I hate Samantha Stevens.
I know it sounds harsh. Almost everyone who meets her falls under her spell, so to speak, but almost every terrible thing that has ever happened to me has been her fault, in one way or another.
I see the way everyone looks at me, and I hear what they say when they walk by my house, speaking in hushed whispers. I may be old, but I'm not deaf... and I'm certainly not crazy.
Maybe she wasn't actually out to get me, but the net result was the same. Her lack of ill intentions didn't keep Avner from leaving me all those years ago, and she certainly didn't say a word to keep me from spending 6 long years in that awful asylum.
A word is all it would've taken too. I know that now.
Of course, I didn't have a clue back then. I used to honestly wonder if maybe I actually was going insane, given all of the bizarre things I saw and heard.
Now I know though, and so many things make sense that didn't before. I'm not crazy, and I never was.
Look at her standing there in the driveway, saying goodbye to her son and daughter-in-law, kissing the twins before handing them back to their mother, and seeming for all the world to be a normal grandmother.
She's even gone grey, for God's sake.
It's a lie though, like everything else. She makes herself look like that, because she chooses to. Unlike the rest of us, she's barely touched by the ravages of time.
I wonder... once her children are gone, and her grand-children, will she go back to looking like herself, eternally young and beautiful?
I watch her turn and walk back inside, her casual, easy stride belying her apparent age.
We mortals don't get off so easily, Samantha. Our bodies wear out, deep inside. We can't don old age like a mask, and discard it when we no longer need it. Surely she knows this. Even though she escapes its touch, she must've seen it at work in those around her.
My hands are shaking, from a rage too great to be contained within my weak frame.
I don't mind getting old, not really; it's part of what makes us human. I don't even mind dying, when it comes right down to it.
I just can't stand that fact that I'll be gone, and she'll still be here. After everything she's done to me, everything she's cost me, she gets to carry on like nothing ever happened.
My remains will have faded away to dust before she even sees the first real hint of age, and it's not right.
It was so funny, wasn't it? Seeing me scream in panic, watching me, time after to time, as I tried to prove to someone, anyone, that I wasn't losing my mind.
I bet she had a good laugh every time Avner showed up, or the police, and saw nothing at all. It must've been very entertaining to see the way they looked at me, to watch Avner shake his head and tell me to take my medication. Yeah, what a hoot.
Did she laugh when he said he couldn't live with a crazy woman any more? Was she smiling that damned endearing smile of hers as he packed his bags and left?
More than likely she didn't even notice.
I tried to be a good neighbour, honestly I did. I always said hello, and sometimes stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar, you know the normal things neighbours do. I even kept an eye on her house, just in case.
Where was she when they had me committed? She probably didn't even know I was gone. Why should she? What did one person matter to her, more or less, unless it was her precious Darrin?
You think I'm bitter. Well, damned right I'm bitter, but I have every right to be. To find out now, after all of these years, that everything I thought I saw, was real. I didn't imagine any of it, and I wasn't crazy.
She ruined my life. To protect her secret, she condemned me to hell. I hope it was worth it.
The thing is, I can't even do anything about it. Even if I weren't too old and weak, what could I possibly do to her?
All she has to do is twitch her nose, or whatever it is she does, and I'm nothing more than a vaguely-remembered annoyance.
I wonder if she thought she was being kind by telling me, after all these years. Maybe she felt guilty, I don't know. Maybe she can't really feel anything human at all.
Whatever the reason, she did tell me, and I think I hate her for that almost as much as for everything else. Her cruel act of kindness has left me helpless in my anger.
I thought about trying to expose her, but I don't see how I really could. Telling people wouldn't accomplish anything, not with my reputation.
Besides, I don't think I have enough time anyway. I think she knew that; she could see it somehow. Maybe her people are so far removed from the grasp of the grim reaper that they can instinctively sense its shadow on others.
When she left today, after sharing her brutal secret with me, her face seemed to show compassion or maybe pity. I think she knew.
Either way, there's nothing I can do about it now. I lived my life, wasted it really, and ended up with nothing. Soon I'll be gone, and nobody will notice.
Samantha Stevens though, will still be here, and still be noticed, her life full of people who love her.
I don't even think I care any more. I was so furious a few minutes ago, but now I'm not. Now I'm just tired. I'm very tired.
I think I'll take a nap now. Maybe just a short one.