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An older couple on a date | Source: Shutterstock
An older couple on a date | Source: Shutterstock

My Mom Pretended Not to Know Me When I Came up to Her in Public – Her Reason Broke My Heart

Salwa Nadeem
Jul 04, 2024
12:20 P.M.

Busy with her tech startup, Ashley rarely saw her parents. But one evening, a casual stop at a restaurant led to a shocking and painful revelation. Her mother, Amanda, pretended not to recognize her. What could have driven her mom to such a heartbreaking act?

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Hi everyone. I'm Ashley, a 26-year-old tech entrepreneur. My life has been a whirlwind ever since I launched my own startup.

It's been non-stop work, with barely any time to catch my breath. My parents live in the same city, but I hardly ever see them.

A woman working in an office | Source: Pexels

A woman working in an office | Source: Pexels

My days blend into nights filled with coding, meetings, and everything in between. It's been my routine for so long that I forgot what it was like to just live.

But one day, something completely unexpected happened. I was craving a burger after a long, grueling day at work and decided to swing by this little burger joint downtown.

The place was bustling with the dinner crowd, the smell of sizzling patties filling the air, mingled with the chatter of families and friends catching up.

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People at a restaurant | Source: Pexels

People at a restaurant | Source: Pexels

As I waited in line, my gaze wandered around the room, taking in the lively scene. Then, my eyes landed on a woman sitting at a table in the corner.

She looked so familiar. It took me a moment to realize why, and then it hit me. It was my mom, Amanda.

I almost didn’t recognize her because she was so dressed up. She looked beautiful but very different from the mom I usually saw in comfy clothes at home.

An older woman in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

An older woman in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

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It had been about six months since I last saw her. Yes, that's how busy my startup keeps me.

To be honest, seeing her felt like a small gift after such a tiring day. A smile spread across my face as I took a few steps toward her table, eager to say hi and catch up.

But then, I noticed the man sitting next to her. He was about my father's age, and I had never seen him before.

A happy man in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

A happy man in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

My mind started racing with questions. Who was he? Why was my mom having dinner with him?

Despite the questions swirling in my head, I continued walking towards them. As I got closer, something strange happened.

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My mom's face turned pale, and she quickly turned away, pretending not to see me. I felt a knot of worry tighten in my stomach.

We hadn't fought recently or anything, so why was she ignoring me?

Close-up shot of a woman's face | Source: Midjourney

Close-up shot of a woman's face | Source: Midjourney

Despite her strange reaction, I approached her, unaware that what she'd say next would break my heart into a million pieces.

"Hey! What are you doing here?" I asked, trying to keep my tone light.

She looked at me with a blank expression. Yes, my own mother looked at me as if I was a stranger.

"I'm sorry, you must have mistaken me for someone else," she said with a straight face. "I have never seen you in my life."

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I was shocked.

An older woman in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

An older woman in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

"Now, if you don't mind…" she continued. "We were in the middle of a conversation before you interrupted.”

I was speechless. I stood there, staring at her, my mind unable to process what was happening. My own mother was pretending I was a crazy stranger.

Not knowing what to say, I apologized and left the restaurant as quickly as possible, my heart pounding in my chest.

The rest of the evening was a blur. I felt hurt and confused. Why would my mom act like that? What was going on?

A close-up shot of a woman's face | Source: Midjourney

A close-up shot of a woman's face | Source: Midjourney

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As I sat in my apartment, replaying the scene over and over in my head, my phone rang. It was my mom. Her voice was shaking as she told me that there was a reason why she chose not to recognize me at the restaurant.

"Mom?" My voice was sharp, full of the hurt and confusion I felt.

"Ashley," she said, her voice trembling. "I’m so sorry. There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I never found the right time."

An older woman attending a phone call | Source: Midjourney

An older woman attending a phone call | Source: Midjourney

"Sorry? You pretended not to know me, Mom! What's going on? Who was that man?" I demanded. Anger and heartbreak mingled in my chest, making it hard to breathe.

Mom sighed deeply on the other end. "Ashley, please listen to me. I know what I did hurt you, and I'm so, so sorry. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation."

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"Handle what? I deserve to know the truth!" I snapped, feeling tears pricking at the corners of my eyes.

"We’re getting a divorce," she blurted out.

A close-up shot of an older woman talking on her phone | Source: Midjourney

A close-up shot of an older woman talking on her phone | Source: Midjourney

For a moment, I couldn’t process what she said. The word "divorce" echoed in my mind. My parents? Divorcing? I felt like the ground was crumbling beneath me.

"What do you mean, a divorce? Why didn't you tell me?"

"You’ve been so busy with your startup, Ashley. You’re always so stressed. We didn’t want to add to your burden," Amanda said softly.

I took a deep breath, trying to calm my racing heart. "You didn’t think I had the right to know? To understand what’s happening in my own family?"

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A young woman talking on her phone | Source: Pexels

A young woman talking on her phone | Source: Pexels

"We agreed to keep it quiet until we found the right time to tell you," she continued. "But that time never seemed to come. We didn’t want to hurt you, but I see now that keeping it from you only made things worse."

I was silent, processing her words. "So, you’re saying you were on a date with that man? You cheated on Dad?"

"No, it’s not like that," Amanda quickly replied.

An older couple holding hands | Source: Pexels

An older couple holding hands | Source: Pexels

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"Your father and I have been separated for a while now. We’ve both started to move on with our lives. That man you saw, his name is Mark. I’ve been seeing him, but I haven’t been unfaithful."

I felt a strange mix of relief and confusion. "Then why didn’t you just tell me? Why pretend not to know me?"

Amanda sighed again. "I wasn’t ready, Ashley. Seeing you there, I panicked. I wasn’t prepared to introduce you to Mark, and I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of him. I handled it badly, and I’m sorry."

A man in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

A man in a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

I could hear the regret in her voice, but the hurt was still fresh. "I don’t know what to say, Mom. This is a lot to take in."

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"I understand," she said gently. "I know I’ve made mistakes. Can we have brunch this weekend? Your father and I would like to talk to you together. We want to explain everything."

"Brunch with Dad too?" I asked, taken aback. "You two are still talking?"

Silhouette of a woman | Source: Midjourney

Silhouette of a woman | Source: Midjourney

"Yes, we’re trying to be civil for your sake," she explained. "We both love you very much, Ashley. We didn’t want to hurt you."

I hesitated, but curiosity and the need for closure won out. "Okay, I’ll come. But this doesn’t make everything better. I need time to process all of this."

"Of course," Amanda agreed. "Thank you, Ashley. We’ll see you this weekend."

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The rest of the week passed in a blur. My mind was constantly racing, trying to piece together the reality of my parents’ separation and the new dynamics of our family.

A stressed woman | Source: Pexels

A stressed woman | Source: Pexels

By the time Saturday rolled around, I felt both anxious and eager to finally get some answers.

When I arrived at the brunch spot, I saw my parents sitting at a table together, looking nervous but determined. I took a deep breath and walked over.

"Hi, honey," my dad greeted me with a small smile. "Thanks for coming."

"Hey, Dad," I replied, sitting down. "Mom."

"Ashley, we’re so sorry for everything," Amanda began. "We should have told you sooner."

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An older woman | Source: Midjourney

An older woman | Source: Midjourney

"It’s true," my dad chimed in. "We thought we were protecting you, but we see now that we were wrong."

I looked at them, my heart heavy. "I understand why you wanted to wait, but it hurt to be kept in the dark."

"We know," Amanda said, reaching across the table to squeeze my hand. "We just want you to know that we’re here for you, and we’re still a family. It’s just going to look a little different now."

A older woman gently squeezing a younger woman's hand | Source: Midjourney

A older woman gently squeezing a younger woman's hand | Source: Midjourney

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"We both still love you very much," my dad added. "Nothing will ever change that."

I nodded, feeling tears welling up. "I love you both too. I just need some time to adjust to all of this."

"Take all the time you need," Amanda said softly. "We’re here for you, every step of the way."

As we sat there, talking and trying to make sense of our new reality, I realized that despite the hurt and confusion, we would get through this.

A woman smiling | Source: Midjourney

A woman smiling | Source: Midjourney

We were still a family, and we would find a way to navigate this new chapter together.

Do you think I handled the situation well?

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Here's another story that might interest you: After using the family inheritance pot to enroll in university, my sons cut me off completely. On graduation day, feeling both proud and heartbroken, I returned home to an unexpected sight that changed everything.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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