Five-year-old Jake would run away from his stepfather, Derek, to visit his mother Emma’s grave every day. One day, he met a much older woman who looked exactly like Emma there, and his entire life changed completely.
“Stay in there and don’t bother me today!” Jake’s stepfather, Derek, yelled and closed the boy’s bedroom door. Once again, he had some guests over and didn’t want the five-year-old to hang around them.
It was always this way. That’s why Jake discovered how to open the window and escape. Luckily, his stepfather had no idea yet, or he would do something about it.
Jake waited until the guests arrived and escaped through the window. He didn’t want to return ever again, but he had no one else in the world. His mother, Emma, died years earlier, and there was no one else but his stepfather. He had no idea what happened or where his birth father was. And now, he had only one place to go.
His mother’s grave was his only solace, and he often plucked flowers from the neighbor’s gardens to take to her. That’s where he went today. Luckily, they lived in a safe neighborhood in Virginia.
“Hello, mommy. I brought you some flowers,” he said over his mother’s tombstone. He couldn’t read perfectly yet, but he memorized how his mother’s name was written and where the grave was located.
He sat in front of the grass in front of it and started talking to her when someone else’s voice interrupted his endless rambling. “Hello, there,” a woman said, and Jake stood up to look at the stranger.
He didn’t remember his mother very well, but this woman seemed precisely like her. In fact, she smelled the same, like lavender. “Mom?” he spoke softly.
“Are you Jake?” the woman asked, shaking her head.
“Yes. But why do you look like my mom?” he wondered, understanding that this woman was not Emma.
The older woman reminded him of his mother. | Source: Pexels
“I’m Marina. I’m Emma’s mother, which means I’m your grandmother,” the woman revealed, shocking the little kid. For years, his stepfather had said he had no family left in the world.
“But I don’t have a grandma,” he repeated his father’s words.
“Yes, you do. And you have tons of family who want to meet and love you, darling. I’ve been waiting for years to talk to you. But I never expected to find you here alone,” Grandma Marina explained. “Is Derek here?”
“No!” Jake almost yelled. “He’s at home. He doesn’t know I’m here. Please don’t tell him. Can I live with you? I hate living with him.”
“Well, it’s not easy, but we’ll do our best. Why don’t you come with me for now?” Grandma Marina offered, extending her hand. Jake grabbed it tightly and followed the older woman. Even as a five-year-old, he knew that talking to strangers was bad. But this woman seemed to be telling the truth, and he felt a sense of security with her that he didn’t with his stepfather.
Grandma Marina took him to her house, where he met his mother’s brother, Charles. “Hello, buddy. How have you been? We haven’t seen you since you were a baby,” the man greeted, and Jake smiled tentatively.
“Why haven’t you visited me?” Jake asked, not understanding why he had no idea about these people.
“It’s a complicated answer, and you might be too young to know. But I’ll tell you. Your mother loved your stepfather so much that she decided to marry him. We told her it was a bad idea, and she stopped talking to us,” Charles revealed. “Then she died, and your stepfather didn’t want us to have any contact with you. He’s your legal guardian. Do you understand?”
“I think so… but what about my real father?”
“I’m sorry, Jake, but he moved to another country when your mother left with your stepfather, and no one has heard from him since,” Charles continued. “But you have us now, buddy. And this time, we’re going to fight to be in your life. How does that sound?”
Jake told them he didn’t want to go back to Derek’s house. | Source: Pexels
“Awesome! I don’t want to go back to that house. He is not the nicest,” Jake stated.
“What do you mean?” Charles prodded.
“He locks me in my room when people come over. He yells at me, and sometimes, hits me. I hate him. Please, can I live with you now?” Jake revealed, shocking both Charles and Grandma Marina.
The adults looked at each other and knew exactly what they had to do. They told Jake that he had to return to Derek’s house for a while, but they would be nearby with some friends.
Charles had a friend in the police force, and they all went to take Jake back. The boy rang the doorbell, and Derek answered. “What the hell are you doing outside? You were supposed to stay in your room! Come in, you worthless kid!” he yelled at the poor boy, not noticing that other people were watching from the driveway.
Then Charles’ police friend spoke up. “Derek Sanders?”
Derek finally looked up, spotting the squad car as well as Grandma Marina and Charles, who had their arms crossed and with serious expressions. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to take the kid, and there will be an investigation into abuse of a minor. Do you understand?” the officer continued, approaching and grabbing Jake gently. He pried the kid away from his horrible stepfather.
Derek sputtered. “That’s not true. I don’t abuse him.”
“We’ll see about that during the investigation. For now, this kid is going to stay with his grandmother.”
Derek didn’t want to let go. “NO! I’m his guardian. You can’t just take him. It’s all lies!” For some reason — ego, perhaps — he refused to give Jack up.
Finally, Grandma Marina spoke directly to the man who had stolen her daughter away and let her die in a car accident. “Derek, stop it. If you let us take the kid now, we won’t dig deeper into this. Otherwise, we will officially press charges against you because Jake had a lot of say about the way you treated him.”
“Fine! Take him! Whatever!” Derek screamed with a disdainful expression and went back into his house.
Jake moved in with his grandmother, and none of them heard from that horrible man again. Finally, the boy learned what it was like to have a real family who loved and supported him.
What can we learn from this story?
There’s a reason why kids run away. Kids who receive love and support at home don’t run away unless there’s something serious going on. Jake really needed to find the rest of his family, or he might have suffered more under his stepfather’s hand.
Listen to your family. Love can blind people, and Emma’s family tried to steer her away from Derek. But she didn’t listen, and her child suffered because of it.