The explanation

Grant left the room. I stayed in bed, sobbing, trying to make sense of the whole awful mess, for a long time.

When I finally got up, the kitchen was clean, the laundry was clean and hanging on the lines, and there were two notes on the table. The first was from Sandy:

Dear Sierra,

I am so sorry I caused all this heartache for you. I had no idea whose daughter you were. I can only imagine what must have gone through your mind when you were listening to my stories and putting all that together. What a perfectly horrifying thought.

Even if I had known who your father was — and maybe I should have known, because nobody else could possibly have those eyes — but even had I known, I’m not sure the time frame would have occurred to me. You see, Grant was two months premature. The doctors wouldn’t tell me why, but I was and still am convinced it had something to do with some of the drugs I took before I found out I was pregnant. He was supposed to be a June baby, but he was born in April. He was so tiny, and we nearly lost him a couple of times.

Those two months in the hospital, watching him fight, defined me. I grew up in those two months. And those two months were so significant that I’m not sure it would have occurred to me that anyone might count backwards and put his conception in July. Grant was my seven-month baby. I forget that the rest of the world doesn’t automatically know that.

Your father and I were together for a very short time. We never saw each other again. By the time I got pregnant, your father had been out of the picture for nearly two months — so, no, Grant certainly is not his son.

I feel terrible about causing you such grief, even unintentionally, and I hope you will one day forgive me. I am immensely grateful that Grant is not your brother, because I would very much like to call you my daughter-in-law someday.


P.S.: The Tumbleweed is beautiful, and Grant and Joey are both very lucky to have you.

The second letter was more concise:

Dear Sierra,

I’m an asshole. You added two and two together and quite logically came up with four, and I laughed at you for it. You deserve better.

I love you, and I never want to lose you. Please forgive me.


Wisely, Grant and Sandy spent the balance of Saturday away from the Tumbleweed. Grant called around noon to check on me and to tell me they were taking Joey to see a movie in Tucumcari. He offered to bring me some lunch before they left town, but I wasn’t hungry, and I didn’t think I could look at him after the way he’d laughed at me. The situation may have been nothing more than a comedy of errors, but from where I was sitting, it felt more like Greek tragedy than Shakespearean farce, and Grant should have understood that. I wasn’t ready to forgive him just yet.

Besides all that, I’m not entirely willing to trust the memory of a woman who freely admits to having spent most of the late ’60s stoned off her gourd. If Grant really doesn’t want to lose me, I’m sure he won’t mind picking up the tab for a DNA test to put my mind at ease.

— Sierra


One comment

  1. Judy Wallmark · July 25, 2010

    DNA – Yes!! Lose Grant – NO!!

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