There is a parable that claims if you plunge a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump out immediately. If you put a frog into cool water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog doesn’t notice what’s happening and will eventually cook.
The day started out as a perfectly normal day. After dropping our boys off at school I grabbed the mail on my way in the door. It contained the usual bills, junk mail and a hand written letter addressed to my husband James.
I was a little curious about the letter so I opened it first as I walked into the kitchen. I didn’t fully understand what I was reading. Something about legal aid, claiming welfare payments, paternity testing, contacting a lawyer, signing some paperwork. Why was someone writing to James about this? It didn’t make any sense to me until one phrase stood out. ‘You are the father of Taylor and Shannon’.
Oh God, he’s gone and got someone pregnant. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and anger at this final betrayal welled up from deep inside me. I let out a shuddering moan before I turned and ran straight into the bedroom waving the letter in the air and screaming ‘WHAT’S THIS? WHAT’S GOING ON?’
James, startled awake by my noise, sat up slowly rubbing his eyes. ‘What’s the matter, what are you going on about?’ I handed the letter to him wordlessly. He didn’t look surprised or upset as he slowly starting reading.
I waited for James to say something – anything – that would make this all go away. I tried desperately to push away the fear and grief threatening to explode out of me. James will be able to explain this, it can’t be true, she must have the wrong person, he’ll look up and tell me it’s a mistake any minute now, he couldn’t have got someone pregnant, he promised me he stopped, he couldn’t have stopped, how old are they, when did it happen, it must be true, it sounded true, what am I going to do, how am I going to tell the children, what will they think, where will we go, she must be lying. Faster and faster the thoughts and questions went round and round in my head as I tried to find a rational explanation.
I couldn’t hold in the anger and pain any longer. I burst into sobs and screamed at him ‘Did you know about this? Is this true? I can’t even work out if it’s boys or girls?’
He looked up and quietly said ‘It’s two little girls of course’.