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Short stories

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Three Sisters

 

A very, very wealthy man had three daughters.  His wife had died, leaving him to raise them all on his own.  Although he could have easily put them in an expensive private school several hundred miles away and not had to worry about them, or even employed the best nannies, tutors and servants to take care of them, he preferred to invest as much of his time possible into raising them.

 

The girls were fairly close in age, but very different.  The oldest, Sarah was studious and maintained very good grades.  She was active in sports in her school and always excelled at what she did.  She was also active in the student council and yearbook committee.  Everyone at school liked Sarah and thought she was a great person.

 

Angela, the middle child, was the polar opposite; she was a fun loving girl who didn’t care about grades or extracurricular activities.  She was mischievous from childhood and if anything got broken or went missing in the home it almost always had something to do with her.

 

The youngest, Madeline, was a sweet girl who although not very academic or athletic, loved people and loved to do nice things for them, especially her dad.  She adored him, and ever since losing her mom she was almost constantly at his side, always offering to help, visit, or just have a few laughs.

 

While Sarah was winning awards and scholarships, Angela eventually got into the wrong crowd, started sneaking out to parties and experimenting with alcohol and eventually marijuana.  Maddy preferred to bring her friends home for movie nights and sleepovers to show them their magnificent house, but most of all to meet her hero, her father.

 

Eventually the girls graduated and moved away.  Their father promised he would help them with living expenses and education if they chose to go that way.  Of course Sarah enrolled in one of the finest colleges and her father set her up in a quaint apartment.  Angela claimed she wasn’t quite sure what to do yet but promised she would look for a job.  Her father strongly warned her that he was not going to support her while she partied her life away and didn’t work and she assured him she had outgrown that and would find a job immediately.  He got her an apartment.

 

Maddy had no interest in degrees or years of college and university.  She enrolled in a tech school and got a part-time job waitressing.  Although she was much busier than she had been in high school, she always made time for her dad.  She called every day and made sure they went out at least once a week for coffee, lunch, or to dinner.

 

Sarah graduated with honors and immediately went on to pursue her career.  Angela got jobs whenever necessary, just to appease her dad and get by.  He continued to pay for her apartment but suspected she had not given up her lifestyle.  He warned her that if he did find out she was still partying and not working, he would stop making rent payments and she would have to take care of it herself.

 

And sweet Maddy finished tech school.  She got a job in a beauty salon and thoroughly loved her work.  She loved making other women feel beautiful and even kidded some of them about meeting her rich, widowed father.  He hadn’t remarried – his heart belonged to his daughters.

 

Sarah became highly successful and traveled worldwide with her work.  The wealthy father’s friends commented how proud he must be of her.  He smiled and nodded but inside knew it had been weeks since he heard from her, and even then it was when he called and she was on her way to a meeting and had to go.  He couldn’t remember the last time they sat down together and talked like he and Maddy did weekly.

 

Angela’s alcohol, drugs, and partying had got out of hand and an elderly neighbor in her building brought this to the attention of her father.  As he suspected there were shady looking people coming in and out of there at all hours.  She claimed she was working at a diner up the street and he pressed her for which one.  When she finally told him he checked, and they had never heard of her.

 

He told her he loved her but could not condone her lifestyle, especially if she was living off of him in the apartment he rented for her, and possibly dealing drugs for money.  He said from now on, if she wants to live her life like that, she was on her own.  Should she want to change, he would be there for her and they would go from there.  She threw a fit, screaming at him that he was being unfair.  She said he had more money than he knew what to do with and was putting her out in the cold.  He had to turn his back on her and walk out.

 

Angela didn’t get a job.  She made enough money for rent with dealing but ended up shooting up most of it herself.  After enough complaints, she was evicted.  She had been seeing an ex-con and he offered her a room in a house his cousin rented.

 

One night Angela sat outside on a lawn chair, smoking and contemplating life.  She resented her sister who had done so well for herself and no longer had time for her family.  She resented Maddy, the goodie-two-shoes Daddy’s girl who she knew deep down was her father’s favorite.  And she resented her father.  With that, she washed her hands of her family and continued a life with the people who she felt truly accepted her.

 

Christmas came and Maddy was looking forward to spending it with her family.  She hoped she could convince Angela to come home for Christmas, and that Sarah wasn’t too busy with work.  She called Sarah for several days before she finally called back.  She said she would ‘love to come home’ but simply couldn’t.  She would be out of town for another week but would try to get together after that.  Maddy hung up the phone, disappointed but not surprised.

 

Angela didn’t have a phone, so she eventually tracked her to the house she was living at and knocked at the door.  A skinny, tattooed man answered the door.  When Angela came out she looked haggard, as if she hadn’t slept all night.

 

“What do you want?” she coughed.

“Well, I was wondering if you would come home to see me and dad for Christmas.” Maddy stammered.

Angela laughed, “Yeah, after he basically disowned me?”

Maddy shook her head.  “Please, I just want us to get together.”

“Hah!” Angela snorted.  “Isn’t it always what you want? Well I want you to leave me alone.”

Maddy said, “But Ange, we’re sisters.”

“What does that matter? You weren’t there for me before; you were always running around pleasing “daddy” and doing charities.  So why should I care about you, about dad, or our high and mighty sister?”

Maddy sighed, resigned.  “Fine.  But if you have nothing to do you know you are welcome.”

Angela stumbled back into the house.  “Yeah, right.”

 

Christmas Eve Maddy delivered the news to her father that her sisters would not be coming.  He just smiled sadly and nodded.

 

Maddy brightened.  “I have an idea – why don’t we go ice skating?”

Her father smiled and his eyes twinkled fondly at her.

 

So they dug out and dusted off her father’s skates, and stopped by Maddy’s apartment to pick up her own.  Happy families were at the rink, gliding around, holding hands.

 

“I’m proud of you, Maddy.” Her father said, squeezing her shoulder.

She smiled, “You probably never dreamed one of your privileged daughters would be cutting and styling hair and doing manicures?”

“That doesn’t matter to me.  You haven’t lost yourself.  Money is nothing to you, just a means.  You work hard to make time for me, your old dad, when you really don’t have to depend on me at all anymore.”

She beamed, “Dad, I spend time with you because I want to, not because I have to.”

Her father’s heart swelled.  A nicer thing couldn’t be said.

 

WHOMP! Her father lost his footing and fell head over feet.  Maddy rushed back.  “Are you all right?”

“I think so,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

Maddy tried to help him up but the pain was a lot more severe than he let on.  She offered to take him to the clinic.

“I’ve been having a lot of pain back here; I hope it’s not a problem with the disc.”

 

Sadly, it was a much bigger problem than the disc.  The clinic x-rayed him and then sent him to emergency.  They ran tests and then broke the news.  He had a growth in his cervical spine that they wanted to test.

 

Days crawled by as they waited for the results.  Sarah had either turned her phone off or was unavailable.  Angela (nor any of her friends) would answer the door when Maddy came by.  She left a note to call right away but didn’t get her hopes up.

The tests came back positive for cancer.  The tumor was inoperable – they would risk damaging the spine and rendering him a quadriplegic.

 

Maddy begged her father to get the surgery and promised if anything bad happened she would take care of him.  Although he didn’t doubt this for a minute he refused.

 

“That’s no life for me, or for you.  I will give the chemo a try.”

 

Maddy was at her father’s side every day, helping him when he was sick, taking him to appointments, holding his hand as he waited.  She’d given up trying to contact her sisters because after weeks they still hadn’t attempted to call, email, even text.

 

The chemo didn’t take, and he took a turn for the worse.  The once powerful, wealthy man who grieved the loss of his wife was about to join her, and spending his last days with only one of the three daughters he adored.

 

Maddy asked her dad to please hang on until she got back.  She stormed over to Angela’s and banged on the door.

 

“Angela, open the door – dad is dying.”

 

She waited what seemed an eternity, then heard foot steps.  Angela came to the door, looking as rough as before.  “He’s dying?” she asked with little emotion.

 

“Yes, that’s why I’ve been trying to contact you.”

 

“Where is he?”

 

Maddy could not hide her discouragement.  “At the hospital.”

 

Maddy drove, while Angela attempted to call Sarah on her cell.  She kept receiving the message that the cellular customer was away from the phone.

 

The girls spent the last moments of the rich man’s life by his side. 

 

Maddy looked down in awe at her father who she loved so much, that had done so much for her and that she felt so indebted to.  And now he was gone.

 

Angela feigned sadness.  Maddy wasn’t sure if it was the drugs or her cold heart.

 

They didn’t hear from Sarah until shortly before the funeral.  She breezed in, and shed a few tears at the service.   Maddy was appalled.  She was devastated after losing her wonderful father and all her sisters could do was look impatient and eager to get out of there.

 

Sarah, of course, made time for the reading of the will.

 

The lawyer read: “I give my property - my home, vehicles, cottage, timeshares in Florida and Mexico, and entire fortune and estate to the following persons”:

 

Angela grinned like a cat about to pounce on a mouse.

My daughter, Madeline Banks.

 

Angela’s head spun towards Maddy with eyes full of hatred.

 

He continued, “If she does not survive me I give my property to be divided equally between my church, the First Baptist Church of Norfolk and the Center for Cancer Research.  

 

The silence was deafening as everyone left the lawyer’s office.  Angela stalked off in anger while Sarah bid her sister a curt good-bye and hug.

 

Maddy drove back to the beautiful mansion that was now hers.  She walked through the five-car garage filled with expensive cars that she would now be driving.  She toured through the mansion that she and her sister had grown up in and shared happier times.

 

She thought to herself, “I don’t need all of this, I don’t want all of this.”  She only wanted her dad back.

 

But she knew that wasn’t possible, so she honored him by donating the profits from the properties and cars to the designated charities.  She kept only what she needed and made sure others would be blessed by what her father had blessed her with.

 

Which Daughter are you? Are you Sarah, the self-sufficient person who everyone agrees is a good person and should inherit the fortune even though you contribute nothing to the fortune holder? Are you Angela, who does whatever you please despite the fact it grieves your father, yet still believe you are entitled to something? Or are you Maddy, who loved her father so much she would rather share his riches with others than keep them to herself?

 

Does anyone have the right to say to God – I was a good person (even though I never cared for you or served you) I deserve to go to Heaven.

 

Or, if God is a loving God and created me, why shouldn’t I go to Heaven even though I go against his commands?

 

Like the daughters, we have access to the gift of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.  But so many of us would rather do our own thing, climb our own ladders, have our own fun.  So should it be any surprise, in the end, if Jesus says he never knew us – if we spent our life pursuing what we want and not what he wants, can we whine and cry that he is being unfair?

 

He lays it all out for us in the bible.  If we don’t read, listen and believe than what else can we expect?

 

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

 

Matthew 7:20-23