A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE
A novel by Saffron Mello Castro
It came without warning at yet another party and another alcohol and drug fuelled binge. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Jed speaking to his ex. I had long got over any jealousy on that front. She was ancient history. They remained friends. She was not a threat to our relationship. Or so I thought, but something jarred about the way she touched his arm that night, the way my friend Andy glanced over and noticed the direction of my gaze…God! It hurts just thinking about it.
"You wanna watch her. I don't trust her." he slurred drunkenly.
His eyes however were sincere as he said those words that would haunt me long after. He took my hand and led me to the bar where he topped up my drink and pushed the hair away from my eyes, in what was a relatively innocent gesture, if somewhat intimate. At that moment Jed looked across and his face said it all.
I screamed as he lunged at Andy. The drinks flew off the table. Shattered glass lay all around. Loud shouting filled the room as some of the guys attempted to restrain him. Jed shook them off and grabbed my wrist roughly as he tried to pull me from the room. “Leave her man!" They pushed him away. He turned to look at me, long and hard. “I can’t fucking do this anymore!" He pushed his way out of the room, sobbing as he went.
That was the last time I ever saw him.
The events of that night seemed to be erased from my memory for a long time but bit by bit they returned to haunt me, usually in the middle of the night. I likened those feelings to that of an intense bereavement: never given the chance to explain, ask why, or forgive even.
He simply left, disappeared.
I later found out that ‘she’ had accompanied him. And then I realized how much he meant to me: Too much, far too much. I was literally devastated. I felt as if part of me had disappeared, been torn apart. I found myself wandering the streets searching for him, refusing to comprehend that he'd simply walked out of my life. I'd catch a glimpse of someone similar on the street and follow them, heart in mouth, praying it was him. I waited every day for the letter that never came. My pain turned to obsession. Nothing else mattered. I spiralled, down and down. I guess it's hard to understand, but until it happened to me I'd never understood that depth of emotion either. Believe me, now I wish I hadn't. I finally understood the expression, ‘Broken hearted’. I was broken alright. I made an internal pact with myself and the devil that never ever would I love like that again.
My heart froze over. It would take a long time to thaw.
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I would have to question that. How do you know when it's true love? Perhaps it is the dull ache that still sits within your heart; a face, a name which has taken up permanent residence in your mind, refuses to leave, no matter how many years later. The emptiness persists, despite countless hedonistic attempts to mitigate the Pain, and that same song brings everything to a standstill and a lump so big in your throat that it threatens to burst. Perhaps then you know it’s the real deal.
Things were never the same again after that night.
Destiny took over, the path that my life was to follow took on twists and turns that previously would have been unimaginable to me. No matter what I did or where I went, Jed was there, haunting me, following, ever present.
So, finally, I set out on a journey of self-destruction in an attempt to blot out his memory once and for all.