To Be Loved
I remember the day I first heard the name Charity Hollows.
, I thought,
how the two parts of her name are almost in conflict
‘Charity’ conjuring up feelings of warmth and kindness, whereas the
name ‘Hollows’ felt eerily empty.
It was on a rather uneventful day, when I was summoned by my
parents to our drawing room, at the front of the house. There,
among the fine assortment of cushiony furniture and various
antiques, I saw a small, young girl. I can still see her large eyes
peering at me now. A swirl of hair nestled on her shoulder, like the
sky at midnight, with the stars still in it. All her features shared this
night-like resemblance – dark and sparkly. Only her skin was pale,
so very pale – though it was hard to get skin much darker than sand
where we lived.
She looked up as I entered the room, as did both my parents, my
mother with her white hands on the girl’s shoulders. My father
approached me, his blue eyes looking into mine. He bent down, to
even himself with my 12-year-old height, and whispered in my ear.
‘This is the girl we were telling you about,’ he murmured, and I
could sense the corners of his mouth unravelling themselves into the
smile I knew so well. ‘Well, now, stop looking like a codfish with your
eyes all open, and go and introduce yourself.’
I swallowed a lump in my throat and nodded, taking several small
‘Hello… so you must be Charity, then?’ I muttered, trying to sound
‘Hollows,’ the girl replied promptly.
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘My name,’ and here she took a rather dramatic pause, ‘is Charity
‘Huh.’ I was dumbfounded. ‘And my name is Aubrey. Aubrey
What my father had said before was true, about having told me about
Charity prior to our first meeting.
of my parents had told me
about her, piecing together her backstory through their letter
correspondence with her parents. They told me that they’d been
close with theHollows in the past, when they’d visited England. They
hadn’t been in contact for a long time, but with the war raging on,
Charity’s parents said they felt it their duty to support their country.