Lacy Grace stood in line at the Charlotte Piggly Wiggly market. Disgusted by the photos on the front of the Star Daze tabloid she purchased every copy before pitching them in a garbage can. The store clerk was awestruck as the diva exited the store.
Her agent Max was trailing behind harping about signing her new contract Lacy was exhausted from a six month tour and was demanding a hiatus. Once Max agreed, he wanted to know which home -Manhattan or Malibu. Lacy looked at him with bloodshot eyes before answering, “Baraboo -and alone!” Max didn’t push the issue any further.
The next morning she left for her hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin. It had been sixteen years since Max discovered her while singing at the Whispering Willow Inn. As the wind whipped her hair she caught a glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror and cringed at the sight of the wicked white strands.
Before pulling into Baraboo city limits she purchased a box of auburn hair dye, a pair of Levi’s and a Baraboo sweatshirt at the local Woolworths. Wearing a hat and sunglasses to disguise her celebrity status she checked into the Whispering Willow Inn nestled on the shores of Spirit Lake.
After coloring her hair and changing her clothes she descended the stairs of the inn with a small backpack. She hiked along the lake in the company of memories. She and Robby had been inseparable ever since they shared a box of crayons in kindergarten.
They grew up together -first building sandcastles in the presence of their parents and then later riding their bikes to the lake. She remembered how he painted their names on the chain guards of their bicycles. She never stopped loving Robby Anderson with the brown eyes and sandy blond hair. She smiled while remembering the day he asked her to go steady and handed her a mood ring. His lips stained from the Superman ice cream he had just eaten. She said yes and they kissed sweetly for the first time.
The day she left Baraboo for a career in music she handed Robby the mood ring before getting in the limousine. She had never seen him cry before that day.
That was sixteen years ago – surely he had moved on with his life.
As she hiked the rim of the lake she enjoyed the newfound freedom of being alone without an entourage. Even more welcomed was the lack of attention. Here at Spirit Lake in her jeans, sweatshirt, and sunglasses she was nothing more than a tourist. It was such a serene way to live.
When she returned to the inn Max had left her several text messages. Frustrated with the prodding she turned her phone off before taking a shower.
At sunset she walked along the sandy boardwalk toward the Frosty Freeze. Off in the distance she could see a pink vintage bicycle on the sidewalk. As she approached she noticed the bicycle basket brimming with daffodils. Daffodils had always been her favorite flower. She smiled as she noticed the name “Heather” painted on the chain guard.
She walked into the shop as the owner was stacking the returned life jackets. Before turning to see her he greeted her with, “Welcome to Heather’s Bikes and Boats.”
“Heather’s Bikes and Boats – it’s got a ring to it.”
Robby recognized the voice and immediately turned to see his best friend standing in the doorway.
It was a sweet reunion that evening. They strolled along the shore of Spirit Lake until dark and then went to Frosty Freeze for ice cream. Afterwards they returned to the shop. Robby’s lips were stained from the Superman ice cream. He opened the cash register and pulled out the mood ring. Heather’s eyes filled with tears of joy.
She returned to her room at the inn that night. While brushing her auburn hair she gazed in the mirror and saw her true self for the first time in a long time. She wasn’t Lacy Grace. Lacy Grace was just a fictitious show name concocted by Max. As far as Heather was concerned Lacy Grace died that night – and Heather Grayson was resurrected.
At the stroke of midnight she phoned Max to tell him she wouldn’t be renewing her contract.
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