Lost In Perfection: Modern Day Rip Van Winkle | Teen Ink

Lost In Perfection: Modern Day Rip Van Winkle

May 8, 2012
By Gracie Henry BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
Gracie Henry BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In life we discover it is easy to find fault in others; however it can be difficult to find fault in ourselves. Some people have a need for everything in their lives to be completely perfect and completely their way. I am one of those people. All the little things in life that are tossed to the wayside by many others are meticulously taken into deep regard by me. Everything has a place and everything should remain in that place. There is no reason for clutter. An organized life is a happy life.

For starters, I am a twenty-three year old free-lance photographer living in Long Island, New York. I am living the dreams of my childhood. I grew up in a home where freedom of expression was heavily encouraged. My sister found this expression to be liberating; she was not hindered by clutter like I was. That is one of the reasons I made my decision to move to New York and become a photographer. I wanted to be far away from the clutter of my past. I studied photography at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. After graduating from college I moved to Long Island and took any job I could get, from family photo sessions to photojournalism positions with local newspapers. One of the local newspapers I worked for had me photograph the President and her family. Yes, her. In 2016 the United States elected our first female president. She seemed so happy with her family. Just photographing her gave me confidence. I quickly realized how hard it was to make it in this career, but I got lucky and was approach by a renowned photographer and taken in as his assistant. That job elevated me into being a partner at one of the largest photography and modeling companies in the states. That is when the money started to pour in. I went from shopping at Forever 21 to dropping thousands at places like Chanel and Gucci.
It has been a year since I have spoken with my mom at my graduation from Syracuse in May of 2015. Because of my work schedule and my commitment to my job, I have fallen out of touch with all of my friends, both here in New York, as well as back home in Ohio. Friends matter very little in my life though. I was happy with all my nice things, especially my brand new and very large loft fully furnished with nothing but designer furniture, my brand new black and red Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with red leather interior, the perfect job, my diamond encrusted Chanel watch, and my walk-in closet full of designer clothing, shoes and accessories. With all of that, who needs friends? Most people dream of having my life. I have little responsibilities and I have hired people to care about those things for me.

The pride of my apartment is my gorgeous and rather tall ceilings with their crystal skylights. My maid is very lazy though, she never seems to clean the corners of the ceilings where the cobwebs accumulate. It is the little things like the cobwebs in the corners that go unnoticed by my maid that irk me and keep me lying awake into all hours of the night. One night, while I was lying in bed trying to sleep, I could hear those antagonizing cobwebs calling my name. I sprang out of bed and searched all over my loft looking for a ladder that was tall enough to reach. I climbed the ladder hastily, swifter duster in hand. When I reached the top of the ladder, I realized I was still inches too short to reach the web. I stretched and reached and stood on the tips of my toes. Right when I had reached far enough to annihilate my foot slipped and I plummeted to the ground of my attic.
I woke up from what had seemed to be only a few minutes of unconsciousness, but when I got to my feet and began to look around I realized something had changed. My worst nightmare was in full swing. There was nothing but toys, clutter and dirty clothes where my designer furniture had once been. I heard shrills of young children and began to think maybe I was in someone else’s loft, but that was impossible. No families lived in my building. At that moment a child ran past me. I quickly grabbed him by the arm and demanded, “Who are you? Why are you in my apartment? Where’s my stuff?” He told me the address and the date and with that he ran off.
Sure enough I was in my apartment, but to my surprise I had been asleep far longer than I had initially thought. I lost twenty years in idle slumber. As I walked around the loft that I formally called my own, I noticed photos of the family now living there. They seemed so happy. I was pricked by sadness. I could not remember the last time I had truly laughed and enjoyed the presence of another. I found the mother of the family and asked, “How can you afford this apartment its worth millions?”
She replied, “This apartment was bought for us by a dear friend. He knows we do all we can to support our family on little income. We might not have much, but we sure are happy.”
At that moment it hit me. It does not matter what glamorous things I have or how organized everything is, what really matters is being truly happy and having family and friends that love you. The family let me stay with them for a week or so in order to get my thoughts straight. During this time I called my mom to apologize for my lack of communication over the past years. She told me she thought it would be smart if I moved home. I found the storage unit that housed what had not been sold of my things and began to pack what I could and sell what I could not. Moving back to Ohio with my mom was the smartest thing I ever did. I found true happiness in a boy from my childhood. We began dating and after a year he proposed. We were married the following spring, and by the summer of the following year we were expecting our first child. My husband is a successful business man and I own and run a small photography business. Moving home meant I no longer had all the money and nice things I did in New York, but it gave me genuine happiness and a wonderful life.

The author's comments:
I wrote this "short story" for my literature class because we were asked to written a modern version of the story "Rip Van Winkle" This is a story written from the point of view of a nameless young female photographer and how she found herself in this chaotic world.

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