The next subject for my writing group is jealousy. At first I was a little disconcerted, but then began to see how I could write a story loosely based on people when i was at school – when I was a pupil, not a teacher – that would be a whole different story! I was just running through it in my mind and wondered if I’d written anything here about jealousy, and came across something I wrote about six years ago:
2013: In my most recent novel, Night Vision, the lives of Beulah and Neil Cameron are blighted by his unfounded jealousy, in fact it nearly wrecks their marriage. He believes unjustly that she has been having an affair with her best friend Rafi, and after a dreadful confrontation between the two men, Beulah decides the only way to save her marriage is to give up that friendship and sever all contact with Rafi. To try and get over their problems they move from Manchester where they have lived all their adult lives, so Neil can take up a position in the Law Department at Strand University; this is where the story starts, the move to Easthope, near Strand where Neil grew up.
Things go wrong, and under pressure and anxious about his new career, Neil’s jealous reasserts itself, even though they are now over 200 miles away from Manchester. Lonely and in despair, Beulah contacts Rafi again, but this time she keeps their innocent friendship a secret. Neil’s jealousy, however takes on a new object, even more ridiculous and bizarre, his brother Patrick who died ten years ago. Patrick had fallen out with the family and left home when he was fifteen and Beulah never met him when he was alive; since moving to Easthope she has found out more about Patrick and become innocently interested in him, why he left home, why the family shut him out of their lives and where and how he died. Although his brother is dead and hasn’t been seen for nearly thirty years, Neil becomes obsessively jealous of Beulah’s interest in him.
This was a story made up completely by me and not based on any real person, or story, it was all triggered by a chance remark my husband made about my best friend and an intriguing stunted tree I had once seen growing out of a quarry face. From that Night Vision was born.
If you haven’t yet read it, here is a link:
Beulah and her husband appear in one of my Radwinter novels, Saltpans:
I was very sad to read the following story about a man who had similar obsessions to Neil,, and was interested at the same time to find out that this obsession with supposed infidelity is an actual psychological condition, known as the Othello Syndrome, or Morbid Jealousy. In this true tragic story, the innocent wife was murdered by her husband who then hung himself in despair at having lost the wife he loved ‘not wisely but too well’. My heart goes out to the family of Robert Mercati, and his poor wife Margaret.
Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,
Perplexed in the extreme. Of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe. Of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum.