Prompt: “Are you serious?” I asked, somehow hoping that she wasn’t. She was quite serious. She was getting in the car and driving to California, with or without me. She had just gotten off the phone with…
…her real estate agent.
“Of course I’m serious, Addi,” She said. “I just got off the phone with my real estate agent in California. They found us a two bedroom apartment. Not got going to lie, it’s going to be cramped. But we’ll only be there for a few months, tops. After I land the gig, I’ll be doing movies, televisions shows. Whatever. We’ll be out of there and living in a million dollar mansion.”
“Hazel, we can’t… we can’t just. This is crazy,” I said.
Hazel was always like this. She was the adventurous, outspoken one that never let anyone shut her down. Even when the world tried to keep her out, she found another way.
She was also the one with the million dollar idea of running away to California to become a movie star. To me that was as crazy as saying you were going to be an astronaut, rock star, or President of The United States. Other people had those dreams. Not normal people. Not me.
“Addi, this was practically your idea,” Hazel said.
“What? It was not,” I said.
“You have your novel. That thing is a best-seller in the making,” Hazel said. “It might even turn into a movie I star in.”
“Hazel, my… my novel. I just started it. It’s barely even a chapter,” I said. “We can’t just leave. I have.. I have work tomorrow.”
“Addi. Do you really want to live your entire life in East Valley, Wisconsin working as a librarian’s assistant?”
“Well, no. But…”
“California is calling our name. We’re going to do it. We’re going to escape this god-forsaken town and we’re going to chase our dreams. You will be a best-selling novelist and I’ll be your best friend and award winning actress. We’ll take Hollywood by storm and Los Angeles we’ll be ours!”
I just stood there for a second. My head was spinning. This morning I never would have expected Hazel to show up with her car packed to the brim with her stuff, begging me to go to California with her.
“Hazel,” I said. “My job. My apartment here. What am I going to do about all of that?”
“Easy. Quit your job. Grab your stuff and leave your apartment. We got a new one in California. Plus you don’t think they have libraries or bookstores in LA. They have everything in LA.”
“I just… I can’t just leave everything here without a moments notice,” I said. “And I don’t see how you can either. What about your job at the coffee shop?”
“Quit this morning. I was in the middle of making this guy his cold brew and I just froze. It was like I was going through the motions. Not really there, you know? I just handed over my apron and left.”
“Just left?” The thought mortified me.
“Addi, you are focusing on the wrong things. This town is the past. California is the future. Our future,” Hazel said. “Now go pack up some stuff. I still have a little room if you really squeeze in.”
I stood there frozen in place as Hazel looked at me. She had such a bright smile on her face. A gladness that resided in her eyes.
It’s true that the last few years after graduating college weren’t the best for me. I struggled to really find any job I particularly enjoyed and had settled to working at the local library. It wasn’t much, but it paid for an apartment and my other bills. I was establishing myself here.
“I can’t go with you, Hazel,” I said.
Hazel’s expression dropped.
“Addi. Maddison. I thought we were in this together. California was the dream.”
“Maybe that’s not my dream anymore, alright? Maybe I… I just can’t leave everything in a moments notice. Have you even thought any of this through?”
“I know that if I stay here, I’ll never be a movie star. I need to go to Hollywood,” Hazel said.
“But what if you go to California and you don’t become a movie star? Lots of people move to follow their dreams and don’t make it.”
“Well those people aren’t me! And they aren’t you either. We can do it.”
“We can’t. We need a plan.”
“I have a plan. We go to California and we make it big.”
“Hazel, that’s not a plan. That’s a pipe dream.”
The words hung in the air and the silent tension was like a wall.
“You… don’t believe in me?” Hazel asked.
“No, Hazel. It’s just that… this is a lot. Maybe if we just waited a few more months. Saved up some money…”
“Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Addi, I’m sick of waiting. It’s now or never. Are you in or are you out?”
Again a silence came over me.
Eventually I just shook my head.
“I can’t go with you, Hazel. And I really think you should stay here,” I said.
“Well I guess that’s your loss,” Hazel said. “Have fun staying here in Wisconsin. Tell the dusty books goodbye for me.”
But my words fell on deaf ears. Hazel ducked her head back into her car and she started it up.
“Hazel! Hazel, wait!”
The car’s engine drowned me out as she put it into drive. Hazel then turned the wheel and pulled out of her parking space in front of my apartment building.
She looked over at me one last time with a sad look in her eyes and gave a small wave. She drove off without another word.
“Hazel!” I tried one last time, but she was gone.
“This is ridiculous,” I said out loud as I pulled out my cellphone.
I searched for Hazel and called her. She didn’t pick up so I left a message.
“Hazel, this is Addi. Please answer your phone. Come back so we can talk about this.”
A minute went by. Then another. Then another. I waited another five minutes.
I knew that Hazel had a taste for the dramatic. She was probably parked down the road, waiting for me to jump in my car and chase after her or for me to beg for her to come back.
I eventually called her. And I called her again. I sent text messages after text messages. Phone calls after phone calls.
But Hazel never picked up her phone or answered my text messages. Days went by and I never heard anything from her despite the multiple attempts to reach out to her. I was worried something had happened to her, but maybe she was just busy driving. Too busy to answer me.
About a week later after Hazel left, I was scrolling through Instagram during my lunch break and I saw a post from Hazel on her feed. It was a picture of a beach with palm trees and a beautiful sunset.
The caption read:
Chasing the Sun. Chasing my dream. First day here and I’m already in love. Get ready Hollywood, because I’m coming for you.
She made it.
I was so relieved to see some sort of life from here. I was glad that she had made it to California and I wished her the best. I knew that not many people got to actually live their dreams. But maybe Hazel was special. Maybe she was destined to be a star. Maybe she was destined to chase the Sun.
Header Photo Credit to Wagsinho.com
Writing Prompt comes from Picadilly’s “Complete The Story”