Talk to my family? Easy for her to say. My incredibly huge, larger than life family. Where would I even begin? The second I rolled out of bed, I was contemplating the best course of action, though I was never any good with situations with multiple choice answers. Choosing the best option would always be my last. Ten choices, and my last would always be the correct way to go, so I should just go with my least likely choice, but then it would probably wrong as well. See my dilemma! I could ask grandpa, he had a working knowledge of most things. Or I could ask my great-grandpa, he knew everything! Or maybe Grammy, Mom always said she was like us, but would she know about a fountain? Ughhh my head hurt just mulling over all the possibilities. Still deep in thought, I missed it as my door swung open. My sister watching me as I went back and forth. Mom, Grandma, Dad, Grandpa…
“Yo bro, what you know?” Tilly greeted, watching my strange display of awkwardness.
I looked at my hands, they were still floating mid air, fingers at the ready to help with my in mind calcutlation. I quickly dropped my arms back to my side. “Oh hey sis. Just thinkin. Had another dream last night.”
“About the fountian?!”
“Umm, no. I was back at the swing.”
“Oh.” Her voice dipped from the unmistakable disappointment.
“But.” I interjected. “I talked to my friend, and she is convinced someone in the family will have the answers we are looking for.”
That seemed to perk her right back up. A toothy grin spread across her face. “So who is it? Did she say?”
“Ah, no. She didn’t…”
“Oh. Well I guess we will just have to ask everyone.” She brought a finger to her face, tapping her lip. “Hmmm.” She hummed thoughtfully.
“I was thinking maybe Pappa. He knows everything.”
Tilly shook her head. “Noo. I mean he does know everything, but I think you should talk Grammy. She’s like us remember. If anyone will know, it has to be her.”
“I thought about her, but…”
“But nothing. Go march yourself upstairs and ask her.” A voice so resolute, there was no point in arguing.
“Alright. I’m going now!” I exclaimed, pointing at the door.
“Good. I’m gonna go get my yoga on.”
“You do that…”
“Oh I will.” Tilly winked, before skipping off to her room. I would never understand her obsession with yoga.
My plans came to a screeching halt the moment I had climbed the stairs. Heading straight for grammy and pappa’s room when I saw pappa stepping out of the door. Slowly and carefully closing it behind him, just about the time I walked up. “Morning Pappa!” I said with a wave.
“Morning Son.” I heard the hushed tone in his voice and immediately had a pretty good idea why.
“Is grammy awake?” I asked, I already knew the answer, but I asked it anyways.
He shook his head, voice still quiet and low. “Nope she just went down.”
My eyebrow quirked, when it sunk in that it was only 8 in the morning. “Already? But it’s morning time.”
“You know her, up and going at 4am.”
“Oh yes.” I snapped my fingers. “Alright I’ll come back then.”
I stopped for a moment, contemplated asking him about my fountain, but then decided not to. “See you around.”
I walked back downstairs. “No, that wasn’t awkward and weird at all.” I muttered under my breath.
Painfully awkward could have been my middle name, which had a lot to do with the reason I didn’t have many friends. My sister knew I was awkward and didn’t care. She was way too weird herself to ever point fingers, but some managed friends without batting an eye, I never could. I didn’t really care about friends though, she had always been the best-est friend I could have ask for. It sounds sad, but I swear it wasn’t, she and I were a team from the word go. Not that a girlfriend wouldn’t have been awesome, I was just too much of a mess to ever land one. Unless I found a girl who liked bumbling idiots that tripped over his own shoelaces. Then I would have been golden. Up to that point, no girl had ever fit my requirement. I was far too busy chasing down mystery fountains and giggling mystery voices anyhow.
With time to waste, I went off to bug Tilly for a bit. I knew she would be deep in some yoga session, but that had never stopped me before.
“That was quick.” I looked down to find her folded completely in half. I wasn’t even sure how she was managing to speak.
“She is napping.” I explained, watching the crazy contortions happening before my eyes.
“Already? Was she up late again?”
“No she was up early.”
“Ah. So I was thinking… can you tell me your dream again? The one you had last night? Maybe there was some sort of clue that you missed somehow.”
Tilly shifted her weight, lifiting her feet over head, I lost all concentration watching her. “Wow you are getting really good.” I chuckled.
“I know right! Now your dream please.”
“Well.” I thought for a moment. “I was alone, it was dark and at first no one was around. I was disappointed because I wasn’t having the same dream as before. Then my friend-
“Orange?” I asked dropping my head to side, looking at her feet as if they were the ones talking to me. “Orange?”
“Your friend Orange…”
“Oh, I don’t know her name.”
“You mean to tell me after all these years you have never asked her name.”
“You are tweak, you know that?”
“Hey! I am not. Anyways my friend.” I paused and then added. “Orange… Wait, how do you know her name?”
“I know her sister Saffron. Unlike you, I ask these things.” She explained, dropping one foot onto her face. I sneered my lip, it was just gross to be that limber, in my humble opinion.
“Go on.” She pressed, poking a toe at me. I recoiled away, pulling my arm back. Sister feet ew.
“I asked her if she knew anything about the fountain, she said no. So then I asked if she had any information or any ideas. She told me to ask family. Family always has the answers. Then she disappeared. That was it.”
“Guess you were right. That wasn’t much help.”
Our talk lasted long enough, that I was able to watch my sister, roll herself into a tiny ball, before I heard the piano ringing out from upstairs. I left Tilly in pretzel pose and headed up the stairs again. It could have been one of two people at the keys, but I hoped that it was Grammy. A short nap to say the least, but that was fairly normal for her. She was seated comfortably on the bench, playing away, just like most days. Her fingers gracing the keys as if she owned them.
“Hello?” She inquired, hands lifting up, causing the music to stop. “Is someone there? You have to come closer. I can barely hear you breathing. Tosca dear, is that you?”
I came further into the room, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. “It’s me Grammy.”
“Ah dear. I thought so.” Shortly after that, the music resumed. “Did you need to speak to me?”
“I’m not exactly sure.” I explained, scratching the back of my head. “See I had this dream.”
“Oh!! Dreams. Yes. Yes. What was this dream dear?”
“Well it has a lot to do with a fountain. With lion faces and it’s white?” I clapped my face to my head. Why was this so difficult?!
“A fountain you say?”
“Yes grammy. Have you ever seen it? I mean, not seen it, but oh man. I didn’t mean that.”
“Hahahha! Relax my sweet darlin. It’s fine. Though I think you should ask your mother.”
“Oh yes. You should go ask. Right now in fact. I bet she might just have the answer you are looking for.”
“Thanks grammy I will!”
I gave her a small kiss on the cheek before running back down the stairs. Watching my slippered feet as I went down the steps, I realized, man I really needed to shower or something…
A shower and a change of clothes were going to have to wait. I had big questions to ask, and hopefully bigger answers to find. I found mom in the laundry room, humming some little tune to herself as she switched the clothes from washer to dryer. “Hey Mom.”
“Oh hi dear!” She grinned. “Have a nice sleep?”
“Pretty good. Mom can I ask you something?”
“Sure dear, what’s on your mind?”
“I have been having this dream and I was wondering if you couldn’t help shine some light on it.”
“I can try, though I am not much help in that department.”
“Well, Grammy said I should ask you. See in my dream, there is this fountain sitting in the grass, but it’s not where it is supposed to be.” Her eyes lit up at the word fountain, perhaps she would have some information after all. “It has these lion faces where the water flows out. Do you… know what I’m talking about?”
For a second she was quiet, as if reliving something in her mind. She winced and then nodded her head slowly. “I believe I do, yes.”
“Really?!” I gasped. “Where is it?! Where can I find it?”
My grin faded. “Sugar Valley? That’s like hours a way.”
“Hour an a half to be exact.”
“Great.” Moments like that, I had really wished I was driving already.
Mom placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Did you want to see it? I’m not sure what this is all about, but I will take you, if you feel that this is important.”
“I guess it is important. I keep dreaming about it. I think there is something there, something I am supposed to find.
“Well then this weekend we will go. Okay?”
“Of course love. I would do anything for you or your sister, you know that.”
That night at dinner, I spent most of my time thinking about our trip. I was excited, we were finally getting somewhere, I only hoped, we would finally get a definitive answer once we had found the fountain. Everyone was chatting amongst themselves as usual. Tilly was midway through some wild story about her friend and the berry llama from her agriculture class, while grandma and grandpa did everything they could do to seem interested. Dad was busy staring down his dinner, making sure that no bugs had found their way in while he wasn’t looking. But it was mom who disrupted the whole table, when she decided to tell dad about our trip.
“Tap dear.” Mom said taking a bit of her noodles. “I am going to be taking Tosca-
“And me!” Tilly chimed in, jumping ship from her current conversation, landing right in the middle of ours.
“And Tilly.” Mom corrected. “To Sugar Valley this weekend.”
“Oh? For what?”
Mom let out a breath, preparing herself for something unbeknownst to the rest of us. “Taking them up the hill. Tosca needs to see the fountain up there.
Dads spoon his the bowl with a clatter. “What?!” He squeaked. “What are you going back there for?”
“Well, it seems your son has been dreaming about it. He thinks there is something there that he needs to find.”
Dads eyes searched mom for unknown answers, his head continuing to involuntarily shake back and forth. “No way. You are not going back there. No way. No how.”
It was my turn to drop my spoon. “But dad?! Why not?”
He never left his gaze from her. “Don’t you remember what happened last time?”
I turned my head. “What happened last time?”
“Oh it was nothing.” She assured me. “Just a small fainting spell. It’s warm there you know.”
“Almost. You’re father caught me. I was fine.”
This was getting weird. “Why didn’t you tell me, when I asked you this earlier?”
“Dear it’s fine. We can go. Your dad is just over reacting.”
Mom gave him that look, and he dropped his guard. “Fine, but you aren’t going without me.”
Suddenly we had a family affair. I guess Orange was right.
It didn’t take nearly as long to get to Sugar Valley as I had expected. The trip was the easier part. Historical Sugar Valley, the one town in all of the state, that never changed. If a building got to old, they rebuilt it just as before. It was an iconic place after all, they didn’t want it to lose its charm. Mom said it looked exactly the same fifteen years ago as it did two hundred and fifty. Very strange, and kind of boring. Anyways, we got to town and we headed straight for the hill. Mom had been driving since about our half way point and she knew exactly where to go. Unfortunately when we got to the bottom of the hill, we found a small road block. Well, gate and it wasn’t small, it was huge. Covering the entire road, there was no way to get around it. Apparently a new addition, because mom pulled up to it with great surprise.
Unsure of what to do next, we all sat in the car, staring at the giant metal block. “Maybe we could wait for someone to leave.” I offered, trying to spring any idea I could.
“Maybe…” Mom nodded, tapping her fingers on the wheel.
“Or.” Tilly squeezed between mom and dads seat, poking her finger out at the glass. “You could call that lady.”
We all looked to where she had been pointing to find a real estate sign. The house in question was for sale, so the only way up was going to be through her. We dialed the number on moms phone and with in a couple minutes we had scheduled an appointment to view the house under the context that we were looking to buy. She wasn’t going to be able to meet us straight away, so she gave us the code to get in, allowing us a chance to look around before she got there. This was too perfect. If we were lucky, we might miss her completely, that is, if we could find what we needed quickly enough.
We pulled up to the house and my heart skipped a beat when I saw it. It was the fountain! The right fountain! I bounced in my seat as the car pulled to a stop and then I jumped out heading straight for it. Here it was! We found it! We found it!
The three of us headed straight for it, but mom walked to the far side of the house. Standing on the walk leading up the main door, she called over to us. “I’m just gonna stay right here!” Something about this place still had her freaked. I guess if I passed out when I touched it, I would probably have been right there with her.
Standing before it, we all kind of just looked at it. The water had been switched back on, probably by Mrs. Biscotti-Cream for prospective buyers. The water spilled from the lions mouths, but other than that, it looked like a normal fountain.
“Well you found it. Now what?” Tilly broke into the silence. Dad and I scratched our heads.
“I don’t know. I guess I will take a closer look.”
Without the distraction from a certain giggling mystery lady, I was able to give a full inspection. At first glance, there was nothing at all out of the ordinary. Just a fountain, spraying water, doing its given job in life. I made a full circle, before coming back to my original place of examination. “I don’t know.” I sighed, splashing my hand in the water. “I don’t see-” Then I saw it. Just below the water line. Something on the far lip. I couldn’t read it under the water, but when I ran my hands across it, I could feel it. An engraving just below the surface. “There!” I yelled, way more excited than I realized. “Right there! Something. I can’t read it though. Dad help me.”
Going against our better judgement, Dad and I tipped over the fountain. It took all the strength we had to get the job done. Hitting the ground with a thud and scream from Tilly. “OMB WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”
Water from the lions mouths drenched the ground around our feet, but we were able to clear up the lip with the engraving, so we could read it. Mom seeing and hearing the commotion ran up to join Tilly, both of them squeaking and squawking as we tried read what had been placed there. I got down to my knees, hitting the cold water, I leaned in closer. “It’s a flower of some sort and.” I read the engraving aloud. “Somewhere of my own design, you and I will finally see the sun. Someone right that down!”
“I got it!” Tilly, waved her bPod in the air.
Before we had a chance to tip the fountain back up right, I honestly had no idea if ever could have. An angry voice sliced the air behind us. “JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!?”
It was a none too pleased real estate agent. Oh this was not good. Water splashed across my feet, draining all the way out to the walk. Dad and I gave a nod and then all four of us bolted for the car, running like made.
“Go go go go go!!!!!”
“Hey get back here!”
I had a funny feeling she was going to be a little more strict after that, with who she let in the gate. I stuck my head out the window and waved her direction. “Sorry!!”
The car was abuzz all the way home. We read the quote over and over again, trying to make sense of it. “Who will see the sun?” Tilly asked.
“I don’t know.” I said, leaning over the seat. I tried to grab the bpod from her, but she wouldn’t let go.
“Somewhere of my own design. So someone made something. But what?” All four of us thought about it for a moment. Mom looked up into the rear view mirror at dad. “Do you think maybe we should look at moms file?”
“Moms file?” I asked. How was it I always felt out of the loop with these two. “What file?”
“Your grandmother has a file that she received after your uncle and I were born. It was sent from someone, long before she was ever born, but it was addressed to her.”
Things were just getting weirder and weirder. “How is that possible?”
“Yeah!” Tilly wanted to know that one too.
“No one knows, but maybe there is something there. I haven’t seen it since I was very young.”
The second we were in the door, the four of us were running up the stairs to find my grandmother. We practically trampled her in the hallway, almost failing to stop in time, we halted just at her feet. Mom was totally into everything at the point and immediately asked her where we could find the folder. Our exuberance was a little baffling to her, but she knew exactly what we were talking about and where to get it.
We all followed in one big line, out the house and into the back yard. Trailing across the grass we looked like a Chiffon choo choo train. Standing in her bedroom, we all watched as she extracted the folder from deep within one of her dresser drawers. She wasn’t sure who to hand it to, we were all chomping at the bit, but eventually she chose to place it in my hot little hands.
Sitting at the kitchen table, I opened the folder to review its contents. My three partners in crime, still hovering around. There was a letter and pages of a diary. Everything was hooked to the inside of the folder with a paper clip. A couple photos nestled underneath the the metal enclosure, but nothing really that coincided with the fountain or its message. I thumbed through the pages, each sheet of paper making a small fan of air that came back to hit my chest. “I don’t know.” I admitted reexamining the first page. “There is nothing here.”
“Let me see the papers.” Tilly demanded placing out her hand.
Not even thinking about it, I pulled the papers from underneath the paper clip and handed them over. I went to set the empty folder on the table, when I noticed something written on the inside and underneath, where the papers had been. It was another quote, only this time the strange flower symbol was at the end of it. “Where hopes and forgotten dreams will bloom in our hearts.”
“I never noticed that before!” Mom exclaimed.
“Tilly.” I motioned for her to pull out her bpod.
She complied and read the first part of the quote. “Somewhere of my own design, you and I will finally see the sun.”
“Where hopes and forgotten dreams will bloom in our hearts.” I completed to phrase and the four of us again were totally lost.
Dad ran off for the computer, the three of us hot on his trail. Searching through every known database known to man, he finally stumbled onto something that might just have our answers. “Okay. I think I have something here, but it’s a stretch.”
“What is it?!” We all zoomed into the monitor trying to read. Tilly and I even bumping heads, fighting for a better view.
“Well.” He explained. “I figure it has something to do with flowers. Blooming and such, so I looked up symbols of different varieties of flowers. The Almond blossom is symbolic of “hope” and the moon flower is symbolic of “dreaming of love”, but in another translation, it is stated as “forgotten love”. A french translation… I think what ever was built, is in France.”
Our dreams of ever discovering what was there, went up in flames. “France?! But that is like on the other side of the world!?”
“Well this stinks.” Tilly looked as disappointed as I was. How anticlimactic. All that work and there was no possible way to go further. I trampled off to my room, preparing to tuck into bed early. Maybe I could go cry on Orange’s shoulder or something.
I got about an hour in before a small rap at my door woke me from my dreamless nap. “Hey.” Tilly slowly entered the room and sat on the far side of my bed. “Sucks about that France thing…”
“You know, I was thinking, maybe we could go afterall.”
“How we gonna do that? Strap wings on our back and fly there ourself?”
“No… Hang on.”
She hopped off the bed and ran back down to her room. Her heavy foot stamps leading her path all the way there. I could here her rummaging for something and then she was on her way back again.
She retook her original place on the bed, only this time she was lugging her piggy bank along with her. Plopping it in her lap, she set out her plan. “My sixteenth birthday is almost here. Which means I can get a job. If we both get jobs and put that money away, I bet by the time I turn eighteen, we could totally have enough for a trip to France! I looked up from my gaze at her bank. “You would help me do that?”
“Of course I would! I am just as curious as you to find this place of forgotten dreams and hopes.” She shook the bank in her lap. “Soooo, what do you think?”
“I think we need to start looking for a job.”