PW: Annie has changed since high school. When she said, “I’m not the same person I used to be,” it’s suggested that she isn’t proud of who she is today. One interpretation is that her and Hank’s experience of coming upon the body sent her life down a certain path. Would Annie’s life have been significantly different had she and Hank never taken that walk along the beach that day?
MH: Yes, both the characters’ lives would have gone down a different path had they not stumbled upon the body on the beach; Annie would not have gone religious by the experience of seeing the aftermath of a murder up close. Annie and Hank would have continued their relationship, maybe married or had a child, and Hank would not have joined the military and gone to the Gulf. When a person becomes a witness (moreover, a victim) of a violent crime, their lives are never the same. I do speak from experience here.