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The Reunionist
Narrator Astair Ibrahim
Volume Into the Forest
Starts June 5, 2014 (14:59:08)
Ends June 7, 2014 (01:19:27)
Previous chapter Hunger
Next chapter "Senex in Library"

"The Reunionist" is the twenty-fifth chapter of Into the Forest. It is the fourth and final chapter to be narrated by Astair Ibrahim.

Chapter Quote Edit

"To undo the creature in us." - Simone Weil

Summary Edit

The chapter opens up on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 14:59:08 in Los Angeles, California. Astair impulsively steps outside of her house and drives over to Xanther's school. She assumes that Xanther was already picked up by Mrs. Fischer, but when Astair arrives, she finds Xanther waiting. Xanther runs into the car and asks Astair how she knew, to which Astair responds with "instinct." Xanther wants to get home as fast as possible, claiming that she is burning up again, but Astair wants to call Mrs. Fischer and let her know that she has picked up Xanther already. Xanther tells Astair that she has already texted Mrs. Fischer.

Astair wonders if Xanther's constant exposure to the cat is part of the difficulty of why she still dislikes the cat so much. She still wishes they had gotten their dog, but she knows Xanther would not be excited to see it like she is with the cat. Astair finds the cat to be creepy. When they pull up in the driveway, Astair asks Xanther if everything is okay. Xanther does not answer, as she is already running inside of the house. The door is wide open so she is able to run in easily. Astair assumes Anwar had left it open by accident.

When Astair steps into the house, she suddenly feels calm. The stress and anxiety she has been feeling suddenly disappears. She also takes note of how weird that is. She goes upstairs and finds Anwar standing outside of his office. All of the nearby doors are open. The two of them discuss the money they still need to pay for the dog they never got. In the evening, Astair helps Xanther feed the cat again. She remains confused as to why it will not open its eyes. She also still finds its age perplexing. Despite the vet saying that it is an elderly cat, Astair can't shake the feeling that it is still a kitten. She also can't shake the increasing amount of sadness she is feeling inside.

Later, Astair and Xanther spend some time together watching comedic videos on the internet. When they practice Tai Chi afterwards, the cat tumbles around their ankles. Astair notices that Xanther is starting to improve with Tai Chi and thinks it could be because of the cat relaxing her. Before tucking in Shasti and Freya, Astair closes all of the windows and drawers around the house. The twins point out that the windows, drawers, and doors keep mysteriously opening and they know that it will happen again. After she tucks them in, they ask her to leave the light on. Astair wants to ask them if they are having nightmares, but she would feel bad asking them such a question right before they go to bed.

At around 10pm, Astair begins working on her new thesis. She spends an hour reading through the various books she has collected in order to take notes. Afterwards, she starts searching for information online. The longer she spends researching, the more overwhelmed she begins feeling. She stops researching at around midnight and sorts through her notes in order to start coming up with a good outline for the thesis. Suddenly, Astair begins hearing tiny footsteps descending the stairs. Astair is not paying attention and continues writing on the paper in front of her. She looks up when she hears the sound of the cat hopping up onto the table, but when she does look up, she does not see the cat. She checks underneath the table but does not see it. She then checks the foyer, the stairs, and the kitchen but still doesn't find it. Astair lies down on the living room sofa, thinking she had imagined the noise. She reads a poem titled "The Reunionist" which has her crying by the end.

On Friday morning, Astair wakes up before anyone else. She goes for a short run and practices yoga. By the time she returns, Anwar has already left to drive the girls to school. Xiomara, their maid, arrives shortly afterwards. This will be Xiomara's final month working for the Ibrahims because she is planning on moving back to Mexico in July. The Ibrahims can no longer afford her services anyway. Astair decides to spend the rest of the day at the clinic. The idea of running out of money and not being able to visit anymore is worrying to her. While there, Astair speaks to a few different people. The first person, Mrs. Dewarthy, has been married for fifteen years and is unhappy. She had started dropping hints to her husband that she was considering having an affair with someone, and her husband started paying more attention to her. Their sex life also improved after this. The second person she talks to, Mrs. Penikas, is much less communicative. Astair is certain that neither of them use, or participate in, HomePorn. Astair isn't so sure about the third person, though. Ananias Fielding tells Astair a detailed story about an affair she had last year. When she asks Astair if she is grossing her out, Astair tells Ananias that she is not. Ananias continues with her story and Astair gets turned on over hearing it.

At night, Astair is still feeling horny. She wants to go down on Anwar, as she hasn't done that in months. When Anwar enters the bedroom, though, he tells her that Enzio just deposited $9,000 into their bank account. The two of them are alerted by the twins, who tell Astair that Taymor is waiting for her outside. Astair, Taymor, and Abigail all go wine tasting. Their other friend Gia also shows up to join them. Both Gia and Abigail find men to take home with them for the night. Taymor drives Astair home, and once they get there, Astair tells Taymor that she also met someone. Taymor is surprised by this, asking Astair if she is really going to have an affair. Astair says yes and tells her that the man's name is Jim Helhenny Joab. She does plan on telling Anwar about it, though. As Astair exits the car, Taymor hands her a bottle of wine.

When Astair enters her home, everybody is asleep. There is no sign of the cat either. She was planning on telling Anwar immediately but he is also asleep already. Astair Googles Jim and finds a Wikipedia page about him. She also researches the glass wolf glass on the living room mantel and discovers that it is part of a collection: there are eleven in total. The one Dov gifted her looks to be the biggest, though. She discovers that a smaller version of the glass was sold at an auction last month for $58,490.

The chapter ends on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 01:19:27.