In elementary school, I didn’t think I would ever end up being friends with Lacey. Not only was she was the bully of our elementary school, but she was also a huge ass kisser. She was able to bully anyone and everyone and got away with it because all the teachers loved her. They just couldn’t believe the stories we all talked about on a regular basis. I was mostly able to avoid her criticism throughout elementary school because she had a huge crush on my older brother, Damien. I think she lived along the lines that if she was nice to me, she would eventually have a chance with him. She was delusional.
Then by the time we hit seventh grade, something happened. Something changed that summer before school started and Lacey came back different. She was quiet, she didn’t lead the pack of girls down the halls of the school like she used to, she walked with her head down and tried to sit alone at lunch. Not that any of her friends would let her sit alone whether she wanted to or not. From what I could tell, they all seemed to realize something was happening or something had happened, but no one was able to pull it out of her. As she started to draw more and more into herself, I started feeling bad for her regardless of how she had treated me in the past. When I finally got up the courage to ask her if she needed any help, for a minute all she did was stare at me.
“Lacey! Are you okay? Should I get the nurse?” My heart started to beat a little fast in fear something terrible was happening at that very second.
“No. My brother. He is gone. Missing. I don’t know where he is.” Her eyes went back to the table and her shoulders slumped again.
Lacey had a brother? Why hadn’t I known? And had his disappearance been on the news? I hardly watched TV during the summer, but surely I would have heard about a missing child. I reluctantly left Lacey to herself as her friends started to surround her while shooting me dirty looks like how dare I ask their friend if she needed help? Much less talk to her at all.
After I got home from school, I scoured the internet for signs of Lacey’s brother. I searched for articles mentioning missing children, missing teenagers, missing young adults, but there was nothing. I even broached the topic with my parents, but they didn’t remember anything about anyone going missing from the summer either. The more I dug, researched and asked around about Lacey’s missing brother, the more I suspected she wasn’t being completely honest. But her daily actions did tell me something major had happened in her life over the summer. When I finally found out what the truth was (and her brother was definitely not missing), I no longer wanted anything to do with Lacey. I didn’t know someone could do something so terribly vile and live with herself after. Her poor dog.