“Ignorance is bliss,” Molly replied at the park picnic park table. “Better if we don’t push our noses into someone else’s business.”
I fidgeted with my galoshes until I finally curled one leg under the other. “Tommy died for a reason. Doesn’t that reason bother you?” A gust of wind blew past and tousled my hair.
“How would we ever know the reasons? We can’t read his mind,” Molly retorted as she fixed her favorite avocado-colored scarf, which draped on her neck, a scarf that accented the green in her irises.
Sniffling, Jennifer desperately wanted to join the conversation, but couldn’t speak without shaking and bawling. She tended to her wool mittens instead. Red-eyed and disheveled, she reminded me of an old rag doll. Dressed in heavy beige coats, knit hats and boots, the three of us stayed relatively warm in the 30 degree weather. We were well acclimated, since we were all born and raised in New City.
“There has to be something we can find. He was popular for heaven’s sake, ” I insisted as Molly stared at me incredulously. “Girls loved him. Teachers adored him. Doesn’t make any sense.” I shook my head.
“Why? His best friends don’t even know why. Why does anyone do it?” Molly plopped her hand down on the picnic table, the hand holding the fanning paint brush. Dabbing her ocean blue canvas with specs of white, she created a snowy effect. “Maybe he just couldn’t take the pressure of being popular anymore.” When she rolled her eyes, I knew what Molly was thinking. She didn’t like the so-called jocks. Suicide or not, she didn’t want to give them any more of her time. But I didn’t want to let it go, couldn’t let it go. Something about it nagged me.
“Because...people just don’t go killing themselves for no good reason.”
“If you care so much, maybe you should write something up for the school paper.” Molly tilted her head to me and I lit up like a neon light. “You know...like one of those in-memory pieces.”
Brilliant! I hadn’t even thought of it, but I did have journalism fifth period. I could satiate my persistent curiosity and complete an assignment all in one. Every writer needed a muse and Tommy would be mine. A muse from the grave.
“We could work on it together...like Bonnie and Clyde.” I grinned as a snowflake dropped from the pines above and lit my long lashes.
Tightening the hug-grip around her chest, Jennifer sniffed one last time before raising her gaze.
“Wait, wait, wait...first of all Clyde was a guy,” Molly interjected, “and I’m not going to be the guy in this scenario. More like Rizzoli and Isles. And second, I am n-o-t going to be a part of this.”
“Why not? Could be intriguing. Today is Wednesday and we don’t have to be back at school until Monday. What else are we going to do?” I rationalized.
“I’ll do it.” Jennifer interrupted, the sound of her voice almost foreign at this point in the conversation. We both jerked our heads in her direction. Wiping her nose with the back of her coat sleeve she held a sneeze and repeated more firmly. “I’ll do it.” Her big brown eyes widened as her lips tensed.
“You will? why?” Molly cocked a brow and spun her body around on the bench to face Jennifer better. Her fingers inched across the table and found Jennifer’s mittened hands. “You don’t have to do this just because...” she didn’t want to say it aloud, but Molly had a way about her. Truth, whether crass or not, always popped out of her uncontrolled mouth. “...you liked him.”
Blushing, Jennifer tilted back and the freckles on her cheeks almost faded away. “I am going to do this because Ali is right. Tommy was not the sort to commit suicide. He had everything going for him. With his death this makes...” she paused in thought counting on her fingers, recollecting the names listed in the morning paper, “five deaths from Millennium High in seven years!”
“Don’t forget Emily.” I reminded them, and they each gave me wrinkled foreheads of confusion. “The girl who was found dead in Central Park. She went to the school too...and just because she didn’t die on school grounds doesn’t make her death any less odd.”
“Something is going on at this school and I’ll be damned if I’m just going to sit and do nothing.” Jennifer got her mojo back, a newfound task of investigation motivating her out of her misery.
“Well damn, if you two are going to go at this then...” Molly raked her fingers through her shoulder length cut and sighed, “then I might as well do it too.”
Jennifer and I both turned at the same time and grinned.
“What else am I going to do until Monday without the two of you?” Molly reasoned.
“It’s settled then. We are officially the unofficial team investigating this suicide,” I added as another gust of wind brushed through the park, rushing over Molly and Jennifer.