I habitually went to my cell phone for comfort. I saw I had a text from a local number I didn’t recognize.
The message read:
Hey, it’s Jameson. Have your number from tutoring. What happened in Sarah’s room after I left?\
Well, there went any chance of what happened being a dream. I thought about what I would write for a few minutes.
He threw her down. She hit her head. It didn’t look good. I went away right when it happened.
Jameson wouldn’t answer me the rest of the night. I didn’t sleep a wink. I selfishly lied in bed, thinking about the 45 minutes or so I got to spend on my adventure with Jameson. Almost completely forgetting one of our classmates may have been killed.
I couldn’t avoid the ugliness of the night before once morning came. My mom woke me up by opening my door and squawking, “Have you heard about the murder yet?” Almost as if she was giddy about it. She slammed the door closed again before I could do anything other than simply open my eyes.
School was a flutter from the moment I walked up to the main entrance. LA TV vans lined the parking lot. More kids than ever hung around the front steps, hoping some reporter with loose morals would choose to interview them and they could stretch out their slight connection to Sarah like it was silly putty. I wanted nothing to do with any of it. I needed to talk to Jameson. She never responded to the text I set her after she sent the first. I thought about it a lot over the past eight hours or so.
I caught Jameson in the hallway just a couple minutes before class was going to start sitting on the floor, her back resting on a locker, her eyes glued to an open notebook spread across her thighs.
Jameson looked up at me with tired eyes.
“Sorry I never responded to your text. I didn’t know what to say,” she responded. “He killed her?” She whispered the question and shot a frantic look around the hallway.
Jameson locked eyes with me. I was shocked by her next question.
“Do you want to skip school and snorkel?”
It may seem reckless to throw around the term “unbelievable” at this point, but in the personal narrative in my head. Me answering “yes” to this question set off a string of unbelievable events that seemed even more impossible than being able to kill yourself for a couple of hours and walk around like a ghost.
Jameson and I snorkeled that day. We walked around town looking at all the craziness about Sarah and discussed exactly what happened. Our consensus was that Jeremy may not have intended to kill Sarah, but he did when he struggled with her.
The only problem was we could not agree on what the two of us should do. I wanted to go to the police, explain what we saw, explain what we were doing with the snorkeling, but Jameson was against it. She thought they wouldn’t believe us and all we would do was insert ourselves as the primary suspects. Also thought we would spill the beans on the potentially very, very sketchy snorkeling community which would be exceptionally skilled at taking care of us and not getting caught.
So we didn’t say anything. We just started snorkeling every day to try and escape the guilt of what we were avoiding.
Everyone in the town knew Jeremy was the likely culprit of Sarah’s demise. The cops eventually found some really flimsy evidence which boiled down to some misdemeanor offenses on his record and the fact Sarah’s parents said they were going to file statutory rape against him. Apparently it was enough to get a trial against him.
This made us feel a little better and sadly for myself, I had never felt better at any point in my life, because Jameson and I were together. It all happened so fast and in the dreamlike blur of snorkeling. I almost still don’t believe it happened.
James broke it off with David after that day we skipped school. We were snorkeling almost every night after that first day where we skipped school. I was barely sleeping, spent almost every dollar I had made the past few summers as a camp counselor and reffing kids basketball games on the weekends on the serum which transported Jameson and I to a world where we eventually fell in love.
It officially happened a few nights into the endless parade of snorkels. We knew there was a bus for the science club going to some kind of glorified ice cream social or something on the beach in Santa Barbara. We slipped onto the bus and secretly spent the night walking along the beach until I HAD to go for a kiss. It worked. She connected. We made out on the beach all night like some kind of Beach Boys song.
The best part is neither of us (her most importantly) got weird about it. We just let it happen and within a few days, the impossible seemed normal to me.
Then the guilt crept back in.