My Vignettes Holly Tremblay

My Name

My name is a bush, most well known for Christmas time. I wasn’t born in christmas though, even though I get asked if I was all the time. I was actually born in May, which is when holly bushes blossom. Even though I was born in the spring and not around Christmas time, I still have always loved christmas. The whole month of December is a time of giving and hope and joy. It is my favorite time of year. I love being with my friends and family in the first snow of the season and hearing “Jingle Bells” playing in the distance. I love being able to see my breath in the cold winter air and the feeling of entering my warm house after being outside, like the ice melting off the top of a pond, allowing the fish to swim to the surface. I love hearing my name being sung in Christmas songs in the mall, in my house, and many other places. When I was young, I would run around my house singing “deck the halls with boughs of ‘me’, fa la la la la”. Holly berries remind me of my favorite time of year.

My last name may be rare where I live now, but not where I came from. My dad’s side of the family is from Canada. Tremblay is a very common name amongst french-canadians, which I found out when I went to meet my relatives, in Canada, when I was eight. My family only knew how to introduce themselves in french, so my response to everything was “Je m'appelle Holly”. Once we were able to get past the language barrier, which was harder to get through than the Canadian border, we visited the small cemetery next to the town church. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single tombstone had the name Tremblay on it. Every. Single. One. I’ve only met one or two people throughout my life that have the same last name as me, so when I stood and looked around in that cemetery it was like a room of mirrors since I saw the same tombstone over and over again. Going to Canada reminded me where I came from and it made me feel connected to my family members who grew up there, even those that I have never met. I guess it’s weird to think that while I still live in a small town today, I ended up here from that farm town of only 1,328 people.

Overall, I like my name. Sure I have no plan of naming my kid Holly someday, but I wouldn’t change it. It’s who I am. It’s the girl that always tries her best, that is afraid of failure, that sings probably a little too much, that doesn’t go a day without playing a sport, that loves Harry Potter, and that just wants to have fun. So to me, Holly doesn’t mean a bush. It means me.


I have loved to laugh my entire life. Laughter comes with happiness, and brings even more happiness. Laughter feels like a volcano that is erupting after holding in it’s lava for years and years. It sounds like happiness as it explodes like fireworks. Laughter is when the sun comes up after a long, dark night. It brightens any situation and is as contagious as the flu. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry or so hard that I can’t even make a noise and it’s just my body shaking. Everyone’s laughter sounds different. I know what my friend’s laughter sounds like because we laugh together so much.

One day, I was hanging out with my friends just like any other time we hang out. We started laughing and we just couldn’t stop. No one even said one particular thing that was hilarious, we just all thought everything was so funny. In the beginning we were pretty loud, but then we were all laughing so hard that it was dead silent except for when we were gasping for air since we couldn’t breathe. By the time our giggles had subsided, I was almost positive that my cheeks were stuck in a smile that was way too big for my face and I felt like I had just done an ab workout because my stomach hurt so bad. Tears were running down all of our faces and we just looked around as all of us caught our breath. Of course someone said something hilarious a few seconds later and we were all lost into a sea of roaring laughter all over again.

Looking back of that day, I don’t even remember what we were laughing about, but I can still feel my face and stomach aching and see the black streaks of mascara on our faces from crying. I think that day was the hardest I have ever laughed in my life and just thinking about it makes me smile. Laughter is contagious, whether it’s hearing someone else chuckle which makes you laugh, or like me, when I remember the day I laughed so hard that I cried, and I can’t help but crack a smile.


I’ve only broken one bone in my life. It was my fifth metatarsal, which is a really fancy name for the bone on the outside of your foot. I had always imagined walking into school with a big cast on being the coolest thing ever because everyone would sign it and they would all think I was so tough. Let’s just say, that’s not how it worked out.

It was a Friday night and my brother and I were playing soccer in our family room. We pushed the coffee table over so we had maximum playing space, and we lined pillows up like soldiers to block the gap under the couch so we could use it as a goal without the ball going underneath. We used one of those rubber balls you win from the claw crane machine in an arcade that has all of the little spikes on it. It looked just like a sun since it was yellow and the spikes were like tiny rays of sunshine. My brother was in goal and it was my turn to shoot when the incident happened. Instead of kicking the ball, like I had intended, I somehow sort of stepped on it. Thud. The ball flew out from under my foot like a bird when its cage is opened, and my body came crashing down in an avalanche of limbs. I had landed on the side of my foot, a bone I would later learn to be called a fifth metatarsal. I heard a pop like the sound a cork makes when it’s pulled out of a bottle. I screamed when I hit the floor and my mom came running to see what had happened. By that time, I had produced a tsunami of tears and my brother had gone to the freezer searching for ice.

“I think it’s broken,” I repeated again and again over the next three days.

“If it hurts tomorrow we will go to the doctor,” my parents kept saying, and then I carried on with my usual life as best as I could. Well, tomorrow inevitably rolled around and my foot still hurt, so I finally went to the doctor.

“It’s broken,” the nurse behind the X-Ray machine said. I had to hold in the huge temptation to turn to my mom and say I told you so. However, this wasn’t the worst part. I had to go into school the next day and whenever anyone asked me what happened, I had to say I fell. I kept telling myself it wasn’t a total lie since I did fall, it was just during a game of family room soccer, but part of me still felt like my nose was growing like Pinocchio’s. Eventually I told my friends the real story but when I did I was so embarrassed. Wearing that boot around was a constant reminder of my humiliation. So, breaking my foot wasn’t what I expected. I in no way felt heroic or tough and on top of that, it also brought an end to my family room soccer career. Luckily it turned out to not be a bad break, so I wasn’t in a cast for too long, but it stunk for the time that I was. It’s been many years since then and even when I talk about it today, I am still embarrassed that I have no epic story to tell about the cause of my broken foot, but instead I have to say I was playing soccer in my family room.


Created with images by Pexels - "blur bokeh book" • Muffet - "holly" • Eric Fischer - "X-ray of my right foot"

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