I’m hunkering down to write my next book. I’m ready, have done all my superstitious before I start to write rituals to get myself in the zone. What did I do instead of start writing my non-fiction book? I decided to have a little fun with 1,000 words and write my first short-story. I hesitated to post it, but after showing it to a few people (my next beta readers?) I thought I would go ahead and make a huge departure from what I usually post and share it. I hope you enjoy, Looking Back!
Looking back, she realized it may have been her intention to leave what she knew behind. She had been dreaming of the diamond-glinted turquoise waters, and the sound of waves comforted her restless soul. She didn’t purposefully set out to leave the comfort of home, she just wanted to find some peace, some quiet, some insight into why life had unfolded into the daily grind of never-ending responsibility.
The advertisement for the cabin had been benign, but enticing. North woods rustic cabin with expansive views of Owl Lake. Firewood included. That was the draw, she was willing to go without indoor plumbing, but cut and available firewood were the luxury item that sparked her interest. She began dreaming of sitting by the fireplace; reading, writing in her journal, snacking on her simple meals and resting. She made reservations and was on the road the following week.
The drive was uneventful. Miles of cows, forest, big blue sky and puffy white clouds. The radio-gods were with her, playing song after song of beloved classic hits of her teens and twenty’s. Each song brought back memories of unabashed fun with friends in fast cars and smoking weed. The time of life when she was invincible. She had a screw-you attitude that she owed the world nothing and expected nothing in return. She wanted to be a free and easy spirit. For just a moment, before the next song played, she began to think about how it all went sideways. How did she end up, in a life that was continually unfulfilling, although looked envious to outsiders? She shuddered and left the thought behind as she belted out the next hit.
Her GPS indicated that her turn off was a mile away. As she drove the twisty turny dusty roads she noticed how thick and foggy the woods were becoming. Not the kind of fog that you can’t see through. This fog felt almost enchanted. She laughed to herself, thinking that she must really need a vacation.
At last, she arrived at the long narrow driveway. Parking her car and looking around she felt a sense of electricity in the air. The trees were a dense dark green, the ground was lush and moist with the dew that hadn’t been dried off from the afternoon sun. But there was something else that had caught her eye. The glint of Owl Lake that expanded from the back of the cabin. It was stunning. It almost looked like the ocean she had been dreaming about the past few weeks. It sounded a bit like waves, but she shook her head, got her bearings, grabbed her backpack and unlocked the door to the cabin.
She was drawn to the sliding back door. Drawn to the deck on the back, it was as if a siren song was playing in the distance and she was being called to the aft of a ship to look for mermaids. Dropping her backpack on the floor she slid the heavy deck door open, stepped onto the heavily wooded deck and found she was suddenly floating on a vast ocean.
Stunned at the sudden jolt of being adrift on the high seas, she began to scream for help. She was steady on the deck, but as she turned around the woods had disappeared, there was nothing behind her but ocean. Not knowing what to do, she threw open the sliding glass door, and stepped back into the cabin, hoping that she had just experienced the most intense hallucination of her life.
Back inside, she closed her eyes tight, said a quick prayer that she had been dreaming and quickly opened her eyes, hoping to see the woods through the front door and her car in the driveway. But all she saw was the waves of a turquoise sea. The sound of water lapping against the cabin that had suddenly transformed into a boat. The realization that this wasn’t a dream brought her to her knees. She sat down and with her head in her hands wondering if she had died. Was she in heaven or hell? Was she dreaming? What was happening? And then it dawned on her, that not only did her idyllic cabin in the woods become a watercraft, she had absolutely no idea how to steer or sail a boat, or for that matter where was the steering wheel. The boat seemed to be on a course, somehow steering itself. Was she on a ghost ship? As fear overtook her, she curled tight against the wall. Finding comfort in the steadiness of the wall, she fell into a dreamless sleep.
She woke up to the rhythmic rocking of the cabin on the sea. A bit disoriented, but with sea steady legs, she opened the deck doors to stand in the clear star lit sky. Breathing in the sea air she suddenly developed a knowing and trusting awareness. She decided to quell her fear and not think about what was happening until the morning.
As the pink sky appeared over the horizon she noticed the unmistakable outline of land. Her heart quickening, she found that the fear that had overtaken her when the cabin became a boat was tightening her chest and constricting her throat. Where was she landing and who would be on that island? She hadn’t given any real thought to the fact that the ship was being gracefully steered towards land, she just rode the calm seas all night long to what was now a large island with a beautiful white sandy beach and a green, steep mountain range.
The current brought the cabin to rest on the island. Off the boat and nervously looking around she felt a strange sensation, electric shivers coursing through her body. Looking up towards the highest mountain peak, she noticed a black owl totem, wood neatly stacked in front of it.
Hugging herself, she looked back towards the turquoise sea, the sun glinting like diamonds upon the water. She remembered!
Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph