Holly’s stomach twisted as she followed Jay to the place where Mandy stood surrounded by her friends. All smiles and laughter, she couldn’t help but wonder: How much of it was fake?
Holly forced a smile as Mandy turned toward her, “Hey Holly,” Mandy leaned over in a hug and Holly returned it not wanting to show her disgust at this. She stood there, laughing and joking, doing her best to pretend that this wasn’t the last place she wanted to be. Luckily she didn’t have to wait long, as Mandy noticed another friend on the other side of the room and crossed to greet him.
Holly stood there, half hoping that someone would turn and ask if she was coming, the other half grateful to be alone again. I don’t need them, she reassured herself. But deep down the pain of their rejection had once again hit its mark.
She crossed back to her place by the window trying not to let her disappointment and anger show on her face, yet hoping that someone would notice her distress.
It hadn’t been that long ago that Holly herself had been accepted in that group. In fact Mandy had been her best friend until recently. Mandy was controlling she always had been and she just couldn’t stand it when Holly began to pull herself out of Mandy’s shadow. Because of this she was replaced by Liz, a girl who was quite happy living her life with a dictator like Mandy.
Though Holly was happy to be free of that life, the memories of that time with Mandy, the feeling of having a girlfriend or any friend even to talk to, flooded her mind and left her feeling depressed anytime she was around. Mandy had turned everyone against her too, everyone knew what a traitor she was and no one cared to hear her side of the story and so Holly didn’t bother them with it.
Holly risked a glance into the sound booth where Matt sat laughing with his friends. It was his fault really. If she hadn’t gotten involved with him, Mandy never would have felt betrayed, never would have left her in the dust. She would still have friends, still be popular, still be wanted. Matt looked her direction and she looked away quickly.
She tried to remove him from her mind not wanting to think of what she had lost because of him. Life was easier without him. She looked back outside and realized that Valentines Day was nearing and once again she’d be left with out a valentine. Any bets Mandy will have one, she thought bitterly.
Matt’s voice cut through her bitter thoughts, “Are you alright?” he asked as he sat down next to her.
She refused to look at him. “I’m fine.”
“You know you can talk to me about anything right?” He asked.
“Not anymore I can’t.” She said looking at him finally. The hurt look on his face cut to her core and she looked away again. Can’t let myself cry. Can’t show how much this still hurts.
He stood up placing his hand on her shoulder, “I still care about you, Holly.”
She couldn’t say anything past the lump in her throat. Instead she watched helplessly as he walked away. Why can’t he just leave me alone? God why is it like this? Those I want to talk to, don’t seem to notice me and the one I want to leave me alone can’t seem to ignore me.
Pastor Greg was up on the stage now, “Alright guys lets come together, we’re going to get started.” Finally, the hard part was over now. As soon as service ended she’d be out of there.
Holly went through the worship and sang like her heart would burst if she didn’t. Which it very well might have. “Majesty,” she sang “Majesty, your grace has found me just as I am empty handed but alive in your hands.” She tried not to cry as the words hit their mark, “Forever I am changed by your love in the presence of your majesty.” She blinked back the tears and forced a smile. She couldn’t allow even the tiniest break in her façade.
The music set ended and she worked her way back to her seat. She pulled out a sheet of paper, deciding to take notes to keep her mind where it belonged. The sermon was great and at the end Pastor Greg asked anyone who needed prayer to come forward. Holly sat there still as a stone. She knew she needed prayer. After all she had been struggling with depression for the last three months maybe even longer. But did she really want to admit that? Her, Holly Kay, the one with the seemingly perfect life.
She was a pastor’s daughter who still had both parents who were happily married and loved her, she had everything she could need and was content with what she had. She had a place of leadership in the church, was looked up to by the younger children and had a good reputation with the adults. She had been told many times by Reia and Jay as well as others that she was free to join them in their little group but she just didn’t have the energy anymore, not without Matt.
And that’s where the problem lay, with Matt. But she couldn’t tell them that couldn’t tell everyone that they had failed. She was innocent in the eyes of her peers, in fact she was perfect. Did she really want to destroy that by going up there and telling Pastor Greg what she had done? She couldn’t bear the thought and so she stayed, glued to her chair, not moving and seemingly unaffected by the sermon.
Finally sweet relief came as Pastor Greg dismissed. She stood grabbing her bag and pulling on her coat. She crossed the room to the Snack Shack and pulled the bag out of the small garbage bag. “I’ll take the garbage out for ya, Sunny.” She told the woman behind the counter.
Holly tied up the bag and headed for the door. No one questioned her as she headed for the door with the bag of garbage slung over her shoulder. She made her way to the dumpster stopping only long enough to throw it in and headed toward her car. She heard the door of the church slam and she turned to see who was leaving. Matthew was coming following from a distance. Why can’t he just leave me alone? She climbed in the car, hoping to be gone before he caught up with her.
“Holly wait.” The thought of ignoring him and speeding off entered her mind but she couldn’t do it. She waited as he caught up to her. “I wanted to give you this.” He handed her a small folded up piece of paper. She took it and tossed it in her purse and turned to the car not looking at where she knew he was standing, staring at her with those puppy-dog eyes. She climbed in, slamming the door behind her. She put the car into reverse and pulled out. She sneaked a peak in the rear-view mirror to see him still standing there.
I’m sorry, Matthew, it just wasn’t meant to be. Not after what we’ve done.