Catherine was devastated to learn that her husband had died in the fire that engulfed their home. But years later, that devastation turned into shock when she saw him with a young woman on TV.
George and Catherine Wilson had been part and parcel of each other’s lives ever since their university days. The couple had tied the knot soon after graduating and lived a happily married life for 51 years.
George worked as a doctor at Miami Valley Hospital until he reached retirement age, after which he mostly spent his days teaching young nurses and doctors at his house. Catherine, who was once a famous gynecologist in the same hospital, became a homemaker and would assist her husband with lectures.
The couple sadly didn’t have any children, but being surrounded by curious teenagers kept them from feeling sad about not having kids.
One evening, George was getting ready for his lecture when he smelled something burning. “Honey, did you leave the gas on?” he inquired of Catherine. She frequently made tea for him in the evenings before the lectures began, so he assumed it was coming from the kitchen. But that wasn’t the case.
“No,” Catherine replied from her room. “It’s got to be Mrs. Peterson. In the evenings, she and her family usually burn those wood logs in their garden. Can you please close the windows because the smell is choking me as well.”
George was baffled. Before getting ready for class that evening, he closed all the windows. Still, he went around the house to make sure everything was okay, but as he got to the other end of the house, he noticed one of the rooms was engulfed in flames.
“Honey!” he yelled as he dashed to their bedroom. “We have to leave the house right now! The fire is rapidly spreading!”
George and Catherine attempted to flee the house, but smoke had filled the entire room before they could. Catherine, who had asthma, choked and fainted, and George, who attempted to save his wife, couldn’t escape either.
Catherine was unconscious for nearly two months following the horrific incident, and when she awoke, she was in a nursing home. She later learned that her husband had died in the fire and that their house had also been destroyed. The woman sobbed for hours, and the loneliness of being alone crept up on her for the first time.
But thankfully, Stephanie, one of George’s students and a nurse at the hospital Catherine was admitted to, was always with her during this time. She had moved Catherine to a nursing home and visited her every day.
“I’m grateful for your help, Steph,” Catherine said one day. “However, I need one more favor from you.”
“Sure, ma’am,” Stephanie replied. “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Can I at least see George one last time? Can you please see if that’s possible?” Catherine’s eyes welled up with tears.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Stephanie apologized. “The body was in a terrible state when we received it, and I’d recommend you don’t see it.”
Catherine still insisted on seeing George, but she couldn’t stand it for more than two minutes. The fire had made it completely impossible to recognize that the lifeless human lying in the morgue was Catherine’s beloved husband George.
The poor woman organized the funeral the following week, and Stephanie was by her side the entire time as support. But once everyone left after the funeral, she could feel the void once again.
As time went on, Catherine strived hard to recover from the trauma of losing her husband. But one day, she came out of her room to watch television with the rest of the residents, something she hadn’t done in the nursing home in the previous six years. But as she examined the screen more closely, her eyes welled up.
Is that really you, George? Catherine was both bewildered and overwhelmed. She wiped her tears away as she put on her specs and looked closely. But just then, something piqued her interest.
Wait, who’s that young woman? And why did she just kiss George? Maybe I am mistaken. Perhaps that’s not George. She pondered as she moved closer to the television and took a front-row seat. But as she stared longer, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing!
It was Stephanie and George, and they were posing for a variety show in a new resort in Dayton, Miami with several other couples.
Catherine dashed over to one of the nurses, Rose, who worked in the same facility. “Rose, this man looks like the one on the TV, isn’t he the same?” she inquired, showing George’s picture because her eyes were no longer her friends in her old age.
“Yes, ma’am,” Rose confirmed. “But wait a minute, isn’t that your husband? And who is the lady he’s with?”
“It’s Stephanie, Rose,” Catherine said. “She told me my husband was dead. I can’t believe this. I wonder if the whole fire in our house was just a ruse to get rid of me. Did my husband do it intentionally?” she burst into tears. “Did they plan it together?”
“I don’t think so, ma’am,” Rose replied. “There were so many other ways for him to get rid of you. Why would he intentionally burn the house where he was staying? I suppose you should call the cops and inform them of the situation.”
Catherine followed Rose’s advice and dialed 911, only to discover a dark secret that Stephanie had been keeping for so long.
It turned out when George had an affair with a woman named Clara while in college, who was pregnant with Stephanie at the time they met. He was ready to take responsibility for the child, but all thanks to Clara, things got really messed up and he had to leave her.
Years later, Stephanie wanted to take everything away from him as a form of retaliation. So she not only set fire to their house but also forged documents claiming she was pregnant with George’s child. The cops looked into the situation and arrested the young woman.
When George and Catherine met after 6 years at the police station, they couldn’t stop crying. “I’m sorry, honey,” George said as he wrapped his arms around Catherine. “When I opened my eyes, I was in a completely different place. Stephanie told me you were dead before you even got to the hospital,” he explained.
“I shouldn’t have put my faith in her. When I lost you, I was dying, and I drank every day to forget about it. Stephanie was always there for me during the difficult times, so I thought maybe I had crossed the line in a drunken state. But nothing of that sort ever happened.”
“As for Clara’s case, you already know everything about it, including how Clara dumped me for another rich guy, and when she returned, we were already together. Maybe if she had told her daughter the truth, she wouldn’t have turned out this way.”
“And you,” he added, turning to look at Stephanie. “My wife has a huge heart. We would have adopted you if you had told me you were Clara’s daughter and didn’t have anyone to look after you. You don’t have to be so cheap! I hope you regret your decision now that you’re in prison.”
As the cops handcuffed Stephanie, she stood there embarrassed. She tried to apologize to George after learning that her mother hadn’t told her the complete truth, but before that, George and Catherine walked away, hand-in-hand, hugging each other.
What can we learn from this story?
Lies may have a present, but they have no future. Stephanie lied to both George and Catherine, but she was eventually caught.
Be cautious of the people around you. Stephanie wore a mask the entire time, pretending to be a nice person, but she was carrying out a cunning plan deep down.