When reading a book, sometimes something in the story completely changes your perception of everything. When this happens in real life, this can really throw you for a loop. For the people in these stories, they truly weren't expecting what happened to them to occur. These "real-life plot twists" changed their lives forever, forcing them at times to reconsider everything. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My girlfriend of two years moved a couple hours away to go to school. We saw each other most weekends. The weekend before Valentine's Day, we were together, and it was great. The next weekend on Valentine's Day, I went to see her at her parents' home. As I was walking up to the house, I saw through the window that she and another man were showing her parents an engagement ring.
And now for the second plot twist. They got married and after six years, she discovered his other wife and kids. He must have been a sweet talker, all right."
"I met this amazing girl at a bar through a common friend. We dated for 5 years and got married. It was pretty normal boy meets girl type of thing. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. I met her family and she met mine. Everyone got along just fine. I have always known that my dad is not my biological father. My mother was artificially inseminated due to fertility issues. So about three years into our marriage, we start talking about having kids and I decided to test my DNA through '23 and Me' to see what kind of genetic traits I was carrying and just for fun, my wife did it with me.
When the results came in, we were matched as siblings. We both got a good laugh out of it and agreed that obviously, 23 and me just messed up. So we had our DNA tested by a local lab. Same results. My wife and I are half-siblings. Well as you can imagine, we were less than amused. As it turns out, we have the same biological father.
In our smaller city, there is really only one sperm bank and our guess is that both of our mothers were inseminated by the same donor. My wife was never told she was the product of insemination and we didn't ask her mom if that was the case.
So after a few days of deeply processing the news we had been given, we finally sat down to talk about it. We decided the damage had already been done. We still loved each other, and that there was no point in getting a divorce, or even letting our families know the truth (which is why we never confronted her mother). We are the only two that know and we plan on keeping it that way. So yes, I am currently intimate with my half-sister. We are still married. We decided that we shouldn't have children and are currently looking into adoption."
"I heard there was this couple who could not conceive kids, but their neighbor had like three. They couldn't afford artificial insemination, so the husband approaches his neighbor and asks him to impregnate his wife because they really wanted a kid. The neighbor obliges. For months, still no pregnancy. Finally, the neighbor's wife admits to the neighbor that she cheated on him to get pregnant; it turned out that the neighbor was firing blanks.
Afterward, this guy who wanted his wife to get pregnant ended up suing the neighbor for breach of contract."
"This is one of the most bizarre things that's happened to me and it left me rattled and puzzled for a long time.
When I was in college, my father retired and moved to New Orleans. He had lived there in his 20s and 30s, and his two sons from his first marriage (my half brothers) still lived there.
He moved into a cool apartment complex with a swimming pool in the center courtyard and a lot of sociable people his age. One of them was a retired army general. I'll call him Tom. My dad and Tom were the same age and both were Korean War veterans. My dad had been in the Marines for four years during the latter part of the war, while Tom had stayed in and risen through the ranks.
Tom had been to Ranger school and the Special Forces pipeline and was a country expert for Korea. He was in Korea for most of the Cold War, training ROK marines, gaming out WWIII scenarios, and working closely with a large, private corporation I'll not name here doing semi-spook stuff. He retired shortly before September 11th. He was a full colonel at the time and was promoted to brigadier general (one-star) just before retirement to sweeten his pension. That was kind of a professional courtesy/old boy club thing. After 9/11, the government expanded the Federal Air Marshal Service and asked Tom to come out of retirement to lead the restructuring. They wanted someone who didn't have a parent command, and since he had been out of the army for a year or so, he was a good candidate. They promoted him to major general (two-star) so that he would have clout among the other generals, GS-15 civilian employees, and private sector executives he'd be working with. Colin Powell pinned his second star on him personally in the White House.
At the time, I was in the Marine reserve myself, and getting ready to graduate college. I had not yet been called up for OIF or OEF, so I was looking for my first 'grown-up' job. My dad suggested that being an air marshal could be fun for a year or two, even if it wasn't exactly something I was interested in. I had a clearance and was an expert on the range, not mention I was a friend of the 2-star who was running the program, so I was maybe a step ahead of some of the other candidates. My dad arranged a phone call with Tom to talk about my options.
At this point, I'd met Tom many times when I'd go to visit my dad. He was one of the kindest men I've known. We'd sit around the pool and I would pick his brain endlessly about his military experience and the spooky adventures he was at liberty to talk about. As a young enlisted Marine, it's hard to describe the feeling of being close with a two-star general. I had seen a general maybe three times at that point. If you're a lance corporal in a platoon and a major showed up in the barracks, you snap to attention and bark out 'Attention on deck!' like it was Darth Vader walking in the room. Somebody with stars on their collar might just give you a heart attack right there.
Tom was a widower and an old southern gentleman, and dated women here and there. Although he didn't smoke, he always carried a Zippo lighter with him to light a lady's smoke. He lit a smoke for me by the pool one day, and I noted that his Zippo had a ranger crest on it. He said that his daughter had given it to him years before, and he thought it was gaudy at the time (he wasn't the type to advertise his status), but he came to cherish it after his daughter died. She had been an avid equestrian and had died in a car accident in Costa Rica in the 70s or early 80s while she was down there for some kind of riding event. His wife died of cancer some years later. Tom's apartment was covered in photos of his daughter in riding gear. She was beautiful. The dated feel of the portraits, frozen in the 1970s, the quiet apartment, and Tom's outward sanguinity were all horribly tragic.
At any rate, we spoke on the phone about the air marshal program. He couldn't answer a lot of my questions due to operational security, but we talked for about an hour. In the end, another job came up and I didn't opt for the air marshal program. Still, my dad would give me regular updates whenever Tom would go back to New Orleans on leave. Once Tom told my father that they'd done computer simulations of a terrorist running up an airplane aisle, and the only part that stayed relatively motionless was the groin. Obviously, in an airplane you want to hit the target and not the fuselage, so they decided to aim for the groin as part of their doctrine.
My dad was a physician and told Tom that there would be a tremendous amount of bleeding, and that would be a problem if they wanted to take anyone alive. Being a curious man, my dad set about coming up with a solution to this in his free time. He sketched out a sort of jock strap with a hemostatic agent where the cup would be and gave it to Tom. Tom came back to him some months later and said that a prominent pharmaceutical company was making a prototype. My dad didn't want money or credit, he was just happy to have been involved in solving a small problem for his country. After the Iraq invasion, Tom left the Air Marshal program and worked on Condoleeza Rice's staff as a national security aide.
All in all, everyone loved Tom. He and my dad became very good friends in a few short years. Tom took my brothers' kids to Saints games. They lived in family neighborhoods where everyone was always sitting on the porch and visiting with each other in the summer. Tom would swing by some evenings, and my niece and nephew and all the neighborhood kids would come running, yelling 'Mr. Tom!' as they do in the south.
I was mobilized in 2004 and my father died shortly before I deployed to Iraq. I went to New Orleans on emergency leave, and my brothers, their wives, my sister, my girlfriend and I drove to Grand Isle, Louisiana to scatter his ashes in the Gulf. Tom wore his full dress uniform. After the ashes were in the water, Tom removed his white gloves and threw them in as well. I'd not known this tradition before but I was touched by it. He choked back tears and had a lump in his voice. Later he took my sister and me to an expensive dinner at one of the finest restaurants in New Orleans and told us he was always there for us, anything we needed, any time.
I fell out of touch with Tom after deploying and coming home. When Katrina hit, I called my sister-in-law Maggie to see if everyone was okay. I asked about Tom, and she said, 'Oh my God, you didn't hear about Mr. Tom?' I tensed up and said no, what happened? What she said settled over me slowly like slime.
Maggie's neighborhood was under water and she, my brother, and her kids went to a friend's house on high ground. There were a dozen others there in the same situation. One of them was Tom's older sister, who would have been in her 80s. She and Maggie knew each other by name and reputation but had not met until then. Maggie introduced herself and asked after Tom. His sister was worried, as she'd not heard from him since the storm. Maggie said, 'Well, I wouldn't worry. I bet the government has a list of VIPs to check on and Mr. Tom is surely on it.'
Tom's sister said, 'Maggie, I don't know what Tom has told you, but...'
Not a general. Not a Ranger. No Air Marshall program. No Condoleeza Rice, no Colin Powell, no bleeding out through the groin problem for my dad to waste his time solving, no nothing. Tom was, in fact, a penny-ante lawyer. What was true was that Tom's sister's deceased husband was a Korea vet, a Ranger, a high-ranker, and a spook. Tom grew up admiring everything about his brother-in-law. At some point, Tom's dreary, real-life lawyer job faded from his reality, and his fantasies replaced them. The truly sick and disturbing thing was that his daughter and ex-wife were very much alive; they'd just written him off when his detachment became too much. So he killed them off in his narrative. Still, his daughter had the heart to take him in after Katrina destroyed the apartment building, we found out later.
My girlfriend watched my face collapse as I talked to Maggie, and she was equally devastated when I told her after I got off the phone. I had so many questions. What if I had followed up on the Air Marshal thing, and said, 'Hey, Mr. Tom sent me!' Then some of the particulars hit me. He said he was only promoted to the general ranks after retirement, so he would have had an answer as to why he wasn't listed in the army website's general officer biographies. He probably had an answer to the Air Marshal thing too. It's like writing a screenplay- coming up with plausible explanations for kinks in the story or character development.
Maggie ran into him a couple months after Katrina. He was all smiles and Maggie said 'Stop. Your sister told me everything.'
He just laughed and said, 'Oh, that old bat's crazy.' That was the last any of us ever heard of him. I've googled him but not found anything.
I'm just glad my father passed away not knowing the truth. He would have been bereft and possibly would have beat him. I'm saddened by my dead father having been played like a fool in his last years, but I'm also sad for Tom. The gloves in the water and all that was bullcrap, but his tears weren't, nor his graciousness at dinner with my sister and me. With the life in Washington D.C. being phony and his relatives having written him off, my dad and our family were really the closest people he had in his life."
"I had a one night fling when I was 18 because I was curious. I didn't like it and decided never to bother again.
Anyway, I was at a nightclub one night after that and was trying to buy a drink at the bar when I happened to look around and see a guy that looked like the guy I had had the one night fling with.
In order to check, I snottily asked 'What's your name?' And he answered with a different name; it was a different guy.
I ended up marrying him."
"During my freshman year of high school, my sister gifted me a Bible. It was leather bound, and she'd written 'inspiring' phrases on the leaves and underlined various verses that meant something to her.
During my senior year of high school, I was in a bad car accident. I mean BAD. I almost died and spent the majority of the year in the hospital or rehab, plus a chunk of the next year.
Years pass. I found the Bible on a bookshelf. I'm flipping through the pages when I find some random numbers written on one of leaves, separated by dashes. It was a date.
It was the date of my car accident. Which occurred three years after I was given the Bible.
I later asked my sister about it, and she didn't remember why she'd written that."
"I taunted my little sister her entire life about the fact that she looked nothing like me and our dad. I always made 'you're adopted' jokes about her and stuff. It became an inside joke between us---I'd tell her we found her on the doorstep and she'd say, 'Thank god, that means I'm not actually related to you.' My parents kind of frowned on it because it was 'mean,' but my sister could take a joke, and she knew I was just teasing her; she joked about it herself.
I found out a couple years ago that she was the product of a short-lived affair. My dad accepted her as his own and my parents kept it a secret from everyone. They told her last year. I still make 'maybe you're adopted' jokes about her, but they're 100x funnier now."
"My first roommate in college was SUPER Catholic and did not approve of my older boyfriend. As an attempt to 'save me,' she decided to invite me to her friend's 'celibacy celebration' while I was doing homework in the commons. A chill wind picked up and I sensed it was time for me to leave. As I turned around, I saw the only doorway blocked by a circle of people holding hands and quietly chanting, 'No intimacy until 30, no intimacy until 30.' As I approached to try to break through the circle and get out, their chanting got louder. I eventually got out, but this chick threw away all of my high-end adult toys. I was done with living with her and got out after just a quarter.
Over a year later, a few friends and I were comparing horror stories about roommates we have had, and I shared my story. A new friend told her story about a lesbian who would pleasure herself very loudly. None of the others had much to say, so they voted between the two stories. Mine won by a small margin. It was only then that we realized that both of our stories were about the same roommate, just one year apart."
"I've grown up hearing about my Cherokee ancestry from my dad's side of our (very southern) family. One of my cousins has gone on a spiritual journey and has spent a good amount of time researching his Cherokee heritage and connecting to our familial roots.
The 2-minute version of the family story tells how a patriarch of my family met the woman of his dreams and moved out into the forest to live as a true Cherokee father would. He left the rest of our family behind.
Several years ago, my grandmas got very into Ancestry.com. As they researched our tree, they found that we actually have no Cherokee blood. However, my great-great-great grandmother was a black woman (I think that's enough 'greats').
It makes me so happy to think about my prejudiced uncles and extended family found out that we are 0% Cherokee, and that my generation is 1/16 black. The further you go up my family line (and, therefore, the more prejudiced my family becomes), the more black we are. I love it."
"One day my girlfriend was having severe abdominal pain. It was so bad that she asked me to call an ambulance. We get to the hospital and they run some tests. The doctor comes out and says, 'Okay, we're ready to wheel her into the delivery room.'
I asked, 'Hang on, what's this about a delivery room?'
The doctor replies, 'Your girlfriend is 10cm dilated and ready to have the baby.' I ask what he was talking about. 'Oh boy, have I got some news for you,' the doctor says. 55 minutes later, I was a father."
"I used to have a friend named Tiffany in middle school. I wasn't so good with people and I was a little rough around the edges. I was very jealous because she was incredibly dainty and feminine while I was a begrudging tomboy. In middle school, her very sketchy and violent father withdrew her from classes and we lost contact. She was homeschooled for a while, and then she and her mother escaped to a battered women's shelter and set up a new life in Kentucky. I learned all this from the grapevine.
I found her mother, brothers, aunts and uncles on Facebook, so why couldn't I find her? Over the course of two years, I searched every few months for her online, desperate to reconnect and apologize to the friend I had such intense jealousy for, and explain that I was unintentionally rude because I envied how feminine she was, while I felt like a brick wall of a girl.
Finally, one day, her mother replied to my friend request and I found out the reason that I never could find her name on Facebook:
HE goes by TJ now!"
"I work at a restaurant. A co-worker broke up with the bartender and started pursuing me. He told me that his ex (the bartender) had been stalking him and wouldn't leave him alone. He made a point to publicly call out the bartender at work for being weird and told her to leave him alone. We started dating and things were cool for a few weeks. Then, he invited me over for a small party and oddly enough, his ex was there, so I keep my distance from both of them as I had no idea what the heck was happening.
A few hours in, the ex changed into pajamas and I realized he got back together with her at some point and never told me. The next day at work, I found out he told everyone that I tried to seduce him and make him cheat on the bartender. They all believed him and treated me like garbage for months after that. His behavior towards me got scarier in and outside of work, and I couldn't tell anyone because I was the lying boyfriend stealer. I never knew depression before this fiasco."
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"I was sitting in the yard with my 18-month-old daughter, watching her play in the kiddie pool. I heard the phone ring, ran inside to answer it, and it was a call from our adoption agency. They told me that a baby boy had just been born.
His biological mom didn't make an adoption plan but knew she couldn't take care of him. He was in the NICU and had a heart defect that would require surgery. They asked if we would like to adopt. We didn't know much. We had no information on prenatal care and didn't know how serious his heart condition was other than that he would need at least one surgery to correct it. For some reason, we still said yes. He is now a totally healthy 12-year-old boy. He is a bright kid and is a 3-sport athlete. He fits into our family perfectly and I couldn't imagine life without him, but I did not expect that summer day to change our lives forever."