Daniel’s mother mysteriously disappeared, and the police eventually stopped looking for her. One day, their parrot uttered something that made Daniel freeze: “Lena wants to get rid of me!” Lena was his wife, and it was no secret that she hated his mom.

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Daniel was lost in thought in the sunlit room when his pet parrot blurted out, “Lena wants to get rid of me.” This bird, which he bought to comfort his mother, Eleanor, through her battle with Alzheimer’s, now made him frown.

Lena had been distant lately, which Daniel had blamed on the stress of caring for his mother, but he wondered why the parrot would repeat such a phrase. One thing was for certain: he must have learned it from Eleanor.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“Is there truth in the parrot’s words, or is this just a strange coincidence?” he wondered. Considering Lena harmful to Eleanor contradicted the trust in their marriage.

“Lena has been my rock. Could our pressures drive her to extremes?” he remembered, shaking his head, but this suspicion grew as he reflected on what happened after he moved his mother into their home.

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Months earlier, Daniel had brought Eleanor to live with him and Lena because her mental condition was getting too complicated. She liked wandering off, and it was better for her if she did close by. Fortunately, Daniel had great neighbors who wanted to help.

One day, he found their neighbor, Mrs. Jenkins, holding Eleanor’s hand near the park.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“Daniel, dear, I found her looking lost,” Mrs. Jenkins conveyed her worry. “She mentioned going to the grocery store.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Jenkins,” Daniel expressed, and turned to his mother. “Let’s go home, Mom. Next time, you can tell me if you need something, right?”

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Eleanor didn’t look at him as she replied, “I just wanted some fresh air. The days blend inside.”

After getting his mother situated back at home, Daniel sensed his wife’s tension. He approached her carefully, ready for a big talk. “You’ve been quiet. Is everything okay?”

Lena bit her lip but spoke quietly. “Seeing your mom like this, needing so much care, it’s hard. I feel we’re losing our connection.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“I understand. It’s tough for me too, but I need you. We’ll get through this together,” Daniel comforted, offering his hand.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m competing with your mom for your attention,” Lena whispered, hanging her head. He didn’t want her to feel like that, so he wrapped her in a tight embrace.

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After their honest talk, Daniel felt determined to heal their family rift. Remembering Eleanor’s love for birds, he bought a vibrant parrot, hoping to lift her spirits and help the old woman bond with Lena.

“This might bring us all closer,” he said after introducing the bird to their home.

Eleanor beamed. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

Lena smiled reluctantly and asked, “What’s its name?”

“Let’s name it together,” Daniel suggested.

Lena softly proposed, “How about Hope?”

“Hope, yes! What a lovely name,” Eleanor nodded, clapping.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Over time, Eleanor’s connection with Hope deepened. “My name is Eleanor,” she would say, and Hope echoed back. The parrot also learned “Gregory, my love,” invoking memories of Daniel’s father.

Everything was looking up for them until Eleanor vanished completely one day. In desperation, Daniel called the police. “My mother, Eleanor, she’s missing. Alzheimer’s. She could be anywhere!”

The police promised to help, but days of agonizing wait turned into a grim reality: the search was called off. Alone, Daniel whispered to the void, “Mom, please come back. I promise I’ll be better.”

After hearing the parrot’s words, something in his heart told him to investigate further. “I need answers about Lena,” he decided and went to their bedroom, beginning his search through her things. Shockingly, he found his mother’s cherished ring.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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“Why do you have my mother’s ring?” Daniel demanded when his wife got home later. Lena faltered while speaking, and her shaky excuses failed to convince him.

Daniel then decided to test her further. “You shouldn’t have this, Lena. My mother’s gold is hidden away. This is only part of the treasure.”

“Daniel, I don’t know anything about that, or how it got there,” Lena said, but her eyes fixated on the ring his hand.

He nodded. “I’m sorry. Maybe she put it there before disappearing,” Daniel said, placing the ring in his pocket. “The real treasure is somewhere only she knows, though. I wonder why she left this.” His wife remained quiet through that, but he felt her calculating mind.

After that day, Daniel’s trust in Lena vanished, and he secretly watched over her everything action. One afternoon, as autumn leaves twirled outside, Lena mentioned visiting her friend, Jessica.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Daniel immediately grew suspicious, but he only asked a few questions, looking closely at her attitude. Lena evaded his eyes and mentioned her friend again, although he had never heard about her before. “Have a good time,” he finally said, masking his real feelings.

Once she left, his unease propelled him to act. He followed, shocked that Lena wasn’t going to a friend’s house. Instead, she led him toward a nursing home.

His heart beat faster than ever, as his instincts told him that his mother was probably there, meaning the parrot’s words were right. “Why, Lena? Why lie?” Daniel murmured, witnessing her hastened steps into the nursing home.

Seated in his car, sorrow and resolve enveloped him; the marriage he cherished was unraveling before his eyes.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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After a while, he went inside. At the reception desk, Daniel sought out the administrator. “I’m Daniel Hargrove, Eleanor’s son. I need to see my mother immediately,” he expressed, not knowing if his mother was actually there, but he needed to sound confident.

The administrator nodded, checked with someone, and informed him that Lena had taken Eleanor to the garden. Daniel couldn’t even feel relieved that his missing mother was alive and well because it meant that Lena had truly gotten rid of her and lied to him about it.

Regardless, he thanked the administrator and hurried outside. He spotted them sitting on a bench and got close enough to hear their conversation while still avoiding detection.

“Eleanor, do you remember mentioning a special place where you kept some family treasures?” Lena asked after some small talk, her tone artificially sweet. Daniel listened closely then, although he almost didn’t recognize his wife’s voice. It was too greedy.

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For illustration purposes only / Source: Shutterstock

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“Treasures, dear? Our real treasures are the memories we make along the way,” Eleanor said, confused.

Lena persisted, “But you mentioned a hiding spot, remember? Maybe, the old oak tree in the backyard?”

Eleanor seemed lost. “The oak tree? We had picnics there, but treasures? I can’t remember.”

“Think harder. It’s important for the family,” Lena insisted.

“The family…” Eleanor’s voice faded, her confusion deepening.

Daniel felt rage coursing through his body as Lena manipulated his mother, but that anger made him move and accidentally step on some creaking leaves. Lena’s head swiveled, and although he did, she must have seen or sensed him.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Suddenly, she stood. “Mom, come on,” Lena urged Eleanor, her tone urgent. “We need to hurry.”

The old woman followed numbly. “Why, dear? Are we playing a game?” Eleanor asked.

Lena nodded. “Yes, a game. Let’s see if we can lose someone following us.” They quickened their pace.

Daniel realized Lena was walking toward the parking area and jogged toward them, trying not to alarm his greedy wife further. She got Eleanor into her car and drove off like a bat out of a cave. He ran into his own car and followed them at the fastest yet most discreet pace possible.

At a quiet gas station, Lena told Eleanor, “We’re just stopping here for a moment. Think hard about the treasure, okay?”

Eleanor looked out the window, frowning, but she replied, “The treasure, yes. I’ll try, Lena. But sometimes memories are like leaves in the wind.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Daniel parked at the gas station and saw Lena running to the bathrooms, so he took a chance, got out of the car, and approached his wife’s car.

Fortunately, the window was down. He leaned closer and wanted to cry on his mother’s shoulders. The relief was too great. “Mom, I’ve missed you. I’m going to take you home soon,” he said, his voice choked.

For a second, Daniel considered getting her out of the vehicle and driving away, but he had a better plan: Lena had to pay for this.

Fortunately, Eleanor seemed to recognize him. “Daniel?” she said, her voice hopeful yet uncertain.

“Yes, it’s me. Listen,” Daniel urged, “when Lena comes back, tell her, ‘The treasure’s in the sewage.’ Can you do that for me?”

“In the sewage,” Eleanor repeated, nodding in agreement.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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“And point at the Local Sewage Cesspool,” Daniel added, touching her face gently. Eleanor nodded again as he pulled his hand away. Despite his best instincts, he returned to his car and watched as Lena got back in hers.

As Lena drove Eleanor back to the nursing home with Daniel following not far behind, the old woman Eleanor pointed at the sewage ditch and declared, “The treasure’s in the sewage!”

Lena hit the brakes almost too roughly and parked on the curb. She asked Eleanor for more details, but the old woman only repeated the same thing. Lena placed the vehicle back in motion, but this time, it wasn’t in the nursing home’s direction.

Daniel arrived at the sewage cesspool and as expected, he saw the worst sight of his life. Lena was digging through the muck, desperate to find the imaginary treasure. Meanwhile, his mother sat in the passenger seat, looking lost and alone.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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“Where is it? It has to be here!” Lena’s voice traveled to him, full of her frustration.

He shook his head. “This can’t be happening,” Daniel whispered, defeated as he reached for his phone to call the police. “How did we get here, Lena?”

A few minutes later, the sound of sirens approached. The police arrived and apprehended Lena. She thrashed in an officer’s arms, screaming, “It’s here! I know it!”

The next day, Eleanor sat in the living room, talking to Hope, the parrot. “It’s just you and me now,” she said gently. Hope responded, mimicking her words.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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“I’m sorry for everything, Mom. From now on, it’s about us,” Daniel said, smiling bittersweetly.

Eleanor grinned at him. “With you and Hope, we have our treasure,” she said.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, read this one: Lili an elderly woman stumbles across a little kid. The boy named Harry asks her to take care of him and his friends. The foster family they live in is horrible, and the kids are living in poor conditions. Police return the boy to his foster parents, and Lily decides to save the kids by herself.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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