By Lisa Miller | New York Magazine | August 25, 2015
Payton had been called “Bella” since about the first grade. Morgan had been Bella’s best friend since fourth. Both girls loved cats and playing dress-up. Morgan was obsessed with Harry Potter; at least one time at lunch, she and Bella imagined that Voldemort was pursuing them through the cafeteria. Now in sixth grade, they talked on the telephone every night. Morgan’s favorite teacher was Jill Weidenbaum, for reading and writing, and on May 30, 2014, the Friday of Morgan’s 12th-birthday sleepover, both girls hung around Ms. Weidenbaum’s classroom after school, helping her clean up.
There were three girls at the sleepover at Morgan’s house that night: Morgan and Bella and Morgan’s newer friend Anissa, who lived in the same housing complex as Morgan — Sunset Apartments, on Big Bend Road — and rode the school bus with her every day. Anissa and Bella knew each other, but Morgan was what they had in common: Each would have said that Morgan was her closest friend. Continue reading »