Man visits his 100-year-old mother for the first time in decades and finds her house deserted

“I never thought I’d come back here,” Douglas tells his mother’s lawyer, looking at the darkened house through the car window.

This was once his home, but in recent years he considered it the den where the greatest enemy of his happiness lived: his 100-year-old mother.

”I realize this is hard for you, Douglas, but sometimes facing the past is the only way to move on,” Mrs. Sykes told him when she called him. ”You have to decide if it’s worth it.”

Douglas soon ended the conversation and approached the house, but it was not the home he remembered….

As he turned on the light and walked in, he saw that the wallpaper was peeling off almost everywhere and the coffee table was strewn with dirty dishes. Douglas grabbed some rubbish bags and started to tidy up.

Everything in the fridge had gone bad and cockroaches had invaded the pantry. He was busy shooing the spiders off the shelf when a book toppled off the shelf and an envelope fell out.

Douglas’ eyes widened in horror as he saw the photograph inside. Even though the photo was decades old, he would never fail to recognise those faces. He picked up the envelope and emptied the contents.

As he looked at the other photos, Douglas’s stomach churned. He now realised that he had been wrong to blame his mother all this time. The real culprit was his wife, Emma. It was she who had betrayed him, not his mother.

It all started the day Emma announced that she couldn’t wait any longer to become a mother. She was so excited that she told Douglas she was going to see a fertility doctor right away.

Douglas’s blood drained from his face, he lunged at Emma and snatched the phone book from her hands. He couldn’t tell her that he was sterile and that was why they were having such a hard time conceiving. Their marriage would fall apart in an instant.


“Darling,” he forced a smile and hugged her, “why are you worried? Trust me, I’ll take care of everything. I’ll find the best doctor to help us.”

“You promise?” she asked. “I don’t want us to wait any longer, Doug. We’ll do whatever it takes to be parents, won’t we?”

“Of course, honey,” he smiled and hugged her tightly.

The next day, Douglas drove to the city hospital and rushed to the room where his father was being treated for a serious illness.

“Douglas?” his mother greeted him at the door. “You didn’t tell me you were coming today. Your father is sleeping. It’s been a hard day.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Mom, but I actually came to see you – can we sit somewhere and talk?”

She nodded and they went downstairs to the little cafe on the first floor.

“I need your help, Mom,” he said. “Emma will leave me if she finds out I’m the reason we can’t have children. You’re a doctor. You have friends here at the hospital-can you ask them to change a test result?”

His mother was surprised.

“Are you asking me to coerce a fellow doctor into malpractice?” she asked.

Douglas pursed his lips and looked at her with pleading eyes, telling her how much he loved Emma. Finally his mother relented.

“I know someone who would be willing to help. Give me some time. I’ll let you know when we meet for lunch on Sunday.”

Douglas and Emma were together in Dr Moore’s office two weeks later. Emma’s face went blank when the doctor told her it was highly unlikely she would get pregnant.

“How can life be so cruel?” she sobbed, and Douglas squeezed her hand. “All I want is to have our children, but my body has betrayed me.”

The news shook Emma to the core, and her wound would not heal with time. A year passed, and although Douglas did everything he could to keep his marriage intact, he always felt there was a void between him and Emma where a baby should have been. He took Emma out, gave her flowers and did everything he could to fill that void, but nothing seemed to work.

Then, one night, everything changed. Douglas was getting ready for bed when Emma came out of the bathroom, smiling and with her hands clasped behind her back.

“Douglas… you’d better sit down!” she cried. “I’m pregnant!”

“Oh my God!” Douglas gasped as he stared at the pregnancy test kit. “How is that possible?” he asked with his eyes fixed on the two thick lines.

“This baby is a gift from God, honey,” she told him. “We’re finally going to be parents – can you believe it? It’s a miracle, Doug. A miracle baby.”

Douglas was thrilled. But his mother frowned when she heard the news. She wasn’t happy and immediately pointed out that Emma was cheating on him, but Douglas didn’t believe her.

“Why would you do that, Mom, really, are you accusing her of cheating? She’s the love of my life, the mother of my child.”

“Use your brain, Douglas. Your last test showed you’re still infertile. She can’t have a child with you.”

“It’s too much, Mom. You’re getting too involved in our relationship. Stay out of it.”

“I’m not going to let this girl ruin your life. I’ll prove she’s cheating on you.”

Douglas walked out of his mother’s house and left. However, her words lingered in the back of his mind. He thought about how distant he had felt from Emma for the past year, but dismissed his doubts immediately. Emma loved him and would never cheat on him. However, Douglas knew that the only way to prove his mother wrong was to investigate whether Emma had been unfaithful.

So a week later, Douglas left for a fake business trip and checked into a hotel a few blocks from home. He had told Emma he would be back in a few days, but Douglas drove past her house the same night he had left.

As he entered the house, Douglas heard the sounds of lovers making love. He followed the sounds and turned the bedroom doorknob, which was locked.

He called loudly to his wife, Emma, and grabbed the statue of a galloping horse from the hall table. Douglas pressed the figurine against the door and the head of the statue stuck through the opening.

A woman screamed from inside and Douglas froze. He was sure that the screams he had heard downstairs were Emma’s, but the woman calling out to him now was not.

“Mum?” Douglas’ eyes widened like saucers as his mother came out of the room wearing nothing but an oversized t-shirt.

But what surprised him most was the man in the room with her – Adam, Emma’s stepfather, buttoning his shirt.

“I’m sorry you had to find out like this, son,” his mother explained, but Douglas wasn’t listening. He immediately told them to get out of his house.

“I’m so sorry about all this, Doug. I couldn’t tell you…” she looked over her shoulder at Adam. “Some truths are just too painful, son.”

And those were the last words he ever heard from his mother.

Douglas had never forgiven her for betraying his ailing father, and they had grown apart over the years. But now, as he looked at the series of photographs scattered across the carpet, Douglas was moved to tears.

Adam’s lips pressed against Emma’s cheek, his lips parted as if he were panting. Douglas remembered how sure he was that the woman he had heard screaming that night was Emma and how surprised he had been to see his mother open the bedroom door.

He remembered his mother’s words, saying that a good mother would do anything to protect her son’s happiness the day she had agreed to help him hide his infertility. She had gone to his house to take pictures to prove that Emma was unfaithful, but when she discovered that Emma and Adam were together, she put the blame on her shoulders.

If she hadn’t, Douglas would have been so angry that night that he might have done something terrible. He owed his mother an apology. It had been wrong to hate her all this time. He called Mrs. Sykes, and she answered within a few minutes.

“How’s Mum, Mrs Sykes?” Douglas asked as he got into his car.

He heard her sigh.

“It’s hard to say, Douglas.”

“I am on my way there now. Please tell her I’m very sorry and that I’ll come and see her. Would you do that for me?” asked Douglas as he turned on the ignition of his car.

“Of course, she’d love to see you,” Mrs Sykes said.

Douglas hung up and drove straight to the hospital. The roads were quiet and he drove as fast as he could. But it still took him an hour to get there.

Douglas went straight into his mother’s room and the strange silence struck him as odd. He stared at the machines on either side of his mother’s bed, machines that should be beeping but were not.

“Mrs. Sykes?” Douglas walked over to his mother’s bedside and looked at the tiny smile on her pale face through tears.

“I’m sorry, Douglas,” Mrs. Sykes stood up and ducked her head. ” She said something about the truth coming out, but she refused to elaborate. She wanted to see you, but she couldn’t take any more.”

Douglas looked back up at his mother’s smile and burst into tears. It was too late. His mother was gone.


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