Featured October Monthly Writing Challenge

Aanvi Joshi

I’ve been writing since childhood, and I love writing stories, poetry and more. I write to spread joy, kindness, positivity, happiness and hope, because we live in a world which can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. When I write, I express myself and share my story, with the hope that someone somewhere will feel a little bit more heard, more seen, more inspired, and feel acknowledged; that is one of my favourite things about writing! I hope that my writing can make the world a better place; that is the power of writing!

The Cabin of Hope

I took it all in with a deep breath. The cabin stood in the wood, the sunlight streaming through the leaves of the majestic oaks, bathing us. It looked ethereal, heaven-sent and glowing. The air was heavy with humidity, traces of rotting leaves, morning dew and damp moss. This scenery might just send my writer’s block packing for a while.

My aunt had left the cabin to me. As I struggled with the large key, everything came flooding back: how I felt like a fraud, and how the block consumed me. The door finally unlocked, and a little push later, I saw something I never expected to.

An elderly man sat at the table, gingerly moving chess pieces across a board. He hadn’t noticed my arrival, and each move, he adjusted himself to play the other side’s piece. He had tufts of white hair sprinkled upon his head, and he adjusted his suspenders. An IV bag hung from a stand behind him, which he dragged as he moved. Only then did he see me.

My first words were, “Who are you?”. He looked slightly taken aback and proceeded to introduce himself. He was Oliver, and according to him my late aunt had told him to use the cabin whenever he needed. He explained that he’d been living here for a few months, treating his cancer. I felt a rush of dismay, sorrow, for this man I didn’t know, going through this battle alone. After introductions, I told him I was here to stay for a bit, and we agreed to share the cabin; after all, it had three rooms.

Time passed, and as I got closer to the world outside the cabin, the scene inside shifted. We struck up a friendship. Oliver would reel from the side effects of his treatment but I helped him through it. It became tradition to go on endless walks in the afternoon, as time froze, and we marvelled at the wonders of the natural world, the oaks shading us from the sun’s glares. More time passed, and as each walk chipped away at the dominance of my writer’s block, it chipped away at Oliver’s life. He became more lethargic, but the smile on his face remained. He knew that soon it would be time for him to cross over and he showed no fear.

One Wednesday, as we sat on the patio discussing the tribulations of life, he became silent. His eyes fluttered before closing, and I knew my teacher had gone. In death’s wake, he had left me a wealth of knowledge and advice, and taught me how to live. Even in death, he taught me what living was. Every Wednesday, we sat on the patio and discussed everything under the sun. Every Wednesday, I healed and became more whole. Every Wednesday, I felt less like a fraud and embraced myself just a little bit more. Every Wednesday was an end and a beginning, like today. I knew exactly what to write about!

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