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The Unexpected Ballad of Laura and Ben

Laura and Ben, toddler friends

Born less than a year apart

Kindergarten playground buddies

Inseparable, right from the start

We watched as they became teenagers

Those two spoke as if one of their love and romance,

Wanting to take their relationship further,

Give their young adult dalliance a chance

Each family wished them well.

Their friends were overjoyed.

I was none too happy, not just displeased.

For crying out loud, I was bloody annoyed.

Their long-time friends and confidants

Were rooting for them, from a mutual corner.

Was it up to me to be the only one?

Who would take control and warn her?

Anticipating a Shakespearean tragedy enfolding

Similar to a Montague, Capulet slaughter

How could I soften this friendly fired salvo?

Knowing I’d hurt my wife, my son, and my daughter.

Long before our children were born,

Jan and Terry lived on Acacia Road, number ten.

We lived across the street at number nine,

We were the best of friends back then

Visiting each other's houses was commonplace

It was always good to arrange a Friday night meet

We partied, barbequed, and dined often together, until

We showed them pink booties for tiny feet

Jan and Terry resigned themselves to childlessness

Their joys of raising children lost through flawed genetic code

Their difficulties with conception were without doubt down to Terry

Burdened with lacklustre seed that sluggishly flowed

We curtailed our many visits to each other

Jan got upset seeing my ballooning wife

Who’s pregnancy was tough on us both

We lived without peace, just constant strife,

Jan and I had consoled each other more than once

More than mere friends, we foolishly cavorted.

Our liaison didn’t last as long as I’d hoped,

Jan called it off. Our love affair aborted.

Eventually, Jan announced she was pregnant

Husband Terry walked out, slamming the door

He knew, without doubt, she had been unfaithful

He couldn't live with or love her anymore.

Jan and I drifted far apart after that

We both knew that our affair had been wrong

We've hardly acknowledged each other since

I've never acknowledged Ben as my son.

Now Laura and Ben insisted on telling the world,

Of their engagement, one to each other.

These events were getting so out of hand

She was unaware that Ben was her stepbrother

Finally, we were all at their engagement party

Ashamed and trembling, I mounted the stage,

‘‘Stop!’’ ‘’This engagement breaks every rule,’’

‘‘Ben’s mother was my lover in our younger days’’

I told the dazed crowd how it came to be

Apologising to both Laura and my wife

Told them how I was Ben’s father too

You could cut the stunned silence with a knife

Jan pushed me aside as she mounted the stage

With a hurtfelt expression, she said a few words,

‘‘It’s true, we conceived Ben in my lover's bed’’

‘’But it wasn’t you; Ben's father is Ethan Hurds.’’

I thought then how I had lost it all

My loving wife and my daughter

I had told the world of my love affair

Now quickly drowning, not even treading water.

My tearful wife got up on the stage, bereft

Would she forgive me for the years of love we’d built?

That was the last thing on her mind.

Plunging a metaphorical dagger into my heart up to the hilt.

She stood on the stage and spoke directly to our Laura, announcing that the engagement was definitely through.

She said ‘’I conceived you Laura in a wild, passionate fling’’

‘’Your father is Ethan Hurds, who lives at number two.’’

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