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An old house | Source: Shutterstock
An old house | Source: Shutterstock

Old Lady Didn't Leave House in 6 Years, Runs out Seeing Girl on Verge of Accident – Story of the Day

Caitlin Farley
Jan 24, 2023
08:00 P.M.

A tragic loss leaves Eliza imprisoned by grief and fear until a teenage girl befriends her. However, Eliza doesn't realize the girl is hiding a life-changing secret about who she is.

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"Can't it wait until tomorrow morning?" Robert asked.

Eliza gaped at her husband.

"No, it can't. Robert, we must have milk for cereal and coffee tomorrow morning. You know I bake on Tuesdays, and you know that means you need to get milk on your way home."

Robert sighed. He was tired from a long day at work and had been looking forward to relaxing at home. One look at Eliza's face told him there'd be no peace if he didn't go back for the milk.

Well, the sooner he left, the sooner he'd return. The shop was close by, so he didn't bother to wear his jacket despite the fog lingering in the darkness outside.

Robert loved his wife very much, but he wished she wasn't so rigid about her routines and schedules at times like these. Certain items had to be purchased on certain days and would last just long enough until the next prescribed day to purchase that item.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Eliza would gladly go without milk if it ran out earlier than planned, but not if he forgot to buy it on the appropriate day. Robert chuckled as he paused on the sidewalk. Eliza was odd, but he wouldn't trade her for all the world.

The fog deadened all sound, turning the night quiet. Robert didn't hear or see the car coming down the hill until it was too late. His last thought was for Eliza and how upset she'd be that he didn't get the milk.

Six years later...

Eliza drew back the curtains just wide enough to peer outside. Her heart beat faster and her mouth dried up as her gaze fell on the unkempt grass in her yard and beyond it, to the road.

She needed flour. She needed to venture out into the wild, uncontrollable, and unpredictable world beyond her front door to get it. Eliza's breath caught in her throat.

It was too dangerous, but today was baking day. She was determined to be brave, but her courage fled when she reached the front door. Robert's jacket with the reflective strips still hung precisely where he'd left it that night.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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No, she couldn't go out today. Eliza backed away from the door and instead phoned her neighbor, Maria, to ask if she'd purchase the items Eliza needed.

A short while later, Eliza heard a knock at the door. She opened it wide enough to let Maria in and shut it on her heels to keep the rest of the world out.

"You know I'm happy to help you out, Eliza, but this can't carry on much longer." Maria carried the grocery bags to the kitchen and set them on the counter.

"It's been months since you last went out. I'm very worried about you."

"I started to go out, but... too many things can go wrong out there," Eliza said. "Too many chaotic and negligent people that make things go wrong."

Maria frowned and rubbed the older woman's arm. "I understand that you're scared, but what happened to Robert was an accident."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"It was negligence!" Eliza snapped. "I don't care what the court says, that man should be in prison for reckless driving, not sitting at home, scott-free."

Maria sighed. "You still can't stay shut up in your house forever, Eliza. Something has to change. Maybe we can go shopping together next time?"

"You lied to me, Stacey. You've brought chaos into my house, and I'll thank you to take it away with you."

Eliza nodded, even though the mere mention of shopping had set her heart racing again. Maria was wrong: Eliza wasn't scared to go outside; she was petrified.

Maria left soon afterward, and Eliza began baking. She was busy kneading the dough when she heard another knock at the door. Eliza wasn't expecting anyone, but she washed her hands and went to the door.

Nobody was there. Eliza opened the door a crack and noted a shopping bag on her front step. Maria had already given her all the items she had asked for, so what could this be?

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Maria grabbed the handle on the bag and pulled it through the door. Inside, she found a jar of jelly and a bag of apples. None of it was stuff Eliza regularly asked Maria to buy. She phoned her neighbor to ask about the package, but Maria denied leaving it for Eliza.

There was another package a few days later and another the week after. Maria still insisted it wasn't her doing, so Eliza determined to find out who was leaving food at her door.

Eliza sat near her sitting room windows and waited. The next day, her patience was rewarded. She heard footsteps on the stairs, and her hand was already on the doorknob when the mystery person knocked.

"Who are you?"

The teenage girl on the porch jumped with fright. She stared at Eliza.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"I'm Stacey," the girl replied.

"And what are you doing here?" Eliza pinched the bridge of her nose. It felt like the outside was trying to squeeze in through her door. She wanted to slam the door shut, but she needed answers.

"I live on the next street," Stacey said. "I heard you hadn't left your house in a few months and wanted to do something to help you."

"That's very kind of you, and I appreciate it." Eliza reached for the packet and pulled it inside. "Next time, you can come in for tea."

Eliza shut the door before Stacey could reply. Her heart was a hammer in her chest, and her hands were sweating so much she could barely grip Stacey's packet. She retreated to the kitchen, far away from the hazardous outdoors.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Stacey returned a few days later. Eliza heard her knock and invited the girl inside. It was a Wednesday, and Eliza had baked cookies the day before, so she'd have them ready when the girl stopped by again.

"Can you come to visit at a more regular interval?" she asked Stacey once they'd sat down. "It plays havoc with my schedule if I don't know when to expect you."

"Your schedule?" Stacey arched her eyebrows.

"Yes, dear, my schedule. I arrange all of my tasks for different days, so I always know what to expect and what I need to do."

"Well, I guess I can come on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Tuesday won't do. Will Mondays and Thursdays suit you?"

"Uh, sure." Stacey shook her head and let out a little laugh. "You're an interesting lady, ma'am."

"You may call me Aunt Eliza." Eliza poured tea into a cup for Stacey. She'd brought out her fine china for the occasion. "I would also like to discuss my shopping needs with you."

Stacey blinked at her. The girl seemed surprised.

"I am very grateful for your kindness and generosity, Stacey," Eliza continued, "but it cannot continue without some semblance of order, my dear. Why, the whole problem with the world is that it lacks order. Far too much is left to chance, and that causes far too many opportunities for chaos to take hold."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"And you really don't like chaos, do you, Aunt Eliza?"

"Nobody likes chaos, dear."

Eliza and Stacey spoke and drank their tea. Eliza was charmed by the girl's good manners and well-rounded knowledge of the topics they discussed. It turned out that Stacey also enjoyed baking, even if she had some wrong ideas about which apples worked best for pie.

Eliza impulsively changed her mind at the last minute and agreed to let Stacey visit on Tuesdays so they might bake together. She started taking time out of her Monday schedule to peruse her recipes for foods she and Stacey could bake together the next day.

Although she didn't notice it initially, Eliza slowly started to benefit more from Stacey's visits. She opened the door a little wider each time she let Stacey inside.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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On Tuesdays, Stacey sometimes stayed late to take home some of the baked goods they made together, and Eliza would watch from the door until Stacey was out of sight to ensure her safety.

One day, they'd made bagels and finished the last batch when Stacey's phone rang. Stacey was removing the bagels from the oven, so Eliza lifted her phone to answer. When she saw the image on the caller ID, she nearly dropped the phone.

"What is the meaning of this?" Eliza demanded. "Why is my husband's killer calling you."

Stacey hurriedly set the bagels down and grabbed her phone. She ended the call. "I can explain, Aunt Eliza."

"I expect you to!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"That's my dad." Stacey bit her lip. "My dad has always blamed himself for what happened with your husband. It ate him up inside so my mom and I urged him to find out if you were doing okay."

Stacey hung her head.

"When we found out that you didn't leave your house anymore, we decided as a family that we wanted to do everything we could to help you. My dad was certain you wouldn't want his help if you saw him, so I volunteered to deliver the food parcels to you instead."

"Your daddy was right. I don't need your help, and I don't want it. You lied to me, Stacey. You've brought chaos into my house, and I'll thank you to take it away with you."

"Please, Auntie Eliza, don't be mad." Stacey pressed her hands together. "Don't make me go away. I love visiting you."

"I'm sure it gives you a certain pleasure to mock me by coming into my house under false pretenses, but I will not be the butt of this joke anymore."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Eliza showed Stacey to the door.

"Fine," Stacey snapped as Eliza pushed her out through the front door. "If you really think so low of me to believe this has all been a sick joke to me, then I don't want to visit you anymore."

Stacey put in her earbuds and jogged down the steps. It was dark and foggy outside. Eliza stood in the doorway, paralyzed by fear as the weather brought back dark memories of the night Robert died.

Her dear, sweet Robert! Deep down, Eliza knew it was her fault he died as he never would've gone out again if she hadn't insisted he buys milk. Tears ran down her cheeks. They blurred her vision as she watched Stacey step off the sidewalk and onto the road.

The fog atop the hill glowed gold for a moment as a car approached them. Eliza looked on as Stacey, near the middle of the road now, slipped and fell.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Eliza grabbed Robert's jacket. She waved it over her head as she ran toward the road. As Eliza drew close to where Stacey fell, the car headlights appeared through the fog.

For a moment, Eliza thought it was all over. She would meet her end now, just as Robert met his, and Stacey would perish with her. It was ironic.

Then the brakes squealed, and the car swerved away. Eliza heard a loud thump.

"Aunt Eliza, you saved me!" Stacey looked up at her in shock. "And you're outside!"

"Hey, are you okay?" A man's voice called out of the fog. A minute later, the man staggered toward them.

"I'm sorry, it's so foggy I didn't see you until the last moment."

He pointed to Robert's jacket. "If you didn't have that jacket with the reflective strips, I might still not have seen you."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Eliza raised the jacket to her face and started to cry. All these years, she'd grown bitter and imprisoned herself in fear because of Robert's death, but now she faced the truth she'd found so hard to accept.

It was an accident, and while it may have been prevented if she hadn't insisted Robert buys milk or he'd worn his jacket, nothing could change the past.

Eliza came to terms with her husband's death that night. She continued to be friends with Stacey and made peace with her father. Eliza also started going to therapy to help her with her agoraphobia.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Don't get stuck in the habit of blaming others when bad things happen. Eliza spent many years suffering because she refused to accept that her husband's death was an accident.
  • Never be afraid to seek help. Many people struggle alone to cope with debilitating physical and mental illnesses, but resources are available to help.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a lonely old man who gets a surprising visit from his neighbor who hates him.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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