ASW November 24th, 2006
No one talked to Haley much. Some people tried, but her noncommittal answers and the look she always had, like she was being kept from something more important, didn’t encourage repeat encounters. Some people thought she was aloof, a couple of people posited that she was shy, but the general consensus really boiled down to “weird”.
I talked to her a few times. She was a pretty girl, and we found we liked some of the same bands. She was nice enough, but she just seemed… like she didn’t belong. I got the feeling that there had been some major blunder in the universe, and this girl was really supposed to be somewhere else.
So I can’t say I was terribly surprised by Nicole’s whispers Tuesday morning. A few co-workers were gathered in Nicole’s cubicle, and the whispers were very sharp. Sharp whispers always meant gossip. I poked my head around the wall.
“Did you hear?” Nicole asked me immediately, leaning forward in her chair.
“Someone said that Haley girl killed herself.”
I played the skeptic, as usual. “No way. Who told you that?”
“Steve from accounting heard it from Pam in IT. I guess she lives on the same street as Haley. Well… lived.”
“I’m going to check out her desk!” Nicole sprang up and made a beeline for Haley’s cubicle.
“Nicole! You can’t do that!”
“She won’t care. She’s dead.”
“I know! And yet you all still love me.”
(This was met with the usual groans and “yeah, whatever”s.)
I watched Nicole as she peered at the pictures Haley had tacked up.
“This chick was into some weird shit. I can’t even tell what this is a picture of.”
I didn’t bother telling her it was a postcard of Munch’s famous painting The Scream. It wouldn’t have matter anyway. She would have just said something like, “That’s famous? Whatever.”
Nicole did little to hide the sounds of rummaging as she went through Haley’s desk. There were a few moments of silence, followed by Nicole’s banshee call.
“Oh my gahd, listen to this, you guys! I found her diary. Listen to this. ‘I like to get all tied up – “
“Woo!” someone called from one of the back cubes.
“Haha! No, wait. ‘I like to get all tied up and rescue myself. Then it’s off to the park, and a scoop of ice cream… for my hero.’ Oh my gahd, what a freak.”
The boss came to collect Haley’s things a little before lunchtime. Man, did it get quiet. Well, aside from the sound of Nicole yapping about the whole thing over the phone to her boyfriend.
I spent the rest of the day wondering if I had a hero.