What's To Become of Eleanor Winston
by Jordan Clarke
She stood there staring at herself, then her eyes switched to the specs of dust on the mirror. She'd forgotten to clean it again. Add that to the long list of things not done in her life, she thought. Another night lost to self pity.
She seemed alright from the outside looking in. She'd earned within the top eight percentage of real estate agents at her broker that year. She found it odd to calculate the top eight percent rather than the top ten or five, but she accepted the honor, silently wondering.
Her days were filled with buyers and sellers. She often contemplated writing a memoir of her life entitled, "Buyers and Sellers," but who would want to read about a real estate agent?
Working in real estate isn't like the reality t.v. shows made it seem. The money is usually underwhelming and the clients are not half as cheerful as the smiling faces seen on screen. She could deal with unfriendly. What she couldn't deal with was how impossible some clients were. In the real estate world, the term "unicorn hunter" is used to describe a client who wants to find the perfect, underpriced, non-existent property. They consistently turn down amazing houses, priced at market value or sometimes even less, on some promise to themselves that they'll "find something better." Meanwhile, Eleanor's time, and sometimes gas, is wasted.
She got into real estate to help others. She's always been a homebody, winning small arguments with boyfriends about staying in to watch a movie rather than a night on the town. She liked to think about other homebodies winning those same arguments in their homes.
She found the logistics of the job fairly easy. She passed the licensing exam on the her first try and got hired at a respected broker in less that two weeks. She had a great memory for what clients wanted, but still kept meticulous notes. She gained this habit when she worked as a personal assistant to a celebrity hairdresser. That profession doesn't seem like it would require a ton of notes, but it did. It really did.
Three years later her intentions were still good, but her soul started showing signs of wear and tear. Her colleagues were not like her, not bound by this pathos that hovered over her like a dark cloud. She closed deals, but the clients always made it seem like they were doing her a favor and barely acknowledged how hard she worked, how difficult their demands were. One could argue that's what her paycheck was for. That was "thank you" enough for an agent. But was it? Is it too much to ask to be treated kindly at a job? Is this what being an adult was - assuming others will treat you badly, but pay you for it? Perhaps she was too sensitive. After all, She should be grateful, as her mother always said. "You never know what tomorrow will bring, so hold on to today." Eleanor always thought that saying of her mother's to be rather ominous. Why was tomorrow thought of as something scary? Why was today the best that it gets?
The question broke her out of the staring trance and she set herself free from the mirror, shifting her gaze to the window. What had she been looking for in that mirror anyway? She always stared, intently searching for something that was not there. She realized she herself had turned into a unicorn hunter. She would never find a perfect person staring back at her. There would always be something that ruined the perfect picture. Was it the body, the hair, the body hair? Was it the money not earned, the tasks not done, the spaces not cleaned?
In the end, her real estate clients always closed on a house. They accepted the futility of hunting unicorns and welcomed a new treasure into their lives. Eleanor decided it was high time she do the same. She breathed in the sky, ready for tomorrow.