The Picture

A Job Vacation in a Cold Cabin

A cold cabin

Walking into the cabin was cold. The wind blew a violent breeze that slammed the door shut behind me.

"Woah!" I exclaimed. The cabin had its own feeling to it; an overall cold feeling. Walking past the hallway had an eerie atomosphere, like something else was present in the house. The steps creaked with each step as if they were marking every step we made.

"Honey, where would you like me to hang up your scarf?" 

"Over there is fine." I gestured to the coat rack. I suddenly got tired, as if all the energy I had just suddenly dissipated.

"You look tired. Why don't you go lie down and I'll make some tea."

"That sounds good dear." I go to lie down and while in the bed, I keep thinking about my last assignment. I'm a bodyguard for high end executives. The pay is shit, but I get by. 

My last assignment I had to guard an executive of Fortune 500 company. He was very kind, but didn't like to speak. I spent about 50 hours in total guarding but for some reason, that job was more draining than the last. Maybe it was the jet lag? Regardless, my boss noticed and told me to take a paid two week vacation so here we are.

"Tea is done if you want any. I made sleepy time tea so it would help you."

"I don't know where I'd be without you."

"Dead." 

We both laughed for a bit and she came to bed and snuggled with me and we both fell asleep.

I awoke before she did and I went out to the kitchen and decided to get some air. As I put on my boots, I look up at this picture. Hard to describe, abstract, with the face of a woman but I can't quite make it out. I shrug and open the door to go outside.

The wind was still, and the stars were as clear as can be, the moon full and the air perfectly chilled like a glass of champagne. I stand outside for a while, taking in everything, breathing in the deep air and letting it fill my lungs. 

It's funny, how often we take for granted nature and her beauties. Everything is so peaceful and crisp. I forget where I am, who I am, and everything just melts away.

The wind starts to pick up and makes outside less appealing, so I decide to head in and start a fire. Once inside, I grab some old newspapers and crumple them up and throw them into the fire-pit. Just then I get surprised with footsteps from behind.

"Jesus Christ! You startled me!"

"Sorry, was just getting water."

"Don't worry about it. It was a bit chilly so I figured I'd start a fire."

"That sounds quite lovely."

I pause for a moment and just get enthralled by the fire and watch the flames engulf the logs. I've always liked fire, it reminds me of humans; so passionate and full of heat and then once we lose our fuel, we slowly fade away, leaving remnants of our existence. 

"I'm going to take a shower."

I turn the knob in the shower and get in. The water feeling amazing, with it caressing my skin like temperature controlled rain. I tilt my head back and let the water just trickle down my face, shoulders, and back. My muscles start to relax and I shut off the water and grab a towel and wrap it around my waist.

After I wrapped the towel around me, I go to the mirror and wipe the glass so I can see my reflection. I look deep into the mirror, it's me but not me; my eyes aren't the same. Something is different, maybe it's the job, maybe it's me. I can't tell anymore. I push my hair back with my hand and just stare deep into the mirror for a while.

I put on my sweats and T-shirt and go to the kitchen to make tea.

"Did you have a nice shower?"

"Yeah, it was much needed and relaxing."

"That's good to hear."

She sat in the chair and rocked while she read Gone Girl.

The kettle starts to boil and a loud screeching noise is emanated and for a minute, it seems as if time itself slows down and everything is halted. I turn and look at the picture and for a moment, it appears to have nothing on it, and I turn and look at the rocking chair and she appears more and more vividly.

I start to think and try and process; "Did I come here with her?" "Was I alone?" "Do I even know her?" Nothing starts to make sense, everything gets blurry, "How long was I supposed to be here for?"

I start to go outside and suddenly everything around me feels heavy; as if there's a giant pressure surrounding me. I look at the clock and it's 3am. I take the tea outside and start to drink it when I get bombarded with fifteen messages from my boss asking me to accept one of five different assignments. I look at the calendar and it's been two weeks, it only felt like two days!

I walk inside quickly and I find that the woman isn't sitting in the chair anymore. I stare at the picture and there she is clear as day, in a scarf, but looking younger; as if she's five years younger.

As I pack, I realized that I forgot my toothbrush, so I walk into the bathroom and look into the mirror and see that I have more age wrinkles and I have a long grey hair strand, like I've aged five years.

When I walk to the door I reach to grab the scarf I had, but it's missing. I look at the picture and sure enough, it's there; no longer abstract, clear as day the woman looking younger and donning the scarf.

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