Old Beginnings, new Endings

By: Mercedes B. Fausett – Centennial 7th Grader

Non-staff Contributor

My family had moved… again. In a matter of moments all of my hopes of finally becoming a part of a group had diminished like a salt pillar in water. My mom’s job moved us around a lot. I unpacked my stuff from the moving van quietly. Looking at our new house, my Aunt’s old victorian home.  Hopefully this was the last time for a while I would have to move those ugly cardboard boxes into a home. My aunt was at the front door with her husband looking excited. I don’t know how my mother would feel. Moving in with her baby sister I mean. I’m an only child ( which in my case I consider more of a blessing then a curse) so I’ve never had the feeling of being overshadowed by a sibling.  My Aunt Iggy had a slightly evil smile on her face as she looked out upon her older sister. Our U-Haul in the background. My Mom held out her arms to embrace my Aunt in a hug as my Aunt declared to the world.

“Lillyan! It’s been too long!” My mom shifted uncomfortably. 

Ignatia,” my mom chuckled nervously as she finally got out of the hug of death. Iggy looked at me for a moment, her snake eyes drinking in my fear. 

“Gilligan, you’ve grown up so much!” she continued as she then embraced me. Squeezing the air out of my lungs that snake woman as the smell of too sweet perfume entered my nose. 

“ Yep,” I said, looking at her husband, my uncle Rooney. Quiet as a mouse in the background as always. I don’t think I’ve ever had a full conversation with the guy. Then I saw my cousins starting to file out. All seven of the boys. My Aunt had raised a small army. Seven children. All boys. Now that I think about it. That may be the reason she is so inhumanly strong.

My first day at my new school was tomorrow. My mom didn’t like to waste time on us getting settled or anything. It was like throwing a vegan into a meat market and telling the butchers to “have at it”.  I made my bed. The moving process was to the point where it was burned into my mind permanently. I only had to get the essentials unpacked. The few things I had for pleasure could wait. I looked throughout the home everything was extremely clean, Iggy had been cleaning like a fiend beforehand and I could tell. Even the doorknobs were shining. Griffin (one of Iggy’s sons, the only one that was my age.)  was leading me to where I would be staying.

“We cleaned out the attic room for you.” he began. Tightening the watch he had on his wrist. Then the twins (Gi, and Grey) came screaming by. I nodded

“Thanks.” I replied quickly.

 We started up the stairs as he mumbled the lyrics of a song under his breath. He seemed to be the same guy that I knew from the first time we met. He came with his mom to New York where I was living at the time, to come visit us.  We had a few things in common, I showed him a few of my friends and we played street ball, (which was generally played with our rollerblades and some stuff we found in a dumpster). He was pretty good and we all had a really good afternoon. We were around 10, and the only reason I hadn’t met the guy sooner is because of the long several years my mother and I had spent in Britain. I quietly started rapping with him as he smiled a little. 


We got up to the door. As the scent of old books entered my nose. We both walked in as I set down the box I had brought and looked up. It was small and quaint, very clean. The floor was this unpolished wood that looked rough and splintered. The roof was slanted, there was one window and a small closet. There was a small bookcase that doubled as a nightstand. And most importantly, it was mine. My space, my room, my thoughts. Griffin and I unloaded the few boxes I had into my space and we all just kinda stacked them in the corner. Then Griffin was called down by Iggy to go help his dad get the car cleaned. Which left me alone with my thoughts.


I got unpacked in a brief half hour or so, then I decided to go outside. I found my way to the backyard, plopped myself under a tree, and opened my book. In a small and feeble attempt to escape the reality that I so desperately wanted to get away from. 


I was pretty close to the part where things got good when I heard a noise in the trees above me. I looked up to see that the leaves of the tree I was under converged with a larger, wiser looking tree on the other side of the fence. The birds fled the branches as I stood up wary of what could be lurking there. One of my cousins was in an old flower bed making mud pies when he looked at me like I was crazy then went back to making mud concoctions. I finally shook any doubt about rabid squirrels and sat back down. My cousin was gone from the mud pit. Though I still sensed someone with me. The quiet was broken by a small whisper from above


“Come on, go inside already,” the impatient whisper called out. I stood up once more, I looked closer in the tree to see, a boy around my age practically sitting in the tree directly over where I had been sitting.


We locked eyes. It was as though time had stopped all together and we were in this small paradox, a small infinity. His eyes shone a dark violet in the light. His face was a pale color at the sight of me, then gradually adopted the color of a dark red. Then ever so slowly he got out of the tree and just stood there. Out of pure instinct of living in downtown Brooklyn for nine months I grabbed a baseball bat from the side of the house.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he spoke stutteringly, taking a step back to the fence.

“Who are you and why are you here?” I said quickly trying to have my voice be steady and a bit more menacing than I meant it to come out.


We both stood there in silence as the back door opened as Griffin came out in the backyard in our odd stand off and kinda just stood there for a sec before he commanded me gently.


“Put down the bat Gill. Ty, What the heck are you doing?”


“I was just trying to get my hockey stick back before we played tonight, like you said! When I was in the tree’s getting to the other side, she was there reading. So I waited. Then, fourteen minutes later she hadn’t moved! She reads like she’s dead! In silence and with an eerie tone to her. I lost patience. And she grabbed the bat and I panicked!” he exclaimed quickly. He thought for a sec before continuing “ Who even is she anyhow?!”


Griffin groaned a little as I dropped the bat and it fell to my feet. “ The cousin that I was talking about. The one coming from Ireland?”

“One you claimed to be able to play hockey, the one that could skate, THE ONE THAT WE MADE BETS ON?! Is a girl!?”


I attempted to back away towards the back door, as the arguing continued. 

“Well she sure as heck can rollerblade!” Griffin retorted as Ty walked to the side of the house and grabbed a hockey stick. 

“And that helps us?! Number one, she probably can’t play! Number two, IT’S A GIRL!” he yelled. As I felt my face get a little red as I decided to defend myself. 

“Excuse me. Since when is that a problem?” I busted in.
“Micky an-” Ty began before pausing “… you’re just a bookworm!”

“That’s like saying the only admiral thing George Washington did was sign the declaration of independence. Now, what the heck?”  I  snapped as he tilted his head like I was crazy.


Griffin took the lead on explaining the fact that they had made a bet with this kid Micky, and his weird hockey team ( that they most obviously both hated with the power of a thousand suns), that they could beat them in a game of hockey. Well guess what? Everything would have been hunky dory if their left defense’s ( whose name is Oliver) brother is getting married and is out of town. Which consequently means he couldn’t play. So the small group of friends gathered to discuss how the heck they were going to play while being opposed by Mickey and his hokey group and saying so they should just let the guy win. And when I asked why they just didn’t use any of the other six brothers that Griffin had at his disposal. To which I got the smart alec reply from Ty, 

“None of them play hockey, and even if they did they all have about as much grace as a nerd with snow down their shirt.”  

Which caught me slightly by surprise, and then Griffin remembered I was moving in and remembered that fateful day in New York and that I could rollerblade, which in one way or another was technically ice skating on the pavement. So they all gathered to discuss using me as a fill in, without my consent. And to me this sounds like a classic chance for them to owe me a favor, so I was already kind of on board with the idea now that I’ve heard it. I  guess they all got excited, Griffin forgot to mention i’m a girl. Which apparently means that I am a liability that bruises and cries. To which I said that, I played Rugby in Britain with some boys, futbol in Spain, it would be a walk in the park. So I uttered I’ll play if you want me to when the two boys had ceased their explanation. 


So Griffin went to collect the other three guys on the team ( not including Oliver who left this morning)  to discuss letting a girl play in left defense. Witch left me with Ty, who looked me up and down.

“ok. So, I guess you don’t look entirely hopeless.” 

“Thanks,” I said semi-sarcastically as I looked at his tavern black hair in the sun. 


He quickly explained to me how the heck hockey worked. And how it’s six different parts to form a team. I saw Griffin in the distance with three other boys on bikes right behind him. Griffin quickly ditched his bike and went to the back door yelling to Aunt Iggy.

“I’ll be back in a bit, mom! Just showing Gill around town!” which I guess wasn’t an entire lie.

“Be safe!” she called back as the other boys ditched their bikes. 


Griffin started walking down the sidewalk as the others followed as did I. Quickly I was introduced to the rest of them. First I had met the goalie,  who was strongly built, and taller with dark red hair and emerald green eyes that seemed to be accompanied by a  smile and a friendly shake of the hand as he introduced himself as Andew . Then their right wing, who seemed to be a little more slimmer than Andew and had dark brown hair that shone with gold in the sun, he seemed less than thrilled at the fact that I was even alive and was not afraid to show it. 

“ Where are you coming from again?” The right wing brought up quickly and a slightly disgusted tone.

“ Ireland.” I held out my hand for him to shake “ I’m Gilligan.”
He stared at my hand for a brief moment before finally shaking it and replying with   “ I’m Terance.” His posture was rigid like and he seemed aggravated at Griffin. 


I was quickly introduced to the right defense whom’s name was Venace and had the energy of a hyperactive squirrel that had just consumed more than its body weight in sugar. We all walked to a large brown building that had the words “  Kim Campbell Skating Rink” in a set of bold letters on a sleek silver sign at the front. When we had gotten in Andrew saw someone or something, that gave him chills down his back. I followed his eyes to where he was looking, and there I saw a group of six boys all in hockey gear. I felt my stomach tighten a little as Griffin handed me a pair of rented skates and some hockey gear that Oliver had given them for the fill in. I went to put it on as I saw Ty go into the rink. I heard a fair amount of jeering towards him as he went to go get things settled. The smallest one in the group took charge and moved to the front of the group. The small kid took off his helmet to show off a head of blonde curly hair that had dark blue hair at his tips. That gave me a quick indication that he was Micky. 

“Are you guys here to forfeit? Because I don’t see little Olive” Micky questioned suavely and calmly with a venomous smile plastering onto his face.

Ty let out a laugh before answering “ You wish Mick. We got ourselves a fill in.”

“Well then. Let me see the little freak.” Mick replied with a scoff. 


By that time I had all of the gear on and was lacing up the ice skates. Andrew took a gulp in as he threw me a helmet and motioned his head to get out on the ice. I took a shaky breath out as I stood up.  I quickly shoved the helmet over my head and began to walk out to the ice. Mick let out a laugh as the other five boys did behind him. 

“ok then. What’s your name freak?” Mick asked his eyes when piercing into my soul. 

“Gilligan” I replied quickly as I held out my right hand for him to shake. 


He ignored my hand and made another short one liner joke. Ty rolled his eyes and within a few more minutes I was in a position on the ice. My legs shook slightly as I looked to the ice and all of the markings in it from skates. I followed along with the guys while they played aggressively. By the third time I was on the same place on the ice I had gotten the drift in my head. Strike hard and keep them busy for as long as possible as I keep an eye on Venace’s moves. . I took on a dude twice my size and ended up with the hard metallic taste of blood in my mouth coming from my nose. We were tied and time was of the essence. Griffin pulled me aside and took off his helmet to show off a decent sized bruise on his forehead. He gave me a quick one worded greeting before quickly telling me. 

“Terrance has an idea for a play, but we need to put you on the offense .”

“Ok, just tell me where I need to be and, and I’ll get there.” I replied with a smile spread over his face.  



Now here I was. In front of Mickey and his sly grin underneath the hockey helmet, his eyes darting back and forth between my eyes trying to figure me out. The puck was ours. From what Terrance had mostly told me between labored breaths and attempting to pop his shoulder back in place until Venace walked up and popped it back into place without a second thought we had a decent enough plan. . Everyone was in rough shape and it was getting late. We started. The ice gliding beneath my feet as I guided the puck away from the opposing side that was hot on my tail. I got ready to set the plan in motion for a quick and easy win. 


I quickly glided over the ice as I shook my glove off, threw the hemet off and shot the puck at the net, effectively making the other team gasp lightly and their goalie too distracted to block my shot. I wiped the blood from my nose.

“ Well gentlemen, looks like we’re done here” I said breathlessly, turning to Griffin and the others who threw off their gloves and helmets and let out a cheer. I looked to Micky who had an expressionless look on his face as it slowly but surely turned to anger quickly growled. 

“ That’s not fair!” then let out an exasperated laugh.

“We never said anything about letting ladies play,” Ty replied coolly. 

“I thought that was implied!” Micky argued.

“You didn’t seem to care when you were bashing my head into ice,” I shot back. Grabbing the glove and helmet and heading towards the exit. The team followed me as Mickey and the other boys on his team argued with us.  We kept our dignity and shook their hands. 

“We expect to have the practice area open to us on Saturday, I don’t want to see any of you guys.” Terrance said quickly on our last round of shaking hands. Micky nodded.

“A deal is a deal,” their goalie said level headedly. “ And Gilligan, we are all looking forward to playing with you again” he smiled good naturedly as we shook hands.

“Me too,” I replied with a smile.


With that we all started our own ways. Griffin and I ran home and snuck in, cleaned ourselves up. I went to bed with a smile on my face.