On her way home from her lunch with Kate, Sam found herself having to fight to hold back the tears. It seemed to be raining, the windscreen streaked with water distorting the view from inside the car. When she realised the water was in her eyes and not on the glass in front of her, she pulled over and parked the car on the side of the road.
She wished for the millionth time there were something she could do to help Kate, something to help her settle down and be happy. Misery seemed to follow her around like a stray dog, her life full of pain and disappointment and didn’t look as if it would be letting up anytime soon. Who was tormenting her, and what did they want?
Two obvious candidates stood out immediately. It had to be either Danny or Jack.
She didn’t want to think it could be Kate’s brother Danny. He was a bit of an idiot, but why would he want to hurt Kate? Then there was Jack, her ex-husband. She didn’t know him well, and on the few occasions, she had met him he had made her skin crawl. Always so courteous, most women would fall at his feet and Sam instinctively knew he was hiding his true colours behind all his mock chivalry. She had watched him with Kate and her son in the past and it was like watching a horror film. You just knew something awful was going to happen at any minute, and as hard as you tried to prepare yourself it was never enough. She was glad when Kate had finally left him and moved away, hoping that would be the end of it.
Jack had seemed to give in without a struggle, which had surprised Sam. She half expected him to move heaven and earth to get her back, but he didn’t. He contacted her a few times, contrite, humble, and pleaded with her to come home, promising her the world and more to make amends.
Kate would have none of it. Sam had expected a few pitfalls or fruitless reconciliations but Kate had not conceded. Something far worse must have occurred, Sam thought. Something Kate obviously didn’t want to talk about.
Whatever it was, Sam was pleased the marriage was over as she didn’t want Kate having anything to do with him. So the thought he might be up to his tormenting games again was annoying, to say the least. And why now?
She had a mental picture of him keeping an eye on Kate, watching and waiting for opportunities to arise. Sam had never understood how he could have been so nasty to both Kate and her son David. Was he lying when he said he loved her? It couldn’t be love, not the kind of love Kate needed.
Not the kind of love Sam had offered her either and suddenly the tears began again in earnest, threatening to turn into wholesale sobbing.
Sometime later Sam had composed herself just enough to resume her journey, deciding to put in a few hours at the gallery, as going home had not appealed in the slightest. Being alone in her tiny flat served to remind her just how lonely she was, but after a few minutes inside the gallery with all its empty spaces and concealed lighting, she realised she was just as lonely there too. She needed someone in her life, someone to share everything with. Over the years there had been some opportunities but none of them had meant as much to her as Kate. It was a great pity she didn’t feel the same in return.
There had been that time when Sam was sure Kate would finally realise how she felt about her, that their relationship could be more than just good friends. They had been at some function, she couldn’t remember much about it. The pair of them managed to get drunk and ended up alone together, and what should have been a romantic occasion had quickly degenerated into a one-sided show of affection from which Kate had rapidly retreated into her shell.
Sam often wondered if Kate had been too drunk to understand what she was offering, and had been too scared to bring the subject up in case it ruined what relationship they did have…