“Close your eyes,” Patsy and Elmo said as they came into the room with Sarah’s graduation cake.
Sarah laughed, thinking about all the surprise birthday parties that had taken place in this living room over the last twenty-one years. She covered her eyes with her hands.
Sarah screamed looking at the custom-made cake of two of her favorite wax figures made by Madam Tussauds. Tears flowed as Elmo picked up the knife and sliced the man’s arm off and served it on a paper plate. It was a delicious chocolate and vanilla marble cake and the family had devoured the male figure in no time.
“We’re so proud of you, darling,” Patsy said. “I just know you’re going to be famous one day.”
“Ok course, she will,” Elmo said, kissing Sarah on the head.
“Thanks, guys. I couldn’t have finished school without you.”
Elmo sighed and looked at Patsy.
“What’s wrong?” The look on their faces worried Sarah.
“It’s been a rough spring. What with your father being laid off and my knitting just hasn’t been selling as well as I would have liked,” Patsy began but wasn’t able to finish.
“Want your mother is trying to say, is that, well, we know how much you wanted to go to visit Madame Tussauds in France and…well, we just can’t afford that right now.”
Sarah was relieved that’s all that was wrong and chuckled. “I love both of you, and you have done so much for me. I understand. I do. It’s okay.”
“Well, we don’t think so. I asked around and found out about this other wax museum in Ohio that we could afford as a vacation, and well, we know that Ohio isn’t France, but we hope you like it all the same.”
Sarah wrapped her arms around both her parents and kissed them. They were more than she deserved. She certainly wasn’t the easiest of teenagers, and they sure had their moments, but moments like this, she wished she could bottle up and keep forever. “I love it!”
Elmo handed her an envelope with a Greyhound Bus ticket, a ticket to the wax museum, and a printout of the hotel reservation he made. She left the following week. It was a lovely bus ride she met amazing people. Some let her sketch them and others wanted pictures of her. One young man was going to the same town she was and, as chance would have it, was also an art major and was museum lover. Unlike Sarah, though, he had been offered a job at the museum. They chatted all through Ohio and said their goodbyes at the terminal.
The hotel was nothing fancy. No room service, no pool, and it was small, old, and a little run, but she loved it. It reminded her of Norman’s mother’s house in Psycho if that had been the motel. After checking in and calling her parents to thank them again and that she had made it safe and sound, she decided to go walk around town.
The area seemed safe enough, and she had taken plenty of self-defense classes during college to be able to take care of herself. Not much was happening around town, and she asked for directions to the museum from the local 7-11 clerk. He looked confused as to why anyone would want to go there, but whatever, kooks came in all the time asking silly questions, so he told her.
His directions took her through downtown and into a residential neighborhood. Sarah thought it was a strange place for a wax museum, but they really can be anywhere, can’t they? She found the location, and read the sign outside the large, old house, “House of Wax.” Sarah laughed thinking of the old Vincent Price movie. Anything to sell tickets now.
When Patsy and Elmo retraced Sarah’s steps a month later, they swore one of the wax figures looked just like their missing daughter.
This was inspired by the Summer Holiday Week Long Challenge # 19 Madame Tussauds.