Woman Is Certain Her Husband Died until She Comes across His New Tinder Profile 

On her friend’s suggestion, Maria downloads Tinder to distract herself from the thoughts of her deceased husband. But things take a devastating turn when she matches with his profile, and they start texting.

Maria sat in her living room, her mind racing with the haunting images of her husband’s accident: his car engulfed in flames, Dan trapped inside and crying for help that never came.

Although several months had passed since Dan’s demise, Maria felt like it had only been yesterday. She missed his love, laughter, everything. Nothing made sense without him.

“You can’t stay locked in this darkness forever, Maria,” her friend’s voice snapped Maria out of her thoughts.

Maria wiped her tears and looked at her side, where Jane sat, consoling her.

“Life’s got to move forward,” Jane continued. “Think about…the debts. We need to figure out how to manage them. You don’t need to deal with it alone.”

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“I know…” Maria nodded, fresh tears streaming down her cheeks. “But…I can’t forget Dan and move on like nothing has happened, Jane.”

“Look, don’t hate me for saying this, but you’ve grieved him through and through. There is room for someone new,” Jane suggested. “Just…meet people. Go out to nice places. Maybe try Tinder?”

The idea seemed ridiculous to Maria. However, in the evening, she found herself making a profile on the app. She used a stranger’s pictures.

Maria then began swiping through profiles, and her breath was caught in her throat when she stumbled upon Dan’s profile. It surely can’t be him, Maria thought initially. Someone was using Dan’s pictures. She swiped right, and they matched.

Maria didn’t know what to expect next. She went to the kitchen because she wanted to make lasagna all of a sudden.

Suddenly, her phone pinged with a message from Dan’s profile: “Hi, what’s up?”

Maria held her breath as she answered, “Hi. Making lasagna. You?”

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“I knew someone who made excellent lasagna,” the guy replied. “I was looking for plane tickets.”

“Really? You’re planning a trip?” Maria asked. Her heart still raced with anxiety, but she pretended to be calm.

“Yes, decided to take a break. Can’t choose which country to fly to.”

“I’ve always wanted to visit Italy,” Maria replied. She wanted to go there with Dan, but he always thought the Italians were too emotional for his liking and that the climate in Italy was too hot for him.

“Don’t like Italy. The climate’s too hot, and people are too emotional. But…they know how to cook!” The man’s reply shocked Maria. How could he think exactly like Dan?

“I think Italy is wonderful,” she wrote back.

He immediately typed, “I want to choose a country with a more temperate climate and mountains.”

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“Do you like hiking?” she asked.

“Yes, since childhood.”

“My husband instilled a love for mountains in me,” she typed, smiling this time.

“Husband? Really?”

“We’re separated,” Maria lied. “I want to start fresh, I guess?”

“That’s the right attitude. In that case, want to meet up?”

The man texted an address. It was in the neighboring town, but Maria decided to go. She had to find out who this man was.

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At the cafe, Maria’s heart raced every time the bell on the door chimed. She waited an hour for him to show up, but there was no sign of ‘Dan.’ Then, through the cafe’s window, Maria saw what was unmistakably Dan or a man who bore a striking resemblance to her late husband.

He was across the street, walking away hurriedly. Maria panicked. She dashed out of the cafe and began following him. He was walking fast, and she struggled to catch up as she made her way through the crowd.

Then, he hailed a cab at the corner and got in before she could call out to him. She ran forward, trying to hail a taxi, but it was too late. His taxi sped away.

Between heavy breaths, Maria pulled out her phone. “Hey, when will you arrive?” She messaged him on Tinder. But no reply ever came while she waited for one on the sidewalk.

Maria went straight to Jane’s house. She had to tell someone what the heck she had just seen.

But Maria was caught off guard when she saw the “For Sale” sign hanging in Jane’s front yard.

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Confused and anxious, she pulled out her phone and called Jane. Several rings went through, but her friend didn’t answer. “It’s Jane. Please leave a message,” a voice then appeared through the phone.

“Jane, it’s Maria. Saw the sale sign. Please call me when you get the message.”

Maria tried to sound casual, but her heart was sinking with fear. Why was Jane selling her house?

Maria looked around and almost jumped when she caught Jane’s neighbor, Mrs. Gilbert, staring at her.

“Jane left for the airport two hours ago, dear!” said the older woman from her porch. “She was in a bit of a rush for her flight! Are you waiting for her?”

“A flight?” Maria’s voice croaked as she approached the older woman. “Jane didn’t mention she was going anywhere.”

“Moving to another country, if you believe!” Mrs. Gilbert said. “She was with a man. Although I didn’t see his face clearly, I can say he looked a lot like your husband. They could’ve been brothers.”

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A shiver ran down Maria’s spine. But Dan couldn’t just rise from the dead and run off with Jane. Could he?

With her mind plagued with negative thoughts, Maria somehow thanked Mrs. Gilbert and returned to her car. Once inside, she called Jane’s sister.

“Be honest if you’ve been hiding something all this while,” Maria said as she explained everything that had happened. “Something’s not right, and I can feel it.”

“Look, Maria, sometimes, grief plays tricks on your mind—”

“I know how it sounds. Just tell me what I asked.”

“Maria, I swear, there’s nothing,” Jane’s sister replied. “But I’ll call and ask the family, OK? Take care.”

The call ended.

Maria knew she couldn’t wait for things to be resolved. She started the car and headed towards the airport.

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As Maria arrived, she hurriedly parked her car and dashed inside the airport, her eyes scanning the crowds for any sign of Jane and ‘Dan.’

There! Maria spotted them in the distance. Jane, carrying her bright red suitcase, and the man, his back to Maria, were heading toward the security.

“Jane!” Maria called out as she pushed through the crowd.

But as they reached the security checkpoint, they seemed to blend into the flow of passengers.

Maria reached the security barrier just as Jane and the man placed their bags on the conveyor belt. She tried to follow them, but a security officer held up his hand.

“Ticket and ID, ma’am,” he said firmly.

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“Look, I need to get through. It’s urgent!” Maria explained.

But the officer didn’t budge. “Without a ticket, I can’t let you through.”

Maria watched helplessly as Jane and the man made their way through the checkpoint.

“If there’s a problem, ma’am, maybe I can help?”

Maria shook her head and stepped back. It was too late. Her best friend and ‘dead’ husband approached the boarding gate, showed their tickets to the gate agent, and disappeared out of her sight.

Maria stood there, watching the plane taxi to the runway and lift off, soaring into the sky until it was just a speck of clouds.

Maria was heartbroken once again. But this time, the heartbreak didn’t make her weak. She was bent on getting to the bottom of whatever was happening.

Maria left the airport and drove to a police station.

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She explained everything to a detective, “I have to know where my husband is and why he did this. I thought he was dead, but…I now feel like he might have planned everything.”

“We’ve looked into your husband’s accounts, ma’am,” said Detective Martinez. “And they’re currently frozen due to the outstanding debts. If those are settled, the accounts will be unlocked.”

“And if I sell my house, I can repay the debts.”

“I’d suggest you be careful, ma’am,” Detective Martinez leaned forward. “This is risky. You could lose everything.”

But Maria was prepared for whatever happened now. She sold the house, resulting in Dan’s accounts being freed. The cops were already watching the account for any activity, so all Maria had to do now was wait.

Her house was gone, and the apartment she was currently staying in was horrible in every sense, but she assured herself that it would all be worthwhile.

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Then, one afternoon, as she returned from the grocery store, her phone rang. It was Detective Martinez.

Maria dashed to the police station, where the detective informed her that the police had managed to track the activity on the accounts after they were unlocked. All the money was withdrawn in Austria.

“Austria?” Maria was baffled.

“Yes. It’s a significant lead,” Detective Martinez said. “But all the money’s gone. It was taken out in cash.”

“What does that mean for finding my husband?” she asked.

“It means we have a location to work with,” Officer Martinez replied. “But we need to act fast. I need to ask you: are you sure you want to continue with this? It could mean—”

“I know what it means,” Maria cut in. “I could lose everything. But I’ve already lost so much. I need to know the truth.”

Officer Martinez nodded solemnly. “I understand. We’ll do everything we can.”

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The days that followed were a blur. Maria took a part-time job at a local bookstore to keep herself busy. Then, one day, while she was shelving books, her phone rang. This time, Detective Martinez had good news.

“Your husband has been in touch with someone in Austria, Mrs. Johnson. We found an email. It was encrypted, but we cracked it. We think it’s about…relocating again. But don’t worry, we’re working with Austrian authorities. If he tries to leave the country, they’ll know.”

Maria felt a flicker of hope. While the fear that Jane and Dan might flee again haunted her, she remained optimistic.

And this time, fate was on Maria’s side.

One day, Detective Martinez called and informed her that Jane and Dan had been arrested.

“Your husband was apprehended trying to cross the border into Switzerland. We request you come to the station.”

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When Maria visited the station and sat across from her ‘dead’ husband and best friend, she felt like it was a bad dream. Jane and Dan had planned everything. They confessed to it.

“I cheated on you with Jane,” Dan admitted. “When my company failed, I was desperate. I couldn’t face what I’d done, the debts, the failure. I took out loans, knowing I couldn’t pay them back. And when it all became too much, Jane and I planned to fake my death. We paid off a pathologist to get the body of a homeless man. I burned my car with the body inside and made it look like I was dead. “

“We didn’t want to hurt you ever, Maria,” Jane said. “Sorry. We were…helpless.”

Maria looked at them, really looked, and what she saw was two people, broken and defeated by their own greed and fear. “But you’ll have to face the consequences of your actions,” she said. “I hope one day you’ll understand the full extent of the pain you’ve caused.”

Maria then got up and walked out of the station, her head held high.

She had a closure that would help her look forward to life. Yes, it was painful, but she was free. And she decided to start fresh.

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