Stacy’s parents knew she was something special — she displayed extraordinary artistic talents at a very young age. So as a child they bought her an array of creative material to work with. Paint for drawing, journals for writing, and even a large stone for sculpting.

Stacy took a real liking to the stone and the idea of sculpting.  The first few years she spent just outlining the design of the sculpture on the stone. Her friends and family would come by and see the outline and comment on its potential.  It was too early to tell how it would turn out however.

After 5 years of planning and outlining, Stacy began to make small chips in the stone and implement her drawing. It was a very slow process, as Stacy would work on other projects in between. Nonetheless, Stacy would spend some time on it here and there and by the 10th year there was a clear outline in place of the earlier sketch.

As the years passed the sculpture began taking form. By the 16th year Stacy had finished a substantial portion of her sculpture. Now when people would come over they would all comment on its beauty and aesthetic appeal. Stacy was very proud but humble about her work, and always blushed when receiving compliments. She decided that her dream was to have the sculpture discovered and taken by a wonderful museum and displayed prominently for life, taken care of like only few sculptures ever experience.

The next few years Stacy refined the sculpture with small improvements. A chip here and there, some sanding for smoothness in various places. By the 18th year of its existence, Stacy’s whole town had heard of this sculpture, and people would ask to come by to see it regularly. But because Stacy lived in a studio apartment, there was only so much room for guests. She would screen for people that truly appreciated her art and limit the number of entries accordingly. It was a very tight fit, that studio, and Stacy did not want it overcrowded.

In its 20th year, a well to do and highly revered curator by the name of Jack saw the sculpture at Stacy’s studio. He spoke to Stacy a few times and offered to buy the sculpture for a very high price. He informed Stacy of his plans, to house the sculpture in a private museum with nothing but the best care for it. After all, a sculpture this beautiful and in such a pure state was of high value. Despite this basically being her dream of only a few years prior, Stacy now receiving more and more attention for her sculpture declined the offer. “I can do better,” she thought.

Stacy began to enjoy the attention her sculpture was receiving and although she didn’t previously want to let everyone in town into her apartment, she couldn’t resist. In the next five years or so, she would host viewing parties that would get very crowded. In and out, in and out were random people almost nightly. Occasionally guests would come into contact with the sculpture and cause minor scruffs and marks, but they weren’t very noticeable. By its 23rd year, the sculpture was still beautiful but nowhere near as pristine as it was five years ago.

By now Stacy was loving the attention and it got to her head a bit. She believed that no matter what she did to the sculpture, people would still be lining up to get access to viewing it. She turned down multiple offers to purchase the sculpture. While none of them were as good as Jack’s, they were still decent offers.

She experimented and altered the sculpture at times. She added some random color to various places on the sculpture. She was a bit careless with her previously strict rules about exposing the sculpture to the elements, and would leave it uncovered at nights or allow her friends to smoke cigarettes around it. Trying to be unique, she punched a few holes in her sculpture and hung circular metal objects from it. She even decided to chop off part of the top of the sculpture, listening to all her artist friends that convinced her it “would be cute” to do so.

Every year that followed, less and less people would come to see the sculpture. By the 30th anniversary of the sculpture’s creation, Stacy was shocked to realize at how much the demand to see her sculpture had dropped. Whereas before people would be lining up to see it, now she had to put in a lot of effort in advertising and seeking out people to come.

A few years later barely anyone wanted to come see the once famed sculpture. One day a man named Jim — not a very wealthy, smart or substantial man — came to visit. He had not been able to see many sculptures in his life as he couldn’t figure out how to access most of the viewings artists like Stacy had.  Having seen one of Stacy’s ads seeking people to come see her sculpture, Jim finally got a chance.

He could not offer much, but offered to buy it at a fraction of the price Jack offered. He also told Stacy he would put it on his coffee table next to his cat’s litter box. Having not received any offers in years, and tired of having to promote the sculpture, Stacy agreed to Jim’s offer. On the surface, Stacy believed this was a great end for her and the sculpture. After all, the sculpture did eventually sell and she had many many years of fun until it did.

After finalizing the contract Jim left with the sculpture, and Stacy fell into her bed with the idea that finally the burden of the sculpture was over, that she had reached her goal albeit a few years later than she wanted to. Yet instead of relief, she felt sadness. Instead of joy, she felt empty.

She eventually rationalized away her feelings and convinced herself she made the right decision and fell asleep. Jim was a nice guy and the sculpture would be in good hands, how fun all those endless viewing parties were, how individualistic she made her sculpture with the permanent alterations, and so on.  Despite her surface happiness however, she could never get rid of this little twitch deep down — that she should have taken Jack’s offer.

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