Part of her hoped it was some ill-delivered joke. But when she saw how serious their faces were, all she could do was stare back.
To say she was dumbfounded would have been an understatement – then they decided to add another layer of insult. What in the world had happened to her family?!
It might not have been a glamorous life goal, but 32-year-old Alice had always dreamed of owning her own property.
She wanted to wake up to a big yard, fresh air, and the scent of flower and herb gardens – a place to call her own. She wanted to play fetch with her dogs. And it all started with pennies.
Alice had saved every one of them. Other than school, dogs, and bare-minimum living expenses, everything went into the bank.
Finally, she was ready. Alice swelled with pride as the loan went through and she pressed pen to paper. But she would find her balloon quickly burst in the most insane way.
It was family dinner, and the usual people sat around the table – her mom, sister, and her sister’s children.
Alice cleared her throat and got their attention. She was just too excited to keep it in any longer. “It finally happened today. I got my own house.” The reaction wasn’t the one she expected.
Her mother shifted in her seat and puckered her lips. Alice’s sister, Jessica, furrowed her brow.
“What did you get?” she asked. Alice described the beautiful, roomy 3-bedroom, two-story home. The back yard was big and fenced, which was perfect for the pets. Jessica’s expression turned sour like she had eaten a lemon.
The joy fizzled away into confusion. Had she struck a nerve of some sort?
She was about to ask when her sister slammed down her fork and angry tears ran down her cheeks. “It’s not fair!” Alice leaned back, stunned at the reaction. “It’s not fair you get a house!”
“I don’t understand.” Alice listened in shocked silence as her sister dove into a long rant about having three kids and a small, two-bedroom apartment.
There was no room for her clothes and shoes. Alice couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but things were about to get worse.
“I’ve worked very hard for this,” Alice countered. She had given up so many things for this day.
Her sister went on trips and bought mountains of shoes. Money also went into her kids. That was her life, her choice. But Jessica continued. “I don’t care! You don’t deserve it. I have a family, so I should get YOUR house!”
Wait… had she heard that right? Not “a” house, but “her” house?
This wasn’t just a jealous outburst. Her sibling was treating this like Alice had bought a chocolate bar and she wanted some. Then, her mother opened her mouth with words Alice would have never imagined.
“I think you should let your sister move into your place.” Alice tensed as if someone had punched her.
Seriously? She took a deep breath and tried to get back to something logical. “I can give you some money if you need, but I’m not moving you guys into my place.”
Her sister stood up and yelled, “No! My kids deserve room to play, not your stupid dogs. I deserve a nice place. I’ll even let you live in my place.”
Alice raged inside. This wasn’t a bad dream. It was worse, and it was all the more horrible to see her mother nodding in agreement.
Her sister was actually acting like she was the one doing a favor. That was it. She couldn’t keep her cool any longer.
Alice pointed out the fact that her sister had been fired from several jobs, was irresponsible with money, and that she always expected everyone else to give her anything she wanted. But in the end, it did matter.
It didn’t matter what she said, her family was literally demanding everything she had saved up for. She stood and went for the door.
There was apparently no changing their minds. The elation of the day had been replaced with deep, chaotic anger. When she finally got home, she knew what she had to do.
She needed an outside perspective.
It was her accomplishment, but people were supposed to help their family … but it wasn’t like her sister as homeless or living in squalor. Alice typed up her story and waited for other’s thoughts on the situation. Was she actually a jerk for wanting her own space?
The comments came flying in. Nearly everyone agreed she was in the right and her family was being completely nuts – and she had to admit it felt good.
All things considered, as she packed up her moving boxes, she wondered if she should not give them her new address for a while. They might try to move in.