The horror of paternity fraud
02 October 2016, 14:52
Every now and then, in the true spirit of domestic harmony, my next door neighbor and his wife decide to ‘sort it out’.
This generally entails cat fights, yelling, and name calling- all to the accompaniment of their two year old daughter’s fearful shrieks. Sometimes he throws his wife out as a result, like he decided to do on an unforgettable night last week. The woman declared she would be glad to leave and wanted to take her daughter. The man would have none of that. So they fought some more over that fine detail, until the woman screamed contemptuously, for the benefit of all of us hearing:
“Go make your own child, instead of fighting over another man’s daughter!”
In the ensuing total silence, one could almost hear the man’s world come crushing down. A certain uneasiness settled in every house that night. By the next morning the wife was gone, and with her, her daughter. But an inexpressible sense of outrage we couldn’t wish away hung in the air. We all had come face to face with a universal horror.
The man had lost a daughter he adored to bits, and he had lost face. A dagger of betrayal had been driven through his heart. And that wasn’t all. Every man felt he now had to be less emotionally invested in his child, just in case. That may sound hard, but seeing another man shaved with a broken bottle prompts you to wet your head in anticipation. We had been given notice.
In the bosoms of her fellow indiscreet women, she had sown fear, especially if they were less than certain as to the paternity of their children.
And to those children who thrived on their father’s love, and for whom the day properly began when daddy came back in the evening with hugs and tickles and tosses in the air, and on a kind day with a delicacy just for them, to those children, what had this woman and her ilk done?
I fairly made up my mind to subject every child of mine to a paternity test. I do not want to live an illusion of fatherhood. Either I will be a father or not, and if I raise another man’s child, it will be with full knowledge. I refuse to live in a house of cards that may at any moment be blown away by an inadvertent discovery. After all I hear those things are dirt cheap now, at least compared to what you would otherwise stand to lose in raising a child that was not yours.
But it could have gone worse. A few years ago a friend of mine told me of a drinking spree that ended tragically. A man teased his fellow that he was impotent, and that his kids were not really his. The insulted man went back home and put all his three sons under the machete. He then went and threw himself in the way of a tanker. As my friend liked to describe it, the tanker plastered him onto the tarmac, save for a single testicle that stuck to one of the tires.
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