The doorbell rang.
And there she was.
Dressed in a worn (but clean) coat, the usual jeans and trainers, she just stood there, her two faced scheming bitch of a daughter-in-law.
‘What do you want?’ she demanded. ‘And where’s that spineless son of mine?’
She swallowed before replying
‘He couldn’t come.’
‘More like you wouldn’t let him! He never would stand up to you. Always got what you wanted. Never a thought for anyone else. Go away.’
She started to close the door.
‘May I come in?’
‘What for? There’s nothing for you here.’
‘Please,’ she said. ‘I need to talk to you’.
‘Alright, but don’t think you can fool me. I told him when you left that the pair of you wouldn’t get a penny out of me, which scuppered all your plans for any inheritance. I’ve changed my will, left it all to his brother. You filled his head with big ideas when his place was here, looking after me and the house’.
As always, there was no hospitality offered, just hostility, so she suggested making a cup of tea.
‘Please yourself. Don’t expect me to wait on you. You know where everything is, you lived here long enough.’
Taking the tea things in on a tray, she settled down in one of the chairs and hoped her mother-in-law would at least turn the TV volume down.
‘Did you get the letters OK? We never heard from you, but he wrote every month.’
‘Big deal. He could have phoned. But oh no, you probably stopped that too. I needed him here! The garden’s too much for me and the place needs decorating. I don’t see anyone from one day to the next, and I can’t remember the last time I went out. Mind you, even when you were living local, you never offered to take me anywhere, and I practically had to beg to get one of you to take me shopping!’
‘We offered several times, but you didn’t want to go.’
‘Rubbish! You expected me to drop everything on a whim because you were feeling guilty!’
‘Do you need to go shopping now? I’d be happy to take you.’
‘See? That’s exactly what I mean! Always on your terms. Of course I don’t need to go shopping. I went yesterday on the bus and my busybody neighbours check in on me every day, asking if I need anything, always interrupting me when I’m watching the telly. They’re a damn pest! ‘
The phone rang.
She ignored it.
‘Shall I answer it?’
‘No. I can’t be bothered with it. There’s something good on at this time, and I don’t want to miss it. What do you want anyway?’
‘I wanted to tell you in person………….’ and she started to cry.
Her mother-in-law glared at her.
‘Don’t try and pull that one on me Missy!’ she shouted.
‘Has he finally seen sense and left you? Is that it? Or are you both penniless and you’ve come to me for a handout because he can’t face me, hoping I’d go all soft with some hard luck story and expect me to give you a couple of hundred quid to tide you over? Well, I don’t want to hear it. Get out! I never want to see you again. And you can tell him that he’s not welcome either!’
Standing up, she buttoned her coat, and without another word, left, closing the front door quietly behind her.