A woman resents her stepdaughter from her husband's first marriage, but through a strange twist of fate, she got what she truly deserves.
John sat there on the grass with his friends, talking and laughing over the mundanities of life. It was one of those church events—but rather than religion, of faith and redemption, the conversations always revolved around life’s little mundanities, something everyone eventually grew accustomed to. But for John, it was a bit different, for he has yet to be accustomed to some of the recent changes in his life.
Rachel sat on a bench by the group. And no, she wasn’t part of them—not for the time being anyway. Summer’s finally here, and she simply decided that it would be a nice day to finally head for the park for a quiet evening. She could smell the musty grass in the air, the fragrance of summer, as her mother used to tell her.
John was in a cheery company. But every time someone started laughing in the group, John only gave out a tender smile followed by a soft sigh. No one really took notice of that, except Rachel. She could notice the strange dynamics within the group, but she couldn’t tell why as of yet.
Mother Scoffing At Daughter | Source: Shutterstock
“How’s Sally? Still misses her mother?” one of his friends seemed to have finally taken notice of John’s weary smile.
“She’s doing great. She is even going to be the lead actress in the upcoming school musical,” John replied. “Just like her mother when she was young. She would’ve been proud.”
“She does have the same eyes. Not to mention her talents,” another friend chimed in, but it was met with a fierce stare from another friend, signaling him to be quiet.
“She certainly does …” John replied timidly, as he turned his eyes towards the looming treelines, but he stopped once they met that of Rachel’s. Both gave out a timid smile. “Ain’t that a lovely smile,” both thought to themselves. “Excuse me for a bit,” John said to his friends and started walking towards Rachel.
“God certainly works in mysterious ways,” one of them left a witty remark as John excused himself.
A couple sitting on a bench and looking out into the ocean | Source: Pixabay
“Lovely day, isn't it?” John decided to break the silence, ending his remark with yet another timid smile.
“Indeed,” replied Rachel, reciprocating John’s smile with hers. She then asked John if he would like to sit down with her, to which John duly obliged.
“Smells like summer, too,” Rachel continued. “‘Fragrance of summer,’ my mother used to say that all the time. The musty grass. I guess that’s just her way of saying summer is in the air,” she ended her remarks with yet another modest smile.
That smile, John thought to himself. It reminded him of something, something he had lost somewhere along the way … or was it the way she talked? As for Rachel, she was yet to comprehend what it was about John, but as the conversation went on, she discovered a poignant beauty in this man, a beauty she had never seen before.
Cafe date | Source: Pixabay
Love blossomed in the warmth of summer. Before they knew it, they would see each other a few times a week, cafes, parks … it didn’t matter all that much where they would meet as long as they had each other’s company, that was the only thing that truly mattered.
Of course, eventually, Rachel got to meet John’s daughter Sally as well, a lovely girl who wasn’t even eight yet, with eyes as green as the greenest of all emeralds. “She does look like her mother,” John made a remark once, “gone too soon. An accident. Things changed a lot since then, but sometimes I still wish Sally could grow up with a mother,” again, ending his remark with a timid smile.
Rachel was hesitant at first. Dating someone with a daughter would not be easy, and marriage? That would be even trickier. But after spending some time with Sally, who was nothing but a lovely bundle of joy, always cheery and caring, she decided that it wouldn’t be a problem.
It didn’t take long before John proposed to Rachel—eight months to be exact. For Rachel, there was just something special about John, with the way he talks and the way he moves, and above all, the way he smiles. Together they would form a happy family … or so it seemed.
A wedding ring on an open book | Source: Pixabay
Time waited for no one. Years flew by before they knew it. Passion faded as time went by, in its place were the banalities of life. Work, home, a vacation if they were lucky … Days and years flew by like a recurring dream that never quite ended. Passion turned into stability, and stability turned into banality.
But Sally is now a gorgeous girl of 14, with gold flaxen hair and her emerald green eyes. John would always say how she looked like her mother, always with a smile on his face as he made his remarks.
But Sally’s not the only darling in the family—just a year after they were married, Rachel too welcomed a daughter of her own. They decided to name her Joy, as John used to tell Rachel how she brought joy to his life. Joy’s eyes were of an oceanic blue, switching between a shade of blue and grey depending on the light. She looked just like her own mother as well.
A little girl with a baby | Source: Unsplash
But as time went by, something inside of Rachel changed. Perhaps it had something to do with giving birth to her own child, or with her marriage to John … or was it just that life was not that exciting anymore? She was yet to understand what it was, but a deep resentment towards Sally began to fester in her.
One thing she knew for sure was that every time she looked at Sally, it would remind her of John’s deceased ex-wife. It’s not that she had anything against her—how could you resent someone you have never met? But it always felt as if John was paying too much attention to Sally, especially after Joy was born when she needed him the most.
Her resentment towards Sally only grew stronger over the years. Sally has a splendid voice just like her mother, and music has always been a big part of her life. She participated in various shows and musicals, even forming her own band at some point. But every time she practiced at home, it became a nuisance to Rachel, and she would often scoff at Sally for singing off-key or out of pitch, not that she knew what any of that meant.
Sad-looking girl | Source: Unsplash
It didn’t stop there either. She would give Sally every household chore, saying she was the “older kid” in the house and that she should “take responsibility” and “learn how to be an adult.” However, John didn’t seem to notice much of that.
Meanwhile, Joy became Rachel’s own bundle of joy. She would do anything for her and showered her with whatever it is she wanted and needed. Joy had all the best toys in the house, and she was always free to do whatever she wanted, while her older sister stayed at home with the chores.
At times John would remind Rachel about spoiling Joy too much, but it was always met with a feisty remark from Rachel, about how she is responsible for raising “her own daughter.”
Despite all that, Sally didn’t seem to mind a bit. She was always kind and courteous, no matter what others said to her. Even at times when she felt bad, she would always find refuge in music. John sometimes would observe her as she was singing, noting to himself how much she resembled her mother—and how proud she would be if she was there.
Girl in a cemetery | Source: Pexels
Things got worse after John passed away a few years later. It was an illness that festered and consumed John within just a year, and by the time they realized what was going on, it was already too late. They laid him to rest by the church in town, alongside his own parents.
Sally finally turned 18, and without John by her side, Rachel decided that she wouldn’t be dealing with Sally anymore. Was it jealousy? Perhaps. But the death of John certainly left an everlasting impact on everyone in the family, especially Rachel. The banalities of life had been shattered, but not in the way Rachel had hoped for.
“Listen, kid. You’re now 18 and you’re free to do whatever you want. I won’t be able to take care of you, not that I really wanted to anyway. You have the access to your trust fund for college—go do whatever you want,” Rachel said coldly to Sally.
Sally simply replied “It’s okay, I understand,” with a timid smile on her face, just like her father. Within a week, she moved to New York to study theatre.
New York City | Source: Pixabay
It didn’t take long for Joy to reach 18 as well. Lord, what a lovely girl, thought Rachel to herself. She looked just like her, but only better. She reminded her of her lost youth, of an exciting life she once had.
It was time for Joy to go to college as well, but Joy wanted to go to California, the other end of the country, where “everything is happening,” as Joy would put it.
Rachel couldn’t stand the thought of her darling living on the other end of the country. But it was too late, Joy made up her mind, and she gets whatever she wants. With immense bitterness, Rachel bid farewell to her beloved daughter.
A few years had gone by. Sally would come home once in a while—mostly during the holidays. She never shared too many words with Rachel, but she would always bring Rachel gifts whenever she visited.
On the other hand, there were barely any words from Joy. Rachel would try to call Joy, but she was always busy going somewhere. Joy would sometimes call Rachel, but whenever she did it was always about money … or the lack thereof, and she would always ask her mother if she could spot her a few hundred dollars until she found a job.
A coffee machine | Source: Pixabay
On Christmas Day, as Rachel woke up and tried to make herself a cup of coffee, she passed by the mirror and halted. She stared at her own reflection in contemplation—her hair was now a grayish-white, wrinkles formed along the corner of her eyes, draping down towards her cheek.
She tried to listen for voices in the house, but it was a deafening silence. She’s old. She’s alone. Years have gone by without her noticing, along with the things and people she loved. Tears of desolation rolled down her cheeks. Is that what it means to be growing old? To be all alone, left with nothing but memories? Even those can part with you anytime soon.
It was then she felt her right face going numb … strange … her own reflection on the mirror began dissolving, or was it? It certainly was getting darker. She collapsed on the floor.
Woman in a hospital bed | Source: Unsplash
She found herself in a white room, with blinding lights around her. She tried adjusting her vision, but it wasn’t easy at all. She tried removing her blanket with her right hand, but she was too feeble to do so—or rather, her right arm was too feeble to do so.
“Hold on mom, let me help you,” she could hear a faint voice whispering.
What happened? She could now only remember bits and pieces of what happened. She remembered the mirror, the smell of the coffee … then the rattling of the keys, a loud scream, some frantic movements in the house … and that was it. But the whispering does sound familiar.
A dark hospital hallway | Source: Pixabay
“Joy … my sweet darling … is that you?” Rachel uttered with what little feeble strength she had. Is this the end? Perhaps now’s the time for the final farewell?
“No, it’s me, Sally. Everything’s okay, mom. You’ll be alright,” Sally replied, holding Rachel’s hand. “Joy is in England right now. She married an Englishman a few months ago, she’s alright. I told her what happened and bought her a ticket already. You’ll see her soon.”
“Oh … Sally, my sweet little darling,” Rachel responded after a brief moment of silence. “I haven’t been kind to you, have I? I …” She took a deep breath. “… I am sorry child. I didn’t know any better … I was confused … Forgive me, please, Sally darling … I have done wrong, but now I know. Forgive me please, I don’t want to bring my regret to my grave …”
Sally held Rachel’s hand and gave it a soft kiss. “It’s okay, ma, the doctor said you’re gonna be okay. Don’t worry about it. I know how difficult it was for you, and I don’t blame you a bit. Everything will be alright, ma, now take some rest.”
The view of the morning sun from a bedroom window | Source: Pixabay
Day and night seemed to be one and the same through the blinding lights. But eventually, Rachel was moved to a different room with a window overlooking the city right by her bed.
Morning and evening appeared to be one and the same at first, but eventually, despite her delirious state, she was able to make out the birds chirping when the horizon burned of a bright orange hue, and she knew that a new day was approaching.
“Ma. Ma … How’re you?” she could feel a warm tingling sensation on her face, yet she couldn’t pinpoint what it was.
Rachel opened her eyes and watched as the silhouettes merged into one, coming together towards the soft blue spot in the center. It was Joy, her beloved daughter, sitting alongside Sally, with tears rolling down her cheeks, whilst softly placing her hand on Rachel's face.
Middle aged woman crying | Source: Pexels
“My sweet darling … How've you been? Lord … what a joy to see you again, my sweet darling. I …”
“It’s okay, ma. Take it easy. I just got back from England. I am … I am sorry I have been gone for such a long time,” Joy halted for a moment to wipe away her tears. “I don’t even know where to start …” a smile then rose on her face.
“It’s okay, darling. Just tell me one thing. Are you happy? With your life? With your husband?” Rachel smiled as she looked at Joy’s teary smile.
“Yes, ma. More than I could ask for. I know I haven’t been the best daughter in the world,” she said, giving out a timid smile, “… definitely not the best. But thank you for everything ma, I lived an interesting life, and it wouldn’t be possible without you.”
“Tell me about it, darling,” Rachel smiled as she looked into those soft blue eyes, just like her own, with Sally’s hand softly placed upon hers.
"Everything, darling. Tell me everything."
What can we learn from this story?
1. Don't spoil your kid. Or else they might leave you by your lonesome. You don't want that.
2. Forgiveness. We all make mistakes, but only through forgiving others are we able to find peace and move on.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a delivery man who foils a package thief's evil plan.
This story was sent in by our subscriber. All names have been changed to protect their identity and ensure their privacy. If you would like to share your story with us, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org