CH 5- The Forbidden Room.
(15 years ago) Port City Maine
“Holly! How many damn times have I Told you? That room’s forbidden!” She scowled.
A young Holly dropped her eyes down at her feet. She said nothing to her angry seething mother who stood towering over her. This wasn’t the first time Holly had done this. No. This had been a game in her young ten year old mind.
Down the hall at the very end, and to the left was a door. It was ordinary, and like all the other doors in Holly’s home it was identical to all the others. Only this door was always locked. “why?” holly thought. It was rather odd. Holly’s curiosity ate at her mind as she consistently questioned as to what was on the other side.
Her mother grabbed her by the arm, and took angry long steps towards Holly’s room. Holly’s tiny legs could hardly keep up with her mother’s pace.
“Holly that room is not for you. You need to stay out. This is the last time I’m going to tell you this. Understand?” she says sternly.
“yes mommy” holly answers. Her lip was quivering, and her eyes got glossy.
The tears were fake. Pity tears. Holly thought if her mom saw how sad she was the spankings would be less severe. It worked. She got no beatings this time for trying to break in the forbidden room.
“You stay in your room. You’re grounded. If I catch you doing this again I will spank you, and you will not go outside this weekend.” she says.
Her door shuts, and the sound of her mother’s footsteps fade away. This doesn’t bother Holly. She doesn’t mind playing alone. Her room had become a safe pace to her.
Holly makes her way to her bed and sits down. She reaches over to the night stand and removed a small worn out photo album. She opened it, and pulled out a picture of her father. He was in uniform. This was her favorite picture of him. He was leaning against his squad car smiling, and holding a cigarette.
Holly felt a lump form in her throat. She missed her dad. Every time she looked at this picture a rush of vivid memories come flooding back. It helps her remember him. She closed her eyes, and tried to remember what his voice sounded like. It gets harder every year. He had passed when she was six, and at the time she didn’t quite understand the concept of death.
She heard her mother crying. “he was what?! Shot?!” she screamed. Holly Was on the floor playing with her dolls when the news came. Two of her Dad’s work friends at the door. They looked sad. Her mom’s world was destroyed that day. She sat on the couch, and buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
Holly not quite understanding the situation made her way over to her and wrapped her small arms around her the best she could.
“it’s OK mommy. Daddy will come home.” holly sadly spoke.
Her dad always stopped her mom from crying when she was sad. He was good at that.
“No Holly. He’s not coming home this time.” she cried.
Death, as intangible as it is, could not be grasped by such a young mind. Holly stayed home with a babysitter while her mother went to the morgue.
Holly sat in the living room and colored picture after picture, and when the babysitter asked why she was making so many she responded, “it’s for when dad comes home.”
Then she sat in front of the door with her innocent yet sloppy drawings and she waited. She waited for hours. She waited for her dad to pop his head in with that big goofy grin, and she would run to him. He would lift her high in the air, and spin her around and laugh. But the door never opened, and she grew tired from waiting, and fell asleep on the floor
She woke up in her bed. The babysitter had gently placed her there. It was then holly had finally cried. She cried as hard as she ever had before, and that was the last time she ever cried.
She has to be brave for her mom. She has to be strong like her dad. It’s what he would have wanted. This is what she thought.
“dad’s never coming back.” she whispered.
She touched his face in the picture, and then placed it back in drawer. Feeling heartache, she rolled over in her bed and took a nap. She would sleep it off.
She awoke to the sound of laughter. It was a deep Laugh, it sounded like a man. Holly doesn’t remember anyone coming over. She sat up and peered at the clock on her bedroom wall. It was 10:30. She had taken a long nap.
She rubbed her eyes and stumbled to the doorway. “mom?” she called out. No response. She could clearly hear whispering, and giggling from down the hall. She poked her head from her doorway and peered down the hallway. She could see a light on, and then noticed it was from the forbidden room.
Holly crept down the hall toward the voices. She could see the door was slightly ajar. Why was it open? She thought. The door had never been open before. She stood outside the door and right away could tell there were people inside moving around.
She thought about knocking, and then remembered how angry her mom got when she messed around near the door so she didn’t. Instead she cracked the door open several inches to get a better look at what was inside.
She saw a large bed in the middle of the room. To the left was a large bedside table with bottles and clothes sloppily thrown on them. Holly couldn’t make out what the bottles were. She was confused.
She poked her head in, and immediately smelled something pleasant. It smelled like milk and honey. There was a man on his knees, and what had to have been her mother’s legs on both side of him. He was between her. “what are they doing?” she thought.
He was moving on top of her in a way Holly thought he may have been hurting her. That was until she heard her mother telling him not to stop. She saw a pair of handcuffs hanging off one of the bed posts, and it was bouncing back and forth with the bed.
Her mother’s hand clearly visible at the end of the mattress gripping the sheet, and the other on the man’s lower back. “what are they doing, and why are they naked?” she thought confused. She stood there watching them trying to understand what was going on.
Is this what goes on in the forbidden room? This must be why her mom gets so angry when she goes near the door. Holly immediately felt guilty. She got a bad feeling she wasn’t supposed to see this. These must be things only grown ups do, whatever it is she knew she shouldn’t be watching. But she stayed
Again Holly’s curiosity got the best of her. She pulled her head back out into the hall and cracked the door. The man got out of the bed fully exposed. Holly’s eyes grew wide. She’s never seen boy parts before. “yuck” she thought.
The man got dressed on the end of the bed, and pulled out a stack of money. He counted it and then handed it to Holly’s mom. She got out of bed and dressed herself as the man combed his hair. Just then her mom’s eyes shot over to the door. “holly?!”
She was busted. The door flew open, and her mom stood over her with a angry face. The man leaned his head over her mom’s shoulder to get a better look at who it was, and then just laughed.
“holly how long were you standing there?” she asked impatiently.
Holly just stood there dumbfounded, and embarrassed. She knew whatever it was she saw was bad. At least it felt bad. She didn’t know what to say.
“answer me!” her mom yelled.
“I don’t know.” was all she could manage to get out. She was to scared. The man brushed past her mom, and kissed her on the forehead. “same time next week?” he asked. Holly’s mom nodded at him. He looked down at a trembling confused Holly and smiled. Then he left.
“holly come sit with me.” she said. This time softer, and more concerned. She took Holly’s hand and guided her into the living room and sat down.
“listen baby. I’m not sure what you saw. It doesn’t matter. What you need to know is sometimes when things get bad, and money get tight, you do what you have to do.”
Holly looked up at her mom’s face. Still not comprehending what she just saw and asked, “is he your new boyfriend?”
“No baby. He’s not. He’s helping us with some of our bills.”
“I miss daddy.” holly said.
Her mom kissed her on her head. “me to holly me to, but dad isn’t coming back. It’s just us now. We’re a team. We’re going to have to do what it takes now. Listen to me.” she said leaning down, and making eye contact. Her voice was stern and direct.
“we can’t trust anybody else in this world. Do you understand? Never trust boys. Ever. They all only want what you saw in the bedroom.” she said.
“but why did you do that then?” holly asks confused.
“because sometimes you have to do things like that to get what you want in life. It’s how things work. But it doesn’t mean anything. Just promise me you’ll never let someone hurt you.” she said.
Holly looked down the hall at the forbidden room. The door was open. No more secrets now. She now knows what it is her mother does in that nasty room. Holly decided that day that she has to be careful. She has to be strong like her mom, and more importantly like her dad.
Nobody will ever hurt her. She’ll never let that happen no matter what, and whatever it was her mom was doing in there she would definitely never do.
Holly looked at her mom’s concerned face and gave a weak smile.
“yes mommy i promise”