The Virgin Suicides (1999) - full transcript

A man about forty years of age tells the story from when he was a teenager in upscale suburban Detroit of his and three of his friends' fascination with the mysterious and doomed Lisbon sisters. In 1974, the sisters were seventeen year old Therese, sixteen year old Mary, fifteen year old Bonnie, fourteen year old Lux, and thirteen year old Cecilia. Their fascination still remains as they try to piece together the entire story. The sisters were mysteries if only because of having a strict and overprotective upbringing by their father, who taught math at the girls' private co-ed school, and overly devout Catholic mother, who largely dictated the household rules. The story focuses primarily on two incidents and the resulting situations on the girls' lives. The first was an action by Cecilia to deal with her emotions over her life. And the second was the relationship between Lux - the sister who pushed the boundaries of the household rules most overtly in doing what most teenagers want to do - and Trip Fontaine, he who could have any girl he wanted but wanting solely Lux.

Cecilia was the first to go.

What are you doing here? You're not
old enough to know how bad life gets.

Obviously, doctor,
you've never been a 13-year-old girl.

Everyone dates
the demise of our neighborhood

from the suicides of the Lisbon girls.

People saw their clairvoyants
in the wiped out elms, the harsh sunlight,

and the continuing decline
of our auto industry.

Even then
we tried putting the pieces together.

We still can't.

Whenever we meet
at business lunches or cocktail parties

we go over the evidence one more time.



All to understand those five girls,

who, after all these years,
we can't get out of our minds.

Cecilia, the youngest, was 1 2.

And Lux was 1 4.

Bonnie was 1 5.

Mary was 16.

And Therese was 1 7.

No one understood how Mr Lisbon,
our Math teacher,

had produced such beautiful creatures.

Paul Baldino said he found Cecilia
on her first attempt.

l was the one who found her.

l was in the sewers. Through those tunnels
you can get into anyone's house.

We believed him because
Paul's dad was Sammy the Shark Baldino

and his escape tunnel
led through the sewers.



So l wanted to see one
of those lesbian girls taking a shower.

Yeah, right.

And l walk in...
And l see blood everywhere!

So l turned around
and went right back out the tunnel.

l had to tell you guys that story.
See you guys later.

l heard it was an accident.

lt was no accident.
The parents are to blame.

l heard they found the razor in the toilet.

Everyone had opinions
why Cecilia tried to kill herself.

That girl didn't want to die,
she just wanted out of that house.

She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The most popular theory
held Dominic Palazzolo to blame.

Dominic was an immigrant
who was staying with relatives

until his family got settled in New Mexico.

He was the first boy here
to wear sunglasses.

Within a week of arriving he'd fallen in love.

The object of his desire wasn't Cecilia,
but Diana Porter.

l love her!

When Diana Porter left on vacation,
Dominic denounced God.

And to prove his love, he jumped
off the roof of his relatives' house.

l'm going to show you some images.

And... er, you tell me

what they remind you of.

OK?

A banana.

A swamp.

An Afro.

l don't think that Cecilia
truly meant to end her life.

Her act was a cry for help.

l know you're very strict,

but l think that Cecilia would benefit

by having a social outlet
outside of the codification of school.

And interact with males her own age.

Peter helped Mr Lisbon install a model
of the solar system in his classroom.

ln return, Mr Lisbon invited him for dinner.

Bless us, O Lord, in these, Thy gifts

which we receive
from Thy bounty through Christ. Amen.

Amen.

- Lux, please put your shirt on this instant.
- Sorry.

- Thank you, dear.
- Can you pass the salt, please?

- Ham?
- Thank you.

- Sweetheart, would you like some peas?
- l hate peas.

lt's a nice-looking ham, dear.

- Well, thank you, honey.
- This is good, mum.

So, Peter, are you an aviation enthusiast?

Well, l don't know
if l'd call myself an enthusiast.

l like planes.

Peter, are you on the football squad?

No. l play, but l'm not on the team.

- Oh, l see.
- Not a team player.

Do you like to wrestle?

Are you OK?

A Brazilian frog entered
the endangered species list today.

- That's the third animal this year.
- Oh, dear. Darling, l've never heard of it.

- Excuse me. May l use the restroom?
- Of course.

The one down here isn't working.
Go upstairs through Cecilia's room.

OK, thanks.

Hold on.

l thought you'd died in there.

Are you done hogging the bathroom?
l need something.

Do you mind?

- Thank you.
- Are you forgetting something?

- Peter, here's an air foil...
- Thank you.

lt's a demonstration
of Bernoulli's Principle.

Lift...

From then on
the Lisbon house began to change.

Almost every day, and even when
she wasn't keeping an eye on Cecilia,

Lux would suntan on her towel,
wearing a swimsuit

that caused the knife-sharpener to give her
a 1 5-minute demonstration for free.

Following the doctor's orders,
two weeks after Cecilia returned home

Mr Lisbon persuaded his wife to let the girls
throw the only party of their short lives.

There. ls that OK?

l've got to get dressed.

- Welcome.
- Good evening, Mrs Lisbon.

Come on in.

The party's in the basement.

Just go to the left
and then down the stairs.

Hi, l'm Bonnie.

- Hi... Tim.
- Nice to meet you.

- Would you like some punch?
- Yeah.

Thanks.

- Hi.
- Thanks.

- Hi.
- Thank you.

- Hey.
- Hi.

- Do you want to sit down?
- Yeah.

- How did your SATs go?
- OK.

Good.

Do you know
where you're applying yet?

No, but my parents
are pushing towards Yale.

- Because that's where my dad went.
- That's nice.

You have to imagine the clouds opening up

and out of the sun
would come the Hun in his Messerschmitt.

And boys, just older than you,
would be in this, the P51 B Mustang.

''B'' for bull's-eye.

- You've heard of Yale?
- Oh, yeah.

- This punch is fantastic.
- More?

What's in it?

Juices, some cherry... pineapple.

You know, l... l love pineapple.

Really?

This baby would come in.
This won the war for the United Kingdom.

- Excuse me.
- Sure.

And it's this kind of equipment
that makes a model work.

Here's Joe.

- Hi, Joe.
- Hi.

- lf he needs anything, call me.
- l'm sure he'll be fine.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Joe. Good to see you. How are you?

- Glad you came tonight.
- How's it going?

You're just in time.

Hi.

Look. His ears go
if you scratch his chin.

Joe, sing your song.

Oh, the monkeys have no tails
in Zamboanga

Oh, the monkeys have no tails
They were bitten off by whales

Oh, the monkeys have no tails
in Zamboanga

- Good song.
- Good job, Joe.

Where'd you learn that song?

Can l be excused?

lf you want to, my dear,
but this is your party.

All right. lf you want to go upstairs, do.
We'll just...

We'll just have to have fun without you.

Look. He always chooses heads.

- Joe, what's it going to be?
- Heads.

Joe, try tails.

Heads it is!

- Let's go.
- Heads.

Heads! One more time.

- ln the air, Joe.
- Heads.

Heads it is!

- One more time. Call in the air, Joe.
- Heads.

Heads. Not bad.

- How are you doing?
- Good.

- He picked it up really well.
- This is my favorite song.

You know, you're... very beautiful.
Like a saint.

l could paint you some time.

Thanks.

Did they sing it?

Wow, that's good!

God!

Oh, Lord!

Cecilia!

Oh, my...! No! No, no, no!

Don't look. Turn around.

Turn around! Darlings, turn... Oh, my God!

Oh, Jesus!

Please, God.

We're here now.

No funerals today.

He said she was only 1 2.

Hi, Mary. Are your parents home?

Hi, Father. Come in.

Oh. Hello, Father.

Please, sit down.

Thanks.

Come on, that was inside!

Uh, no. No, thanks.

How about we get the missus down here?
Have a little chat?

l'm afraid she's under the weather.

She's not...

seeing anybody.

Well, she'll see her priest.

This kid's a sucker
for the inside ones every time.

Every time.

Excuse me.

Father...

Double play, Father.

Double play.

Mrs Lisbon?

- May l come in?
- OK.

Hello, girls. l thought we could talk.

Do you feel like talking?

Well... if you ever want to,

you know where to find me.

Mrs Lisbon? lt's Father Moody.

Mrs Lisbon. Hello.

l wanted you to know
that l listed Cecilia's death as an accident.

An accident waiting to happen.

- They couldn't get a policy to cover it.
- lt's incredibly dangerous.

Let's give it a try.

Ready? One, two, three.

lt's so sad, l can't believe it happened.

Have you got that chain in your truck?

Hit it!

Our collection of souvenirs
of the Lisbon girls -

which still exists -
started with Cecilia's diary.

Parkie had gotten it from the plumber's
assistant, who'd found it in the bathroom.

Tim Weiner, the Brain, decoded it.

Emotional instability.

Look at the ''ls'', the dots on them.
They're everywhere.

Basically, what we have here is a dreamer.

Someone completely
out of touch with reality.

When she jumped,
she probably thought she would fly.

Monday, February 1 2th.
Today we had frozen pizza.

Thursday. Mum made cream corn
for dinner. lt's the worst. lt looks like...

Mary chipped a tooth acting like an idiot.

She made a scene
and had to get her tooth capped.

- lt looks normal.
- Give me that.

l said she had a capped tooth.

Elm trees! How many pages
can you write about dying trees?

Here's something about Dominic.

Palazzolo jumped off the roof today
over that rich bitch, Porter.

How stupid can you be?

Today we went out on the boat.
lt was cold. We saw a couple of whales.

Lux stroked the whale.
l didn't think they'd stink so much.

lt's the kelp in their bellies rotting.

l hope we can go again some time.

Let's read that.

Lux lusted over Kevin... ls it ''Heinz''?
The garbage man.

Lux lusted over Kevin Haines,
the garbage man.

She'd wake up at 5am
and hang out on the front steps.

Like it wasn't completely obvious!

She wrote his name
on all her underwear.

Mum found them
and bleached out all the Kevins.

Lux is crying on her bed all day.

''The trees, like lungs filling with air

''My sister, the mean one, pulling my hair''

And so we started to learn about their lives.

Coming to hold the memories
of times we hadn't experienced.

We felt the imprisonment of being a girl.

How it made your mind
active and dreamy.

And how you learnt
what colors went together.

We knew that the girls
were really women in disguise.

They understood love and even death.

Our job was to create the noise
that fascinated them.

They knew everything about us,
but we couldn't fathom them at all.

Hi. Mrs Lisbon, l'm Lydia Perl.
l'm putting together...

- Oh!
- Hi, l'm Bonnie. This is Mary.

Hello, girls. l'm here to ask you
a couple of questions...

about Cecilia.

- Yeah?
- Great. Um...

Maybe you could tell me
a little bit about her?

Did she have any special interests
or hobbies?

She liked writing her journal a lot.

That is great.

OK. Did she...

Did she ever talk about ending her life?

What's going on here?

You must be Mrs Lisbon.

l'm Lydia Perl.
l'm doing a piece for Channel Two.

You have to leave now, Miss Perl.

The suicide of a teenager last summer
has increased the awareness of a crisis.

l'm at the home where Cecilia Lisbon...

Why don't they let her rest in peace?

..tragically put an end to her life.

Psychologists agree
that adolescence today

is more fraught by pressures
and complexities than in years past.

Doctors say that frustration
can lead to acts of violence

whose reality the adolescent
cannot separate from its intended drama.

l baked a pie full of rat poison.

l thought l could eat it
without it being suspicious.

My nana, who was 86...

She really likes sweets.

She had three pieces.

l'm sorriest for the mother.

You'd always wonder
what you could have done.

- l gotta go. See you later.
- All right. Bye-bye.

Bye-bye.

Don't worry.

They took the fence out.

God, you snore loud.

Those girls have a bright future ahead.

The other one
was just going to end up a cook.

We didn't see the girls together
as a group until September 7th.

Mary, Lux, Bonnie and Therese,

came to school
as though nothing had happened.

We felt if we looked hard, we'd understand
their feelings and who they were.

All right. These are Venn diagrams,
as you remember.

lf we have ''A'' and ''B'' intersecting.
And ''A'' and ''B''.

lf ''A'' intersects ''B'', we have this area.

And if ''A'' is the union with ''B'', we have
all of the circle plus the intersection.

These are the laws
of intersection and union. OK?

How's it going?

Not bad.

OK. ''Do a character sketch on the following
characters from Portrait Of A Lady...''

The first one is... Ralph.

Um... He was nice.

lt was really sad when he died.

Oh, my gosh. l can't believe l just said that.

l am so sorry.

Reading about the alarming suicide rate,

l talked to Mr Woodhouse
and some of the teachers here

and realized that nothing about this serious
matter has been discussed at this school.

And quickly thereafter
green pamphlets were distributed.

We felt green was cheerful,
but not too cheerful.

Certainly better than red.

The pamphlets said there were 80 suicides
a day in America - 30,000 a year.

Cheese!

lt alerted us to danger signals
we couldn't help but look for.

Were the Lisbon girls' pupils dilated?

Had they lost interest in school activities
and sports and hobbies?

Had they withdrawn from their peers?

Hi, l'm Chase.

l know who you are.

l've only been going to this school
my whole life.

You don't have to talk to me.

So, we have two different types
of economics.

Of these different types
the first one is called macroeconomics.

Look.

She's laughing.

He made her laugh. You never heard
him say anything remotely intelligent!

The boys who talked with Lux were always
stupid and terrible sources of information.

..squeezebox. She's all right.

Let me tell you,
she's the hottest girl in school.

You want to know what happened?
Smell my fingers, man.

No, she didn't talk about Cecilia.

We weren't exactly talking,
if you know what l mean.

The only reliable boy who got to know Lux
was Trip Fontaine.

Who had recently lost his baby fat
to the delight of girls and mothers alike.

l'm late again.

Oh, come on!

Thank you.

All the girls at our school
are in love with Trip.

All the girls, except Lux.

Trip said his passion for Lux began
when he went into the wrong History class.

As was his custom,
he went out to smoke the marijuana

he took as regularly
as a diabetic kid takes lnsulin.

On this particular day, he avoided
Mr Woodhouse by ducking into a class.

She was the still point of the turning world.

l never got over that girl. Never.

l've loved a lot of ladies, but not like that...
That was real.

l'll never forget the first time l saw her.

l didn't know what had hit me.
l didn't know what to do.

Because it was so easy with all
the other girls, but she wouldn't look at me.

l... l was never the kind to pursue.
lf you know what l mean.

That girl drove me crazy, man.

Mmm, yummy.

Lux?

Hey.

Look at it. lt's just meat on bread rolls.

Thanks, Mum.

Trip's dad was little help.

Well, first off, don't call her on the phone.

lt's all... lt's all subtlety.

lt's all nuance.

Yeah. You just need to talk to her at school.

About anything. About the weather,
or... school assignments.

Anything for the chance to communicate
with the language of eye contact.

And project confidence.

And keep the hair out of your eyes.

Feel the vibe.

- Just do your stuff.
- Yeah.

The word ''hurricane'' was the name given
to Nature's strongest storm.

A hurricane occurs when high-pressure

and low-pressure masses of air
come into contact with one another.

There is often a significant difference
in temperature between the two masses.

One mass is warm, while the other is cold.

The warmer air rises
and the cooler air falls.

Likewise, the low-pressure area slides
down the sides of the high-pressure area.

They swirl around one another,

creating the beginnings of the storm.

With this footage, taken from US Navy
weather patrol aircraft,

we can observe the high and low-pressure
masses coming in contact with each other.

The result is a surging storm
of tremendous strength

that strikes with forceful determination.

Even though the hurricane
is the most powerful storm known to us

it strikes large land areas
such as continents or large islands.

and slowly dies.

Mr Montgomery, his ass is grass.

l want to ask you out.

Fat chance.

First, l'll go over to your house
and watch the tube.

And then l'm gonna ask you out.

You're the stone fox.

The hurricane. One of the most awesome
and spectacular stories Nature has to offer.

- What channel is this?
- Five.

Oh. Let's see...

''Animals ln The Wild.
Journey through the African Kalahari

''and see animals in their natural habitat.''

l think that sounds nice, don't you?

This huge rainforest eventually
gives way to grasslands

that stretch to the horizon
in all directions - this is the Kalahari.

- Do you want some more pop?
- Yeah, sure. Thank you.

Thanks.

The wildlife spectacle
played out on these grasslands,

and in recesses of the rainforest,
is unparalleled anywhere on Earth.

Lux, put your feet down, honey.

The Kalahari and its vast open sky provide
a theatre for the life and death drama

played out by the herds

and the great
hunting cats that play on them.

Oh, my!

lt's getting so late. Honey...?

- l said it's getting late.
- Oh. Well, let's hit the TV button.

Right. Er...

- OK.
- Thank you.

- lt was nice to meet you Mrs Lisbon.
- Yes.

- Good night.
- See you.

Bye.

Goodbye.

l've got to get back.

This is fourth period,
l don't have you until fifth, do l?

l know. l'm not here for math today, sir.

l'm here to tell you that my intentions
for your daughter are entirely honorable.

- What might those intentions be?
- To ask Lux to the Homecoming Dance.

Trip, why don't you sit down for a minute?

You see, my wife and l have certain rules.

They were the rules for the older girls.
l can't change them for the younger ones.

Even if l wanted to,
the wife wouldn't let me.

So, if you want to come over and watch
television again, that would be fine.

But you cannot take Lux out.
Especially not in a car.

So l'm sorry, son, that's just our policy.

OK, sir. What if a bunch of us guys
took all your daughters out in a group

and had them back by the time you said?

- Are you on the football squad, son?
- Yes, sir.

- What position?
- Defence quarterback.

Ah, good.

l was a... l was a safety in my day.

Well, that's a crucial position, sir.

- Nothing between you and the goal line.
- Exactly!

- Oh, well.
- So the thing is, sir.

We've got the big game
and then afterwards we've got the dance.

All the other guys are taking dates.

You're good-looking.
Lots of girls would go with you.

l'm not interested in lots of girls, sir.

l'll take it up with the wife, Trip.
Do what l can.

Thank you, sir.

- lt's a craft.
- Oh.

Trip Fontaine and some of the boys
in the football squad

have asked to take the girls
to the Homecoming Dance.

You know how l feel
about that sort of thing.

- l'm a chaperone at the dance.
- Oh, please!

Your father and l will discuss it later.

Mr Fontaine, may l speak with you, please?

My wife and l have come to a decision
about your request...

Yes!

l'm taking Lux Lisbon to Homecoming.

l need three guys to take the other girls.

- l'll give you three joints, Trip.
- Pick me. We can take my dad's Caddy.

You gotta pick me, Tripster.

Trip, man. You owe me.

l saved your ass with Woodhouse that time.

- Thanks, Dad.
- Who are the other boys?

Let's see. Parker Denton, Jake Conley -
he's a good student, dear -

and Kevin Head.

- Who's taking who?
- They're going to raffle us off.

lt didn't make any difference
which dress the girls chose.

Mrs Lisbon added an inch to the bust line
and two to the waist and hems.

The dresses became four identical sacks.

- Everybody decent?
- Yeah.

OK. Come on.

Oh, l'm sorry. Here we go.

Come on. Together.

And cheddar cheese.

Oh, it's so exciting!

- Are we ready?
- Ready, man.

Let's do it.

ln the end Parkie won
because of the Cadillac,

Kevin Head,
because he had the killer weed,

and Joe Hill Conley
because he won all the school prizes -

which Trip thought
would impress Mr and Mrs Lisbon.

- Hello, boys.
- Hello, Mrs Lisbon.

- Come in.
- Thank you.

- Who's driving?
- l am.

- How long have you had your license?
- Two months. l was a learner for a year.

The girls almost never go out in cars.

- There's so many accidents. Be careful.
- Oh, yes, ma'am.

OK. The third degree's over.

Girls!

- l'd better go. See you at the dance.
- See you there, Mr Lisbon.

Bye, dear.

Girls. Come on down.

The boys are here.

We got white ones.
We didn't know what you were wearing

and the flower guy said
that white would go with anything.

l'm glad you got white.

Why don't you pin them on?

- There we go.
- All right, let's do it.

Great.

Bye, Mum.

Oh, gosh, look! The car's there again!

l'm sure Mr Lea's having an affair with
her. He followed her into the laundry room.

- He's so sad with that red nose.
- Probably an alcoholic.

- The Hesses are Nazis.
- They're Nazi sympathizers.

They had a fit when Miss Schwartz
tried to join the tennis club.

Nice aluminum siding!
Do they really think that looks OK?

- Mr Peters ordered that from TV.
- lt's a Baldinos barbecue tree stump.

l have never seen a barbecue on that thing!

Actually, it's an escape tunnel
for the Shark.

lt leads to the river and his speedboat.

Paul often goes there. He can get into
anyone's basement through the sewers.

- No way!
- Yeah.

- Dad'll smell it on you.
- No, l got mints.

- He'll smell it on your clothes.
- l'll say they were smoking in the toilets.

- Don't let it die a virgin.
- That's gross.

Yeah, grow up, Conley.

- Do you want to dance?
- Sure.

Dance?

We've been having such lovely weather,
don't you think?

Yeah, we have... Nice.

Good evening.
Could l have your attention for a moment?

l hope you're having a good time.
lt sure looks like it.

The dance committee
really outdid themselves this time.

l'd like to open the voting
for Homecoming King and Queen.

The ballot box is over there,
so please vote.

And we'll make the announcement
in a little while. Thank you.

- Did anybody see you come in?
- No.

- What about you?
- No.

You'll love it.

Peach schnapps.

Babes love it.

That stuff tastes really good.

l don't want any, thanks.

Go on, just a taste. A tiny taste.

Don't be such a goody-goody.

Don't swallow it.

Can l have everyone's attention?

l'd like you to put your hands together
for this year's Kind and Queen...

Trip Fontaine and Lux Lisbon.

l'm having the best time!

Let's go for a walk.

l'd better not.
l've got to go back in a minute.

We can keep an eye on the car.
They won't leave without us.

My dad...

Tell him you're putting the crown
in your locker.

- See that divot there?
- Uh-huh?

That's where l reamed this guy today.

- A cross body-block.
- Really?

- Maybe they went home with your dad?
- l doubt it.

- We're cooked.
- Luxy is, we're not.

Does anyone have any mints?

- Sorry.
- No.

Bye, Parkie.

- We'll walk you to the door.
- No, don't.

- Why not?
- Just don't.

OK.

Will you call me?

Absolutely!

Bye.

- Bye.
- Bye.

- Are you OK?
- Where have you been?

Look at the state of you!
Get in the house!

l walked home alone that night. l didn't care
how she got home. lt was weird.

l mean, l liked her. l liked her a lot.
But out there on the field...

lt was just different then.

That was the last time l saw her.

You know, most people
will never taste that kind of love.

But at least l tasted it once, right?

lt's time for your six o'clock group meeting.

Given Lux's failure to make curfew,
everyone expected a crackdown.

But few anticipated it would be so drastic.

The girls were taken out of school
and Mrs Lisbon shut the house

in maximum-security isolation.

She did more than taking the girls
out of school.

That Sunday,
after a spirited church sermon.

Mrs Lisbon made Lux destroy her records.

Now!

But, Mum...

This is final, Luxy.

- That's not fair.
- l said now.

Now, Luxy!

Come on.

Kiss. Please don't make me do this.

Burn it.

Oh, Mum, Aerosmith! Come on,
please don't make me burn this.

Please...

What's that smell?

All right, that'll do for now.
Give me these... Give me these.

l'll put them in the trash.

This was when we began seeing Lux
making love on the roof with random men.

- ls she naked?
- You can't tell.

Get it focused.

- Will you stop? Wait your turn.
- What are they doing?

They're rolling around up there.

Hold on. She's on him.
He's rubbing his hands through her hair.

- Let me look.
- No. No, it's my telescope, Chase.

- Yes and what else?
- That man's in a burger chalet uniform.

Let me see.

Yeah. You never think
that those guys ever get lucky.

Then she asks me
if what we'd just done was dirty.

l knew what to say. l said no.

Then she goes,
''You like me, don't you?''

l didn't say anything.
lt's best to keep chicks guessing.

Chase, honey.
Come practice your violin before dinner.

You're not going to believe it.
Lux is on the roof again tonight!

- Her hands are moving down.
- l gotta see this.

- This is beautiful.
- Now she's on top of him.

- What's she doing, man?
- Wait.

Now they're done. He's getting up.

- That's it?
- That was quick.

...plus one. And if the exponential is time,
then you'd have as you approach...

Oh, good morning. Have we
photosynthesized our breakfast today?

- Hello, Ronald.
- Hi, Harry.

Your daughters haven't been at school
for over two weeks.

Have you checked out back?

They've found a new Math teacher.

- He'll have to get another job.
- l know.

How long can those girls
be cooped up like that?

Go away. This is our tree.

Girls, girls...
lt's a little late. This tree is dead.

- Why don't you leave it up to Nature?
- lf we did, there'd be no trees left.

That's what it's going to be like anyway.

lf they didn't bring the fungus from Europe,
this wouldn't have happened.

OK. Let's go.

No?

That's it. l have an order
to cut down your elm tree,

but your kids won't let us.

- How do you know it's sick.
- Believe me, it's dead for Christsake.

- Arbotect is a less aggressive therapy.
- lt doesn't work.

- l leave that tree there, they'll all go.
- They could anyway.

Look, l don't want to call the police.

Our daughters are standing on our lawn.
Since when is that a crime?

Clive. See those girls in their nighties?
That's the shot that l want.

Honey, you'll have to move forward.
l want those girls in their nighties.

- Let's back up.
- Give me some more slack.

- There you go. ls that good?
- Great.

Four sisters of Cecilia Lisbon,

the teenager whose suicide last summer
focused awareness on a national problem,

put their own lives in jeopardy by trying to
protect the elm that Cecilia so dearly loved.

The circles under your eyes come out
when it's overcast, so you need to wear...

For the next few weeks
we hardly saw the girls at all.

Joe didn't call Therese as he had promised.

And Lux never spoke to Trip again.

You're the stone fox.

The girls' only contact with the world
was through the catalogues they ordered.

lt filled their mailbox
with pictures of high-end fashions

and brochures for exotic vacations.

Unable to go anywhere, they travelled
in their imaginations to Siamese temples,

or past an old man with a leaf broom
tidying a moss-carpeted speck of Japan.

We ordered the same catalogues and hiked
through dusty passes with the girls.

Stopping every now and then
to help them with their backpacks.

Placing our hands on their warm,
moist shoulders,

and gazing off at the fire sunsets.

We drank tea with them in a water pavilion.

We did whatever we wanted.

Cecilia hadn't died.
She was a bride in Calcutta.

The only way we felt close to the girls
was through these impossible excursions

which have scared us forever,

making us happier with dreams than wives.

Collecting everything we could of theirs,
the Lisbon girls wouldn't leave our minds,

but they were slipping away.

The colors of their eyes faded along with
the exact location of their dimples.

From five they had become four,
and they were all living in the dead...

becoming shadows.

We were losing them
when the girls contacted us.

One long. Two short.

One long. Have you got that?

- That's it.
- OK.

Help.

Send.

Bo... Bo.

- Bobo?
- Bobo. That's it... Bobo.

''Help. Send Bobo.''
l thought you knew Morse code!

There's something here for you.

l got one, too.

We racked our brains
for a way of contacting them.

Tom suggested we fly a kite
with a message alongside the house.

But that had logistical problems.

ln the end, the answer was simple -
we called them on the telephone.

727 8221 .

Get ready.

- Hello?
- Go!

Call us. 727 0487.

Shit. lt's them.

- l'm going home. See you tomorrow.
- See you later.

- We're suffocating.
- Lux, you're safe here.

l can't breathe.

No answer.

- What time is it?
- Any time now.

- Guys, there it is.
- What?

Yeah, it's them.

Let's go.

l've got the keys to my mum's car.

Maybe we should knock.

We're here.

lt's about time.
We've been waiting for you guys.

We've got a car.
We'll take you anywhere you want to go.

lt's a Cougar. lt's got a big trunk.

- Can l sit up front?
- Sure.

Which one of you
is going to sit next to me?

- Where are your parents?
- Asleep.

- What about your sisters?
- They're coming.

Come on. lt's late.

Wait five minutes. We have to wait
until my parents are asleep.

They take forever.
My mum's an insomniac.

We'd better take our car,
there's more room.

- Think you can handle a station wagon?
- Sure. lt's not a stick, is it?

- No.
- Yeah, no problem.

- Will you let me steer?
- Sure.

We should go. l just heard something.
lt could be your mum.

Come on in.

l'll go wait in the car.
You guys wait here for my sisters.

These girls make me crazy.
lf l just felt one of them once!

What?

We would never be sure about
the sequence of events.

We argue about it still.

Most likely, Bonnie had died
while we were waiting in the living room

dreaming of highways.

Mary put her head in the oven
shortly thereafter.

Therese, stuffed with sleeping pills,
was gone by the time we got there.

Lux was the last to go.

lt's four o'clock on Sunday afternoon.
Do you know where your children are?

Bonnie, the younger Lisbon sister...

Therese Lisbon,
a horse-lover, has written to...

Mary wanted to be a cheerleader,
but her mother wouldn't let her.

..suicide in their house...

- l wasn't able to express the anger l felt.
- ..Lydia Perl, Channel Eight News.

None of my daughters lacked for any love.

There was plenty of love in our house.

l never understood why.

After the suicides, Mr and Mrs Lisbon
gave up any attempt to lead a normal life.

They had Mr Hadley pack up the house,

and sell the furniture in a garage sale.

Mr Lisbon sold the house
to a young couple from Boston.

We, of course, took the family photos
that were put out with the trash.

ln the end, we had pieces of the puzzle,
but gaps still remained.

Oddly-shaped emptiness,
mapped by what surrounded them,

like countries we couldn't name.

What lingered after them was not life,

but the most trivial list of mundane facts -

a clock ticking on the wall,

a room dim at noon,

the outrageousness of a human being
thinking only of herself.

We began the impossible process
of trying to forget them.

Our parents were able to do this,

returning to their tennis foursomes and
cocktails as though they'd seen it all before.

lt was full-fledged summer again -

over a year after Cecilia had slit her
wrists spreading the poison in the air.

A spill at the plant increased the lake's
phosphates and produced algae

so that the swamp's smell filled the air
infiltrating the genteel mansions.

Debutantes cried at coming out
in a season remembered for its bad smell.

The O'Connors ingeniously made

the theme of their daughter Alice's
debutante party ''Asphyxiation''.

Like everyone else,
we went to forget about the Lisbon girls.

She'll give him a heart attack.

Hi, Parkie.

How about the acting bug?

l caught it from Kinky.

And l want to announce tonight that next fall
Alice is going to school in Newhaven.

l hear they have
a great grammar school up there.

ln fact, Sam's father built it, didn't he?

The hospital, Paul.

We're so proud of Alice.
We couldn't be prouder.

Here's to her.

l've had it. Goodbye cruel world.

No, no, no! You don't understand me.
l'm a teenager, l got problems.

So much has been said
about the girls over the years,

but we have never found an answer.

lt didn't matter how old they had been,

or that they were girls,

but only that we had loved them.

And that they still do not hear us
calling them out of those rooms

where they went to be alone for all time.

We will never find the pieces
to put them back together.

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