Your mother sold her house to someone a week before her death,” the lawyer told the two men. “How could she do that?” one of them growled before the lawyer handed a sealed envelope to the brothers. “Here, read this. It’s a letter from your late mom,” he said.
“Don’t you think it’s strange Mom’s lawyer never called us after her death?” Mark asked his brother, sitting on the chair next to him in the waiting room of the lawyer’s office.
“I think that’s very unprofessional of him,” Peter replied. The brothers lost their mother three weeks ago and had been anxiously waiting 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 across the room gestured to Mark and Peter to enter the lawyer’s room. The brothers felt relieved knowing they didn’t have to wait too long. After all, they had spared a few hours from their busy schedules to drive all the way to their late mother’s hometown.
“Come on, let’s go inside,” Mark said as his younger brother followed him.
As soon as Mark opened the door, his mother’s lawyer greeted him and asked the men to take a seat. The brothers noticed the lawyer’s eyes lit up as if he wanted to tell something important to them.
“We never heard from you after Mom’s death. Is this because we didn’t attend her funeral?” Mark asked firmly.
“Did you assume we weren’t interested in handling the legal matters?” Peter placed his right fist on the lawyer’s desk and wrapped his left hand around it.
“It’s not what you think,” the lawyer turned his black chair so he could bend down and pull the last drawer of his desk. “Let me explain,” he added.
After sliding a file out of the drawer, the lawyer pushed it close and straightened his back before he told the brothers about their mother’s will. “Well, Ruth told me her sons would come rushing to my office a few days after her death, and she was absolutely right,” the lawyer smiled.
“One dollar? Is this some kind of joke?” Mark asked and stood up from his seat.
He opened the file with Ruth’s name written in bold on the cover and slid out a white rectangular envelope. Written on it were three words: “For my sons.”
“What’s this for?” Mark grumbled.
“Your mother asked me to hand this letter to you both,” the lawyer responded. “However, before you open it, I want you to know something.”
“Know what?” Peter asked with raised eyebrows.
“This might not sit well with you both, but your mother sold her house before she passed away,” the lawyer revealed. “Someone bought it from her for $1.”
“One dollar? Is this some kind of joke?” Mark asked and stood up from his seat.
“Read the letter, and you’ll know everything,” the lawyer replied.
Mark and Peter exchanged confused glances before Mark lifted the envelope’s flap and slid out the letter. He unfolded it and began reading aloud:
“Dear sons, I know you must be reading this letter sitting inside my lawyer’s office, waiting for him to show you my will. Mark and Peter, you are my only children, and I love you with all my heart. I enjoyed raising you both to the best of my abilities every day, but looking at you now, I believe I have failed.”
What is she trying to say?” Peter interrupted. Mark continued reading:
“After our last interaction, I realized my upbringing didn’t teach my sons to be compassionate. Instead, I spoiled you and made you arrogant. I felt so hurt when you refused to spend time with me and abandoned me that day. However, I still think there is a way to teach my sons the importance of respect and empathy. Dear Mark and Peter, I won’t be passing my house down to you both. Instead, I decided to give it to a young girl who never knew maternal warmth. Love, Ruth.”
“What? She gave her house to someone else?” Peter whined.
“It’s all because of what we did with her in the past few months,” Mark said. Then, the brothers began recalling what had happened a few months earlier.
It was a Saturday morning when Mark and Peter received a call from their mother, who suddenly fell sick. “Please come home, my boys,” she said in a weak voice.
Mark and Peter lived in the same town, three hours away from their mother’s home. Since they worked as managers and lived with their wives and children, they rarely had time to visit their mother.
“Oh no, not again!” Mark said after ending his mother’s phone call. “She calls us every time and asks us to stay back. Why can’t she understand we don’t have time for her?” he wondered.
Mark quickly called Peter and asked him to come to his place so they could drive together to their mother’s house. “I’ll see you in an hour,” Peter replied.
As the brothers drove to their mother’s hometown, Mark told his brother how tired he was of visiting her every alternate weekend. “This is getting annoying,” Mark said.
“I totally agree, Mark! Mom has been bugging us too much. Why doesn’t she stop calling us?” Peter asked.
“You know how she has become so lonely after Dad’s death, and we are her only family,” Mark said.
“Yeah, but I am pretty sure she has friends there. They can always give her company.”
“Look, I don’t think she will ever stop calling us. We need to put an end to this.”
For the remaining part of their journey, Mark and Peter discussed how they could stop their mother from calling them to her house so frequently. Soon, they came up with a plan they would execute after reaching Ruth’s house.
“Oh, my boys!” Ruth said as she struggled to sit up from her bed. “How are you both?” She extended her arms to hug her sons.
“We’re fine, Mom,” Mark replied coldly.
While Mark distracted his mother, Peter quickly opened her cupboard and began dumping her clothes in a bag. A few minutes later, Ruth turned towards Peter and asked, “Hey! What are you doing there? Come here!”
“He’s sorting your clothes, Mom,” Mark replied. “Remember you wanted to give some clothes to the neighborhood charity organization? He’s helping you out.”
“Oh, okay. Bless you, my son.” Ruth sighed a breath of relief.
When Peter finished packing Ruth’s belongings, he dragged the bag into the driveway and loaded it in Mark’s car. Then, he returned to his mother’s bedroom and signaled Mark to come outside.
“Okay, Mom. Let’s go outside today,” Mark said.
“Outside? Where, Mark?” Ruth asked.
“Let’s go out for a drive. You will feel better,” Mark lied.
“But I wanted to spend time with you and Peter here. I even ordered the cinnamon rolls you both love,” Ruth said. “Let’s stay back and watch a movie together.”
“No, mom,” Mark replied sternly. “Peter and I have planned a surprise for you. Come on, now. It’s getting late.”
Feeling helpless before her sons, the fragile woman agreed to sit in Mark’s car, unaware of what would happen. She had no idea Mark and Peter lied to her and weren’t taking her for a long drive.
“Where are we going?” Ruth asked a few minutes later when she realized Mark had taken an exit that led out of her town.
“I told you, Mom,” Mark replied.
“But why are you exiting town? The delivery guy will arrive at my doorstep soon,” Ruth said. “I need to return home in a few minutes.”
“Don’t worry, Mom. Everything’s sorted,” Peter replied while looking at his mother’s wrinkly face. “Just relax.”
About half an hour later, Mark turned off the engine after parking outside a two-story building. “Come on, Mom. Let’s go,” he said as he hopped out of the driver’s seat.
Ruth had no idea where her sons had brought her until she stepped out of the car and read the board outside the building. “Why have you brought me here?” she asked angrily.
“Don’t scream, Mom,” Mark replied calmly and gestured for his brother to fetch a wheelchair for their mother so they could take her inside.
Mark and Peter had planned to leave Ruth at a nursing home and never returned. They smiled at the staff as Mark pushed Ruth in a wheelchair toward the building.
Meanwhile, Ruth pleaded with her sons to take her back, but they didn’t even bother looking at her. They handed her over to one of the nurses and talked to the lady at the reception.
“She’s Ruth, our mother,” Mark told the receptionist. “We are leaving her here because she can’t stay home unattended.”
“Her mental health is deteriorating day by day,” Peter lied.
“We will keep checking on her, but please promise us 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 brothers not to worry about Ruth, they fled without even saying goodbye to their mother. The elderly woman had never imagined her boys would abandon her like that.
“So you abandoned your mother at the nursing home, right?” the lawyer interrupted Mark and Peter’s recollection of events. Then, he told them what had happened after they left her there.
While Ruth cried in the corner of her room in the nursing home, a nurse approached her.
“Hi, Ruth. My name is Samantha,” the nurse said while bending down to hold Ruth’s hand. Looking at Ruth’s face, she realized the elderly woman was silently crying.
“What happened, Ruth? Why are you crying?” the concerned nurse asked. “Are you not feeling well?”
“No, Samantha. I’m fine,” Ruth replied as she wiped off her tears. “It’s about my sons.”
“Your sons? The men who left you at the reception?” Samantha asked. “They told us about your mental condition. But don’t worry, Ruth. We’re all here to take care of you.”
Ruth was shocked to learn that her sons had lied about her at the reception. She never expected them to treat her so badly, but now she had no option except to stay in the nursing home.
“They lied,” Ruth confessed. “If I knew they would dump me here, I would have never invited them to my home. They betrayed me.”
Soon, Samantha learned everything about Mark and Peter and consoled Ruth. She felt bad for the elderly lady but couldn’t do anything except take care of her.
As days passed, Ruth enjoyed spending time with the young nurse, who also lived at the nursing home since she didn’t have a family. Samantha lost her parents in an accident years ago and was their only child.
When Ruth discovered that Samantha had no one around her and that she yearned for her mother’s love, she decided to do something.
“Would you let me call my lawyer?” Ruth asked Samantha.
“Sure,” Samantha said and handed her phone to Ruth. “Here you go.”
Ruth dug out her lawyer’s number from her notebook and called him to ask how she could change her will and give her house to Samantha instead of her sons. The lawyer gave her multiple options, but she wasn’t satisfied.
After thinking for a while, Ruth came up with an idea. “Oh, Samantha,” she said. “Do you have a dollar to spare?”
“Yes, Ruth,” Samantha’s forehead creased. “But why do you want a dollar?”
“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?” Samantha asked.
“I want you to buy my house from me for $1,” Ruth said. “If I write in my will that I am gifting the house to you, my sons might challenge the will and somehow take the property from you.”
Samantha nodded. “Don’t let my sons know about this plan until I die. Promise me, Samantha,” Ruth said.
“I won’t tell them,” Samantha assured the elderly lady.
“Your mother asked me to give this letter to you after she sold the house to Samantha,” the lawyer told Mark and Peter. The brothers were flabbergasted to learn what their mother had done.
After hearing the entire story, the men stood up from the lawyer’s desk and left. They drove back home in silence, wondering why they couldn’t take out time for their mother when she was alive.