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January 12, 2008

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Kim Regent

Kim, Dominique, Laura...
I don't know who you are. It's all so confusing.

If you are Laura, then things are complicated by the fact that we look nor sound nothing alike. We share a mother, Margaret, and little else.

Margaret, an Englishwoman from a conservative background, met your father, Paul, a handsome dark-skinned man, while studying at University in America. Her family disowned her because of this 'unsuitable match', but tried to revive relations when they found Mum was pregnant. Mum was still sore and ignored them. She had you in 1984, after three miscarriages and four years after her marriage to Paul. I think she was truly happy then, with you and with Paul.

Something happened to Paul when you were three years old. Mum always said that he left one day for work and never came back, killed in a motor accident. When I was a teenager, I started to believe otherwise, to believe it was just another excuse for another failed relationship. Always an underlying tension in our house was Mum's constant stream of relationships. She never had, and perhaps still doesn't have, the confidence to keep a man and hold him.

After your father died or left, her family took the two of you back to Ipswich in England, where she met and married my father, Stephan Regent, an up and coming diplomat and a 'proper Englishman'. She took his name and changed yours, and determined to begin again, all at her family's prodding.

I think she never really let go of Paul or her past. When you left, she started drinking more than she should and became less coherent. She never spoke of you directly, but she never stopped going about 'Jean' and sometimes 'Jean-Paul', which I think could have been your father's real name, and which could potentially make him Haitian.

Anyways, when my dad got a position in the Embassy in Washington, Mum pushed to go back to America and, I think, get away from her family.

You are five years older than me, which makes you 24 now. I was born in 1989 in Washington, where we lived even after Dad left for another woman and England when I was 9 and you 14. The next 7 years were hell, you fighting with Mum everytime she brought a new man home, which seemed to be about every other week, and me screaming because that seemed to be what everyone else was doing. We fought because you thought I was a pest, and I was jealous of you, because you were so beautiful and different. Your skin, though not as dark as presumably your father's, was a milky shade of cocoa, while I was pasty and pale as whitewash. You had a beautiful British accent, though you hadn't lived there for more than a year or so, but you imitated Mum's and gave it your own twist, which I envied as I strove to become a bratty American kid who never quite fit. You had an image and dream, and no room to breath and I think when you met that boy when you were 20, you saw a chance to leave.

When you left, I kept hacking into your emails to see where you'd gone, for a clue of any sort, but you let the account drop and the correspondence ran dry and I lost you.

In these three years,you could have been anyone and anything. You could have changed your name, married, or gone anywhere in the world. I simply don't know. I don't know you anymore.

And I have to keep reminding myself until I see you, that you may not be Laura and I may have to keeping looking for my half-sister, my sister. I'm sorry we were never happy together, Laura and I, but maybe there will be happiness for us yet.

I got out too. I'm now 19 and an exchange student in Stockholm, Sweden. I can't leave and come to see you in London for at least 7 more months because I'm on scholarship and I'll loose it if I leave the country. I know you're not entirely well now, and you may not want to meet me, in case I'm not your sister, but if get the chance or the inclination, please visit.

For now, I hope you stay safe, remember more and find out what you've been up to for the past 3 years.

With Love,
Kim Regent

Bernadette

I don't know your name but I do know where you've been. I saw you in Siem Reap in Cambodia only a month ago. I can't forget you! We were sitting on the top of a temple waiting to see the sun set. There was a large crowd but everyone was relaxed and seemed to be connected with the spirituality of the place. But you were wandering around in a 'look at me outfit'. It was sheer, red, chiffon fisherman's pants and a smililarly revealing top. No need to say more. The crowd was literally gobsmacked. It was the clothes and your constant movement and the sleezy looking character you were with. People talked amongst themselves and speculated you were there for an adult photo-shoot. You'ld be just an interesting story except that a commotion broke out just as the sun was setting. The tourist police noticed that a very small but beautiful buddha head had just been removed from the temple. We were all searched before we were allowed to leave the temple but you and your companion were no where to be seen. The buddha head was not found. Perhaps the safedeposit box holds a small buddha head?

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