Clyde was offended when his grandmother said that she would leave him her house if he stayed with her and helped with the repairs. He and his parents hadn’t spoken to her in a year, and when Clyde finally went to visit his grandmother on her birthday, she was gone.
«All right, let’s get this over with,» said Chris, parked in front of his mother’s house. The house was badly neglected, and he didn’t like spending time there.
Chris’ wife, Mandy, and his son, Clyde, got out of the car and hurried to the porch. Although the family lived in another city, they were embarrassed by the old house and did not want to be seen by anyone.
«Hello, my dears». Chris’ mother, Sharon, opened the door. She spread her arms to embrace her family, but they hurried past her to get inside.
«You need to find a master to fix the house, Mom,» said Chris.
«I was hoping that you and Clyde could help me with the repairs while you’re here,» said Sharon. «The repairs are expensive, and my pension is only enough for a while».
«We just got here and you’re already grumpy». Chris shook his head.
«We drove a few hours to visit you for your birthday, not to work on your house».
Sharon’s face turned pale. Chris thought she was about to cry, so he took everyone to the dining room.
«Let’s get this party started,» said Chris.
The family sat down and enjoyed the food. While they were eating, Sharon mentioned a few minor problems that needed to be fixed around the house, but Chris changed the subject every time. The more time he spent at his mother’s house, the more he remembered why he only came once a year.
When everyone was finished eating, Chris saw an opportunity to escape: he volunteered to wash dishes with his wife. His mother smiled at him, and Chris hoped that it would be enough to keep his mother from complaining until the end of their visit.
«Clyde, darling. I wanted to ask you something».
Clyde dreamed of a video game recently rented all through lunch, but he turned when Grandma started talking.
«In the next few years, you’ll be going to college. Why don’t you go to college here in Dallas? You can live with me for free, and all I ask is to help me with the repairs». Grandma smiled at him. » You are my only grandson, and I will gladly leave you my house if you help me take care of him».
«Are you crazy?» Clyde stared at his grandmother in horror. «Why should I stay in this dump? I’m going to be a doctor, why do I need your ruined old house?».
«I… I guess you don’t need it». Grandma lowered her head. » Honestly, all I really wanted was to spend more time with you before I left this world».
Chris showed up at the dining room door to find out why Clyde was screaming. He was furious when he heard about his grandmother’s offer and Clyde’s answer.
«How dare you try to impose your seedy home on Clyde?» shouted Chris.
«This is your grandson, not some free worker you can use».
Grandma Sharon burst into tears, but Chris only shook his head. He threw a dishrag over his shoulder and gestured to Clyde.
«Pack your things, son,» said Chris. «We’re leaving».
Clyde hurried to the front door. He paused to look at the peeled paint, the creaky floorboards, and the skewered ceiling boards in Grandma’s house. He couldn’t imagine why she thought he wanted to inherit this dump.
Chris and his little family had not spoken to Grandma for a year. When it came time to visit her on her birthday, Chris could not go.
«It’s time for you to take a drive down the open road,» said Chris Clyde. «You’ve been driving for a long time, and it’ll be a good experience to get to Grandma by yourself».
Clyde was so excited about going so far alone, he didn’t think twice. He moved out of the house on his grandmother’s birthday before dawn and passed without incident until he reached Dallas.
Clyde parked on the roadside and double-checked the map on his phone. He’d been a passenger on this trip so often that he hadn’t checked the route beforehand. Clyde had assumed he’d find Granny’s house easily.
Clyde frowned at the map. He’d been correct; this was the right address. He looked out his window again and frowned because a gleaming skyscraper stood in the lot where Granny’s house was supposed to be.
Fear settled in Clyde’s heart. What could have happened to his grandmother? The only clue was the building, so he got out of the car and went inside. The concierge was sitting at the spotless table of matte steel.
«Excuse me,» said Clyde. «I’m looking for an old lady who lived here, Mrs. Bower. I’m her grandson. Do you know what happened to her?»
«Sure, sir. Follow me». The concierge left the table and led Clyde to the elevator.
«You need a penthouse. I’ll tell Mrs. Bower you’re on your way up».
Clyde was so confused, he wondered if he was dreaming. He took the elevator to the penthouse and was amazed to see Grandma Sharon waiting there.
«Clyde, I’m so glad to see you again!» Grandma rushed to him and hugged him. «I was beginning to think you’d all written me off».
Clyde glanced at the modern lights and the elegant decor of the penthouse. «Why do you live here, Grandma?».
«Oh, developers have been hunting my house for a long time. I didn’t want to sell, but after your visit last year, they made me a wonderful offer. Instead of buying my house, they gave me a penthouse to live in».
Grandma came to the windows from floor to ceiling. «I agreed because of the view. I now watch every morning as the sun rises over the city».
Clyde couldn’t believe how much his grandmother’s life had changed. When he came home, his parents couldn’t believe it either.
«This is a great opportunity for you, Clyde,» said Chris. «Next year, you should go to college in Dallas and stay with your grandmother. Take good care of her, and she will leave you this penthouse in her will».
That’s what Clyde did. He went to college in Dallas, and he showed up at his grandmother’s penthouse the day before the semester started.
«I changed my mind,» he said when Grandma met him at the door.
«I’ve decided to come and stay with you while I’m in college».
Grandma frowned and looked at him with disappointment. «Now I wonder what would change your mind».
«I just wanted to spend more time with you.» Clyde entered and set down the backpack containing his clothes. «You don’t mind, do you?»
«Of course not, Clyde. Make yourself at home. I could use your help with running errands for me so I’ll be grateful to have you around.»
As Granny walked ahead to show him the guest room, Clyde could’ve sworn he heard her mutter about greedy people needing to learn a lesson. Since he didn’t know who she was talking about, he ignored it.
Soon, Clyde began attending classes and running errands for her grandmother. He accompanied her to the grocery store every week and carried her shopping to the house. She also instructed him to prepare meals every Sunday, which they then took to several local shelters.
«Why do you spend so much money making food for vagrants?» asked Clyde the first time she made him work.
Grandma shook her head. » Everyone needs to eat, Clyde. Sometimes life gives you bad experiences, and you’re in a terrible situation. The least I can do for my neighbors is to provide them with food».
Clyde thought about what she said. It was strange to him that his grandmother had such humane views, while his father, her son, would never lift a finger to help others if it did not benefit him.
When they took the food to the shelter, Grandma insisted that Clyde help her serve it. He was outraged, but she refused. He thought the stinking, unkempt tramps would create a crowd around him, but soon discovered he was wrong.
The people he served were shy but very grateful. They warmly thanked Clyde for the food and blessed him with his kindness. Many were unkempt, but Clyde soon realized it wasn’t so bad. At least they knew he was doing them a big favor.
Over time, Clyde began to change. Seeing how Grandmother was generous to others, he wondered if she had told them about the old house because she wanted to receive the same kindness from her flesh and blood.
However, the realization came too late for Clyde. Clyde walked into the living room one day and was surprised to find it empty. Grandma would get up early every morning to greet the dawn, and by the time he got there, she was always in her seat.
Clyde knocked on Grandma’s door. When she didn’t answer, he gently entered the room. At first, he thought she was sleeping late.
Grandma had such a peaceful expression on her face as if she were in a wonderful dream.
He stretched out his hand to wake her up. It was only then that he realized it was true, for he had found the living room empty: his grandmother was gone.
«I think this place is mine now,» said Clyde to his father when he called to tell him the news.
«Aside from the sad circumstances, this is great news for you, son. I knew it was a good idea to send you to live with your grandmother».
Soon after, Clyde hung up. He walked around the penthouse and ended up in front of his grandmother’s favorite chair. It was right in front of the windows so she could see the view. One of the scarves she was knitting for the people at the shelter was still lying over arm.
Clyde ran his fingers through the stitches. The wool was soft under his fingers, and when he put it to his face, it smelled of his grandmother’s rose perfume.
He had a strange sense of emptiness. Now he had a penthouse, as his grandmother promised. All those times when he carried groceries into the house and fed the vagrants at her insistence, were about to bear fruit, but it did not please him.
A few days later, Clyde’s assumptions that he would inherit the penthouse failed.
«What does «penthouse for sale» mean?» Clyde jumped from his seat. «She should have left it to me».
The lawyer shook his head.
«The penthouse will be put up for sale, and the proceeds will be divided among five local shelters. Your grandmother asked me to include this clause in the contract she signed with the developers».
Clyde couldn’t believe what he heard! Grandma had completely removed him from her will.
«However, a supplement was later added to this paragraph,» continued the lawyer. «A portion of the proceeds will be used in your favor. But now I can’t tell you more. Instead, your grandmother wanted to explain herself».
The lawyer handed Clyde a handwritten note. He stared at his grandmother’s smooth, beautiful handwriting in confusion.
«Clyde, I know you only moved in because I lived in a fancy penthouse. Your choice was only motivated by greed. You will find what you deserve at the following coordinates…».
Clyde was confused. He entered the coordinates into the map app on his phone and immediately left. He was driving down Dallas until he found this place, and then all he could do was look at the building through the windshield of his car.
This house was as old as Grandma’s old house. Clyde immediately called his parents to tell them what Grandma had done.
«I can’t believe that old bat cheated you out of an inheritance!» Dad yelled on the phone. » How can she be so heartless and greedy?»
«Grandma wasn’t greedy,» said Clyde. «I was, and so were you».
He looked at the house and realized how cruel he and his father had been to his grandmother all these years. This house was everything he deserved after refusing to help renovate her old house and taking advantage of his grandmother when she lived in the penthouse.
«I’m glad Grandma did it,» he said to Dad. » She wanted us all to learn a valuable lesson. Too bad it took me so long to realize how important it is to take care of my family».