«Don’t you think it’s strange that Mom’s lawyer never called us after she died?» asked Mark to his brother, sitting in the chair next to him in the waiting room of the lawyer’s office.
«I find it very unprofessional of him,» Peter replied.
The brothers had lost their mother three weeks ago and were anxious to hear about her will. Little did they know that a surprise awaited them inside the lawyer’s office.
«It’s your turn,» the receptionist instructed Mark and Peter to enter the office. The brothers were relieved to see that they didn’t have to wait too long.After all, they had set aside a few hours out of their busy schedules to drive to their late mother’s hometown.
«Let’s go,» Mark said as his younger brother followed.
As soon as Mark opened the door, their mother’s lawyer greeted them and asked them to take a seat. The brothers noticed that the man’s eyes lit up as if he wanted to tell them something important.
«We never heard from you after Mom’s death. Is it because you didn’t attend her funeral?» asked Mark firmly.
«You assumed we weren’t interested in taking care of her legal matters?» Peter rested his right fist on the desk.
«It’s not what you think,» the lawyer assured him. He swiveled his black chair around so he could bend down and pull something out of the bottom drawer of his desk. «Let me explain,» he added.
After sliding a file out of the drawer, the man closed it and straightened his back before telling the siblings about their mother’s will.
«Well, Ruth told me that her children would come running to my office a few days after her death, and she was absolutely right,» the lawyer smiled.
He opened the folder with Ruth’s name written in bold letters on the cover and pulled out a white rectangular envelope. On it were written three words: «For my children».
«What’s this for?» grumbled Mark.
«Your mother has asked me to deliver this letter to both of you,» the lawyer replied. «However, before you open it, I want you to know something.»
«Know what?» asked Pedro raising his eyebrows.
«This may not sit well with both of you, but your mother sold her house before she passed away,» the lawyer revealed. «Someone bought it from her for a dollar.»
«A dollar? Is this a joke?» asked Mark and rose from his seat.
«Read the letter and you’ll know all about it,» the attorney replied.
Mark and Peter exchanged confused glances before Mark opened the envelope, pulled out the paper and began to read aloud:
«Dear sons, I know you must be reading this letter sitting in my lawyer’s office waiting for me to show you my will. Mark and Peter, you are my only sons and I love you with all my heart. I enjoyed raising you every day to the best of my ability, but looking at you now, I think I have failed.»
«What is she trying to say?» interrupted Peter. Mark read on:
«After our last meeting, I realized that my upbringing did not teach you to be compassionate. Instead, I spoiled you and made you arrogant. I was very hurt when you refused to spend time with me and abandoned me that day. However, I still think there is a way to teach you the importance of respect and empathy. Dear Mark and Peter, I am not leaving you my house as an inheritance. Instead, I have decided to give it to a girl who was left without a home. Love, Ruth.»
«What, she gave her house to someone else?» complained Pedro.
«Todo se debe a lo que hicimos con ella en los últimos meses», dijo Mark. Entonces, los hermanos empezaron a recordar lo que había sucedido unas semanas atrás.
It was a Saturday morning when Mark and Peter received a call from their mother, who had suddenly taken ill.
«Please come home, boys,» she said in a weak voice.
Mark and Pedro lived in the same city, three hours from their mother’s house. Since they worked as managers and lived with their wives and children, they rarely had time to visit their mother.
«Oh, no, not again!» said Mark after finishing his mother’s call. «She calls us all the time and asks us not to come back — why doesn’t she understand that we don’t have time for her?» he wondered.
Mark quickly called Peter and asked him to come to his house so they could drive to his mother’s house together.
«See you in an hour,» Peter replied.
As the brothers drove to their mother’s house, Mark remarked to his brother how tired he was of visiting her every other weekend.
«This is getting annoying,» Mark said.
«I totally agree, Mark! Mom has been bothering us too much. Why won’t she stop calling us?» asked Peter.
«You know she’s been very lonely after Dad died, and we’re her only family,» replied Mark.
«Yes, but I’m sure she has friends there. They can always keep her company.»
«Look, I don’t think she’ll ever stop calling us. We have to put a stop to this.»
For the rest of the trip, Mark and Peter discussed how they could get their mother to stop calling them at home so frequently. They soon came up with a plan that they would execute after they arrived at Ruth’s house.
«Oh, my boys!» said Ruth as she struggled to sit up from the bed. «How are you both doing?» She reached out to hug her sons.
«We’re fine, Mom,» Mark replied coolly.
While Mark distracted his mother, Peter quickly opened the closet and began stuffing her clothes into a bag. A few minutes later, Ruth turned to Peter and asked:
«Hey, what are you doing in there? Come here!»
«He’s sorting your clothes, Mom,» Mark replied. «Remember you wanted to give some clothes to the neighborhood charity? He’s helping you out.»
«Ah, all right. Bless you, my son.» Ruth sighed in relief.
When Peter finished packing Ruth’s belongings, he dragged the bag into the driveway and loaded it into Mark’s car. Then he returned to his mother’s bedroom and signaled Mark to come out.
«Okay, Mom. We’re going out today,» Mark said.
«Going out? Where to, Mark?» asked Ruth.
«Let’s go for a walk. You’ll feel better,» Mark lied.
«But I wanted to spend time with you and Peter here. I even ordered the cinnamon rolls you like so much,» Ruth said. «Let’s stay and watch a movie together.»
«No, Mom,» Mark replied sternly. «Pedro and I have planned a surprise for you. Come on. It’s getting late.»
Feeling helpless before her children, the frail woman agreed to sit in Mark’s car, not knowing what would happen. She had no idea that Mark and Pedro had lied to her and were not going to take her for a long ride.
«Where are we going?» asked Ruth a few minutes later, when she realized that Mark had taken an exit that led out of their town.
«I already told you, Mom,» Mark replied.
«But why are you leaving town? The delivery man will be home soon,» Ruth said. «I have to be back in a few minutes.»
«Don’t worry, Mom. Everything’s taken care of,» Peter replied as he looked at his mother’s wrinkled face. «Relax.»
A half hour later, Mark turned off the engine after parking in front of a two-story building.
«Come on, Mom. Come on,» he said as he climbed down from the driver’s seat.
Ruth had no idea where her sons had taken her until she got out of the car and read the sign outside the building.
«Why did you bring me here?» she asked angrily.
«Don’t yell, Mom,» Mark replied calmly and gestured to his brother to find a wheelchair for their mother so they could take her inside.
Mark and Peter had planned to leave Ruth in a nursing home and never return. They smiled at the staff as Mark pushed Ruth in a wheelchair into the building.
Meanwhile, Ruth begged her sons to take her back, but they didn’t even bother to look at her. They handed her over to one of the nurses and spoke to the lady at the front desk.
«It’s Ruth, our mother,» Mark told the receptionist. «We left her here because she can’t stay home alone.»
«Her mental health is deteriorating day by day,» Peter lied.
«We will continue to monitor her, but please promise us that your staff will take good care of her,» Mark pretended to feel sad. «We can’t imagine living without our dear mother.»
When the staff members told the siblings not to worry about Ruth, they fled without even saying goodbye to their mother. The old woman had never imagined that her children would abandon her like this.
«So you abandoned your mother at the residence, right?» the lawyer interrupted Mark and Pedro in their account of the events. He then told them what had happened after she was left there.
As Ruth cried in a corner of her nursing home room, a nurse approached her.
«Hello, Ruth. My name is Samantha,» the woman said as she bent down to take Ruth’s hand. As she looked at the elderly woman’s face, she realized she had been silently crying.
«What happened, Ruth, why are you crying?» the nurse asked worriedly. «Aren’t you feeling well?»
«No, Samantha. I’m fine,» Ruth replied as she wiped away tears. «It’s because of my children.»
«Your children? The men who dropped you off at the reception?» asked Samantha. «They told us about your mental state. But don’t worry, Ruth. We’re all here to take care of you.»
Ruth was shocked to learn that her children had lied about her at the front desk. She never expected to be treated so badly, but now she had no choice but to stay in the nursing home.
«They lied,» Ruth confessed. «If I had known they were going to leave me here, I would never have invited them into my home. They betrayed me.»
Soon, Samantha learned all about Mark and Peter and comforted Ruth. She felt bad for the old woman, but she could do nothing but care for her.
As the days went by, Ruth enjoyed spending time with the young nurse, who also lived at the nursing home, as she had no family. Samantha had lost her parents in an accident years ago and was an only child.
When Ruth discovered that Samantha had no one and longed for her mother’s love, she decided to do something.
«Will you let me call my lawyer?» asked Ruth to Samantha.
«Sure,» Samantha replied and handed her phone to Ruth. «Here you go.»
Ruth pulled her lawyer’s number out of the notebook and called him to ask how she could change her will and give her house to Samantha instead of her children. The lawyer gave her several options, but she was not satisfied.
After thinking for a while, Ruth came up with an idea. «Samantha,» she said to her. «Can you spare a dollar?»
«Yes, Ruth,» Samantha wrinkled her brow. «But what do you want a dollar for?».
«I have something for you. Sit here,» Ruth said. «You know my days in this world are limited and I want to help you before I leave.»
«Help me? How?» asked Samantha.
«I want you to buy my house from me for a dollar,» said Ruth. «If I write in my will that I gift the house to you, my children could contest the will and somehow take the property from you.»
«Don’t let my children know about this plan until I die. Promise, Samantha,» Ruth said.
«I won’t tell them,» Samantha assured the old woman.
«Your mother asked me to give you this letter after I sold the house to Samantha,» the lawyer explained to Mark and Peter. The brothers were stunned to learn what their mother had done.
After hearing the whole story, the men got up from the lawyer’s table and left. They returned home in silence, wondering why they hadn’t been able to spend time with their mother when she was alive.