It was not a dark and stormy night. In fact, it was a bright and sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky. Ellie, Lilac, Timmy, and I sat around the rickety wooden table on Ellie’s porch.
We were sipping lemonade from white styrofoam cups. Ellie had just informed us that her dad was in fact, having an affair.
Ellie was inconsolable, sobbing her eyes out. The rest of us were staring down at our lemonade. No one met her eyes.
“I want to die,” Ellie finally sobbed.
Finally the rest of us looked up.
“That’s not funny, Ellie,” I snapped.
“It’s not meant to be,” Ellie cried. “It’s not meant to be a joke. I WANT TO DIE!”
The rest of us looked around at each other.
“You can’t,” Timmy told her. “We need you here and alive, Ellie.”
“But why?” she sobbed. “Why do you need me? Why would you ever need me?”
Timmy pulled her aside then. Lilac and I sipped our lemonade and tried not to cry. How had Ellie gotten this sad? How had we not noticed?
When Ellie and Timmy came back, Ellie seemed calmer. She wasn’t crying anymore, and she had a gleam in her eye that I can only define as the Ellie Gleam™
We went home, thinking that whatever Timmy had said to her had clicked, had made her realize how much we needed her.
The next day, Ellie’s mom called me, telling me that Ellie was missing. She’d called Lilac and Timmy, and it turned out that Timmy was missing too.
The police were called. A search team was sent out.
For six months, we didn’t know anything. For six tear-filled months, Lilac and I held on to each other like if we let go, we would fall apart like a house of cards.
Timmy and Ellie were found in late winter. Police dogs had uncovered two bodies clinging onto each other in the river.
DNA testing told us it was Timmy and Ellie. Their deaths were ruled tragic accidents. But Lilac and I knew. We knew that the day, that bright summer’s day that had no cloud in the sky, they had made a pact. They had met up and they had drowned in the river together.
The pact drove a wedge between me and Lilac. We didn’t talk much after that, and Lilac moved on to start her own business.
And me? Well I started a safe place for kids and teens 10-19 who just needed a break from life for a while.
Lilac and I met up almost twenty years after Ellie and Timmy died. We talked for a while, and we got lunch.
And then the topic of Timmy and Ellie came up.
“I miss them,” I said finally. “I miss them every day.”
“Me too,” Lilac agreed, starting to cry. “It just… I don’t understand why they would leave us like that!”
“I think that it all got to be too much,” I said softly. “I know, it doesn’t excuse what they did, but I think I can understand it a little bit better.”
“I can’t,” Lilac replied. “I can’t understand why they would do that!” She stormed off.
That was the last time that I ever saw my best friend.