The deep night was slowly but surely closing in on the city. It was dark outside because of the lack of light, but Sarah, a tall dark-haired woman of 30, stood at the window anyway, cradling her baby in her arms and trying to see any movement in the entryway. A half-hour ago, she had been sleeping deeply because fortunately, her son was a pretty quiet baby. Despite his six-month-old age, he almost did not bother her at night. But today, the baby, as if anticipating some kind of trouble, suddenly woke up in the middle of the night.
Sarah, cradling the baby, looked into the next room where her husband Liam was supposed to sleep. To her great surprise, she did not find him in bed. Liam had moved into the other room as soon as his wife gave birth to a son.
He explained this by the fact that he was a responsible engineer at the factory, and waking up at night because of his son’s caprices could negatively affect his work. That was why Sarah was understanding and did not have anything against Liam having more rest because, at that moment, he was the only breadwinner in their family.
Before her son was born, Sarah had been a family doctor and earned the same money as her husband. But the woman never bragged about it, believing that happiness is in warm relationships and love in the home.
She believed there was plenty of that in her home. But after giving birth, she felt as if her spouse had been replaced. Liam became irritable and constantly snapped at her. He came home from work later and later, saying that their factory had a huge contract, so all the staff had to work late and without days off.
Sarah, of course, was sympathetic to this circumstance. Her husband earned the money they needed, and they had a loan to pay on their apartment – a great apartment with three bedrooms, a terrace, an exclusive condo with a gym and a swimming pool.
Sarah had invested all her savings to buy the apartment, but it still wasn’t enough. Liam had no savings, and they had to go into debt to the bank. Of course, if Sarah had been working, it would have been easy to pay off the loan, but so far, they had to count every penny.
However, Sarah did not see any problem because it was already decided that as soon as her son started walking on his own, Sarah’s mother, who had retired a long time ago, would take care of her grandson so her daughter could go to work.
Sarah’s mother, Mrs. White, lived on the outskirts of town in her big house and repeatedly complained about how bored she was alone. Her children had grown up a long time ago and moved away, getting excellent educations and working mostly abroad. Mrs. White had three children, and only Sarah stayed by her side. That was why she tried to help in any way she could.
Unfortunately, Mrs. White’s husband passed away early, leaving his wife a house and a beautiful memory of himself. Many times Mrs. White offered to sell her property and move into some small apartment because she did not need much in her old age. She wanted to give the rest of the money to her younger daughter and son-in-law so they could pay for their own apartment and not worry every month that they might be left without a home.
Liam happily caught the idea given by his mother-in-law. “What a good idea! Why do you really need such a big house? And this way you can help your daughter, especially since your older children are much better off.
Your son is a lawyer in an international company, and the eldest daughter is a programmer and does nothing else but travel with her husband to the resorts, making a living by pressing the keys on the keyboard while lying on a chaise lounge under the sound of sea waves.
But we do not live so rich. I have to work in a factory for three people to pay off the loan, and now the baby was not quite in time. So your help would be very useful. And I’m even willing to take the trouble to sell your house and draw up all the documents.”
But Sarah was strongly against selling the house she grew up in. “Thank you, dear mummy, but I would like my son to come and visit you and play in the fresh air, swim in the pool, and we would have the whole family gathered at the table in the garden, chatting merrily and drinking tea with your cakes, as once.
And, by the way, my brother and sister still sometimes remember about the homeland and come. Are we going to meet them in the small apartment? You’re so stupid, Liam!” Immediately snapped. “Your mother is right. This house stands without a man’s hand; it will soon begin to crumble. But it can be sold for a lot now, and later who will need this ruin?”
The women looked at Liam with surprise. For both of them, such a rude treatment of Sarah was a revelation. Because before that, the man was very affectionate. He did not forget to give flowers, he wrote poems. They had been dating for six months, and after that, Sarah, completely in love, told her boyfriend that she was pregnant. It was unexpected for them, but like a real man, Liam smiled in response and proposed his hand and heart. A couple of months later, he put a ring on the graceful finger of his bride, glowing with happiness, who was sure of a happy family life ahead of her.
And now, cradling the baby, Sarah remembered another painful incident. She was nine months pregnant. It was a warm summer evening, and it was almost dark. Sarah had made a hearty dinner and was waiting for her husband from work. She was sitting on the couch, leafing through a catalog of baby costumes and eating her favorite ice cream when Sarah heard the front door slam. She shouted to her husband, “Honey, come in! I just warmed up dinner, so wash your hands quickly, or it will get cold.”
Liam entered the kitchen in a scowl, looking at his wife. He said with disgust, “You keep eating sweets. You know, I would recommend you to stop already. Before the wedding, you were so beautiful and slim, and now you are fat like a barrel. You’re probably already weighing 80 kilos. This is not normal. Look at our neighbor. She is also pregnant, but she looks much better than you.”
Sarah was very offended by these words, but she said nothing in reply to her husband. He must have had some kind of trouble at work; otherwise, she could not explain his rude behavior. And was she fat? Definitely not, thought Sarah, locking herself in the bathroom after this conversation and examining herself critically.
After this incident, her husband no longer allowed himself such remarks. But the relationship did not get any better. Sarah looked at her watch; it was two in the morning, but Liam was still not home. His phone was also not available, and suddenly the woman saw an unfamiliar car pull up to the doorway.
The car stopped, and the light inside came on. Sarah could not believe her eyes. Her husband and an unfamiliar young woman with bright red hair were sitting in the car. The woman leaned over to Liam and gently kissed him on the lips.
Then the couple embraced and said goodbye, and the man got out of the car.Tears came pouring out of Sarah’s eyes, and her shoulders shook in a fit of sobs. In order not to wake her son, who had just fallen asleep, she carefully moved him to the crib and then went out into the hallway, waiting for her husband. A few minutes later, the key rattled in the lock, and Liam, shining and smelling of feminine perfume, entered the apartment. Seeing his wife on the threshold, he did not even change his face, realizing at once that she knew all about his adventures.
“So, that’s what your job at night is all about. I thought that engineers do something else,” said Sarah, who could barely see her husband from behind the flowing tears. But Liam did not feel the slightest sympathy for his wife. He was a real womanizer by nature and had already regretted many times that he had shown nobility by marrying Sarah. He met her quite by chance in the theater; his girlfriend didn’t come, so he decided not to miss the opportunity and introduced himself to Sarah, who, just like him, was bored alone in the foyer of the theater.
And now, looking at her almost hatefully, Liam said, “You know, dear, I had to find another woman because of you. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You’ve become fat, and it’s disgusting to go out with you. I’m sick of it all. The fact that I married you was my biggest mistake, which I regret very much.
But Rose opened my eyes that you seduced me and got pregnant on purpose. Luckily, a real man always has a choice. Tomorrow, my vacation starts, and I’m going to see Rose, of course. I refused because of you, but it’s not too late to fix it. And when we come back from holiday, I’ll move in with her. She’s a real lady, very pretty and well-groomed, not like you.”
“By the way, pay for the loan yourself from now on or whatever you want. You can ask your mummy for money or your brother, and I don’t care. I’ll file for divorce myself, and do not dare to demand alimony from me, or I’ll do a DNA test because clearly the child does not even look like me.” After these words, Liam went to his room to pack his things, having previously called his mistress to come and get him.
Sarah was so shocked by what she heard she did not even know what to say, and it was not in her character to make a stormy showdown with throwing things out of the windows and shouting curses. Liam had already left the house in silence, but she was still sitting on the ottoman in the middle of the hallway, sobbing. Six months passed. Apparently, Liam’s vacation was prolonged because he did not even think of showing up at his once-native family anymore. He sent a notice by mail that he agreed to divorce his wife without his presence.
The woman had to take her husband’s advice and borrow money to pay the loan from her brother. But very soon, she herself was going to go to work, and then things would certainly get better. In the meantime, she devoted all of her time to her son, walking outside all day long. One beautiful sunny day, she met a man with a baby the same age as hers. He approached her on his own and inquired about the children’s stores nearby.
It turned out that he had recently moved to the city from the countryside and had not yet gotten used to it. A pleasant conversation started between the adults. Sarah learned that Ben brought up his son alone. His wife had dumped them without remorse, leaving for another country with her lover and taking no interest in her son’s fate. Ben had worked as a car mechanic for many years and was going to open his own car repair shop later on. In the meantime, he did not want to leave his son in the care of other people.
Embarrassed, he admitted that looking after his son and spending time with him was a great pleasure, which he did not want to give up. So Sarah and Ben began walking with the children together. Perhaps a similar misfortune brought them closer to each other. Days went by, and then one day, Sarah received a proposal from Ben to tie their lives together.
By that time, Sarah was already convinced that Ben was a good and kind man and adored children, so she accepted without hesitation. Soon after the wedding, Sarah returned to work. She knew that her son was under the safe care of her husband. The couple decided that Ben would take care of their own business when the children went to kindergarten.
One day, there was a loud knock on the door. Sarah was surprised to see her ex-husband on the doorstep, as if nothing had happened. Liam returned after a very long absence to his former family. Falling to his knees, he began to apologize for his stupidity. Of course, it was not remorse that brought the rascal back; just to his horror, Liam suddenly realized that finding a new mistress was not so easy for him. Young women were no longer interested in him, and the wiser women of his age immediately read out his past by his eyes and habits.
That’s why Liam remembered his ex-wife, thinking that if he would ask her forgiveness, she would immediately forgive him. But seeing Ben behind Sarah, Liam instantly realized that his place was already taken. As a farewell, Sarah promised that in memory of his former services, he could go to her for a free medical consultation. After that, the woman slammed the door in the face of her ex-spouse and, turning to Ben, hugged him tightly.
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