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i guess i should finish up where i left off, while i actually have the time. thursday i went up to the store, and holly teased me for being there, but then remembered that since it was payday, it didn't count. she told me how today was her second to last day. she said she had gotten friday and saturday off so she could go out of town with her parents, but she was going to work sunday, and it would be her last day. so she wasn't working saturday, and i know the book said that saturday was her last day. i had read it the night before the schedules were made, so unless she had changed it at like midnight, she wasn't working any more, and just didn't realize it. but i went ahead and let myself believe that she was going to be working sunday. because i like her and i wanted to see her again.

friday i waited all day at the internship for an email from jim, and never got one. i had sent the email that said 'friend' on wednesday morning, and he still hadn't answered by friday afternoon. he is usually a lot quicker than that. i was worried about him. i didn't want to make him mad, and i didn't really want him to completely give up until i got back to columbus, and with him not answering, i was worried that he actually took the hint and gave up. i am selfish. i hate myself for thinking like that. i am dumb.
after the internship, i went up to the store to check the next week's schedule. i was going to be working there in less than 2 hours, but i had to know now if holly was really working on sunday, and if i was going to be working with her. she wasn't even on the schedule. her name was gone. i felt so empty. thursday had been the last time i would ever see her, and i hadn't even known it. why didn't i say goodbye or something?
i went home and listened to my sad playlist. diamond rio-you're gone, and stuff like that. it all fit my mood. i moped around for a few hours, and then moped on up to work.
at the store, i talked to simon most of the night. he's leaving soon too. nobody else was really there to talk to. angela came in once to buy some junk, and she asked me wasn't i going to offer to help her out with that? so i did. she bought like 3 bags of stuff, but i carried two of them out to her car with her, and felt very much like holly, who does stuff like that all the time. angela said she was going to call me this past weekend becuase she was bored, and she had thought maybe we could hang out. i was busy all this past weekend, but i didn't want to discourage her, so i told her she should have, becuase i didn't really do much all weekend. she said next time, she would. but about 10 minutes before i was supposed to go home, holly came in. i was bagging for eileen, and the few other people who were still here were just sorta standing around the register, talking to us. there were no customers. holly came in and waved to me and i waved back. she was wearing real clothes with her hair down. i like holly. she went in to check the schedule. she came back out and complained to the group of us 'i'm not even on the schedule!' gerard was there. he is the manager of the store. he asked her what she meant, and she said that she wrote that sunday was her last day, but they hadn't even put her on the schedule at all. gerard is a nice guy. he told her to come in anyway. he asked when she wanted to work. she said she had to do morning because she had to visit her aunt that evening. i told her 'awwww, work evening!' (that's when i was scheduled). she couldn't. then eileen said 'well, i'm working evening too, so you won't see me,' and gave her a hug. holly hugged her back and said bye and i felt empty again. then she left, and waved to me. i told her bye, have fun at school, don't forget to go to classes. she laughed and said she'd try not to. and then she was gone. and then it was time for me to go home and i left and just felt sad. i decided that i had to come up on sunday and see her again. there would be something that i needed to buy, and if there wasn't, i would make something up.

then saturday, i worked. brandy was there. she invited me to go see a movie with her and sandy after work. so far, every time sandy has been supposed to do something, she hasn't. she wasn't at brandy's house either time she was supposed to (the most recent time, she sent a message with holly that she wasn't coming, but the first time, she just didn't show up), and she didn't meet us that one time either. i have yet to hang out with sandy, even though she seems to be a part of their group. i didn't really want to. nikki had said she might come home tonight, and we were thinking about doing something with anthony. but there were no definite plans, so i couldn't use that as an excuse. and i still feel like these guys are my connection to holly. if i can get in good with them, somehow, i will get to see holly again. so i agreed, after the required number of non-answers. i stink at accepting invitations. after i agreed to that, nikki came into the store, and asked if i wanted to do something. i felt a little bad at that point. i told her she could come too, but she didn't want to (i don't blame her-i wouldn't want to hang out with people i hardly know either). drew asked if i would please switch shifts with him for tomorrow. that was sunday. i was so excited! i asked 'what time do you work?' he said morning, 10-2. hell, yeah! holly's working a morning shift tomorrow! i said casually 'sure, why not?' he thanked me a million times, and the whole time, i just wanted to give him a big hug. thanks to him, i was working with holly, and he thinks i'm doing him a favor! so i worked a while, and then we went to the movie. it was ok, and hanging out with them went ok too. i didn't make too much of a fool out of myself. they talked about holly a little, which made it all worth it. if they know holly well enough to talk about her, they are my link to her. i'm so much more comfortable when holly's around though.

that brings us to today, sunday. i was out late last night seeing that movie, so 10 was sorta early for me. i made it though, with time to spare. waking up at fucking 5 am for that internship has really trained me well. i woke up today around 8:30, just by accident. i arrived, and holly wasn't there yet. trisha was though. trisha is 2 years younger than me, and she used to be really good friends with katie, when they were young, so i got to know her then. when katie got to high school and trisha was still in 7th grade, katie decided that she was too cool for trisha, and they haven't really talked much since. but i am the sort of person who never gets to be too cool for anyone, so trisha and i still talk a lot. today was trisha's last day, and she was really excited. me and marsha joked with her about how she should do all these bad things to get in trouble today, since they couldn't do anything to her. i tried to talk her into standing on the belt, and i would turn it on and she could do a little surfing dance up there. she turned that one down real fast. then holly showed up at 10:15. she came over to the register i was bagging at, bagged one order with me and talked to me a little, and then dissapeared for 3 hours. she was only working a 4 hour shift. i didn't know where she had gone. i went out and got carts and her car was still there. they put me on register for a while. when i went back to bagging, i volunteered myself for price checks to go look for her, but i couldn't find her. finally, on my break, i discovered that she was back on the register in bakery. you can buy pop and bagels and cookies and hot foods and stuff to eat while you shop there. so for my break, instead of my usual prepackaged junk food, i bought a bagel, just so i could use that register without looking weird. then she came up front, and they put her on register. pete was there, and she was the top of his list. unfortunately for him, when she opened her register, he was in the middle of a big order at the other end, and i was in the middle of doing nothing. so i moved to the end of her lane and watched pete make his way down the front end, one lane at a time, until he was bagging on the land right next to me and holly. he was like this vulture, just waiting to jump in the second i left. i felt triumphant. i talked to holly, and we joked around, but didn't really mention that it was her last day. i made her mess up once, or at least she said i did, becuase she was talking to me and accidentally scanned something twice. i wanted to spend the rest of my shift there, but they had me go get carts. when i came back in, pete was at the end of her lane. that wasn't a surprise at all. so i bagged for some other people, and then pete went on break and i bagged a few orders for her. jenny (the coordinator) was right there too. holly looked at her watch and asked 'isn't it 2:15 yet?' i told her no, but in about 1 minute it would be time for me to go home. she told me 'it's 2:05, stupid.' i said oh, well in that case, i'm going home now. they laughed at me. i clocked out and went to get something to buy. i didn't really need anything, but i wanted to go through holly's lane one last time. so i came back up there with a few snacks, and i told her to have fun at school. i got cash back off my debit card and she asked if it was a tip for her. i told her 'you wish!' she handed me this grape that was at the end of the lane, and said here, this is your tip. i took it and started to leave, but i felt like i needed to say goodbye. i wanted a goodbye hug like eileen got. this wasn't goodbye becuase this was just like any other day. but i didn't want to go back and ask for a hug. so i came back and told her 'here, i have a tip for you,' and i gave it back to her, only i held her hand and smashed it into her palm. 'awwwww... jerk,' she said. 'dude, you leave now. you're not coming to my party tomorrow becuase you smashed a grape in my hand.' and then she went to wash her hands and i left. only i didn't really leave becuase that definitely wasn't the kind of goodbye i wanted either. but i had no other reason to go back in there. i drove around the parking lot, but couldn't bear to leave. so i parked the car, and went back in there. i got a gallon of milk. we have plenty of milk in the fridge, but i know i'll drink it eventually, and i had to give this goodbye thing one last shot. i got the milk one lane behind holly's. she was closed off, wiping down her register, getting ready to leave. jenny was standing with her and noticed me. she pointed and said 'look, loser just couldn't leave.' holly teased me and said i was in here way too much. i said this didn't count becuase i never even left the parking lot. she just laughed. on my way out, holly was talking to jenny right up front. i walked by her and sorta put my arm around her and patted her on the shoulder and then said, in this half-serious voice 'i'm sorry for smashing a grape in your hand, holly.' i did this all as i was still walking though, so by the time i finished my sentance, i was halfway out the door. i didn't even hear her answer, if there was one. but i felt a little better anyway. not really though. holly is gone. no more holly, ever. i'm sad, but still confused. i really don't get it.

on one of my trips out getting carts today, i was thinking about this whole holly situation. it's a sunday, and i was getting carts right after church let out. they were appearing in the lot faster than i could bring them in, so i was out there almost 45 minutes. that's plenty of time to think. and i was thinking that maybe it's not holly that i like. i mean, i do like holly, but maybe more why i like her is becuase of who she makes me. like, when i think about holly, i remember specific incidents.
for example, i remember the time we were playing basketball, in the semi-finals, and we were down by 2 with something like 3 seconds left in the game. they passed the ball in to me, and holly was running down court. i flung it down there to her. it was an awful pass, but she caught it, and put it up, just behind the 3 point line, milliseconds before the buzzer sounded. and it went in. everyone was cheering and the team rushed out onto the court, but holly came straight running to me, and jumped on my back. i gave her a piggyback ride, running all over the place, and the rest of the team was all surrounding us, congratulating her, but me too. we were screaming and cheering and everyone was happy, and me and holly were in the center of it all, with holly on my back. it makes me smile just remembering.
or i think about the time a parent decided to take a team picture, after a game. she said 'everyone line up,' but nobody really did, until me and holly started screaming 'picture time, picture time!' we put our arms around each others shoulders and raced out there and faced the camera making goofy faces, and the rest of the team laughed at us and jogged out to join us. they surrounded us from all sides. everyone was aiming to be with us. one of the girls ran up behind us and jumped on both of our backs at once, and everyone in front of us was leaning back into us. it was the most wonderful feeling. we were the center of it. the lady made copies of the picture, and i have one. you can tell just looking at it that we are the center. we have these huge wide grins, and we're ducking down so you can see the people behind us. we are tight. we are the center. we are special. i like that. i love that picture.
then i remember my first day at the store. anthony worked there, but he wasn't there. out of everyone there, holly was the one i knew the best. she was so surprised to see me working there, but she was happy too. she put her arm around me, and took me around and introduced me to every single person working anywhere in the front end at the time. it was holly getting out of doing work, but it was also making me special. she would say something about me too. like 'this is loser, and she played basketball with me,' or 'this is loser, and she's super smart. she was the valedictorian.' or any other random fact she happened to know about me. and when she introduced me, we would talk to whoever it was, and they would ask me 'you know her?' i would laugh and say yeah, who doesn't know holly? they would laugh too, but they were looking at me different than if i had introduced myself. i wasn't just loser; i was loser, holly's friend, and that makes a lot of difference. it was the first time in my life that i made a good first impression. these people didn't think i was 7, they thought i was holly's friend. anthony talked to me about this a few weeks into the job, and he was amazed. he said he would ask people if they had met me, and they had, but they were all saying things like 'oh yeah, her and holly are so funny,' or 'yeah, loser, i love her and holly. they're such goofballs.' that wasn't the sort of thing he was used to hearing people say about me. me either, but i liked it. i liked that holly made me special.
or i remember the time over christmas break when we had baggers and cashiers on every register. even though it was busy, me and holly had nothing to do. so holly linked her arm through mine and said 'let's go help people!' we wandered around the store, our arms still linked, playing the helpful sales clerks like you get in a store at the mall. 'can i help you with anything?' 'are you finding everything ok?' we were actually helping people. people who don't usually shop there shop over the holidays, or they buy stuff they don't usually buy. some lady had us find like 10 different things that she had left til the end becuase she couldn't find them. we were talking and joking and having fun, but still helping people. after a while of this, jenny called us up to the service desk. jenny, codi, and molly were all up there. we thought we were going to get in trouble. they asked 'what in the world are you girls doing?' we said that there wasn't really much to do up front, so we were just looking for people to help in the store. they laughed. they said 'you two are something else.' and they said that a few customers had stopped up and mentioned how nice it was that they had people out in the aisles helping in the holiday season, becuase it really made their shopping trip smoother. they said it was a good idea and they wished more stores would do stuff like that to help the shoppers. they also said that next time we were going to do something like that, we should probably tell them first, so they had a clue as to what the customers were talking about. i said 'we figured you wouldn't let us.' they laughed and said they wouldn't have. but they said if we wanted to go ahead and do that until it was time for me to leave (in like 15 minutes), we could go ahead. so we did, and as we walked away, i heard them talking 'you gotta love those two.' 'yeah, you won't find such good kids just anywhere.' and i was glowing. it was fun for us, but we were special. the customers liked us and even the bosses liked us. they were the bosses, and they told everyone else what to do, but we were special. we made our own rules, and everyone loved us for it anyway.