15. Petals in a storm
Sam had the bad habit of thinking too much. Could she have done something to stop that from happening? Probably. And the regret and remorse were too much of a burden to shake them off just like water off a duck's back. However, she knew what her mother would've said.
'Just forget about it already. What's been done, is done. Dammit, Samantha, why won't you be a little bit more clever?'
It surprised her how she could remember her voice. It was as though she was listening to it.
And now, piece by piece, all the little fragments of her childhood were drifting away, like the sand being washed off by the sea. Slowly, yet steadily. Her father was the first. It had been the earliest hint of what her life would be like. One by one, every single person she loved was beginning to abandon her. Her mother, his old friend Martin...
She was conscious of what she'd done. The final small bits of Helen's friendship were already burning down to ashes. Of course, Samantha didn't accuse her of murder. It hadn't been her, after all, who had tied the rope around her Martin's neck. But if it hadn't been for her, and for most of the people of the town, the man would probably still be alive. And that was what she told the police.
They weren't going to take Helen to jail, obviously. Still, she was attending a really unfortunate and embarrassing trial. They would just scold her a little bit. Sam tried to not feel guilty, even though she was aware of what the woman would think about her reputation being so damaged. It would enrage her.
Yet she didn't feel scared when Helen came to shout at her, to tell Sam she was a liar, and a horrible friend, and that she couldn't believed she had betrayed her, and that maybe it was her fault Martin was dead... Somehow, Samantha managed to not feel hurt. Her old friend was just a girl. She was supposed to be a grown up, but her mind was still the one of a selfish, spoiled child.
When Helen snapped out of her house, Sam still wore a poker face. In fact, she was unable to step out of it. She had lunch with that same numb expression, she read with it, she watched TV with it, dined with it and probably slept with it. It was impossible for her to figure out for how long did she wear such a terrible mask. Many times she thought it would appear she didn't care about what happened.
But it didn't matter. The fact was, nothing mattered. The problem, actually, resided in such reality. Every day dawn broke, and then twilight, and the sun rose in the east and set in the west. And meanwhile, their lives were as fragile as petals in a storm.
Things could've gone much better. However, chance was fickle, and it played with them just as if they were toys, puppets. It decided to put every obstacle and every oportunity. And, if it pleased, it decided which soldier fell.