Faith or Fate?

“Alright, I’ll see you tommorow,” I yelled as I ran to my car. My best friend replied, “Bye Holly!” My best friend, Isaac doesn’t play any sports but he always stays after school to watch my practices and my games. He’s such a thoughtful friend.

…I love soccer but honestly, I am so glad this season is almost over. No one tells you how exhausting it is managing full IB classes with the responsibilities that comes with playing soccer. The practices, the games, the team-buildiing events, it gets exhausting. After a whole day of school, you spend your afternoon in practice, and your evening doing homework. Not fun at all. The way I like to think of it though is soccer is just my destressor before I go home and do school work again. It’s my senior year so school is starting to pick up with college apps, IB exams and presentations, and graduation on the way. At random moments during the day I remember that I am graduating this year. Its so sad to think a whole chapter of my life is ending and I have no idea what my new one will look like. Will I play soccer in college? What college will I even go to? Everything is just a big question mark it’s terrifying.

This is kind of a weird feeling to explain but as I startup my car today I feel like I had deja vu. When the day is as gloomy as today it’s hard not to feel some time of nostalgia. It’s not that late. It’s only 7pm but because its rainy it looks so so dark. Im so glad my dad got my windshield wipers fixed over the weekend because today would have been not too fun. It’s kind of annoying it started raining the second we got out of practice. If it had rained earlier I would have been able to go home early.

I am so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open. The worst part is I can’t even go home and sleep. I still have to do a bunch of homework and studying. It’ll be at least 4 hours before I go to bed. I have to make flashcards for french, finish my history essay, and start my book repor-

Woah why did everything go black? Where am i? The ringing in my ear is so painful. AHHH Oh my god, there’s a blinding light shining on my face. I follow the light and it looks like someone crashed into me. What the hell happened. Why can’t I move?

Meanwhile, back in Holly’s home.

“Did you remember to take the trash out Ryan?” Susan, Holly’s mom questioned.

“No, today is Holly’s turn,” Ryan remarked.

“Why hasn’t she done it yet? She’s probably overwhelmed with school in order for her to forget her chores. Just take it out Ryan. You are just sitting here watching TV.”

“I don’t mind taking it out but why should I do Holly’s chores for her while she’s out having fun with her friends.”

“What do you mean,” Susan asked.

“She’s not busy doing homework she’s too busy hanging out with her friends,” Ryan complained.

“Is Holly not home yet?” Susan began to worry.

“Yeah, she never came home after practice.”

“There’s no way she’s out with her friends. She would have asked me for permission first.”

“Well check her room if you want but shes’s not-“

Before Ryan finished his sentence the kitchen phone began to ring.

“James? What’s wrong honey.” Holly’s dad had called.

“We’ll be right there,” Susan said as she began to cry.

“Mom what’s wrong?” Ryan asked.

Your dad called. Holly is in the hospital. She got in a car accident.

At the hospital

“OH my baby. Oh my lord Holly. Don’t ever scare me like that. oh lord,” Susan began to yell.

“Mom calm down, I am okay”

“I saw pictures of the car Holly it’s completely totalled. How can you be okay.”

“I have no idea. I woke up in the car confused about what happened and I shut my eyes and when I woke up again, I was here. I heard the officers say a car ran a red light and hit me. I am fine though”

“Oh my. This is why you can’t drive at night. Only crazy people are on the road at night time”

“Ma, I did nothing wrong. And don’t worry I am fine.”

“I’m not blaming you, sweetie. I am still shaken up.”

“See look there’s not even one scratch. Not one bruise, Mama. I’m totally fine.”

“Honey, the doctors are gonna do some exams to make sure Holly hasn’t had any internal bleeding or a concussion and we’ll take her home. Everything is fine. No need to worry now,” James exclaimed.

“I’m gald your okay ugly butt,” Ryan joked.

“Thanks Ry,” I responded.

“You just got into an accident so that I’d do your chores right?”

“You’re so smart you caught on to my evil plan”

After a couple more hours, the doctor cleared me for discharge and said I miraculously appeared fine but that I should consult with a therapist if any of tonight’s experiences felt traumatic for me. She also told me to take note of any dizziness or headaches.

The best part of all this is I don’t have to go to school tomorrow and Monday is a student holiday becuase the quarter is ending so that means I’m going to have a 4-day weekend.

My mom refused to leave me be myself once we got home but I convinced her to let me sleep in my room alone.

I was exhausted all day. And even more exhausted after my accident. Both mentally and physically. But I could not fall asleep tonight. I was so tired all night but I could not fall asleep I could stop thinking about the strange feeling I had earlier today. I had deja vu before driving which was weird and to make it even more strange I felt such a calming sensation throughout all of the craziness happening. And it’s crazy that a car crashed into me on the driver’s side and even with my car totaled, I came out unscathed. Even while I was unconscious I felt like I was being hugged like there was someone protecting me. Maybe it was the EMT carrying me out of my car.

I woke up the next day to a million texts. My teammates were wondering why I wasn’t at practice in the morning and once they had heard what happened, they were worried. My best friend, Isaac, also found out because when I didn’t call him last night. He asked Ryan if I was alright. He called me a gagilion times and I called him back the second I woke up and saw his missed calls. He was in class so he called me back during lunch.

“Holly what the hell? Are you okay?, ” Isaac asked.

“I’m completely fine. I got into a car accident but I wasn’t hurt at all,” I reassured him.

“I’m gonna come visit you after school. Make sure you rest all day.”

“I will,” I promised.

I spent the entire day watching TV and eating snacks. I started the new season of my show, the OA. Which stands for the original angel. And before I knew it my mom was back home from work- I had to beg her to go to work today. She had an important meeting to go to today but she wanted to stay home to watch over me. I convinced her to go to work and I’d be fine. She walked in with a bunch of groceries and most of my favorite snacks. She usually demands that I put groceries away but today she didn’t. WOW I sure could get used to this special treatment.

While I talked to my mom about how her meeting went, Isaac called to tell me he was on his way from school. He offered to bring me sushi but I insisted that we go out to eat it instead. I wanted some fresh air.

I went upstairs and started getting ready. I needed to actually get ready and “de-zombie-fy” my face. I put on some concealer and changed into some ripped jeans, a floral shirt, and my Birkenstocks. I heard Isaac’s voice as he was talking to my mom. I guess he let himself in. I ran downstairs so excited to see my best friend. I felt a sense of relief and so much happiness by just seeing his face.

“ISAAC! Hiiii” I yelled as I practically jumped on him for a hug.

“Well hello. You sure don’t look like you have been in an accident, you sure you’re not fooling all of us?” he joked.

“My car will say otherwise,” I replied.

“Look who’s all dressed up. What’s going on?” Susan asked.

“Ma, we’re going to go out for sushi. We will be back in less than 2 hours”

“Absolutely not, you need to rest sweetie,” Susan responded.

“Ma, come on”

“I can grab it, while you two hang out and I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

“MOM, please. I need some fresh air. I need some Vitamin D and some sunlight and some sushi. PLEASE. Nothing will happen to me.”

“Holly, it’s for your own-“

“I’ll text you updates the entire time. And I am with Isaac, if anything happens he’ll be there.”

“Fine,” my mom reluctantly agreed to let us go out.

We went to the same sushi place that we go to pretty often. It’s like our little spot. The restaurant is pretty dim. Just dim enough so you can see each other and I love the intimacy that creates.

Our waiter greeted us and asked if we’d have our usual.

“Haha, yes let’s do-” Isaac responded before I cut him off.

I was feeling this urge. This new sense of breaking out of a shell. Life’s too short to get the same sushi order EVERY SINGLE TIME.

“Actually, no. I want to try something different,” I say.

“Oooh, okay. We love to see it,” the waiter stated.

“Okay, I’ll get something different as well,” Isaac said

I ended up ordering a tuna roll with vegetable fried rice and Isaac ordered shrimp tempura. The sushi was soooo good. I live for days like this. Food makes me so happy.

We were done eating and getting ready to leave and Isaac said he had a question to ask me.

“Would you risk something beautiful for even the slightest possibility of having something even more beautiful”

“I don’t know. In what context?”

“Just answer”

“Well yeah, I guess. Life is too short not to take risks, isn’t it? Just look at today. We tried something new and we loved it.”

“Yeah, I totally agree. Which is why-“

“Which is why, what,” I was getting antsy.

“Which is why I want you to be my girlfriend. We have been pretty close friends for so long and you’re the only person that really gets me. I have been thinking about asking you for a while but the way my heart dropped when you got into your accident yesterday was what sealed the deal for me.”

“Oh my gosh,” I was too stunned to speak. I bet my face was tomato red. “Yes, of course. I would love to be your girlfriend.

Oh my goodness this was the best day ever. I had no school today, just had some bomb sushi, and now I have a boyfriend. This was too much to take in.

We went to grab ice cream afterward and went home before my mom would kill me. She was spamming my phone with so many texts and calls. Like girl. Calm down.

It was like this for the next couple of weeks. I had to beg just to step out of my house and the second I did my mom bombarded me asking if I was okay and when I would be back home.

My coach also shared my mom’s concern and overprotectiveness. My coach would not let me play in any games or even practice with the team after my car accident. My coach said after a month if I am still feeling fine then I can play. But at that point, the season would be over. The only game I would be able to play would be my school’s senior night where the varsity team plays the junior varsity team. And usually, the JV team always lets the varsity win out of courtesy.

I had so much time on my hands now that soccer was out of the picture so I joined the prom committee to help plan it. It was the only way I could escape my mom’s chokehold.

We decided on a wonderland theme for prom. And I’ll admit it is a bit cheesy to me but it’s also the best way to spend my first and last high school prom. After meeting with the prom committee on Wednesdays, I would meet up with Isaac to hang out since that was the only day of the week that I had freedom.

I was too busy planning prom to actually focus on what I would wear. With two weeks away from prom I began to scavenge for the perfect dress to wear. After 2 days of trying on dresses, I found the perfect lavender prom dress that fit tightly on my chest and my torso but then loose past down my waist. It was the perfect dress and such a unique dress.

At this point, Isaac still hadn’t asked me out to the prom yet and even if he was my boyfriend, I still wanted him to ask. I was getting so antsy.

But Friday, exactly a week before prom, I go to my locker in the morning per usual and it was decorated with hearts and when I opened it there was a teddy bear and roses inside. Isaac pulled up behind me with a cute poster and asked me to prom.

I said maybe, I’ll think about it. Just kidding, of course, I said yes.

This would be the best night of my life. I could feel it.

After being under my parent’s chokehold after my accident. I was going to break free and have the wildest night of my life.

On the day of prom, my mom spent all day taking pictures and videos of me getting ready. She was so emotional. This woman was crying so much. She’s too cute. After 4 hours of getting ready, straightening my hair, styling my hair, doing my makeup, doing my nails, putting on my dress, and my heels, I was finally ready. I sat in the bathroom with my mom, finishing up the final touches on my look while dad and Ryan watched TV downstairs. Men were forbidden upstairs for today haha.

“Good afternoon Mr. Stevenson.” I hear Isaac’s voice from downstairs.

Oh my goodness. He’s here. I am freaking out. My heart legitimately skipped a beat. My mom ran downstairs so that she could take pictures as I came down the stairs.

I slowly made my way downstairs. I was blushing so hard but my family was cheering me on and Isaac had the biggest smile on his face so I was reassured.

“Wow, aren’t I the luckiest man on Earth? You look absolutely stunning babe”

“Says you,” I replied before pulling in for a kiss.

Before we left, my mom pulled me aside. Mom gave me a beautiful silver necklace to wear with a pearl in the middle to wear to the dance. Apparently, it used to be my grandma’s.

“She would be so over herself about how beautiful you look tonight. You two have the same smile you know. I wish she was here to see you but just look at your necklace and remember she’s always with you,” Ma said.

Now I was the emotional one. I refused to cry though. Nothing was going to ruin my makeup tonight. Mom took a million and one pictures of me and Isaac before we finally drove off to the dance.

This was going to be a magical night. Once we got to the dance so many people complimented me and Isaac. I felt like I was floating through clouds.

While I was dancing with Isaac, a girlfriend of mine, Jessie pulls me aside and tells me to take a sip from her hydro flask. From just the smell of her bottle, I could tell she had alcohol. I promised my self I was going to go wild tonight so I couldn’t refuse. I drank almost half of the bottle and found my way back to Isaac. At this point, I couldn’t even stand let alone dance anymore and I sat on the dancefloor. Isaac sat right in front of me.

“Holly, what the hell happened?”

“Nothing. I just need a dance break”

“Okay, then let’s sit at the table we’re going to get trampled sitting on the dance floor”

“No, I don’t want to”

“Are you dizzy? What’s going on”

“Jessie gave me something to drink”

“Oh lord,” I could hear the disappointment and worry in his voice. I have never drank before so this would be a crazy experience.

Jessie”s house

What happened after. Was a blur. I passed out and when I woke up again I was at Jessie’s house. Apparently, Isaac and Jessie dragged me to Jessie’s house so that I wouldn’t go home drunk. I apparently blacked out from alcohol poisoning. I woke up to Isaac yelling “Let’s just take her to the hospital.” And I mumbled that I was okay.

“Don’t scare me like that,” Isaac lectured. He pulled me in for a hug and held me tight.

“I’m so sorry Holly. I didn’t realize how much you drank. I shouldn’t have given you so much to drink, Jessie said. I told her it was fine.

I was in my head all day. I was lost in my little world. I couldn’t stop thinking about the vision I saw when I was blacked out. The same sensation of protection I felt during the car accident is the same feeling I felt yesterday. I swear I have a guardian angel watching over me.

Later on that week, I had my end-of-the-year lab practical for biology. I was in my head all week and I forgot to turn the gas off after I was down using my bunsen burner. Before you know it a small fire started at my lab table. It wasn’t too big to where we needed a firefighter my teacher just took it out with the fire extinguisher. Once again I was unharmed and felt that same sensation.

That weekend, my mom made me search high and low for her old camera lens so that I could have more options to pick from for my senior photos. As I helped my mom search the attic I found a letter that Grandma wrote. It was dated March 2007. This was while she was in the hospital on her death bed fighting uterine cancer. The letter wasn’t postmarked to anyone. It just began with my grandma speaking of how much she has fought and tried to hold on for our family’s sake. At the end of the letter, Grandma asked God for the protection of the family in all walks of their life.

Now it all made sense. My grandmother’s prayers before she passed is what has been protecting me this entire year. She is my guardian angel. She is my rescuer. She is my everything.

This was euphoric. All the question marks I have had about my present and my future began to clear. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I will accept my offer of admission from the University of Mary Washington, where my grandmother attended back when it was an all-girl school and I would study biology and dedicate my life to studying pathology to honor my grandma’s fight with cancer. The least I can do for my guardian angel is honor her life through my studies.

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