While I was with my mother at the 29th Street House (my mother's home in Portsmouth), she spoke to me about Birdie and Brandi and told me she thought they were living in New Boston. I was surprised to hear that -- I hadn't known where Birdie was living. My mother told me Brandi was rather sickly, but also very curious. I said, "Birdie is just not able to satisfy her curiosity."
I thought Birdie's inability to satisfy Brandi's oversized curiosity might account for Brandi's sickly nature. On the spot I decided I was going visit Birdie and Brandi and see if I could possibly find out if Brandi were my daughter.
I left and drove to the house where I thought Birdie and Brandi were living. I walked inside the two-story house, which was in complete disarray. Stuff was sitting all over the place. I couldn't find anyone on the bottom floor but I thought I heard people upstairs. To go upstairs, I had to climb a ladder because the stairs had been broken.
I climbed up the ladder and entered an upstairs room where I found four teenage girls sitting in a circle. I looked to see if any of them resembled me, but none did. When I asked them if Birdie and Brandi were there, they told me that Birdie didn't live there but that Brandi was apparently in the next room.
I walked into the next room and saw sitting amidst a mass of clutter a girl who looked as if she were about 14 or 15. I identified the girl as Brandi. She had black hair and was wearing large black glasses. I sat down, spoke to her and asked her about Birdie. Friendly, she said Birdie didn't live there, but might be coming to visit. I asked her when, but she didn't know. I had the feeling Birdie had completely abandoned Brandi and I wondered what had happened to Birdie. I thought perhaps Birdie had become an alcoholic and had drifted into a horrible existence.
When I asked Brandi when she had last seen Rick, she said that he had moved out in 1963 and that she hadn't seen him since. Apparently Brandi also had another younger sister or brother and Rick had abandoned them all.
Brandi was rather skinny, had quite a few freckles and wasn't very attractive. Although she didn't look like me, I thought it was still possible she was my daughter. I felt close to her anyway.
Finally a fellow (probably 16-17 years old) walked into the room and sat down. I had the feeling he might be Brandi's boyfriend. I walked over and told him I wanted to be alone with Brandi because we were having a very personal conversation. When he refused to leave, I thought we might have to fight. I was quite a bit larger than he. When I repeated that Brandi and I were discussing personal matters, he begrudgingly finally stood and exited.
As Brandi and I continued talking, we drew nearer and nearer. I felt very close to her, as if I wanted to put my arms around her and hold her. We continued talking about Birdie and Rick and finally she mentioned Birdie had once told her that Rick was her second father. I thought that was interesting. Apparently Birdie had already broken the news to Brandi that Rick wasn't actually her father.
I asked Brandi if Birdie had ever talked to her about her first father. When she indicated Birdie had never discussed her first father, I finally said, "Brandi, I may be your first father."
She became emotional and began crying, but she seemed happy to hear that news. I told Brandi I had known Birdie fairly well. I felt strongly that the only two people who could have been Brandi's natural father were either Rick or I. The idea that I could actually be Brandi's father seemed so strange. Nevertheless it was clearly possible.
When Brandi mentioned she had a motorcycle outside, I told her the motorcycle used to be mine, but then I added, "Well actually I used to have a red motorcycle. That motorcycle, the red motorcycle, was traded in on the one you've got now."
Brandi wanted to know what we should do next. I said, "Well we need to go get a blood test."
She said, "When?"
I said, "Right now."
I asked her if she were agreeable to that and she said she was. She seemed happy. After we rose and walked over to the ladder, I noticed we could get to a set of broken off steps if we would climb through a window. As we proceeded toward the window, a friendly-acting boy walked up and said, "So you might be her father."
I said it was a possibility. I thought about telling them I was a lawyer, but decided it would be better to wait until I knew whether Brandi was my daughter. I began thinking even if I weren't her father, I might want her to come and live with me anyway. I wanted to rescue her from this place.
As we left, I noticed Brandi smoking a cigarette. She had probably acquired a number of bad habits through the years. If she came to live with me I wouldn't want her to smoke cigarettes. Attempting to rehabilitate her would probably be a difficult task.
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