My Date with Holly Near

Heart pounding, I walked up the steps to Holly's apartment and rang her doorbell. Even as I stood outside the door, despite my nervousness, I could feel that special warmth that is Holly's own. The door opened and there was Holly, smiling of course, looking just like her pictures: gentle, strong, tender, sensitive, committed. I'm so glad you're here, she smiled, hugging me warmly. I smiled back. She smiled even more warmly. We stood in the foyer, smiling at each other. Doesn't it feel good to smile? smiled Holly. There is strength in women's laughter, I smiled back.

Could it really be true? Could I really be here, on a date with Holly Near? I pinched myself to make sure it was all really happening. Already I felt so calm and comfortable, it must be true. 1 could hardly tell exactly what it was that Hotly was nearing, each earth tone blended so imperceptibly into the next. I stepped forward and bumped right into Holly (against the earth tone decor of her apartment she was almost invisible). We laughed happily, two women together, yes, together, in spite of everything.

Come in, come in, laughed Holly. and we walked into her living room together. Would you like some tea? she smiled. Of course, Holly, if it's not too much trouble, I blushed. Trouble? Holly's laugh wafted out from the kitchen Like muted guitar notes. She walked in carrying two earth tone mugs. Our sisters are struggling against injustice and oppression throughout the world and you think making tea is trouble? Ah, how we North American white feminists are blinded by our privilege. I felt my face grow hot, my blush grow deeper. How could I have been so insensitive? As tears welled up in my eyes, I felt two strong gentle arms surround me. Have some tea, Holly murmured. I took the cup from her hands and drank. The tea was sweet, strong, gentle, warm, just like Holly. There is strength in women's pain, Holly said, gently but firmly. Let's not turn it inwards. Let's take hold of our rage and use it to change the world. Let's start fighting right now! Holly's eyes flashed and she pulled me close to her. Ann-Marie, let's sing! We are cultural workers! We must be the voice of those who have no voice! What a moment! What a woman! She began to sing and her sweet, warm, powerful, soothing voice made my Ears start to ring. What songs she sang, her own of course, unmistakably so, so sweet, so universal, so vague, so unthreatening, so unspecific, so charmingly feminine! I gazed at her, dazzled, feeling something so strong, so comforting, a feeling I almost recognized but couldn't quite name, and whispered, Holly, you're wimpy. She smiled warmly and breathed. There is safety in wimpiness, aid pressed her mouth to mine. We kissed. My head spun. The feeling was growing ever more overpowering, confusing, indescribable. Oh, Holly, Holly, I gasped. My head fell back, my eyelids fluttered, my lips parted, my bode shuddered and convulsed in the most intense, overwhelming yawn of my entire life. I passed out.

When I came to, I was back in my own room, in my own bed. Could it all have been a beautiful dream? I ran downstairs. There were all my housemates in the kitchen. Ann-Marie, god, we thought you'd never wake up, you've been sleeping for five days straight. In fact after Holly paid the cab driver and carried you into your room, we all just felt so nice and sleepy we went night to bed. Pat didn't even make it into her bedroom, she conked out on the stairs. Holly carried me in? I whispered. Five days ago? Did she...did she...? Yeah, she left this autographed picture for you. I could hardly believe it, but there it was! To Ann-Marie, in struggle, love, Holly; As I stared at the photo I felt my eyelids growing heavy and................ ..............THE END?

-- by Ann-Marie Hendrickson

My Date With Holly Near was originally published in Shoe Polish Week an uproarious newsletter available from 195 Garfield Place #2-L, Brooklyn, NY 11215.