(Continued) October 2017: Morgan zooms in to show us his picture. And in an instant, the whimsical nature of our curiosity is gone. Because in that picture is a bald man, with crow’s feet set around bright blue eyes. And he looks strikingly like three people we know.
Our nervous bursts of laughter precede the tense looks we exchange. If blue eyes had linked us this morning, those same eyes are asking questions where words are desperately lacking now.
There’s a digital image on the screen that looks and smells a lot like a bombshell.
At first, I saw the bald head; the blue eyes and the crow’s feet. Seconds pass. Now I see the slope of a jaw line that starts high and slants sharply downward. Resting above his jaw is a smile that holds up his fleshy cheeks, and creates those familiar crow’s feet. I refocus my eyes to take in his face as one cohesive piece; the face of the man who helped create me.
But now I’m wondering, with no hint of irony, just how much he helped to create me. Because even in his older years, even with the weathering of time, this man, this doctor, looks eerily like the three of us.
I know the dimensions of this face; I share them.
I have the same feeling I had when I met Morgan this morning, and Thomas shortly thereafter.
I can see my face in this face. I can see all of our faces in his.
“Is this really what we think it is?” I ask. Because I’m not prepared to articulate what I’m implying. In back-to-back weeks of improbabilities, this feels like taking a Fast and the Furious movie and adding unicorns.
But Morgan isn’t afraid of much when it comes to life; I can see that already.
“Do you mean ‘is our sperm donor and biological father also our fertility doctor’?” she says with an energy and discomfort-be-damned confidence that finally spills the conversation onto the table. “Because it really looks like it.”
Thomas is more measured than us, but even he can’t help but acknowledge the ironies. Multiple wishes from our respective mothers, missed or unacknowledged. A requested one-time donor somehow donating (at least) three times not just over a few weeks, but for close to a full year. And now, a single photograph sitting out in the open on an otherwise common medical practice website.
A face like ours, with eyes like ours, smile creases at the lips. The same light skin tone, the same facial movements that create the smile we’re seeing. The same shape of his bald head. It’s all there.
If you’ve never felt like the character in a fictional movie, packed with a plot-line rich with pulsing mystery sequences, well I’m a lot like you. Or was, until I quickly rewound the footage of the past few weeks, and articulated, with total sincerity to Morgan and Thomas:
“This feels like a huge fucking practical joke. I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out from behind the bushes and yell ‘punked!'”
Morgan and Thomas confess that it feels the same way to them. But we don’t sit in wonder or shock, but instead engage that curiosity into more real-time research. Morgan types his full name into a Google image search to see if we can find additional images, ones that might either confirm or disprove our suspicions.
Thomas and I fire up Google searches on our own phones, seeing if we can learn more about his background; where he’s from, where he went to school. Our donor is Jewish, and his name sounds Jewish, but you never know, so we wanted to confirm that too.
And while I can’t share any of the specifics of that search for perhaps obvious (legal) reasons, I can confirm at least the following: Our donor is Jewish, and so is this doctor. In fact, he’s what I’d describe as ‘expertly Jewish,’ meaning he’s got the family heritage and it’s a meaningful part of his identity. On top of that, we learned that he’s respected as a surgeon in his field, and while staying suitably vague, he’s somewhat of a big deal in some niche circles of medicine, and we were able to learn some of his hobbies too.
But, all in all, nothing that put us any closer to confirming our hunch.
Morgan’s Google image search did, though. We were able to find additional images from the past few years, along with a few YouTube videos. We clicked on some, and let the video role, with the volume turned up high. It’s one thing to see a picture and try to bring it to life in a likeness that mirrors yours. It’s another to hear the voice, the facial movements, the gesticulations with hands and arms.
Wow, I think. I see myself, and at least Thomas, speaking the same way.
But then, a few minutes later, Thomas remembers that his mother had emailed him a while back; a photo from his birth, where it turns out, the fertility doctor was present. He thumbs through scores of emails, filtering by the sender, his mother. And then he finds it.
He clicks ‘download’ on the image in his inbox, and within seconds, the picture populates and fills his screen. The picture is of a young, blue eyed doctor, looking to be roughly the same age as those of us looking upon it. “Oh my god,” comes out of one of our mouths.
And for good reason — the younger version of this doctor is a dead ringer for the adult version of the baby being held in the doctor’s arms — Thomas.
Stay tuned for part 5.