the expected for which one has refused to prepare.
― Mary Renault
I had misgivings about Mar going hiking with Charly and now I knew why.
Charly took her up to the ridge where Regan died and tried to push her off.
As crazy as that was, I couldn’t wrap my mind around why it happened and what possible cause could make Charly suddenly act insane and try to kill Mar.
It took hours before the medics had calmed Mar enough to be coherent. A policewoman began to question her and try to piece together the fragments of her story.
Mar insisted I sit beside her while she gave her statement.
I don’t know who was trembling more—me or Mar. It was surrealistic.
Mar began retelling the events in a halting voice. I wasn’t sure she’d be able to be coherent, but she pushed through her feelings.
“When I got to Charly’s I was expecting coffee, but Charly insisted we drink wine. We drank enough that Charly got drunk and said too much.”
“What do you mean by that?” the policewoman asked.
“I mean she started telling me how she worshipped Regan and tried to be like her. I saw her room—all the pictures of Regan—it was spooky. It made me feel sick inside. I told her we should go for a hike—I just had to get out of there, Jess.”
I patted her hand. “It’s all right, Mar—just tell the policewoman what happened.”
“She took me on a hike, but we didn’t go to the ruins—we ended up at the cliff. She asked me if you told me what happened there and I said yes, and she began to laugh.”
“Go on, Mar,” I encouraged her.
“It was the weirdest thing, Jess—her face changed—I mean she sort of shape-shifted into the likeness of Regan I saw in those photographs. That’s when she began talking really crazy.”
“What did she say exactly?” the policewoman asked.
“She said Regan was no good—that she cheated on you, Jess. Charly told me that she had always loved you, and that she was meant to be with you. That’s why she became Regan, because she knew Regan pleased you.”
I looked at her in confusion. “How did she become Regan?”
“She started rambling on about twin souls—and then said something really crazy, Jess—she said, it’s true, you know—you can become someone else, but then, you have to take over their life.”
“I don’t get it, Mar—what does that mean?”
Mar buried her face in her hands. “She killed her Jess—it was no accident. Charly pushed Regan off that cliff so she could become her—take over her life.”
I felt my insides turn to ice water. I was trembling so much my teeth were chattering, but I had to hear her out.
“She thought she would at last be able to be with you, Jess, especially when you invited her to Thanksgiving dinner, but then you showed up with me. She couldn’t bear to go through it again so she lured me up there to have another ‘accident’ so she could be with you.”
“Well, it’s all over now, Mar—she’s gone.”
“But Jess—you don’t understand. She didn’t just act like Regan—she really did become her. Her face physically changed right before my eyes. Her voice got husky and even her gestures were different.”
The policewoman looked at me and shrugged as if to say Mar was deluded, but I know different. Regan’s voice was deeper than Charly’s and her gestures more graceful.
I don’t know how it happened but I do believe that somehow Charly became another soul.
I stayed at the hospital while the doctor gave Mar a shot and waited until she was comfortably asleep.
There’d be no sense trying to explain the details of Mar’s version to my family or Charly’s uncle—they wouldn’t be able to understand—jealousy yes, but transmigration of souls?
“Mar wasn’t making sense”, the policewoman told me. “She was in shock. As for that business about Charly turning into Regan, well, that was a form of temporary insanity. And after what that poor girl went through up there, who could blame her?”
I didn’t argue with her—Mar certainly went through a horrific experience on the ridge.
And maybe we should leave it at that—say Charly was emotionally distraught and suicidal after returning to the place where her best friend died.
Perhaps it will be easier for others to see Charly as a deeply grieving friend, but Mar and I know what really happened up on that ridge.
And for us, grief has become a place and a person…and now it’s a memory we both share.