Alvin worked hard to provide for his family, but his wife, Debra, blew all his money away. After passing out at work, he made a decision that put Debra in a challenging position. She had to work and sell her things to get by barely. One day, she ran into Alvin again, surprising her again.
Alvin and Debra got married when they were both 20. He was working two jobs, and she was a waitress at a restaurant in Miami. Two years later, she got pregnant and quit her job to become a stay-at-home mother. He loved the idea of a traditional family and decided to work harder to provide for his family.
However, when Debra delivered their second child, she became too tired and asked for a nanny. “I can’t do this alone anymore. I know you work hard, honey, but raising kids is also work. I never get a break,” she told him.
Alvin didn’t want her to be unhappy, so they started paying for a full-time nanny. She came from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it was a godsend for Debra. However, it was so expensive, so Alvin had to pick up even more hours at work to afford it. At some point, he worked 18 hours, six days a week, to provide for their family.
He thought the nanny would be temporary, but when he brought up the subject of letting her go, Debra cried until he agreed to keep her. It was a nightmare for him, but things only got worse. His wife started going on outings with some of her friends, one of which married a wealthy man and loved shopping. Debra pretended to have just as much money and shopped with her.
“We can’t afford all of this, Debra. This is a designer handbag. You’re going to have to choose between this purse and the nanny,” Alvin put his foot down one evening. Once again, Debra started crying.
“You have no idea what it’s like for me! I’m at home all day, bored and lonely. My friends have been such a solace, and I wanted this little luxury for me. After all, I gave up my job to raise our family. I gave you two kids! How can you be so cruel?” she whined and wailed in their kitchen.
Alvin didn’t want to fight and let it go for the night. But Debra’s attitude only got worse. Her shopping habits were financially unreasonable, and he got tired of it.
“Hey, Alvin, man. Are you ok?” his work buddy, Joshua, asked him one day. They were picking up boxes from storage when Alvin swayed on his feet.
“Yeah, I’m ok,” he replied, shaking his head to clear his thoughts. But he was not alright. He fainted right on the spot, with a big heavy box on his chest. Luckily, Joshua called an ambulance, and the company took care of the hospital expenses and gave him a little extra money.
The doctor said he was too stressed and needed time to relax. But how could he relax? With his wife spending all their money, he needed to work even harder. That’s when he realized what was wrong with his life.
“I can’t take this anymore,” Alvin said to himself, alone in his hospital bed because the nurse had not been able to communicate with Debra yet.
I’m leaving Debra. Don’t look for me. Good Luck.
Debra stared at the small letter her husband had left in their bed. She finally answered the phone and went to the hospital. He was quiet and told the nurses he only wanted to sleep. But when she woke up in the morning, she discovered the letter on his side of the bed.
She stood up in a rush and went to the closet. His clothes were gone and one bag. “This can’t be happening,” Debra told herself and fell to her knees. “NO!”
“Deb, you look terrible. Maybe you should take a break,” Debra’s boss told her. She had been working as a waitress at a restaurant for several months since her husband left. She had no time for breaks. Alvin did not answer her calls, and there was no way to communicate with him other than his Instagram. But he never answered her private messages.
Meanwhile, their family was going crazy. Naturally, Debra had to find a job, fire the nanny, and figure out what to do now that she was a single mother to two children. She never realized how expensive their lifestyle had become. But even now that she had scaled back on everything, they were barely getting by.
Debra sold all of her designer things, and that money helped a lot, but it wasn’t enough. It was never enough. She was only working eight hours a day but was on her feet all day. And now her boss had noticed.
“No, I’m fine, Mrs. Calahan. I’m sorry to worry you,” she told the older woman.
“Let me help you. I have a lawyer. You have to sue for child support,” Mrs. Calahan offered for the millionth time, it seemed.
“No, Mrs. Calahan. I can’t do that,” Debra said, noticing the look on her boss’s face. “No, it’s not my pride. I swear. This is all my fault. I was so selfish. So thoughtless. I can’t blame him for leaving us stranded. He worked so hard for years while I wasted everything away. He worked 18-hour days sometimes and I went out and bought luxury purses that are worth nothing.”
“Still, it’s not right,” Mrs. Calahan continued, her eyes full of pity.
“I’m going to get my family through this. I’ve learned my lesson. Besides, it’s only been four months, and I think we have a routine set up already. Our neighbor said she would watch the kids for free, and I’m finally learning how to budget our household. I’ll be fine without him. Don’t worry about me,” Debra insisted and continued her shift.
Debra might have been brave in front of her boss, but she walked home with her shoulders hunched. She didn’t blame Alvin and knew he had tried to talk to her about her senseless spending, but she still wondered how he could leave them like that. She loved him. Their children needed their father and not for the money.
“Hey,” a voice called to her. It was him. It was Alvin. After four months of no messages, no calls, no replies. But Debra knew exactly what he was doing because he posted on Instagram all the time. He had gone on trips around the country. He went to the beach and ate delicious food with his friends, all while they struggled.
Debra looked at him, and her eyes wanted to water. But she stopped them out of sheer will. “What are you doing here?” she asked, walking faster toward her house.
“I’m here with our official divorce papers,” Alvin said matter-of-factly.
“Oh… ok,” Debra replied slowly and grabbed the envelope he offered.
“I’m going to pay you child support and alimony. I was never going to leave our kids stranded forever. But I needed you to learn just a bit what I went through over the past years. I worked tirelessly for someone who didn’t appreciate it enough. I even passed out and was rushed to the hospital, but they weren’t able to contact you for hours,” Alvin said. That’s when Debra’s tears finally fell.
“Alvin, I’m so sorry. But you should’ve talked to me,” she voiced quietly.
“Maybe, but I took this route. Although, I do have to apologize for what I did. I realized after some time that leaving like that with no word was wrong, and that’s why I’m here to make things right. Our separation has to be official, and I’ll take responsibility for you and our kids. I’m sorry you had to work that hard thinking I wasn’t coming back. Anyway, look at the papers, hire a lawyer, and we’ll work things out about co-parenting the kids,” he continued and started to turn towards his car.
“Is there no way we can work things between us too? I still love you, Alvin,” Debra called out. He stopped but didn’t turn around.
“No. We can’t. I can’t go back to that. We’ll be civil for the girls, but that’s it,” he stated finally and got into his car.
Debra finally called a lawyer and arranged everything. Now that Alvin was paying child support and alimony, she didn’t have to work so hard. But she continued to do it and racked up some savings.
Years later, Alvin married another woman, and Debra met a new man. They both moved on with their lives, but Debra always wondered what their lives would be like if she hadn’t acted so entitled and manipulative.
What can we learn from this story?