My April Fool’s post on Facebook yesterday was too obvious. It fooled no one, at least not for long. Here is a gently edited version:
If I hadn’t seen the court papers myself, I never would have believed it. But she had the dates right and she knew things only someone who had actually viewed sealed court documents could have known. I’ve always told people I had no children, and I thought I was telling the truth.
Only after seeing the documents and after searching my memory long and hard did the mother’s name, Cherry Lansing, begin to sound familiar. And then—when her sworn testimony referred to a “young man, almost a boy, really, who came in to the bar with a guy named Gary…the boy drove a car with a vanity license plate—BADLAD”—it sank in.
She was the girl I met one night in a Houston strip joint, a bar not far from the office. Gary Bowling insisted I go have a drink with him after work. He picked the place. I knew it wasn’t the sort of place I should have gone, but I did, anyway. And that mistake has now come home to haunt me. Cherry Lansing’s testimony, along with surreptitiously-obtained DNA evidence from a drinking straw, confirmed that I am the father to her now 43-year-old daughter, Phaedra. And Cherry expects me to reimburse her for my daughter’s college tuition. The two of them also want me to pay for college for Phaedra’s 20-year-old son…my grandson, whom she inexplicably named Matador Zeus!
I can’t believe this is happening! I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford college tuition for two people! And I’m afraid Janine is going to throw me out of the house. If I have to sleep in my car, then at the very least I’ll have to buy a Toyota Avalon. The Avalon has plenty of room for me to stretch out in the back seat. I might be able to get the loan in Phaedra’s name, in which case I could sell the car, use the proceeds to help with the tuition repayment, and she would be stuck with the monthly payments. I never liked Phaedra, even before I knew of her existence.
In addition to the foolish April joke, I began Poetry Month by posting a poem, if you can call it that, I dashed off without benefit of analytical thought or corrective polishing:
Words were never meant as weapons.
They were intended as delicate caresses,
kisses that replace the rough edges of
hard days with soft, loving embraces.
They are touches that echo the smooth
channels of gentle river banks after long,
soothing rains transform streams into swift
torrents of impossible serenity, hidden beneath
movements so placid the earth doesn’t notice.
Words were meant to teach us to surrender, to
help us understand the beauty of acceptance.
They bequeath to us the ability to bask in the
renunciation of spurious victory, clinging instead
to the joy of compassionate failure, the failure that
accompanies decency and celebrates tenderness.
Perhaps I’ll write an actual April 2 post for the blog this morning. Or, perhaps, not.