When he was young, he’d always joked about renovating the cabin in the woods. With his twin brother, their biggest dream was to have somewhere quiet to wind down after school.
But he was almost thirty-five now. His son was about to start middle school, and he had another baby on the way. He’d long buried those dreams of having a cabin, but one call from his brother would send him rushing for his tools.
James Keaton was your average thirty-four-year-old plumber living in New Hampshire. His life was a good one. He had a great job, family, and house.
His days were divided between these three facets of his life, and James enjoyed every bit of it. But one day, one thing would happen to his family that would turn his life upside down.
James had a twin brother named Terry. Like most twins across the globe, James and Terry had always done everything together.
They sat next to each other at the dinner table, on the bus while going to school, and in every class. But although the two were nearly identical in every way, they’d grow up to live very different lives.
As James took an interest in plumbing, his twin brother would become a renowned software engineer in their town, opening a company down in Silicon Valley.
Of course, his business would take off almost immediately, prompting him to separate from James. Well, that would be until the day he’d call James with news from his doctor.
Fifteen years had passed from when Terry moved to Silicon Valley. He was a millionaire now, and as much as James hated to admit it, this fact was one of the reasons why he and Terry grew apart.
But that phone call, an unexpected communication from Terry, would change everything in their lives. James was down by the lake with his pregnant wife and kid when he got the call. He’d expected Terry to be brief, as was his habit, but he got something else entirely.
“Six months,” Terry said over the call. “My doctor says I have six months at best. They’re trying all they can to help me.”
Terry explained how his doctor had diagnosed him with stage three cancer which was on the verge of turning into stage four. He was shaken as he continued speaking. But what he’d ask his brother would leave James speechless.
“Remember when we were kids playing in the woods?” Terry asked with a strained laugh. “Yeah,” James answered. They’d had this talk some years prior, joking about how much they wanted to renovate an abandoned log cabin in the woods near their childhood home.
“I wanna fix that log cabin,” Terry said. “Can you help me?” Of course, James said “yes.” He hadn’t seen his brother in a while and loathed that such dire news was why they were talking again. He would do anything to remedy the situation.
Terry flew back to New Hampshire, where he and James embarked on searching for the log cabin. The last time they’d seen it, they were juniors in high school. Would they find it now?
James and Terry managed to trace down the cabin. They were surprised to find it was still standing, although in an even worse condition than they’d left it. But as they planned the best course of action in renovating it, the worst happened.
James and Terry were about to order all the materials they’d need for the house when Terry’s condition worsened. He began coughing uncontrollably, and James prayed it would only be a cough.
But he saw blood in his brother’s palm and knew it was serious. With Terry’s assistant’s help, they got him back home and called a doctor. The doctor’s diagnosis would leave them in tears.
The doctor claimed Terry’s condition was worse than his doctor had stated. The cancer in his body had spread to most parts of his body, officially categorizing itself as stage four.
“How long,” Terry asked with a straight face even though his eyes were flooded with tears. But the doctor didn’t answer. He only requested to meet with Terry’s doctor while keeping Terry at the hospital for further tests. But that wasn’t the end of the bad news.
A logger came forward the next day, claiming he’d heard that Terry and James were considering renovating his family cabin. James couldn’t believe it. He’d never heard of anyone owning the cabin, but this man had all the papers to prove it was his.
As expected, he was looking to sell it. He knew Terry was a millionaire on his deathbed and wanted to cash in on the opportunity before it was too late. But James wouldn’t let such sickening news reach his brother. He stepped up, doing something that shocked even him.
“I’ll buy it,” James said. After talking it out with his wife, he asked the man if he could also deliver some building materials to the cabin. The man was disappointed that he wouldn’t deal with Terry but still sold the place for a reasonable price.
He also delivered building materials to the cabin, including lumber and cement. When James told Terry what he’d done, his twin did the unthinkable.
Terry woke from his bed, asking the nurses to take out all the equipment monitoring his vitals. “He said he would finish the project with me if it were the last thing he did,” James shared. Terry went to the cabin, asking James to allow him to renovate the space with him.
Although James insisted they bring in professionals to help, Terry said they’d do everything just the two of them as they’d planned while they were kids. But the week wouldn’t end before he was back at the hospital.
James and Terry fell to renovating the cabin. They worked as efficiently as possible, reminiscing on their days as kids playing in the woods they were working in now.
Terry apologized for shutting out James over the years, confessing his regrets for his actions. But James assured him he had nothing to worry about. The blame was on him too; he’d do everything to mend the bridge between them.
James and Terry sat back and stared at the cabin before them as the fourth day came to a close. They’d renovated it from top to bottom. The cabin was immaculate. A lifelong dream made a reality.
The twins would spend the next day in it, sharing meals with their families before Terry returned to the hospital. With the help of his doctors, he’d manage to contain his condition, living for many more years next to his brother and the cabin that brought them back together.