An elderly woman’s only son married and moved into her home with his new bride, but when he was sent away by his company for several months, his daughter-in-law forced her to move into the garage.
When Beatrice Fairman’s son Matthew married, he asked his mother if he and his new bride could move in with her into the huge 5-bedroom house in which he’d grown up. Beatrice, who was admittedly lonely and rather liked her new daughter-in-law, Rita, happily agreed.
She never imagined that one day their idyll would turn into a nightmare, with her beloved son vanishing without a trace, and Rita showing her true colors as a vicious shrew and expelling Beatrice from her own home.
Matthew and Rita moved in right after their honeymoon, and at first, the three lived very happily together. Since both Matthew and Rita worked, Beatrice, who was retired, took charge of the cooking.
Matthew and Rita were more than happy with the situation which allowed them to save up for their own home and live in great comfort. As for Beatrice, she was delighted to have her son with her, and she became great friends with Rita.
Things changed when Matthew was promoted, and his company required that he travel all over the world for weeks at a time. For Rita, Beatrice’s presence meant that she didn’t feel so lonely and isolated.
The two women waited patiently for Matt’s return and Skyped him every day. Then Matt’s company told him that he needed to go to their London subsidiary for the next six months, and the two women were understandably upset.
“Listen, Rita, Mom,” Matt said gently. “I know it’s going to be hard to be apart for so long, but after this, I’ve been promised I will be promoted to head office and there will be no more traveling! You girls keep each other company…”
Rita sobbed and complained, “Matt, we’ve been apart more than we’ve been together since we married!”
Beatrice had to agree with her daughter-in-law. “Matt dear, you know I adore you, but Rita is right,” she said. “It’s you that Rita needs, not me.”
“Mom, come on,” Matt cried angrily. “I need to do this so we can afford our own house! We all need to make sacrifices, and I’m not exactly looking forward to this either!”
Two weeks later, Matt flew off, leaving the two women in his life behind. Rita and Beatrice were sad and they both missed Matt terribly. At first, Matt Skyped with them every night and he looked cheerful and happy, but as time went on, things changed.
Matt’s calls were briefer and he looked tired. Then he stopped calling every day. His calls came three times a week, then twice, then once…And then there came a week when Matt didn’t call.
Bullies exert power over those they consider weak and defenseless.
After the second week without a call, Rita and Beatrice became worried. They tried to call Matt’s phone and his hotel, but he didn’t answer their calls. Finally, Rita called Matt’s boss and asked where he was.
“Matt?” asked the boss, surprised. “But he left London two weeks ago! He worked like a madman and finished the project in three months. He said he was desperate to go home…”
When Rita hung up the phone, she was pale and her lips were trembling. “Beatrice,” she whispered. “They said he’s come home! They don’t know where he is!”
Rita and Beatrice contacted the airlines who told them Matt had never boarded his flight. Calls to the British police obtained no results. Matt had vanished without a trace.
The two women each dealt with the blow in their own way. Beatrice prayed, but Rita became angrier and angrier and she started taking her pain out on Beatrice.
“YOUR son!” she screamed. “He’s abandoned me, but he must have told YOU where he is!”
“No, Rita,” Beatrice protested. “I promise you…”
“PROMISES?” cried Rita. “I believed Matt’s promises and here I am all alone with an old bag! It’s been three months and believe me, I’m not going to wait forever!” That night, Rita dressed herself up and put on red lipstick.
“Where are you going?” asked Beatrice, shocked.
“OUT!” screamed Rita. “Out where there are men who want me!”
That was only the first of many nights that Rita spent out of the house, and soon she brought home a tall, dark man to spend the night with her.
When Beatrice protested, Rita was enraged. “Matt abandoned me! I owe him nothing and Bill loves me, so shut up you old bag!”
The next day, Beatrice was shocked to see her belongings piled up by the front door. “What are you doing with my things?” she gasped.
“You are moving into the garage,” Rita said. “So I can entertain my friends. Besides, Bill is moving in and we need our privacy!” No matter how Beatrice protested, Rita was adamant and the old lady was forced to live in the dusty, musty garage.
Beatrice had never been so unhappy. Not only was her beloved son missing, but the girl she’d welcomed into her house was now treating her like a slave! But just as things looked hopeless, something wonderful happened.
Beatrice was sitting in the sun in front of the garage when a car pulled up and a familiar figure stepped out. “Matt!” Beatrice sobbed. “Is that really you? What happened? I thought you were dead.”
“Mom,” Matt smiled, and he ran to his mother and threw his arms around her. “Didn’t you get my messages?”
Beatrice shook her head and tears ran down her cheeks. “No!” she cried. “For three months we’ve been waiting….”
“Oh no,” Matt said. “The hospital was supposed to contact you! I had a bad accident, and I’ve been in recovery, but now I’m 100% OK. Poor Rita must be worried sick!” Matt caught the expression on his mother’s face. “Mom what’s going on?” he asked.
“Son, I’m no longer living in the house — I’m sleeping in the garage,” Beatrice explained. “Rita had her boyfriend move in…”
“How dare she!” Matt cried angrily. “I’m going to set things right!”
Matt marched right up to the front door and opened it. Inside he came face to face with Rita and her beau. Rita’s mouth hung open at the sight of her husband.
“Matt!” she cried. “Darling, you’re alive!”
“Yes,” Matt said coldly. “But I’m not your darling. Pack up your things and get out of my mother’s house. I never want to see you again!”
Rita sobbed and made excuses, but Matt refused to listen so she packed her bags and left with Bill trailing behind. Matt was saddened to discover that his mother had been abused by his wife and he did everything he could to make it up to her.
But for Beatrice, the fact that her son was alive and well and back in her arms was a miracle and a dream come true.
What can we learn from this story?
Love is patient and loyal. Rita never really loved Matt or she would have waited for him as patiently as his mother and been faithful to her wedding vows.
Bullies exert power over those they consider weak and defenseless. Rita was nasty to Beatrice because she believed her son abandoned them and couldn’t protect his mother.