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What Hazel Left For Me.
Author's note: This was inspired by a combination of the news and my charm bracelet.
A necklace. A necklace is all I have to remember someone who was there for me when I cried, there when I was hurt and there to laugh all day with me. But now those foggy memories lye in a necklace. Hazel and I were two peas in a pod. The sad thing is, I can’t remember any details. I remember she was a good friend and that’s about it. All I know is that the driver who killed her, and put me in a coma for three days, is still out there. He or she knows they’re guilty. He or she knows the story on the news. He or she knows they killed a sixteen year-old girl who just started to live. He or she will not remain hidden.
I pledge to Hazel, wherever she may be, that I will find the man or woman who killed her. I promise that there will be a trial and you can rest. But before I do that, I must figure out my own life. What happened? I was chilling with Hazel listening to the radio one second, then the next was black.
I looked at Hazel across the room. We were sitting in her theater in the big theater seats. “Colton.” She said.
“Colton?” I asked. Why was she saying “Colton”, my boyfriend’s name, all of a sudden?
“I only realized it yesterday, but I think Colton and I have a connection.” She finally said, smiling.
“A what?” I was so freaked out. Although in hindsight, I probably should’ve looked at the calendar. April 1st.
“Oh sorry.” She said as if to apologize for getting me all worked up. “You must’ve not heard me. I have a real, true connection with your boyfriend.” So yea, at that point I was frantic.
“Hazel!” I shrieked. “You can’t be... How could you... when...” I was tongue-tied.
“Yea. And I want to congratulate you on you gullibility. It was just a test relax.” She smiled. She sat back in her leather recliner and I sunk back into mine.
“B****.” I sneered back to her.
“Okay, I apologize.” She stood up. Hazel was pretty. She was about 5’10” and thin. She had blonde hair and gray eyes that seemed to light the room. Her frame was small and her collarbones stuck out. But, that was hidden by her long, wavy, blond hair that drifted effortlessly over her shoulder. Some people are average, but you couldn’t mistake Hazel for anyone else.
“Where are you going?” I asked as she rose from her theater seat. She was wearing white short shorts and a gray-blue baby tee that was so tight, it outlined the bra she wore underneath. I noticed this because I hate when that happens. But, I had a feeling Hazel didn’t mind.
“To get a movie. Madison, you need to relax.” She smiled and turned to walk out of the room. She always thought I was tense. Well, I guess I was compared to her.
I was there, alone, sitting in silence. Madison I thought to myself. Nobody ever calls me Madison besides Hazel. It was odd to hear “Madison” since even my parents call me “Maddy” or “Mads” or the worst “Poopsykins.” Never allowing that in public... ever.
Hazel floated back in. “I just got a text from Jack.” She was smiling with her perfect white teeth outlined by her pink lips. “He wants us to meet him at The Docks.” She held her cell phone up in her hand as if I wouldn’t ever believe that Jack, her boyfriend, texted her. Big stretch, right?
The Docks was literally docks on one side but on the other was Jack’s father’s country club. Yea, they own the country club. They’re super rich, just like Hazel and I. Hazel’s father is a big-time movie producer, hence the theater room. My dad is the owner and creator of The Bean. The Bean is a coffee shop that appears at least a thousand times per state. There are too many to count.
“Okay,” I said getting up. Jack was Hazel’s boyfriend (as mentioned before). He was so good to her. “Is Colton over there with him?” I asked. I hadn’t seen Colton, my boyfriend, in a while. He was around, just not for me.
“Yea. I think so.” She had a puzzled look on her face and looked back at the screen of her cell phone. I leaned back in my chair. We got up and walked to the car
We were in Hazel’s convertible when a truck came out of nowhere and hit Hazel’s side. I felt a jab go through my leg. It was an intense shock. It was so painful, I felt it in my spine. I heard her scream. It’s horrible to think the last thing your hear from your best friend is her screaming after a piece of windshield just went through her eye. It’s sinister to think the last waking moment of her life was the worst pain she ever felt. I saw it all happen and just a warning, it’s my clearest memory.
When the truck hit, the windshield shattered. Metal and glass were everywhere. Hazel got her throat trapped under a bar but could still breath a little. The thing that killed her was the glass and a sharp-edged metal. There was glass everywhere on her. Three in her stomach. One in her right eye. One in her throat just above the bar. One on her right thigh, two on her left. Her blood was everywhere. I got stabbed by a bar. The doc said it just missed serious damage by a centimeter. Small glass pieces were all over me. I was hit with glass below my right ear. But here’s the kicker, I was hit on the head with something that put me in a coma. I barely remember anything before the accident. I wish I didn’t remember the accident.
I woke up in the hospital. It was dark and obviously night time. Nobody was in the room but, there were traces of everyone I knew. Flowers, cards, balloons and my mother’s favorite sweatshirt. I was glad to see mom’s sweatshirt, it meant she was back from England. My mother is a diplomat and had been there for two months. Although, I did feel bad that she had to come back for this.
The first reaction for most people would be to go nuts by looking at the tubes and wires. But I’m not most people. I wasn’t relaxed by the tubes up my nose and the needles in my arms but, I wasn’t entirely freaked out.
I felt numb. That was relaxing. Numb. At that point, I didn’t know Hazel was dead and I figured she was next door. But humans aren’t always right. I focused on the fact that Hazel was next door, but as we all know, she wasn’t. I took a breath. Rise, fall. I liked the rhythm of my lungs and heart. I fell asleep.
When I woke again, the traces of the people were proved by my mother sitting in a chair, my friends (only two by hospital rules), Ava and Mia-Sophia. My mother went from an almost sickly look of fear, to excited in three seconds. “Hey honey.” My mother said gently.
“How’s Hazel?” I asked. I expected, at worst, critical condition. But what my mother said shocked me.
“Honey,” She paused and took a deep breath. She held my hand and breathed out again. “Hazel is in a better place.”
“Hazel died?” I repeated in a question. I didn’t really need a yes, I was just repeating.
“Yes.” She went back to her chair.
The tubes and wires came flooding back to my thoughts. I realized that those thoughts of Hazel, were comforting the tubes. I freaked out. I went mental. I pulled out the tubes in my nose. I ripped out the needle in my arm, which tore my skin. “Maddy!” Mia-Sophia shrieked. I got up and ran. I ran from the hospital to the near by Docks.
I sat there watching the docks. Boats passed by and I looked at their names, size, just analyzing. That’s what I did when I was upset analyze. That’s when I took my vow to make sure Hazel’s killer won’t get away with it.
“Madison,” A far to familiar voice said behind me. Only one person called me Madison.
I turned to see a figure. “Hazel?” I said confused on why my dead best friend was standing in front of me.
“Yea silly.” She said.
“Huge piece of glass right through your eye. I think your dead...” I trailed off.
“Wow, this is such a weird dream.” She said looking around and at me.
“Hazel,” She plopped down next to me. I put my hand on her forearm. “You are dead!”
“Madison, you’re nuts.” She laughed then became serious. “Listen honey, I’m not dead. You died in the crash. I’m really glad to see you but-”
“You’re dead!” I yelled. “I’m alive.” I let out two harsh breaths.
“No. I’m not dead.” She looked at her arms worriedly. “Am I?”
“I think.” I questioned myself. “I’m not dead.”
“Okay.” She said after a short pause. Seconds felt like days. “Maybe we’re both in a dream.”
“Ciao.” I said, goodbye in Italian, it was our thing.
“Ciao,” She said. I wish it could be longer, the moments with Hazel.
I was at her funeral. I had met her in a dream. That’s what that was with Hazel. A dream. A dream is the last time I talked to my best friend in the entire world, or so I thought.
F.Y.I. funerals suck! I was wearing some itchy black tights and some black dress. Everyone was black and dark. If people weren’t already sad that they were going to a funeral, the whole black thing made it way worse. This was my third, but for some of the kids there, it was the first and they were distraught. It’s not like I wasn’t, but they were awkwardly distraught.
Then I was called up to the stand. No, I didn’t talk about seeing Mr.Clarke’s precious little girl stabbed in the eye or get locked up in a mental hospital for saying I had a conversation with her in a dream. No, I opened up with this: “Hello ladies, gentlemen, friends and family. Hazel wouldn’t like us if we sat here going on and on about what she did already. Hazel was full of life and I feel her spirit should live on. We shouldn’t focus about what she could’ve done, we should focus on what Hazel would do and strive to accomplish it.” I started out. It took me forever to write that. “I thought to myself all the things she wanted, and then thought to myself that I couldn’t list all the things she wanted. So, I’d like to hear from you what she would want.”
That’s when I saw Hazel’s mother smile. The first time I saw Hazel’s mother smile in a week. “Ciao.” I started the list. “Ciao was our thing.” Then hands went up. “Yes, Mrs.Clarke!”
“Cole! She wanted to name her future child Cole!” She sad with much excitement.
“Yes, Mr.Davis!” Mr.Davis is Hazel’s uncle and is friends with my parents.
“I suggest that our town, in honor of Hazel for this month’s town book club, we read Wicked! That was her favorite book!”
“Yes!” I exclaimed. “These are great ideas. Yes, Dr.McCormack!” Our school principal.
“Hazel, as you all know, was in student council. Her favorite organization was The Humane Society. Perhaps we can give a donation in honor of her.” She said. A well spoken woman, that she was, but always was yelling for little things.
“Yes.” The list went on, friends and teachers and blah went on forever. Then it was over. Her pink casket went into the ground. What was left of Hazel was a necklace
It was the night before school started. I felt lost. Hazel and I always went to the mall then back to her house to decide what to wear on the first day. That was our second little thing. I had to remember something painful when I walked in, her locker. When you walk into our school there are lockers running the sides of our hallway. Hazels, 197, third on the right from Mr.Smith’s classroom. I walked by 197. “Ciao,” I mumbled to myself.
“Ciao.” A familiar voice said. Hazel’s thin body was sitting up against the locker. I kept on walking. I went to her funeral, of course she was dead. She followed me. “I’d
like some acknowledgment!” She was right in my ear.
I kept on walking. But not to get away, to lead her to a place I could talk with her. When I got there, there being in the woods behind my school, I sat and she did too.
“You are dead!” I yelled at her. She giggled.
“You’re dead!” She yelled back.
“I went to your funeral.” I shot back.
“I went to your funeral.” She said back to me.
“If your going to repeat everything I say, I’m leaving.” I threatened.
“There’s only one explanation for this.” She said in her “thinking voice.”
“Your a confused spirit.” I announced sarcastically.
“No, Madison, you want to be me.” She said slowly. As I was about to yell at her for saying such a thing. I felt a shock go through my body. I blacked out. I couldn’t remember what happened.
I woke up on August fourteenth, the day she died. I was there in my last memory. I was watching the movie we’d been watching, something with Nikki Flynn who was a major Hollywood star Hazel’s dad worked with. But when the lights came on, I saw not Hazel, but me.
I wasn’t in my body anymore. But the day went on as it did. I made sure to say the same things as Hazel. Then, I had a choice. Do we go for a ride? Do we stay. When I left the room, just as the real Hazel had, I got the text from Jack. Something I didn’t notice before: I left my cell on the table but this time I heard it because when I came back, I had the same thing to say as Hazel.
“I just got a text from Colton.” Me said
“Cool! I got a text from Jack to meet them at The Docks.” So we went. I braced myself for impact. That’s when I realized, I saw the person. The face, utterly familiar. It was a girl, a girl who was about my age or in my school at least. Then I noticed she was older as she got closer. O-M-G! Well, that was my first reaction. It was... I couldn’t remember what name belonged to that face. I knew it was familiar. But my thoughts got cut off. There was no wound through my eyes though. I was dead.
“See.” It was Hazel’s voice. I was back in my own body. “Your dead.”
“No.” I mumbled to myself. “It can’t be. That was fake. A dream in a dream!”
“Oh Madison, always finding an explanation.” She grinned.
“No! No!” But my voice was drowned out under my own fade.
Then I woke. I had gone to sleep that night apparently that thing was my version of a nightmare. I found irony in the fact that most people would’ve loved to be in Hazel’s shoes for the day. Well, not her shoes. Most would want her thin figure. Those wonderful gray-blue eyes would make anyone commit envy to be her.
“Honey.” It was my mom’s voice. “Honey wake up.” I grabbed my mother. “What’s wrong?” She was so worried I needed someone to talk to.
“I remembered the face. I don’t know the name but I remember the face.” I said frantic.
“What name? What face?” She said confused by my “randomness.”
“I know who killed Hazel.” I was slow with my words.
“Okay.” She said. “Okay. You’re not going to school. You are going to the police department and describing the face and they will make a sketch.”
“Okay.” I got dressed. I decided on a high waisted pencil skirt and a blouse. That was police-like. As long as it wasn’t inappropriate.
“You look nice.” My mother said as she poured two coffees like always, one for me, one for her.
“Thanks.” I said taking my cup. The smell soothed me and the warmth made me feel even better.
We drove in silence. There was no radio or talking, just plain silence. We drove by The Bean near us. My mother noticed me looking. “Early morning pastry?” She could tell my nervousness because this was something rarely offered.
“Yes please.” I expressed a blank tone.
“Okay.” She pulled over. I ran in to get my favorite, the apple fritter. There was no need for money. I just had to go back there and get it myself. Normally everyone there knew me, but there was someone new.
“Miss, you can’t do that.” said a dark-haired boy wearing an apron with The Bean’s logo printed on it.
“Oh sorry, you’re new huh?” I asked trying not to sound enormously snooty by saying something like “My daddy owns this place.”
“Yea. But, I do know you have to wait in line.” He said smiling at me.
“Oh, I’m Madison, Madison Dartby.” I said.
“Like the daughter of the owner of the chain?” He turned red. I smiled a bit.
“Yea. Sorry, I have to go.” I said turning.
“Oh and I’m Jake, Jake Harrison.” He called after me.
“Ready?” My mother said as I slid into the car.
“Yea.” Of course I wasn’t. Honestly, would you be ready to describe your best friend’s killer? If you are, that’s fine (unless your best friend is still alive, then it’s creepy), but I’m not ready for this.
“Okay.” We pulled up to the marble building. Our town was small and exclusive. Our town hall was small yet extravagant.
Inside, they put me in a room. It had no windows to se the city. There was one window, but it was one that you could see in from the outside but I couldn’t see out from the inside. A man walked in. I didn’t recognize him.
“Hello,” He said. “I’m Detective Moore.” He was young, about twenty five or twenty six.
“Hi,” I smiled. “I’m Madison Fitzgerald.”
“Nice to meet you. The sketch artist should be here any second.” He was talking about the man or woman who would eventually draw a sketch of the killer.
“Hi,” A scrawny man stumbled into the room holding a big coffee. He was short and skinny, with dark curly hair.
“Okay,” Detective more looked at me again. “I’ll be sitting in the corner and he’ll draw out what he or she may look like.
“Okay.” I replied.
The sketch artist got set up and I sat down across from him. “First of all, was it a man or a woman?” He asked.
“Woman.” I answered.
“Next,” He continued. “Were there any identifying features on the face of the woman?”
“I don’t think so.” I replied.
“Describe her facial features.”
“Almond shaped eyes. Normal size girlish nose. Lips that were average. Oh! she had a scar!”
“On the bride of her nose.” He held up a detailed sketch of a woman very similar to what the killer looked like. As I studied the face, I knew that this would be a face behind bars soon.
“Hi Maddy.” Said a young man who went to my beach club walked up to me in school.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
“Yes... well no, maybe not, I’m not sure.” He said.
“Well, which is it?” I was annoyed and just wanted to leave. I didn’t want to be caught dead with a sixth grader.
“Maybe. I wanted to offer a shoulder to cry on.” He smiled in a creepy kind of way.
“Get away you little perv!”
“Sorry.” He said walking away. He caught up to his little sixth grade friends.
“He wasn’t being that bad.” Hazel’s voice said behind me.
“Not you again,” I said.
“Yup. We need to talk. When I wake up, you’re the one who’s dead!”
“What? When you wake up?”
“Yea, I’m in a dream, I just went to bed.”
“Oh my god! Maybe I am living in your dreams. Am I really dead?”
“Finally! Yes! You are dead!” I breathed out. Was this heart still beating? Were my muscles still moving. It looked like it, felt like it. But, then again “like” isn’t “it.” I looked at my hands and put them on my chest. It was there I felt that thump, thump, thump rhythm that comforted me.
“I can’t be dead.” Thump, thump, thump. “That’s impossible. My mother was there and...”
“No, my mom was in my room at the hospital.”
“No!” I yelled in denial and paused. “No, that’s impossible. I am not dead! You, Hazel, you are dead!” She tried to touch me and her arm went right through. “Ha! I was right.”
“Oh no!” She started to go into a mini-panic-attack, looking at her hands.
“It’s okay.” I dug though my backpack for the list. “I want to talk to you.”
“Okay.” We went to the woods and sat on the logs we’d sat on the previous day. As soon as she did, I showed her the list of ideas to carry out her life. “No, no, no...” She went down the list. “Ooh!”
“Which one are you looking at?” I peeked over her shoulder to see what she was pointing at. It was the one I’d written in; Name a drink at The Bean after Hazel.
“Think about it Madison, The Hazel Blend. Hazelnut cappuccino with lots of cream.” She had her arm around my shoulder gazing into the distance.
“Great! I’ll tell my dad.” I was glad to hear I would just have to design a drink and not a park area or give a big speech about the next town book club book being Wicked.
“Yea.” She said.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I just though that when I died, it’d be a story on national TV.” She shrugged.
“They got the police sketch.” I had a copy in my backpack and started to pull it out. She ripped it out of my hand.
“Oh my god!” She mumbled under her breath.
“Do you know who it is?” I asked. But, just as I did, she faded.
“What’s happening?” She yelled through developing tears. Her face was red and blotchy. She was biting her lip and tears were dripping off her face. Her figure faded and she was gone.
“Hazel!” I yelled but she was gone.
“No,” Said a voice. It was Colton. I saw his blond hair with blue eyes. I found comfort in his freckled face. “Just me.”
“Colton!” I exclaimed. I jumped over and hugged him.
“Good, you remember me,” He hugged back. His voice wasn’t excited, just flat.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Well,” He paused and scratched his chin.
“Well, we’ve been together a long time. You know I’ll always love you-”
“You’re breaking up with me?” I said pushing off his muscular chest, looking up at him.
“No,” He smiled and began to laugh. “I wanted you to come with me and sign up for the foreign exchange program.
“Wow,” I said. “Woah, I, I can’t do that.” My heart said yes, go, go and spend time with him in England. But my mind said no way. You need to figure out what happened to you and Hazel’s killer blah, blah, blah.
“Oh,” He backed away. I watched as his broad shoulders, in his light blue Polo shirt, disappeared into the binding branches of trees. As soon as that bright blue was out of sight, I broke down. I had given up a major opportunity for my dead best friend.
“Ouch,” Hazel reappeared looking at her arms in amazement.
“Ouch? We might as well be over at this point!” I yelled at her. She sat next to me on the log bench. Her voice and face softened.
“Honey, it’s okay.” She rubbed my back as my face went red and blotchy.
I still had the sketch in my hand. “Who is it?”
“Madison, I don’t know.” She said. “I remember seeing her two seconds before I died. But, I was told to tell you something.”
“What? By who?” Hazel was never good with details but this was important.
“Don’t remember every word.” She said. “From this random guy I saw when I faded.”
“Are you telling me you saw God?” I asked jokingly as an avid atheist.
“No, well maybe. It was dark. I could only see his white teeth talking with these lovely pink lips.” She said scouring her mind for details.
“Well, that’s awesome.” I said sarcastically. “It was probably just a weird dream.
“Yea, you’re probably right.” We sat there looking at each other.
“Who is it?” I asked quietly, gripping the police sketch in my hand.
“I don’t know.” She said examining it again. My face was so hot. The tears running down it not only stung, they burned.
“I need to know.” I said. “For you.”
“I know. I want to know as well.” She was so calm. I heard the second period bell ring in the distance. I knew I was super late, but who cares, I needed a mental health day.
“I want to know so bad.” But she didn’t respond she just kept rubbing my back. There were a few “calms down”’s or “it’s okay”’s.
“The liquid in your beakers should be turning blue,” announced our annoying science teacher, Mr.Appleton. He was bald and had thick-rimmed glasses. He was about five foot, five inches. We were doing some lab with random liquids and blah. Well, I really wasn’t, my partner was. I just kind of stared off into the distance noting if the beaker turned blue.
“Maddy,” He came over to me. “I see your beaker is turning a lighter shade of blue, how fascinating.” He smiled. Yea, really fascinating.
“Yup,” I nodded and smiled. He walked away.
School hadn’t been the same without Hazel. There weren’t anymore latte Fridays, where I’d bring in two chai lattes from The Bean for Hazel and I. There wasn’t that many people at my school who I was as close to as Hazel. Ava and Mia-Sophia were friends but when I was in the hospital, everyone was visiting. When I walked the halls, people would mumble things like “that’s the dead girl’s best friend.” That really annoyed me for two reasons.
1. I wasn’t just a “dead girl’s best friend,” I was me! My own person. With a name, which is apparently taboo to some people
2. Everyone in our entire school, I mean everyone, knew Hazel’s name. Now it was like they were afraid to say it. It was like “Bloody Mary.” If they said it three times, she’d come and kill them. So now, her title is “dead girl?”
So here I was, sitting at lunch, alone. Normally Hazel would be here. But, for obvious reasons, she wasn’t. Colton was with his rowing crew team members. Great boyfriend right? But then there was a shocking guest who joined me.
“Hey,” Said Jack’s voice. He sat down in the red, plastic seat in front of me. He had dark hair and dark eyes, but pasty skin.
“Hi Jack. What’s up?” I questioned. Why was Hazel’s boyfriend, well maybe ex now, sitting with me?
“Nothing much. I was wondering, now that Hazel passed, if you’d like to go with me to the movies one time?” He asked nervously.
Why would he ask me this? He knew I was dating Colton. But then again, Colton and I had had some tension lately and we were heading towards splitsville. Never mind Colton, my best friend, his girlfriend, just died!
“Okay.” I smiled. What the hell did I just do? I made a date when I’m dating someone else! I had to talk to Colton because chances were, Jack would be bragging soon.
I stood up and walked towards Colton’s table. “Hi,” I said tapping his shoulder.
“Hey,” He said wiping his mouth off. He stood up.
“We need to talk,” I said lowly so his teammates wouldn’t hear.
“Okay,” He said. We walked out to the woods and sat in a close clearing.
“What’s up?” He asked when we sat.
“I love you, you know I do. But, I think we need a break.” I said slowly.
“A break?” He repeated.
“Yes.” I paused and played with my fingers. I tried not to look at his blond hair of his freckles or the pale green shirt he wore.
“I don’t understand why.”
“Well, you haven’t seemed interested lately and there was another option.” I blurted. Wrong choice of words.
“Who?” He asked lowly.
“Who? Who was the bastard that’s better that me?” He yelled.
“Jack.” I said looking at my hands.
“Jack? You mean Jack, your dead best friends old boyfriend?” He was yelling loudly in such an angry tone I started to cry.
“Colton, please stop.” I plead. But it was to late. His short temper I’d worried about, went off.
“Shut up, you dumb slut.”
“Stop it!” He broke down. He sat next to me and put his head in my lap.
“Please. Please don’t.” He begged. I looked down, mindlessly stroking his hair. The red spots in his face disappeared. I bent down and kissed him. It felt right even though he just called me a dumb slut. “Thank you.” He smiled and sat up.
“You’re welcome.” I said.
“Can’t you come with me to Canada? It’s just for two weeks!” He whined. I wanted to so badly. In my head, I knew I couldn’t.
“Yes,” I yawned. I don’t know what drove me to say it. I guess the heart always gets what it desires whether the head wants it or not.
“Great!” He looked at his platinum and gold watch his parents got him along with a new car for Christmas (Those were the two big things, but there was more. He got me a platinum charm for my charm bracelet). “We still have time before lunch ends.”
“Half an hour.” He looked up at me. His blue eyes looked into mine. He kissed me and started to unbutton my school uniform shirt. That day, just by coincidence, I wore a front closing bra and he unhooked it. Then, I heard a voice and it seemed that he did too. We pulled away and I closed my bra, buttoned my uniform, and he pulled me up.
We walked until we were out of the woods. Then, I turned to see Jack. Colton saw him too. “Hey asshole!” He yelled, stomping over toward Jack. “Why’d you ask out Maddy?” Jack started to run and I refused to look.
Colton was about six inches and twenty pounds heavier than Jack. If Colton wanted to hurt him (which he did right now), Colton would. I love Colton, but he has some temperament issues.
Colton and I had been dating since freshman year and we’d flirted for like three years before then. Since it was senior year this year, we wanted to look at the same colleges. Yale was a big one, followed by BU followed by M.I.T. We wanted to stay local, in the New England area. His favorite was Yale, which we could get into, but I liked BU more.
After that incident, I went inside and signed up. I put Colton’s name on the list too so he couldn’t back out. I took two forms and left.
I remember first telling Hazel that Colton and I were dating.
“What do you think of Colton?” I asked tossing a ball up and catching it in my hand. We were sitting in my living room eating cookies my maid had baked for us. She stopped shoving a cookie in her mouth when I asked.
“Uh, he’s cute.” she said. “I thought he had a girlfriend though.” I never noticed this until writing it, but she said that like she knew I was going to say we were dating.
“Used to. Well, anyway, he asked me out.” She sat up.
“O-M-G! When? How? Where? I want details.” Hazel had always been a sucker for love. “Madison, I’m so excited!”
“Hazel, calm down.” I said.
“I want details!” She demanded.
“When did he ask you?”
“Today when I saw him in The Bean.” I said remembering the moment.
“How did he ask you?”
“He saw me walk in and he kind of perked up and he asked.”
“Where are you guys going?” She asked. This seemed most important to her because she was on the edge of her chair.
“His yacht!” I yelled. How romantic was that? We always are on his yacht or my yacht. We joke and say we’re the water couple.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my freaking God! That’s the most romantic thing ever!”
I was sitting in my living room. Sonia, my maid, walked in. “Do you want anything to eat honey?” She asked. Sonia was a small, tan woman. She was wearing jeans and a pink tee shirt. She had black hair that was pulled up into a ponytail.
“No, I’m okay.” I said staring at the fire place. I sunk into the big chairs we had in the living room. They were white, just like the rest of the first floor.
“Alright.” She walked away.
“Hi.” Said Hazel who appeared suddenly.
“Go away.” I motioned for her to leave.
“Why?” She asked like I hurt her feelings.
“Jack asked me out and I feel bad.” I mumbled.
“Well, I never told you but-” She started to cry.
“It’s okay, it’s okay.”
“He stopped by my grave and said goodbye and that he’d never forget me and he would try to see other people because ‘he knew I’d want that.’ Is that insane or what?” She explained wiping the tears.
“Yea. Let’s change the subject.” I said. We both sat back and looked at each other. “I met a really cute boy.” I said thinking about my short encounter with Jake Harrison.
“Are you going to dump Colton?” She asked perking up a bit.
“No. I barely talked to him.” I laughed.
“Well, I need to really tell you something important.” The reason I was so depressed right now, the magazine I saw today. Plastered on the cover was an old smiling picture of Hazel. The headline: “Daughter of Movie Producer, Steve Harrison, Dies in Car Accident!”
“What?” But I didn’t say anything to her, I just handed her the magazine.
“It’s international news.” I said.
“We, I mean you, should send in the sketch! Someone is bound to recognize her.” Hazel brainstormed.
“No, I couldn’t do that.” I said. I didn’t have the guts.
“Yes you can!” She yelled at me in an angry tone. “Madison,” She grabbed my shoulders. “Avenge me!”
“No, I’m not handing this to some gossip magazine for people to have a free-for-all on me!”
“Oh, I see how it is! It was always about you Madison.” Her hands fell from my shoulders.
“It was not!” I protested. “Name one time it was all about me.”
“One. The time you...” She trailed off.
“Exactly.” I smirked. She grabbed the sketch from my hand.
“If you don’t have the balls to mail it, I will.” She stomped away, out the door, to whatever mailbox she’d put that picture in.
When I woke a couple days later, I took a breath of the sweet autumn Sunday air. I didn’t want to leave my comforter, but I did. My feet hit the cool hardwood floor. I was hesitant to continue walking, but I did. I walked down the stairs into our black kitchen that matched out white living room.
“Hi honey.” Said my mother, cooking eggs.
“Hi.” I said sitting at the table. I looked through through a gossip magazine. It was from before Hazel’s face was plastered everywhere.
“Violet is coming today.” She smiled. Violet is my older sister. She’s been away for a while since college started. For most kids college is an excuse to not see their family, but Violet went to school an hour away. She could visit slightly more often.
“Great!” I said sarcastically. I hate Violet. She’s so annoying and butts into everyone else’s business!
“Be nice.” My mother scolded.
“Be nice?” I questioned. “She’ll call me a ‘twerp’ or a ‘brat’ or a ‘scrawny old twit,’ the second she walks through the damn door!”
“Don’t make me repeat myself, be nice.”
“Fine, but she is staying away from me her entire trip here.” I turned to walk away.
“Eggs are done!” Yelled my mother, so I sat back down. My mother put a plate in front of me and my annoying sister walked in.
“Mmm... Eggs!” She inhaled the stench. I think the whole big-smell-thing, should be saved for things like “mmm... Pancakes and bacon,” or “Mmm... chocolate chip cookies,” or “Mmm... pastries.” But, eggs are vile to inhale. Go ahead and try it next time you get plain eggs, not with anything else that will cover up the smell, just plain eggs.
“Mmm... I’m leaving.” I stood up with my eggs and went to the living room.
“Hey Scout.” Said my sister sitting down next to me. List of reasons why I’m angry at her for calling me Scout:
1. Isn’t “Scout,” a boy’s nickname.
2. I know three dogs named “Scout.”
3. I hate nicknames beside Maddy or Mads.
4. I have a real name!!!!
So yea, scout is slightly worse than “Brat.”
“Hey Vile,” Clever right? I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m shortening Violet, but I figure she’s to “Vile” to pick up on it. Idiot!
“Oh, guess what?” She said bouncing on the couch, nearly spilling my eggs! Hey, they smell gross but I still like them.
“What?” I said. This had to be entertaining.
“Vile is a word.” I almost burst out laughing, but I milked it.
“Really? I was just shortening Violet this whole time!”
“Yea, isn’t that funny?” How the hell is that girl in college?
“So, what does it mean? Pretty? Smart?”
“Well, not so much. I think it means gross.” Seriously, I award myself for not bursting into laughter. P.S. the actual meaning of vile (from the dictionary) is: extremely unpleasant!!!
“Oh, that stinks. I’ll just have to call you something else.” I said. As you can tell, my sister has the same I.Q. as a rock. I’ve seen dogs smarter than her.
We went our separate ways. She went to her room to unpack. I went to get the mail. And of course, plastered on every cover of every magazine was Hazel’s face. But, there was a new picture next to it. It was the sketch. She was the sketch of the killer. Underneath was the headline “Have You Seen Me?” Was Gossip Magazine now America’s Most Wanted? I didn’t get the memo.
I ran my finger onto the sketch of the woman. I thought about how many copies were made. I thought Someone will know her!
I ran my finger onto Hazel’s eleventh grade yearbook photo. Her eyes, as usual, big and bright gray. Her hair, blond as ever from the summer with wavy curls. It hit me when I saw it. It hit me hard.
Hazel will miss, prom and getting married, having her future child named Cole. She would miss out on college experiences like beer pong and Sororities. She wouldn’t ever have the opportunity to live again. Yes, she talked to me, but those moments halted since we argued about sending in the sketch.
I thought about how much we take for granted every day. We talk to or best friend everyday and think nothing of the general conversation, but some day, the conversations stop because your best friend, is in the ground.
I collapsed. My knees buckled as I pulled open the front door. I broke. No I didn’t brake, I shattered. My well being, both physically and mentally, were at stake. “Honey what’s wrong?” my mother rushed over. I held out the magazine.
I got up after five minutes of crying and went to my room. I buried my face into the pillow and continued the crying. I expected Hazel to waltz in. She didn’t. I sat there crying, holding a necklace. A necklace that had a pair in the world. The other part of the pair was in Hazel’s jewelry box. Yes, this was it. A necklace and those stupid arguments.
There were so many questions in my mind. Was she roaming, but ignoring me? Has she moved on to hypothetical (I say this only because I believe no Heaven, just rotting bodies in the ground) Heaven?
I’m sorry to say, I never saw Hazel again. I never saw her gray-blue eyes. I never studied her tall, thin figure. I never laughed, nor cried, with her again. She was dead. I thought of what she’d said to me in our last conversation; “Avenge me!” I was! I was finding her killer. I was finding the woman who stole Hazel’s life. I looked at my sopping wet bedsheets, knowing she was gone forever.
I cried harder.
I wanted Hazel back. I wanted her to tell her that she was such a great friend. I wanted to tell her so many things that should have been said. I wanted to have another afternoon with her. We would sit in the theater room at her house. We would watch a romantic comedy.
I cried harder.
We would pretend like old days. I wanted my best friend back. I knew we would never have a normal night again. I knew a small part of my heart disintegrated when Hazel died. I would never get it back. I didn’t want it back. It was Hazel’s now.
I cried harder.
I just kept thinking and thinking. I wanted to go tell Hazel that Violet is vile and what vile thing she did that day. I wanted to joke around. I wanted my old life. Even thought I’m rich and all, this life sucks because I watched my best friend die.
I cried harder.
This thinking thing went on for about two hours when my sister came in.
“Hey,” She said. “Listen, I know what it’s like.”
“No you don’t. Get away.” I shooed her away.
“Okay.” She got up and left. I think I would cry more for Hazel than Vile Violet.
Devastation. That is what going to the bathroom at school is like for me.
Today I walked into a stall with graffiti writing about Hazel. It went like this:
“Better off dead.”
“LOL! The evil queen is dead!”
What the f***? Who talks about someone who is dead like this? The writing repulsed me. The girls at our school are evil!
I shouldn’t have chimed in. I knew I shouldn’t have from the minute I got the Sharpie out of my backpack. I didn’t know how much trouble you’d get in for writing on a bathroom wall. People did it all the time. Right?
So I chimed in, knowing full well I was an idiot for even reading the comments.
“She’s dead, cut her some slack!” I went back to class and came in the next period.
“Yea guys.” was written.
“N-O.” Same writing as “Better off dead.”
“Y-E-S.” I wrote. I went back to Mr. Bailer’s class.
“Can someone tell me what ‘x’ is equal to?” He was saying as I walked in.
Bradley, king of the nerds, threw his hand in the air. He frantically waved it showing his impatience.
“Anyone?” Mr. Bailer asked, pretending no to see Bradley. Of course, this made Bradley’s hand wave faster and ore widely. So widely, it almost hit Adam in the face.
I took my seat. I knew Bradley wasn’t the only one who had the answer. Everyone else was too tired and/or lazy to raise their hand. I did it quickly in my head. Mr. Bailer looked at me and I felt obligated to raise my hand. So, in a very reluctant way, I raised my hand.
“Yes, Maddy!” He yelled out in relief that someone else besides Bradley answered the question.
“x equals six.”
“Correct.” He wen on and all I did was stare at Colton from across the room.
Then I got a note. Oh, normally I love notes, but this note read, in Bradley’s curled cursive handwriting “Good job.” Ew! Ew! Ew! Why was nerdy, pimple-ridden, nose picking, all around disgusting Bradley, sending me a note.
I looked at him as he vigorously scribbled notes. His ugly curly hair, dark with blonde highlights (Ew!), bouncing. He had ugly freckles, backed by weird wire frame glasses that were bent every way.
“Thanks.” I wrote back trying to be kind. I didn’t want to make him cry. Sometimes I felt bad, although right now I was embarrassed just to be passing a note back to that freak of nature.
“Are you really passing a note back to king of the dorks?” Whispered my math partner, James.
“I’m just trying to be nice.” I whispered back.
Then, I got that note back.
I will not pass a note back.
I will not pass a note back.
I opened up his stupid note. “Your welcome. Wanna go for coffee?” EW!!!! EW!!!! The most repulsive human alive just asked me out! EW!!!!
I had to answer. If I didn’t, he’d take it as a yes. If I did, I’d look like I was having an intense conversation with Bradley. So I sent a note back.
“No, I have a BOYFRIEND.” I wrote back in exactly the same way as shown in the previous quote.
“Still...” He wrote back. I looked over to his awkward silence. As soon as I was sure he was paying full attention to me, I tore up the dumb note. His face fell.
The bell rang and I went back to the bathroom.
“Y-E-S” was scribbled over and in it’s place, in the same handwriting as “better off dead,” was “Who is this?”
“Yea, really.” Was written below.
No. Why would people think Hazel was “better off dead”? Why do they bully me through the written word on a disgusting bathroom stall. I looked at some other writing on the stall. Nothing was nearly as hurtful as the “better off dead” comment.
“Eliza.” I wrote underneath. I wrote “Eliza” because when me and Hazel were little, we played spy. We had spy names. My name was Eliza and Hazel’s was Betsy. I also wrote it because I knew there was no one in my school named Eliza. (It’s a small school, I know all the names.)
Of course, as soon as I stepped out of the girl’s bathroom, there was The King of All Dorks, Bradley. No, he wasn’t waiting for me, just passing. I tried to quickly bee-line back into the bathroom, but it was too late. By time I’d turned, he was already saying “Maddy, hi!” I turned to see the pimples that made his face red. I tried not to think about the grease of his skin rubbing onto his glasses, which mad my stomach churn.
“Hi.” I flatly said.
“So, coffee?” Did he have short term memory loss or something? What was wrong with him?
“No, I don’t like coffee.” I said.
“Okay. We’ll go to The Burger Shack.” The Burger Shack is a fast food place serving burgers, shakes and their “world famous” (Prepare to upchuck if ever tried) fried butter.
“No, too greasy.”
“Picnic?” He asked. There was only one way to get rid of him; Cause a scene in the hallway.
“No! You are a stupid nerd, Bradley! No one loves you besides your mom and even that’s questionable! Leave me the hell alone!” People were staring now. I saw Colton coming towards me. “I have a boyfriend!” I grabbed onto Colton’s arm.
He looked down at me and smiled a bit in a small line on his face. He showed a dimple that cradled a few freckles. He gave me a smile that said something. This time his smile said “I’ll play along.”
“Yea, Brody!” He yelled. “Run along and don’t bother my girl!” He ran away fast. I pecked Colton on the cheek and we went to lunch. I sat next to him, so close our bodies touched.
“Thanks,” I said looking at him next to me.
“No problem. What was he bothering you about?” he asked. Colton pays attention in classes, he never saw the notes.
“He asked to go out with me, to coffee. I said no but he kept on coming back!”
“Ew.” He laughed. He looked down at his watch. “Oh, I have to go.”
“Where?” I wanted to go too!
“Nowhere you’d be interested in.” He waved me off and got up. I waited until he was at the cafeteria doors, then I got up and followed.
He walked down the wide hallways of Pell School of Excellence. He was walking toward the band wing. He turned into the band wing. He went into the recording studio that was always closed at lunch. I peeked into the room. There he was, there she was. She being Penny Anderson. He was on top of She. He was kissing she. I slammed open the door.
“B****!” I yelled. They stood up. “Who do you think you are?” Colton stepped toward me.
“It’s not what you think.” He said.
“What is it then?”
“We got a pass to work on something for band and she was all over me.” Penny nodded in the background.
I wanted to shut me ears and say “la la la” like a five year old.
I wanted to scream.
I wanted to say “I love you, Colton.”
I wanted to smack Penny and say “You dumb slut!”
I wanted so much. I could’ve done anything, I could’ve done everything, but all I did was grab Colton’s hand. I grabbed his hand and pulled him away from Penny.
Penny, a slut.
Penny, an internationally known slut.
“Penny Anderson gave a B.J. to Adam behind the bowling alley.” Hazel had once said to me as we sat in her baby blue bedroom. We were about fourteen or fifteen. She sat on the bed hugging a pillow and I sat in the day bed across the way in the cove of a round window.
“Really?” I said getting up to grab more chips.
“Who told you?” I asked waiting to know the answer like a dog waits for a treat.
“Becky Martin.” She said. I sat back in the day bed.
“Wow.” I said taking in the information. That was the start of her reputation as a famous slut.
I sat across the room from Colton in his navy blue bedroom. I sunk into his couch and he sat across is a living-room-type chair. “So, is Penny going to Canada?” I asked. Why had he called me to come over if he was just going to stare at me across the room studying me as if he’d never seen me before.
“No,” he said playing with his fingers. I stared into his blue eyes.
“Why am I here then?” At first he didn’t reply. He took a gulp.
“It’s not about Penny.” He said.
“Okay. What’s it about?” I suspected to hear something like “Penny’s going to Canada” or “Penny and I are band partners but nothing is going on.”
“I’m moving.” He said. “I’m moving far away.”
“Where?” I asked.
“California. My dad got offered a job.” He said slowly. I got up from the couch and fell into his arms.
Why? I was in the middle of another grieving process and now I have to deal with the situation of a long-distance relationship. Movies are wrong, long-distance relationships never work out. You stop. There’s no official break-up. Contact stops. You assume he met someone else and you move along.
“Stay. Please stay.” I said. My head was rested gently in his lap and he stroked my hair. My feet hung over the edge of the chair.
“I can’t.” I looked into his big blue eyes that were outlined by faint freckles against his pale (but not too pale) skin.
“You can.” He shook his head to say “no.” “When do you leave?”
“Over winter break.” That was weeks away. That was months away. I didn’t want him to leave.
“Stay.” I said sitting up.
“I can’t.” He laughed. “You know that.”
“Stay in the guest house.” I said. The guest house was small in the far back of our property. It matched our gray stone house. It had a little kitchen and living room, two bedrooms and a game room. Hazel and I had had many sleepovers there. We made chocolate chip cookies and brownies. We played boardgames and we spoke until tree in the morning.
“No. I couldn’t do that.” He said.
We talked a little more and we decided to not talk about.
It would be in the back of my head. It would ache my heart when my mind wandered astray. It would hang over my head, forever there to irritate me.
I got to school and went to straight to the bathroom. Upset with the previous day’s events, I wrote on the opposite side from the “Hazel R.I.P” writing: “Penny Anderson is (fill in the blank).” Under that I wrote: “a dumb slut.”
Biology was boring and so was English. Then I got to gym (yes, all without checking the bathroom). Of course, Penny Anderson was in gym class. So was her stupid crew. Mia-Sophia tapped me on the shoulder.
“Do you want to die?” I turned to see Penny and her squad walking toward me. I didn’t care about her crew. They were all clones of Penny. They all wear her makeup and wear their hair like hers. I felt like a mob of evil Barbies were walking toward me.
“Yes?” I asked Penny when she stopped in front of me. I could see Penny’s green eyes staring at me. Her blonde side-bang hung over one eye. I inhaled her berry smelling hand cream. I hated that smell, it made my stomach cringe.
“You know what.” She said studying my every move, every shift of weight.
“No, I don’t.” I did. This is a way you piss people off in New York, just act dumb or say “thanks” to an insult (learned when at ski house in upstate New York). “Please, enlighten me.”
“Oh, you know. Don’t play ‘dumb slut.’”
“Oh, that.” I smiled.
“So?” She started. Now I was confused. What did she want?
“So what?” I got it she wanted me to get on my knees begging for forgiveness. She wanted me to say “Oh, Penny I am nothing compared to you. I’m a dumb slut. Forgive me!” Yea right.
“I don’t know what you want me to say.” I lied.
She walked away.
“Thanks Penny!” I called after her. A blond look-alike from her posy shot me a look. Ouch.
I turned to Mia-Sophia whose face hung in disbelief. “I cannot believe you just did that.” I smiled.
“Oh Miso.” I smiled. Miso is what I call Mia-Sophia, just easier, plus it’s a great Japanese soup!
“Maddy, you better watch yourself. You’re swimming in dark waters.” Miso loved to make similes, metaphors and idioms. That’s why our English teacher loves her.
Otherwise, P.E. was uneventful. I wanted so badly to go to the bathroom, but I had a test in advanced art next period on Keith Haring. I loved him. He was one of my favorites. I got to art and there was a note on the door: “Ms.Grey is absent. Free period.” Our school doesn’t have substitutes. The lower schools do, but the high school doesn’t. We just do whatever we want for one period.
So, of course, I went to the bathroom. Boy, had my graffiti gotten popular. Underneath my “dumb slut” comment was a whole list of things that I will list.
1. “A boyfriend stealer.” Written in girly bubble handwriting in black sharpie.
2. “A disgrace to her family.” Most-likely true. I heard she slept with her cousin.
3. “Self-centered.” True, period.
4. “I heard she’s got a bun in the oven.” Also, believable. Maybe it’s her cousin’s.
5. “Slept with her dad.” That’s just sad. I’m sorry, but that isn’t true. That person has false info. “Cousin” probably got twisted into “dad.”
“Gay.” Also, I think that isn’t true. Probably bi though.
So, those were the comments. Underneath I wrote. “All are most likely true except for the ‘dad’ comment. It was her cousin.”
I got out and met up with Angie, who was in my advanced art class. “I know it was you.” Angie said. We were laying on towels in the grass quad of our school. Angie was Italian. She had wavy, dark, thick hair and glassy blue eyes. I sat up looking at her.
“What?” I asked confused. Her hands were flat on her stomach and she still gazed up at the blue sky.
“I know you wrote that Penny Anderson is a ‘dumb slut.’” She said with a smile forming. Her mouth was a thin, curved line on her face, nothing more.
We heard a faint bell ring and went inside without another word. It was the end of the day and I went to my car parked in the student lot.
When I got to my car, Colton’s muscular body leaned against it. His salmon polo looked bright against my light gray Mini Cooper. “Hey.” He smiled. I leaned in and gave him a peck.
“What’s up?” I asked. He had his own car, why was he leaning on mine?
“I wanted to tell you something.” His grin looked fantastic from below. I looked into his blue eyes as he looked down on me.
“And that something would be?” His grin was almost ear to ear at this point.
“I saw your mom walking in and she said to tell you that she would be away for the weekend with your dad.” He said.
“And you’re smiling because?”
“Well, your mom’s away with your dad and the house is empty...” He trailed off. I got it. He wanted to have sex. He wanted me.
“No. I am an atheist, but I still don’t want to have sex.” I pushed him off.
“Fine. We’ll just hang out.” But, the more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued by his body. Intrigued by his eyes. Intrigued because of sex.
“Come home in my car with me.” I said. I pressed my self against his warm body.
“Okay.” He said. The grin reappeared. I climbed in the driver seat and he got in the passenger. I looked at his muscles forming to the seat.
“Penny Anderson is a slut.” I said.
“I thought we established that.” He laughed.
“Is it yours?” I asked talking about the “bun in the oven” comment.
“What?” So, yea, I’m evil. I got him in the car to ask him questions. He went to open the door and I pressed the lock before he could.
“Is the baby yours?” I asked.
“Baby? We never had sex.” He said.
“Okay then.” I said and started to drive. We didn’t speak. I just watched the green trees and shrubs, turning gold and red and orange as the autumn presented itself.
“Ouch,” said Colton as he fell into a table at my house. I giggled a bit. “Sh, be quiet.” I whispered. “‘Kay.” He winked. We walked up the stairs to my bedroom. “Wow.” I said looking at the rose petals scattered along with candles across my black and white bedroom. “When did you do this?” He just smiled to say “Don’t ask me.” I heard footsteps. “Hello!” came a call from downstairs. It was my mother. “Our trip got cancelled.” I heard her heels on the marble kitchen floor. Click, click, click. “Hide.” I said. Colton headed towards the closet. I started to blow out the candles and hide those too. “Help me.” I said. He picked up the rose petals and took the candles I’d already blown out, throwing them in the closet. I got to the last candle and said “Leave it. It’ll explain the smell.” He went back in the closet. I sat on my bed and pulled out a book. I heard my mother coming up the steps. Click, click, click. “Hey honey.” She said. “What are you reading?” “A book for English.” I said nonchalantly. “Okay.” She left, closing the door behind her. I heard the bathroom door shut, Colton came out. “You need to get out of here.” I said. “You think?” He said sarcastically. “Any ideas?” He looked toward the window. “No.” “I got it!” I said almost too loudly. “I have a ladder that is for fires in my closet.” It was perfect. I could just send him down a ladder. Easy. “Perfect.” I dug out the ladder. “Ready?” I asked. “Sure.” He smiled. I dropped the ladder down. From the beginning of this plan, it was in the back of my head that it wouldn’t work. Problems that went wrong in this plan in chronological order: 1. The ladder didn’t reach the ground. 2. My dad yelled up “Why is your ladder out the window?” 3. My mother yelled “Is there a fire? Call 9-1-1!!!” 4. Me: “No! I was setting it up. Attend to your business as usual.” Translation: Shut up and leave me alone! 5. My dad then replied “Why now?” Really? Why? Questions suck especially when the have no meaning which was most of my dad’s questions. 6. “I heard about a bad house fire.” I lied. But there are house fires all the time. 7. “Good job honey! I’m proud of you!” *no comment.* 8. “Okay!” What else could I say? Don’t answer that because you’ll probably say “thanks.” 9. Colton walks down ladder. Or climbs. What ever, he still gets seen. Note to self: outside approach works better at night. 10. Dad yells “What the hell?” I could hear his footsteps pounding up the stairs. Shit. 11. Colton jumps and runs. He disappears. I started to pull up the ladder. 12. My dad is stomping into my room. He looks angry. Angry is a tough look for my dad, he’s normally relaxed and will go for random hikes or donate a thousand dollars to a charity randomly. “Hi daddy.” I said sweetly although in my head I was saying s***, s***, s***. I’m f*ed!!! “Why was Colton here?” He tapped his toe. I didn’t look him in the eye. I looked as his blue argyle sweater vest, his white shirt under neath and khakis. “Just studying.” I focused on my bed. Oh how I wished I was in bed. I would think and dream. I wished this never happened. I wish the world would leave. It would stop spinning around me. It was real. Life was real. Hazel was gone. Colton was leaving. I would probably be isolated for the next week due to this debacle. Our plan was a flop, an epic fail. “Grounded, two weeks.” He walked away and slammed the door behind him, grabbing my phone on the way out. I sat in my bed, staring at the white ceiling. I wish I could be a wall. They stood still, they never had friends who died or boyfriends who would be moving across the country. Walls never got grounded because they were free. Walls watched. Walls would know everything. If walls could talk, I’d owe them money. “Hey.” I said through a note to Colton the next day. He sat in front of me in Architecture History, an elective we both liked. “Hey.” He wrote back. “Sorry about my parents.” I replied. “Okay.” What were all these one-word answers? Was he angry? I didn’t write back. I tried to concentrate on Greek Columns and Mr. Rice’s hair plugs that were so obvious, but I couldn’t. I looked at my watch. I still had half an hour left. Why did hours have to be so long? I started to click my pen mindlessly, but that just annoyed me, as well as some other people giving me stares. I saw an article on the wall about a steamboat accident. That made me think of that stupid childhood song. At least it got my mind away from annoying columns and annoying one-word answers from Colton. Ms.Lucy had a steamboat. The steamboat had a bell. The steamboat went to heaven and Ms. Lucy went to hell- o operator give me number nine! If you disconnect me, I will chop off your- “Maddy, can you tell me what kind of column this is?” Mr. Rice said interrupting my singing in my head. “Ionic.” I yawned, going back to my singing in my head. Behind the refrigerator there was a piece of glass! Ms.Lucy sat upon and she broke her big fat as- k me no more questions, tell me no more lies The boys are in the locker room pulling down their- Flies are in the city The bees are in the park The boys and girls are kissing in the D-A-R-K D-A-R-K D-A-R-K Dark, dark, dark! There was more, but I couldn’t remember. But, my singing was a pass time. I looked at the clock and there was only five minutes left after I’d sang the song a few times and answered a few more questions. I kept looking at the stupid clock. Four minutes. Three minutes. Two minutes. One minute. Ring! Cried the bell. I tossed my things mindlessly into my bag. “Hey babe.” Colton said as I sped out the door. His warm lips met my cheek, a moment short lived. “Hi.” I said. “What’s wrong?” He asked. “Nothing,” and I walked away. He caught up and turned me around. “Hello?” He said. “Hi.” I stared blankly at him. Why shouldn’t I be the one giving one-word answers? I’m allowed to be a cold hearted bitch sometimes. “We need to talk.” He said staring into my eyes. I focused on the movement behind him. “I’m late for my next class.” I told him and it was true. I hurried away. What could be so important that it couldn’t wait until next period which was lunch?
I got to English Lit a little late. “Hello Maddy.” Said my prune of a teacher whose name is Mrs. Shrill. “I’m glad you decided to join us today.” Her eyes followed me to my seat. She had wire glasses that hung around her neck on top of an old pink sweater and violet dress pants. Where could you even but violet dress pants? I slid into the chair and Mrs. Shrill continued. It was blah. Blah, blah, blah- noun. Blah, blah, blah- adverb. We knew these things already yet we are still lectured on it?
“Mrs. Shrill!” Jamie screamed from the back row.
“What Jamie?” She said annoyed that Jamie had interrupted her lesson. Jamie wouldn’t have to scream if we were in Mr.Lee’s class, Mrs. Shrill was nearly deaf. Her scream interrupted my thoughts and when I turned the rest of the class looked as if a ghost waltzed in.
“I think someone is shooting a gun outside!” I turned to the window. There stood Bradley. Oh my God! Bradley had a gun in his hand. Kids ran across the open campus. More shots were fired. Screams went off simultaneously.
“Oh lord! There’s a gunman!” She shrieked. “Everyone get under a desk!” Like that would help. Jamie stood up in his pastel polo that looked like Colton’s.
Doctor Garrison, our vice principal, barged in. “Everyone! Everyone get in the closets.” He screamed. Every classroom has two large walk-in closets. With our small classes, we could fit. We’d never done these kinds of drills like I heard some schools did. We never thought this would happen. There were more shots. I looked towards the windows. Bradley was still in the lawn but those shots were closer. The shots were inside.
I heard steps. I heard shots. I heard screams.
We were all piled into the closet. I was in the corner next to a stack old textbooks. I heard the door open slowly. It cringed on the old rusty hinges. I heard shoes hit the ground. Was it Bradley? Was it Bradley’s best friend, George?
I sucked in my breath. “No one is in this room.” Said George’s voice.
“Okay. Go to Ms. Bryant’s room.” said Bradley’s voice through a walkie talkie.
“Copy that.” He shut the door walking away. We didn’t move. I could vaguely see Mary-Anne, her knees to her chest in the corner, praying.
I heard another shot and my heart skipped. Where was Colton right now? Would his last words to me be an argument? I heard sirens in the distance but police didn’t come into our classroom for another ten minutes. Ten minutes of waiting. Ten minutes of fear. Ten minutes of death.
There was a list. Every survivor that was found had their name added by someone receiving messages. Parents were in a crowd watching as their children’s names would be added. There was crying for joy and sadness. There was blood. There were less and less names to be added until the writing stopped. Seventeen. Fourteen students. Three teachers, including Dr. Garrison. I saw him in his last moments of life, just like Hazel.
“Honey,” My mother cried as we were escorted out by the S.W.A.T. team, so did everyone else’s mothers. She had been crying. I noticed that we were one of the last classes out. News helicopters buzzed above us, and there were police cars along with S.W.A.T vans. There was a lot of hugging. I looked at the gray sky, a perfect day for a crime; It was dull, about to rain. But, if you think about it, the rain was tears. In my mother’s eyes. In everyone’s eyes, there were small pools or red rings and bags.
I pushed out of her arms and walked over to the list. As I walked over, they posted the official list of deaths:
1. Matthew Garish- Freshman I hadn’t ever really met.
2.Aleena Walsh- Prissy sophomore, beauty queen.
3. Catarina Jenkins- In my P.E. class- big follower of Penny Anderson.
4. Aren Hank- In my parents’ church.
5. Paula Greene- One of the few Jewish people that went to our school.
6. Melissa Perth- In my science class, really smart.
7.Gabby Palter- Good friend of mine. Her name was when I really started to cry.
8. Greg Levi- Nice Kid. I dated his twin for a few months.
9. John Levi- Really good friend of mine. We were the “best couple” freshman year. I started to cry harder as I read his name. His parents had to put two children in the ground at once. I felt horrible knowing that.
10. Penny Anderson- Holy shit! I suddenly felt bad about writing about her. Then I don’t and remember what she did. I wonder if she really was pregnant.
11. Mia-Sophia Allen- I collapsed seeing her name. I had a panic attack. Everyone in my life is gone! They are dying around me. I know their faces line my bedroom in cheap picture frames. I know when I go home, I’ll see their faces against mine. I’ll see them happy. They died though. They’re gone, just like Hazel, forever. I felt the necklace, Hazel’s necklace, on my collarbone.
I noticed I was on the ground. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t think, couldn’t. Ava rushed over. “What’s wrong?” She didn’t know her best friend in the entire world was dead yet; She hadn’t read the list. I stood up to her height and pointed to number eleven. Her mouth fell and her body the same. She started to cry too. I didn’t want to, but I forced myself to read the rest of the list.
13. Jack Portman- Hazel’s widow.
14. Natalie Smith- Our school president.
15. James Masson- Colton’s best friend and captain of the lacrosse team.
I sat at the kitchen table the next day. “Darling,” my mother put her hand on my arm. “Get dressed nicely but comfortably.”
“May I ask why?” I said.
“I made an appointment for you to talk to someone, a grief counselor.” I couldn’t say no because I did want to talk to someone in a way. I wanted to air my feelings.
“Okay.” I got up, got dressed and went. My mother signed me up for an hour, once a week with this guy.
“Hello.” I said as I sat down and shook his hand. “I’m Maddy.”
“Hello,” he smiled. “I’m Doctor Ellis.” He had gray hair and a soft face.
“So, what do I say? I’ve never done this before.”
“I’ll start with some questions.” Doctor Ellis smiled. “Who in your life has died?”
“Do you want a list?”
“Sure. Whatever form you wish.”
“First it was Hazel-”
“Tell me about Hazel.” He interrupted. “We’ll spend a half an hour or so on this ‘Hazel.’”
“Hazel, was my best friend,” I continued. “She died right in front of me. We were in a car wreck. They still haven’t found the person who did it.” I purposefully left out the part about how I used to see her and how I’m searching for her killer. “She and I grew up together.” We sat in silence for five minutes.
“Okay. What did you and hazel do often together?” He asked. I broke down thinking about all the things we like to do together.
“We liked to watch movies in her private theater.” I cried. “We like to watch Nikki Flynn.” I blew my nose. We sat there as I cried for five more minutes. I missed those days.
“Okay.” He exhaled. “I’m going to give you some ‘homework’ because right now you’re not opening up very well. I can sense you’re uncomfortable.” He held up air quotes around “homework.” Yippee! I get more homework because, you know, it’s not like I don’t go to school and get this homework he spoke of! P.S. Sense my ass!
“Okay.” I sat back and was close to reaching down for my backpack to get my agenda book. He would most-likely think I was insane for reaching down to get something that wasn’t there.
“I want you to go home and write a diary. I want a true, deep entry. Typed if you want but is should be more than a page.” A typed page? I have no inner feelings that long. I feel like a shell of a person.
That night I went home and wrote. I guess a page, typed, isn’t that bad.
In hindsight, I perplex myself at my own behavior. I was truly a rebel with no cause. No rhyme, no reason. Some may call it a free spirit, but it’s just me. I was twelve when I discovered atheism. Through my entire childhood, I was catholic. I wasn’t very religious, nor was anyone in my family. We went to church on Sundays and all, but still. I know I embarrassed my parents when my presence in church faded and then stopped. They go every week, without me. Even Violet goes.
Me. I had my first beer at a party when I was thirteen. The first time I got drunk, was when I was fourteen. I went to rehab at fourteen. But you probably know that. It was on the cover of the New York Times. I’ve never done drugs, though. If you can believe that. I’m pro-choice. I’m pro gay marriage. Hazel and Mia-Sophia are dead. Colton’s leaving but I haven’t talked to him since before the shooting so he hates me anyway. Ava’s here but she and I aren’t that close. I have panic attacks. I hate the way my mother leaves for England. I hate how people are my friend because they want free coffee. I hate Penny Anderson even though she’s dead. Is it wrong to hate a dead girl? She did.
My dad. My dad hates his family. They all want his money. I don’t see that side often. I know he fears for me. Maybe he fears for Vile Violet, but I’m younger. I’m sober now, but I’m the one who got wasted when she was fourteen. He thinks that I will have sex or die in a DUI accident. The only irony is it was Hazel and I wasn’t driving. I know his heart is sometimes driven by obligation. He married my mom because it was her dream to get married and have kids. I guess leaving her kids for her career was in her plan too.
My mom. My mom was raised in a close knit family until her mother and father died of old age. She slowly faded from cousins and her brother ran off with some Brazilian woman who got all his money in a divorce. He then moved to Puerto Rico, God knows why. Finally, he moved back to the U.S. only to be offered a job in Switzerland. My mom works in Europe, but it’s too much work, for both parties, to see each other. My mother was once a free spirit. But, as she grew older, the bags in her eyes tied her to the chain and ball that keeps her from me. Lately, she’s been around. Since the accident, they offered her a project in the states for the term of my recovery. I’m not sure what the project is, but it keeps her here. Sometimes I wonder if she longs to be here.
My sister, Vile. Vile Violet is a good girl. Well she was. She has secrets. Ones that I only know. I remember sitting alone with her in the house one day. “How would you like to be an aunt at this age?” I was thirteen. I watched her as she played with her hair. “I don’t know, why?” I asked. “I’m pregnant.” She was sixteen, a baby herself. “No.” I said. She never told Mom or Dad. She aborted mission, never to be spoken of again. My sister lives day to day, but she regrets and is depressed. I know she sneaks drugs to help her concentrate. I know she isn’t perfect.
We are all shells we have no core. We are the Fitzgerald family. We are shells of people, living day to day. We are there, but are we really? I am a shell. Dad and Mom and Vile Violet are shells. We do things on occasion. But their not on purpose. We’re just lucky.
I looked back at what I wrote. I choked up. I balled. I didn't mention Hazel. I didn't want to talk about Hazel and Mia-Sophia then and there. I wanted to ease in.