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by Renee Erreca
My family and I had just returned from a vacation in San Francisco. I was fifteen, and my parents had let me invite my best friend Holly to come along. We did all the traditional touristy things that make San Francisco fun. We bought posters at the Wharf, ate chowder in bread bowls, saw the Golden Gate Bridge and rode in a trolley car. As teenagers, the world was new. To the horror of our parents, we were growing up.
We returned home on a Sunday, and I hugged Holly as she was getting out of the car, thinking to myself that she was as good as any sister. Freshman year was going to be a blast. There was cheerleading, and high school parties with boys we would eventually know our first kisses with. We would conquer the world. We would live up to our potential. We would never grow apart.
It was the end of August and summer was coming to an end. Holly had all but disappeared. I called her house continuously and nobody picked up. I walked the ten blocks to her house, nobody was home. I talked for hours with our friends, each of us hypothesizing about Holly and her family’s whereabouts. Finally I received a call from Colin, her older brother. The call was surprisingly abrupt. Colin, my childhood crush, was different.
He asked questions that surprised me and put me on the defensive. “Did you and Holly do drugs on the trip?” “What have you two been up to the last couple of months?” “You really don’t know, do you?” This phone call was more than disturbing. Colin knew me almost as well as Holly. I grew up in the Cooper home almost as much as my own. By the end of the conversation, I only knew that Holly was in the hospital.
After another week of agonizing over what had or might have happened I got a phone call. This time it was Carrie, Holly’s mother. She asked that I come over to the house. She said that Holly had been asking for me, and that she was at home now. I asked what had happened. Something inside of me didn’t want to wait until I got there. I wanted, needed
to be reassured. Carrie said Holly had requested she be the one to explain. The walk felt longer than usual. I knew things were going to change. I sensed I could handle but maybe not understand the situation I was walking into. I missed Holly already.
When I arrived, Holly was in the living room lying on the couch. She was covered up by an old sheet and her eyes were slightly glazed over. There was a slight medical smell in the room. Holly didn’t say anything at first. I sat next to her on the couch, silently willing an explanation, wishing in my heart that all would return back to normal after a few weeks. That day we did not talk as much as I would have liked. To tell the truth, I am sure that I would have had very little to say.
After what seemed like forever, Holly reached under the tattered sheet and handed me a little pink pin. She had tears running down her face and I could not tell whether or not she was afraid or ashamed. The pin was very simple. It was from a local hospital, and it simply read “It’s a Girl!” I was beyond shocked. It all fell into place at once. Holly had done more than kiss a boy. Holly had faked her periods. I remembered her not swimming at a couple of parties. She had gained weight, but I figured it was just the endless pizza sleepovers and maybe too many snacks at night. I had been so blind.
I left in a daze. I was surprised to find myself angry. I knew she would need me. I wanted to be there for her, but I felt betrayed. We would never live out our dreams together. I could not depend on our friendship as before. I loved her, and her new little girl, but her future and mine would be very different. I did not want to pity her, but I knew enough, surprisingly, to know that Holly’s life would change drastically. I was not ready yet, to be an adult, but I would never recover the innocence I lost that afternoon. I was stuck somewhere in between.