To my partner in crime, Clare.
Clare closes her eyes against the memories these words bring back. Their primary school teachers had dubbed them ‘partners in crime’ because they often managed to smuggle notes through classrooms in a masterly fashion.
I am so sorry for doing this.
I’m sure it will be a big shock to you. I tried my best to hide this terrible darkness inside of me from you, and I hope I succeeded. Maybe you’ll have the brains to figure it all out by the time you graduate.
I just want to tell you that this is not your fault. I simply cannot keep living with what I know. I have no control over what is happening. I hope that you will understand someday.
“Well, that day still hasn’t arrived!” Clare mutters, furiously trying to stem the tears streaming down her cheeks with a sleeve.
I’m sure you remember our pact to go on a great adventure after graduation. I want you to go, even though I won’t be with you. I know you are going to change the world. You just need to see a bit of it before you start.
My mother has the file with all the details you’ll need. You didn’t think I’d send you on a trip without planning it properly, did you? I’ve been saving for years, as you know. I want you to use the money for the trip. I know you might otherwise not go, and it is important that you do. Remember, the best things in life happen when you least expect it! I’m convinced that what I’ve got planned for you will change your life –and eventually the world.
I will be with you every step of your journey.
I will always love you.
Clare’s thoughts are racing. She was planning on languidly going through summer before starting university.
Now she’s going on an adventure. According to Lauren’s plans, the trip of a lifetime.
With a deep breath she joins her parents and Mrs Hatfield in the kitchen. It seems that Mrs Hatfield has brought her parents up to speed. They smile at her encouragingly, her father’s arm wrapped around her mom’s shoulder, like it always is whenever there are difficult decisions to make.
Wordlessly, Mrs Hatfield hands her a thick file.
The sheer weight of its significance almost takes her breath away. Her best friend must have been working on this for months while she contemplated her own demise.
Her heart is racing. What possibilities lie within the file? If she didn’t even suspect that Lauren planned on committing suicide, how could she possibly guess what she had planned for her?
Squaring her shoulders, she opens the neatly covered file.