lives now, more or less," came the eventual reply. "It's one of the reasons I have time to chat to you. We're more friends and companions than man and wife these days. But it's a comfortable life ... I guess."
"I'm so sorry, Helen," I said. "I didn't mean to pry."
"Well, I asked a lot about your personal life, so fair's fair," Helen said. "It's not all bad though, I do miss sex a bit, but I have my work and the children when they turn up between terms."
The conversation rambled on for another hour after that but it marked a sort of sea-change in our relationship. We never openly flirted and tended to shy away from expressing desire (well I did), but we were very open about sex and the lack of it in our lives. Had we not been mother and son I suspect that I'd have made a move on Helen, even though she had no desire to have an affair, having had to deal with the fallout on any number of legal occasions. As it was though our conversations kept returning to the subject on a regular basis and it was an unusual evening of chat which didn't circle around to sex in various shapes or forms.
A few months later Helen was telling me about her last case (she never discussed ongoing ones) and the fallout in a family where the father had been prosecuted for having sex with his daughters.
"Poor man," she said. "I know it's a crime, but they were so in love with him and weren't being abused. I suspect that they'd initiated the sex, but the law is the law."
"I've read it happens more than we think, or like to think anyway," I replied.
"Well, I don't know about that, but in this case it was consensual and no chance of pregnancy, they were just caught by accident when their mother came home early. A truly horrible woman, though not in the eyes of the law or society," Helen said. "Once he was caught though, the law comes into play and that's that. He'll spend the next few years in jail."
"It's certainly something you'd have to be damned careful about if you were to indulge," I replied. "Getting caught is definitely not an option I'd care to face."
There was a long silence before Helen replied.
"No, getting caught is a big no, no. But if you're right, and you may well be, most people don't get caught."
"I suspect they don't too," I replied.
.... There is more of this story ...