A few of his classmates speculated on his absence. One mentioned that he might have gone to visit relatives in India.
"I don't think so," I said. "He would have said something if he were going to be away for a while."
"He didn't go away," said Jimmy. "I just talked to him on XBox Live last night for, like, an hour. He's here."
"He must be sick, then," I said.
"Sick?" Jimmy said. "He seemed fine to me."
"But," I repeated, wondering how he could tell via XBox Live, "he's been out of school for three days."
"Really?" Jimmy asked.
"Yes," I said, slightly exasperated. "You're telling me you talked to him for an hour last night and you didn't think to ask him why he's been out of school?"
"I didn't even know he was out of school," Jimmy explained.
This might be understandable if Alex and Jimmy weren't in every class, every day together.