Theresa had just come out of the asylum. She wasn’t supposed to call it that but she found it was better to call things by their name. She had been there for five months, after suffering a very serious mental breakdown in her office. Thing had been thrown, insults had been hurled and the police had to be called to stop her from hurting more people. Things had really gone badly that day and she had to accept, in front of a judge, the condition of getting help in the insane asylum.
Her stay there had been largely uneventful, except for the screams she had to hear every single night, that prevented her from sleeping like a normal person. Besides that, she had to go to the shrink every single day, for an hour, and also to group therapy once a week. It was a lot of talking, of listening and of showing others how she felt and looking at people hurting from their pasts or presents. It was kind of tiring at the beginning, but it eventually became part of the routine.
Same happened with the meds. Her doctor had assigned a certain prescription to her at first, but then it was change several times during her stay in the asylum. The things she had to take, with a little sip of water, kept getting stronger. She had begun losing grip of reality. After having a crisis in her cell, she decided to leave the meds and just pretend she was taking them. It wasn’t easy because they checked everyone afterwards, but she was able to make one of her new friends take them.
The first week she spent outside of the asylum, she realized how mean that had been. Making someone unstable taker her meds could have been potentially destructive for said person and maybe even for herself. However, she knew that those chemicals would have never helped her at all. She just needed to get away from everything, she needed silence and calm, as well as some time away from everything that bothered her, starting with her job and her family. In short, she needed some sort of holiday.
That’s why she liked to tell people that her stay in the asylum had been uneventful, just something he had to do in order to please the society that had deemed her unfit to be in society. She tried to fake her hatred of the system and decided to get a job that wouldn’t be as stressful as the one she had before. Over two months after her release, Theresa was able to get employed in a flower shop, taking care of the plants and also attending costumers when the owner wasn’t around. It was a very calm environment, perfect for her. Free of stress and fear.
However, her family was still around maybe even more than before. Theresa had tried hard to make them understand she needed time for herself, in order to get well again. But they didn’t care about that at all. They were too busy thinking about how others would perceive them. Her mother had many friends all over the city and she had even received some gossip about her own daughter that Theresa just refused to discuss. She had no need or urge to comment on any of it with her mother.
Her father had been dead for a couple of years and her mother and siblings would always say, when she was around, that it was better that way in order for her not to shame the family name and her father’s prestige in front of the rest of the community. They behaved as if they were kings and queens or something very similar. It was a relief when Donna, the owner of the flower shop, asked her to go for a short period of time to the small town from where she received the flower shipments.
Apparently, they had been having problems with some of the plants and they needed to get them in line because Valentine’s Day was coming soon and that was their big day of the year for sales. Theresa had shown so much interest in the business and in the plants as themselves, that Donna thought it would be perfect to send her to represent the company. She would have to visit several plantations and tell them exactly what they were looking for, in order to improve sales and wealth for everyone involved.
She accepted the moment Donna proposed her plan to her. She left a week later, without telling her family or anyone else. She just grabbed a suitcase and hopped on the bus. She arrived there and discovered how beautiful real nature was, how calm really looked and how people lived without so much tension from urban life. She hadn’t realized how her rough lifestyle had been an important factor in the development of her emotional crisis. City life almost killed her.
When she arrived, Theresa was supposed to stay up to three weeks in the town, travelling to other parts of the region every day. However, she ended up staying more than two months. She only came back to help Donna with all the craziness of Valentine’s Day. Once the season ended, she went back to the countryside. No one ever knew what she did there but the truth was that she had been hired to do the same thing she did in the flower shop. The only difference was that she did it in the open; with real sunlight caressing her skin and that was priceless.
Her family looked for her through email, mobile and telephone, but they never got to her because she had taken a step back from most of the things the modern world could offer. She visited an Internet café once a week to read some news and chat with Donna and other friends, but that was mostly it for her technological life. Most days were spent in the fields, sweating from early morning to sundown. It was hard work but she loved feeling so tired that no thoughts ran through her mind.
She would be the first person to wake up, feed the chickens and pigs and then help in the field, doing whatever they asked her to do. She loved tending to roses, sunflowers and dahlias, but she would also work on a potato plantation and picking strawberries and grapes. It was always changing but it was good money for only one person. She eventually got to save enough to have her own little house, from were she could travel by foot to any of her jobs, no matter what she had to do.
Before her breakdown she had been one of those women that never touched anything without a real necessity. She had a chauffeur to pick her up from her meetings and then take her back home or to the office. She had a maid to cook for her and two assistants that helped her much more than she would admit to. She would be very cold to all of them. Cold wouldn’t be the word as she was never outright mean, she just wasn’t one of those people that liked to hang out with others.
Looking back at her past, she thought that woman in her memories was someone she couldn’t really recognize. That woman, through some sort of creep psychological magic, had been locked away in the asylum, with all the other crazy people. She was a danger to herself and others and it had been quite a difficult task to get rid of her. Because, before anything else, Theresa had to realize how bad everything was before taking the road to a better life, which is exactly what she did.
Eventually, she met someone she was able to fall in love with. He was the first person there, in the countryside, to know who she had been and how much she had changed. He praised her for that and acknowledged her might every day of their life together.
As for her mother and siblings, they kept trying to reach her but she never went back to the city. She just wrote them a letter telling them how her life was now much better than before and she had no need to go back to a place so toxic for her.