True Wealth

“I don’t pay you to stand around looking like a fish out of water, you foolish girl. Clear away the tea tray.”

“Yes, Mrs. Astley.” The maid curtsied and scurried out of the room.

“Mona, you may go now.”

“But, Mrs. Astley, I’m not finished.”

“Oh, you’re finished all right. And you call yourself a professional. Any one with half a brain could do a better job than this. Now, I’ll have to do it myself. Effective immediately, your services are no longer required. I’ll have to find myself another manicurist. You know the way out.” She waved her away dismissively.

Mona, red faced, quickly gathered her things and left.

“You’re not a very nice person, are you?” her young visitor remarked.

Niceties don’t bring rainbows,” she replied curtly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I didn’t get where I am now by being nice to people. Be tough and ruthless get you farther in this life than being sickeningly sweet and accommodating like your mother.”

“My mother’s a good woman and–“

“And she’s a housewife when she could have been a famous actress. I still can’t believe that she gave all of that up for your father.”

“She placed greater value on taking care of her husband and raising a family than on personal fame. Fame is fleeting.”

“Fame would have made her rich and even if she decided to leave the world of acting, she would be set up for life. No, she preferred to chuck that in for the boring, mundane world of domesticity. Your mother was a great disappointment to me. I had such high hopes and big dreams for her.”

“Do you want to know why my mother didn’t want to take the path to fame?” he asked.

“I thought love was the reason.”

“Even if she hadn’t met my father, she still wouldn’t have chosen the life you wanted her to and do you know why?”

“No. Why don’t you tell me, you tiresome boy?”

“She didn’t want to become like you. She said success and wealth have changed you into the cruel, unfeeling person you are now.”

“I’m not at all surprised that someone as dull as she would see me, the woman who used to be her best friend, a strong, ambitious, tough as nails woman in such an unflattering light. Oh, well, I have my riches to keep me happy and living well for a long, long time. What does she have except a dud for a husband, a tiresome son and an airhead for a daughter. She’s welcome to her miserable life. Now, scoot. I have a dinner party to get ready for in an hour.”

“You know true wealth isn’t how much money or success you have but how you treat others. People will always remember how you treat them. The Bible says, the generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. My mother’s wealth or riches has nothing to do with money but everything to do with the people whose lives she has blessed and impacted. They are her riches. And those riches are the ones money, your money can never buy.”

She rose from the chair, her eyes flashing at him. “I’ve had enough of you and your pious claptrap.  I’m going upstairs to take my beauty rest.  You can show yourself out.” 

Alarmed, he jumped to his feet.  “Mrs. Astley, there’s something I need to tell you—“

“I don’t want to hear anything else that you have to say. Now, kindly leave.”

He met her gaze for several minutes before he quickly walked past her.  As he got into his car, he kicked himself for not telling her as soon as he got there that his mother was gravely ill and had asked to see her.  It was his fault that the two friends weren’t going to see each other before…He swallowed hard, not wanting to think about his mother and how empty his life was going to be without her.

Several weeks later, Mrs. Astley saw the obituary in the newspapers that his mother had passed away. The funeral had been held at St. Paul’s Cathedral and there was such a large number of mourners ranging from friends and family members to people from all walks of life who wanted to pay their respects that the sanctuary was filled to capacity. For several minutes she stared at the words and then, she burst into tears.

Posted for July 2020 Writing Prompts – #19 – Niceties don’t bring rainbows

Source: Bible Gateway;

4 thoughts on “True Wealth

  1. And sometimes one should go straight to the point. Mrs Astley would have been more receptive to her dying friend than she would the son. I doubt his mother told him to preach to her friend. Just tell her, her friend is dying and she needs to see her and mama will take it up from there. I feel like boxing that young man ears.

    Liked by 2 people

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