To bring as much closure as possible to last week’s existential discovery, I found a breakthrough piece of evidence on Saturday that led to the dismissal of virtually any questions I had left about whether I really did father a child 25 years ago. It came down to a phone number.

I dug up the email chain between the mother and I. I only have the inbox side of the exchange, not my sent messages, and I appear to have deleted some of what she sent. Since she didn’t always quote my emails in her replies to me it’s not always obvious what I said or what she responded to.

But that doesn’t matter. Enough of the correspondence survives to lay bare the whole sorry mess. In reading through it I put palm to face, shaking my head, asking myself “How could I ever have let something like this happen?”

I had speculated earlier that she and her husband had an agreement of some sort that she was free to fuck around, and maybe he was too. If that was the case it had to have been that she could do as she pleased but he just didn’t want to know about it. I was in a situation like that, where a woman I dated said I was free to screw around as much as I wanted, just don’t let her in on it or any of the details.

From the tone of our correspondence it was abundantly clear the woman came over to my place without her husband’s knowledge, and our planning sounds like textbook affair-speak.

She often had to cancel our trysts because her husband came up with some spontaneous thing for them to do together. She also wrote  dreamily, though somewhat cryptically, of our encounters.

I, on the other hand, sound business-like, tersely making plans for her visits with no sense of giddy anticipation or even a remote whiff of romance. It reminds how unwilling I was to get into this in the first place.

The breakthrough clue came from one of the emails in which she sent me her phone number. I plugged that number into some public record websites and found, somewhat incredibly, that it is still her number 25 years later.

This discovery revealed another important clue: She goes by a pseudonym. I remembered how, from the moment we met, I thought she used a fake name. It sounds something like a hooker or porn actress name.

I don’t think she was being devious or deliberately deceptive with this. I’ve known a couple of Asian women who used pseudonyms because they didn’t think their given names feminine enough, and in this case it could well have been what led this woman to use a different name.

Upon discovering this woman’s real name everything about the daughter became simple to figure out. I now know all I can reasonably know about the young woman who turned 24 a couple of months ago.

There were a few forgotten details in the email chain but the timeline fully confirmed my memory of things with, I now know, the child born almost exactly 9 months after her mother’s last messages to me.

I think I said this in an earlier post but it did not end well. Reading the followup emails to our last telephone conversation was enough to make me cry.

The only step left to arrive at 100% certainty that I fathered this woman would be to ask. That’s not going to happen, nor will there be any kind of Darth Vader “I AM YOUR FATHER” moment. That is, unless I somehow get a signal from her online presences that she wants to know who her real father is. That seems extremely unlikely, if not impossible.

I think of comments made by a former friend who was raised entirely in the New York City foster care system. He didn’t know who his parents were and did not want to know, expressing the sentiment that if his mother just randomly showed up one day he would be offended, and angry.

It feels I functioned as something like a sperm donor, and I guess that is the role I should play. If the family needed or expected anything of me I would have known about it a long time ago. I’m already over the exhilaration of all this. What’s done is done.

And frankly, I don’t need the mother back in my life on any basis. She was not good to me.

The last time I saw her in person was on a bus. I was sitting in the back when she boarded with her husband somewhere in Soho. It was Labor Day, 2001, a week before the terrorist attacks. They did not see me but I watched as she stared at him in a way I interpreted as begging for attention, or approval. She used to look at me that way, too.

He did not seem to be delivering what she appeared to seek. Was this marriage as unhappy as it looked? It’s none of my business but they remain married today.

Funny thing, whilst doing the last leg of research into this Saturday I received an email from Ancestry.com, with the subject line saying I had a new DNA match. I had my DNA analyzed by them some time ago and found no surprises. I’m white, with an exclamation point.

Every once in a while Ancestry sends emails like this with possible relatives based on new information.

It would have been ace if they said “We found your daughter!” But no, it was some Appalachian 4th cousin thrice removed or somesuch.