"Kimmy and I want to get our family's DNA tested for a science project. Is it all right?"
"I don't see why not, but run it by your mother to make sure it's all right."
"She already said no."
"And why did your mother say no?"
"She said it costs too much and she didn't want anyone snooping into our DNA, but we asked our teacher and she said it would be completely confidential."
"Just how much does this confidential DNA test cost?" Well, it wasn't cheap and I told them so. I certainly didn't blame my wife Claire for refusing their request. But unless you have a daughter, you can't believe the way she can beg and plead and wheedle to turn a no into a yes. When you have two daughters, and twins to boot, it didn't take a genius to figure out who was going to give in if it was at all possible to do so. I told them I would pay for it out of my own stash, deal with the testing firm and agreed not to tell their mother. The hugs they gave me made it all worthwhile.
Well, I did win on a couple of points. A cheek swab would only be taken from one twin. Karen was the volunteer. Since their mother wasn't cooperating, I'd be the other test subject. I sent in the test kit along with the required fee. About ten days later I received the report. It had been sent to my office since Claire usually picked up the mail first.
I took a look at the report and my world started crashing down around me. According to what I read, there was no way I could be Karen's biological father. I immediately called the testing firm. I gave them the required codes off the report and asked if there could be some kind of testing error. I was assured that they had the most stringent testing procedures. If there was an anomaly, I could certainly have another test done at the same price. The new fee would be refunded if it turned out to be their error. I told them I would think about it.
I called an attorney friend of mine that I'd known since grade school. He wasn't our family attorney so knew I there wouldn't be a conflict of interest. I told him what I knew. He suggested a more complex and expensive DNA report that would be accepted in a court of law. I told him I'd get back to him in a couple of days. When I got home I was met at the door by Claire.
"Did you let the girls talk you into letting them get a DNA test?"
"Did they tell you that?"
"I've started reading their diaries ever since they got interested in boys."
"I paid for it out of my own stash. It's confidential. What's the harm?"
"The harm is they might find out about us being brother and sister." She gave me a playful punch in the arm and we both laughed. I immediately felt better. That report had to be mistaken. I'd tell the girls the test kit was lost in the mail and make it up to them somehow. I soon forgot about the whole thing.
Two weeks later I was served with divorce papers and a restraining order. There had been a police report filed alleging I had threatened Claire and the children with great bodily harm. They were deathly afraid of me. The court order forbade me from going anywhere near the house or anyplace they frequented such as their school or the church. The bank accounts had been drained and our assets were frozen by court order. Essentially I'd been caught flatfooted. I didn't have much of anything left except the shirt on my back. Claire and her attorney were trying their best to get that too. I couldn't believe how cold-blooded Claire was being in all this. I thought we loved each other. The DNA test must have spooked her into taking action.
I denied all the allegations in court. My attorney pointed out the DNA report. Claire even admitted the children weren't mine on the witness stand. She said she was impregnated during a one night stand. She didn't even know the guy's name. The court didn't seem much interested. They said that the best interests of the children came first. Since I had taken on parental responsibility, I was stuck with it until they turned 18 years of age. I was ordered to pay child support and keep their health insurance coverage in force. I had to pay half the mortgage and taxes. Claire got to keep the house until the children left home. She had a well paying job so I escaped spousal support. I came to the conclusion the court system in this country sucked big time.
Since the threats of violence allegations weren't proven I was awarded joint custody of the children. At the same time I was told they didn't have to see me if they didn't want to. I was told they didn't want to see me. I didn't much care since I wasn't their real father, but my attorney advised me to ask the girls face to face. With the court appointed social worker present Karen and Kimmy told me they didn't want to have anything to do with me. I know I just told you I didn't much care, but apparently I did. It hurt big time when they rejected me.
So I was starting all over again. I had nothing. On top of that I had monthly financial obligations hanging over me. The best I can compare it to is the student who has just graduated, but has a huge student loan to start paying back along with all the other expenses of life. Well, I lived like a starving student and I didn't miss a payment. But every time I'd get a little bit ahead, Claire would haul me back into court and demand more. It was like she knew when I took a shit and how much toilet paper I used. I began to think she was having me watched. My attorney suggested my hiring a private detective of my own but we both knew that was an unaffordable option.
Karen and Kimmy had modeling careers from the time they were 14 years of age and even had some success in commercials, television and film. They were minor celebrities. I tried not to take pride in their accomplishments. It was hard. Eventually all things come to pass. The girls turned 18 and I was out from under the child support. I began to make plans to have the house sold so I could take my share of the equity and maybe buy a small condo.
My parents invited me over for dinner one evening. When I arrived I saw another car in the driveway. I walked through the door and saw two of the loveliest women ... wait a minute. I knew these women.
"Hi, Daddy," they chorused.
"Don't call me that," I rasped. "I'm not your father." I turned around to leave. I didn't want to be in the same room with them.
"Come back here and sit down," Dad snapped. "We have things to discuss." Despite not having lived under their roof for more than 20 years, I obeyed. He still had that air of authority about him that parents seem to have even with their adult children. I avoided making eye contact with the girls. I know I still thought of them as girls but they were grown women. They took to calling me "Sir". It sounded strange and I felt strange. They still referred to my parents as Grandma and Grandpa.