Disclaimer: Jeffery Eugenides and Sofia Coppola
In the perspective of Trip Fontaine.
I was passing the Lisbon house on my route home from work, clad in my mechanic attire. I wouldn't have stopped, had I not seen the mob scene on the front lawn, the ambulances, several stretchers, a team of police, the neighbors, and even Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon, standing with not sorrow, but with shock and terror.
Yes, I knew what had happened, even without truly knowing it.
"Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon," I called out softly as I broke across the lawn, after parking my car nearly half a block away. Mr. Lisbon was nearly in tears, but Mrs. Lisbon seemed dazed, her hair frayed and out of place, while her eyes were bloodshot. Although her appearance was anything but welcoming, this was the only time I was truly afraid of that woman. And yet I continued, "I want to go in."
It took a lot of persuasion, but the police agreed to let me follow them into the house, so long as I stayed out of the way. Of course they informed me that if I were to feel sick, they couldn't cater to my needs. I think the only reason they let me is because of Mr. Lisbon, who claimed I was a good friend of the family, Lux's date to the prom. It seemed as though they had put the fact that Lux came home the next morning beside them, if that was the time she actually went home. I wouldn't know; I left her on the field after we had sex.
If only her father knew what truly happened, I bet I wouldn't have gone into that house that cold morning.
The Lisbon house was always intimidating, although the decor was hardly fabulous, or even close. Many women often scoffed and mocked Mrs. Lisbon's lack of creativity, but I found it to be enlightening. This is what the magnificent Lisbon girls lived in, this is what they were like. I never truly glanced at the walls until that day, even though I had been there twice already. To be honest, all I could remember then was a staircase, the one the girls had descended on the night of our prom. Lux was the only thing that caught my eye that night, though.
We made our way through the Lisbon house, and a soft stench of stale air, dead air, was soon inhaled through my nostrils. They were all dead, every one of them. I knew this before I entered the two-story building, though.
At first, a group of three police made for the stairs, and I followed quickly, running a hand through my locks in anticipation of what was to come. We entered the first bedroom on the right, Cecilia's bedroom, and found Therese in, what looked like, a peaceful slumber on the twin-sized bed. I found out later that she was stuffed with dozens of sleeping pills from her mother's medicine cabinet. Therese was never a girl I had thought to be pretty, more like enchanting. It was the golden Lisbon hair that caught any boys' eyes, but at that moment, Therese's hair looked to be gray, or at least anything but golden.
An officer muttered something into his walkie-talkie, and before I could even bring my brain to work again, two of them had dragged me back down the stairs. I reassured them that I was alright, and continued on through the main hallway, and onto the kitchen floor. The stench was foul in the kitchen; something along the lines of burned flesh and tarred food. My assumptions were correct, when we found the oven door wide open, and sixteen-year-old Mary sitting against it with her face glued to the bars. Her skin had melted against the red-hot bars, and she was no longer the beautiful girl we all knew her as. She was mutated.
We then made for the basement, like the boys from down the street told us to do.
The stairs to the basement were cement and cold, even though thick soles. Although I soon found Bonnie's fate to be better than Mary's the air smelled worse in the basement. It was stale, musty, confined, and deathly. I could see the freedom in the sixteen-year-old's blue eyes as she hung from a beam, amongst the balloons and various-colored streamers that hadn't been removed since Cecilia's party.
These girls were all so beautiful, so mysterious. I think that's why we loved them so. It always seemed so impossible for two oddballs to create such marvelous creatures, but someone Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon did. And now they are dead.
It all seemed to quick, too simple. Cecilia jumped onto the fence from her window; Therese overdosed on sleeping pills; Mary burned her face off in the oven; Bonnie hanged herself; and Lux ... where was Lux? We had found three out of four girls, technically five, but mine remained. The one I had gained and lost was still amiss.
And then we paid closer attention to the music coming from the Lisbon's garage.
The strong smell of car fumes and carbon monoxide was strong as the garage doors opened. I knew it was over.
A police officer was first to enter, holding a towel to his mouth as he swiped at the air dramatically. This was hardly effective, since he was to step back anyway and exert a coughing attack. I couldn't wait any longer; I had to see that girl, in all her glory.
With one thing on my mind, the disgusting fumes and cigarette smoke hardly bothered me as I pushed through to the garage, and soon stood beside the passenger seat. There she sat, Lux Lisbon, dead as stone with a lovely smile plastered on her soft lips.
Her golden hair was cascading down two feminine shoulders, skin white as snow. I think her face had turned a gray color from the poison, but I don't remember much else from that morning. She was beautiful, though, even in her condtions. Even as a corpse. I still loved her.
From then on I knew that I would never forget about her, about Lux Lisbon. She was one of those girls that always stayed in your mind, haunted your dreams. Even if I wanted to forget about her, I knew very well that I couldn't.
Just standing in her presence, I was able to recall what it was that might have driven this mass suicide. Perhaps it wasn't Cecilia's doing? What if it was mine? The Lisbon girls seemed just fine after their youngest sister's death, so maybe it was my fault that they had gone under intense lock-down, which resulted in this madness. There were no answers to this puzzle, no missing pieces. It's still the same unanswered journey that no one can piece together. But we don't need to. The girls were there for each other, before, during, and probably even after death. I think the reason they wanted those boys to witness this most was so they could let someone see how they lived, who they were.
They just wanted to be free.