Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Twenty Year Nap

Vanessa Ripa took her schoolwork very seriously. She took it more seriously than any other girl she knew. She took it more seriously than any other kid she knew. She was always always studying and hardly ever had any time for fun.

Her parents wished she would have a more rounded life. They wished she would get out and have a little fun sometimes. "You're a smart girl, Vanessa." her mom assured her. "You always do well in school. You can get by with a little less studying."

Vanessa frowned deeply. "I do well in school because I study." she pointed out.

"We're not telling you to stop studying." replied her father. "We are just saying you don't need to study all the time. After all, you are only going to be young once you should enjoy your youth."

"Yes." agreed her mother. "You need a little balance in your life. Go out make friends have fun."

"I have Wanda. " replied Vanessa. Wanda Irvine was Vanessa's best friend.  They often studied together.

"Yes, but do you and Wanda ever do anything fun together?" asked her father.

Vanessa bit her lip and thought about it. No, they really didn't. They mostly just studied together. It wasn't that Wanda never asked Vanessa to go and do something fun with her like go to the movies or play a game or whatever. It was just that Vanessa never wanted to.

As if she knew they were talking about her, Wanda suddenly appeared at the front door. "Hi Wanda." Vanessa greeted her cheerfully opening the front door to let her in. "Are you here to study?"

Wanda shook her head. "I'm going to watch my little brother play soccer at the park. Do you want to come?"

Vanessa shook her head. "Thanks for the invite." she replied sincerely, "but I'm swamped." she waved her hand around to indicate all her school books and papers spread out around the kitchen table where she'd been sitting.

Now, it was Wanda's turn to shake her head. "But it's Saturday, and we didn't even get that much homework this weekend."

"Well, you know," said Vanessa. "I don't want to get behind."

Wanda gave Vanessa a look of pity. She just couldn't understand Vanessa at all. How could anyone possibly study that much? "I guess I'll see you around." she replied sadly. She went off still shaking her head.

Vanessa sighed. Wanda just didn't understand her. Nobody did. It wasn't enough to just do good. She wanted to do the best she possibly could. She needed to do the best she possibly could. It was the most important thing in the world to her.

Vanessa studied for a while, but then she started having trouble concentrating. She looked out the window. It was a beautiful bright and sunny day. Maybe, she would go outside. She would do her studying out there. Maybe, the change of scenery and the warm air would help her concentrate.

She took her books and went outside and sat down on the lawn. It didn't help her to focus at all. In fact, it did quite the opposite. It made her sleepy. She started drifting off and before she knew it she was fast asleep.

She woke with a start when she heard the sound of singing. The voice sounded familiar. It was Wanda. Maybe, she was coming back to study. Vanessa ran down the path to meet her.

Then, suddenly she stopped in her tracks. The girl she saw looked sort of like Wanda, but not exactly, This girl's hair was longer and blonder and her eyes were bluer. "Wanda?" asked Vanessa uncertainly.

The girl smiled. "I get that all the time." she replied. "You must be looking for my mother, Wanda. I'm Winter. Everyone says we look alike. I don't see it though." She shook her head.

Vanessa's mouth flew open but not a sound came out. How long had she slept for? She was in a state of shock. She couldn't move. She couldn't talk. She couldn't do anything.

"Are you okay?" asked Winter. "You're not having a seizure or something, are you?" She started backing away.

Vanessa quickly closed her mouth and tried to gather her composure. "No. I'm fine. I'm just surprised at how much you look like your mother. I haven't seen her for a while." she explained. 'Or at least I guess I haven't seen her for a while'. she thought.

"Do you want me to tell her you said hello?" asked Winter.

"Sure." replied Vanessa uncertainly.

Winter didn't seem to notice Vanessa's hesitation. "And you're who ?" asked Winter in a friendly manner. "Just so I know who to tell my mother said hello." she explained.

"Vanessa Ripa." replied Vanessa.

"Great!" exclaimed Winter. "It was nice meeting you, Vanessa. I'll be sure and tell my mother you said hello." She waved to Vanessa and continued in the direction she had been heading.

Vanessa shook her head. What in the world was going on? She went off to find her mother and father. Maybe, they could tell her what was going on.

When she got to her house. The door was locked. That was strange. She hadn't locked it when she came out. She rang the bell but nobody answered.

Things were getting even stranger and by now, Vanessa was really frightened. She pounded on the door shouting. "Mommy! Daddy! Let me in!"

The door opened. Vanessa was about to sigh in relief when she noticed it was neither her mother or father. It was an old man, she didn't recognize. "What do you want?" the man asked angrily. "And why are you pounding on my door?"

"Daddy?" asked Vanessa. It couldn't be? Could it?  The man gazed at her in a familiar way. Now, she was sure it was her father. How did he get so old and where was Mommy? "Daddy." Vanessa repeated "Where is mommy?"she asked.

"Now you're just being cruel." replied the man even angrier than before. "I don't have any children anymore, and I no longer have a wife either. My wife died of a broken heart twenty years ago when our daughter, Vanessa disappeared."

"But Daddy. I'm Vanessa." insisted Vanessa.

The man slammed the door in Vanessa's face. Vanessa didn't know what else to do so she started running away. She ran and ran until she couldn't run anymore, and she collapsed on the ground.

When Vanessa woke up, she was in her bed. Mommy was there sitting beside her bed. "Mommy!" she exclaimed. "You're alive!"

Mommy looked at Vanessa strangely. "Well, why wouldn't I be?" she asked worriedly.

"No reason." replied Vanessa smiling. Then, she noticed her father was there too. "Daddy, you're young!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I hope so." replied her father with a smile.

"Never mind about him." replied her mother. "How are you? You had too much sun, and you fainted. That's why we brought you in the house, and put you in your bed."

Vanessa smiled happily. That explained everything. "I'm feeling a lot better." she declared. "In fact, I think I am going to go down to the park and see if I can find Wanda at her brother's soccer game." she announced sitting up and getting out of bed.

"That's great!" replied her mom in a combination of relieve because Vanessa was feeling okay and happiness because she was going to do something beside study.

"What made you change your mind about going?" asked her dad curiously.

"Well, you know, " replied Vanessa. "Twenty years can go by in the blink of any eye, and I guess I wouldn't really want to spend all of that time studying."

Vanessa ran off towards the park and left her parents staring after her still wondering about her sudden change of attitude.

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