Purity had a splitting headache. She had taken some medicine awhile ago, but the pain persisted. She fell onto her bed with a slight “UGH!” and tried to bury her head under the pillows.
“What’s wrong Purity?” asked Bea. Bea was the younger of the two and always inquisitive.
“My headache won’t go away…” moaned Purity. “And I’m so bored, I could just scream.”
The girls’ summer vacation had been good, for the most part. They had gone on a few outings with the parents and their siblings.
But what Purity was REALLY excited about was her 18th birthday. She knew once she turned 18, she had the legal right to make her own decisions. The days were slowly counting down. Saturday was ALMOST here.
“I just want it to be midnight, Friday night. I just want to see…” said Purity into her pillow.
“I know, I miss her too,” remarked Bea. They both knew who Bea was referring to. Their big sister, Prudence had not been able to see them for well over a year. But they had managed to “see” her in stories that the girls wrote each other and shared through the internet. “It’s YOUR turn, Purity. You start the story this time,” said Bea.
“I’m just not up to it, Bea. My head hurts. And I just don’t know where to start,” remarked Purity.
“Let’s start where we saw Prudy before. Remember the roses Prudy gave us for Valentine’s Day? Let’s start there.” Bea went into the closet to get out the school books they had used (and later been given). Bea pulled out her world history book. However, her rose was no longer between the pages about Ancient Rome.
“The rose moved,” exclaimed Bea.
“Where?” asked Purity. She looked over Bea’s shoulder as the youngest sister turned the pages of her world history book. When they came to the page where the rose sat, they discovered that the rose had not been moved by accident.
“It’s on the pages devoted to the American Revolution,” said Bea.
“I wonder if my rose moved too?” asked Purity. She pulled her old French book out of the closet. Sure enough, her rose was also in a different place. It was in a section about the American and French Revolutions. “I remember when I was in French class we learned a little French history. The American Revolution inspired the French Revolution.”
“Maybe Prudy wants us to reread this section of these books for our next adventure?” said Bea.
Purity looked at Bea. Bea looked at Purity. They both felt that magic in the air. That magic that said Prudy was close by and ready to enchant them into yet another adventure.
With a mad and rapturous glee, the girls grabbed their books and flung themselves onto their beds. In no time at all, they were quietly reading.
“What’s going on in here?” asked big step-sister gruffly.
“We are reading,” answered Purity.
“Reading school books during summer vacation??? You are both nuts!”
Purity and Bea made no reply. They just kept on reading.
They read long into the night.
Finally, Purity stopped. She looked over at Bea. Bea was sleeping. But she had a smile on her face. Then Bea murmured something in her sleep…
“I love you too, Prudy .” Purity looked on the floor next to her sister’s bed and saw a slip of paper that had fallen out of Bea’s history book. She grabbed at the paper. It read:
Go to the bus stop in front of the Arby’s nearest the house and wait for the black double-decker bus. The bus should be traveling towards the mall. It will bring you to me. Hurry! Bea is already here.
“Wait for me!” said Purity. She left the book open on her bed and ran to the front door of the house.
The clock struck 11:45 pm. Purity looked behind her. Everyone in the house was asleep.
She HAD to do this alone.
Purity was scared and excited all at the same time. She gripped the doorknob. It turned and before she knew it, she was out of the house. She walked as calmly as possible down the path to the gate. Once outside the fence, she was off down the road towards the Arby’s in the big shopping center closest to her house. She had grabbed her cash before she left. She wasn’t sure if the black double-decker bus required exact change as most buses do, but she was determined to be ready.
Purity saw some buses that were out of service: buses going to the post office and buses going onto the local community college. She knew that the bus marked #43 was the bus that would take her to the college near her big sister’s new home. But she waited for the black bus instead.
All of a sudden, an old fashioned double-decker black bus rolled up. It opened its doors. Purity stepped onto the platform.
“Show your student ID and it’s just one George Washington,” the bus driver said. Purity whipped out her school ID and paid the dollar fare.
She took a seat near the driver since there was no one else aboard. The bus driver closed the double doors and hit the accelerator. The bus lurched forward and then backward. The bus began traveling backwards – in time.
In just a few moments, the bus had traveled all the way back to 1770’s. It stopped on a quiet cobble-stoned street. Bea was waiting for her sister on the corner.
“How did you get here so fast?” asked Purity exiting the bus.
“Magic!” replied Bea whimsically.
“Where are we?” inquired Purity.
“Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” answered Bea. ” We have rooms right over Benjamin Franklin’s printing house. Prudence is waiting for us.”
“Why did YOU get to come ahead?” asked Purity.
“Because you are almost 18. You NEED to be able to do it alone. You’re always saying you are tired of me tagging along, anyway.”
They walked into the print shop by a back entrance and made their way up to the attic.
Prudy was there waiting for them. She said nothing but took them both immediately into her arms. Purity could feel her big sister’s warm skin against hers. Her arms were long and golden from many summer sunny days. And she smelled of vanilla and bergamot. Purity wasn’t sure was bergamot was, exactly. But she knew the perfume her sister used was French and made of vanilla and bergamot. They held that group hug for a very long time.
Then, Prudence sat down at her desk…