Fantasticoe -- Fall 2011
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A Cure to Homesickness

 by Nicole Leuer

“BEEP.…BEEP.…BEEP...BEEP...BEEP...BEEP..BEEP..BEEP!”  Jenny reached for the snooze button on her alarm clock wishing she would have went to bed earlier the night before.  She had started to get used to this routine where every morning she woke up and regretted how late she went to bed.  She would then fight the urge to stay in bed all day and force herself to get up.  After crawling out of bed, she would see a heaping pile of Kleenexes littered across her floor and the mysterious posters she had been randomly finding since the second month of school.  These posters advertised a number to call in case of homesickness, but she thought someone was just playing a prank on her.  After looking at the Kleenexes and posters, she would catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror and notice her puffy eyes, that weren’t the beautiful green they used to be.  She would then notice her long, red hair all matted-down and greasy.  It hadn’t been the shining, voluminous red it used to be since she left home.  Lastly, she would notice her too-skinny body that hadn’t been healthy since she lost her appetite.  After glancing into the mirror, she would look at all of the pictures on her desk of her family and old friends which would remind her of all the memories she had made in her life back home.  In fact, she could barely stand to look at them without breaking down into tears again. Needless to say, Jenny was homesick. 

One year ago, Jenny decided she wanted to go to college at the University of Pink because it has a very strong design program.  She was set on this college despite that fact that it was in Fort Lauderdale, which was located at the southern tip of Florida, and her hometown was in Panama City, which was located in northern Florida.  This was a long, boring nine hour drive.  When she chose this college, she didn’t think she would miss home at all.  In fact, she was excited to get away from her parents and all of their stupid rules.  She didn’t think she would mind being so far away from home, but she was definitely wrong. 

Her bubbly, outgoing roommate, Debbie tried to comfort her time and time again, but it never worked.  One day, Debbie walked into their dorm room and saw Jenny lying on their purple cheetah rug crying.  Debbie grabbed a box of Kleenex and sat down beside Jenny.  She offered her a tissue and said, “Everything is going to be alright Jenny.” 

“No it’s not Debbie,” cried Jenny. “Everything in my life is falling apart.  My grades suck!  I have no friends, and I miss my family!”

Debbie continued to try and comfort her by saying, “It’s just a phase.  Once you get used to this change and start becoming involved around campus, you will be fine.”

Jenny whined, “No it won’t be!  I just want my old life back!”

Debbie continued, “I know you had a great life back home, but this is a new page in the book.  You have to embrace it, and try to make the best out of it.  If you don’t try, you are just going to be miserable forever because you can’t go back in time.”

Jenny responded quietly, “I know that I have to move on with my life…it’s just hard.  I just wish I were able to snap my fingers and be home.”  Debbie hugged Jenny, wiped her tears, and started singing a Bob Marley song to her…

“Don’t worry ‘bout a thing…’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” 

Once Debbie started singing, Jenny seemed to feel better.  After seeing how hard things were for Jenny, Debbie began trying even harder to cure her homesickness.  She invited Jenny to go to parties with her, but Jenny refused.  She encouraged Jenny to join clubs on campus, but Jenny declined.  She even advised Jenny to get a job to take up her free time, but Jenny ignored her.

After many attempts, Jenny finally got the nerve to speak her mind and hissed, “You’re not helping, so just quit trying!” 

“That's it! I've have had it with you and your rudeness.  You figure out your own problems!  I'm going to scuba club.”

In fact, she began to ignore Jenny, and she avoided being in their dorm as much as possible.  She went out, had a good time, and met new friends while Jenny simply moped around feeling sorry for herself. 

Finally, Christmas vacation arrived so Jenny could go home.  She loaded up her Red Volkswagen Jetta, and began her long nine hour drive with the hope that her homesickness would disappear.  As she was loading her car, she noticed another one of the mysterious posters slipped under her windshield wiper that read, “HOMESICK? CALL US AT 1-800-HOME.”  She looked around to see if someone was playing a prank on her, but the parking lot was completely empty except for a few cars.  She snatched the sign and got into her car.  She backed out of her parking space and started towards the interstate. 

Just before she was about to pull onto the interstate, she decided to give the number a call.  It was worth a try.  She pulled out her brand new iPhone and dialed the number slowly and carefully. 

A man answered and said, “Ahhh you finally called.  We have been waiting for you.  If you want a cure for your homesickness, just stop and talk to the man on the interstate dressed in bright yellow.” 

Before Jenny could question what the man was talking about, he had hung up.  She started to whisper under her breath, “Some people are so…” 

Before she could finish her sentence, she saw a man dressed from head to toe in bright yellow standing alongside the road with his thumb out.  Jenny pondered whether or not she should stop. 

Her mother’s voice kept repeating through her head saying, “Never, never, never talk to strangers.”  Jenny knew she shouldn’t stop, but in her mind, she thought that this could possibly be the cure to her homesickness like they said on the phone.  She slowed her car and stopped next to the strange man.  As she pulled closer, she realized he wasn’t a normal man.  He had six big, round eyes that stared at her awkwardly.  They were a purplish color with little white holes in the middle.  She didn’t know which set of eyes to look at or if she should even look at any of them.  His yellowish skin had little holes that looked like they could absorb liquids.  In fact, it faintly resembled a sponge.

“What am I getting myself into?” she thought, but she rolled down her window anyway and cautiously mumbled, “Do you need some help, sir?” 

He replied, “No, but you do which is why I’m here.”  A puzzled look spread across Jenny’s face.  After a few seconds of silence, the man told her, “I know that you are homesick.  I have the cure for you.”  Jenny still remained silent and couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  The man asked her, “Do you want a fast way to get home or not?”

Jenny instantly replied, “Yes of course.”

The man smiled and said, “Well then you are in luck.  I can help you with that.” 

Jenny was still so confused.  “Who are you?” she asked. 

He replied, “I am the Creator of Tears.” 

Still confused, she asked, “Why are you here to help me then?”

He let out a jolly laugh, almost like Santa Claus and said, “Well young lady, you have been crying continuously for the last four months.  We are starting to run out of tears for the rest of the world because you are using so many.  The Lake of Tears is starting to dry up fast.  In fact, the Kleenex Company has started calling me too.  They can’t make tissues fast enough anymore because I’m producing so many tears.  If I don’t cure you, the world will soon run out of both tears and Kleenexes.” 

Jenny was in awe, yet she questioned him, “But how are you going to cure my homesickness?” 

He replied, “We are getting there.  Be patient.  First I must explain to you the secret sky glide.  The sky glide is a top secret invention.  It will transport you to any place that is located on this interstate in fifteen minutes.  It can take you five miles or nine-hundred miles down the road, whatever you want.” 

Jenny was so shocked.  This was exactly what she needed.  She automatically squealed, “YES, YES, YES!  I ACCEPT!” 

The man frowned and said, “No, you must first agree to the contract.  You must agree that you will only use this on holidays and for emergencies, and you must agree that you will not tell a single soul about it.  Any questions?” 

She pondered these things.  She felt that she could handle those rules.  Although she didn’t really understand how it would cure her homesickness, she figured she would try it anyway.  Jenny made her decision and said, “Yes sir, I accept.” 

He smiled and said, “Good luck Jenny!”

Suddenly without warning, an invisible force field surrounded her car.  Once it enveloped her whole car, it began rising.  It continued to move upward until it landed on a cloud.  Once the car was safely positioned on the cloud, the force field was gone, and Jenny didn’t know what to do.  She stayed in her car because she was afraid to get out.  She carefully looked around in search of someone to help her, but saw nothing but clouds. 

She saw no one for five minutes, and then finally, something appeared from behind the clouds.  As this thing walked closer, Jenny realized it had the same six eyes and same sponge-like skin as the man dressed in bright yellow on the interstate.  This calmed her down a bit because she knew that this thing must be a worker at the Lake of Tears.

She rolled down her window a crack, but before she could open her mouth to speak, she heard him say, “Greetings Jenny.”  The man continued, “There is no need to be afraid.  I work for the Creator of Tears.  I’m just here to get you on your way home.  Now tell me where you would like to go, and I will get you there in jiffy.” 

Jenny replied, “Panama City.”  He pushed a couple of buttons on his left arm and then said something in a different language into his hand.  Suddenly, Jenny’s car took off faster than a jet through the sky.  Her stomach lurched as the car took off.  Once she recovered, she looked out her window, but she could barely see any cars or towns below her because she was going so fast.  All she could see were the things in the sky around her, and all she could hear was her favorite Bob Marley CD that was playing.

She saw a large American Airlines plane and all of the bored faces of the passengers looking out the window in a daze to her right.  She wondered if they could see her, so she waved.  One little boy with huge eyes seemed to be staring straight at her, but he didn’t look alarmed or wave back.  She started to feel awkward that she was waving for no reason but then remembered that she was surrounded by an invisible force field.  Because she was flying through the air so fast, she soon left the plane behind and continued on her journey.

Soon after, she noticed an array of colorful shapes just floating in the air in the distance.  As she got closer, she realized that they were balloons.  There were happy birthday balloons, get well soon balloons, congratulations balloons, and many other balloons.  There were more colors, shapes, and patterns than she even knew existed, and they seemed to go on and on for miles.  She was confused why all of these balloons were just hanging out in the sky, and then she realized that this must be where balloons go after they have been released.  They can’t float around forever, so they all gather in the same place in the sky.  She was amazed at the sights around her, and she simply gazed in bewilderment. 

About five minutes later, her car came to an abrupt halt and then started slowly floating downward.  She felt as if it had been placed on a light, fluffy cloud.  As she peered out her window, she noticed a very familiar sight.  Down below, she could see her town.  She saw her tan, brick house with the rectangular pool and hot tub in the back yard.  She noticed her mother’s white escalade parked in front of the garage beside the beautiful palm trees.  As she scanned the town, she noticed her high school and its large athletic complex which included the football field, baseball and softball fields, and track.  Then her eyes passed the little hometown diner that served the world’s best Oreo milkshake.  Oh how she had missed this town. 

Suddenly her radio came on, and a soft, soothing voice spoke to her.  “Hello Jenny.  You are now on the way down to your destination.  No need to worry about anyone seeing you floating in the air because your car is surrounded with a shield of invisibility.  Once we land on the ground, you will continue driving as if nothing abnormal has just happened.  But don’t forget, you will not tell anyone or you will lose your privileges to the sky glide.  Have a nice day.”  Jenny couldn’t help but smile to herself as she thought of her sudden stroke of good luck.

As she slowly floated to the ground, she thought back to how the strange man had told her that this would cure her case of homesickness. She didn’t understand.  Sure, she got home quickly, but she could only use it in emergencies and for holidays.  Suddenly she had an epiphany.  If she ever had an emergency and needed something again, she could use the sky glide.  Once she realized this, a calming sensation filled her body.  She no longer had a reason to be homesick.  With those thoughts, she couldn’t stop smiling as she reached the ground safely and finished her drive home. 

As she pulled into her driveway, she glanced at the clock.  It had only taken her 15 minutes to get home just like the man had promised.  She ran into her house, and gave her mother a huge hug.  They had so much catching up to do, but first her mother asked, “How was the drive home?” 

Jenny chuckled under her breath and thought to herself, “If you only knew…”