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in not being able to do more for him, but I had to keep my distance. It was the only thing protecting me from the pain I saw Margaret experience with each death. Still, I regretted that I did not have one more chance to see him.

Alina met Régis at the airport as she had promised. She sat with him and waited until the time of departure. He was wearing his three-piece suit again. Her description of his departure sounded like one of those newspaper accounts of a prisoner going to the electric chair. I was even more relieved that I hadn’t gone with her. Evidently somewhere during the days since his discharge Régis had regained his composure. She told me he was calm and seemed resigned. Once again, he thanked her for all she had done for him and asked her to thank me one more time. He pressed her hand, smiled, and then boarded the airplane alone. I knew it would be only a brief stop in Haiti before La Sirène escorted him to Guinen. As I later learned, in Voodoo cosmology the souls of the dead are guided by a mermaid, La Sirène, under the sea back to Guinen, their ancestral homeland, the Haitian equivalent of paradise.

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