My name is Sarah Domaille. I have a sister named Bridie, the same age as me, whom I have not met since our first birthday, and to whom I am not physically related; but I know that she is out there, sitting in a room I know so well, pondering: she is in exactly the same situation as I am in. Our situation is rather odd, Bridie's and mine-yes, we are the parallel products of four parents.
So here’s the situation. There were four people, sworn best friends, named Tony, Colton, Elspeth and Jean. They all fell in love with each other, predictably, and the arrangement, less predictably, ended up in this manner:
Tony and Colton were in a civil partnership.
Elspeth and Jean were in a very strong long-term relationship.
So not what you expected? I’ve learnt not to assume, but some of my classmates tend to give me peculiar looks.
That’s not the odd part.
Both couples were seriously family-orientated, and both couples longed for children. So after a number of years, there was a long phone conversation, resulting in Tony and Colton driving over from their bungalow a few cities away to spend a few nights with Elspeth and Jean.
Nine months later, two baby girls were born, Sarah and Bridie.
In the ensuing year, while the baby girls suckled with their mothers, the two men got increasingly impatient. Would they never get a share of the bringing up of their children?
Finally the babies were ready to be parted from their mothers, but alas! Neither mother wanted to part with her child and surrender her to Tony and Colton forever! The original understanding had ground to a frictional halt, but Tony and Colton still wanted their share of the bargain.
And so a new arrangement was drawn up. Sarah was taken away by her fathers, while Bridie stayed with her mothers. Every six months they would swap places, at exactly the same hour, exactly the same moment, by trains running on parallel lines, but in opposite directions. The contract was signed, and for the next fourteen years it was kept.
So how would you feel if you were not related to your own sister? How would you feel if you weren’t entirely certain which of your fathers was your biological father? What if your biological mother, whose identity you had always assumed with such surety, seemed to hate the very sound of your voice? How would you feel if you had four parents?
My name is Sarah Domaille. I have a sister named Bridie, the same age as me, whom I have not met since our first birthday, and to whom I am not, supposedly, biologically related; but I know that she is out there, sitting in a room I know so well, pondering: she is in exactly the same situation as I am in. Our situation is rather odd, Bridie’s and mine—yes, we are the parallel products of four parents.