"I'm not understanding. Isn't love happy? Why she doesn't want to tell of it?"
Jewee's question was the last thing logical that went down, which is sad because the only things that came out of us that made sense were questions that were answer-less.
The questions made sense, but the answers didn't.
What sprouted from it was a series of hypotheticals and technicalities that didn't have very strong roots of sense. They were out there. There's no denying it, but symbolically, I saw right in front of me, every piece of evidence of our desperation.
We knew we were desperate for the light at the end of this pitch black tunnel, and with the stupidest of tactics we were trying to move things along, but it wasn't going to end until it wanted to. We couldn't drag it. We were powerless, and we hated it -- being weaker than we've ever been in our lifetimes.
"Maybe she just doesn't want to talk about him," I shrugged, trying not to think much of it. "I'm sure it couldn't be easy. You know Nova and Jayvee are entirely different people, and they have entirely different connections to Ryan. They're bound to act according to their differences."
"But she just did talk about him. She talked about him saying goodbye to her. He's dead now, and the most painful remembrance that she could have with him is what she can get herself to talk about, but even when it comes to comparison against Nova, which she always hates to lose to, she can't talk about the good times she had with him. Isn't it weird?" Jared poked at the sandy gravel with a stick he had found nearby, and he drew into it with concentration. Nobody spoke after he finished. The only sound that caught our ears was the breeze through the trees and his scraping into the soil. That is, until he talked again, not beating around the bush, and getting straight to the point.
"I think she did it, and I think she did it all by herself. She didn't have a happy relationship, and she snapped. Maybe she was possessive, and when he told her goodbye, it's what sent her over the edge. Maybe she thought that if she couldn't have him, then nobody could. It happens more than we want to admit it does."
Nova clicked her tongue. "That's a lot of 'maybe's."
"Hear me out first," Jared stated, and looking down to the poking and scraping he had been doing into the parking lot, we saw that what he was working on wasn't out of boredom, but out of providing evidence, and he was determined to explain it to us by illustration.
"The six of us had arranged seating. In the front row from left to right, it was me, Ryan, and then Nova and then behind us from left to right it was Colby, Jayvee, and then Jewee. Now, besides Jewee, we were all relatively nearby to our seats at the time of the shooting, and Ryan was shot in the stomach. That's where most of the blood was, right? Before the side effects took over me, I last saw that Ryan was facing backwards from the front board, standing, and leaning against the back his chair. I would guess that this shot came from straight on, instead of an angle, and that would make Jayvee a primary suspect. She had a straight line toward him. Easy shot. It would be hard for any of us to shoot from the angles we were at and hit him where it did."
He shut us up with his theory, and he gave us the time to think about his approach, as if this were a math problem we were expected to solve in middle school, fifth period. In some sort of way, he had a point. Is it possible that because he's not as close to the victim and never cared about him as much as everybody else did, that he was more clearer-minded with his perspective? Should we have been relying on him to get through this all along? Don't they say your emotions mess with your head?
I never paid attention to our seating arrangement. There wasn't one time that I considered it to be a big deal, mostly because it became such a norm that we sat where we sat without thinking about it, and that was the way it was -- it was nothing more than that, but after his presentation I couldn't help but to think that it could've been relevant the entire time. The entire time, it was right there in front of me and I didn't realize it.
Maybe I didn't want to. Maybe subconsciously, it was a choice I made, but I had to come to terms with it now, and it made tears swell up in my eyes. When lightning comes and breaks your chest wide open, shattering your rib cage into pieces to be left in random places across the world and nothing else, you'll never become whole again -- and all you can do is hug it with open arms and suffer through the prickle of the thorns.
Everyday is another day to realize that you're empty because for someone out there that shouldn't even be considered a somebody, taking away a life was so easy for them. It was so easy for them to ruin several peoples lives because they took away one by the snap of their fingers, and they didn't even have to flinch.
How disgusting. How wrenching it is that the parts of the population without a heart will tear apart the ones with two. How sickening it is that the ones without a heart come out to conquer the ones that deserve to thrive. How numbing it is that the weeds come out to kill the last sunflower we had left. Why yes, how disgusting.
Ryan had no future because of a jealousy far too much for the world to control -- but why? How could someone in such deep love and care for a person dare to turn against them? How could they let themselves be pulled apart so permanently if there was a time that the love blossoming in their insides promised to never separate from one another? How can time change so much?
On an island so sunshine-y and beautiful, how could everything suddenly feel so gray and foggy? Why did the idea of Jayvee being behind something so terrible not make me fire hot with anger, but ice cold with sadness? Why did she have the want in her to end a life out of her fury?
She took away a life because the man of her dreams didn't love her back the way she wanted him to. This was her fault. She did this. She must've, and I could see her defending herself with the selfish words that it was because she loved him too much, but that wasn't the truth. The truth is, she loved him out of proportion.
You don't devote yourself to a person if they don't want to stay. You don't express passion to a person who doesn't want it from you. As painful as it is, when someone doesn't love you back, you set them free, and alone, maybe you pray that one day they'll return to you. A lot of times they don't and that means you pick yourself up and continue going on with only half of your heart. That's life. It sucks, but that's the way it works.
I've been there myself, and not once did I develop the motive to kill someone.
I have to accept it. I have to accept that Jayvee did this. She ruined every one of us because she felt that Ryan ruined her, when he didn't owe her anything; not to that extent.
This is nobody else's fault besides hers.
"Are you okay, Colby?" Nova asked, breaking me out of my thoughts running incredibly and horrifically wild. Sorrow must've been written all over my face, which I shouldn't be surprised about. I was too out of it to pretend sorrow didn't pang like a locked prisoner inside of me. "Jared might have a point, but nothing is really set in stone yet. Don't think about it too deeply, okay? Because if you do, all you're going to dream about is him coming back to us, and he can't. He can't come back. Don't get into that headspace. It's hard."
"We sleep it off, 'kay? It's late now," Jewee brought up sweetly. He was more emotional than he presented himself as when you looked at him, but he must've thought for some reason, I had it worse than he did. "We'll confront to Jayvee in the upcoming morning."
"Sorry for the ghost story night. I didn't mean to bring you nightmares," Jared managed to joke in an atmosphere that made me want to curl up into a ball. His laugh felt haunting for the context. "Goodnight guys. I'm beat. I gotta go to sleep."
"Alright, good night," I nodded with a smile that sapped my strength, but besides that, I didn't move. I could see the three of them disperse into their rooms as quietly as they could, and when they disappeared I was left alone with all the theories that came along over time.
I convinced myself that this was the end of it. This was the one that was most correct -- the one that made the most sense, but it didn't really matter that much what happened. In every scenario he was dead. He was gone. Finding the right answer didn't raise him up.
There was no possible way that he'd be alive, could there be? Whether it was a mistake or it was on purpose, or it was a man or a woman, or it was out of hurt or out of anger or whatever else there is, he was gone and tears weren't going to be enough to wake him up.
So, I got up without any spark of life left inside my body, chanting to myself only one word:
Jayvee. Jayvee. Jayvee.
I was convinced this was it. This is how it was going to end. This was the answer, even if it grew out of the hypotheticals and the technicalities -- even if it wasn't totally logical -- even if it was just talk and nothing more, until out in the darkness I was alone in, there came a voice that said I wasn't alone as I thought I had been.
"Mister Colby Lexoni? I'm glad you're still awake. I apologize for showing up so late into the night, but I'd really prefer to speed this along. Could I speak with you? Now, please, if it's alright?"
Officer Dela Cruz.
My heart fell to my stomach, and my stomach to my feet.
Jayvee wasn't on my mind anymore.
It was 'why me? Why me? Why would he need to speak with me of all people?'
But I looked at him with the last smile I had in stock, and agreed.
"Yes, of course, Officer."