Dear Leana

Dear Leana,

This is not to say that you did something wrong, but I think you killed my brother. I’m not sure yet, but once I am, and once you are holding this in your hand, it will hopefully read with firmer conviction.

Again, this is still up in the air.

I’m curious about what happened to you. We saw each other on one of June’s stickiest, most unreasonable days to date. I walked into town for ice cream, because to suffer in the heat is more endurable when you shake up what activity you pair it with. You biked across the street in front of me with some purple flowers in your pocket. I was a speck, a little, moist sack of air with a chocolate cone; you did not see me.

In retrospect, that was the last time I saw you.

So when did we last lay eyes on each other? Interact? Note, here, that I mean to emphasize the mutual nature of ‘we’. Could it, perhaps, have been in one of the four classes that we have shared in the past few years of schooling? Well, that would make sense. One room, discussions bouncing off the walls, partnerships…It really does go on.

Or! An even grander possibility: the Science Team. You are a member, or you were, and so am I. What better place to connect to someone on a more personal level than a (sparsely-populated) room of kids who all share your exact same interest. What better environment to engage in the social norm of “making friends”? Think on that, Leana.

Think on it.

Well, actually, I could be wrong. If we had ever interacted, I would cue your intake of air at my admission of mistake now. I’m hoping you might be starting to get the gist of what I’m telling you.

Jonny was a good kid. He took tough classes but still smiled. Sincerity radiated from his palms like a firework spitting lithium salts at the sky.

On a Tuesday last February I was chewing my pencap and reading over the history of Hannibal when Jonny brought you home. You stayed for the afternoon. You didn’t say hello.

Most days afterwards were borishly identical to that Tuesday.

You were the rudest person I had ever met. That, in itself, is a false statement, because never did I have the displeasure of making your acquaintance.

But I don’t blame you for that.

Several months of The Identical Tuesdays blended together before I caught Jonny fumbling with the latch to his bedroom window at two one morning. He never knew, but I caught him. Just like I did with the you-know-whats in an old framed picture from Little League. Just like I did every morning that he slumped over the kitchen table, looking at his cereal as if it were about to fly out of his bowl and bite his nose.

That I blame you for.

So my truth is that I know what you did. But I still want to know where you went after my brother turned up in the street, ribs broken, no more air in his lungs. Had you been in that car?

Did he save you from what happened to him? Tell me.

What I know is that, before you came home that first Tuesday and chatted with my mother and scraped balls of cookie dough out of the tub in the refrigerator, Jonny had nowhere to be at midnight. And after you, he did.

After you, he died.

Did you put those purple flowers on his grave?

I am still at Lernon Street should you decide to let me know.

Michael.

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