toddlers hand holding the finger of an adult

Seriously Ill Grandfather Becomes the Only One Who Needs David after His Parents’ Divorce – a Short Story

When David was only 13-years-old, his parents got a divorce. The two had been constantly arguing and going through bitter fights for weeks. All with David caught in the middle.

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Woman in Black and Brown Floral Dress Sitting on Brown Couch divorce
Diva Plavalaguna – Pexels

David’s mom was moving to Alabama to be with her family, and there was no room for David at their house. The teenager couldn’t stay with his dad either, who had just landed a job as a deep-sea fisherman. So, the parents decided to send David to his grandfather, Terrence.

Naturally, David was upset. He had never met his grandfather, and not much was known about him, other than he lived in the middle of nowhere. Knowing his parent’s divorce was completely out of his control, he accepted that moving in with Terrence was his only option.

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Divorce Moves David to Mississippi

After disembarking from the bus, David noticed a frail man in a straw hat waving to him. Grabbing his backpack and only suitcase, he walked over to the man he assumed was his grandfather.

“Hi, David!” the man exclaimed. Terrence gave his grandson a surprisingly strong embrace, and the two-headed back to his place. As they walked the gravel road, Terrence told David about the local high school and asked if he was excited.

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A Man Wearing a Blue Hoodie son of divorce
cottonbro – Pexels

“As long as they have a track team! I am the best runner, and the fastest, back at my old school.”

“Well, grandson, you may have some serious competition at this school. We have quite a stellar track team, and one kid is very fast.”

David, angry that his grandfather would dismiss his abilities so easily, shouted “Whatever! I’ll show you! I’m the best! I always win!”

Terrence knew there was an important lesson David would need to learn, and hoped he wouldn’t let his anger consume him like it did his parents. Divorce is never easy for the kids, so, Terrence tried to teach his grandson something valuable.

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The Lesson

David stormed upstairs to his bedroom after dinner, leaving Terrence with several questions on how he could get through to his grandson. Divorce can seriously affect a child’s behavior and Terrence wanted to be gentle. When David came down for breakfast, his grandfather asked him why winning was so important to him.

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“I win because it proves I’m the very best! What a stupid question!”

“David…being the best means more than just winning a race. Sometimes it’s more about how you get through the race, than actually winning. Winning isn’t the most important thing.”

Hairless senior ethnic male in trendy outfit sitting near street wall and looking down in crisis
Nicola Barts – Pexels

David held a sneer on his face and replied, “If you know so much about winning, why do you live in the middle of nowhere in a run-down house, with barely any food? You don’t seem like much of a winner to me.”

Terrence looked at David with tears in his eyes and said, “I know plenty about winning and what it takes to really cross a finish line. I served my country, fought in a war no one could win, and did so with honor and comradery. It was the only way any of us could really win.”

Not caring about the words the old man was saying, David went upstairs to brush his teeth before school. As he opened the medicine cabinet he noticed several bottles filled with strange pills. David thought it was odd, but closed the cabinet and went off to school that day.

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Medication

When he returned home, he tried not thinking about his parent’s divorce. So, he remembered the pills and asked his grandfather if he was ill.

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“Oh, those are just for my old heart. Sometimes the ticker needs a bit of help when you get to be my age.”

“So, there’s no operation or anything that can help?”

Laughing, his grandfather replied, “Ah, well you see Terrence, I can’t afford the surgery required and my insurance doesn’t really cover much these days.”

Thermometer on Medical Pills
Pixabay – Pexels

David understood his grandfather was doing everything he could to get by, and still somehow managed to be a kind man. Even though the world wasn’t so kind to him. Thinking about his parent’s divorce made him upset, and he wondered if he would end up like them, or like Terrence. Just then, his grandfather asked him if he’d like to go for a walk and he agreed.

As the two walked, every once in a while Terrence would need to stop and take one of those little white pills David saw in the bathroom.

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“Don’t worry boy, it’s just my heart. These little pills help a lot!”

Divorce and the Race

While his parent’s divorce may have been distracting him from his studies, it certainly didn’t distract him from his passion for running. David spent every minute of the day practicing for track team tryouts. His coach told him there was some competition, just like his grandfather said as well.

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“I’m ready, coach! Let me run! I’ll beat the fastest kid you have!”

“Brady is our fastest on the team, and you’ll really need to run fast if you’re going to beat him. But sure, go ahead, let’s see what you’ve got!”

So, David squared up on the track with Brady and the starting bell chimed. The two ran as fast as lightning, and the divorce of David’s parents was far from his mind. As every muscle and tendon were pushed to their limits, Brady gradually increased the distance between him and David. Not believing his eyes, David accepted defeat when Brady crossed the finish line 4 seconds ahead of him.

White and Red Track Field divorce
Markus Spiske – Pexels

David trained for several weeks before the school championship track race was to take place. Knowing Brady was still faster than he was, made his anger swell. David was so close to catching Brady on several training races, but he never could quite beat him. Today was the day that would change. He might not have been able to outrun his parent’s impending divorce, but he could outrun Brady.

Choosing the Right Thing

Before David approached the track, his grandfather touched his shoulder.

“Remember, David, this isn’t about winning, this is about honor. Do the right thing and you’re always a winner, regardless who crosses the line first.”

Pushing his hand off, David looked at Terrence and said “Whatever! I’m going to beat him!”

So, the 8 boys took to the track and lined up for the championship race. The starting bell went off, and the runners burst forth. David held the lead for most of the race, but just as he crossed the 3/4 mark, Brady started catching up to him. A few seconds later, Brady pulled ahead and David shouted, “How?!” He watched Brady get further and further ahead, till he was just before the finish line.

Just then, Brady’s ankle twisted and he fell, scraping his legs and knees terribly.

Man with Bruises on Hands
cottonbro – Pexels

“This is my chance!” thought David, and he rushed past Brady who was rocking back and forth in agony. But, something sparked inside of David and he remembered his grandfather’s words.

Mere inches away from the finish line, David stopped. He turned around and went back to Brady who was still lying on the ground. Putting his arms around Brady’s waist, David helped him to his feet. Together, the two crossed the finish line and the crowd exploded in cheers.

Learning

His parents went through a divorce that caused him a lot of pain. However, David learned that a lot of that pain wasn’t his to carry. Kindness could heal much of what was needing to be fixed. When his grandfather taught him about honor and respect, David thought it was all mumbo-jumbo at first. But, when he saw Brady lying on the track, injured, he knew in his heart what the right thing to do was.

As Brady and David crossed the finish line, Brady looked at David and said, “I don’t understand…you could’ve beaten me today…”

“It wouldn’t have been a real victory. I want to beat you fair and square. My grandfather taught me that’s the only way to truly win.”

Smiling elderly black man in warm clothes sitting with headphones
Barbara Olsen – Pexels

David and Terrence are closer than ever now. After David’s display on the race track, he gained media attention and went through several interviews. One of the bigger news outlets focused on David’s inspiration for his kindness, which was his grandfather, Terrence. David told the news how Terrence was in need of medical treatment, and before they knew it, A fundraising campaign had been initiated.

After only a few weeks, the fundraiser raised enough money for Terrence to have a heart operation. Now, the two enjoy going on runs as often as they can together.

This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people is purely coincidental.

Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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