We wish we knew more about Samantha. When her father and mother split she went into a shell of jaunty but ultimately false happiness, doing it so successfully that she fooled everyone, herself included. The truth is she had a knack for feigning happiness and did it so well that she was mostly happy. For three years she was too silent even for her own tastes, but then she began to smile. After awhile she was able to talk so easily that her classmates treated her as if she were someone who had come back from a long journey with stories to tell, which was of course the truth. She resolved to fall in love as often as possible so as to avoid the inevitable distrust which afflicts an orphan or the child of divorced parents.

She had a literary sensibility as you can see.

She liked this month and thought the year was wrong to end in December rather than in the great harvest feast of Thanksgiving. This she had learned from Shakespeare where, a favorite teacher told her, a banquet of some sort closes every successful comedy. Years did make her laugh, though she didn't like to see her mother grow old unloved.

This month was her month, her birthstone Topaz, her sign Scorpio. She liked that it began with what in Mexico was known as Dia de los Mortos, the Day of the Dead. In her room she had a pair of waltzing skeletons from the Day of the Dead, the skull faced man in a top hat and the woman in an sapphire gown with blue sequins, a gift of her father.

The man kicks back one jaunty leg and dips the woman as if she swoons.