*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
If you've ever rented out your house to tenants, you know they can be, shall we say, out of the ordinary. My parents learned that lesson the hard way when they bought a three-family home for us to live in and began renting out the top two tenements to strangers.
Even after we moved out of the city, my parents kept my childhood home as a rental property and rented out the units sporadically. They didn't care whether they had the apartments rented at all times because the tenants caused more trouble than they were worth.
One older couple moved into the first-floor unit where we used to live. They were an unhappily married couple in a May-December relationship. The woman was in her seventies, and her husband was twenty-five years younger than she was.
The older woman developed an unhealthy attachment to my father. As a result, she was incredibly jealous of my mother. In turn, the woman's younger husband was jealous of my father.
Whenever the woman left the house, her husband would pepper her with questions upon her return. "Where were you? Who did you see?" he'd ask.
When my father was working on the house making repairs or completing routine maintenance, he noticed the woman staring at him. He told my mother about how their mutual tenant looked at him, but my mother wasn't worried.
"She was old enough to be his mother," she told me, "so I didn't think anything of it."
My mother became suspicious of the older woman when she started creating a scene at the house once a month when my mother stopped by to pick up the rent. The woman would ask my mother to wait while she called her husband, and then she would carry on about how young and beautiful my mother was.
It made my mother very uncomfortable.
The woman gave the same speech every month. "Her husband would never have an affair with me when his wife is so much more beautiful than I am. Take a good look at her," she'd say. "She's so young and pretty. How could you think her husband would have an affair with someone like me? I'm nothing compared to her."
Month after month, it was the same thing. It took several months for the implications of the woman's words to trickle down into my mother's brain. "I started to think they were actually having an affair after all," my mother told me.
My mother went across the street to the cottage where her mother-in-law lived. My grandmother and the tenant were friends.
My grandmother admitted to knowing the woman was deeply in love with my father. She claimed it wasn't my father's fault; he was just the innocent object of her affection.
But secrets always leak.
When the woman's adult son came to town, he confronted my father. That's when the truth came out. My father and the older woman were having an affair after all.
My mother forgave him as she always did, and the woman moved to another house with her younger husband, never to be seen again.
Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. Your tip or donation allows me to provide for his care and comfort around the clock while working from home. Thank you.
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