I breathed deeply the fresh woodsy air and adjusted the leather bound books of my booth. The cannon announcing the opening of Faire had already been shot, and it was just a matter of time before people started streaming through the lane in front of me. I was quickly lost in the current of old friends long unseen and patrons coming in.
During the first lull in the crowd, a man came to the register with several small notebooks with Celtic symbols etched into them; some of my newer pieces. I smiled at him, glancing at his face briefly before taking the proffered card. The receipt printed off, and as I started to lay it out to hand him, I read his name.
His name. His last name. The name that had been mine for over 30 years. He had my name. I looked up at him again, this time really looking. That mouth. The hairline… So familiar in this stranger. I looked again at his card, reading the first name, and realized: this one is the eldest. The eldest of my father’s three sons. My half-brother. He had started to look at me strangely, as his expecting hand had been denied the pen and receipt. I coughed, fighting the tightness in my chest that always happened when presented of evidence of my birth father.
“I’m sorry; I was struck by your name.” I said, trying to recover and make a small joke, for our name, Totesfrites, was quite unique. Rather than joking with me about it, something I had often done when it was still mine, he only looked at me oddly. “Yes, well, it is distinctive.” his clipped tone said. Oh God, it sounded familiar.
“That’s not what struck me,” I said, the smile out of my voice. He barely glanced at me as he stuffed the card in his wallet. “I know your name,” I began slowly, “because it was also mine.” He looked at me, brows together, and shook his head. “No. My family is from Idaho.” “No, Abel,” I said, looking down. “My first name is Sahara, and Totesfrites was my maiden name.” It only took a few seconds for him to realize who I was, as I knew he would. For several airless minutes, we merely stared at each other.
This story is not true, but it’s my imagining of something that might happen – I might be presented with my half-brothers. My birth father has three sons with his current wife. I know that the boys know about me, and they have wanted to meet me. I have not met them, because I fear it may reengage my father in a way I don’t want. Part of me wonders, however, if and how that will change after he passes away and is no longer a threat.