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Her Office was white, with high rise ceilings, and a minimalist decor to it.

I would sit in a chair in front of her,

and we would talk for about an hour more or less.

Have you thought about getting a dog?

Too much work.

It would make you leave the house.

Thats the problem.

I dont know how you can stay here for so long without getting bored. Most of the people I know, except the
clinically depressed, would abandon in no time that state in which you have submerged yourself... Its been too
long, now.

Its been a few years.

I cant believe the passive tone with which you take this. There are a lot of interesting things you could do
instead of letting yourself die. Sign up for paddling, go out for a walk...


Uninterested, as always. I am sure that if would do something more than just rot here in this house, drinking,
would help you.

Sara, it seems the hour is over, I said emphatically. I got up and went straight to the door. As always, thank

We will see each other next week. Dont drink too much and think about what I said about buying a dog.

Yes, I will... With the door, half-open I indicated the next patient to come in.

I closed the car door, key turn included. I went inside my home. I walked paced around my alcoholic residence.
Wandered around is more like it. To my surprise, for the first time in a while I got bored. Seem like Sara was
exerting some influence over me, or maybe her suggestions had gotten to me.


The noise startled me. It came from inside the house. I was not far from the waiting room where I was.
Whispers. They seemed two men are talking. I started to worry truthfully.

Meeeaow! It came from behind me. The window was open, and there was a gray cat sitting on the windowsill.
The gray cat stared at me. It had yellow eyes; it was beautiful. The pussy cat suddenly changed its gaze towards
the rooms door. I could hear steps. I turned around. Meeeaow!

The brief seconds that followed are nothing but a blurry memory. Two hooded men had entered. With time, it
has occurred to me that it could have been a pair of pushers whom I had bought cocaine from a couple of times,
but I wasnt sure. They hit me hard in the head, and I fell to the ground.


I woke up startled. I was sweating, shaken, and anxious. The room I was in seemed very familiar. It had an
Ibizan air to it; it was comprised of white linen and furniture. The curtain swayed gently by the wind; I was
semi-nude in bed, I observed my young body, surrounded by my brown mane. I was in a hotel in Costa Rica...

Knock, Knock!

Honey!. That voice. It was HIS voice.

Knock, Knock!
Are you there?

Knock, Knock!

Go away! Tears ran down my face.

What? But... Is something going on?


Honey, I dont know whats happening, no matter what, I am coming in.

NO!! GO AWAY!! LEAVE ME BE!! I ran towards the door to block it. But it opened slightly.

Suddenly, I woke up again, startled once again and sweaty. I was in a room with white linen and furniture. The
curtain swayed gently by the wind. I looked around trying to recognize the place I was in, with a certain feeling
of angst. I breathed calmly. I was in a hospital room.

Hey, it seems you finally woke up, said a nurse walking by the door. The doctor will be asking you a few

I had been in a coma for three weeks. Those men had emptied my house, and the Police knew nothing about
them. Mi descriptions were too vague for them do something with, and despite how sloppy the hooded men
were they didnt leave any clues to work with to the Police. When I got to the mansion, it was all messy and
chaotic. They had even taken the alcohol and the drugs. I was still wearing a head dressing.


Curiously, the gray cat was still there. It greeted me slumped on the sofa among the debris. It seemed very calm
and comfy. I was going to throw it out, but first, it seemed a priority to check the extent of the burglary. After
taking a look around and confirming that there was nothing of value left, an image came to mind of my elderly
parents making their living in what once was their home. That did not do me any good, I started feeling sad, so I
went to the kitchen for some whiskey, having forgotten that there wasnt any left. There was the cabinet
pamphlet, which brought Sara to my memory. I immediately felt the need to speak with her. I took the car keys,
and I went straight to my Office.

Sara agreed to see me despite the fact, we had not made an appointment Sitting in the waiting room, as the
afternoon progressed, I saw every one of her patients walk in and out of their hourly visits, sad cartoons of their
respective emotional states. By nightfall, Sara came out of her Office, and my first impulse was to hug her, to
what she responded:

Lets get something to drink, and you can tell me, where you disappeared to for the last three weeks?

Sure, I responded in tears.

We went to a cafeteria close to the Office We ordered some tea, and we chatted.

Lets see, tell me what happened to you? after a long drink from her mug. This action diluted her professional
aura; we seemed closer than ever.

Today I want to be sincere with you Sara.

Well... It seems these extra hours are going to be more useful than all those months at my office. Go ahead.
The stay in the hospital had been good for me. The unexpected detox and all that free time, well... It got me to

I flashbacked from the burglary as far back as my parents country house, and I started telling her my life story.
From the rare gray cat with yellow eyes to that fateful trip, where this hell started. The recurrent dream where
my husband knocked on the door. The outrage. The flirting with drugs and the immense amount of years of
alcoholism. The bitter taste of an inherited fortune. The day I threw out all of HIS clothing.

She limited herself to listening to me, and she saved any psychological judgment while I told her everything, for
which I am grateful. She seemed worried sometimes, even scared at times, but always attentive. For as long as
the exposure of life lasted, we each had a couple more cups of tea. I notice she gave special attention to the
moments in which I mentioned my husband. The topic of outrage, the last thing I told her about, affected her
greatly. It caused a before and after effect in her attitude and body language. As soon as she noticed my story
was over, she started to talk, greatly overwhelmed by all she had just heard.

You have given me a lot of information that I have to assimilate. Before I say anything else, I should turn you
in for the outrage, but I am not going to mainly for two reasons: One because this conversation has taken place
in a non-official way, and I am incurring in malpractice. She remained silent for a moment, And the second
reason is that our relation is based more on our friendship than our patient-therapist relation, her words
shadowed by intense glow of her eyes.

Thank you, Sara, I said almost bursting into tears. She made me feel loved for the first time in a long while.

Dont thank me because you need help and as professional I am not doing a good job. She was a bit upset; her
hands were shaky. But if this the way it has to be... so be it. From now on you will have to do as I tell you. No
ifs and buts about it. I felt like a little girl receiving a reprimand. She looked at me like a pissed off, suffering
mother, even though she could have been my daughter. You are going to give me horrendous guilty conscience,
damn it.

Forget about all of this; I didnt mean to...

No! Shut up. The first thing you are going to do tomorrow is to buy the cat a collar. And dont even think about
buying whiskey! Keep yourself busy cleaning the house and making turning it into a livable space. Later well
start talking about tobacco.

Dont buy whiskey, you said?

NO! Didnt you hear me? NO ALCOHOL!

We left the place immediately parading in front of the clients who had noticed Saras hysterical state.

At the cafeterias door, she gave me her goodbye.

See you tomorrow, at your house. I want to make sure if youre going to do as I said or not. This suddenly has
turned into something personal. As soon as you fail me, I will tell the Police about the accident. No matter what.
My God... It seemed like the topic of the accident had her anxious. Surely, she felt like an accomplice.

The next morning I bought a navy-blue collar for what would become my cat. I named it Ash. I started to pick
up all the broken things in the country house, left after the burglary, and all the crap I had accumulated through
the years. Cleaning all this was no small chore, especially for a woman who quickly was turning of age, and
had turned lazy with time, though I have to admit that this activity was quite toning.

I thought about a drink a few times a day. Staying in abstinence was the least convincing part of the deal with
Sara. I was just about to get a bottle a few times but managed to contain myself.

I spent most of the day cleaning the house. It was almost 8:00 pm when Sara arrived, and I was putting a few
surviving items back in their place. Her visit was brief. She checked the house, and after confirming that
everything was in order, she told me this was the moment to incorporate other activities into my routine. I had to
search for activities that implied relations with other people or that were healthy.

And if can get both, much better, she said.

I had no other choice than to keep doing what she told me, and after helping me avoid the drink, to occupy my
time did not seem like a bad choice. At the least, it would distract me from my abstinence, that in a constant way
was haunting me.
I started by going to the gym. I didnt last long. I didnt like the exercise options they offered, also I was
surrounded by muscle heads, and the smell of sweat was not helping, either. Dancing lessons: Bachata, Salsa,
and even Zumba. No comments. Those things were not for me. I could not get in sync with rhythm or livelihood
of it. Every time I failed in any of the activities, Sara would not stop pressuring me to try the next one. I wasnt
having fun at all, but one at a time my habits were beginning to get better, I have a bit more vitality. I tried
running, didnt work either. Not even going out for a stroll. It bored me.

One afternoon, while on the Internet Sara made me get a computer and taught me how to use it. I found a
series of videos on Yoga, badly made. I think it was the relaxed expression of the young woman who created the
tutorials, what caused curiosity and attracted me all the same. I wanted that for me. I started practicing and saw
that I did not dislike it too much, even if could not do it right, just yet and sometimes it seemed I was hurting
myself. Soon I wanted to learn more and I caught the bug to join in a few classes.

And I did that. At first, I didnt communicate with my classmates at all, and I was pretty clumsy with the
exercises. Not to keep going, but the first time I got there and saw the facade, I wanted to turn around and leave,
observing the motifs that adorn it, I thought it formed a strange synthesis between a Chinese restaurant and a
gym. Since I was still battling with drinking and thus was still a bit an upset in day by day back then, the
exercises I did in my Yoga class proposed an alternative to my withdrawal syndrome. But I am not going to kid
anyone; the first month and a half, of the sessions, many time I felt the urge to leave the room and get a dose of
my fancied whiskey, that had accompanied me for so long in the past years.

Keeping Sara happy or avoiding her going to the Police about the accident were not cause enough for me to
agree to such a radical change in behavior. I had long searched for an excuse for everything to change, to hold
my head up high, and find myself again. Saras help was only the catalyst.

Practicing Yoga brought me unsuspected benefits. I recovered in a great measure my social abilities by my
relation with my classmates, while always being a little abrasive. To this day, I still havent totally broke free of
that aspect of my personality. I even got to go out with them at night, drinking soda and juice. Doing the
exercises, I sometimes could achieve a state of equilibrium close to that I use to have once. It was something
like peace. But I never got to reach a sense of stability. Guilt always appeared. Not to say that once the class
ended I felt accompanied by a continuous state of uneasiness. My nightmares would not let me be, either.

Every other day Sara would come to talk with me. Soon she concluded that the life choices I had taken, not only
were they originated by what happened to my husband on that trip but that there was more that I was holding
back. The restoring of my mental health and my happiness was not going to be that simple. While I kept going
to my Yoga classes and fighting with my abstinence, she was designing an alternative.

Little by little, I gained balance, but there was always a limit, that guilty feeling that stopped me from reaching
my stability, and that came straight from my subconscious mind. Despite all this, in a few months, I was more
like halfway to being a normal person. Sara also made me renovate my closet; nothing had a chance of survival,
based on it being old, broken or irreversibly stained. The image change also provided a change towards taking
my self-esteem into account. I bought clothing that would by norm be owned by an elegant woman with my

There was even a moment when I practiced Yoga at home. I had learned enough to manage on my own in an
effective manner. I wanted to stay as much time as possible in a state as close to interior peace, as a substitute
for alcohol therapy, whose dependence was not far from disappearing. Although the state of peacefulness in
which I had auto-induced myself into, often was interrupted by a radical angst. As soon as Sara realized that I no
longer depended on classes to continue practicing, she made a decision. We were having green tea in my house
when she told me what she had deliberated, as she usually did, without any prior consultation.

Its impressive the progress you have achieved. I seriously mean it. Congratulations.

Thanks, Sara. I would not have made it if it wasnt for you. Do not let what I just said go up to your head.

Dont worry; it has cost me too much to fantasize about the rewards. Anyway, you know as well as I do, that
this has not finished, yet. What is more? I consider that just know we have found ourselves, almost, at the very
starting point.
Seriously? One can tell you havent gone a month without a bath.

You little piggy! Not even after you stop your alcohol problem and practicing Yoga often, it seems you cant
get a clean start. You still have that something inside that doesnt want to come out.

Last night, I had the dream again.

... Look. I believe that what you need to be able to break free from the guilt and demonstrate that you are
capable of providing help is to assume a humanitarian commitment.

What? No.

Yes. Besides, I have been thinking, and it cant be just any task. Helping women in a state of vulnerability
would be twice as effective, to confront your feeling of impotence.

I dont like the direction this is going.

Sara reached around in her purse while looking at me in a disapproving way for my comment. She took out an
airplane ticket.

It is going in the direction of Indonesia. By the way, you owe me for the airplane ticket and hotel stay.

I remained silent while looking at the ticket, and then I looked at her.

Seriously? Why Indonesia? In honesty, it was one of those places where I had always wanted to go. She
didnt know, but that made things a whole lot easier.

Female genital mutilation, stoning... Extreme machismo. I dont think there is another situation where the
female gender needs more help than that one.

... What can I do to help women there?

When you get there, you will find out. I will share a contact with you that will guide you, dont worry. I have it
all thought trough. Saras French accent suddenly sounded so snobbish.

I showed some resistance, but it was useless, her conviction, and the fact that I was letting her help me without it
showing, made it so that not much later, I was in that country. Not even a couple of weeks later, and I was there
with Ash. The trip to Indonesia would be anything but touristic.