Written during the Corona Virus Pandemic with the hope of bringing a smile to someone’s face – or at least provide a short distraction during these challenging times. Stories are created based on one-word prompts that were submitted by friends. Each friend is assigned a character name and I develop a short fictitious story that integrates and upholds the word.
Priscilla Ayers: Home
“Priscilla, Priscilla?” Where are you? Come on, Priscilla, this isn’t funny anymore. Where are you?” It’s called hide and seek, not hide, and stay hidden. Seriously, Cill, come on!”
“Lexie?!” Priscilla yelled as she was startled awake. “Jesus, that was so real,” Priscilla whispered, realizing that it was only a dream. Her heart racing, Priscilla reached for her phone but noticing it was only just past 3 am on the East coast, Priscilla hesitated because she didn’t want to wake Lexie. But she couldn’t fall back asleep either.
Priscilla and Lexie always joked about the middle of the night calls, especially as they got older, because you fear the worst. And they had both had those calls recently, so Priscilla didn’t want to cause alarm. But she was rattled and couldn’t shake the feeling that she needed to chat with Lexie. After all, Priscilla and Lexie had been best friends since the first grade when Ms. Lassiter scolded them both for talking too much in class. From that moment on, there was no separating Cill and Lexie. Until that is, Priscilla’s love for adventure took her clear across the country and away from home.
Even ice cream didn’t help the day Cill told Lexie about her plan – and they could usually work anything out over pints of black raspberry and coffee ice cream.
Then again, Lexie was always the homebody while Priscilla loved to give in to her innate curiosity about everything, which, at times, landed Cill in some precarious situations. Like the time Cill convinced Lexie to sneak out with her only to be caught by Cill’s older brother – who had been waiting to see who kept stealing his beer from the boathouse refrigerator.
So, Priscilla knew telling Lexie would be one of the hardest things ever, and she still remembered the conversation with Lexie like it was yesterday.
“I understand your sense of adventure, Cill. I really do. If it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have done half the things that I’ve done—but leaving here, leaving home. I don’t know, Cill. I couldn’t do it. Except for college, but that was different. It was leaving but not leaving.”
“I know, Lexie. But I need to do this. There’s so much out there that I want to see and do, and I can’t help but feel that there are missing pieces. That they are out there hiding, and I am supposed to seek them out so I can create the puzzle of my life.”
“It always comes back to that damn game,” Lexie laughed half-heartedly. Create away, Cill. But remember this, me – all of the people who love you – we are always your home. I know this sounds cliche but home is a feeling, Cill. So, I hope whatever it is you are seeking that you find it.”
Priscilla couldn’t say anything, but the tears in her eyes said it all. She still got a bit choked up every time she replayed that day in her mind. But even more so after her dream.
Cill looked at the clock. Only a half-hour had passed.
“The hell with it. I’m calling anyway.”
Priscilla tapped on Lexie’s name, and Lexie picked up on the first ring.
“Cill? It’s 3:30 am, well 12:30 am by you. Is everything all right? I was thinking of you, and now here you are on the phone.”
“Everything’s fine, Lexie. I had a weird dream, that’s all. And I haven’t been able to fall back asleep. We were playing hide and seek.”
Just then, Lexie cut off Cill.
“And I couldn’t find you.”
“Yeah, how did you know?” Cill asked, perplexed.
“I had a feeling, Cill.”
“Lexie, do you remember what you said to me when I told you I was moving out west?”
“Of course, I do, Cill. Why do you ask? We haven’t spoken about that day since we got all drunk off the champagne at your brother’s wedding.”
“I don’t know. I guess because I recently realized that I came out here seeking so much – like life had been hiding from me. But maybe, I was hiding from life in a way. So, by leaving home, I thought I could fill those voids. And I did, in some ways. I transplanted my roots and made a new life for myself. But home, Lexie, home is a place that I never left. You were right, Lexie. You were so god damn right. I’ve been home all along.”
“I miss you, Cill.”
“I miss you too, Lexie. Did you finish your ice cream yet?”
“Yeah, every last spoonful.”
“Me too. Thanks, Lexie. Love you.”
“Good night, Cill. Love you right back.”
Priscilla put down the phone and closed her eyes. “Home,” she whispered as she drifted off into a peaceful sleep.