The Resident (Machado)

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The Resident
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A married woman arrived at an artists' residency in the mountains only to experience eerie déjà vu as it reminded her of a Girl Scout camp from her youth and subsequent moments of personal revelation, illness, and social tension.

A writer is accepted into a residency in Devil's Throat, an isolated and mysterious location. As she embarks on her journey, she passes through a desolate town and bumps into a pimple-faced adolescent who helps her with fuel. The woman heads towards P—— Mountains, an area filled with memories of her childhood scouting adventures.

The Narrator — narrator; a married, successful writer attending an artists' residency in the wilderness; introspective, nervous, and drawn to solitude.

At the residency location, she found herself in constant discomfort due to Lydia, one of the other artists.

Lydia — another resident artist who the narrator instantly dislikes; a poet-composer, bohemian, and free-spirited.

Nonetheless, she participates in a photoshoot with Anele, another resident who was working on a series called 'The Artists'.

Anele — a fellow resident at the artist colony; photographer, friendly, helps the narrator; dark skin and locs.

They get to share their work during a late-night dinner, including her own novel-in-progress.

I suppose I must be,” I said. “I have no shame. I have felt many things in my life, but shame is not among them.”

The protagonist starts to feel troubled as she confronts her past during girl scout camp and memories of her failed romantic involvement with her friend's daughter. Amid bouts of mysterious illness causing lumps and sores, she also found the ambiance of the place familiar.

Towards the end of her residency, she begins to question her workspace and even her sanity in experiencing irrational events.

And what is through the forest?” “I cannot tell.” “And what is through the forest?” “I don’t remember.” “And what is through the forest?

Each resident departs, including Lydia, leaving them with only four people left. The writer decides to abruptly leave the residency early feeling horrified and scared, driven by the thought of a girl who evokes memories of her own scouting days. On her return journey, she anxiously anticipates her reunion with her wife who had patiently been waiting for her return.