the best method for dealing with
the darknesses of other people.
The morning after my dark night if the soul, robins are singing n the trees and Chrissie, in warm sunlight, is sitting on the patio opposite me, drinking coffee.
“You got in late, Ev,” she whispers, and pauses to watch me.
“I thought you were asleep,” I say matter-of-factly hoping my casual tone will allay her concern.
“You can talk to me as well as Mars, you know—after all, I am your wife.”
I glance up from the paper and see the pain in her eyes, and hate myself all over again.
“I do talk to you, Love, but how could you possibly know what Mars and I have gone through? Hell, you grew up as Pollyanna, for god’s sake.”
Her dark eyes cloud over and I think she might cry.
I drop my paper and kneel down beside her, “Look, I’m sorry, Cris—I didn’t mean that.”
Her jaw is quivering. “Well, if you look for the bad you’re going to find it.”
I sigh. It’s going to be one of those conversations, and there’s no avoiding it.
“I know you don’t like Mars, and I don’t blame you—she’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”
She puts her hand to my lips to shush me. “No, Ev—it’s not that. I may not like her, but I would never come between the two of you.” She pauses to find the words, “It’s just that everything with Mars is always so dark.”
I nod. “Well then, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have friends in dark places.”
Her eyes flash. “Why must you keep reliving the past? It’s over now, Ev—both your parents are dead and all that’s left are bad memories, and this house filled with horrors.”
“I’m not getting rid of the manor, Cris—and if you’re even remotely suggesting a therapist, don’t even go there.”
She begins to cry. I hate that. I feel totally defenceless, and more of a failure.
She looks at me with her huge dark eyes—I can’t bear that. I hate feeling vulnerable.
“I know you’re in pain, Ev—you need to get help. But I think Mars prefers things this way. She’s possessive of you and wants to keep you to herself.”
“There’s nothing between us other than friendship, Cris. You don’t have to feel threatened by Mars. It’s just a fact, we’re orphans—and we’ve always been there for each other.”
She shakes her head.
“There’s more than that, Ev—you’re clinging to Mars like you’re clinging to your past—and holding onto this house when it’s filled only with pain. You’ve got to let it go.”
I stand up, burning with fury. “You’ve no idea what you’re asking.”
She doesn’t back down. “I think I do know what I want, Ev—I don’t want you dead. I don’t want to end up inheriting this house along with its second best bed.”
That does it. I wheel around and head out through the house to the garages.
I get in the Porsche and gun the engines scattering red gravel down the driveway. As I glance in the rearview mirror, I see Chrissie staring after me, standing alone outside the portico on the front lawn.
I drive blindly for an hour, allowing my anger to run its course, and then like a compass being drawn to due north, I point the car in the direction of Mars’ manor house.