Mom leaves daughter in wheelchair with stepdad, returns years later and doesn’t recognize her 

My mom left me because of my disability. She just disappeared, leaving only a note. It said, "I can't anymore. This burden took away my best years." I cried for months, but my stepfather helped me find a reason to keep going. He is simply the best; he took care of me and always treated me like a princess! Despite everything, I was happy because of him. Years passed. I studied hard and became the most successful lawyer in the city! I had a family and often went to my father's farm. Everything was fine until a knock on the door changed everything. At the doorstep stood my mother, just as I remembered her. I was shocked to learn the truth.

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Michelle’s world crushed when she saw her stepdad collapse on the sofa and started crying. She couldn’t understand what was going on until she noticed he held a note in his hand. As she navigated her wheelchair between the sofa and the armchair, Michelle managed to grab the piece of paper which disturbed her stepdad. He tried to take it away from her, but she still managed to read it.

It was her mom’s handwriting. “I can’t do it anymore. You know I never wanted children, but I tried my best to care for Michelle anyway. That burden has taken the best years of my life from me. But now that she’s sixteen, I’ve decided it’s time I pursue my dream of becoming an actress before it’s too late…” Reading these words, Michelle felt excruciating pain. It was as though someone stabbed her in the heart.

With tears rolling down her face, she turned to her stepdad Eugene and asked him, “And what about you? Am I a burden to you too? It’s not like I’m your real daughter so nobody would blame you if you dumped me somewhere like a dog.”

“Never!” Eugene rushed over, dropped to one knee, and wrapped his arms around his step-daughter.

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She hugged him back and started thinking of her life. She didn’t wish to be disabled and depend on anyone, but that’s what life served her with.

“Look at me, Shelly, and listen close, okay? This is…well, it’s an awful and shocking situation, but you’ve done nothing wrong. It will be tough, but we’ll carry on without her, okay?” Eugene assured her as she was trying to collect herself from the shock.

At that moment, instead of feeling sorry for herself, Michelle promised herself that she would do all it takes to become a successful individual. She was determined to prove her mother wrong, because she wasn’t a burden, she was just a person who was born with disability.

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Michelle graduated top of her class and was accepted at several universities, many of which offered her scholarship. She, however, was determined to purse a career in the world of film, and dreamed of becoming a successful film producer. But deep down, she dreamed of meeting her mother again and even imagined situations in which she would audition for one of the films she would one day produce.

Her stepdad was aware that Michelle wanted this career because of her mother, although she never confessed that.

Sadly, her college days turned into a nightmare when she got into an argument with a classmate named Lila.

Lila was a popular girl who wanted things done her way, and Michelle confronted her several times. One time, the two argued whether physical film was being superior to digital shooting.

“I think there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Although there’s a certain look and feel you can only get from physical film, digital allows you a greater range of editing options that might be more suitable for the project you’re filming,” Michelle shared her opinion.

“Only if you’re lazy,” Lila snapped. She didn’t expect the new girl in a wheelchair to challenge her opinion like that. How dare she? “Digital can never beat the authenticity of a movie shot on actual film. It’s just not realistic,” Lila said angrily.

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As the discussion became heated, Lila got angrier and once the class was over, she confronted Michelle and started bullying her together with her friends.

At one point, they pushed Michelle into the closet room and turned the lights off. It wasn’t until two hours later that the janitor found Michelle, alone and scared.

The following day, Michelle turned to Mr. Abubakar, a lawyer, and told him she wanted to sue Lila. Mr. Abubakar took the time to listen to Michelle and told her she had a case, but Lila was coming from a wealthy family, so she shouldn’t expect much from the lawsuit. Michelle wanted to proceed with it anyways.

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In the days to come, she stared reading law books, researching legal procedures and precedents for assault cases like hers. When she returned to Mr. Abubakar’s office, she brought a folder of notes and a legal book she’d loaned from the college library. He was stunned by the work she did. Everything was perfectly prepared, as though Michelle was a real lawyer.

“This is useful.” He smiled at Michelle. “I’d already noted some of these cases, but there are others here that I can reference too.”

“Great.” Michelle grinned. “I was a bit concerned it might be too basic.”

“No, you’ve done a good job here, just like a trained paralegal. Have you been taking classes in law?”

Michelle shook her head. “I just have a knack for research.”

Looking at the work she had done, he told her that she could be a successful lawyer had she studied law.

Michelle frowned. “What do you mean?”

“You have a knack for law. I noticed it while we were putting your case together.” Mr. Abubakar moved closer. “I’ve heard bad stories about the kids that go to the arts section of your college. You don’t belong among cruel people like that, Michelle. You could become a great lawyer and fight against the injustices in this system with me.”

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Michelle was intrigued but not that interested. However, once she won the case over Lila, she experienced even more bullying by Lila’s friends who held a grudge against Michelle because Lila got expelled.

It was then that she decided to quit studying film, and started studying law instead. Before she made this huge decision, she consulted with Mr. Abubakar to agreed to mentor her.

Seven years later, Michelle found herself moving from a huge law firm to opening an office herself. She was very successful, and even had money to undergo a surgery which was very successful.

One day, she placed her wheelchair at the corner of her office, and walked to the table. She was getting used to walking after spending her entire time in a wheelchair. She changed her style, dyed her hair blonde, and got read of her glasses. Michelle looked like a completely different person, so different that her own mother didn’t recognize her years after she had abandoned her.

As she was going through some paperwork, someone knocked on the door of Michelle’s law office. It was a familiar face, her mother Iris.

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But this woman didn’t look like a successful actress, which made Michelle believe that she didn’t make it in the film industry.

Just as Michelle believed her mother would recognize her and maybe apologize for abandoning her, Iris said, “Is it true that you help people for free if they can’t afford to pay you? I don’t have a job and I don’t have any money.” Hearing this, Michelle realized her mother didn’t recognize her so she decided not to reveal who she really was.

“I guess I was mistaken.” Iris rose to leave, but Michelle gestured to her to wait.

“No, you’re right. I just…” Michelle hesitated on the verge of confronting the woman but didn’t know how. It was easier to focus on the job.

“I do work pro bono,” Michelle continued. “Please tell me why you need legal help.”

It turned out that Iris drove drunk and crashed into the car of a wealthy businessman who now wanted to throw the book at her.

“Honestly, I don’t think I can get you off entirely, but we can push for a reduced sentence, possibly even community service. I’ll need more details but first, can I offer you something to drink?” As she returned with refreshments for them, Michelle stumbled. Iris caught her elbow and asked if she was okey, to what Michelle pointed to the wheelchair and said she was still getting used to walking. But even that wasn’t a hint enough for Iris to recognize the child she had given birth to.

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When the court date arrived, Michelle fought hard and managed to lower Iris’ sentence to a year of prison time or paying a fine.

“I still have no money to pay the fine,” Iris sobbed. “I’ll have to go to jail after all.”

At that moment, Michelle turned to the judge and said, “If the court will permit it, I’d like to pay the fine on my client’s behalf so she can go home immediately.”

“Why would you do this for me?” Iris wrapped her hand around Michelle’s wrist.

“You really don’t recognize me at all?” Michelle tipped her head. “This may refresh your memory.”

She then took out her mom’s note in which she called her a burden. The paper was creased from being read and crumpled up several times over the years, but Iris’ words were still perfectly readable.

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“This can’t be real.” Iris stared at her openmouthed.

“You can keep that, I don’t need it anymore.” Michelle started to pack up her things. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to be an actress after all, but I hope you enjoyed living for yourself.”

“Wait, Michelle. We need to talk.”

“No.” Michelle shook her head. “You didn’t even recognize me, your own daughter. And I know I don’t look exactly the same as the kid you walked out on, but come on!”

“Please, just let me explain.”

Michelle then left the courtroom and never looked back.

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