Madeleine La Croix


Madeleine La Croix could have reached up and put the ball into the goal mouth with very little effort.

Fortunately for me, a would-be ace shooter, she detested netball.

In assembly she bumped up and down, lifting her heels and replacing them without a sound. Don’t ask me why. She could see over all our heads. Poor girl was a prime target for Miss Ling, searching out misdemeanours—coughing un-necessarily, sneezing above a certain number of decibels, that kind of thing.

The day after I came back to school after the flu, I looked among the rows of neat girls, affirming my place among them. Madeleine wasn’t there.

‘Oh, she’s dead,’ my friend said in a matter-of-fact voice.

‘Dead? She was perfectly alright a week ago.’

‘Pneumonia. Didn’t you know? Oh, of course, you’ve been away.’

I thought of Madeleine’s big square face, her dark eyes, her hair, long and brown carefully tied back. The dark mole near her lip.

I didn’t know her very well, but I missed her.

Apparently she had been an only child.