One day Camellia met her uncle Cedar. He wasn’t a child, yet he didn’t fully look like an adult either. They said he was her father’s brother but she had never met him before and he looked way too young for that anyways. There came a long explanation about marriages, blood, mothers, fathers, genealogy, trees . . . and now he was there. He was going to live with them.

 

As the months went by Camellia and uncle Cedar were drawn closer and closer. Best friends they became while Camellia’s 10th anniversary was approaching.

 

The day before the celebration the house was bursting with joy, flowers, decorations . . . Her father was preparing the food and had been locked in the kitchen for hours and hours. Camellia’s mother was kind enough to allow her to have her best friends over for the day. Then came Iris, Rosemary and Gardenia. A real treat! It was the first time Cedar met the girls. They all got along just fine and started thinking about what game to play first.

 

Hide-and-seek. It is decided.

 

Camellia hides her face against the curtains and starts counting . . . 1 . . . The girls start running around the apartment . . . 2 . . . Cedar is calm, focused, walking slowly, picking his spot . . . 3 . . . The apartment is small but somehow full of long hallways with tiny rooms at the end of . . . 4 . . . These hallway walls are filled with hundreds of embedded closets . . . 5 . . . There are lots of places to hide . . . 6 . . . Especially if you are a little girl . . . 7 . . . Rosemary finds an empty shelf inside a closet in the hallway that leads to a bathroom . . . 8 . . . She is sure to be the last to be found as she wraps herself in a towel and closes the closet door . . . 9 . . . Rosemary is an agile little girl . . . 10 . . . She climbs her way to the top of a tall dresser and hides there, so high that she is out of sight . . . 11 . . . There is already no sign of Cedar . . . 12 . . . No one sees where he hides . . . 13 . . . Iris is still running around, trying to find a good spot . . . 14 . . . She enters the kitchen, time is almost up . . . 15 . . . Iris gets distracted by the beautiful treats Camellia’s dad, Oliver, is preparing for the party. There are thousands of small flower-shaped cakes covering the kitchen table. Huge pots on the stove boiling colorful sauces. Pink! Purple! Yellow! The bubbles explode and slightly paint the walls with tiny colorful (and delicious) dots . . . 19 . . . Cake, cake and more cake and . . . 20!

 

Iris is the first one to be found. The two girls keep seeking for the other players. Camellia knows all the good hiding spots and finds Gardenia in no time. They are three now, looking for the other two. They start checking the closets. Each girl is assigned a hallway to search. Iris finds Rosemary, who begs her not to tell Camellia. But Iris is too anxious to get back into the kitchen and she begs Oliver to let her taste one cake. She just wants this game to be over. She shouts “I found her! I found Rosie!” “Let’s meet in the living room!” shouts Camellia. She knows it will take a while to find them in the labyrinth of those hallways.

 

There they are, Rosemary, Gardenia, Iris and Camellia. “Where can Cedar be?” asks Gardenia. The girls keep looking for the hidden uncle. An hour later all the closets are inspected, all the rooms scanned. They look under every bed, behind every curtain . . . But Cedar’s whereabouts are still unknown. When . . . “Ding!” a coin falls to the ground. The girls gather around the mysterious penny and . . . “Ding!” there is another one. Where are they coming from? Where do they lead? “It’s a hint!” says Rosemary. “Cedar is helping us to find him!” They rush to gather around a newly fallen dime, in the bathroom. “But how did he get from there to here without being seen?” asks Gardenia. “And there is nowhere for him to be hiding in here.”

 

The girls look around. There is only a sink, a bowl and a tub. No closets, no tables, no curtains: nowhere to hide. They look at each other. Suddenly they all feel a chill coming up their spines. Something is not right. “Ring!” the telephone. They run to the kitchen and Camellia picks up the phone. It’s Cedar!“Ding!” Another coin, in the living room. “Ring!” goes the telephone. “Ding!” in Camellia’s bedroom! “Ring!” “Ding!”… “Stop!” screams Rosemary. The girls are exhausted. The uncle is still missing. But they are sure by now that other forces, magical forces, are involved in this game. Cedar is no regular man. He disappeared, literally disappeared, and is sending these hints just to drive the girls crazy, keeping them believing that there is a way to find him!

 

“Ring!” . . . “Hello?” . . . “ Camellia?” . . . “Enough, Cedar!” . . . “I need your help, I’m stuck” . . . “What?” . . . She runs to the kitchen and there it is: the big drawer. She tries to open it. It is stuck. “Dad!” she screams. Oliver tries to open it. It is stuck. Down comes the toolbox. Unscrewing the screws . . . and . . . “Oof!” he is finally released.

 

“How did you? . . . If you were . . . How? . . . The coins . . . And . . . ?” They girls couldn’t understand how this was all possible. Even if he wasn’t hiding there from the beginning how did he get past them and get himself stuck inside the big drawer in the kitchen?

 

Some things in life we will never know the answer to. Our little flowers are still wondering about that day. But all the cake made it easier to let go with the questions and allow some mystery to be part of their lives.

 

 

Julia Anquier’s “The Best Adaptation Never Made” won first prize in the Third Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. Julia is a junior in the Film program at SVA. She was born in Paris, and in 2011 she received her Baccalauréat (Serie L) with Mention Tres Bein in Brazil. Julia has written and directed a number of short films and documentaries, while working for Studio 65 in New York City as a member of their Film Research Department. Prior to working for Studio 65, Julia spent time with Flint Productions in London as a Production Assistant and Assistant Editor. Most recently, Julia worked as the assistant casting director for the Stephen Daldry film, Trash, and she was eventually promoted to Assistant Director Trainee.