The Truth About Family Made Me Love the Murder | Teen Ink

The Truth About Family Made Me Love the Murder

August 8, 2008
By Colleen McInnis, Port Orchard, WA

My name is Holly Jackman. I live in Nevada, right on the edge of the Great Basin. To the ordinary person, I might look like a normal high school kid, working hard to get somewhere it counts. I wish that were true.
Instead of an ordinary family, with an ordinary house and an ordinary way of running things, practically everything in my life is an anomaly.
I guess I could be called an orphan, but I really chose to be alone. I own my house, but that doesn’t seem normal. And too many things happened last summer that I just can’t forget.
I didn’t intend for death to become a regular part of my life. Of course, no one intends that. It just happens. I don’t mean to lecture, but just one other thing is of importance here. The truth about my family made me love the murder -- the murder that led me to know my father.
I wish it was simple enough to tell in just one word, or maybe one page, but instead it took a whole book to tell my story -- at least, part of my story.
So let me continue to tell you how my ordinary, high school life became so much more: how it became dependant on the history of the Jackmans.
Midnight. To some people, it was just a word, describing a time of day. It could remind a person of the blackness of night. To me, it was a moment of peace. I tried to recall the elusive memory that had haunted me for years. But I could not. The clock slowly ticked to a minute past twelve a.m., and another midnight had come and gone. It didn’t work. Not this time. I tossed and turned, thinking about that one memory. The answers to most of my questions about my father were concealed in this one memory.
As the hours dragged on, I kept trying to conjure it, to bring it back. My mind held many things, but this memory stood out. It slipped from my grasp yet another time. It was determined to remain hidden.
The trees outside my window creaked. My eyes darted to the window, and I caught a shadow on the wall. A cat was on my tree. Steadily and quietly I opened the window, so the cat wouldn’t take flight. It was Mrs. Rondelvo’s cat, from across the street. “Shoo!” I whispered violently, and Mr. Muffin scrambled down the tree and into the night. Exhausted from my lack of sleep, I dropped back onto the bed and closed my eyes. The memory remained hidden, and I fell asleep.
My alarm clock buzzed, jarring me awake. “Damn!” I thought. I sank back into bed, my mind continuing to search for answers. I was still haunted, for I had again failed to bring back the memory! I have vague recollections of parts of it, but key moments I could not remember.
I remembered very little about my father. Mom rarely ever spoke of him. When she did, it was always kept to a minimum. I always imagined Tom Jackman as the strong, silent type. Eventually I began asking questions about him, and, in my mother’s silence, assumed she was still deeply hurt over his death. If only.
The small memories I carried were of sentimental value only; and I wished never to lose them.
I never explicitly spoke of him when among my friends -- especially Colin -- and when they spoke of their fathers they were courteous enough to include me. They respected my loss, even if it had happened many years ago. But I was never casual about his death.
It made me furious that my memory had remained hidden. It would take so much time to find, wouldn’t it?
That day I felt unusually inanimate and formless. But I thought of small parts of the memory. Sometimes they sustained me.
My friends remained by my side throughout the day, giving encouraging comments and pats on the back. I sometimes lived in my own world, lost in thought about Thomas. At least my friends understood that aspect of my life.
I went to bed that night thinking about him. The memories were keen to elude me. Why so? The corners of my mind remained dark and forbidding. I knew it was hiding in the open, waiting for me to spot it so it could go running into the dark again.
My brother, Mark, and my cousin, John, both of whom I was extremely close to, I thought I could tell anything. I visited John’s house that week. “Holly, what’s bothering you?” John inquired.
“Nothing… Well, this might seem stupid, but a memory keeps haunting me, as in I can’t remember it well, but I feel like I have to.” My hesitant answer seemed to surprise John, for usually my replies were quick and rehearsed. “It’s about my dad.”
John didn’t say anything, because he still had vivid memories of the crash that killed my father and his uncle.

The author's comments:
This is an excerpt (introduction and chapter one) from my unpublished book, The Truth About Family Made Me Love the Murder.

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