His wife had fainted and the kids were now trying to help her feel better in the car. Meanwhile, he was still staring at the house, as if it was going to magically change it’s looks from the old and almost destroyed state it was in to the almost mansion he had thought he purchased some weeks ago. He didn’t feel good at all but his body was suddenly not able to respond to anything. He only reacted when his boy, who was around ten years old, came from the car and told him his wife wanted to talk to him with urgency. He turned around slowly, still in disbelief.
The only thing his wife wanted to tell him was that they should be going to the police and tell them what had happened. They had to do it as soon as possible because maybe, just maybe, the person that had done that to them may be closer than they thought. He drove back to the nearby small town and explained the situation to the police officers. The one that took care of them put a hand to his forehead to clean the sweat off his face and told them they weren’t the first to come saying they had been robbed in such a way. At least four families had gone through the same thing that year.
He explained that they had always used that house because the owner had died many years ago and no one could claim ownership of it. Actually, the state still had to wait ten years in order to be able to take possession of the house and then sell it or do whatever they wanted with it. And, of course, everything they showed was false and people never cared to check before they spent all that money in a new house. The family man, called George, explained to the officer that they were precisely there to check out the house because it was supposed to be finished in six months.
Again, his wife had sit down. She asked for a glass of water and tried to relax but her heart was beating too fast. Norma, that was her name, had already begun planning so many trips and so many other fun stuff around that house. The amount of money they had spent was nothing next to the emotional investment they had obviously already done in that place. It was just a very cruel joke to play in them and she just could not believe someone would do such a thing. She still wanted to think it was some kind of mistake.
But it wasn’t. They had been robbed of millions and they did all the paperwork to sue the people and the alleged company that had processed the whole thing. Of course, the company was a fake and the possibility of being reimbursed was almost impossible but they needed to do everything according to the law. Because, when the time came, they would need to prove they did not have a country house or anything like that. It was a very long process and a very slow one too. But after several months, it finally ended.
The relationship between George and his wife was not the best. The situation with the new house had deteriorated everything they had before they realized they had been cheated on. They stopped being close to each other and after what happened, they rarely even spoke when they were alone. They tied to maintain normalcy for the children but it was obvious they were not idiots and could realize very easily that their parents didn’t really like each other anymore. However, they did not have a big response to it.
In time, about a year after the robbery, Norma decided to file for divorce. She realized she simply didn’t trust her husband anymore and she actively blamed him for having been robbed off all the money they had paid for the country house. She realized she could never forget that, so the intelligent thing to do was to just get a divorce. Of course, she wanted to keep the kids and George wasn’t going to just give them to her. It was a very ugly situation in which every person they know had an opinion and that helped their marriage to die quickly.
They finally agreed that they would share custody of the children with them living most of the week with their mother and the weekends with their father. They were still young and they both knew it was going to be a very hard thing to live with but they agreed they could do it for their children. The kids felt everything was their fault somehow, and began to behave in different ways, from hitting classmates back in school to just stop talking and turning into a repressed little kid which obviously wasn’t great for such a young age.
They each had less and less money to spend, because they had many more things to pay for: gasoline for all the car rides during the week, the shrinks for both of the kids, the allowance George had to pay his wife in order to support the kids, the amount of groceries they had to buy each in order to supply everything necessary for the children… It was just too much and every month things seemed to get pricier and more complicated. One kid began fighting in school too much and the other was accused by a teacher of being autistic.
It was just a very ridiculous situation that had came from one bad investment, one bad moment in which they hadn’t had the brain to check on the product they were buying first. They both knew it was both of their faults that they had been robbed but it was easier to blame the other because confronting the truth was always very hard and embarrassing. But both George and Norma were to blame. They wanted to seem rich in a moment and never cared to think of their children or about anything else.
Their marriage was destroyed and when the kids became older they stopped seeing each other and just moved on to have their own lived. Norma remarried first and George killed himself two months after that. He had been tired of calling his children and never getting an answer. That fatal day, he wrote a letter to them, including Norma, telling them how sorry he was for what he did. However, he also reminded them they used to have been a family and they all just bailed on him the first moment they could, not thinking about anything they had gone through.
In the last few lines, he blamed himself and all of them for the implosion of their perfect family. He said it was their entire fault that just because of something other families could have rallied around, they all just began to fall apart and try to run away from each other as far as they could. Now one of his kids was on drugs, the other had social problems and he made them see what they had become, hoping they could change their ways once he wasn’t there anymore. Of course, he never knew that letter was too little, too late.