When the phone rings late at night it is never good. Sue was not at home as she was sleeping at Sidney that night. My first thought was something happened to either her or my father. His treatment in Cuba had gone well so it would be a surprise if something was wrong with him. Sue would call whenever she was upset with Sidney and needed me to pick her up. That had not happened in months but I had a feeling that this would be the case tonight.
I picked up the phone on the 4th ring.
“Hello good night, “a lady replied politely in a thick Jamaican accent. The line had bad static.
“Can I help you,” I asked.
“You can,” she replied. She then started to ask me about my father. I felt uncomfortable answering the questions but she seemed to know a lot about him.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am your sister, Amy” she replied.
I was stunned.
“Hello, are you there,” she asked.
“Yes I am here, “I replied.
“You must be wondering how I am your sister?” she asked.
I was silent.
“You there,” she asked again.
“Yes, I am here” I replied. Then she started to tell the story.
“My mother was one of the helpers at your house and your father got her pregnant”
I found the courage to speak.
“Which one?” I asked.
“Tina” she replied.
A vision of Tina came back to me. She was a young Indian woman who came twice weekly. She was not bad looking. I remember staring at her when I was younger because she was really beautiful. She was very nice. Amy is her only child.
Amy was quite engaging. We spoke for 45 minutes. She had just turned 20 and was studying at UTECH. Her major was Computer Science. She never knew who her father was. Her mother had married a man in the district when she was pregnant and told him the child was his. Everyone said the child was a “Jacket” and did not look like her mother’s husband. The father she grew up with did not accept her and eventually left. She admitted to me she knew that he was not her father. It did not feel right.
Her mother refused to tell her the truth and who her real father was. Two things happened that lead her to believe that my father was also her father.
First she stumbled on a check with my father and mother‘s name on it. Apparently these checks came every month. At first she did not think anything about it. Then she overheard a conversation between her mother and another lady a year ago.
The lady told her that my father was sick. She heard it from the helper that now cleans my parent’s house. The lady told her mother to tell the truth. She told her that if my father dies there could be an inheritance so she needed to assure that his “unknown” daughter gets what is rightfully hers. Apparently there was a scheme planned and it involved telling my father they would expose her to us. The helper took our phone number from my mother’s phone book in the house and gave it to her mother’s friend. The friend gave the number to Amy’s mother. Amy found it and realized the last names were the same as her newly discovered father. There was also a note stating that we were his children living in Miami.
She was worried that the scheme would affect a sick man and she wanted no part in it. She confronted her mother about it.
That is when her mother admitted to everything and told her that my father was her real father. She told her that my father pressured her into sex one day when he was drunk. She found out she was pregnant so she left and married her boyfriend a short time later. I did remember when her mother stopped coming to the house. It did seem abrupt.
Amy mentioned she was not contacting me about any inheritance as she is fine. She was not looking for anything from us. All she wanted was to know us. She also wanted to warn us that the helper may be scheming with her mother’s friend to get money from my father. She was sure her mother would not get involved as she promised to not contact her father.
She asked if I was going to tell Sue. I told her I had to think about it. She told me she would call back in 3 weeks as she may be coming to Miami to visit. She wanted to meet us.
I hung up the phone still numb. It was a lot to absorb. The story was believable as my father was a womanizer even through marriage. Her mother was beautiful and Amy’s age coincided with the dates I remember her mother working for my parents. I thought about telling Sue. She would be angry. She always talked about my father having outside children if he continued cheating and she was not going to share anything with them.
As I thought about what to do I remember an incident that happened when we were both in Jamaica. A lady came to our house with a baby boy saying it was my father’s child. Sue was livid. She said the child did not look like my father. It didn’t. The police came to the neighborhood and took the lady away. The matter was forgotten and the lady never showed up again. We never talked about it as a family. Sue would always say no outside child will get any of her inheritance.
Amy had mentioned she called a few times but hung up because she was scared. I remember Sue mentioned a few “hang-ups” and that someone was probably stalking her because she heard heavy breathing. I was glad Sue was not the one who got this call.
If I told Sue about Amy I also would have to tell her that my father was sick.
I was not sure what to do. I was not in Jamaica to research Amy’s story even though I believed her. I did not know what she looked like. She mentioned my mothers name was also on the checks. I wondered if my mother knew and choose to ignore it. I always felt she ignored my father cheating with other women.
Who do I confront about this? Do I ask my mother? Do I talk to my recovering father?
I made the decision. I would tell Sue.
There was no easy way to tell Sue about the call and hiding father’s sickness. I would tell her about Amy first. The next morning before I left for work I left a note for her telling her not to go to Sidney as I had something to tell her.
That evening she was waiting for me.
I told her and waited for a reaction.
She put her hand on her face.
”What did you say her name was?” Sue asked
” Amy,” I replied
“I can’t believe it,” she was shaking her head.
“What?” I asked.
“I can’t believe that daddy would involve us,” she stated.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Sue then proceeded to tell me that she remembers a little girl named Amy. She said when our father took her several times for ice cream at Creamy Corner he stopped by a home and she played with a pretty little Indian girl called Amy. The more she remembered the more things became clearer. She said Amy’s mother looked familiar but was too small to remember when she worked at the house. Our father apparently was counting on her not remembering. Sue was upset, but not at Amy. She wanted to talk to her. It was not what I expected. I think it was her knowing Amy as a little girl that made the difference
”Do you have Amy ‘s phone number,” Sue asked
”Yes,” I replied
”I am going to call her tomorrow.” She replied. She wanted to talk to her alone.
“Before you do I have more to tell you”
“More, what is it?” Sue asked.
“Daddy, is sick with cancer”
“Why didn’t you tell me,” she asked.
I told her the whole story and how our parents did not want it to affect her studies.
She seemed distant to the news. She was angry at our father having an “outside” child more than the news of his sickness.
“I am still going to call Amy tomorrow and then I am going to call Daddy”
I wanted to tell her not to call our father. I did not want to confront him about this as there would probably be the typical denial. The look of determination in her face told me that there was no stopping her. We were heading into a family crisis.