except for the empty seat next to her
|Chrissy doodled with grace. Putting her pen on a piece of paper, scribbling something incomprehensible, and drawing little figures was a way of setting her mind at ease, helping her from spacing out. Save her from boredom.
It was a sunny day, dry without much wind. The breeze and bright light from the open window felt cozy and safe. She was among her clan that Monday morning in class, as usual. Except for her best mate Nathalie. The seat next to her stayed empty this morning.
The teacher stood in front of the board with his chalk, talking, gesturing, and trying to capture his pupils' attention, without much luck. Everybody was busy either wandering off in silence or gossiping about the latest rumor.
“What about it?”
“Did she do it or not?”
“Didn’t you hear?”
“Nathalie appeared on a nude picture!”
“What?! Totally naked?”
“No, just her breasts.”
“Did you see it?”
“Yes, I did.”
“OMG, which will stay online forever!”
“Who made the photo?”
“Tom, he was her boyfriend for three months, remember?”
“He is an asshole; I never liked him!”
“She is only to blame herself.”
“I wouldn’t do such a thing!”
The door of the classroom slammed open, and a senior girl stumbled in, teary-eyed, with dark circles around the eyes.
She focused on the teacher, who abruptly stopped his lesson.
Everybody was alarmed.
“What’s the matter, Sylvia? We have class.”
“Oh, sir, it’s Nathalie; I just heard.“ Sylvia gasped for air.
“What about Nathalie? Is she sick? I missed her today.” He squinted.
“She, oh, it’s too awful, she killed herself. She is dead. “
Chrissy could almost hear a pin drop on the floor.
That’s when she passed out.