Gary’s Nook

April 10, 2008
By Yana Tverskaya, Stamford, CT

In the little town of Green Hollow, MA, there lives a man by the name of Gary Longstein. His family has raised four generations in that little town. Gary’s family has been passing down his house since his grandparents gave it to his parents. Gary has no siblings and at the age of 78, couldn’t care less if he did. Gary lived with his parents until they died when he was around 50. His little family was very close. Now all his relatives have started to leave Green Hollow to pursue greater ambitions that the little town couldn’t feed. The Longstein family started to feel like big fish in a little pond. Gary and his second cousin, Earl, who is only six years younger, are the only remaining members of the Longstein family.

Gary’s home is very old. It is falling apart at the seams. There is mold behind the walls, the roof leaks at random places, the pipes make creepy sounds at night, the white paint has turned into a puddle of gray and brown blotches, the stairs creak, and the water barely runs. The house itself is a marvel though; there are five rooms, three bathrooms, an attic, and a basement. The backyard is a beautiful stretch of land that is surrounded by red oaks and pine trees. You could hear the birds singing every morning and occasionally a deer would spring out from the under bush and prance along.

Gary would not give up his home for anything. He spent his whole life living in the same house and he planned to die in it. Gary has no friends and has no pets. He separated himself from the growing industries, the new technology, and the new generation of people that have never heard of manners. In his home, it will always be 1954. Man never landed on the moon, cell phones were only science fiction, there is no Vietnam War, and communism stills rules in the Soviet Union. Gary’s nook is his own creation. He has his television set to the same channel, TV Land, which only plays the shows that he used to watch as a child. In his home he stopped time.

Of course, Gary is well aware of what year it is. He keeps a modern calendar in his living room that has all the dates of 2008 written with beautiful pictures of landscapes from all around the world. Gary was never able to leave the little town so he goes as far as his imagination would take him.

Gary never married, but he has been in love. The relationship ended when Helen, his love, discovered that his little town promised her no future and tried to persuade Gary to leave. However, Gary couldn’t give up his home and his memories, so Helen left him for New York. Afterwards, Gary gave up on love at the age of 35. For the rest of his days before retirement he worked at the local convenience store. He knew every body in town. People loved Gary but after he retired, he disappeared into his home and was forgotten.

Gary has always had a lifelong fear of new things. He never admitted to anyone but he always knew. Everyday he would scold himself for not being able to leave his home. Now that he is 78 years old, it is too late for him to even ponder over the thought of going somewhere new. The school that Gary attended is still there, however, with fresh paint, a new building attached, and completely different students, it doesn’t seem to be the same one at all. The convenience store Gary used to work in has now become a super market with over thirty employees.

Gary usually spends his days watching reruns of the shows he loves or taking long walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes neighbors would invite Gary to their homes but for the past five years, he declined every invitation. It seems that the world was moving to fast for Gary’s old feet to catch up and he felt like a fossil in this world.

Now that his age caught up with Gary, his bones have stopped moving as much and his eyes can only see with large glasses that hurt his nose when he wears them too long.

One day, Gary woke up in his warm bed on a cold winter morning and couldn’t get up. In a way, he didn’t even want to get up. He felt as if his body was finally concurrent with his brain and they both decided to just let him lay there. He didn’t feel hungry but he did feel tired which surprised him because he slept for nine hours. The sun was peaking through his window but it didn’t bother him. Gary felt warm and tired. He felt like drifting off to sleep in his bed again but something told him he should try to stay awake.

So, Gary went over his life like a film critic. Analyzing every mistake, smiling at every good memory, and remembering all the people he had met in his lifetime. Looking back on everything, he didn’t really do much. He let the love of his life slip away; he worked a meager job for a miniscule amount of pay. He stopped talking to his friends and he only hears from his family on his birthday. The good memories started to become outweighed by the span of nothingness that he realized was his life.

After thinking over his life, he started to imagine all the pictures that were on his calendar. The great pyramids of Egypt, the Grand Canyon, the wild African plains, the Great Wall of China, and all the rest of the images that corresponded with their selected months. He imagined that he went to all those places and met all the people there. Everyone was friendly and inviting. Everywhere he went he was smiling and happy. He was living the life he was always too scared to live. Now at the age of 78 he was finally living it in his mind and in the comfort of his bed.

Time seemed to stop for Gary. Everywhere he went, he stayed there for a lifetime and then appeared somewhere else. Gary stopped feeling his aching bones and his weak muscles. He closed his eyes and was somewhere else but his home. He was everywhere, and he was experiencing everything. Nothing concerned him anymore. His mind was taking him to a land of euphoria and that’s where he felt that he needed to be.

Gary drifted off into his heaven, never to be seen again by his family and what was left of his friends. His home was left alone by the town’s people in memory of one of their oldest citizens. He was buried in the cemetery that held most of his family in the little town of Green Hollow.

And while everyone was busy living their lives, Gary was still experiencing the world he couldn’t while gravity had a hold of him. While reality still abided the laws of physics, and while the sun would still set and rise everyday. For Gary, the sun never set, and the world never changed.

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