IX

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Zen's P.O.V:

It's ridiculous. The whole notion is ridiculous. I never ever thought about it.

The other night I was having dinner at my parents' house. A normal evening followed by coffee and dessert. We were discussing a lot of issues - weather, work, economy, and social incidence- then all of a sudden my mother asks,

"How's Jillian?"

She was well aware I hadn't seen Jillian since we broke up, and that she already left the country.

"Fine I guess. She sounded okay on the phone the other day."

That day. That day. Still the conversation replays in my head. I look down to my bandaged hand. Her coldness. Her carelessness. It was driving me mad. Offering her my friendship had demeaned me. Being that close then being put in the friend-area, had driven me to the point of insanity. Greece. Why Greece?

I was walking to my car that day, totally composed and processing what I had just heard and said, then suddenly while I was unlocking my car the remote apparently wasn't working. I pressed it again, and again, it still didn't unlock. So I inserted into the car door, still the door did not open. It was sudden. Jolting. It was as if I was a rubber balloon and I was filled with so much helium I could explode. I saw red. The red that would over throw a bull and drive it into a frenzy. The anger. The rage. The disappointment. The anguish. My breathing fastened, I started sweating, I tried taking deep breaths to calm myself, and that didn't work. Then with full force I drove my clenched fist into the car window injuring my hand. A deep cut but it did not affect its surgical ability. I looked at the keys in my hand and recognized the pill-keychain I got her. Along with the frame keychain with our picture, the one we took that day we studied for finals.

I never saw a man cry. I never cried in my adult years. We are always told as men that crying expressed vulnerability and shouldn't be demonstrated in front of anyone. Especially reliant females. Such old notions! My heart broke. I think I actually heard it break. Pieces. I forgot the pain that devoured my hand and the streaming blood drenching the ground beneath it. I just stared at the two key chains, drifting further and further into this black vortex where all I have left of her are simple memories and objects. Objects that keep reminding me of her. Grey stormy eyes. That wonderful haunting laugh I still think I hear every once in a while. It might seem cheesy- and crass- but I felt that a part of me- the best part of me- vanished into thin air. This irrevocable truth that she actually left me. I will never hear of her again. Never get to hear her laugh. Never hold her hand and have dinners with her. Never marry her and have her as my wife. Never, never, never...

"Well that's great considering my son doesn't feel the same way, not even remotely close. I bet she is seeing someone. I bet someone..."

"Mother stop!" I yelled still filled with unmistakable rage, "she is my ex fiancé, the woman I loved I will not allow you to speak of her in that tone and manner!"

She fell silent.

"I just think you should try going out more, meeting new people, preferably females. You cannot let her break you. You are young, handsome, successful, ambitious, kind, and a lot more admirable qualities. You cannot give up on your life for her." She said after a few moments of silence.

I kept on staring at my injured hand. Not out of sympathy for myself or my hand. I couldn't care less. I was broken. I was so whole, with her, and she broke me.

"I am broken. I feel that nothing and no one in this world could fix me. I know that as a fact. I open my heart to someone and this is what I get. Devastation. I loved her whole heartedly. I still hear her laugh, I still imagine her smile. I never knew I could feel this way. She opened such a big world for me, filled with possibilities and hope. Then as if she was the only one with the key, closed it shut and swallowed the key. I never imagined a person could have this much hold on another. She has, on me, and she doesn't even know it. Probably she never will." I confessed. I held it in for too long. Held it too close to my heart. This ache, this pain, as if I wanted it close to me otherwise I will lose it, along with the rest of her.

My mother looked at me with her sad expression. She is my mother, it is justifiable to hate the woman that did this to her only son. Yet, I didn't want that hate exist while I am around.

"You know that lady that works me? At the hospital, the head nurse? Well her daughter is near your age and is quite wonderful, how about we set a meeting?" she looked at me with a slight smile offering me a rebound.

"No mother it's out of the question."

I grabbed my coat, said good night and left. I couldn't even fathom the idea of having someone else in my life. Could it happen? Can I recover or forever wallow in this vortex of fading memories and never ending heartbreak?

Jillian's P.O.V:

The blinding sun. I covered my eyes as we left the air conditioned airport and called a taxi wheeling our bags behind us.

A lot of excited people smiled and waved for taxis, a lot of apparently newlyweds hugging and kissing. Ugh.

We left the Athens International Airport on our way to the main airport in Athens, Piraeus. We are supposed to take the high-speed catamaran to the island. That means crossing the sea. Which isn't that reassuring, come to think of it. Last time I used an aquatic machine as a means of transportation it ended badly. Badly as in I ruined Zen's jacket badly. Zen, again the thought of him popped in my head. I pushed that memory aside and dared to replace it. Change. That's what I am doing. Doing the things I didn't do before. That's the plan.

In 4-5 hours we had arrived at one of the ports of Santorini, Fira. As they were unloading our baggage, I looked across the water. How far I've come! The optimistic side of myself sent a whisper. If yesterday someone told me I would be in Santorini today I wouldn't have believed them.

The sound of the busy port is overwhelming, the hustle, the unloading of cargo, the fishing boats returning for the day, the smell of salt water and fish invades your nasal cavity. As you become nearer to the city, exotic fragrances form exotic Greek dishes surrounds you, engulfs you, into this cloud where it's only you and the fragrance, that lingering fragrance.

The crystal blue water. That same water I dreamt of many years ago. I looked around and I saw it. Santorini. I knew then, that if this small trip already made this ticking heart beat a bit faster, maybe the rest will make it beat evenly again.

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