The letter came out of the blue from a brother I didn’t even know I had.
His name was Nick and he was four years older than me.
The big brother I’d always dreamed of having.
Social services had passed on his letter. He told me a bit about his life and his love of athletics, gave me a telephone number.
‘Give me a call sometime,’ he’d written.
I was so excited. Life hadn’t been easy lately. Me and my sister, Sarah, had both been adopted to a family when I was five and Sarah was 7. Although I was close to my mum and dad, I’d gone through a bad patch in my teens and decided to move out when I was 15. I felt like I’d caused my parents enough grief.
Now something good had finally happened. Nick explained in his letter that had been adopted into a different family in England when he was a baby.
I phoned him that night. He told me he would love to see me sometime.
I didn’t want to rush it, so we started off by sending texts and emails to each other. I was going out with someone at the time but the relationship wasn’t going well. When I told Nick he got all protective over me. I’d never had that before and it made me feel close to him. I told Sarah all about our brother.
She agreed that he sounded great, but wasn’t as keen to meet him as I was.
I’d been texting and chatting with Nick on the phone for more than six months when we finally arranged to meet in Scotland. Nick came up with his girlfriend Liz and stayed with me for over a week.
We really hit it off and when the trip came to an end, I decided to travel up to England and stay with them. I stayed for a few months and when I came back, Sarah decided it was her turn to get to know her brother better.
She went off to England for a visit too.
Me and Sarah were typical sisters. Sometimes we were more like best friends, other times we fought like cat and dog. We hadn’t really been talking while I was away and we stayed distant while she was in England with Nick.
She’d been gone two months when I received a call from Nick’s girlfriend, Liz.
‘Sarah and Nick are having a relationship,’ she told me.
They were brother and sister. That was disgusting, sick. Liz was even expecting Nick’s baby, they were all living together. Why was she telling such dreadful lies?
Then one of my biological cousins called from England too. She told me the same thing. I knew she didn’t speak to Liz, so she hadn’t been put up to making the call. But I still refused to believe it.
I dialed Sarah’s number.
‘Is it true?’ I asked her. ‘Are you and Nick sleeping together?’
‘Of course not,’ Sarah protested.
I felt so relieved, decided to take her word for it.
A few months later, Sarah rang to tell me she was pregnant.
‘Who’s the father?’ I asked her.
‘Someone I had a one night stand with,’ she explained.
When she gave birth to a little boy Alex in January this year, I couldn’t wait to meet my new nephew. By then Sarah had a new partner, Tom who seemed to adore her. I was pleased she was getting her life together.
It was three months before I was able to go down and see them. I arrived at Sarah’s place in the early hours of the morning, went straight to bed. In the morning, Sarah asked me if she could have a chat with me in the garden. I’d barely seen Alex, but Sarah seemed desperate to talk.
‘I’ve got something to tell you,’ she said.
I thought she was going to tell me that she’d had an argument with Tom or something.
‘It’s true what everyone’s been saying,’ Sarah said. ‘Nick is Alex’s dad.’
At first I didn’t believe her.
‘Stop attention seeking,’ I said.
But when I looked into her eyes, I realised she was telling the truth. I pulled my eyes away, couldn’t bear to look at her. I even felt like hitting her. How could she do this to our family?
This was so, so wrong.
Sarah told me that Tom knew everything, was standing by her and was willing to bring Alex up as his own.
‘I think you should have Alex adopted,’ I said to Sarah. I wasn’t being nasty, I just couldn’t bear the thought of him growing up with this hanging over him. He was bound to find out one day that his mum and dad were brother and sister.
Now my own relationship with my nephew felt tainted. When I looked at him I saw Nick’s eyes and nose. The same lip shape that both Nick and Sarah shared.
It brought up images of my brother and sister together, conceiving this innocent little baby who would be affected by what they’d done for the rest of his life.
At first I couldn’t bear to even look at Alex. But he is such a happy baby and I forced myself to separate him from what his parents had done. I decided to stay in England for his sake.
Meanwhile, Sarah promised not to see Nick anymore.
‘I’m determined to make a go of things with Tom,’ she said.
One night, I was at a friend’s house when Tom came over in a right state.
He and Sarah had had a big row and in the heat of the moment he’d snatched the phone he’d leant to her back.
It was linked into her Facebook account and Tom showed me private messages he’d found between Sarah and Nick. They were all about their sex lives and Alex. It was obvious that they weren’t staying apart at all.
My friend was horrified.
‘That’s incest and it’s against the law,’ she said and called the police.
Both Sarah and Nick were questioned but as far as I’m aware no action was taken against either of them.
Sarah is back with Tom now and they are trying to make a go of things. I still have a difficult relationship with Sarah but I am sticking by her for the sake of Alex. He is my world and he doesn’t deserve to suffer because of what his parents have done.
I know that other close relatives who’ve met as adults have become sexually attracted to each other. Nick and Sarah aren’t the first and they won’t be the last. But I’ll never get over what they did. I still think it’s disgusting and it destroys lives.
At the same time, I would still run to them if they needed my help.
After all, at least I know what family is for.