“I can’t hear you, Anthony. Can you please speak a little louder?” I was on the call with my son. He was coming to meet me, and I wanted to know around what time he’d arrive.
“5…Around 5 and 30….” Anthony said something like that. I couldn’t hear properly, and then the call got disconnected. It was the third time this week I got disconnected while I was talking to Anthony.
Since I’m pretty old and not as smart as the Gen-Z kids who use fancy iPads and gadgets for communicating with their friends, I use my mobile phone to talk to my family. But it’s been difficult lately because I’d been having a lot of problems with my phone.
So when Anthony came home that day, I requested he go to the store and get me the most simple but most durable phone he could find. I also transferred the funds to his card right away. Anthony had offered to pay for it, but I knew he was already struggling to pay his mortgage and other payments.
The next afternoon, Anthony brought me a brand new phone. It wasn’t quite high-tech, but it had all of the essential features I needed. Anthony had already set up everything in it, so I didn’t have to worry about it.
That evening, I was about to call Anthony and invite him and his wife for dinner — it had been a long time since we all spent time together so I thought it would be a great idea — when suddenly, I saw my daughter-in-law was calling me.
“Aren’t you embarrassed by what you did? You know that Anthony and I are paying off the loan for the apartment! We don’t have extra money for your whims!” she yelled at me.
I was perplexed. “I think there’s some misunderstanding, Melinda. I didn’t ask Anthony for anything!”
“Oh really? Then who paid for your phone? Didn’t you cry in front of Anthony about that stupid old phone of yours?” Melinda was furious.
“Well, that’s not…” I began speaking, but Melinda interrupted me. “How can you do that? I would never have thought that a mother could take her son’s last dollar!”
“But Melinda, I didn’t. I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding. Hello…Melinda?” Melinda had already cut the call.
After I got off the phone, I sat alone for a while, wondering why Melinda had said that. I had sent the money to Anthony and double-checked the bill. The phone’s cost was only a few cents more than the money I’d transferred to Anthony. What had happened, exactly? Was there another brawl between Anthony and Melinda? I wondered.
Suddenly, I heard the doorbell. When I opened the door, I found Anthony at the doorstep with a bag. “Can I stay here tonight, mom? I fought with Melinda, and I want to stay away from home for a while,” he told me.
“Sure, Anthony. You can stay here as long as you want, but what happened exactly? Melinda called me and she seemed really angry!” I said as I led Anthony inside.
“Where do I even start, mom? For a few weeks, Melinda has been acting strangely…” Anthony began speaking.
He said Melinda did not believe him and thought he bought the phone from his savings. Anthony had shown her the bank transfer I had made, but it didn’t convince her either. She thought Anthony and I set everything up so she would not suspect anything. But that’s not what the real problem was.
Anthony told me he recently had several fallouts with his wife. First, she wanted him to buy her an iPhone, which Anthony refused to do because he couldn’t afford it, causing Melinda to become upset. Then she often stayed out late and wasted his earnings on parties and outings with her friends. When Anthony objected, she lashed out.
There were other things too, like Melinda had started avoiding Anthony and hardly bothered to look after the house. When Anthony requested her to take a job, she refused, claiming she didn’t want to work, and so on.
I somehow consoled Anthony that everything would be alright and that couples fight all the time, but deep down, I knew Melinda had lost interest in Anthony and her marriage. Sadly, my suspicions were confirmed the next day.
When Anthony went to work the next morning, Melinda called me again. “Well, are you glad? Because of your damn phone, Anthony and I are getting a divorce!”
I was shocked. A ridiculous quarrel over a phone and now divorce? Things just didn’t make sense. Melinda seemed like she was making up an excuse to get away from Anthony.
When Anthony returned from work, I asked him what had happened and if it was true that he was divorcing Melinda, but he didn’t say anything. However, when I went to call him for dinner, I noticed he was inconsolably crying. It turned out Melinda had been having an affair with one of his coworkers, and he had caught her red-handed.
“I couldn’t believe it, mom. She left me for another man just because he was richer! How could Melinda do that? I loved her so much!”
Anthony was devastated when he learned Melina had cheated on him, but I was glad it happened. I knew Melinda wasn’t the right partner for him. She couldn’t stand me staying with them after she married Anthony, so she forced him to get another apartment, and now she was cheating on him.
Thankfully, Anthony met a woman named Claire three months later. They married after only a few months of dating, and guess what? We now live together. Claire was the one who proposed we move in together. I consider myself fortunate to have such a daughter-in-law.
By the way, Melinda came back to our place one day. Her so-called sweetheart had dumped her on the streets because he had met a younger woman. She begged Anthony to forgive her, but he slammed the door on her face and told her to leave.