My Husband and Daughter Threw Me Out as If I Was a Dog – Story of the Day
Linda met a man she thought she could spend the rest of her life with … but somehow her daughter was tangled in the whole affair, and she ended up being kicked out of her own house.
Linda heard the rattling of the keys in the living room—must be her daughter Laura. She probably just finished work at the McDonald’s nearby. It always smelled like a fast-food chain whenever she comes back home, plus that cigarette stench that lingered on ever since she was a teenager.
Or was it Carl’s Jr.? Linda wasn’t entirely sure—they never did too much talking anyway. But at least she got a job. At least she’s doing something, Linda thought to herself.
Without saying a single word, Laura walked straight to her bedroom, the awkward stillness only interrupted by that loud bang as she closed the door.
But Linda had already gotten used to it.
It was all her fault, Linda thought to herself. She didn’t raise Laura right—she couldn’t. It is what it is. Sometimes you just cannot control certain things in life.
Ever since Laura’s father left the family, she had to raise Laura all by herself, working three to four jobs at a time just to get by. San Francisco is no place for poor folks like her. The place sucks the very essence out of you until you have nothing else to give.
Lord, this wretched place.
She wasn’t there when Laura grew up. She wasn’t there when she starred in her first musical. She wasn’t there when she was suspended from school. Hell, she wasn’t even there when she got arrested for the first time. Her sister had to go bail her out.
It is what it is, Linda thought to herself. Sometimes you just have to accept it.
But then Linda remembered her plans for the night—a date—and a good-looking man as well.
Linda had been seeing this guy called Jose for a while. Just like Linda herself, Jose was a divorcee in his mid-40s, but one would have guessed he was still in his early 30s judging by his look. And like Linda, Jose also had a kid—but his kid joined the military when he was 17 and had been stationed in Germany for the last few years.
It was as if fate had brought them together—two sad and lonely souls who'd been through hell in life, yet they managed to discover each other, someone who would finally understand their own pain and struggle.
Wouldn’t it be nice for Laura to meet Jose as well, Linda thought to herself. Perhaps a father figure is all she needs to get back on track.
A week later, she finally invited Jose to come over for dinner over the weekend. She even got a day off from her second job so that she could spend the day with him.
At the dinner table, they both talked about their jobs—how much they hated them and how, potentially, they could move somewhere together, away from this madness and wretchedness. They also talked about his kid Alfredo, how Jose was proud of his boy despite not having seen him for the last year or two.
“Yes, Germany … Yes, a Specialist … Berlin? I don’t know—he did mention a place called Bavaria, one of those places with their funky German names …”
It was then when Laura came back from somewhere—presumably not from work considering she didn’t smell like chicken nuggets this time. Laura smiled at Jose briefly, turned around, and headed straight to her bedroom again.
“So that’s your daughter?” Jose asked.
In the weeks that followed Jose, would come to her house more frequently—at times he even volunteered to help her clean the house and fix the pipes. Yes, the pipes. She couldn’t recall how many duct tapes she wasted on those pipes just to contain the damage.
After a while, he would even come by when she wasn't home. Finally, she thought to herself … someone who knew how to take care of her, someone who could help her. Someone who could be a father figure for Laura.
He also managed to break the ice and talk to Laura—sometimes when she came back home after work she would see them sitting on the couch, talking and laughing over trivial matters.
Eventually, Jose proposed to Linda.
It came to Linda as a surprise at first—it was only a few months since they started dating. But well, they got along just fine, and it was about time for her to settle down with someone.
On top of that, he got along well with Laura, which cannot be said for a lot of other men she dated prior to Jose. Maybe they would be a family again. Maybe things would finally get better for her and Laura. They got married during springtime.
But one evening she saw something that chilled her to the bone.
It was a Friday evening, and for some miraculous reason she was able to leave work early—the manager apparently hated the job as much as she did, if not more, and he decided he’d close the shop early as an act of defiance.
Linda was walking down the street, and as she approached the street corner adjacent to her house, she saw Laura making out with a man, with her back against the truck outside.
Isn’t that … Jose’s pickup truck? And the guy … no way … It was Jose, fervently making out with her own daughter.
Linda stared at the grotesque sight mindlessly, her thoughts drifting between places, between realms … anything that could bring her out of this wretched dream, anything that could convince her that this was nothing but a dream, however difficult.
But it was happening. She was awake. She could feel the wind stirred up by the cars that passed by. She could smell the exhaust from the beat-up Honda Civic that drove by. She could still see that horrific sight in front of her, of the two persons who were close to her cuddling with each other.
Like a doll bereft of her soul, she approached them.
It was only when they were a few meters apart that they noticed her. But she didn’t pay attention to them, she simply walked inside the house without saying a word, like a ghost that drifted by them without stirring up the air around her.
“Hey Linda …” she could hear Jose walking after her, words upon words of incoherent notes … she couldn’t make out what he was saying—not that she really cared at that point.
But then she heard Laura’s voice as well.
“You really have to ruin everything, don’t you?” Laura said.
Linda turned back to Laura, and she could see Laura was looking straight into her—it was addressed to her. But Linda simply walked to the living room, took out a big suitcase, and began packing whatever useful items she found around her.
“That’s all you do, run away from your problems,” Linda could hear a voice saying to her. Was that Laura? Or was it her subconscious speaking? She had no idea.
She then heard loud noises coming from the sidewalk, as Laura began throwing her belongings outside the window. She stared at the broken glasses for a while—among them was a family picture of theirs, when Laura was just five and saw a horse for the first time.
Everything was a blank for Linda from that point onwards, until she found herself sitting on Ocean Beach, with her suitcase beside her, filled to the brim with useless junk.
Why did she take the clock with her? And the pillow? Why would she pack a pillow in her suitcase? And no blankets … she should’ve brought a blanket with her at least.
But well, at least it’s quiet here.
She stared into the ocean down the horizon—she could see the light rising above the horizon, a thin line of pink beneath the sparse stars above. The ocean was calm and the waves were tender. She could hear the waves drifting in and out of the bay.
Somewhere down the horizon lies Japan, her father used to tell her when they sat on the beach. Her father would go on all day with stories from there, of how beautiful it was when he used to station in Japan. The people, the food, the culture …
Perhaps it was time to see what her father was talking about.
Linda stepped out from San Francisco International Airport. It’d been a few years since she’d been back. Lord, look at all the people with their phones in their hands … a lot has changed for sure. But the miserable heat—that didn’t change the slightest.
A Starbucks wouldn’t be a bad idea—at least they should have wifi. But as she approached the cashier she saw a familiar face.
Familiar would be an understatement, actually. It was Laura, working behind the counter, juggling between four frappuccinos for the college students who were about to board their flights to Paris and live out their fantasy of the “European way.” But only if they knew how disappointed they’d be …
Laura also noticed Linda, and an awkward silence ensued. But to Linda’s surprise, Laura took off her apron and rushed towards her, holding Linda in her arms with tears in her eyes.
"I'm sorry …" after a brief moment of silence, Laura finally spoke up. Her colleagues then signaled her to take a break.
They walked outside the airport; people shuffled to-and-fro around them beneath the unforgiving scorching sun that rose directly above them. But they finally found a bench nearby.
Another long pause ensued. Neither of them knew how to initiate the conversation. But at long last, Linda finally spoke up. "What happened? You look different," she said.
"A lot of things happened, mom," Laura responded meekly. "I don't even know where to start."
"I have time. Go on," Linda said.
"Well, I started going to Church," Laura began. "I met a guy last year—really sweet guy—and he started bringing me there. And then I realized what I've done …" She couldn't hold back her tears anymore.
"We all make mistakes, Laura, some more so than others, but still," Linda responded. "A lot of things happened to me as well—I've been traveling quite a bit."
"Really? Where? Did you find a job somewhere?"
"Japan, China, India, Mongolia … different places. I ended up teaching English on the internet—also met a lot of people, different lives, different experiences …"
Linda then took a brief pause.
"Life happens, it is what it is. Sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse … but life goes on."
"I know you cannot forgive me mom, and I understand that … I just want to let you know how sorry I am," Laura responded meekly.
Linda then turned her eyes towards Laura, she could see her daughter's eyes, glimmering with tears that slowly rolled down her cheeks. It reminded her of that time when she fell down in the park. Those eyes never changed.
She then thought about the times she missed, all those moments that passed by without her being present, her classes, her graduations, her birthday celebrations. Linda couldn't hold back her tears as she thought about how much she missed.
After a minute or so, Linda wrapped her arms around Laura. She leaned towards her daughter and gave her a soft kiss on the forehead.
"It's my fault as well … I should've been there when you needed me. I really should," Linda said, and Laura could hear the trembling in her voice. The two embraced each other.
"What happened to Jose by the way?" Linda finally asked—she didn't want to ask that question, but curiosity got the better of her.
"Oh, that bastard … he started hitting on my friend," Laura responded.
"I guess we both dodged a bullet there then," Linda said.
They both shared a good chuckle in each other's embrace, and all was forgiven.
What can we learn from this story?
We all make mistakes—but we need to forgive others in order to move on. And if you have a kid, make sure you spend more time with them as they grow up. Before you know it, they'd be all grown up and it'd be too late to witness the important moments.
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