As the rude woman complained about the new friend she had made, Elizabeth stood there, stunned. Could it be true? Did he really live on the streets?
There is no way Elizabeth would have believed it. In retrospect, she was unable to help herself from cringing when she recalled their last conversations. Despite all the warning signs, she had been too oblivious.
An elderly widow, Elizabeth was simply enjoying the last few years of her life. In memory of her late husband, she still lived on the farm they bought together, so many years before.
It was a lifestyle she adored, but it was not without its quirks. It was often lonely on the farm, so Elizabeth visited the city to keep herself occupied.
There was nothing Elizabeth loved more than the signature chicken nuggets from a nearby diner. In order to keep her mind occupied, she visited the place daily.
At least that way, she got away from the farm and got ample opportunities to socialize with the town’s people. In the end, it was better than nothing, but it wasn't the best solution.
365 Days A Year
Having no children or grandchildren to keep her company, Elizabeth's daily trips to the diner quickly became a blessing. It wasn't quite what Elizabeth expected, though.
It's true that the staff knew her well and frequently chatted with her. Nevertheless, it wasn't like lunching with her late husband. Her company was inconsistent at best.
It was a rollercoaster ride for Elizabeth's trips, much like the rest of her life. Having been a total socialite, she needed the interactions it provided.
However, there were times when she was very bothered by those very same excursions. The fact that she wished to lock herself up on the farm had nothing to do with that. This was something completely different.
The staff changed a lot, so there was never someone available for conversation. Additionally, it brought back memories of her late husband.
When that happened, Elizabeth was filled with dismay. Elizabeth needed the company most on those difficult days. It wasn't long before she realized her comfort would come from someone who needed her just as much as she needed them; the perfect arrangement.
It was Elizabeth's worst displeasure to eat alone. This was something she'd never done before. However, she was left with no other option after her husband passed away.
Truth be told, she hated adjusting at a moment’s notice. It was emotionally draining for her to sit alone at a table and watch life pass her by. Those days were about to be placed in the rearview mirror.
Bright And Early
Having never been to town before, Elizabeth had no idea that her trip would change her life. This was precisely what was about to happen.
Elizabeth was having a fantastic day. Inspired by the beautiful morning, she was focused on making the most of the day ahead of her. She had no idea what she was in for on that day.
Caught Her Attention
Elizabeth sat in her usual booth in the diner after placing her usual order. In the wait for her meal, Elizabeth noticed something around her that caught her eye.
A man was sitting a few tables away from her. It seemed like he was not enjoying himself, being alone.
Shooting Her Shot
In order to decide whether she was in the mood for a stranger's company or not, Elizabeth took some time to study the man. It didn't take her long for her to make up her mind.
Clearly, they both wanted a conversation partner, so why not talk to each other? As she shyly approached the man, Elizabeth reflected on her thought.
In the beginning, Elizabeth's conversation with the man was awkward, but when she invited him to her table, he suddenly became animated. As strange as that seemed, Elizabeth thought it was unlikely that anyone would be so thrilled about having company. Is that possible?
If only Elizabeth knew the truth. It would have been so much better if she had known who he was. She would then understand why he was so happy.
As Joseph introduced himself, he seemed delighted. In no time, he had sat across from Elizabeth, and they began talking about anything they could think of.
Joseph was a kind and caring young man, and Elizabeth learned this from their time together. Despite that, he had secrets of his own.
It had been a long time since Elizabeth enjoyed a meal so much. Having someone who genuinely cared about what she had to say made the day even more special.
However, Elizabeth was not prepared for what was about to happen. Was she willing to accept Joseph's secrets along with him? Once she heard the truth, would she walk away?
She had a smile on her face when she left the diner that day. Her heart was heavy with sadness, however. Is there a chance she will ever experience something like that again?
A delightful young man enchanted Elizabeth, and she was hoping to see him again soon. However, she had no idea how much he would impact her life.
The Following Morning
In the morning, Elizabeth was anxious to get to the diner. Her hope was that it would be another day like yesterday, but she knew the chances were slim.
As she wasn't sure what to expect, she had mixed feelings. The thought of eating alone again terrified her. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise for her.
What Was His Intentions
The moment Elizabeth stepped into the diner, she saw Joseph. A bright smile spread across his face as he waved at her. Did he have pure intentions?
It was impossible to tell whether the man was being genuine at the time. Some thought he was just using her. Comparatively, others believed he enjoyed her company just as much as she did.
As soon as someone ate with her, Elizabeth's days seemed brighter. It seemed as if she would have regular conversations with Joseph, and she loved their conversations.
When she first heard about it, she was anxious. Deep inside her heart, she always assumed he would not be there one day. Could she have been right?
A Regular Occurrence
Joseph and Elizabeth met daily, and Elizabeth knew it would become a regular occurrence before long. It was almost as if she had lost hope, for she was certain that would never happen to her.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth was mistaken. She ignored her gut's warning about the man. That would cost her dearly.
In no time at all, her meetings with Joseph had become the norm. Every single day, they would have lunch together. It was really enjoyable for Elizabeth.
Despite spending weeks together, Elizabeth had no idea what was going on. Knowing the truth might have prevented her from getting so close to him as she would have regretted it later.
Using Each Other
It would be her downfall at the end of the day. By paying closer attention, Elizabeth would have realized Joseph was not as innocent as he appeared.
Many secrets were kept by the man, and his daily meals with Elizabeth played an important role in those secrets. Both of them were using each other. However, their interpretations of that differed.
She Loved It
Elizabeth enjoyed lunchtime company more than anything else. As time went on, she became accustomed to it. By the time she got in her car in the morning, she was expecting it.
Then she made one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Unknowingly, Elizabeth played right into Joseph's hands by praying about exactly what he was praying about.
Not Reading Between The Lines
It might have been that which blinded Elizabeth from the truth. It might have been possible for her to see through the facade Joseph was putting up if she didn't need the company so desperately.
If she read between the lines, she might have uncovered the truth. In the end, he did make a few mistakes.
Her ignorance of this fact led her to believe that most of the talking was done by her. She received some information about Joseph, but it wasn't nearly enough for her to realize what he really was.
However, what he said contained hints. Her attention should've been drawn to hints she missed. The result would be a lifetime of regrets.
Although Elizabeth was learning a lot about the young man, she was happy to share her stories with others.
She knew how much young people enjoyed learning about the lives of the elderly. She liked discussing her almost-forgotten past. A surprise awaited Elizabeth, and it was something she never expected.
One day, Elizabeth received a surprise she will never forget. She wasn't able to find Joseph at the diner when she arrived. As he always waited for her, Elizabeth became confused.
As her fears were becoming a reality, her heart pounded in her throat. Since the beginning, this had been the one thing she had feared, and now it was actually happening.
Where Was He?
He might be seated somewhere else, she thought as she looked around. However, the young man wasn't there.
There was a feeling of dread rising in Elizabeth's chest. Her thoughts were mixed, as she felt both betrayed and concerned. What happened to Joseph? Could that be the reason he wasn't there? Did it go deeper than that?
Despite waiting two hours, Joseph never appeared. Every minute that passed, she grew more concerned.
In the midst of all the possibilities in her mind, something suddenly struck her. There was a possibility that he might have been known to someone on the staff. Was she prepared for the truth?
In order to find out if Joseph had been at the restaurant that day, she went to one of the waitresses she knew. Despite knowing the name of the man she was looking for, the waitress could not provide any information about him.
She didn't stop there, however. All the staff members she knew were asked if they had seen Joseph during that day. It had been almost a day since anyone had seen him.
Not What She Expected
In the midst of Elizabeth's questioning, a customer stood up. She approached Elizabeth, and she didn't act nice about the situation.
Everything about her was mean, from her look to the way she carried herself. It was clear from all her comments that she had nothing nice to say about Joseph. The reason for that was beyond Elizabeth's comprehension.
A Rude Woman
The rude customer asked. “Why are you concerned about the location of a homeless man? If you asked any of the other patrons, we’d tell you that we’re glad to be rid of him.”
As she looked around, the woman seemed to be seeking support from her fellow patrons. However, the nearby tables gave her a few disgruntled looks instead. Clearly, no one but her understood what she was saying.
The Truth Came Out
In Elizabeth's eyes, the woman could see the shock written across her face as she stared at the woman. The fact that Joseph was homeless and despised by these people was unknown to her.
But that wasn't the most bothersome thing to her. She was hurt by being left in the dark.
So Many Questions
Is that possible? Considering the fact that Elizabeth ate with the homeless man every day, how could she not realize he was homeless?
Her mind was filled with many thoughts at the time. As well as all the hints she had missed, such as his loss of job and his family's disowning, there were many more.
The thoughts in Elizabeth's head were filled with many questions. As a homeless man, how could Joseph afford to eat at the diner? Is there any reason why he did not inform her of his situation? Is there a reason why he stopped coming?
She became increasingly concerned about his safety at that point. There can be only one explanation for his absence if he really is homeless.
It Was Too Late
Her mind was racing with questions, but Elizabeth was unable to find the answers. However, she mostly wished she knew how she could assist Joseph now that she knew what position he was in.
With all the resources at her disposal, she was able to help a bright young man who was eager to learn. Unfortunately, he did not give her the chance to let her know he needed help. Now it was too late. Was it?
It was heartbreaking for Elizabeth to have to leave the diner that day. Her day was set to be filled with sweet memories and discussions. In reality, she got the exact opposite.
Her empty heart was filled once more with that feeling that had lain dormant since the death of her husband. A feeling of nausea overtook her.
The Exact Opposite
Rather than having fun, she experienced devastation and was left with more questions than she could ever answer. How would the widow respond?
Was she going to forget about the man who brightened her days? Was she going to pursue her quest and offer him a life he couldn't refuse? Is it even fair to give Joseph another chance?
As time went on, Elizabeth began to get concerned about Joseph after he hadn't seen her for a few more days. She became more concerned about the situation as she thought about it.
Negative thoughts invaded her mind, and she couldn't fight them. She was on the verge of tears due to those thoughts.
What To Do
However, what could she do? It was impossible for her to get anywhere with only a first name. In the absence of accurate information, the police cannot help her.
Yet someone had to know something about him, didn't they? Surely he had some friends or family members in town, didn't he?
After thinking about that, Elizabeth returned to the diner and asked around again. She learned that his sister was working there at the time he visited. He managed to get the meals that way.
Then why did he stop coming if that was the case? Is there really something wrong with him?
A Phone Number
He disappeared the day after his sister left. Their only clue was her phone number, which pointed them in the right direction.
She barely paid attention to her brother when he came in, so they warned Elizabeth that she might not be willing to help her. Their relationship almost seemed nonexistent.
Calling His Sister
Elizabeth didn't think twice about it. Immediately, she called the woman and asked where Joseph was. Initially, Elizabeth's sister was wary of her, but once she explained who she was, the tension eased.
Is she going to give Elizabeth the information she's looking for? Could her ex-coworkers have been right about their relationship?
She Found Him
According to Joseph's sister, he usually lives on 6th Street. It is one of the busiest streets in the city. In the end, Elizabeth found the man she was seeking after hours of searching.
As she watched him begging for scraps, her heart shattered. It really wasn't what she expected.
Despite the brightness in Joseph's eyes, Elizabeth could see the hints of embarrassment beneath them. Nevertheless, she was not going to leave without answers.
Joseph told Elizabeth the truth when she asked what had happened. The majority of his family abandoned him after he hit a rough patch in his life.
The only person who still cared about him was his sister. Joseph was not allowed anywhere near her home by her husband. Her only option was to sneak him in and feed him.
Her job at the restaurant allowed her to feed him and book him motels whenever she needed to. She lost her job when the manager discovered what she was doing.
A Heartbreaking Story
Elizabeth was heartbroken when she heard Joseph's story. As a young man, he was simply trying to make his way in the world.
Unfortunately, no one really cared about him, so he struggled through life. Elizabeth was deeply touched by this since she believed everyone deserves a chance, and it broke her heart to know that his family didn't want to assist him.
It was not something Elizabeth wanted for the man who kept her company. It was her intention to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Since a while now, Elizabeth has been contemplating this. Since Joseph went missing, it had been on her mind. Her coming clean at this time seemed like the right thing to do.
Joseph learned about Elizabeth's farm from her. Having become too old to keep up with it, it had fallen into disarray. However, a man of his age could make it look good again.
Despite the overgrowth in the fields and the lack of picking of fruit trees, Elizabeth didn't mind at all. In spite of that, she liked the fact that she had some company.
Would He Take It?
Joseph's work was valued by Elizabeth, and she was willing to pay him. In addition, she would provide him with a nice warm meal when he finished work, plus a cottage to stay in. It was a speechless moment for Joseph.
She offered him a job, but would he accept it? Maybe he just wanted others to feel sorry for him and his situation.
He Said Yes
The words took Joseph a moment to come out. His eyes filled with tears as he wrapped his arms around Elizabeth.
Having a chance to get his life back on track made him very happy. But Elizabeth believed that he was also happy for other reasons. It was a nice feeling to tell herself that he enjoyed being with her as well.
Willing To Help
The amount of work Joseph had to do shocked Elizabeth, so she took him immediately to her farm.
Even though Joseph had never been on a farm, she knew it wasn't going to be easy. However, she was always willing to help. Any department in need of advice could count on her for advice.
Initially, Joseph tackled the house repairs that needed to be done. They were numerous.
There had been a leak in the roof for years. There was a need to varnish all the windows and give the wooden floors some tender, loving care. Their journey had just begun. There was a lot of work to be done on the farm.
A Lot To Do
Joseph's next task was to tend to the fields. There had been no crops grown there for years, allowing the weeds to take over.
There were acres upon acres of soil that needed to be sown and planted. In the end, Joseph had to spend a lot of time whipping them back into shape. However, the farm still needed to be cleaned.
In the end, only the fruit trees were left to be taken care of. The apples and oranges were the pride of the farm. During the droughts, they were what kept Elizabeth and her husband going.
As a result of years of neglect, the area had turned into a disaster zone, making them one of the most difficult parts of the farm to clean up.
A Final Surprise
Elizabeth had worked on all of this for five years, and during that time, age had caught up to her. While she was initially helping Joseph, she is now barely able to leave the house.
Thus, she spent her days observing the young man she had taken in grow into a farmer and a person. She had given Joseph his life back, but Joseph had one more surprise in store.
A Last Gift
Elizabeth felt as if she was running out of time. It was her last chance, and she had only one regret. Her dream of having a grandchild never came true.
However, Joseph rose once again. Elizabeth was introduced to his girlfriend, Samantha, and told that they were expecting a child. At that moment, Elizabeth could not have been happier.
Upon learning that she would indeed be a grandmother, Elizabeth was prepared to take on the role. Love and happiness filled her heart and life.
It was a pleasure for her to help someone along the way, as she enjoyed the life she always wanted. Her feelings probably wouldn't have been the same without Joseph.
She Was Proud
Elizabeth had achieved what she had set out to do. Joseph was no longer living on the streets. As a result of his hard work, he became a fantastic farmer.
The farm was producing and selling again after he got it going again. It was running better than ever, thanks to the young man who kept her company all those years ago.
She Was Content
Within a few months, Elizabeth was holding Joseph's daughter. Elizabeth couldn't have asked for a better baby than this tiny one.
Elizabeth felt like she had a family for the first time in a long time. She had an amazing son who could carry on her legacy. Finally, there was a baby in the house.
Her Last Goodbye
In the evening, Joseph helped Elizabeth get to bed, but she refused to let him leave. Her eyes were filled with sadness as she held his hand tightly.
Elizabeth whispered, "I'm glad I was able to help you." "However, there's one more thing I need to do." The next morning, Joseph found her gone.
Despite Joseph's best efforts, it was already too late. Nothing they did could save Elizabeth from passing during the night.
There was one last trick she had up her sleeve. Later, Joseph discovered a letter. He was the beneficiary of her last will and testament, which stated that she had left him everything she owned.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.