Charles saw his former mother-in-law, Mrs. Carter, near a garbage bin and brought her home. Once at home, the woman told him the horrible story her daughter had put her through, so Charles and his new wife decided to take action.
“Mrs. Carter! What are you doing here?” Charles asked his ex-mother-in-law when he saw her sitting next to a garbage bin right in front of his workplace. He was the manager of a restaurant, and the elderly lady seemed to have been rummaging through the trash for something to eat.
“Charles? Is that you? Oh, my dear boy. I’m so embarrassed,” the elderly lady said, touching her face with one hand, as if to hide. But Charles knelt down and looked her in the eyes.
The last time he had seen her was on the day of his divorce from Erica, 15 years ago. He had caught Erica cheating on him with multiple men during their marriage and had eventually stopped forgiving her indiscretions. Mrs. Carter was Erica’s mother. Although she was ashamed of her daughter’s actions, the old woman had always been a support for Erica.
Charles had been forced to pay alimony despite Erica’s actions, and he had to start an entirely new life as she had also kept their old apartment. But when they finalized the divorce, Mrs. Carter had hugged him tightly and wished him good luck. The elderly woman hoped he would quickly find a wonderful companion.
She wasn’t wealthy, but she had a home and no reason to sit and rummage through a garbage bin. “Please, Mrs. Carter, tell me what happened to you,” Charles said, with a pleading tone.
“They won’t get away with this, Mrs. Carter.”
“Oh, no, my dear. It’s such a painful story. Do you work here? I’ll leave,” the older woman replied. With these words, she got up to leave.
“Where are you going?”
“Nowhere… Anywhere. I don’t know.”
“And your home?”
Mrs. Carter looked directly at him and gave a sad smile before walking away. However, Charles stopped her before she could get far. He couldn’t let her go.
“Please, come with me,” Charles said, grabbing her arm and guiding her to the restaurant. He sat her in the kitchen and offered her a plate of food. “Eat it all. That’s an order.”
This time, the woman genuinely smiled and began to eat. When she finished, she stood up and wanted to leave. But Charles wasn’t going to allow it.]
“No, Mrs. Carter. You’re coming home with me. I have someone to introduce you to,” he said, guiding the elderly woman to his car.
“Darling, meet Mrs. Carter. She’s Erica’s mother,” Charles introduced the elderly woman to his new wife, Martha, the light of his life.
“Oh! Mrs. Carter! It’s so nice to meet you. Charles has spoken so much about you. You are the only good memory he has from his past, and I’m grateful for that,” Martha said in greeting, with the biggest smile in the world. Following her words, she sincerely embraced the old lady. The woman froze for a second but immediately softened, receiving the hug as if she hadn’t had one in a long time.
“Let’s sit and have some tea. What do you say?” Charles declared, leading the two women to the kitchen table. Martha first chatted politely with the older woman, then finally got to the heart of the matter.
“So, what happened? Where did you end up?” his wife asked curiously.
Charles took a deep breath and looked at Mrs. Carter with a serious expression. “It’s actually something Mrs. Carter still has to tell me,” he began, explaining to Martha where he had found Erica. Then he looked at his former mother-in-law and said, “Please, can you tell me the truth now?”
Mrs. Carter paused for a second, as if gathering her strength. “Things took a dark turn when you finally divorced Erica. She started dating men left and right, but she chose the most horrible man to marry. When they finalized things, she and her husband convinced me to put my house in their name.”
“Why would you do that?”
“I was going through a tough time health-wise, and they convinced me it was the best thing to do. That way, they wouldn’t have to pay much in inheritance tax. I thought it was a good idea because Erica would have gotten the house anyway if I died. But I was mistaken,” Mrs. Carter continued. From her expression, Charles began to imagine what happened next.
“Go on,” Martha gently urged the elderly woman.
“One day, they came to the house and told me to leave because they had sold it. I asked if I could live with them, but they laughed in my face! They laughed,” Mrs. Carter said, with a sarcastic smile. “I couldn’t believe it.”
“That’s awful,” Charles sighed. “I know Erica was terrible to me, but I never imagined she could do something like that to you. But what about the money? Your alimony?”
“They took that too. I fell for their scheme. I’ve been on the streets for several years, getting a little bit of social security every month, but it’s not enough. After working my whole life, raising my daughter, and everything else, I have nothing left,” Mrs. Carter finished, tears beginning to stream down her face.