Richard Franklin was consumed by anger towards the world. He had built a thriving travel agency, but the COVID pandemic had brought it down to its knees. Now, Richard spent his days on the couch, indulging in video games, beer, and chips.
Luckily, his wife Sharon was a software developer whose workload had only increased with the pandemic. Thanks to her efforts, they managed to keep their house and live a comfortable life. Unfortunately, Sharon was overwhelmed and received no support from Richard.
One day, Sharon asked Richard for help with household chores. However, Richard didn’t seem to understand. “Help with software? I don’t know anything about that,” he replied blankly.
Sharon was taken aback. “No, Richard. I meant help around the house. You could take out the trash, vacuum, dust, and so on.”
Richard puffed up his chest and retorted, “So now that I’m unemployed, you want me to be your cleaning lady? Well, in that case, you’ll have to pay me!”
Sharon couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Pay you? But I do so much for you, without expecting anything in return!”
Richard was undeterred. “Fifteen dollars an hour is a fair rate, I believe,” he declared arrogantly.
Sharon was hurt and disappointed. She shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes, and retreated back to her home office without another word.
Richard lay sprawled on the sofa, absent-mindedly scratching his stomach. He was determined not to work for free. His mother had warned him before he married Sharon that she would try to control him and turn him into her slave.
But Richard refused to be anyone’s slave. If Sharon wanted him to do housework, she would have to pay him for it. He never stopped to consider that his wife was working hard to support him and that helping out around the house was simply his responsibility.
No, Richard believed that Sharon owed him for all the injustice he had suffered. And then, his best friend announced that he was getting married (again) and that the bachelor party would be held in Las Vegas.
That evening, when Sharon came home, Richard actually got up from the couch to greet her. “Sharon,” he said. “David is getting married, and the guys are going to Las Vegas for the bachelor party next week. I’m going to need two thousand dollars for the trip.”
Sharon gave Richard a long, sad look and shook her head. “I’m sorry, Richard, but that’s just not possible. Since you’ve refused to help me, I’ve had to hire a cleaning service, and I need the extra money.”
Richard erupted in anger, accusing Sharon of being stingy and ungrateful, and of taking food out of their family’s mouths to pay strangers. But Sharon just stood there calmly and let him rant.
“Are you finished?” she asked quietly. “In that case, I’m going to bed. Make your own dinner.”
Richard reclined on the couch, seething with anger. Sharon was becoming too assertive, just like his mother had warned him. But he had a plan to put her in her place. He was going to Las Vegas, and she wouldn’t stop him.
It was then that Richard’s gaze landed on Sharon’s most cherished possession, a beautiful Art Deco Lalique vase with a clear crystal that gradually frosted to a pale sea-green, resembling a frozen wave.
Richard conducted an online search and discovered that Sharon’s vase was worth at least three thousand dollars, more than enough to fund his trip to Vegas.
The next day, when Sharon returned home, Richard was lounging on the couch. He looked up at her and greeted her with a sly and unpleasant grin. “Hey, honey, how was your day?” he asked.
“It was great, honey,” Sharon replied. “How was yours?”
Richard’s grin widened into a gloating smile. “Profitable!” he said.
Sharon smiled back, but her expression soon turned to a frown. “Something’s different,” she said. “What’s changed?” Then she noticed the empty spot where her grandmother’s vase had stood, and her face drained of color.
“The vase!” she exclaimed. “What happened? Did it break?”
“No,” Richard replied icily. “Since you wouldn’t give me the money, I sold it to pay for my Vegas trip with the guys.”
Sharon let out a gasp and clutched her left shoulder, rubbing it as she stumbled towards the nearest chair. She sat down and whispered in disbelief, “How could you do this to me? You know that vase was all I had left from my grandmother. How could you sell it?”
Richard remained focused on the game on TV and turned up the volume, ignoring Sharon’s protests. He believed that everything in the house was his to dispose of as he pleased. As Sharon continued to murmur, Richard heard a muffled thump and looked over to see her lying on the floor.
“Damn it, Sharon!” he yelled. “I don’t need your drama. Get up and get me a beer!” But Sharon remained still, and her breathing was shallow. Even after nudging her with his foot, she didn’t respond.
At halftime, Richard went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer. Sharon was still on the floor, and her condition seemed to be worsening. Richard nudged her again, but she still didn’t move.
After finishing his beer, Richard finally called 911 and requested an ambulance. He waited with a second beer in his hand while the paramedics arrived. When they knocked on the door, Richard let them in and showed them where Sharon was lying on the floor.
The paramedics quickly went over to Sharon, and one of them checked her pulse. “She’s in cardiac arrest!” he shouted, and they immediately began to administer CPR.
Richard was horrified to realize that Sharon wasn’t faking her sickness. The paramedics did CPR and shocked her heart before rushing her to the hospital.
Richard felt devastated as he realized he had been callous towards the woman who had supported him through thick and thin. He had spent the time drinking beer and watching football while Sharon struggled for breath. He had treated her poorly despite her unwavering love and support for him.
As Richard sat beside Sharon in the intensive care unit the next morning, he placed a beautiful crystal vase filled with lilies-of-the-valley beside her bed. He held her hand and begged for her forgiveness, telling her that he had retrieved the vase and canceled his trip to Las Vegas.
He confessed that he could not bear the thought of losing her and that it had taken nearly losing her to understand how much he loved her. It took some time, but Richard worked hard to regain Sharon’s trust and became a better, happier person as a result.