Old lady hasn’t left home for 6 years; runs out and sees girl on the brink of an accident – Story of the Day

A tragic loss leaves Eliza trapped in grief and fear until a young girl befriends her. However, Eliza doesn’t realize that the girl is hiding a life-changing secret about who she is.

“Can’t it wait until tomorrow morning?” Robert asked.

Eliza stared at her husband.

“No it can’t. Robert, we need milk for muesli and coffee in the morning. You know I bake on Tuesdays and that means you have to get milk on the way home.”

Robert sighed. He was tired from a long day at work and had been looking forward to relaxing at home. One look at Eliza’s face told him there would be no peace unless he went back to get the milk.

Well, the sooner he left, the sooner he would return. The store was close by so he didn’t bother to wear his jacket even though the fog lingered in the darkness outside.

Robert loved his wife dearly, but he wished she wasn’t so strict about her routines and schedules at times like this. Certain foods had to be bought on certain days and would last just long enough until the next prescribed day when it was time to buy those foods again.

Eliza would happily forego milk if she ran out earlier than planned, but not if he forgot to buy it on the appropriate day. Robert giggled as he stopped on the sidewalk. Eliza had strange habits, but he wouldn’t trade them for the world.

The fog muffled all sounds and made the night quiet. Robert didn’t hear or see the coming car until it was too late. His last thought was for Eliza and how upset she would be that he didn’t buy the milk.

Six years later…

Eliza pulled the curtains back just enough to see outside. Her heart pounded and her mouth dried as her eyes fell on the unkempt grass in her yard and the street beyond.

She needed flour. She had to venture out into the wild, uncontrollable, and unpredictable world on her doorstep to get it. Eliza caught her breath.

It was too dangerous, but today was baking day. She was determined to be brave, but her courage failed when she reached the front door. Robert’s reflective jacket was hanging exactly where he’d left it last night.

No, she couldn’t go out today. Eliza backed away from the door and instead called her neighbor Maria to ask if she would buy the things Eliza needed.

A short time later, Eliza heard a knock on the door. She opened them wide enough to let Maria in and closed them just behind her heels to keep the rest of the world out.

“You know I’m happy to help you, Eliza, but this can’t go on much longer.” Maria carried the shopping bags into the kitchen and put them on the counter.

“It’s been months since you last went out. I’m very worried about you.”

“I’d love to go out, but… there’s a lot that can go wrong out there,” Eliza said. “Too many messy and careless people doing things wrong.”

Maria frowned and rubbed the older woman’s arm. “I understand you’re scared, but what happened to Robert was an accident.”

“It was negligence!” Eliza replied. “I don’t care what the court says, this man should be in jail for reckless driving, not sit home, with no punishment.”

Maria sighed. “You still can’t stay locked in your house forever, Eliza. Something has to change. Maybe next time we can go shopping together?”

“You lied to me, Stacey. You brought chaos to my house and I’ll be grateful if you take it with you.”

Eliza nodded, although the mere mention of shopping made her heart skip a beat. Maria was wrong: Eliza wasn’t afraid to go outside; she was petrified.

Maria left the house and Eliza started to bake. She was busy kneading the dough when she heard another knock on the door. Eliza wasn’t expecting anyone, but she washed her hands and went to the door.

Nobody was there. Eliza opened the door a crack and noticed a shopping bag on her front step. Maria had already got her all the groceries she asked for, so what could that be?

Maria grabbed the handle of the bag and dragged it through the door. Inside she found a jar of jam and a bag of apples. None of this was stuff that Eliza Maria would regularly ask to buy. She called her neighbor to ask about the package, but Maria didn’t know about it.

Another package arrived a few days later and another the week after. Maria still insisted she wasn’t behind it, so Eliza decided to find out who left her food outside.

Eliza sat by her living room window and waited. Her patience was rewarded the next day. She heard footsteps on the stairs and her hand was already on the doorknob when the mysterious person knocked.

“Who are you?”

The young girl on the porch jumped in shock. She stared at Eliza.

“I’m Stacey,” the girl replied.

“And what are you doing here?” Eliza asked, pinching the bridge of her nose. It felt like everything out there was trying to squeeze through her door. She wanted to slam the door, but she needed answers.

“I live down the street,” Stacey said. “I heard you haven’t left your house in a few months and I wanted to do something to help you.”

“That’s very kind of you and I appreciate it.” Eliza grabbed the package and pulled it inside. “Next time you can come over for tea.”

Eliza closed the door before Stacey could answer. Her heart was beating like a hammer in her chest and her hands were sweating so much she could barely grab Stacey’s bag. She retired to the kitchen, far from the dangerous world.

Stacey returned a few days later. Eliza heard her knock and invited the girl in. It was a Wednesday and Eliza had baked cookies the day before so she would have them ready when the girl came by again.

“Could you come visit periodically?” Stacey asked once they were seated. “It messes up my schedule not knowing when to expect you.”

“Your schedule?” Stacey asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Yes honey, my schedule. I arrange all my tasks on different days so I always know what to expect and what to do.”

“Well, I guess I can come on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Tuesday doesn’t work. Do you like Monday and Thursday?”

“Uh, sure.” Stacey shook his head and let out a small laugh. “You are an interesting woman.”

“You can call me Aunt Eliza.” Eliza poured tea into a cup for Stacey. She had brought her fine china for the occasion. “I would also like to discuss my shopping needs with you.”

Stacey blinked at her. The girl seemed surprised.

“I’m very grateful for your kindness and generosity, Stacey,” Eliza continued, “but things can’t go on without order, my dear. The whole trouble with the world is that it’s not in order. There’s a lot left to chance these days, and that creates too many opportunities for chaos to quickly intrude.”

“And you don’t like chaos, do you, Aunt Eliza?”

“No one likes chaos, love.”

Eliza and Stacey chatted and drank their tea. Eliza was charmed by the girl’s good manners and thorough knowledge of the subjects they were discussing. It turns out Stacey also loved to bake, although she had some misconceptions about which apples were best for pies.

Eliza impulsively changed her mind at the last minute and agreed to let Stacey visit on Tuesdays so they could bake together. She began taking time off her Monday schedule to go over her recipes for foods that she and Stacey could bake together the next day.

Although she didn’t realize it at first, Eliza slowly began to benefit more from Stacey’s visits. Each time she let Stacey in, she opened the door a little wider.

On Tuesdays, Stacey sometimes stayed late to take home some of the baked goods they baked together, and Eliza watched from the door until Stacey was out of sight to ensure her safety.

One day they were baking bagels and finishing the last batch when Stacey’s cell phone rang. Stacey got the bagels out of the oven, so Eliza raised her cell phone to answer the call. When she saw the photo on the caller ID, she almost dropped the phone.

“What’s that about?” Eliza demanded. “Why is my husband’s killer calling you?”

Stacey hastily put the bagels down and grabbed her cell phone. She ended the conversation. “I can explain, Aunt Eliza.”

“I expect that from you!”

“This is my father.” Stacey bit his lip. “My father always blamed himself for what happened to your husband. It was eating him up inside, so my mother and I pushed him to find out if you were okay.”

Stacey hung his head.

“When we found out you weren’t leaving your house anymore, we decided as a family to do whatever we could to help you. My dad was sure you wouldn’t want his help once you saw him, so he explained I volunteered to deliver the food parcels to you.”

“Your father was right. I don’t need your help and I don’t want it. You lied to me, Stacey. You brought chaos to my house and I’ll be grateful if you take it with you.”

“Please, Aunt Eliza, don’t be angry.” Stacey pressed her hands together. “Don’t push me away. I love visiting you.”

“I’m sure you take some pleasure in taunting me by coming into my house under false pretenses, but I’m not playing this game anymore.”

Eliza led Stacey to the door.

“Fine,” Stacey snapped as Eliza pushed her out the front door. “If you really think that badly of me, that it was all a sick joke to me, then I don’t want to visit you anymore.”

Stacey put in her earplugs and jogged down the steps. It was dark and foggy outside. Eliza stood in the doorway, paralyzed with fear as the weather brought back dark memories of the night Robert died.

My dear, sweet Robert! Deep down, Eliza knew it was her fault he died because he would never have gone out again if she hadn’t insisted he buy milk. Tears ran down her cheeks. They blurred her vision as she saw Stacey step off the sidewalk and onto the street.

The fog on the hill turned golden for a moment as a car approached them. Eliza watched as Stacey, now standing almost in the middle of the street, slipped and fell.

Eliza grabbed Robert’s jacket. She pulled them over her head as she ran toward the street. As Eliza approached the spot where Stacey had fallen, the headlights of the car appeared in the fog.

For a moment, Eliza thought it was all over. She was going to meet her end now, as did Robert, and Stacey would perish with her. It was ironic.

Then the brakes squealed and the car spun away. Eliza heard a loud bang.

“Aunt Eliza, you saved me!” Stacey looked at her in shock. “And you are outside!”

“Are you all right?” A man’s voice called out of the fog. A minute later the man was staggering toward her.

“I’m sorry, it’s so foggy that I didn’t see you until the last moment.”

He pointed to Robert’s jacket. “If you hadn’t had that jacket with the reflective stripes, I might not have seen you.”

Eliza covered her face with the jacket and began to cry. She had grown bitter over the years and locked herself in fear over Robert’s death, but now she was facing the truth that she found so difficult to accept.

It was an accident, and while it might have been avoided if she hadn’t insisted that Robert buy milk or have him wear his jacket, nothing could have changed the past.

Eliza came to terms with her husband’s death that night. She remained friends with Stacey and made peace with her father. Eliza also began undergoing therapy to help her with her agoraphobia.

What can we learn from this story?

Don’t get in the habit of blaming others for misfortunes . Eliza suffered for many years because she refused to accept that her husband’s death was an accident.
Don’t be afraid to seek help . Many people struggle alone to cope with debilitating physical and mental illnesses, but help is always available.

Share this story with your friends. It could brighten their day and inspire them.

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