Remembering Holly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Gram fights off some boys teasing Holly, they become inseparable. Gram soon learns that Holly comes from an abusive home life and Holly learns that Gram suffers from a brain injury. Together they help each other figure out what is truly important in life.

Submitted: December 17, 2011

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Submitted: December 17, 2011

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Remembering Holly

 

Holly

I met him when I was in the third grade. Ever since I was young I wanted everyone to just be happy. Of course, that’s too much of a dream to ask for. I love everyone though. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what they have done, we’re all people and equal in this way.

It was stormy that day. I was sitting at a picnic table hidden underneath a cover roof. Everyday I brought a lunchie-pack, usually containing PB and J, an apple, and OJ. I was not a popular girl, and had virtually no friends, but most everyone really liked me, except this one group of boys who constantly got into trouble in every way possible. Roy was their leader. He spat in the dirt, just to look more intimidating.

He and his boys confidently trotted up to me one day while I was eating, and snatched my lunchie-pack from under me. “Hey!” I hissed. “That’s mine!”

Roy snickered. “Like I care. You’re not getting this back.

Confusion and frustration stirred inside me. I had never done anything to these boys before, nor had I ever dealt with bullying. As a third grader, I resorted to the only thing that I felt capable of doing in this particular situation. I began to cry.

Roy laughed at me. “You’re such a baby.”

All of a sudden Roy fell to the ground taking my lunch down with him. My lunch had spilt all over the rocks. Above him was a tall, muscular boy who had pushed passed Roy’s posse. “Leave her alone,” the boy said. “She didn’t do anything to you.”

Roy scrambled up holding his head. “Get out of here,” the taller boy snapped. Roy looked stunned. He ran off with his posse following close behind. When they left, the tall boy sat next to me on the bench.

“Sorry bout’ you lunch,” he sympathized. “Are you okay?”

I sniffed but nodded.

“I’m Gram,” he said. “What’s your name?”

“Holly,” I whispered.

Gram pulled a cookie from his pocket and nudged it at my shoulder. “Here, take it. It’s homemade. My mommy makes the best cookies in the world.”

“Thanks,” I responded now smiling. He smiled back, and it began to rain.

After that day, Gram and I were inseparable. Everything we did, we did together. I learned a lot about Gram. He lived with his mom, Maggie while his father had left them when he was born. Perhaps the most notable was about his brain problem. When he was five years old his mom and him went camping at Wintalow Lake. That day he had almost drowned. That one event changed his life forever. The school system classified it as TBI, traumatic Brain Injury but it affected him in a way that didn’t quite fit that definition. He was a perfectly normal kid, until someone made him mad in some way. Then he would lose control of himself and forget where he was. He would go into a rampage, hurting, or breaking anything he could. It didn’t happen too often, but when it did, it could be pretty frightening. I still liked him anyway. It didn’t make him a bad person and he certainly couldn’t control it. I loved him for who he was, and he loved me for who I was.

 

Gram

Her family life was an absolute nightmare. Whenever I saw her, she would have a new bruise somewhere on her body. Holly had one parent, a father. Never in my entire life have I ever hated someone so much. He beat her on a regular basis for no apparent reason at all. Worst of all, the girl would just take it.

When I first met her, I stayed as far away from her house as I could. Holly would commonly stay the night with my mom and I. My mom knew something went on, but we made an effort to let it be Holly’s secret. At the time, I felt I was hiding it for Holly’s sake because for some reason, she still loved that man even though the only thing he provided her with was a swift beating.

When we got older, the game changed. I was sixteen. I was old enough to feel confident in going to Holly’s house. She told me to never come to her house but one day I didn’t see her at all. I began to get worried so I drove over to her house.

I rang the doorbell a few times to that old, ratty house. The hinges on the door even appeared to be falling off. All of a sudden, I heard yelling. In fact, ‘yelling’ is too light of a word. It was screaming from both a male and a female.

I heard to many cuss words from the male voice to keep track of. I wasn’t even sure what he was hollering about but I heard Holly yelping. I threw my body against the door. The door easily flew off it’s hinges. I followed the sound of the violent noise.

“I’m sorry!” I heard Holly cry. I entered a room, witnessing the horror. Holly was on her hands and knees. Blood and tears ran down her face. Her father stood before her holding a chair above his head. The next thing I knew, the chair came crashing down on Holly’s head.

The world went into a fog after that. Hate pulsed through my veins like a spreading virus that controlled my entire body. I remember pouncing on the man, throwing my fists repeatedly down upon his head. His knees buckled, causing us both to crash down upon the floor. Most of the world went white after that. All  I could comprehend was the feeling of hatred.

 

Holly

Gram appeared to have been beating the brains out of my father. When they crashed down, he gained the upper hand. I stumbled up onto my legs, shaking and trembling. I grabbed Gram’s arms and pulled them back. Luckily, he did not resist. He immediately stopped.

“Gram, stop it!” I cried.

Gram looked down at the man he was beating and then rolled his big brown eyes onto me in fear. I had only seen his TBI attack twice in the entire time we had known each other but it had never gotten to the point in where he had hurt anyone, unlike this moment.

My dad rolled up and looked at us both. “Get that monster out of my darn house or I’m callin’ the cops!” Except he didn’t say darn.

Gram only looked stunned. Perhaps it was what he saw, or maybe it was what he had just done. Either way, I grabbed onto his arm and helped him up onto his feet.

“Come on hun,” I said gently and walked him outside onto my porch.

“Go on home,” I said. “I’ll meet you there. I’m gonna go check on my father.”

“No you aren’t.” Gram’s words stung the air like ice. “You fear him, Holly. You want to love him and that’s why you keep going back but, Holly,” Gram paused. “He doesn’t love you back.” The words pierced my heart but I knew that he was right.

I just broke then. Tears came flying down my cut-up cheeks. Gram held me, standing on the porch. “Come on honey. Let me take you back to my house.” I was too weak at that point. I gave in and followed him to his car, his arm wrapped around me the entire time.

When we got to his house I told Maggie everything. I told how Gram had lost control, and how my dad beats me. Maggie asked to talk with him. I was fearful, but I agreed to it. Basically she told him that I would stay with them indefinitely or she would call child services to investigate. He decided to let me stay. That day was the last time I ever laid eyes upon my dad.

 

Gram

I could tell that Holly was broken, more so after that day. We knew that she was safer that day. For the longest time I feared her dad would beat her to death. I loved having her around though. A few years past without fail and we both attended the same community college. Holly was a smart girl, so most of her money came from scholarships, if not that then loans and Mom helped a little too.  I relied mostly on my mom for help. It was the end of our junior year of college and I was planning to propose to her.

Conveniently, my mom lived next door to me and Holly lived with her. They had really bonded and were practically best friends. Holly was like her daughter. That night I took Holly out to the most expensive restaurant I could track down in the area. Holly of course knew that something was up.

“Aw, it’s such a beautiful nigh!” Holly exclaimed happily as she and I strolled down the city streets on the sidewalk. She glanced up at the array of stars. I was surprised they were visible with all the lights emanating off from the city. “Did I tell you I got an ‘A’ on my English final?”

I laughed. Her mind was always so deep inside of her studies. “No you didn’t. Congratulations!” I squeezed her hand gently.

“I knew that essay was going to get them,” she said.

As Holly and I walked, she accidentally bumped into an older man. “Hey watch it!” The man hissed calling Holly a couple bad names.

I should have controlled myself but I couldn’t do it. My vision blurred and I charged at him with my fists flaring in rage. Holly pushed the man out of the way, yelling for me to stop, but I could barely hear her. I thought it was the man, for all I could see was a big blurry mass in front of me. I knocked her up against the wall with brutal force. My fists fell against her gentle face. Before a minute expired, a huge crowd surrounded the scene and I focused on to what I was doing.

“Holly, I---,I---,” I couldn’t conjure up a single word after that. All I saw was the girl I loved more than anything else in the world, beaten against the wall with my own hands.

Holly wiped the blood from her face with her arm and grabbed my arms, staring intently into my eyes. “It’s okay sweetie, I’m okay. You didn’t mean too, I love you.”

“I love you too,” I murmured, standing up and pushing through the crowd leaving my heart behind with a young girl in a silver dress. Holly stood up watching as I ran off.

“Gram!” She hollered at me letting the sound of her soul ring from the last words I would ever hear from her again. She began to make chase after me. “Come back!” But she couldn’t reach me through the crowd.

 

Holly

I raced home as fast as I could to beat Gram there. I went to his house first and checked the entire place, top to bottom but he wasn’t there. I went next door to see Maggie standing in her PJ’s saying, “Holly, dear. What’s going on? Where’s Gram?” I didn’t respond so she followed me through my scavenger hunt of the house.

I went in my room last. My window was open, which was not how I had left it. “Oh no,” I whispered looking at my dresser. On it was my favorite flower, a purple lily, a letter, and a ring. I opened the letter and Maggie peered over my shoulder. It read:

 

Dearest Holly,

Tonight I did something to you that I may never be able to forgive myself for. I always promised myself that I would never hurt you, and there I was, breaking that promise to myself. I need to go away for a while and figure things out. I never meant to do this to you. I’m am so sorry. This ring belongs to you. I love you so much. Forever and always.

Gram

 

Never in my entire time of knowing him had he ever inflicted so much pain by leaving, and it was not because he beat me.

“I’m going after him,” I said determinedly.

Maggie stopped me, piecing the scene together in her head. “No, Holly. Gram has struggled with this most of his life. He needs some time to think.”

“But what if he never comes back?” I cried tears streaming down my face.

Maggie wrapped her arms gently around me. “I know Gram, and you know Gram. He’ll come back. He’s not a runner. Just a thinker.”

“But how do you know?” I sobbed.

Maggie too, starting to lose her voice said, “Because he loves you too much.”

That night we cried together, wishing that Gram would come back soon. I would wait for him, but until then, I continued on with my life, carrying the painful memory in the front of my mind. I prayed every night for his safety, as well as his return.

 

Gram

Three years past since that day. I had found a job as a bar tender. One night when I was closing, a young girl walked in anyway.

“Hey can I get a beer?” She asked showing me ID.

Usually I would have told her to go home there was something about her that made me say, “Sure, take a seat.”

“Thanks,” she responded.

“Sure, rough night?” I asked.

“You could say that,” the girl said. “You see there’s this guy that I’m in love with.”

“Ah, it all comes down to love doesn’t it?” I interrupted.

“Well sometimes,” the girl continued. “We’ve known each other for a really long time, but he keeps pushing me away.”

“Why’s that?” I asked scrubbing down the counter as she took another sip of her beer.

“He has a bit of a mean-streak,” she replied.

“You’re gonna have to be more specific girl,” I commented.

“Well he can get violent sometimes,” she said.

“Oh?” My interest was suddenly peaked.

“But he doesn’t get it. He’s afraid he’s going to hurt me but that’s not important. Love is about risk you know? Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be perfect. Besides, he’s not violent with me, just sometimes he gets a little tipsy and goes off on a few thugs. He thinks that’s violence,” the girl finished.

“But what if he accidentally hurt you one day? What if he laid his hands on you?” I pondered looking down.

“Well then, it is what it is. I would forgive him. Listen to me bud, that’s another thing that has to be involved in love.”

I looked intently at the girl.

“Do you have a special someone in your life?” she asked.

“Sort of, but I haven’t seen her in a while,” I admitted.

“Why not?”

“Well,” I paused searching for the right words. “I kind of hurt her.”

The girl looked at me funny. “Oh, well did she forgive you?”

“She’d forgive anyone,” I smiled.

“I see. So you haven’t forgiven yourself, is that right?”

The question caught me off guard. I had never saw it like that before.

The girl got up from her chair placing money on the table. “Look, I’m going to go look for my man and I suggest you go look for your woman.” As she approached the door she turned to face me one more time. “Honey, forgiveness has to go both ways to work. It doesn’t always come right away but that’s why there’s someone to help you find it.” With that the girl walked out of the bar.

I had finally seen my next move. After years of confusion. I had to forgive myself, and in order to do that I had to go home.

 

Holly

There was nothing particular about this day. Just an ordinary Sunday evening. The sun was setting, reflecting a beautiful ray of pink and purple light across the sidewalk. I was walking home from the market, holding a bag of groceries. I was thinking about Gram, as I did often but that didn’t stop the world from going on. I was forced to adapt.

A lot had changed since he had left. Maggie had adopted a baby girl named Faith, after her mother who had passed away before Gram was even born. This wasn’t a quick or easy decision. She was planning it for a while. Even Gram was aware that he would one day be a big brother.

I thought about how much I loved Maggie and Faith. They helped me carry on even though Gram was gone. I still held on to the hope that he would come back. I could feel it in my bones that he would come back. He had so much to come back too. We would be a happy family once again.

I walked down the street, lost in my own thoughts. It wasn’t long before it dawned on me that a car was right behind me. I turned to face the noise, and was greeted by a pair of headlights. I never saw who the driver was. It was too late for me to look.

 

Gram

I drove home as fast as I could. In a few hours, I stood beaming in front of my mother’s house. I felt like a new man. I walked up to the door and pulled out my old key hoping it would work. I couldn’t wait to see Holly again. Before I unlocked the door, an elderly man approached me. He was one of our neighbors.

“You looking for Maggie?” Asked the gentleman.

“I sure am,” I replied. “Know where she is?”

“She’s at the Wintalow Hostpital. There was some accident, sonny.”

I thanked the old man, and took off in my car. Fear coursed through my body causing me to tremble and shake. Who was it? Was it Mom or Holly? When I got there I spotted my mom crying in the waiting room, holding a little girl through the tears.

“Mom?” I asked.

Her brown eyes lit up past her freckles. She moved the hair out of her eyes. “Gram?” She sobbed in surprise. “Why, is that really you?”

“What happened Mom?” I choked.

“Holly was hit by a car baby,” Mom cried. “Honey, Holly is dead.

At that moment, my world just stopped. I had never been in so much pain in my entire life. It felt like a knife was just driven through my heart. Wet tears rolled off my chin lifelessly.

“No,” I whined shaking my head.

“We can see her one more time,” Maggie whispered. “They haven’t taken her yet.”

I followed my mom down a long dim hallway. Holly’s room was small and dark. Her body was lying peacefully on the hospital bed. Mom stood at the doorway holding the sleeping child. I laid next to Holly in shock. My hands ran gently up and down her cold hand. My heart sank when I felt the ring on her finger.

“She was waiting sweetie,” Mom said quietly. “We knew you would come back.”

“But too late,” I whispered so quietly, I don’t know if Mom heard me.

My teardrops dropped quietly on Holly’s arm. She was so young and had so much life left. Mom came over and held me as we cried together still holding a young new life in her arms. I knew who she was; my baby sister. Even through the sorrow, there was that light of hope. When we were asked to leave, I took one last look at Holly. Beneath her red, long curly hair was a smile that made me realize it was all going to be okay. I would never stop loving her.

 

Gram

I learned soon after that it was Holly’s father who was driving the car. He died on impact. I like to think that one day that I’ll forgive him, but first I have to forgive myself for leaving in the first place. I know in my heart that Holly forgave me, and even forgave her father for everything. Mom agreed with that. I visited Holly’s grave for a very long time and always brought her some purple lilies. I would tell her that I missed her and that I loved her. I sent regards from Faith and Mom too.

I got to know Faith very well. I sometimes think that she was one of the main reasons that I was able to move on. And of course Mom too. The funeral was a beautiful ceremony, but small. If only more people took the time to know her they would have seen the beauty and grace that I saw.

I’ll never forget Holly. I’ll never forget the feeling I got the first time I laid eye’s on her. I’ll never forget the lesson I taught those boys either. I’ll never forget the way she would calm me down from losing control and when I did, she would help me remember that it didn’t make me a monster. I’ll never forget her love and how it reached everyone who knew her. I wished her father saw it too, but he was too selfish to see it.

I blame myself for her death. If I never left, then maybe it would have never occurred. But sometimes when I’m alone I can feel her. I know she forgave me, and I’ll move on eventually. I’ll meet new people and piece a new life again. Until then, her memory will weigh on my mind, reminding me of how much I miss her.

 

Epilogue

Gram and Maggie moved soon after all of that. Gram sometimes has TBI attacks, but he never hurt anyone because of them again. Every now and again Gram would still visit Holly’s grave, but as time went on, it became less frequent. In his new home he met his best friend Chip and they finished college together. Together, they decided to own a bar. Here, Gram met a girl named Gina where a new love blossomed. He wasn’t replacing Holly, but love comes in different forms at different times. Gram and Gina had two twins named Haley and Amy. Maggie and Faith were so proud of him. Maggie knows that Holly would be happy that Gram had finally sought happiness out of all that had happened. Gram still thinks of her fond memory but has moved onward with his life knowing that he is blessed. Holly is still smiling down from Heaven at them.


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