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The cabin in the woods…

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When the day rose on the cabin, the sun found her asleep, her face pressed on the kitchen table, pen still in her hand…

Months before, she barely remembered the said cabin. She wasn’t much into that kind of things… Nature, some would call it, as she was a city girl, and always had been. She didn’t remember, and didn’t care about it either. Who would have truly wanted to spend time hours from civilization, with no running water, no electricity and worse, no network? How sad a person did you have to be to want to be cut from the rest of the world like that?

She wasn’t a sad person. She had a great job, wore high class clothing, lived the big life. She was feared, and she was fearless. What she wanted, she got. Not always easily, but failure wasn’t part of her dictionary…

She had not told anybody when she started having doubts. Doubt was something new in her life, and she felt uneasy around it. She knew doubt was bad, and she had to shake the doubts away, by any possible means.

It had to be the exhaustion. She did work her ass off to keep the business rolling smoothly, having to make up for all the assholes that occasionally sabotaged their contracts because of their stupidity. She was just tired, most probably, and needed to slow down for a day or two, to get her thoughts together, and come back like the champion she was.

Looking down the twenty second floor of the building, she had remembered the cabin, and, oddly, it seemed like the answer to her doubts. Maybe if she spent a day or two away from all this, she’d see things clearer again.

And the next weekend, she was off, heading to the woods.

“How awkward” she remembered thinking, as her luxurious sedan drove through the villages, leading her to her destination. But she trusted her instincts, and after a quick stop at the last store before entering the woods, she followed the road she had last traveled when she was only a kid.

The first weekend was also supposed to be the last. But she had ended spending it cleaning and rearranging the place. It wasn’t as bad as she had expected, after all. And if she was to spend time with herself, to figure things out, she’d have to come back, once more.

Once more had become once in a while, and she had started understanding things. Doubts were changing into a mild fear, never leaving her. A fright, she had never suspected, but couldn’t deny. Her only way out was to hide it, and she wore a mask back to town, only as long as she could, before she ran back to the cabin, to be with her true self.

On weekends first. Friends were already worried about her sudden need for nature. Why on earth would someone trade chic gatherings, Champagne cheers and caviar on a toast for an old shack in the forest?? But she wasn’t the kind to be confronted, so they respected her peculiar ways.

Weekends became long weekends, as she thought she had well earned to take some time off. She worked twice as hard as anybody at the office anyway. It was time she thought about her first. Not as if her world hadn’t been revolving around her own person, but she needed the alone time, more and more.

When summer came, she decided to take a whole week off. She remembered, with a smirk, how her director had wondered if she was sick. “Business doesn’t take vacation” used to be her motto, so she could understand his polite inquiry. No, she wasn’t “ill”…

She wasn’t… She wasn’t… She repeated herself, as if it would make the fear go away.

And with the dawn of autumn coming, she had packed her car, as if she was leaving the city for good and moved to the cabin, not certain when she would drive back. She was tired and scared, and needed to shut herself from the world, for some time…


 

What she was hiding, with less an less success along the months was the frightening slipping of her mind…

First, she had started forgetting meetings, or clients’ names. Just fatigue, she figured, since there were so many clients and meetings to remember. She had kept a closer agenda, had started leaving herself post its on her desk, and her colleagues occasionally mocked her about it.

Surprisingly fast, the forgetting had spread to all kinds of details… Usual street names she didn’t recognize for a second, faces that felt familiar but she couldn’t put a name on, simple words that eluded her in conversations…

She didn’t remember any better at the cabin, but at least, there, she felt safe. There was no Q&As, no problem solving, no confrontation with yet another proof she was slowly crashing down. They would have pushed her in the company’s doctor’s office, and she didn’t need that. She knew all too well what was happening, she had seen it before.

And so, in the secret of the shack, she had started her own therapy, although she knew it would only comfort her momentarily. She had started writing her memoires. It always made her smile bitterly at the irony of it. Memoires….

She wrote most of the time she spent there. Throwing any and all memories she could think of, any thought that came to her mind… Thinking she could always read them back to get back in touch with who she had been. She wrote journals of what she was eating, day by day, and what the weather was like, seen through the old cabin’s kitchen window. Scared that one day, she wouldn’t remember the last.

“I worked so hard not to be like mom” she thought… Yet she had found herself walking the same path in the end. The more and more frequent holes in her daily life were just the same she had seen with the fast shutting down of her mom’s brain.

Alzheimer…

Unfortunately, that word she didn’t forget. And it kept gnawing her very little joie de vivre left.

For months, she had been able to go back to the city after a little break from the crazyness and the performing pressure. Not letting it show was a 24/7 job, explaining her urge to run back to the woods as soon as her job was done.

For weeks, she had writen furiously… Hoping working out her brain would make the disease give up before she did. There were notebooks everywhere in the shack. Each holding more or less interesting or important details of her life. Here, her first love story, there, how many toilet paper rolls were left at a particular date…


 

That morning, she woke up with a sheer pain in her back and shoulders. She had fallen asleep on the kitchen table…

She felt confused. Not the usual morning confused.

Looking at the last words she had writen before falling asleep, she got chills. There, before her eyes were pages filled with random words that didn’t make any sense. She had not been drinking, she had banned alcohol from her life months ago. And she remembered (or did she) writing thoughts that were totally clear to her at the time the pen was scratching the paper…

Time has come.

She was surprised at the sound of her own voice.

She got ready, and gave a good lood around the cabin before closing the door, leaving it unlocked.


 

When they entered the shack, they were all in shock.

Everybody had known her as a neatfreak young lady, and one that didn’t accept sloppiness from others around her. She didn’t cut corners round…

Yet, the sight inside the cabin was disturbing. The scatered food leftovers, clothes and more surprisingly the open notebooks, piles of paper sheets and post its hanging everywhere in the room were more than worrying.

And they knew their doubts were founded when they found what seemed to be the final note, left on the kitchen table, next to her favorite fountain pen…

I am sorry for not understanding back then, Mom. I am coming home, now!

 

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