November 14, 2021
A young woman is given a chance to meet her supposedly dead husband again after she gets a job as a maid in a house owned by a rich old lady.
"You have reached Carl Joseph's voicemail, I am not by my phone at the moment but I'm sure if you try again later, we can work something out."
It was the fifth time Gloria Joseph was calling her husband, who worked as a transport officer for a logistics company. He had left home in a hurry after being summoned to make an impromptu delivery earlier that morning.
The couple had just returned from their honeymoon two months before, and her husband, who happened to be the only one with a job among them, had returned to work while she put their home in order.
In a sense, they were still newlyweds; however, the two had been friends first before they became lovers, so they knew each other well enough to know when something was out of the ordinary.
"I'll be back by noon today," Carl had told her earlier that morning as he got dressed.
"You have to be, we need to meet the doctor today to decide the best course of action to take concerning our family planning," she had replied.
Gloria knew there was little to worry about; her husband always kept his word. However, as the afternoon passed, she started to wonder.
Three hours later, she decided to call him to see what was holding him up; however, it kept going to his voicemail. She waited another hour to try again, but a call from an unknown line interrupted her before she could dial.
"Yes? Who is this?" she asked eagerly.
It was a police officer with bad news; her husband had passed away in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver.
"He died at the scene but his remains have been sent to a hospital. I will send you the address now," the cop told her. "I'm very sorry for your loss," he said as he ended the call, leaving Gloria with her thoughts.
"It can't be," she said to herself over and over as she tried to call his line.
"You can't be dead!!" she yelled as she burst into tears.
His remains have been sent to a hospital, she remembered the cop saying, so she quickly packed her things and checked her text messages for the hospital address.
Carl was laid in a closed coffin during the funeral, after which Gloria began to mourn him. It was a difficult time for her; she had loved her husband very intensely.
We had so many plans Carl! she cried to herself one night as she thought about their dreams together. How could you leave me to deal with everything all by myself? What happened to being my ride or die? she would ask even though she knew her late hubby could have done nothing to avoid his fate.
The widow mourned her husband for a few months, the whole time subsisting on their savings. It kept her fed and clothed, but after some time, she realized she needed to work if she wanted to survive.
You don't have a partner again, remember? she would remind herself.
Getting a job was very tough for Gloria because most of the available jobs were for men; however, she was able to secure one as a maid in the house of a wealthy old woman named Judy.
"Your work is simple," the older woman told her. "I'll pay you a lot if you could help clean the house and occasionally cook for my son."
"I can do that ma'am, I'll just need a list of his preferences."
"He loves chicken in any form it is prepared, " the old woman chuckled.
"Really? My late husband loved chicken too," Gloria said, feeling the now bearable thud of pain she often did when she thought about Carl.
Gloria got the job and promised to return very early the next day to begin. She was very serious about it because she was on her way as soon as it was dawn.
If she had not, she would have missed what she saw as she pulled into the older woman's driveway; it was Judy walking around her yard with a younger man.
"He must be her son," Gloria thought as she watched them.
She followed them quietly out of curiosity, and she marveled as Judy led the man towards a separate building, formerly used as a storage unit.
When Judy noticed Gloria was staring at them, she quickly hurried the man into the building and shut the door –she always did this when she noticed people or her workers staring at them unusually.
However, it wasn't before Gloria caught a glimpse of the man who looked exactly like her late husband. Her hands flew to her mouth just as the door slammed.
What trickery is this? she whispered as her mind raced. Is it my imagination?
She could not be sure it was her Carl but the little glimpse she had seen - his gait, his hair color — was enough to make her wonder.
Gloria would have given anything to find out, but out of respect for her employer and out of fear that she had been hallucinating, she returned to the main house and got to work cleaning up the house, all the while thinking in circles.
Was I hallucinating? Ugh... I miss him so much, she thought.
She tried her best to avoid thinking about sneaking to the back house Judy and the man disappeared into while she summoned up the courage to ask about him as soon as the older woman returned.
"Was that your son?" Gloria asked Judy when she returned to the main building a few minutes later.
"Yes, you know him?" Judy answered in a defensive manner.
"Oh, I doubt that – just that he looks so much like my late husband, Carl," Gloria replied in a somber tone, forcing back tears.
Judy looked sad at her reply then she walked away without a backward glance, expecting Gloria to follow.
They walked to her study which held a large cabinet and other office effects. The first drawer of the cabinet held nothing but a wedding ring that matched the one Gloria had at home.
"Two years ago, I found him near a burning car, he was barely breathing," Judy said. She confessed how lonely she felt until she discovered Carl, who suffered from memory loss after the accident. "I nursed him back to health and when he asked about his identity, I told him I gave birth to him and I assigned him another name which he now goes by."
"Please, let me see him!" Gloria begged. "He could be my husband!" she added and then went quiet because she knew she couldn't utter an extra word without losing it and breaking down in tears.
"I'm sorry but I can't let that happen. Because if he turns out to be your husband, you'll just take him away from me and I'll be left all by myself again. I'm sorry but you're fired," Judy said and stormed off.
Just like that, Gloria lost her new job. However, she had gained something in return — hope. The love of her life could still be alive and she wouldn't give up until she finds out for herself.
I'm sorry Judy, but he could be mine, she said to herself as she hatched a plan. If he can't remember his past, I'll just help him jog those memories back.
The following day, she returned to Gloria's home; however, the older woman was around throughout the day, so she could not get to the second building.
She returned day after day until one afternoon, Judy wasn't home, and Gloria was able to sneak her way to the adjoined building the man had disappeared into.
"Who are you?" he asked her as soon as he saw her. "Why do I feel so happy you're here?" he wondered out loud, bewildered by his emotions.
Gloria was tongue-tied, and she could only cry as she had now confirmed her husband was alive.
"I'm your wife!" she finally said.
She told Carl everything that happened, and the story shocked him. As he tried to make sense of it all, he noticed the earrings Gloria had on; it was the pair he had given her on one of their anniversaries.
"Gloria…" Carl said, suddenly recalling her name, and that one word triggered the release of his other memories.
On the day of the accident, he had picked up a stranger who was also traveling. They were having a healthy conversation when a drunk truck driver swerved from the opposite lane into theirs, causing chaos on their side of the highway.
Drivers tried to avoid the mess, but Carl could not, so his vehicle was totaled in the process. In the aftermath, he remembered crawling out of the car and noticing the prone body of the stranger in the front seat. He passed out after, which was when Judy found him.
"They must have buried the stranger in my place," he told her sadly. "If I had not picked him up, he would still be alive."
"It's not your fault honey," she said.
Gloria was in the middle of comforting Carl when Judy suddenly returned. Before she could say anything, Carl happily shared the good news: "Mom, I found my wife!"
Gloria wanted to tell Carl that Judy was not truly his mother, but she decided to say nothing when she saw tears in the woman's eyes, and since Carl was originally an orphan, she decided to play along.
It took several weeks before Carl completely gained his full memory and remembered his true mom died decades before. However, by then, the relationship between him, his wife, and Judy had solidified.
She and Carl continued to visit and take care of the old lady in the years that followed, and when she passed away, she left her mansion to them.
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