I think we can safely say I tried. Yes, that's one thing you can definitely say about me in the days that passed - I tried my very hardest to fulfil my, well, it was a promise really, wasn't it? A promise to myself, at least, if not to anybody else. And I was determined that I wasn't going to stay at home and wait, so every evening I went out of the house and walked in the direction I remembered driving with Jon.
I didn't tell my parents were I was going. They wouldn't understand unless I explained everything, and even then I didn't think they'd get it. Why would I want to go back to a place where they had drugged me, tied me up and just generally refused to do anything nice to me, even though I'd come willingly and without being coerced? She'd think I was mental, no doubt, and would sit me down to have a Talk. I did not want that.
So I walked for about an hour, knowing in my heart that if I didn't get there within twenty minutes I wasn't going to get there at all. I just managed to lose myself completely in the streets, unable to find a way out but not trapped. It was just a suburban road. A few houses - terraced, not semi-detached - a little park, and an estate. It wasn't one of the rough ones but I still wouldn't like to be there on my own, when it was getting dark. Which I was.
"All right, darlin'? Can I help you? You look a bit lost, like." The man speaking to me looked like a builder or something. He was about forty, overweight with greying hair, his belly hanging over his jeans out of a grubby t-shirt, but none of that was as unsavoury as the look on his face.
"I'm fine," I said, trying to sound more confident than I really was. "Honestly, I'm absolutely. I'm trying to find someone I know, but I'm a little puzzled. I must have taken a wrong turning."
"You look more than fine to me, love. Allow me to show you the way out, yeah?" He leered at me and I backed away.
"No, thank you. I'll get there myself." Only just stopping myself from breaking down, I ran off before he could come any nearer. I heard him shouting behind me but I didn't stop. I just had to get out.
That was Day Two, and you would have thought it would put me off, but it didn't. I went again the next day, and ended up in a completely different area, this time the posh bit. By Day Five I had still found nothing and I was beginning to get very suspicious that there was some kind of magic involved. Maybe this street wasn't actually in our town, or even our country ... maybe it was just a portal that they had now closed?
On Day Seven I was sure that if I didn't find it soon, I would go mad. And finally, on Day Eight ...
Well, it was the day that Jon was due to come home, so I wouldn't have had long to wait if I had been unsuccessful once more. I went in the morning, though, wanting to arrive under my own steam.
And then I saw it.
A Celtic circle on the floor, painted in what looked like chalk. I must have walked past it a hundred times over the years but I'd never noticed before its significance, never thought it meant anything. It rubbed off if you scrubbed at it with your fingers but the rain never did anything to it; it was always renewed soon enough. I used to play with it when I was a kid.
I stood on the circle and closed my eyes. "Mathew," I whispered. "Mathew, I'm here."