Every family has its secrets, some easier than others to hide. How would you react if your father told you overnight that you have a sister from another bed? This is what Christophe, 55, experienced just eight months ago. With Planet, he remembers this New Year like no other, January 2, 2022: “My father came to have lunch with us and he said to me: ‘I have to tell you something, it’s not easy , it’s relatively heavy for me’”. Worried, Christophe listens carefully to his father, who continues: “I’ve wanted to tell you a story for ten years. I’ve been coming to your house every week for ten years, telling myself every Sunday that I have to tell you and ten I’ve been going home for years telling myself that I didn’t have the energy”.
After this introduction, the octogenarian drops the piece: Christophe has a sister. Not the one he grew up with and who now lives in Australia, another sister, from another bed. “My father explains to me that at the age of 50 he met a woman and that a little girl was born from this relationship. Her name is Alexandra, she is now 33 years old and she knows who I am“, explains the fifties to Planet. The pensioner confides, tells how he had an affair with a 27-year-old woman for a week during a trip to Martinique and that she became pregnant. For Christophe, the story is different: “I don’t think it only lasted a week, I think it’s a story, an adultery, which lasted 17 years and he had a double life at that time”. His mother, who died ten years ago, never knew anything about it, but he imagines “a perfectly established and consented relationship” between his father and this other woman.
The announcement made, Christophe’s father has another request for him: his sister wants to meet him. Why now, why this urgency? “My father then explained to me that he wanted to tell me during his lifetime and that I would certainly not learn of it when he died or from someone else”. Is he ready to meet this young woman he didn’t know existed just ten minutes ago? Instinctively, he answers “yes”. He is ready to meet Alexandra, but he needs some time.
The news digested, Christophe asks many questions about this upcoming meeting. “One thing is certain, I know that I want to meet her: she has nothing to do with it, it is not her fault what is happening”, he explains to Planet. The day after this revelation, the 50-year-old receives a phone call from Alexandra, who tells him what she has been through all these years in the shadows: “The contact went well, so I tell him that we will try to meet soon”.
We still have to find the right place: should they meet in a neutral place, like a restaurant? A coffee ? It’s a bit sanitized for a first real contact, so they opt for their father’s house: “Rather than going to an impersonal restaurant, he organizes a reception at his house, he cooked for everyone”, specifies Christopher. When he walks through the door of his father’s house, he sees Alexandra coming towards him and explains that “the magic happened at that moment”. “She’s an ultra-sensitive girl, whole, there was something immediately natural,” he adds, relieved after having had a lump in his stomach during the whole trip. “At the level of the looks, it was fusion, an alchemy that does not deceive. When I met her I felt something different, something special, unusual, without filter and without control”.
After this first meeting, the brother and sister gradually grow closer, getting to know each other after all these years. “We called each other every week and, each time, I learned a little more about her”, explains Christophe, in particular about the times she spent with their father. She spent a few birthdays with him, but never Christmas or holidays, for example, but he paid for her nursing studies.
Christophe knows that his father maintained this double life for years, but does he blame him for that?
Christophe’s father is “thrilled” by this new relationship, to see his two children get along so well. About his infidelity, the 50-year-old is understanding: “He is 86 years old, he is from a generation, unlike ours, who protects his family: he knew he had screwed up but he did not have broke his family. For him it was important to preserve his family, his two children, that they are not upset, not disturbed”.
If his father was present for his illegitimate daughter, he made the choice not to recognize her, “because it involved him in the successions, later”, he specifies: “He built up his heritage as as a couple, with my mother. It was out of respect for her work and her efforts that he decided not to recognize her. Not to question everything my mother had worked for all her life”.
In addition to a sister, Christophe has gained a brother-in-law, his two children have gained cousins. If they were surprised by the revelation of their grandfather – he who was the model, the example to follow – they reacted well to the arrival of Alexandra in their lives. The 50-year-old, for his part, continues to see this sister discovered late in life on a regular basis and even met her mother, who thanked her for the welcome he had given her daughter.