Last September, I discovered I had a secret half-brother.
He is in his early 40s. He is married, with two young boys. He happens to have the same first name as my boyfriend. And he lives in the same city as me.
There. I’ve said it. It feels like I’ve got a weight off my chest, even though I’m remaining anonymous here. Because over the past year, I’ve barely told a soul.
My half-brother is the result of a relationship my father had with a woman before he met and married my mum.
The woman was separated from her husband, and it was a planned pregnancy. Yet one day, without any warning, she just up and left my dad, and went back to her husband.
As a final insult, she named my father’s son after her husband, cut off all contact, told everyone it was her husband’s child, and moved on with her life.
My dad only got to see his son once, when my half-brother was a little boy. And until recently, my half-brother had no idea about my dad.
He was raised believing that his mother’s husband was his biological father. I can’t begin to imagine how it must have felt for him to learn that his parents had deceived him for four decades. He must have felt like his whole life had been a lie. He must now be questioning everything.
My mother also had no clue. Nor did anyone from my father’s side of the family, or any of his friends. He never said a word. Until last year, when he finally felt the need to tell us all. That was a fun conversation.
At first, I was holding out hope that it was a mistake, that my dad would not turn out to be my half-brother’s biological father after all. But then, after a few months of sporadic contact, my dad’s ex sent him a photo album of happy snaps taken over the years.
And after seeing how weirdly similar he looked to my dad, I now know there is no question about it.