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A Girl With A Dream and A Big Apple


Hello! Welcome to my first ever short story. During University I was told to create a fiction story, I toiled with the idea of writing about zombie apocalypses and the world ending but it wasn't realistic enough in my eyes (duh it's fiction). So I took a real story and made it fiction. I based my characters off of my cousins who do in fact live in New York City and did these very true events but changed the plot line immensely. I was able to research the city, figure out where exactly I wanted Amanda to live, what her goals were, plan how I wanted the story to pan out. So let's begin with the end to change things up! Enjoy, xo

A Girl With A Dream and A Big Apple

Amanda sits on her rooftop terrace in Brooklyn with her husband Mark as they watch the hustle and bustle of foot traffic cross the Brooklyn bridge. Mark pours himself a nice glass of bubbly as Amanda sticks to water, after all she is expecting their first baby. This particular night is one of importance, marking three years since Amanda packed up her life in Waterdown and headed for the big city. She begins to tell Mark her story as if reading him a book where he only knows the end because he’s living it with her.

Finding herself submerged in a row of her fellow graduating class members, Amanda sits and dreams 20 years down the road. She's a professional photographer producing media on a global platform. While Amanda dozes away to her fairytale the dean of Journalism at Mohawk College proclaims the great success that lies ahead for these graduating students. Some will become travel writers, a handful may be news producers, and there will be a large number that never use their degree again. Amanda snaps back to reality where she begins to realize she spent thousands of dollars and four years in school only to graduate with a diploma her parents desired. Emotions of resentment and fury boil, knowing she should have been pursuing her passion for photography instead of living the life her parents set up for her. Her mind slips again, recalling how she felt when she was given her first Nikon camera. Only sixteen but equipped with an eye for life's most beautiful stories. Remembering those late nights where she longed that her small business Applescape would gain the traction she worked so hard for. After all, she had done numerous jobs capturing the most beautiful moments at weddings, the riveting dresses at prom, and action shots for multiple sports teams. Working as her own boss while maintaining a ‘real job’ in her parents eyes, a journalist at their local newspaper the Flamborough Review. Commencement concludes and Amanda snaps back to reality. Exiting the auditorium and travelling back to their home in Waterdown Amanda and her parents, John and Mary, get ready to slip into a night of celebration and festivities. Amanda sits as cold as a stone in the backseat, on a day that is monumental she seems unshaken. “Honey is everything okay?” her mother says.

“Just a bit tired is all.”

Storming through their front door and up to her room Amanda grabs a binder titled Applescapes, the front illustrated with the skyline of Manhattan and the statue of liberty piercing an apple, her business logo. Amanda eventually joins the backyard festivities where curiosity is drawn on her mother's face as the binder is enclosed in Amandas palms. Mary assumes Amanda is diving into more studies, “Eager to jump back into work Amanda?”.

“No… um can we all take a seat and have a talk?” Amanda replies.

Her father John knew what was coming, “Is this one of those spontaneous vacations again? Where to now?”

“Well I suppose? But I wouldn't classify it as a vacation,” Amanda mumbles.

Amanda and her parents gather around the patio table. She feels her hands become clammy as she fumbles her binder onto the patio table and she begins to tremble with fear, unsure of how her family will react when she presents them the news. “I quit my job as a journalist today,” she says with uncertainty in her voice, “and I’m moving to New York City to live out app—”

Before Amanda was able to finish her sentence her mother cuts her off, as if hearing the word ‘moving’ slip through Amanda's lips was enough to release the pin from the grenade in her mother's mind.

“Do you have a job lined up for journalism down there?” her mother says frantically, “and what about living accommodations?”

Her father continues the rapid fire trivia when he questions the city, “What side of the city will you live on? Manhattan is far too expensive and I don’t want you living in the Bronx alone."

Amanda was known for being an avid traveller and always seeking adventure, but something about her moving hundreds of miles away didn’t sit well with John and Mary. Amanda takes a deep breath and tells everyone to calm down, she’s done her research and it's all laid out in the binder she’s holding. The ins and outs of every borough, manhattans sub-districts like downtown soho with profound shopping, midtown's sophisticated appeal with skyscrapers and monuments, or downtowns scenic routes and museums. She knows most of her work will be carried out in Manhattan but she juggles the affordable districts in her mind. Suburban Queens or distant Staten Island, Amanda knew these weren’t the places for her, far from the city and remote from picturesque photo opportunities. Nuzzled away in Amandas fairytale was the dream of living in Brooklyn, submerged in its trendy culture and mingling with the other artists and creators in the borough. But this was merely a fairytale and not reality as she knew the price was too steep. Having to accept her financial situation and allow her fairytale to float away, she settled on an apartment in East Flatbush, just Southeast of Brooklyn in a more affordable community. Relaying the perks of Flatbush to her family she explains that subway routes are nearby making it easy for her to travel to and from sets and rent was affordable. John and Mary weren’t sold on the idea, the thought of their twenty-three year old daughter moving out and being by herself in a foreign place was unsettling. In an attempt to convince her to stay Mary says, “You can expand your business here,” with her eyebrows furrowed and her posture tense she continues, "have you considered the drastic change you're about to face?” Amanda ponders the difference between her current state of living and the one she longs for. Leaving a town of two main streets flowing traffic in and out with nearly no traffic exists, to head to a city that's grid mapped, avenues running North to South and streets running East to West. Aware that the mental map of the city will be difficult to navigate at first she wagers the difficulty in her mind, how hard is it to count streets up towards uptown and count down towards downtown? Trading in her convenience of groceries being a 5 minute walk away for a Trader Joes 15 minutes away on the subway. The inevitable spirals of contrasting the two places are halted, she throws away the what if thoughts bouncing off the corners of her mind and she commits to her plan. Disregarding her parents' preplanned life for her, graduate, get a job, move out, get married, she is set to leave in one months time.


A few months have passed and Amanda is settled in New York City East Flatbush apartment, the excitement of living in a new city has vanished but it doesn't feel quite like home yet. The adventure of experiencing the landscapes has been checked off her list and she had built her business to generate modest income. Amanda sits in her living room with exhaustion drawn on her face, speaking to herself, I guess I hadn't thought about the amount of free work I would have to do…are the ridiculous hours really worth the chump change anymore? She knew New York City wasn't going to be a walk in the park but her fairytale wasn't waking up at four am to ride the subway all the way up to the Upper East Side or shooting a wedding until it was nearly morning in Staten Island. These hours were by no means phenomenal and they began to leave Amanda feeling burnt out and forgetful, letting her mind slip of routine actions like locking her front door. Although she lived in a humble community that didn't resist thieves from purging her expensive equipment. One afternoon after a shoot in SoHo for a new pop-up shop, The Suit Bar, Amanda fumbles for her keys in her pocket and aimlessly opens her apartment. Walking into her home with her cases of lenses, tripods, and softbox lights stolen, she retraces her steps in her mind, did I leave my equipment on set? Did I lock my door this morning? Sitting on her thrifted couch she conjures the stress of being financially unstable, toggling in her mind which is worse, do I use next month's rent to buy more equipment to replace what was stolen? Or do I pay rent and let my business fall short? Either way she knew money was tight. Sitting on her couch her mind slips into the inevitable spiral, the fate of her success felt like it was slipping through her clammy fingers, her mind races recalling the slander she was given for moving here, ‘You'll never be on magazines like Vanity Fair or shoot for people like Oprah’ and remarks about her soon to be failure, ‘Success will get lost in the big city.’ Just as she's ready to pack up and accept failure her phone starts ringing, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York.

Her ringtone brings a smile to her face as she answers, “Hello this is Amanda with Applescapes.”

“Hi this is Mark from Showtime, we just reviewed your portfolio and our station is interested in a contract with Applescapes. Would you be available for a meeting tomorrow at our headquarters in the Paramount Plaza?” he says.

Amanda is in complete shock, her body is shaking with excitement as she exclaims, “I would be more than happy to meet, what time of day works for you?”

“How does 10:00AM sound?”

“Perfect, I will see you then.”

“Floor 46, our secretary will buzz you in,” Mark says as he says goodbye.

The call ends and for the first night in months she lays her head at night with ease.

Dawn breaks and Amanda rallies what gear she has left, in preparation that there might be a trial shoot. Whizzing out the door Amanda eagerly catches the subway at Flatbush Avenue Station towards Paramount Plaza on Broadway and West 50th. She admires the array of culture that hops on and off the subway to every given stop, the businessmen of Wall St., the nannies riding to the Upper East Side, and the students of midtown. Hoping off the subway with hundreds of other riders and walking up to the street grounds she turns to face the building, she freezes in shock. To her right is the typical Applebees she's spent tireless nights creating and posting content, and now her future is just 100 paces away in the 48 floor skyscraper known as Paramount Plaza. The fairytale she merely dreamt about at graduation eight months prior is translating into reality, she pinches herself, Ouch, okay, this is real, as she walks into the turnstiles of the main entrance.

The meeting ends and Amanda calls her parents with a joyous smile on her face. “Hey Ma, hey Pa!” she says, “I've had my first big break.”

“What did you break Amanda!” her mother says worried as if this is negative news.

“No. I mean Applescapes is about to be a huge success, I've signed a contract with Showtime the TV Network.”

“Oh my gosh!” her father shouted, “what type of work will that be?”

“My sets won't be submerged in the boroughs of the big apple, I will be capturing moments in sports like boxing matches or track and field and capturing television stars like Sly Stallone and shows like Waco!”

John and Mary are estactict about Amanda's success and the thought of her failing and moving back home is erased from their mine. The minute Amanda concluded her phone call back home she was on her way to the airport in Queens to a set in Aiken, South Carolina. One minute she was a soon to be failed photographer and the next she was on her way to her first official set with a big box company meeting professional boxer Justin Deloach.

Although she wasn't on sets with people as big as Oprah she has amounted to success her belitters never thought she'd achieve. After Amanda's big break she gained more traction from companies like Nike where she worked closely with Justin Gatlin in his monumental success in Track and Field. And even experienced moments where people recognized her as the woman behind the most notable shots. Noting one time as she sits on a flight from San Francisco where she had just worked with the Golden State Warriors, the screens in front of all 200 passengers illuminate with her poster and artwork of her documentary of Mauro Ranallo, the voice and icon of WWE. Starting out as a newly graduated millennial with a dream, Amanda has transformed her fairytale into a reality. Although Amanda undermined her parents preplanned life for her and jetted off to New York City on a whim, she wouldn't have changed a single thing. Amanda finishes her three year story to Mark as she closes the book on her past life and she looks ahead at the city that changed her life forever. Clink, their glasses tap as they gaze over the horizon of Manhattan.

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