I know stuff about him, more than anyone else at home. Not because we talked, just because things get around in high school. I know about his friends. I know they aren’t the greatest. They skip class, drink, and will never have glaucoma. But the tests the medical examiner did don’t lie. His friend’s weren’t influencing him that day.
I know he was still smart because our teachers always compared us. They said they didn’t, but they did. I could see they were disappointed when they got me after having him.
Lots of girls at school liked him. They used to ask me about him until they realized that wouldn’t help their chances. He had a girlfriend, I think, but it wasn’t serious. I had heard about her before but I never saw her after.
I know these things about him, but they don’t help the situation.
The days after, it was all about speed. They are all obsessed with his speed. Sixty-five miles per hour. On a cliff-lined road. After we had been called about the accident, the police officer began to talk a lot about how fast the car had been going.
“Forty-five will kill ya on that road,” he told me.
“I don’t drive on that road,” I told him.
That officer thought Milo did it. Most people do.
At the funeral, the minister kept things as vague as possible. Wouldn’t want to piss off God in case Milo really did kill himself. That’s unholy.
“Brooklyn, did you speak to your brother the day that he died?”
I frown at Dr. Camry because she has asked that question already. She holds her ground.
No, I did not talk to Milo that day. He didn’t come up to me in the quad between classes and say, “Hey, sis. Been thinking about offing myself. Thought I might try after school.” I don’t know why everyone thinks suicides come with warnings like that.
If I was planning to kill myself, I wouldn’t tell anyone. They might try to stop me. It might be morbid, but that’s not what I would want.
Milo never said, insinuated, or alluded to wanting to killing himself. Not to me, at least. I don’t know what I would have done if he had either. Even if we weren’t friends, he was still my brother. I would have had an obligation to my family to stop him. And, if I am being honest, an obligation to the force that linked us together, even when we tried to ignore it.
I did see him that day. In the quad, between classes. He was sitting on a picnic table talking to his friends. He smiled at me for moment. I remember thinking that we did look quite a bit alike and that maybe all those people who had asked if we were identical weren’t as dumb as we had accused them of being. They were still dumb, just not as dumb.
Maybe I should have seen something in that smile. A secret message only I could understand. Maybe it was a plea for help, and I ignored it. I should have seen overwhelming sadness where I only saw happiness.
But I really don’t think anything was there. It was just a smile. Rare, but simple.
Perhaps it was his form of a goodbye. One last smile for what we used to be and, at the same time, still were, only in a different way. A smile because you have to smile at your twin, even when you have outgrown liking them.
He smiled because he didn’t want me to know what he was planning, if he was planning anything. Because if he did intend to drive off that cliff or if he really was just distracted looking for music, he wouldn’t want me to know beforehand.
The pact was clear. It was cut and dry. There was no personal safety clause. I couldn’t report it just because he intended to hurt himself. And what was I going to do, alone, to stop a car at sixty five miles per hour?
He was protecting me. If he meant to do it, to drive off a cliff intentionally, then he was protecting me. And he was protecting our pact.
I’m learning it’s harder to keep the pact now that I am alone. All these people have questions and I can’t give them answers.
I want to ask them why they care. He’s dead. Does it matter how he got there?
They won’t understand. They never will. Years from now, when I should have healed, and I still haven’t told them anything, they will not understand. But I do. I once agreed to not be friends with my twin anymore. This isn’t crazier than that. And if they are content to keep asking questions, I will be content not to answer them. Milo may be dead, but he is still my brother.
I wonder what he would make of all the couches in this room.
The pact stands. I’ve spent an hour silent in this room, and many rooms before here, still deciding. Now, I have made up my mind. I am leaving Dr. Camry’s office without having uttered a word. My mother can make me come back here every week and I will never say a thing.
We made a promise: one can never rat out the other. We had no idea what we were initiating then, and, yet, somehow we did. Because here I am and it still matters to me. It’s all very simple. We may have been young, we may have grown apart, but a pact is a pact.