A young woman chose her father over her mother after their split, and she studiously avoided the older woman’s house until tragedy struck.
Ella did not like visiting her native town all that much. It reminded her too much of her bittersweet childhood and how one woman’s selfish desires ruined it.
Ella was born to a carpenter named John and a businesswoman, Jane. The couple got married as soon as they graduated from college, and they welcomed Ella, their only child, a decade later.
Jane grew up a rich, pampered woman set to inherit her father’s company. She had more money than her husband, but there was also a lot of respect between them.
That respect lasted only about two decades because, at some point, it fizzled out to be replaced by dissatisfaction. Jane believed that her best years had been swallowed up by the family and she was never far from saying as much to a displeased John who just wanted her to take their relationship more seriously.
They had a couple of disagreements but nothing strong enough to rip the marriage to bits, so Ella never expected they would split. But they did, and she was disappointed.
When she got into university, Ella moved away from her town to the city to study business like her mother. It was while she was away that her parents saw it fit to go their separate ways.
They tried to keep Ella out of it as much as they could, so they did not inform her of the development until they had both signed the divorce papers. When she discovered it, she was infuriated, and she channeled that emotion into a letter she wrote her dad.
He replied to her letter with another, describing what had brought about their separation. Apparently, her 45-year-old mother had been having an extramarital affair with another man and had been caught.
It made John file for divorce, and out of spite, because she could not believe she was dumped, Jane decided to kick him out of the house they lived in together. In truth, the house deed was in her name because she had paid for most of it.
John was a carpenter and had been so cooperative with my mom that they had found a way to make their income work for the household. The marriage left him without a house, and he hardly had any money since he had not been getting enough customers.
He moved back in with his parents after he exhausted his choices, and there he stayed while his daughter endured college and his former wife enjoyed her new hubby.
Ella graduated with good grades, and she found a job in the city. After a while, she started her own family too. Her relationship with her mother had become strained since the divorce, but Ella visited her father as often as she could.
Over the years, John cared for his own parents, and when they died, he became the full owner of their house. There Ella would stay on her visits, studiously avoiding her mother’s home.
It was a small town which meant everyone knew everyone’s business, so her mom always knew about her visits. Neighbors did not like the fact that Ella took her father’s side, choosing to ignore her mother, but they didn’t know what she knew.
Her mother enjoyed happiness for years after the divorce. She even welcomed a child one year after the split — to the surprise of Ella and the many doctors who examined her to make sure.
Ella heard the child survived the delivery and was named Susan, but she did not care enough to visit her mother, so she never saw the child.
Ella did not see any reason to interact with her mother, who she believed was a betrayer. She hated visiting her hometown because of the attitude people gave her, but she kept going because her father refused to move with her to the city.
“My whole life has passed in this town and this is where my bones will find rest when the time is right,” he would always tell her.
“But dad, you need to move closer to a place I can easily reach you.”
It was the only legitimate reason she could give him, and he would often just brush away the subject with a cluck of his tongue.
Ella let him have his way, but it hurt her each time she saw his eyes fill with longing whenever she visited. She knew he never got over what her mother did, and it only made her despise Jane more.
One day, Joan, a nosy woman who ran the only pawnshop in their town, cornered her in the grocery store to confront her about ignoring her mother.
“How could you be so heartless to the woman who carried you within her for months?” the woman asked.
“Perhaps you should ask why I’m this way rather than drawing your own conclusions,” Ella retorted.
“Your reasons don’t change the fact that you’re treating your own mother like trash!” Joan exclaimed, drawing attention from shoppers.
“You may think I’m doing wrong, but I cannot do otherwise, and if you think I’m a terrible person for that, well it’s just me taking a page from my mother’s book. She exchanged my father and me for a brand new family and you expect me to happy with her?”
Ella really let Joan have it because she was tired of the whispers and rumors. From then on, they reduced, and people treated her more fairly whenever she visited.
One day, her mother called her to tell her that her new husband had passed away unexpectedly. She wanted Ella to come to her house to watch Susan while she busied herself with the funeral.
“You’re unbelievable! So after all these years, you think you can just come out of the blue and ask for favors?” Ella fumed.
“I know this is really out of place for me and I should be last person to ask you for anything, but I have no one else, Ella. And if I could turn back the hands of time, I would, just for me to right my wrongs,” Jane said, with regret in her voice.
After so many back and forth, Ella was willing to reach a compromise even though she still felt anger towards Jane and her past actions.
“I’ll only help you if you call dad and show him how sorry you are. Your actions really broke him and the least he deserves from you is an apology,” Ella stated.
Jane was very grateful for Ella’s assistance, and eventually, she visited John to apologize for all the pain she caused him. He rejected her apology at first, but after his only daughter advised him against it, he changed his mind.
John and Jane didn’t get back together, but the couple became friends eventually, and Ella maintained communication with Jane even though she still did not sleep at her mother’s place when she returned to their town.
All Ella did was help the woman during her rough times, and she also became a big sister to her half-sister, Susan. As far as she was concerned, it was justice, and nobody could convince her otherwise.
What did we learn from this story?
- Selfishness ruins relationships. Jane was very selfish for leaving John to be with another man simply because she believed they got married too early. She did not care about their child together, and it made Ella hate her for a long time. Even after they reconciled, the relationship never went back to what it could have been between them.
- Mind your business. Joan accused Ella of ignoring Jane without knowing what had truly been happening within the family. The woman had no way of knowing what Jane had done to make Ella despise her, but she did not let that stop her from making up rumors and confronting Ella in public. It would have been much better for both parties had Joan decided to keep her nose out of people’s businesses.
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