William sits at a bench in Central Park to unwind during his lunch breaks every day. On one particular day, his thoughts were interrupted by a crying little girl. He looked back and froze in shock as the girl looked just like him.
William was deep in his thoughts that day, as he was absolutely heartbroken by what happened at home the previous night. Did you really just waste eight years of marriage, Lindy? Why couldn't you just tell me you weren't happy anymore? he reflected on his conversation with his wife.
That night, he decided to surprise his wife by coming home two hours early from work. He brought home some delicious dinner from her favorite restaurant and dashed to their bedroom to greet her. Unfortunately, it was him that was surprised, and not his wife.
In the bed that they slept in every single night was another man. He was tangled up in his wife Lindy, and the two were in a tight embrace. They only stopped when they realized William was standing frozen in place by the door.
"Really, Lindy? This is what you meant when you said you wanted to stay home and become a housewife?" he said, still holding the bouquet he brought for her. "How old is this guy, 25?" William couldn't help but add.
Lindy, too, was shocked that William had gotten home so early. She was used to him heading home at 6 PM, and he was home two hours earlier that day. After William realized she wasn't ready to speak up, he decided to speak again.
"Well then, I'll leave you and your man to finish what you're doing in our bed. You have one hour to pack your things and go. I don't want to see your face ever again," William said, tossing the flowers on the bed. He rode his car that night, driving aimlessly.
When he got home past midnight, Lindy was gone. She left behind a letter in their kitchen, but he had no strength to read it. Instead, he went straight to sleep and woke up early the next day to head to work.
He decided to sit on the same bench he stays on every day during his lunch break. He was deep in thought, wondering whether his wife ever loved him at all. Soon after he sat down, his thoughts were interrupted by a crying child: "Please, somebody, help my mommy!"
William turned around and saw a little girl holding a doll. Before William could stand up to help, he froze in place after realizing the little girl had the same eye color and nose as him. Why does she look like she could be my child? he thought to himself.
"Please, kind sir, please help my mommy," the child crept in closer, pulling his suit.
"Where is she? What happened?" William said, looking around. He was afraid the child was part of a gang that robbed people, so he didn't jump to his feet.
"She's right over there," she pointed at the darker part of the park filled with trees. When he didn't see anything suspicious, he followed after the girl. They stopped in front of a big tree, and she pointed at a woman who fainted right under the shade. He proceeded to call 911 as he checked her pulse, and she was still alive.
As she was lying flat on the floor, he decided to turn her over so she could breathe more easily. He was in for the shock of his life when he realized the woman was his first love, Tina.
William had a water bottle with him, so he decided to splash some on her face. She began shaking from the cold. He wrapped his suit around her, holding her tight to keep her warm.
"How did you and your mom get here, sweetheart? Is your dad here, too?" William asked the little girl, who was hugging her doll tightly as she looked at her mom. William felt guilty that he even doubted the girl.
"I don't have a dad... will my mommy be okay? She's all I have," the child said, tears forming in her eyes again.
"She will be okay in no time," William said, trying to comfort the little girl.
When the ambulance came, they brought Tina straight inside. They left the child with William and asked him to take her home before heading to the hospital.
"Your mom and I, we knew each other. What are the odds, right? You'll be okay. We'll be right behind the ambulance," William said as they walked towards his car.
After a couple of hours, Tina awoke in the hospital. Her eyes widened when she saw it was William by her side. "Where's Emily? What are you doing here?" she cried out.
"Emily is in my house, and she is safe. I'll call my sister now so you can talk to her," William said, whipping out his phone.
"Do that, right now. I need to see she's okay!" Tina said, tears forming. When she saw that Emily was safe, she burst into tears. "She's all that I have," she told William.
"Don't worry, she's fine. You should rest. You have pneumonia," William told Tina. "How did you end up in the forest?" he asked, curious.
"Well.. we take that route to get to Emily's school. We walk instead of taking the bus to save money. It's hard raising a kid in New York City, you know," she said, quite embarrassed.
"Where's her dad? Why would he leave you two knowing you're sick?" he couldn't help but wonder.
Tina was silent. As she was about to answer, the doctors walked into the room and asked William to leave. They told him that Tina would have to recover alone and would be under observation for a couple of days.
While Tina was at the hospital, William visited every day to ensure she was okay. When she was cleared to head home, he took Emily with him and brought them to their place.
All that time, he was bothered by how Emily resembled him so much. In the days she slept in his house, he also felt strongly for the young girl, and they grew close so quickly.
One day, William picked Tina and Emily up for a check-up. That time, they ran into Lindy, and his estranged wife scoffed. "So that's why you didn't seem a tad bit heartbroken when you saw me with that man, huh? You were seeing her behind my back as well?"
Emily quickly hugged William's leg, shielding herself from Lindy. "Scary woman," she whispered.
"Well, look at that. A complete and happy family. Your one true love and your daughter. Congratulations, William, you finally have the life you've always wanted," Lindy shook her head before tossing the divorce papers to the ground.
"Daughter? What do you mean?" he said, looking at Tina. Lindy waved as she walked away with a smirk, and William confronted Tina about the situation. "Can you tell me what's going on?" he asked.
At that moment, Tina asked Emily to re-enter the house. When she was inside, Tina and William sat at the front porch, where she told him the whole truth that she had been hiding for ten years now.
Tina revealed that Lindy was with her in the bathroom that day she found out she was pregnant. She always knew that William was the father, but she wanted William to herself. She took fake photographs of Tina on a date with another man, trying to convince him that Tina cheated.
William was heartbroken when he saw photos of Tina in a coffee shop with another man. Without hearing an explanation, he broke up with her. On the other hand, Lindy played the savior by comforting William during his weakest point. As they were childhood friends, their families were all for their union.
As William and Lindy started anew, Tina decided to keep her pregnancy to herself. After William left her, she decided to raise the baby alone.
"You were already going to get married, and I didn't want to break that. You two looked happy. So, I decided to raise Emily alone," Tina said, looking down the whole time. "I had no idea you and Lindy were getting a divorce. I thought you two were doing well," she added.
William's face turned red after finding out he was betrayed by Lindy not once but twice. He couldn't help but imagine how different his life would be had he not left Tina and their daughter. He not only divorced her but made sure she did not get a penny from him during the settlement.
After William proved to Tina that he was a changed man, they decided to get married after getting to know one another again. They lived happily ever after, and Emily grew up with a loving father and mother by her side.
What can we learn from this story?
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