Around Gray Publishes Presents – Lisa Dugaro – Holley Rosenberg

Holley Rosenberg sighed as she dropped down on the window-seat. The rain was lashing down and the trees in the yard had already dropped three or four large branches. No, there wouldn’t be any powder-puff football game that night.

Growing up as an only child to a single dad hadn’t been so bad, except that her father had wanted a son. He was still kind to Holley, but she could see in his eyes the mist of what-could-have-been whenever she made him come to one of her dance recitals, horse shows, or gymnastics meets. He was proud of her, she was sure, but he would have been happier with a son.

In her final year of high school, she had suddenly dropped out of all her after-school clubs and joined all new ones. Now she was in woodworking classes, automotive clubs, and powder-puff football.

She’d signed up for the powder-puff on a whim. She couldn’t have played on the boys’ football team, and had considered playing girls’ basketball instead. Then, on the day the school held a “club info” session at lunch, she found out that some of the girls in the school were trying to put together a girls’ football team, with all the same rules as the boys’ football, but without tackling. Before the end of that very lunch hour, she was on the team.

In the first few days of school, she’d been scared of all the guys in the woods and metalwork classes. They were bigger, louder, and knew so much about how real things worked. She’d been intimidated, but she remembered how she’d felt as a novice dancer, and gymnast, and rider. She remembered that there was a learning curve and she strove to do her best. By the time the powder-puff football practices began in October, she was already louder, and more handy around the house.

Already feeling more confident, Holley had started the power-puff football team as a leader and dove into the practices, theoretical study, and even the fundraising with gusto. But what she was best at was playing the game on the field itself. Over the month of practice and the first few games in November, she’d both excelled and improved. She’d even scored the winning touchdown in the game last week.

Her dad had been behind her every step of the way. He didn’t understand why she had changed so suddenly, but he was happy to see her enjoying whatever it was she was doing. He’d been her best customer for the chocolate bar sales (fundraising for the team t-shirts) and managed to bring at least 20 of his friends’ cars, one by one, to the fundraiser car wash. Son or not, he was Holley’s biggest fan.

This week, though, was scheduled to be the last game. Holley had agonized over the end of the short powder-puff season as it grew near, and then again when the weather reports started coming in. Rain, they said at first, then a windstorm. Now there was a full-scale hurricane beating down on Holley’s hometown, drowning out the field and cancelling the game.

Holley watched a few minutes longer while the rain poured down. She pulled herself away from the window and went downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water. She’d texted her father already to let him know the bad news.┬áHe sent a message back asking if strawberry ice-cream would cheer her up. Of course it would, she responded. Doesn’t it always?

When her father came home about 20 minutes later, she didn’t come down to get the ice-cream. Thinking that was rather strange, Holley’s father went looking for her throughout the house. When he checked the window-seat in her room, he was horrified to see a branch flung through the window and the carpet already soaking wet from the rain. But Holley was not inside her room or anywhere outside the house. The half-filled water glass on the kitchen counter was the only evidence she’d been home at all.

Holley Rosenberg was 17 years old when she went missing on December 21, 2005. Since then, her father has not stopped looking for her. She has naturally blonde hair and blue eyes, and is at least 5-foot-7-inches tall. The clothes she was wearing last were dark blue jeans and a red hoodie. If you have any information on Holley’s current whereabouts, or any past sightings, please call the number below right away.