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I Killed Sparrow Martin
There is a place. It’s the place you go to during a big thunderstorm, or when you move to a new house and you can’t sleep because of all the weird noises, or at a funeral to keep yourself from completely shutting down. It’s not a place you can walk to, or ride your bike to. It’s a place inside yourself that nobody else can go to but you, that nobody else knows about. For me, it was a summer day a couple of years ago.
Picture it: a sky so blue and so massive that had it been over the ocean you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Picture a big field in the middle of nowhere, all hills and valleys, with a big oak tree. It’s completely silent, all except for a gentle breeze and the occasional purr of a car passing by on the little country road. It’s not too hot, even though the rest of the summer has been sweltering, and two little forms lie in the grass under the tree, unmoving, silent, just feeling and seeing and smelling and breathing.
I’m trying to figure out what exactly the clouds look like (gigantic cotton balls or vanilla cotton candy were the two main consensuses) and he’s not doing really anything except twining a strand of my infamously long hair around his finger. We look related, but we’re not. He’s a year older than me and we’re the same height. We won’t be like that for long. The glory of hormones came for him long before they came for me. In fact, I always looked a lot younger than I really am.
That was completely perfect, even though we didn’t really do anything except lie there until we were both tanned (him a little more than me, I burnt because I was so pale). It was perfect because nothing especially groundbreaking or earth-shattering happened. It was perfect because it was uncomplicated and happy and lazy and sunny. It was before a lot of bad things happened in my life: puberty, my parents’ divorce, high school. But all those things seemed kind of trivial in comparison to one really big shift in my life.
That memory, that placeholder in my life, was the only thing keeping me sane as I sat, silent and unmoving, in an uncomfortable chair across from Officer Mary Jane Kingsley at the Jessamine County Police Department. Several times she made a start to say something and stopped herself. I couldn’t really blame her. Everything was kind of surreal and dream-like lately, so nothing felt real enough to talk about.
Finally, she settled on “How did you know Sparrow?”
How did I know Sparrow? “She was my best friend.” How could something be so true and so false simultaneously?
Officer Kingsley nodded and scribbled something down on a clipboard, like I was a lab rat she was studying. “When was the last time you saw Sparrow?”
Unofficially, it was the four year anniversary of the Perfect Day. Officially, I said “About a month ago.”
Nod, scribble, nod, speak. “If you please, tell me everything you know about Sparrow.” Officer Kingsley reached across the table to press the “On” button on an old-fashioned tape recorder. “Please speak slowly and clearly.”
“Is…this…alright?” I asked, overly enunciating and pausing.
Officer Kingsley shrugged. “Your normal speaking tone should be fine.”
I nodded, settling as comfortably as I could near the back of the chair. Everything? She really wanted to know everything? I had to suppress a small sarcastic grin at the thought of someone who knew Sparrow Martin, Golden Girl, who was perfect in every way with her saint-like glow. She didn’t know the Sparrow I knew: Sparrow Martin, musician, vixen, artist, romantic, liar, sneak, backstabber, enemy. But, no. Sparrow Martin, Golden Girl, had been my best friend and there was just no way to get around it.
So I cleared my throat as innocently as I could and I began to tell my story.