Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
Nothing bad could possibly happen to me today. I got the job I wanted and now I’m sending you some of that good luck. Whoever you are, you could probably use it. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me and not a lot of time to chat but from one winner to another, if I can make it, you can make it. Your dreams are obtainable if only you try.
My wife and I both design furniture. It’s good work, but we’re not not in it for the money. We consider ourselves artists. Our house is decorated in her designs. A piece of her lingers in every corner of the house. Patricia put together the cuckoo clock that wakes me up every morning, and every chair of our house. I’d waited so damn patiently for B.H. Home Co. to see the merit in my blueprints (considering with all due respect to my wife, my work has more muscle in it), and now it’ll finally be my time to shine, just like my mom before me. Her work is even more renowned than ours.
Martha V. Whittaker, my mother has her pieces on display in the B.H. Museum. She’d lived a full life and had such a careful eye for design. The oldest home furnisher to have her own collection (92), she’s got quite a sought after line, but I don’t just aim to impress. I’ve aimed to design a collection that can be used for centuries after I’m gone. I want the color to grab your attention, the plush of the seating to draw you in, the construction of the furniture to be classy yet modern… I’m not trying to do anything that anyone’s not already done, just better than anyone’s already done.
I’ve had my plans drawn up since I was eight. No one could want this more than I do.
Well… except Patricia. We met through a forum, actually, for other designers to post their home-made projects. I was a college student who had only jotted down sketches of tables in my spare time. She was an established seller on Etsy. We fell in love quick and easy and she managed to see the charm in my blueprints even before anyone else had. My little pencil scrawls of lavish recliners and adjoining side-tables had managed to interest her. Patricia was hard to impress and I looked up to her.
Not anymore, now that I’ve got more reassurance in my own work, but… I still adore seeing her collection around the house. There’s only one piece we couldn’t keep. Her sister, Agatha, insisted that she be allowed to keep the nightstand. Threw a fit, she did over it. Agatha, who never supported her sister’s dreams just had to keep the deep mauve nightstand, carved with absolute brilliance. Said it went best with her carpet.
Whatever, fuck Agatha. She’s getting none of my series.
The point is that if you’re good at something, your detractors will never give you the time of day until they want what you have, so you shouldn’t give up just because they don’t understand. You cling to your dreams until you can make them real. My wife’s clock wakes me up every morning and insists that I tackle the day. It screams in her voice. It screams until I can’t see and I’m waking up in the shower with all of my clothes on. Sometimes I can’t remember falling asleep at all, but I’ve got to get to work. Your dreams don’t wait. On the days that I realize I forgot my car at home, she reminds me I can just take the train home.
You need a partner in your life who understands your goals, who will keep you on the straight and narrow to achieving them. There’s no taking days off when your future is at stake, and Agatha wouldn’t know about the future. She even refused to let her daughter start her own collection. Some supportive mother she is.
None of my children have shown interest in becoming home designers. Max wants to be a writer. Matthew’s sucked into his video games, but he’s seven, so you know how that is. Stephanie, at least, has thought about it once or twice. She’s a big girl now—seventeen in fact, but she’s got a lot on her plate now with taking care of Max and Matthew. Stephanie has class today but offered to drive me up to B.H. Home Co. to hand in my mock-ups. The design process can start in earnest after that. We’re in the car when she asks me when my collection will be ready for pick-up.
I tell her it should be two to four weeks. She rolls her eyes. This annoys her but she’ll get over it, I’m sure.
Once I’m dropped off, she gives me the longest hug she’s ever given. She’s shaking like a leaf and almost won’t let me go. I haven’t seen her this clingy since Patricia went to work. Stephanie’s always been the baby even if she’s the oldest. She often sits beside Patricia’s couch and sobs into the leather seating, pinching the legs between her own as she heaves into it. She isn’t quite so embarrassing here and she lets me go once I kiss her once on the cheek.
She says she hopes that they like my designs. I smile at her. When I’d asked her if she wanted to see my mock-ups for the collection, she said she’d pass. Probably wants to wait until they’re finished. She’s a sweet enough kid. I know she means well.
From there, I step inside B.H. Home Co.’s headquarters. The door frames are all around eight foot tall. The ceilings dwarf me and the clipboard I’m handed sits like a brick in my hands. I take a few seconds to climb into one of the chairs in the waiting room as I sign my name across a couple sheets of paper—waivers and all that. Once I’m done, the receptionist reaches down and over her desk to take the clipboard back from where it’s dangling in my palm. Impatient, I would guess. I’m directed down a hall that she points at lazily without bothering to stand up, her long fingers brushing against a sign on the ceiling that reads, “Mock-Up Dropoffs,” with an arrow guiding the way.
The moment of truth, I think to myself, as I make my way down the hall. Lining the walls are successful blueprints and the designers who birthed them: pictures of men with their insides pulled through a hole; pictures of women with their heads caved in. One design catches my attention as I pause in awe to behold what appears to be a crudely drawn mock-up of a hammock. It’s drawn in purple crayon by Ricky, aged 10. Beside the mock-up is Ricky, his muscles torn from his corpse. The fat and tissue has been layered and sewn together with bone fixtures holding the edges of the hammock together.
My heart fills with envy. If only they’d been accepting child designers when I was that young. I could’ve been a prodigy. I start to walk faster. Why wasn’t I? The other designs slide by. I run until I’m shaking. By the time I’ve crashed into the mock-up office, my arms and legs are snatched by a sea of too-long fingers, like eels or fishing lures. They take to measuring the space between my heel and my rib cage.
I can’t shake the thought that it’s not fair. It’s not fair! I could’ve had a collection at eight. I could’ve been the first Ricky, my picture on the wall. I should’ve been Ricky!
My body is slid across a conveyer belt. A machine grinds and mashes up my feet but I can’t stop thinking about that hammock and the veins stringing it up to the palm trees.
This was supposed to be my day. This was my one chance to do it better than Patricia. They’re sucking my lungs out through a vacuum to fashion them into a lamp. If she can do it, and I can do it, perhaps anyone can. If little Ricky can do it, certainly someone like you can. My spine is in my throatt,h.;gl;;
Credit : Vani Joeri
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