A millionaire discovers that his estranged elderly mother had been living in an old abandoned hothouse through a news piece on TV. After finding out about her, he discovers there's more to his family's story than he initially knew.
Michael Howard is a 57-year-old millionaire who chose not to have a family of his own. While he always imagined what it would be like to have a wife and kids, his childhood hindered him from pursuing that dream.
Instead of trying to settle down, Michael poured all of his time into his business. He was a workaholic, and the success of his business is proof that through the years, his hard work paid off.
Michael was a businessman who dedicated his life to his work. | Source: Pexels
One day, Michael was eating his lunch at his office when he decided to turn on the TV to watch the news. He rarely watched TV, but on that particular day, a part of him wanted to watch, and he didn't know why.
After listening to the journalists report on different things like the weather and the stock market, the tone suddenly shifted when they started to talk about an older woman who had been living in an old abandoned hothouse since an earthquake ruined her home.
Michael knew how devastating that earthquake was for many people. It happened five years ago, and a significant part of the city's outskirts was left in rubble.
Michael saw a news piece on TV about a woman who lived in a hothouse after her house was ruined by an earthquake. | Source: Pexels
As he watched the news, he suddenly realized he knew the old woman. "No way," he said to himself, moving closer to the TV. It was his estranged mother, Tess. The journalist confirmed this when he introduced the woman as "Tess" before interviewing her.
Suddenly, Michael's childhood flashed before his eyes. He recalled how during his last meeting with his mother, she was crying her eyes out, begging Michael's dad David not to leave.
David took Michael to another state, where he decided to establish a business. "Why isn't mom coming with us, dad?" Michael asked him as soon as they rode in their car.
Michael and his father skipped town when he was a young boy, leaving his mom behind. | Source: Pexels
"Your mother chose to stay behind. I found out she fell in love with another man and chose him over us. Don't worry, Michael. We will start a new life without her," David told Michael as they drove away.
David's words stuck to Michael as he grew up. He thought his mom betrayed them, and he couldn't bring himself to forgive her.
When Michael was 28 years old, David died of a terminal illness. Before his passing, he turned over his business to Michael, saying it was always meant to be his.
"I've taught you everything you need to know about success, son. Be confident in yourself and in what you can do. I'm positive you can steer our company to greater heights," David told him.
When Michael was 28, his father turned over his company to him. | Source: Pexels
Michael stared at the TV screen, watching his mom air out her grievances on live television. He realized how old she had gotten and how frail and tired she looked.
Michael sympathized with his mom and thought it was about time to meet her again before it was too late. He decided to get in touch with the local news station and speak to the journalist in charge of his mother's story.
Thanks to the journalist, Michael was able to get the address to his mother's hothouse. He rushed there and was heartbroken by what he saw.
The hothouse was made of glass filled with stains and covered in vines. It was scorching inside with nothing but vines to shield her from the blazing sun.
Tess lived in an abandoned hothouse. | Source: Pexels
When Michael went inside, he saw that Tess had made herself a makeshift kitchen using charcoal and a metal pot. There was an old mattress on the floor and she placed her little belongings on a shelf where plants used to be.
After a few seconds, Tess noticed Michael inside the hothouse. "Can I help you?" she asked him. Then she noticed the birthmark on Michael's neck.
"That birthmark... my son had the exact same one on his neck. I would recognize it instantly. Is it you, son?" the old woman cried.
Michael could feel tears forming in his eyes, but he tried his best to stop them from falling. "Hi, mom," he greeted quietly.
"How have you been, my son?" Tess asked. "How long has it been?"
Tess was delighted to see her son after all those years. | Source: Pexels
Michael shrugged. "I don't know, mom. It's been too long. I saw your news piece on TV, and I couldn't believe you've been living here. I came here to see if it was true."
Tess got an old wooden stool for Michael to sit on. "Would you allow me to share my story, Michael?" she asked him as they sat, and Michael quietly nodded his head.
"I'm sorry I never found you again, Michael," Tess started. "I don't know what your dad told you, but I want you to know my truth before it's too late. I'm getting old and I don't know how much time I have left...
"I found out that your father cheated on me with his secretary back in the day. I threatened to take you away if he didn't leave her," Tess revealed. "In the end, he turned the tables on me. He claimed I was having an affair and used this against me in court. He won custody of you, and you two moved out of the city," she sobbed.
Michael's father won custody of him when he was younger. | Source: Pexels
Michael couldn't believe what he was hearing. A part of him wanted to cry while a part of him wanted to ask his dad if what Tess was saying was true.
"After you two left, I had nothing. I had no place to stay, no family, and no job. I had to move back into my parents' house. That house was all I had, and that horrible earthquake ruined it. I never got to repair it because I had no money to fix it. So I looked around town for a place to stay and found this hothouse," she explained.
"Mom... I am so sorry," Michael cried. "I never knew this was what you went through. Dad told me an entirely different story, but now it all makes sense. I knew you wouldn't leave us, but he made me believe that you did," he told her.
Tess' house was ruined by the earthquake and she had no place to stay. | Source: Pexels
Tess nodded her head. "It's alright, son. Your father had his reasons. It pains me, but I've learned to let it go slowly through the years. What's important is you're here now, and I am so happy to see you!" she said, opening her arms to embrace Michael.
Michael promised Tess that she would never have to be alone again. They left the hothouse together, and he took her to the mansion where he lived.
Once she was settled down, they went to the mall and bought everything she needed to live comfortably. Tess' presence in Michael's life inspired him to do better. He no longer drowned himself in work and made time for his personal life.
Tess moved into Michael's mansion. | Source: Pexels
One day, while at church with his mom, Michael met a lovely single mother named Mia, who had two beautiful children. After getting together a couple of times, Michael realized he was in love and decided to give it a chance.
Since then, Michael's family has grown. Michael and Mia got married, and he legally adopted her two children. Tess was delighted to be a grandmother and was happy to be surrounded by people she loved and treasured dearly.
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