Our hands barely touched—electricity filled the space between. Fragments of poems edged into my mind. None long enough to capture.
Within minutes of her arrival, all the doubts, all the questions I had about her, the book, every aspect of the past few months, faded at the curves of her face. She was the woman I’d seen on the edge of Occom Pond. She had a purpose about her that was undeniably attractive. I didn’t care that her purpose was a mystery to me, or that the Morgan that sat before me had changed. The hope that manifested with her every word and gesture seemed contagious.
The next morning, we drove into Hanover and walked the side streets. My curiosity had returned, and I spoke first.
“How long have you been a witch?”
She laughed. A thick lock of red hair fell across her face. “Long enough.”
We walked by Collis, heading toward Baker Library. Even with a heavy jacket and several layers underneath, I couldn’t stay warm. The weather didn’t seem to affect Morgan.
“Do you have any flying monkeys?” I asked.
“No. I’m not that kind of witch,” she said.
“Let me rephrase, are you good or bad?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. The sun glared over her. I couldn’t read her response.
The questions I wanted to ask kept disappearing. Thoughts were slow to process. It was like someone had rearranged my mind.
“Why did you give me the book? I can’t read it,” I said.
“You can’t,” she said. “Not yet.”
We continued walking past all the campus buildings. The snow-covered hills of the golf course loomed in front of us.
“You have one more question,” she said.
I did. “Who are you, what’s your real name?”
“It doesn’t matter. You won’t see me again,” she said.
“That’s not good enough,” I said. I grabbed her by the arm. We stopped in the middle of the road around Occom. “I’ve put up with your secrets for months. I’ve indulged you because I thought you needed a friend, that you needed to work something out. You’ve only pulled me into whatever crap you’re going through. I’ve even gone along with that.” I was mad, but even the anger couldn’t focus my thoughts.
“You’ve stuck with me because of how I look,” she said. “I remind you of someone you lost. You failed to help her, I’m not your saving grace. You fell in love with my stories, concocted some notion that a book contained all of them. Did you ever think they were real? You’ve told me your life stories. I was doing the same. You know my name. I told you many times. You know who I really am.”