When all is going well, it’s time for something to change
This life went on for a couple of years, and for me it could have gone on forever, but things always change. One afternoon I was in the Jolly Anchor as normal, when it suddenly occurred to me that I’d not seen Ruby working behind the bar for a while. I’d sometimes not see her for a week or so, but thinking back, it seemed like it had been a lot longer than that.
With the next beer, I asked casually what had happened to Ruby, and found out she had handed in her notice 6 weeks before. Not only that, but she had left town and moved to Ely.
My immediate reaction was one of shock, which then turned to anger. How she could do this without telling me? Even though the rational part of my mind kept reminding me that she didn’t owe me anything at all, not even an explanation, I felt hurt, rejected, humiliated.
I suddenly didn’t want to be around anyone anymore, so I finished my pint, got a bottle of scotch and went back to my flat to drink alone. For several days I stayed in my flat, drinking whiskey, eating what there was in my cupboards, and staring listlessly down at the happy people in the pub. I could not stand the thought of seeing or talking to anyone.
I called Graham to say I was sick, and so I wouldn’t be out on the food truck. I must have sounded bad because he commiserated and wished me a speedy recovery. It was true, I was sick, but not with the flu as I told him. I was sick inside with a kind of pain that was worse than any physical pain I’d ever known. Dorothy knocked a few times and even called through the door to me, but I’d pretended to be out because the last thing I needed then was someone being kind to me.
After 5 days, the bottle of scotch was long gone, as was all the food in my flat, and I was at my wits end. I was going over and over all the crap that I’d dealt with in my young life, and sinking deeper into a black pit of depression. It was then that I remembered the time after Ruby found me with Maggie, and how I’d driven so fast that it blew the pain out of my mind. I suddenly knew that this was the only way out. The ride would either wake me from this nightmare or kill me. And right at that moment, I didn’t really care which one it was.
I waited until well after dark, grabbed my keys and jumped in the Jag. I drove out to a remote area in the middle of nowhere, and sat for a few moments, just trying to steady my nerves. Then I took a deep breath, floored the gas pedal, and shot off into the dark. As I drove the cold, calm feeling started to come over me again, and I began to think this would actually help. I was hitting the 90’s on the straights but wanted to get her into the 100’s. I came to a particularly tight corner, slowed to about 60, and took the curve with my wheels smoking and engine roaring.
I remember seeing the outline of a tractor straight ahead of me and instinctively standing on the brake pedal. Unsurprisingly, the wheels lost traction and I started to slide sideways straight towards the oncoming vehicle. I remember the sickening fascination I felt seeing the fat tires of the tractor come towards my door. I recall a moment of impact, but after that, I don’t remember anything.