Our Father Will Not

Ezra Azra

Copyright 2022 by Ezra Azra

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash
Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash 

(This is a story about my family. I have changed all the names of persons because most of them are still alive.)

King James Bible. "Amnon took hold of his half-sister, Tamar, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. And she said unto him, I pray thee, Amnon, speak unto king David our father, for he will not withhold me from thee."

Auntie Olive was most depressed, more than she was angry. She had cut herself off from all her family for the last forty years, and lived a thousand miles away. She had never kept track of them. When she received an invitation to visit, from family she did not remember, her forty-year resolve weakened. Her shaky reasoning was that since she was in her sixties, and not in the best of health, she was allowed a little lapse in her originally fiery moral stance in the family. She added the excuse that she did not remember these relatives, and so she could afford to risk a little indulgence.

She had been right, up until a few minutes ago after a pleasant visit for the one whole day.

"This is so unfair, Selma. You should not have asked me to come all this way to hear this." She paused, tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Selma. I cannot do what you ask of me." Selma was painfully sad.

"I understand, auntie. I'm sorry I have upset you. I will never bring the matter up again. We are at our wits' end. Our other choice was to do as you did: run far away from all family. Please visit for as long as you like. I will do everything I can to make you enjoy your stay."

"Thank you. Selma. But now that you have told me why you invited me here, in the first place, our situation has become a little more difficult." They exchange nervous looks.

"Auntie, tell me. I will do everything I can to lessen the hurt I have caused you." Olive's eyes filled with tears as she spoke with difficulty. "Thank you, dear. But now that I know, I will be unhappy forever. The most you can do for me is to not get married to your cousin, Obed. At least, not while I am alive."

"Auntie, we have postponed our wedding for seven years. We had to make sure of our intentions. We have been to a lawyer."
"Selma, you and Obed are family. It is illegal and immoral for you to marry each other. What kind of lawyer did you go to?"

"Auntie, we heard you left the family over forty years ago." "What's that got to do with it?" "When we heard you existed, and wanted to find you, we could not find anyone who was still alive when you left; but there were a few rumours about why you left."

There was a tense short pause, during which Selma was uncomfortable, and Olive fixed her with a cold look. "What rumours?" "They are good rumours, auntie.

You left because there was so much, and still is, diabetes in our family, that you disapproved of anyone having children." A long pause.

Softly, "That's true. I still feel that way. I am not the only one in the world, Selma. Do you know who Harvey Philip Spector was?"

"Auntie, who doesn't? He murdered his girlfriend, and he died in prison, 82 years old." "It wasn't murder, Selma. It was an accident; a homicide. Anyway, do you know what he achieved before that accident?" "No. Sorry, auntie."

"Harvey Philip Spector was a songwriter and musician, born in poverty. By the age of twenty-one, because of his genius, he was a millionaire, and had achieved more than anybody ever had in the history of the music industry.

"He was married only once. In order to avoid genetic disorders, he and his wife agreed to not have children because Harvey's parents were cousins. See? I am not alone in choosing to not have children in order to protect them from the risk of an hereditary curse. I know nothing about songwriting, and very little about music, but Harvey Spector's decision to not have children makes him my hero, forever. Throughout history, there have been highly educated persons who married their cousins. Harvey Spector was the only one who made the righteous decision to be childless in order to avoid the risk. For that he deserves to have monuments built to him."

"Auntie, I don't know much about Harvey Philip Spector, but I know the great Julius Caesar refused to have children because he had inherited epilepsy from his Dad and Mom who were cousins. You have nothing to worry about, auntie. We decided years ago we are not going to have children."

They looked at each other, and smiled kindly.

Softly, "You should have told me of that decision at the beginning, Selma. "I had to leave forty years ago. Everybody hated me." "Perhaps some of them still do, who were there and still are here."

"Auntie, I am not asking you to meet anyone other than the bride and groom."

"And, Selma, that rumour about me is neither here nor there in this matter of you cousins marrying." "It is most important, auntie. When we heard about that rumour, we just had to find you, because we, too, had decided to not have children."

"Good for the both of you. But that is only a partial remedy. The both of you are still cousins. That makes marriage illegal." "Then you do not know that each of us was adopted into the family by different members who wanted non-diabetic children?"

"Does adoption skirt around you are family?" "That is what our lawyer is investigating, auntie. She has found precedents. There is hope."

"And what if, eventually, that hope is not there, Selma?" There was a long pause. Selma spoke softly, "We have postponed thinking that far ahead, auntie."

"If the lawyer gives you the go-ahead, what does the family think?" Self-consciously, and hesitantly, "Nobody in the family knows, yet, auntie."

Auntie is amazed, and shows it. "You mentioned seven years?" "Yes." "You have kept it a secret all this time?" "Yes. It wasn't as difficult as it might sound, auntie. We are cousins. We were innocently allowed licences, of which we took full advantage."

"If the law allows it, that will not mean the family will tolerate it." "You are right, auntie. We've thought about that. If the law allows us, we are going to meet far away and get married." "And never come back." "For at least forty years."

"Have you decided on your "far away?"
"Not yet." "I have more than enough space for newlyweds." "Thank you, auntie." "In the meantime, I would prefer to not meet with anyone who is still here after forty years." "I know of only one, auntie. She never leaves home. As for our generation, if we do not mention you were here forty years ago, they are just not interested."

Contact Ezra
(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)

Ezra's Story list and biography

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher