When people talk about their siblings I go funny peculiar all over. You see, I was an only child. And I was a bit miffed about that, because all the other kids in my class had at least one brother or sister. So when they went home after school, they always had company, even if their parents, like mine, were still out at work.
But I did have Miffy.
Miffy (that was his nickname, taken from his initials MIF) was my imaginary friend. What a wonderful companion he was! And such an imagination! He was quite definitely the most imaginative person I’d ever met. It was he who introduced me to my imaginary family of siblings, and then showed me that they might not be so imaginary after all.
Miffy’s original idea was that my father had a secret love-child. This seemed quite plausible to me, because my father (who was actually my step-father) spent quite a lot of time away from home. At first, it was just the odd day or two, but as time went by his absences became more frequent.
This made Miffy think that perhaps my step-father had more than one secret love-child, perhaps a whole set of secret love-children, possibly by several secret mistresses. All these secret love-children would be my secret half-brothers and secret half-sisters. And in the fullness of time, the children of my secret half-brothers and secret half-sisters would be my secret nephews and nieces. Wow! And the children of my secret nephews and secret nieces would become my secret great-nephews and secret great-nieces!
Of course, Miffy was quick to point out that none of these secret siblings or their future offspring were blood relations of mine. This was quite disappointing news for me, but as always, Miffy came up with another idea. He said that everything he had suggested about my step-father might also be true of my natural father. Well, I’d never met my natural father, so he was already something of a secret to me. But it was clear that any of his children by other women would be my secret half brothers and secret half-sisters, and these would definitely be secret blood relatives of mine.
It was only much later in life that I discovered that it was me that had been the secret love-child in the first place. Miffy hadn’t suggested that, but I think he was preparing me for the day when the truth finally came out. You see, he’d been right about everything else.And you and I, dear reader, may have more in common than we know.