After years of waiting, the day finally came when his grandmother passed away. When he got the news, he was hit by a wave of satisfaction and relief.
For years, he took care of the old woman, and now, he would finally bear the fruit. He had dreamt of what he would do with her fortune. But little did this greedy grandson know what was in store for him.
When he arrived at her house, all he found was a note. Then, he made a phone call. What he heard from the other side of the line filled him with rage.
Little did he know that things were far from over. There was even more where that came from. It was time for him to learn the lesson of his life.
When Ray heard that his wealthy grandma Sally needed someone to take care of her in the autumn of her life, he saw a golden opportunity.
Ray was a troubled teenager who lived with his mom, Alice, in a flat in one of the most depressed areas in the city. Ever since Ray was born, his grandma Sally had never been too present in his life. There was a reason for that.
To all those who knew her, Sally was an admirable woman. Her cheerful character made her loved by everyone in the neighborhood. She always had a kind word for everyone and was always willing to help those close to her with whatever they needed.
She was also a strong-willed, intelligent woman who had single-handedly taken care of her deceased husband’s assets after his decease. However, she still had enemies in the world.
Everyone else believed that Sally was the paragon of virtue and couldn’t picture her as anything other than a role model and, by extension, the perfect mom.
However, Alice couldn’t help but feel an intense animosity towards his mother. Why was that? Maybe she knew a face of hers that no one else was aware of?
Sally and Alice didn’t get along too well. They had barely talked to each other for years. Even after hearing that grandma Sally was sick, Alice didn’t want to have anything to do with it. “I have enough on my plate,” she said.
But why was this? What could have tainted the relationship between mother and daughter to such an extent?
Ever since she was young, Alice had always been sort of a loose cannon. She didn’t care much about school and was always getting into trouble.
And when his father Samuel, a wealthy self-made businessman, passed away, things only got worse. Alice got completely out of control. Besides, on his deathbed, Samuel did something Alice never could bring herself to forgive.
At 70 years old, Sally had been the only one responsible for handling Samuel’s assets and estate. Both she and her husband knew that Alice, who was 20 years old at the time, couldn’t be trusted.
Alice always resented them for that. It was a tremendous blow to her pride: she felt left aside and unvalued. And this was only the beginning.
Shortly after, Alice started dating Joey, Ray’s father. Sally never liked the man; he and Alice were like two peas in a pod, and that was the dangerous part.
He was always in trouble and involved in shady endeavors. As a matter of fact, on one occasion, he was close to being imprisoned due to his involvement in a gambling racket in the neighborhood. It was only one thing that saved him from incarceration.
Had he only relied on his own resources for his defense, Joey would have been represented by a public defender and probably gone to jail.
However, Sally hired an expensive lawyer for Joey with her own money. As much as she didn’t like the man, she believed that having a husband in prison would only make things even worse for her daughter. But she was wrong.
Sally could see from a mile away that Joey wasn’t the right man for her daughter to marry and live happily ever after, but she still felt sorry for her.
She hoped the man would appreciate her contribution to his defense, which was the only reason why he had gotten away with his crimes. She hoped that the couple would learn their lesson, clean up their act, and start living like respectable adults. But that didn’t happen.
Shortly after Joey’s trial, Alice got pregnant. This filled Sally with hope; maybe now Joey would finally step up and get a decent job to provide for his family. Maybe now Alice would be more willing to listen to her mother’s advice and follow her guidance.
But she was wrong by a long shot. Joey abandoned them months before Ray was born. And that wasn’t all.
You would have thought that Alice would recognize her mistake and get closer to her mother after her man abandoned her. But that wasn’t what happened.
Instead, he blamed Sally for scaring Joey away with her judgmental ways and disapproval of their relationship. She started resenting her mother even more and stopped talking to her, rarely letting her see her grandson.
Now, Alice lived with her son Ray in the slums, living off welfare and the occasional odd job. They also received sporadic financial support from Sally, which she sent in hopes of reconciling with her stranded daughter and grandson.
However, all Alice did was take the money and go on with her life. She never reached out to her mother or even replied to one of Sally’s letters.
Alice and Ray’s lives weren’t great. Just paying the bills on time was a struggle, and they couldn’t afford anything too fancy.
Alice refused to make peace with her mother. As a matter of fact, she blamed her for her current situation. But one day, out of nowhere, they were hit with some news that would change their lives forever.
Sally was already 90 years old. Her late husband’s assets were in good hands, as she had relied on a trustworthy team of accountants, lawyers, and investors that made sure the fortune kept growing.
But the lady’s health was starting to decline. Now, more than ever, she needed someone to take care of her. When Ray heard about this in passing, he saw a golden opportunity.
Ray was a high school dropout without any sort of direction or future plans. When he heard that his grandma needed someone to care for her as her health declined, the first thing he thought of was her big fortune.
“Seems like it’s my time to step up and get mine,” he thought. “Just a few years of looking after her, and boom, I’ll be a millionaire.” So he set his plan into motion and called his grandma that same day.
Within a few days, Ray was living in a spare room in Sally’s mansion. From then on, he started taking care of his grandma’s each and every need.
He cooked for her, made sure she was alright and took her medication, and took her to the doctor every time she needed it. However, it wasn’t love that moved him to go above and beyond for his grandma.
For the whole time, there was only one thing on his mind: soon, his big day would come. His grandma would pass away after a long and complete life, and he would inherit all her fortune.
Or that’s what he hoped. Little did he know that he was in for a nasty surprise that would serve as a life lesson he would never forget.
In the beginning, it seemed like a mutually beneficial relationship. Even if it wasn’t a completely sincere one on Ray’s part, whose main motivation was Sally’s inheritance, Sally appreciated having someone to look after her.
And most importantly, she was grateful to have a chance to rekindle the relationship with his grandson.
“It’s so nice that we can get along, regardless of what happened between your mom and me. Why do you think she doesn’t even talk to me?” she often asked Ray.
“She just can’t see how great you are, grandma. But I’m here for you,” Ray said, thinking he had her in his pocket. But things changed after a while.
Years passed, and Ray’s access to his grandma’s inheritance didn’t seem to get any closer. Despite struggling with some daily tasks, Sally was still healthy as a rhino.
Ray was starting to get tired of living there with her and catering to her every need in exchange for just a bed and a plate of food. One day, his master plan was close to going under.
One day, the two had an argument. Sally had run out of a certain type of pills, and Ray needed to go out in the middle of the night and drive several miles to the only pharmacy that would be open in the area.
But Ray refused to do this. Instead, he had a fit and stormed out of the house. But after a few minutes, he realized his mistake.
“What are you doing, Ray?” he asked himself. “Are you really gonna throw all the years you’ve spent by this rich lady’s bed by the window? Are you stupid or what?” Immediately, he ran back to the house.
He entered Sally’s bedroom, ready to apologize profusely. But she just found her body lying in bed. She had passed away. Instantly, Ray noticed something else on her bed.
It was a handwritten note. It said, “Dear Ray: thank you for taking care of me all these years. As a token of my gratitude, you can get the painting hanging in the living room.”
“All the rest of my assets, including the house, I’m donating to the local church and different charities. Love, Sally”
Ray saw red when she finished reading it. Immediately, she called his grandma’s notary. They confirmed everything Sally said in her note. All he got from her was that painting.
Ray went down to the living room and stared at the painting in question. It seemed like just a meaningless doodle to him. If only he knew how wrong he was!
Ray didn’t expect the painting to be worth more than $20. He called his mom and told her about what had happened. She didn’t seem particularly upset about it and just asked him if he was moving back with her and whether Sally had left her anything.
Even Ray was surprised at his mother’s coldness. He told her he would have to move to the slums again and hung up. But certain feelings started creeping into the back of his mind.
For the first time in a very long time, Ray felt guilty and ashamed of his own behavior. Now, his grandma was gone, and he hadn’t been fair to her. He had taken care of her, sure; but he did so with an ulterior motive.
A few days later, Ray went to Sally’s funeral, which Alice didn’t, and all her friends introduced themselves and praised him for taking care of her in her last days. Still, he felt dirty. He felt like he didn’t deserve all the praise.
And there was still the question of the painting. Maybe grandma Sally had seen right through him, understood his true motives, and tried to give him a lesson?
But then, Ray showed the painting to one of his friends, he told him it seemed like the work of one of the most famous abstract expressionist painters. Instantly, Ray called an appraiser.
As it turned out, the painting was, in fact, a work of Franz Kline, one of the most prominent members of the American abstract expressionist movement. It was worth 20 million dollars! But now, Ray was faced with a dilemma: would he sell the painting or keep it as a memory of his grandma?
He decided to keep it as a memento of his grandma and the learned lesson: the value of doing good things for others is in not expecting anything in return.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.