Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Hope is not in what I know.

It's difficult to stay centered today. I'm being thrown off kilter by this day, out for revenge for so many warmly-lit, extravagant nights in Jacob's arms. In any case, the jealous lover I name as daylight rips me from Jacob's grasp and turns the sky grey in retaliation. A bitter foe of all things signifying comfort, he stalks me, a dangerous game I must now play of outrunning the rotation of the planet. My futile, bitter marathon begins anew.

It's snowing heavily. We could see the storm approaching from the west for hundreds of miles, something you learn to watch and wait for, living here on the flatlands. The wind has blown our corner the world into an ominous ball of ice, bare tree branches scratching their protest against the cold onto an unrelenting canvas of frigid air. The ground is frozen, impenetrable, and unforgiving underneath my boots.

This morning we rushed down the sidewalk, under those same bare branches and past the orange and black decorations clutching the outside of each house along our path. Our hats pulled low, mittens shoved hard into the bottom of pockets that failed to keep out the cold. It was the first day I walked the kids to school alone, and so on the way home I put my headphones on to listen to Snow Patrol, which usually cheers me, and walked slowly home. When I got to the end of the street I crossed the empty field that runs the length of the neighborhood and stood watching the sky, watching the morning freight train as it slowly wove around the perimeter of the city, names painted on the sides of the grain cars, a colorful rainbow of proof that we were here. A moment in time seized and celebrated. A simple tag succeeds in its attempt to add life to a monotonous line of black and brown tin cars rolling across this endless landscape.

    Get up, get out, get away from these liars
    Because they don't get your soul or your fire
    Take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
    And we'll walk from this dark room for the last time

    Every minute from this minute now
    We can do what we like anywhere
    I want so much to open your eyes
    Because I need you to look into mine

A brief pall of homesickness seized me then, for this will be the first winter here without Cole. Cole, who used to remind me that winter meant sports and Christmas and snowball fights and snowmen. Cole, who used to embrace the low temperatures and proclaim his hardiness, impervious to the plunging, ludicrous temperatures, hanging Christmas lights outside wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Cole who insisted we buy an electric blanket and who encouraged me to turn the heat up higher because he said he'd just work a little more to pay the higher gas bill. Cole who said the early darkness of the nights meant morning would come sooner and I believed him because it was all I had left.

For one moment that froze the bottom of my heart into a sheet of ice as thin as glass. I missed him desperately. Then the illusion of the glass was shattered and I was standing alone again, my destructive thoughts swept away by the gales. And Cole is still dead. Dead and gone, never to return. Kind of like last summer. Except next year there will be another summer but there will never be another Cole. Maybe time does work it's magic in keeping the good parts and blurring the bad ones. Time will answer that for me, just not yet. I'm not sure I'm done vilifying him inside my head, while my heart has softened to his memory and moved on.

I turned, pulling up my hood again, and walked back to our street, returning to the relative safety of the concrete sidewalk to walk under the branches that shelter my soul. Through the curtains I could see lights on inside the house, our imaginary protection against the bleakness of the winter season, and I went up the steps and into the porch. When I shrugged out of my coat I was greeted with a hot cup of coffee and an invitation to return to the arms of my Jacob, both of which I took with gratitude. Leading with my heart while my head tries to navigate its own version of a long cold winter.

There is so much to look forward to.

Monday, 30 October 2006


I'm so very very tired this morning. Here, some more conversations.

    The sound in my mouth
    It gets so loud
    It gets so loud
    The little words can't slip out
    Words like sorry
    I'm so sorry

    Where would you find yourself
    Without love
    Give love to someone else
    Is that enough
    If love is to find yourself
    Are you fighting love
    Or are you picking sides?

Ben fell off the wagon with a resounding thump last night, hopefully banging his head with enough force to knock some sense back into it.

One of the most difficult things about this dissolution of a long close friendship has now settled on the fact that he keeps trying to mend the fences that he summarily destroyed into matchsticks. I can't change my cellphone number again. Ruth and Henry have a hard enough time remembering this new number, after I was forced to change it back in May because of the order against Cole. I always have my phone with me and my kids being able to reach me when they're not with me is a lifeline that for some reason helps me sleep at night, even if it means receiving drunken apologies at 2 in the morning. If that's what Ben thought he was doing.


Princess, don't hang up on me.

What do you need, Ben?

I need to tell you some things.

Start with how much you've had to drink and where you are.

I'm home. Too much. I'm alone.

Are you okay?

I'm peachy. I just need to talk to you for a little while.

No. Here, talk to Jacob instead. I can't do this, Ben.

I put Ben on speakerphone and passed it to Jake.


I need to talk to Bridget.

Ben, maybe you need to get some sleep.

Let Bridget talk. You never understood me, preacher man.

She doesn't want to talk to you. Please don't call her anymore.

Let her tell me.

She has, Ben. Many times.

Oh. I get it. It's been a while though.

It's only been a month, Ben. Bridget has been through enough. Let her be.

You let her be. It's all your fault.

Goodnight Ben. Next time call Rob.

Yeah. Fuck you too, preacher man.

Right. Bye.

We returned to the warmth beneath the blanket. I could sense Jacob's mind churning with fresh doubts. He breathes deeply, differently when he's getting upset.

Don't do it, Jacob.

Do what?

Let him inside your head.

Maybe he's got a point, Bridge. If I had waited, things would have been so much easier for you.

Do you hear yourself, Jacob? I'm glad everyone got a chance to see who Cole really was before he died. He finally left a mark people could see. Are you telling me that you would have wanted me to go through three more months with Cole so that you would have some sort of peace of mind borne out of ignorance?

Don't say that, princess.

Besides, you didn't know for sure I would leave him, since I never had before. And no one can predict the future.

I could have done things differently. You would have been safer, somehow..

Jacob, where are we right now?

Under the quilts, in our bed. In our house together, kids and cat are asleep. It's dark. Safe. But does the end justify the means?

In this case, it does. No one promised that life would be easy. Don't let Ben of all people cast a pall on our lives together.

Since when did you become so optimistic?

Well, I met this amazing man and he changed me forever.

In a good way, I hope.

In an exemplary way, Jacob.

Oh, now, there you go with all those big words again, piglet.

Piglet? I thought I was the princess.

I'm thinking there's been too many people using that nickname and maybe you need a new one, Bridget.

I think since you gave it to me, it stands. Besides, piglet? What the hell is that?

Well I thought it was cute.

It's not cute.

At least it isn't perverted.

Oh I could make it perverted, Jake.

I give up.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

The great hundred acre wood cellphone quote-off.


Hullo, Bridget.

Hullo, Jacob.

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

I have it ready whenever you get home, coincidentally.

Oh, bother.

Jacob, why are you talking like Winnie the Pooh?

Because I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.

I see. Winnie?


Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave.

There she goes! Good one, Bridge.

So are you coming home to dip into the honey pot or what?

Some people care too much, I think it's called love. And the honey pot remark is just begging for one of your dirty comments to follow it, you know that, don't you, Bridget?

Of course. It goes without saying.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

Caleb (ties that bind).

Caleb is gone. I can pull the chopsticks out of my ears and see if the self-induced lobotomy is reversible at all. Jacob can take a deep breath. Onward, Bridget. Momentum.

Caleb is (was? No, still is) Cole's older brother. He's 43 now, so he was off in college when Cole and I got together as teenagers and he's mostly been an absent brother save for small moments. He knew little of our lives and tribulations, preferring instead to take his yearly trips south to warm beaches and hardly ever calling the house. He and Cole emailed each other maybe once a month but overall, they weren't close. Caleb was similar to a third parent in Cole's mind. Someone to resent, someone who's shadow he had to walk in. And be compared to. There's a suit and tie mentality where I'm from that speaks of wearing the clothes and having a good (corporate) career. Artists don't get that kind of respect, even though few of them in this day and age can make a living of it the way Cole could.

I finally felt strong enough to call Caleb and let him know I was going to be shipping him several boxes of Cole's belongings, things I thought he might like to have. He surprised me and said he would fly out for a couple of days, if I could recommend a good hotel. I did and I asked him not to come but Caleb arrived on Thursday morning. When I met him at the airport he told me I looked beautiful. Too thin, but beautiful. He wanted to swing by the hotel and check in and change before coming for lunch, so we went there first. He invited me up. I sat at the table in his room and we made very awkward small talk while he hung up his clothes and even more awkward conversation on the drive to my house, the house I once shared with his baby brother.

It felt weird. Really really weird.

Jacob had picked up the kids at school and was making lunch when we came in. Caleb and Jacob have met on several occasions but have zero common interests and understandably things would be strange between them. Lunch was perfunctory, quiet and stilted, the kids chewing slowly and watching their uncle with wide eyes because they don't see him much. After lunch Jacob took Ruth back to school and took Henry to work with him so that I could sort through the boxes with Caleb. We made tea and sat on the floor comparing memories, looking at pictures. Caleb wanted to know about Cole's final projects, how he and Jake had gotten along when it came to the kids, and what our plans were for the future. We argued over little things and big things alike. It turned into a long, difficult visit.

Dinner that night and lunch yesterday went much the same way. Polite, strained, pleasant even, slightly weird in that the brothers shared so many unconscious mannerisms, and even hold their forks the same unique way. Several times I would look up and find Caleb watching me with curiosity, a slight frown on his face. Possibly because he knows it's the end of our connection in a way, not because he stops being the kids' uncle or my brother in law, we've agreed to leave everything as it was, but because maybe he's happy I'm not alone, because he knew of the problems I had, Cole had confided in him superficially more than once that our marriage wasn't so wonderful. But Caleb knows I tried and I stayed as long as I could. He knows I loved his brother. He probably hates my guts and thinks I'm responsible for driving Cole to an early grave. Hell, half the time I do, why wouldn't he?

At the airport last night we stood together checking the monitor for Caleb's flight out and he turned to me and smiled sadly.

Bridget, when you wrote in your journal that you still loved Cole, were you telling the truth?

I just stood there and nodded with my jaw on the floor as he kissed my cheek and turned to pick up his bags. Shock set in.

Caleb? How did you know about my journal?

The answer surprised me.

Cole sent me your link a long time ago. He was so proud of you and your writing. He said it was that good that I should read it. He was right. I've been reading it every day since. Because your words come out exactly the way you are in real life, Bridget: unbelievably fragile and yet strong and so determined. Untouchable and intimidatingly frail but hopeful for the future. It's contagious. It's addictive, like you were to my brother, Bridget. And as much as my brother hurt you, he really did love you. Never doubt that for a second. He loved you so much, and I know you wanted me out of your life, but I don't want to leave it. 

And with that, Caleb turned and walked through the doors, leaving me standing there stunned by his words, so kind and gentle when they didn't have to be. Letting me off the hook for my guilt. Leaving me whispering softly, under my breath.

I know.

Friday, 27 October 2006


He moved in close to her, sliding one hand under her shoulders and the other slowly up her thigh. She started to tremble slightly as he kissed her urgently. As she caught her breath he bent his head to taste her skin. He kissed all the way up her throat and bit her earring briefly, making her laugh. Smiling down at her he pulled her legs apart and she felt his hardness against her. She shook her head and he quieted her with his capable reassurances that he would not harm her. He entered her in one brutal push and then paused, assessing her response, looking for the confirmations he needed to progress. She gasped and locked her arms around his neck, preparing herself for his physical onslaught. He smiled and tried to moderate his own breathing, the fever of her warm skin fueling his lust for her anew, taking it to a place he didn't know existed. He began to thrust into her, gently at first, rapidly losing his control, wanting to possess her, make her scream and writhe beneath him. Wanting to make her his forever. She whispered to him that she wanted him, harder, faster, more. She dug her nails into the damp brawn of his shoulders and his heart soared with a grateful leap. He reached underneath her to cup her ass forcibly against his groin, grinding into her fiercely, forcing her to remain pinned against him while he rode her, so that she would climax with him from the stimulation he created. She cried out to him to slow down, to wait for her, but it was too late. He couldn't hear her as the ecstasy exploded instead his head, dulling his senses momentarily, his entire being rocked with his orgasm, flooding into her as she reverberated in kind, feeling the tremors pass through both of them as they lay, still connected, now spent by their exploits.

He raised his hand, combing his fingers into her hair, cradling her head in his hand and kissing her lightly on the mouth while he worked his strong fingers on her, bringing her with him to that place where she couldn't catch her breath. He felt her tighten around him and she started to cry out, and he whispered to her softly to stay still. She fluttered her hands on his head as she came, the waves of euphoria crashing over her, enveloping her in their sweet rhythm, taking away her thoughts for the moment. He felt her body relax once again but he kept her in his arms, positioning her well within his embrace while they lay together in the dark hours of the early dawn, their breathing lulled, basking in the luminosity of the sunrise. Daybreak came slowly that morning, the uninvited sun pouring into the windows while they drifted in and out of a sleep replete with affirmations of their devotion to one another, content at long last.

(Today's writing will be unexplained. Call it whatever you want. I'm not saying a word.)

Thursday, 26 October 2006

This is your Bridget on drugs.

Why did I promise to write about this again? Oh yes, distractionism.

    Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
    And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
    The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
    we'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
    And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
    in the VIP with the movie stars
    Every good gold digger's
    Gonna wind up there
    Every Playboy bunny
    With her bleach blonde hair

    And we'll hide out in the private rooms
    With the latest dictionary of
    today's who's who
    They'll get you anything
    with that evil smile
    Everybody's got a
    drug dealer on speed dial, well
    Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

I'm not known for living fast, believe it or not. My highs are so high and the lows are so damn low that as long as I have enough time in between to get my bearings, life is pretty good. I say I don't have regrets, maybe I lie. Maybe I'm just as average as everyone else. I don't go seeking out excitement.

No, that couldn't be it.

Maybe I just have enough good and bad memories to to call it an interesting life so far.

I know I'll never be famous, but I'll possibly never be boring either, at this rate.

The one night I went out on a limb and did two things I swore I would never ever do (that would be a)karaoke and 2)getting high) turned out to be a defining moment in my life. Oddly, it was the same self-destructive summer that I first slept with Jake. Maybe it was some combination of the freedom of the time we were in and my need to prove to myself that even though I had a one-year old baby, I could still have fun. Maybe it was just the calm before the storm.

In any event, it was a rare warm summer night in which everyone was present for a loosely organized pub crawl. We were celebrating a whole bunch of milestones in the group. Cole and I had a babysitter for the whole night. In a rare show of bravery I partook in the pot brownies being passed around, usually I ignore that stuff. I had two. Jacob took a pass and was the designated driver/responsible adult for the night (he usually preferred to be in that role). I felt so good that night. I don't think I've ever felt like that before.

I probably never will again. It's an artificial confidence.

Within a few hours we wound up at a karaoke bar, this after hitting a Mexican place first for far too many margaritas and tequila shots. The boys talked me into doing a song, something I normally wouldn't do but I felt as tall as everyone else right then and so I did it. I chose to do On my Own, from Les Miserables, which started with jeers and booing from the crowd, because they wanted me to sing a Veruca Salt song. But I've been pretending to be Eponine in the shower since I was a teenager, and I knew I could pull off that song. By the end of it everyone was stone still, in rapt attention. They ate it up. My ego found its own spotlight to shine in.

I enjoyed a lot of accolades from my own friends, who previously had heard me warble a few off-key notes of Happy Birthday or the occasional Christmas carol. Singing isn't something I usually do well. The admiration from the strangers in the bar was completely unexpected though.

Most of the crowd followed our group down to the next bar, a college bar where they were having a Coyote Ugly dance off type competition (the movie had just come out) for a $1000 prize.

Oh please. I love to dance. But not up in front of a crowd like that. More tequila is definitely required.

So after twenty minutes of convincing (because they thought it would be funny to watch me embarrass myself), liquid courage prevailed and I said Fuck it. I grabbed a cowboy hat off some guy I didn't even know and joined the line up on top of the bar. I gave it everything I had. This is how the cowboy hat lap dance almost sort of maybe possibly got it's start. There's my power trip. Everyone was watching me dance. The little blonde right smack on the centre of the bar.

And so I brought down that house too. Free drinks for the winner and a solo encore performance was requested. So I got back up there after two more shots and ground it down. Guys I didn't know started throwing twenty dollar bills at me and yelling for me to take it off before the end of the first song. Cole and everyone else I had come with were transfixed, Cole being rocked by the occasional appreciative slap on the back or congratulatory nudge. I was just starting a second song when a dazed-looking Jacob (back in full responsible adult mode now) abruptly lifted me off the bar and flung me over his shoulder. He was booed but he didn't care. I was getting a little wild (okay, a lot) and the whole bar had erupted. He carried me out while the DJ announced that Bridget was leaving the building, and to give her one final round of applause for being the hottest contest winner that the club had ever seen. I blew kisses and collected the prize money that was passed to me over Jacob's shoulder while everyone hollered and stomped and clapped the whole way out. By then my ego had simply exploded all over the place.

Yay me! (waves tiny, inebriated fists).

We got outside and Jacob put me down and asked if I was okay. I said I was fine through my flushed cheeks and wavering brightness. The other guys, Cole included, were just standing there, still dumbstruck because they had just seen something they never saw before. I was having fun. I was completely wasted and I could still perform a routine that left all my male friends with unwelcome kickstands and wet dream material for the rest of their lives and all my female friends with jealous bents that we never managed to ever overcome, much to my eventual (sober) shame.

And hey! Rent money for two whole months!

I was told I passed out in the truck on the way home, holding my prize money tightly while they all talked about the fact that they had no idea that I could do that.

I...er...well, I usually kept myself reigned in. I was the sweet girl up until that night. Then I became the sexy one. A slippery slope indeed.

I wonder if-

Hey, Jake, remember that dance contest?

Who could forget that, Bridge?

You think anyone has??

Trust me, no one will EVER forget that night.

This, THIS is the reason that whenever any of my friends bring baked goods over I'm unduly suspicious and beg off sampling them. It's not because of the whole eating thing, it's because of that night when I got high and danced on that bar and learned a few things about myself in the process.

Like how to harness that kind of power, the one that left everyone dumbstruck.

And how incredibly easy it is to embarrass the hell out of myself. Which is why I never touched drugs again.



    I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
    ~Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Buttered toast.

   So if you wake up with the sunrise
    And all your dreams are still as new
    And happiness is what you need so bad
    Girl, the answer lies with you

Jacob's unruly blonde locks, perpetually-bearded face, mirthful blue eyes and easy-going smile with his giant white chicklet teeth framed by the deepest dimples you'll ever witness belie his intelligence. His looks scream hippie college drop-out, his very-tall, slightly disheveled, worn-denim appearance leaving you to think that he's about to pick up a guitar and sing a Nick Drake song and maybe light up a bong before telling you that Yes, God loves you, brother. Or more likely Peace, man.

He likes it that way. He said it takes the pressure off, no one expects much of him and so people listen when he talks. He has a very deep and surprisingly loud voice, which probably helps. He's no wallflower, definitely no pushover and really, he can be quite a hardass when he wants to be.

He's very smart, very civic-minded, very politically active and up on current events.

I'm actually the cute one. It's a running joke.

Smart guy that he is, I caught him spiking my juice with my pills this morning. Like he's done every day because I wasn't taking them. Which is why I felt exactly the same. For the past few days I wasn't so sure if I should be thrilled that I didn't have effects from stopping them so abruptly or if I should be devastated because I still felt like I had the emotional capabilities of a dessert fork.

I think I've met my match. Though since I'm obviously not that bright anymore, I'm not sure what matches, other than our hair color and possibly our sex drive. Thank God.

Ha. I have no train of thought today. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you an old story about drugs and karaoke and being carried out of a bar to thunderous applause.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Painted penitence.

One of Jacob's many talents lies in his ability to be very upset with someone and still coexist in a slightly-removed, invisibly perfunctory manner with that person. He did it with Cole for most of their friendship. He's been doing it with me for four days now. I know I upset him, insulted him. I know he's disappointed in me, I know I twisted his screws and for maybe the third time ever in my life with him I hit bone. Being as laid back as he is, he's very hard to rattle with mere words. You have to be very certain of whatever verbal pain you're about to inflict, for mostly it will miss the mark, until you sharpen the point just a little more and dip it in poison. Then, when you're very determined, it's going to go all the way in.

The worst thing? He'll leave that arrow in. Because the pain is new. And because he wants you to have a visual reminder that you might possibly have mortally wounded the Nicest Guy On Earth.

In reality? It's a flesh wound. He knows I lash out when I'm frustrated. He's done it himself.

He made me pay for it with silence. And waiting. And wearing his arrow all over the place. I stood in the doorway of the den last night for almost two hours minutes staring at him (which is very very fucking hard. Almost like spoon torture.) and he pretended he was busy. I gave up and went to bed. He followed, to sleep holding me in his arms, his favorite spoon, but not speaking of the arrows I had hurled at him.

It serves me totally right. I was so ready to congratulate him for winning the silent treatment contest this morning over breakfast. I go crazy over that stuff. I will chew my own leg off before I give in. And I'm just plain horrid to be around when he doesn't respond to me.

He poured my coffee and brought it out to the table just like he always does. I thanked him like he was a stranger and then tasted it. Ack. It was from yesterday. It was ice-cold. I decided I would drink it. Because it helped to illustrate the entire old, stale, miserable off-tasting argument that we were indulging in. That coffee signified the bitterness that had seeped into our proverbial life's cup. It was awful. But dammit, I drank it because it's what I deserved.

He was trying not to laugh. I was halfway through silently naming him every swear word that I had in my arsenal (which is pretty immense, varied and wonderful colorful) while I sipped from my mug and made faces at it. Then I noticed his shoulders were shaking and he was biting his tongue.

Princess, I can't let you drink any more of that.

No, it's fine, thank you.

Stop it. Put your petulance away and come and hug me like you mean it. Then I'll get you a real cup of coffee and we can talk about how we're going to make this work. We haven't come this far to fuck it all up now, have we?

I shook my head and the bitter taste left my mouth. I watched his genuine smile emerge, and with that action he pulled out the imaginary poisoned arrow and we spent the rest of the morning together, with very good fresh coffee, painting the floor in the porch and talking about how we weren't going to fly off any more handles. That was for me, because Jacob threatened to tape me to the floor if I did.

And I apologized profusely for my hurtful comments. Being a gracious man, Jacob merely pointed out that I might be right. When there was no commitment, no pressure and no way for him to cross those boundary lines from friend to lover, life was easier between us because his hands were tied. He also pointed out that I am doing something he didn't expect. I'm running from him. When things get bad I push him away and I fight him and I look everywhere but at him to help. Which is what I had to do with Cole, and it's so ingrained now it's an automatic reflex. Here I've been asking Jacob to fix everything and then not letting him do anything.

The revelations are so huge, and they just keep coming. Something's working. Either way I don't feel insane today, and that's something. Huge. Revolutionary in my tiny kingdom.

The porch sure looks pretty, too.

Monday, 23 October 2006


    See my shadow changing
    Stretching up and over me
    Soften this old armor
    Hoping I can clear the way
    By stepping through my shadow
    Coming out the other side
    Step into the shadow
    Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

The largest ongoing argument has finally paled and taken a back seat to something bigger than both of us. My hearing aids are in a drawer now. Sometimes I put them on and then within a couple hours they're right back in the drawer. Ben, who will be thrilled to know he can still cause problems for me without even being present, has provided to be the cause of the permanent end of commenting on this journal. I don't want to read what he has to write. And Cole, still wreaking havoc from hell, because I know he wouldn't have wanted it any other way where I and especially where Jake, is concerned. Here, honey, lap it up with a spoon.

What's come to pass is that I finally figured it out. My so-called princess complex isn't even remotely as invasive and unwelcome as Jacob's need to be my savior. His need for control of my well-being. Which is still only vaguely different and separate from whatever Cole would do that left him in control of me.

This weekend I got time off for good behavior. Because I, at this point, am fumbling for some screws of my own to twist. Jacob let me have the bottle and told me I was doing great and I should be fine to take the pills on my own. Because hey, we've already been struggling mightily with the parent/child thing and would like to put that to bed. So he gave up the pills in a show of good faith. He has faith. He's a good person.

And I promptly stopped taking them. Because, well, obviously I can be a child. Immature, petulant, whatever favorite description you've got for my misbehavior, put it here. Not so good of a person, struggling with faith. Hell, struggling with everything.

I didn't stop taking them to set myself back, or to be a brat. It's simple. He cannot see it.

I wanted my own damn control.

I'm going to take charge. So I'm going to heal via the time and space method. i.e. the more time and space I can put between myself and the bad things that have happened in the past six months, the better off I will be. No more pills, no more sessions, no more emotional barometer readings, no more bullshit disguised as help in the form of constant reminders. Every time I get somewhere I feel like I can't get it out, or worse, I heal over so very slightly and then the wounds are ripped open again and I'm forced back to the beginning.

I'm not a fucking mental patient. Hell, everyone's depressed, suffers from some sort of bullshit. Everyone's questioned their value, their sanity, their ability to navigate their life without hiding behind a label. I spent twenty years quashing that stupid depression label. It's not lost on me that that label is just about as old as my previous marriage.

Which speaks volumes. Loud ones.

I did it before without pills. Cole wouldn't let me take them. Hell, I tried to kill myself and then I smartened the fuck up and got over it. Jacob wants promises that I'll never do that again. I can promise him until I'm blue in the face, hiding behind the label that says I'm not so sure. Or I can step out and be accountable and let him off the hook for my emotional well-being.

And he can stop being the second control freak I've ever loved.

Someone once said You teach people how to treat you. Well, so far I've been teaching everyone I know how to destroy me. Where my weaknesses are, what my flaws are and how to expose them. How to tweak my fragility just enough to push me as far as I can be pushed.

They like me that way. I'm not stupid. Bridget does pain beautifully. Give her just a little more, please.

Claus said he would speak to me soon and he wished me well. Because he thinks I'm coming back eventually. My doctor told me not to stop taking my medication cold-turkey. There is no other way for me. Jacob is traveling a bumpy road between amusement, incredulity, pride, anger and disappointment, as he tries valiantly to extricate himself from settling into the role as my keeper and find his place as my husband. Him trying to live hands-off is like asking him to reach up and fish me a star out of a midnight sky.

I wonder who will last longer.

This morning I told him I think I loved him more when he had absolutely no say in my life and how I lived it but I knew he was there. Then I broke into a million pieces. Because I hurt him.

He didn't even try to fix that, he just turned and walked away.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

The hardest part isn't letting go- it's holding on.

Jacob, what is this?

Let me see...oh, that's just..nothing.

It wasn't nothing. Several days ago I noticed a folded piece of paper balanced on top of the wastebasket in the den, as I finally felt enough energy to clean a little, I reached under the desk to empty the basket and my fingers fell on the paper instead. It was notes for a sermon. Jacob usually writes out his sermons or even types them up on the computer and then works at them out loud until he no longer needs the notes, but he never ever throws the notes away or deletes them. This one appeared to be complete, and new, for I had never heard it before. I sat down in the chair and read it, starting with the title "Let your Life Speak". I was in tears before I got to end, knowing full well why it ended up in the wastebasket. It was dated for October 1. Which meant that was the date he wanted to deliver that sermon, to herald the arrival of fall here in the city, turning over a new leaf, letting the actions you choose tell of your character, of your faith, of your love of God, of being who you should be, who you want to be.

Instead Jacob spent October 1 in a waiting room biting his nails and trying to hold himself together while I was in surgery fighting for my life. Our baby was gone, the kids once again with the neighbors while we inhaled the acrid antiseptic scent of life interrupted.

But it isn't nothing. It's some of the most beautiful writing he has ever done. It showed the most joy and enthusiasm for life that I have ever read from him and I didn't want it to disappear. I brought it to him and asked him, hoping he'd look at it again and decide that he could still deliver it with the same emotions.

Only he can't. Right now he wants to be protective and strong and grateful. He feels like trying to give the sermon anyway would weaken him, would expose us to raw wounds and would hurt so deeply once again. He's patient to wait. He's aware that we are catching up, and that we can only go so fast. Healing takes time. Or at least that's what he always tells me.

So with that in mind, I folded it up again and put it away, at the bottom of a drawer containing various treasures like extra skeleton keys for the bedroom doors and Ruth's stray hair ribbons, a tin car that my Dad gave to Henry and three silver baby spoons, my skating badges, extra copies of photos from Jacob's collection and emergency phone numbers for the church.

Jacob, you told me once that when you struggle to deliver a message that you learn the most. Maybe you should give this one.
Inwardly right then, I wanted to ask God why I always make Jacob cry, but I didn't. Instead I hugged him as hard as I could, not letting go. Because he needs comfort as much as anyone. Even with the wings. And the tears.

He's going to preach that sermon this morning.

Saturday, 21 October 2006


Don't think I don't pinch myself four hundred times a day for having married Jacob.

For all the arguments the bitter people give about what romance means, what it is and even if it really exists I wish they could meet Jake. I really do. Because you could never fully appreciate these entries that I write, the stories I try to tell, until you've seen him in person. The way he looks at me stabs my heart in half and then mends it again, every single time.

He's not a typical man. I couldn't have written him better than he exists now, it just isn't possible. And worse yet he goes out of his way to sweep me off my feet and I'm left with fragments of words and pieces of sentences and there's simply no way in hell it translates to this page. No way in hell.

Sometimes the grand gestures like his hot air balloon proposal and the 35-day anniversary dinner get overshadowed or must take their place alongside the sweeter simpler ones, like the middle of the night cake picnics. And I don't write about half of them when I have other things on my mind, so picture that, if you can.

Or like leaving the backyard this morning and finding our initials carved (lightly because he didn't want to hurt it) into the tree by the gate. That wasn't there yesterday. But this morning, clear as daylight:

J & B 4FR


I think he was really appreciative of the fact that when he got up this morning, his longjohns were on the radiator.

Friday, 20 October 2006

Omnia vincit amor.

Literally translated from Latin it means Love conquers all. Truer words were never spoken. It's a motto that Jacob spouted last night when I complained to him that my doctor isn't cooperative. Jake just laughed and pointed out that I may feel much perkier this week but that doesn't mean my body is back to one hundred percent yet and he's glad we're waiting a few more weeks, so that he doesn't have to worry he might set me back, or hurt me unknowingly.


All this translates into...a very grumpy Bridget.

A very grumpy unsatisfied Bridget.

Also stinging is the return to the routine of busy weekends. Jacob returned to work yesterday. He missed it. Two loves in his life and I think he needs a break from the one that complains. I'm harmless though. He knows I will wait for him with anticipation and that I'm just huffing and puffing because there isn't much else I can do about it except relish the extra rest and TLC. He did promise several treats for the family this weekend though that will help spend the time we have banked: a trip to the pumpkin patch, some bubble teas and a movie marathon.

What could be better than that?

Thursday, 19 October 2006


I may be the worlds' most beautiful and unpredictably narcoleptic zombie, but I'm not a procrastinator.

I put in a message to my doctor asking him to call and let me know if there's any real reason why I can't have sex right now (well, not RIGHT now, you know what I mean) if I feel like I can. I'm not in pain, I managed to shingle half a roof last weekend so you know, let's get a move on. It's been three weeks. He's going to laugh. I know it.

I'm telling you because sometimes I type when I wait. Jacob is at work rolling his eyes right now because I called him first and told him what I was going to do. He should be here running his ridiculously long warm fingers down the back of my neck and torturing me like he did this morning while I hit the snooze button repeatedly because it felt so nice (no, not hitting the button, his fingers on my neck).

Instead I'm left here alone eyeing the breadsticks maliciously.

In other news, because there's more to life than my sex woes (ha! NO THERE ISN'T!) Lochlan called to check in from his explorations in Hogtown, which he corrected me with after I called Toronto the 'hot potato'. Oops. When he was finished laughing at with me he said they were condo-shopping in the suburbs. He's lucky he's not going into the same winter we are here. And he knows it. After ten minutes of listening to him talk about the warmer temperatures they have down there I began to ignore him and went back to oogling the breadsticks.

Because, well, Jacob is still at work. Bedtime is two hours away for the kids and my doctor is going to make me suffer. I know it.


Bridget 101.

Is that a class in learning Bridget? Are you kidding? It would take too long and would have to be graded on a curve, because no one could hope to pass. Like Quantum Physics. Or Probability and Statistics.

Is it a movie? Nope, I wouldn't call it something that dull. I would pick something like I Know What You Did Twenty-three Summers Ago. Or....The Notebook. Oh wait, that one's taken.

Is it the first version of my clone? Just in time. We have a ton of appointments today and seem to be home for mere minutes at a stretch. But that would be a little creepy and frankly I'm not sharing Jacob with anyone, even myself (har), so no.

I wish I had a drumroll.

101 is...

...my weight.

Yes! Everyone do a little cheer. The mighty little one has finally hit the magic number. I'm going to try and add at least 9 more. I'm getting lots of help from the people at Cadbury, who in conjunction with my favorite grocery store, have conspired to fatten me up like a Christmas Turkey by putting all the Halloween candy on sale and then putting it right! in front! of where! the carts are!

And Bridget can't resist candy. Ever.

And now hopefully the strangely fascinating comments about me possibly only weighing half of what Jacob weighs will stop. Because that was weird. And besides, he has measured in at 187 so fuck off guys. I never hit 93.5 and hopefully I never will.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Fairest one of all.

In the interest of playing fair and making up for my last few posts, I'm going to point out my own embarrassments, the little idiosyncratic habits or displays of my own shortcomings. Besides, Jacob is such a good sport about it. Some days I think he's simply happy to be breaking the minister mold-how many ministers do you read about who even shower with their wife, or get nightly lap dances, let alone rip off her panties every chance they get?

I didn't think so.

So...Bridget's shameful habits...



(whistles and looks at the sky)

Okay, I give. Besides stealing the icing out of every Oreo and eating all the chocolate that crosses my path, I'll cop to the following:

    * I bite pencils. Not all of them, only the yellow ones with the gold-colored collar that surrounds the eraser. And I only bite the collar. It'll give you an electrical shock if you do it just right. Which is a little thrill in itself. All the pencils in this house have squished tops with bite marks.

    * The inappropriate fondling. I really am awful. Jacob is always fishing my hands out of places they don't belong, out from under his shirttails, out of his pockets, pulling my fingers out of his hair, or his ears. In public. At home I'm worse. I'm a toucher, I make no apologies. On second thought, it's his fault. He's too adorable to resist.

    * I'm a human noisemaker. If I'm not playing music and talking a million miles an hour, I've got a range of gasps and hums and various little one or two syllable exclamations that round out my crazy facial expressions. The noises never stop. I don't hear them, I feel them. And worse yet, sex is simply the greatest outlet for all these noises to come out all at once. Seriously. I can't explain it. We can be completely melted into each other and all these little orgasmic noises will come out of my mouth and Jacob will start to laugh because he can't help it. He says I sound like a mogwai. Which would mean that for all those people wanting to know what it's like to sleep with me? Well, apparently it's like being in a bad eighties horror movie.

Right. I did say I was perfect. Yes, I think I said that maybe more than once. I must rethink that. Because the Oreo thing, well that's just wrong.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Bullets over Tuesday.

    * Comments are off, I think I'll just leave them that way. I get a ton of email but very precious few comments. Is that normal in the blogging world?

    * I'm really not sure what it is about Switchfoot but I really really love them. I think this song is going to be as big for them as Dare you to Move was. It's still my ringtone. Yes, me. The Tool girl.

    * I have a second TV show. I know I said I only ever watch Lost but I've added What About Brian? to my weekly television watching. It's really well done and I look forward to next week every time.

    * Mittens. What the hell? Every thumb has a hole in it. Every single one. I think I need to have some words with my Grandmother. She's my mitten dealer. First ones free...actually all of them are free so I probably shouldn't complain. And now I know why she taught me to sew. And knit. So I can fix her sloppy work. Oh I'm kidding. She's 90, I'm thrilled she still makes my mittens. Even though the kids have cold thumbs.

    * You know you married the right man when you can scrape all the icing off the inside of an Oreo with your teeth and pass him the now-blank, slightly moist wafers and he eats them, without even blinking. Please remember, this is the same man who PEES ON ME in the shower. And not in a freaky, fetish-y kind of way, but in a frat-boy, practical joke kind of way. I think he just likes to hear me scream in terror. Or laughter. It's a mix of both, really.

Oh, he's going to kill me now.

Monday, 16 October 2006


Yesterday we worked from lunchtime until well after dinner in an effort while the weather is still above freezing to fix the roof on the garage. I was afraid to go up at first, and yet I wound up on the roof longer than Jake, because he didn't have the time or the patience to hold the ladder much while I got on and off it too many times. He brought up two hammers and everything else we needed and we did it together. I had black smears on my converse all-stars, black smears on my forehead and I ruined my workgloves. I had to wash our clothes twice, the second time in pure bleach to get rid of the dirt.

But the garage is done, and this morning it started to rain, a deluge this area rarely sees. It's supposed to rain right through this week, stopping only on Friday afternoon. So we're very sore today from all the hammering but we also slept satisfied last night because that ancient garage is once again water-tight. I think it was the most work we've done together on the house.

Today we're nursing our stiff and aching shoulders and hands and headed to therapy shortly after lunch. Where Jacob can talk about my princess complex and how difficult I am sexually and I can attempt to poke holes in his unyielding common sense. His father-figure issues with me, his unwillingness to let me lead even when I really really feel I can.

Two steps forward, one step back. One girl in her bright red raincoat turns and smiles back at you, because despite the mess, despite the old house and the bad memories and the never-ending bills and the fights and the tears of frustration, she is really really happy.

And it shows.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

They broke the mold.

Oh internet, I'm blushing. And even though I don't write for you, so much as I write for me, there's something I need to address. Because inside everyone of you is a sexual being just dying to break loose. Or you're all as perverted as I am and I think I love you even more now.

I think I get more emails about the lapdances than about anything else. It could be a record for a minister's wife. Maybe someday I can have a second career. I can even bring my own lights now, because yes, some nights are so spectacular he actually went out and bought a strobe light. (For the bedroom. Oh my God, yes. Because I'm a total freak and he loves it.)

I'm kidding. I wouldn't do it for anyone but Jake.

While I'm not up for any lapdances at present, they're still much looked forward too by Jacob. I'm hoping in another month to get back on the proverbial horse.

Yes, I did just say that. (snurfle.)

In the meantime, I thought I'd start with the music I like best. Or maybe the music we like best.

Jacob's favorite song for me to dance to is Forty six and 2 by tool.

Mine is still Pour some sugar on me. Who knew Def Leppard would come in so handy?

Then there's more Tool-rosetta stoned, the pot, stinkfist, and Sober. Be warned, if you use Tool you're going to be there for a while, the songs are long. Everything else goes on repeat or shuffle until you've achieved your goal.

Really once you get into the music you could dance to anything. This is just what works best for me (ahem, I mean us). It helps if you love the songs anyway and I like the ones that I can grind to, so slowly. You have to be in the mood. You really do. You can't phone it in. That's not fair. Give it everything you've got and he'll be left patting himself on the back that he has you all to himself. When he's done with you, that is.

Cute lingerie helps. Although it doesn't matter what you wear, find out what his fetishes are. You have to wear shoes. Very high heels. Hooker shoes. Or boots, if he likes those. If you have long hair you can skip tops. Bottoms are fun because learning to gracefully get out of them is an art form. If he lets you take them off at all. I've lost several pairs of underwear because Jake just couldn't wait. Or dance stark naked. That's fine too. Be creative or be brave, it's your party.

Now get down all over him. Wind out on his lap. Move like you're halfway there without him and you want him to catch up. Work everything and make him want you. Bend your knees. Go all out, baby.

And don't forget, he's not allowed to touch you until at least ten minutes has elapsed. If he can make it that long. Jake tops out around four, and he won't apologize for that. Sometimes I push away or pin his hands, sometimes I give it up. It depends on the mood of that night. You can use your own judgement as to how long you'll hold out on him.

I hope this helps. I've had a lot of sheepish emails recently asking for tips, making queries. Please, I tell people this every day. Life is too short to be shy, or modest even. You're in the privacy of your own home, with the one you love. If you can't let go a little under those circumstances then you most definitely need to learn how to. It's oh so worth it.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun with it. Because it's a really outstanding way to end (or begin) an evening. Trust me.

No, on second thought trust Jake.

Saturday, 14 October 2006


When it's been a long week and the days have gone cold, your emotional pockets come up empty at last so you resort to finding your favorite comforts to help carry you through. Lately I swing from the spectrum of semi-happy-barely-lucid-pretty zombie to a walking nervous breakdown and I'm struggling to maintain the status-quo within my own skull, liquefied into butter by the never ending assault of blows to my soul. Outwardly I'm doing pretty well, I think.

Jacob feels much the same, only he's a little better at the bounce back. He's a little bit stretchier, and a lot more resilient. He has God to lean on in a much more resultive action. He's always been strong. Stronger. Mostly, anyhow. Except when he's not, when he gets pushed too far. He needs comfort too.

Late last night he ran a hot bath for me. He put in a bath bomb and then dimmed the lights and told me to relax and enjoy it. He came back ten minutes later to find me sitting in the clawfoot tub with my head on my knees, frozen in thought and exhaustion, practically asleep.

Are you alright, princess?

No, I want you to come in, too. And relax with me

Instead of saying anything else he pushed off his jeans and peeled off his sweater and then the water rose precariously high as he slid into the tub behind me, extending his long legs around me, his arms pulling me back so I could lean against him. He turned the hot water back on with his toes and filled the tub as high as he dared and then turned it off again and pushed me back up. Then he washed my hair for me, weakening my resolve to be as strong as he can be. He makes it easy for me to step down and allow him to run things, to look after everything. It's hard knowing that if I'm too tired to move that he will move me. He washed my shoulders and knees gently and then we decided to switch to the shower. He took me into his arms and shielded the spray from my face and I put my head down to rest on his chest while he tried to get clean.He smiled down at me and I closed my eyes.

Bridget, we have to get a pumpkin.

I am a pumpkin, Jacob. I used to be a princess and then midnight came and I turned back into a pumpkin.

I don't see any pumpkins here in the shower, just my princess and she's starkers.

Look really hard. My skin has an orange tinge.

I always kind of liked that about you.

Then he wrapped towels around both of us and took my hand, leading me into the bedroom and he took the towel while I crawled into bed and in a minute he was back. He turned out the lights and snuggled me into my place and then we lay there and whispered to each other for a few minutes. I'm sure I did fall asleep midsentence, but I think he was right behind me. Some nights are like that.

I felt a lot better this morning though. A girl should have a bath like that every night.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Maximum Glide*.

(* a group word play challenge from blogger Odd Muse via Outburst, in which you have to weave a story using a selection of key words.)

It was inevitable, living here.

Winter has officially arrived, skidding into the lineup fresh off a long vacation, still sipping a margarita and attempting to hastily cover her suntanned flesh via distraction, unfolding her wings to unleash a hundred mile an hour prairie gale that wound through the trees last night and tore exactly half of the shingles off the garage, right down to the bare wood.

I suppose I should suck it up and be nice, after all, if I fight it it's only worse for me. For winter is a fickle bitch in that she simply doesn't care to win any popularity contests. She just shows up and parties for the next six months while we attempt to shield ourselves from her elements and enjoy life in between the continuity of never ending assaults, in the form of white-outs and blizzards.

In any event, the reintroduction of the plunging temperatures and fluffy white stuff can mean only one thing to those of us who have learned to harness the power of the icy cold north for good.

It's time to wax the snowboards.

Thursday, 12 October 2006


    I hate the way you look at me
    As if I was broken
    And the perfection of my frailty
    Has been questioned and broken

Here's the part where I cook up a crow and eat the whole thing, and then stand on my life's stage and clear my throat rather hesitantly before speaking to the crowd. The part where I make all apologies. Not to myself or to you, but to Jacob, who puts up with so much of my bullshit I think the next version of him will come with a shovel included.

I fell apart completely in our therapy this afternoon. I couldn't catch my breath, I couldn't keep myself together at all. I had a total and utter meltdown in the therapists office to the point where Jacob and the doctor began discussing what would happen next if I didn't come up for air.

He had pointed out my contradictions in saying I would never leave him and then my wondering out loud if I should leave him. He told me I needed to stay. He explained that the meals were because I don't eat. The weight checks are again, because I don't eat. The pills, because we had all previously agreed that I only take them when Jake gives them to me. The clothes and bedtimes, because I've been so sick, and I just had surgery, I'm supposed to rest more. I need to stay warmer, I'm too thin to be warm. The email, because it was for a nursery Christmas party that I had helped with last year and he figured all the babies might upset me. I hear half of everything he tells me and I won't wear the hearing aids because they remind of a day in which I didn't think I could get any happier, and he wants me to wear them and hear everything so that this doesn't happen. The Christmas trip? The same one he's been talking about since June. The one that I forgot about. On the inside I had lost it completely. All this was to help me. On the outside? Nothing. Why does he still love me anyways?

Two hours into it he just stopped, not knowing what to do next. He sat on his knees in front of my chair and held my hands and implored me to say something, anything and I opened my mouth and no sound came out. But then the tears started and I was so angry at myself this time that I tried again, just as he stood up and shook his head at our counselor, who probably had the hospital on standby at this point, ready to come and get me and shoot me with a needle in the arm full of something wonderful and let me sleep.

This time the sound was there.

I'm sorry, Jake.

Dammit, I didn't want to whisper it so I said it again, louder.

I'm sorry, Jake.

He heard me this time. He turned around and grabbed me right up out of the chair. Aside from holding hands as we rushed through the wind on the icy, snowy sidewalks to get to our appointment, it's probably been 24 hours since we touched each other. Far too long in our universe. He held me fiercely. Like if he let go of me that would be it.

I'm sorry too.

Don't be, you did nothing wrong. I jumped the gun. I'm stupid.

No, you're not. You just finally let the stress out.

I don't want to do this with you. This is too frightening.

Tell me about it.

We can't keep fighting like this.

I'd rather fight with you then get along with anyone else.

Jacob, that's a line from a movie.

An effective one, though, right?


So are we okay?

I don't know, are we? Do you hate me?

Bridget, I love you the most when you need me the most, when you try really hard not to be loved at all. I don't know why, I just do.

What movie is that from?

It's not. It's just the way things are.

Oh. Jacob?

What, beautiful?

I love you. I think we'll be okay.

I love you too. Can the next time we argue be just about leaving the toilet seat up or down, please?

You got it.

But we're both wondering if we'll ever learn to get along really well. For soulmates we spend a heck of a lot of time arguing with each other. Never over the little things though. Maybe that means something.

Too big for his Bridget.

I'm angry. And it's just going to fly right out. Because I can't keep it in.

Based on Ben's penchant for continuing to comment on my journal, Jacob asked if I would just turn off the comments, because he doesn't like it. So I did.

Then he asked me to stop publishing my journal online. Which I briefly considered for a whole minute too much before wondering why in the hell I was considering his request at all.

I make no demands of him. None at all, except that he be kind.

And yet, the deluge has begun. He's been asking me to change my clothes, or telling me we should go to bed early (and not in the fun way, in the sleep way. Fun is still not allowed as per doctor's orders), and making me food I didn't ask for. Not cake, actual meals. He polices my moods, my weight, my pills and my words. He's been nitpicking my journal after telling me he wasn't checking it much because it makes him sad when I pour on the feelings to a hard-edged machine instead of to him. He's been pressuring me to return to couples therapy. He's been talking about taking us away for Christmas, in spite of my hard and fast rules about airports and major holidays. He's taking control. Only I didn't ask him to do that.

His ego has landed and he's forgetting that marriage is a partnership, not his kingdom to rule. But most importantly he's been forgetting that I just fell out of a marriage in which not only did I get to make no decisions but I was told what to do and how to do it, much like a child, which is sick and fucked up and I'm not doing that again. He put himself in charge because I have to be protected. What the fuck ever.

He had the nerve to reply to an email I received asking if I wanted to help organize a Christmas thing. He responded as me, and then didn't tell me. Jacob's savvy enough to delete emails but apparently not clever enough to empty the trash folder. I found them yesterday by accident. That was my final straw.

And I started a war. A spectacular leveling of my composure that he won't forget any time soon.

I lost it all over him. I left him stunned, speechless, and angry too.

The smallest people in the world have the biggest, hardest to rouse tempers you haven't seen the worst of. He got all of it, all at once. I told him if he wanted to take Cole's place then he was forgetting the most effective part of control. To rape your wife each night, to hurt her in every way that can't be seen because she can't turn to anyone after that kind of love. And that he was precious few actions away from being just like Cole. How dare he level all this unreasonableness at me now? What in hell prompted him to drop all these bombs at once and why would I ever consider living life by rewinding every bad thing I ever went through with Cole and doing it again? Didn't he remember how precariously I existed before? Didn't he remember how living under someone's control crushed my spirit and ruined my life? What in the hell could change overnight for him like that to make him behave so much like everything he told me he stood against?

He had very little in the way of answers for me. His nightmares, the ones of me leaving him. After all this, like I would walk away from him. He says my only answer when he asked was that I said I guess it wasn't what I really wanted after all. I changed my mind in his dream and he's terrified. So afraid that he isn't thinking straight.

How can you be held accountable for something you say in a nightmare you didn't even have?

The same way you can be held accountable for taking men you love so much and somehow turning them into stone.

I don't even know how I do it. But I do it and it's done and I don't know what to do with him now. And he doesn't believe that I love him, not nearly as much as I ever loved Cole, without seeing the whole love/hate thing anymore that I can't be held responsible for. It wasn't right, it wasn't healthy and it wasn't anything I had any control over. Why can't he see that all of the sudden? What in the hell is he thinking? Why is he doing this? How could he think that I don't love him. That alone puts me to the floor.

Doubts for me are like loaded guns for everyone else. Dangerous. They go off and people get hurt and right now the fact that Jake, of all people is messing with my head scares the fuck out of me in the worst way. Because I'm not in a good place anymore in my head. And when this place is all I see I run. I self-destruct.

I keep having thoughts that I should be packing. That I can just give him this house and take the kids and get away from him. That he's not helping right now and I can't deal with that. That maybe Ben and Loch were right and I'm no better off even though Jacob maybe just has a less violent, more charismatic method of propelling my life. That he wanted to control me just as much as Cole did, that it was a competition that had nothing to do with me, it was a contest to see who was the stronger man, and I was simply the trophy. What is the prize? Why, sex with Bridget. Supposedly the best thing you'll ever experience in your entire life. Whatever.

Only I didn't think Jacob was that shallow. That sick. He doesn't play with my emotions. But he does. And he isn't perfect and yet he waited so long to show his true self to me I don't even recognize him today. And his reply to that?

Bridget, don't be crazy.
Not the smartest thing to say to a heavily medicated, grieving, freaked out fucking suicidal fragile shred of humanity, is it? I didn't think it was either. But you know what? He can fucking read about it and we'll wait out our afternoon appointment with the therapist in dead fucking silence.

Oh, I'll defer to you, Jacob, I'll go back to being that submissive girl who can't find her own voice. I can be that girl for you if that's what you want. I promise you won't like it very much though. You want me to look pretty and rock your world every night and not speak in public, oh, I can do that, baby.

I had no idea it would hurt so fucking much to fight with him. It hurts. I can't even describe how badly.

And Jake can read his very first public emasculation because he pissed off the wrong girl. I'm not who I was six months ago. But he didn't know that until now. Neither did I.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006


    How I wish, how I wish you were here.
    We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have you found? The same old fears.
    Wish you were here.

I knew this day was coming for a while. He tried to make it a soft landing, a near impossibility under the circumstances.

Loch is moving away.

He's only been here for almost three years, Cole hired him to come out and help oversee a big project and Loch did the bulk of the traveling within Canada, doing such a great job he went and got a better one, in Toronto. He leaves on November 9. He'll only be coming back out this way for personal travel which means we probably won't see him more than a few times a year from now on, if that. I won't count on it.

My god, I'm going to miss him so. He's amazing. Steadfast and caring and still highly opinionated. Everyone listens to Loch. He's a lot like Jake.

Which makes sense, because Loch was my first real boyfriend. Not as weird as it seems, believe me. We dated when I was possibly too young. He took me to the drive-in one September before it closed for the season and took my virginity in the backseat of his father's truck. He made it good, so good. That actually isn't when it happened, that's just what we tell people who ask. We couldn't make things work vertically though. It's more complicated than what I can say, actually.

He told me I was difficult to read and impossible to satisfy, excuses that I wasn't sophisticated enough at the time to even comprehend, so I chose to simply believe them, not seeing that he didn't mean a word of it. I told him there was only room for one beauty queen in a relationship and besides, he wanted to party and I got in the way, age-wise. He was nineteen to my barely fifteen. I think he just wanted to sleep with as many girls as he possibly could during his senior year. I didn't like that much, so I retaliated and slept with the captain of the rugby team, a forgettable night that I'd take back if I could. Loch disapproved mightily and stepped back into my love life in a different light, fixing me up with Cole, one of his best friends. He'd serve to regret that forever and felt responsible for a lot of what happened, even though I assured him none of it was ever his fault. He just never felt comfortable stepping in closer than he already had after Cole and I got married. Jacob went on ahead and waded right in when he met me, with Loch's blessing.

Which was why Loch was one of my biggest cheerleaders when Jacob and I got together at last. He wanted me out from under Cole's thumb once and for all and he and Jacob have always seen eye to eye, a matched moral compass which allowed them to become friends and also cleared the path for Ben to have room to step in as Cole's new best friend.

Everyone picked their corners early on.

Loch has also at once encouraged us to move on with our lives and tried to caution us objectively on our plans. Jacob found a reluctant comfort in knowing that Loch had 'been there, done Bridget' so he never looked at me quite the way some of my other friends did.

Loch's girlfriend is thrilled they are moving. She never liked me. And even though I can't fault her for that, I didn't understand it either. He said he was lucky, he got to experience me with a clean slate. Jacob gets me with the twenty years of Cole's baggage weighing me down. But Loch has told him when the spell is broken it's going to be a beautiful thing and surprisingly Jacob actually didn't punch him in the head. He opted to take it as a backhanded compliment. What else are you supposed to do with that sort of knowledge, from one of your best friends in the whole world?

Life is a funny thing. Especially mine.

I can't explain why Loch and I made such a miserable couple but could be such easy friends. Maybe it's the lack of expectations, the take it or leave it promises, the absence of pressure to go to the next stage. It was the reverse of my relationship with Jacob, going from nothing, zero pressure to all the crushing weight of the world, every expectation upon us to make it through the adjustment period intact, and mark the days that pass as milestones on a new path together. Jake and I are fighting to be together which is always better than fighting to be apart.

Maybe it was the way life was supposed to happen. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am, however, hesitant to let go of any more friends. They're becoming like rare flowers in the garden of Eden, and I'm trying to propagate the few that remain. The remarkable ones are so fleeting and I'm loathe to think too hard about that inevitable conclusion or I might falter and miss them too much to be open to the new ones.

I'm going to miss him. He keeps making me empty promises and I know what he's doing. But it's okay. I'm a big girl now, and I'll be fine. Loch made me make him one promise. To put him on speed dial and call him if anything ever goes wrong. If I ever need him. To not keep secrets when it comes to my happiness or my safety. That's one promise I can keep for him this time.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Drive-by movie chitchat.

Any man who sells his soul for love has the power to change the world.

That line gives me the shivers.

Critics be damned. I'll hype it myself. Why? Two words. Nick Cage. February 16th is a heck of a long wait though. There's a laundry list of amazing movies coming between now and then, noteably, The Reaping, The Fountain and Babel. I'm a movie nut, I love them all, even the really awful ones (and I mean very very weird) have something to offer, even it's just an unexpected laugh or a couple hours' worth of escape time, I couldn't think of a better way to spend an evening, an afternoon and even sometimes a morning.

Ghost Rider looks cool, okay? Stop laughing.

Rare mommyblogging.

My son has a way of brightening an otherwise mundane conversation because like me, he misappropriates words that will forever be used in a new context in our family. Unlike me, his hearing has been tested and it's fine. He just shares Cole's attention span issues as well as Jacob's joie de vivre. He misses details. He's five.

So a smattering of our favorite Henryisms seems like a comforting post for a cold early Tuesday morn.

1) When our plane landed Henry asked the flight attendant if we had finally reached "the promise" of Nova Scotia. It took me forever to figure out that he meant province. Promise indeed.

2) The Harry Nilsson song Coconut starts out "she put the lime in the coconuts". Henry likes his version better: "Lying in the coconuts".

3) When I play a scary or funny movie trailer off the Apple website for his benefit, Henry always asks me if I can make it "full-scream". (Get it? Full screen?)

4) Whenever he falls, or bumps himself or hurts himself somehow, he'll yell out "I'm Okay!" to whoever is nearby. Thanks for the reassurance, little man.

5) Those cool weapons in Star Wars? Knife-savers.

Sometimes you just want them to stay little forever. Today is like that.

    I'm left alone on the bus with my
    head on the ground,
    In hopes that I'm found by you
    this time around
    The sun will rise soon and tackle the moon
    Chasing it still in the sky
    All that I've got is tonight
    Excuses and reasons, and now it is the season
    For all that I never got right
    All that I've got is tonight


Monday, 9 October 2006

Dish dish revolution.

I'm having issues. My router won't play nice with my modem and therefore I've been dropping all day and can't stay online long enough to do much of anything. A good day to kick it oldschool with Open Office for writing instead. In other words, I got a lot of work done.

It's Thanksgiving here too, which means everyone gets to sit around and lament their bellies growing from the big supper I fed them. Me? I didn't get to sit around. Instead I put on my MP3 player and started the dishes, grooving out to my tunes and shaking my ass at the kitchen sink. Unbeknownst to me, Jacob watched me for a long time, and when I was done and I turned off the music he said we are so buying Dance Dance Revolution.


Sunday, 8 October 2006

In between dreams.

Did I mention we're sleeping at last?

I had the weirdest dream ever last night. I'm going to blame the new pills and the X-men movie marathon.

In my dream the wind was blowing so hard I could barely stand up. The sky was ominous. Jacob had this bucket and he kept shoving it toward me and yelling at me.

Fill the bucket, Bridget! Put all your hopes inside and then it can't blow away! I'll help!

I kept pushing the bucket away. I was trying to explain that my hopes weren't something I could place in a bucket. You can't see them...you can only think about them. If wishes were stones I wouldn't be able to lift my feet from the ground.

But he couldn't hear me. He wouldn't listen to me anyway. He was so adamant. He just kept pleading with me to do it, desperation soaking his voice, his eyes glassed over in terror.

I woke up in a cold sweat. I woke him up and I looked at him and I wanted him to see it too, I had to make him understand it. Why I will never know.

Just because you can't see it doesn't mean I don't have it, Jacob.

And he knew what I was talking about.

Bridget, hopes are what move us forward. Faith is what we subsist on, and hope is the promise of better things to come. I know you have both or you wouldn't be here with me. Now go back to sleep, beautiful.

He snuggled me into his arms, and yet I was awake for the rest of the night.

How did he know what I meant?

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Heal over.

A song that Ms.D pointed me to made me come up for air. She knows me like a kindred spirit would. Thank you for being my friend.

    And I don't wanna hear you tell yourself
    That these feelings are in the past
    You know it doesn't mean they're off the shelf
    Because pain's built to last
    Everybody sails alone
    But we can travel side by side
    Even if you fail
    You know that no one really minds
    Come over here lady

This has been a long week. Bailey left, friends faded gracefully into the background and the kids went to bed earlier than usual, exhausted from school and the remnants of the cold we shared and all the extra people keeping them busier than they're used to.

Jacob and I finally had a chance to address our grief. Quietly, privately and with determination. We've been talking late into the nights when everyone is asleep. It's good. I was scared that he wouldn't want to talk about the baby or talk about the future even but he's opened up and is healing alongside me. It really took the wind out of his sails. Everything happened so fast he didn't get a chance to keep up and so he put it in a box.

That is something I would do. Only this time I took my cues from his usual reactions and I kept it open, I didn't fight it and I seemed to come out in a better place, emotionally. He says I held us up this time.

Tiny, fragile miss Bridget might be stronger than she thinks she is, after all this time.

Yay me.

So we're going to not close the door, even with the dismal numbers facing us. We're going to talk about it a year from now and see what we think, what we feel and decide then if we want to take the leap of faith again or not. If we do or if we don't it's okay.

And I got a weird little thrill running down my spine when I wrote that just now. A year from now. I can't imagine what life will be like a year from now. We're just at the very start, after all.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Therapy landmines.

Progress! Wow!

I'm getting somewhere, folks. For the very first time this afternoon in therapy, I didn't make excuses for Cole's sick brand of love. I said it out loud. It was a huge breakthrough. I've been blaming me for him for everything and something snapped today.

So I'll say it out loud again. Then I'm going to rip it into tiny pieces and maybe eat it.

Cole was a sexual sadist.

There. I said it twice. I can own it now. This is huge. Say it out loud, baby.

Now maybe I can work past it. At last. I'm so happy. Jacob is...completely heartbroken again. He knows what those words mean. I didn't before today. I didn't know it had a name.

Third time's the charm.

Excuse me while the space cowgirl puts some memories out there. Just to make some room inside her head for something new and good.

    Constant overstimulation numbs me
    But I wouldnt want you
    Any other way.
    Just, not enough.
    I need more.
    Nothing seems to satisfy.
    I said, I dont want it.
    I just need it.
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.

Bridget, there are two directions you can go with this. One will make things better and one will make things worse.

This in response to nothing more than my eyes traveling above Jacob's head while he was speaking this morning and coming to rest on a 1/4 bottle of Appleton rum sitting on the top of the cupboard in the kitchen mocking me like a schoolyard bully. Because someone left it there. Maybe as a test.

I went for a chair and climbed it. He took me off the chair and put it back.

I got the chair again and he shook his head and crossed his arms. A bad sign.

I reached the bottle while he frustratingly yelled at me to get off the damn chair.

And I opened it.

I poured it down the drain.

And put the bottle with the recycling. And I smiled like the brat that I am.

When I looked at him again he was grinning from ear to ear. While I briefly noted in sadness that his relief was written all over his face. Trust is so hard to come by with certain subjects. But Jacob is all gung-ho to use our losses now as a jumping off point, an emotional trampoline to a higher level of spiritual grace. It could be worse, at least he isn't plotting to run away again.

I had an email question that intrigued me greatly the other day that made me think of running. The last time Jacob ran off he was gone for six weeks, just after Christmas last year. That was the turning point for me. It was when I realized that I missed him far too much and that I couldn't keep this up forever. I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to be with Cole anymore. Even if Jake never wanted to be with me, he showed me how miserable and toxic my marriage was, he had shown me without words how unbelievably abusive Cole was. It was also when I recognized Jacob's proclivity to run when things became difficult.

(The email question was asking when I finally changed my mind and stopped trying to save my marriage. Where the proverbial turning point lay. Not the easiest question I've ever had. I get a lot of questions, which I try to quietly work into the entries without being so blunt. Sometimes it's harder than it looks. And my mind is really fucked up right now, so bear with me.)

My feelings were confirmed when Loch called to tell me that he had heard from Jake and that Jake was making his way home at last. He had been climbing Kangtega (Hello! Adrenaline junkie). I was so excited he was coming home I couldn't contain myself, never having reacted like this before, and he's been on a lot of long exotic faraway trips. That night at dinner, Cole even brought it up, in the smug fashion he used whenever he talked to me about Jacob.

Chris told me Jake would be back on Friday.

I know, Loch called me.

Well, that's good news for you, Bridget.

I hope he had a good time.

Why was I playing it cool again? Oh yes. To save myself. The rest of the week passed in a flurry, it snowed a lot, Cole worked a lot and I got regular updates via Chris and Loch on Jacob's progress out of Nepal.

Early Friday morning Jacob called. He was waiting for his connecting flight home, was I going to be here all day because he was going to get in mid afternoon? Of course I would be.

Friday afternoon the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there he was.

Jake. Covered with snow. A sugar-frosted treat for my eyes. Looking much the worse for wear. Long beard, longer hair. Wild eyes. Grinning from ear to ear. He smelled like a wet dog, and he was carrying two backpacks. He threw them down and grabbed me right off my feet, squeezing me hard in his arms.

Oh my god, princess, I missed you.
I was crying. I couldn't speak. He pulled back and put his freezing cold hands on my ears and looked at me, laughing.

So this means you missed me?
I nodded.

He laughed out loud and picked me up to twirl me around again. It gave me time to pull myself together.

I'm so glad you're back, Jake.



Awesome. I'm going home to shower and unpack. I have a ton of laundry and I've got presents for you guys. When's a good time to come back?

Come for dinner.

Want to check with Cole?

No, just come.

Check, Bridge.

Okay. Second.

I went and phoned Cole at work. He laughed and told me he was working late but to go ahead. He said he'd make up for lost time with me tonight. Nice. I know what that meant. Go play with your boyfriend, Bridget, you can pay the price for it later on. I ignored the dread he left me with.

He's not coming, so it's just us four.

Okay. What can I bring?

You, and not the wet dog smell.

What? Oh, okay. Wait til I tell you. Fourteen hours on a bus. FOURTEEN! With goats. Or maybe I was hallucinating. Wait until you see the pictures I took for you.

Go and clean up.

He kissed my cheek.

Okay. I love you, Bridge.

I love you too. See you soon.

Then I closed the door and thought WTF? DID I JUST TELL HIM I LOVED HIM like it was something I do every day? My friend...who's married. But I'm married. Hell, we don't have any shame anymore. We have said it before. Just not out of the blue like that.

Oh wow. What am I doing? But damn, I have to make dinner now. He must be starving.

When he came back two hours later he was cleanshaven and smelled really good. He had presents for us. He was so happy and full of stories to tell. The kids climbed all over him.

Thankfully I didn't have to think about what to say to him over dinner. He stuck his face in his plate and pretty much shovelled until the food was gone. Then I got up and made him up a second plate and he ate that too. He never took his eyes off me.

Then he pushed back from the table and took a sip of his wine.

I meant it, Bridget.

I gasped, and then I jumped in with both feet.

So did I, Jake.

So why are we doing this?

Jacob, you just got here. You've been gone for weeks.

And I thought about you every minute of every day. Are you okay?

Does it matter? You weren't here.

He sat up and leaned across the table. He wasn't smiling anymore.

Did he hurt you while I was gone? Because I will kill him.

Don't talk like that Jacob.

Fine, I won't kill him, but I'll get you guys away from him.

Stop it.

I'll stop when you come with me.

I thought you might come back with a fresh outlook.

Yeah, the outlook was realizing that you should be with me.

He grinned, enjoying crossing lines as usual.

I couldn't...even if I wanted to. Besides, you're married.

He frowned.

Bridget, I did come back with a fresh outlook. I want you to leave him and I'm going to do everything in my power to see that you do. Because you and the kids need to be safe. You're not safe here.

I was safe enough for you to leave for weeks on end.

Of course you're safe when I leave town.

So now you're claiming responsibility for Cole's behavior?

That's not what I meant. What I mean is when I'm not around things level out for you guys.

Right. So it's my fault.

No. Maybe. I don't know. But I look at you and you're not happy with him.

No, I'm not.

Tell me why not.

Because I married the wrong man.

So let's fix it.

I'm afraid.

Of what? Change?

I'm afraid of Cole.

He cornered me by the kitchen sink and held my face, pulling it right into his. He stopped when his lips touched mine and he didn't move, he didn't kiss me. He just stared at me. I finally pushed him away and turned my head to one side so he wouldn't see me cry but it was too late.

Dear god, Bridget, bring the kids and just come with me. I'll buy a bigger house. Please.
I whispered. I can't.

I want to know what he does to you that makes you so afraid.

Oh no. No, you don't.

I need you to tell me so I can help you, Bridget, please!

I didn't tell him. I still haven't told him. Cole is lucky he's dead.

But something had changed in Jake. He didn't let it go this time. I think ten years of having the same conversation over and over again had left him weary, drained, fed-up. Unwilling to dance around it any more.

Bridget, all I did on this trip was think. And I'm going to give you until Easter. When Easter comes, I'm going to ask you one last time to come with me. I'm going to go sort things out with (ex-wife). So you have until then to sort out your feelings or raise up your courage or figure out how to tell me to fuck off. Until then, I'll be around if you need me but princess, I can't do this anymore. It's time to decide whether you want to be happy or whether you're just going to wait for him to destroy you. I can't stay around and watch that happen. It's killing me too.

If he had told me he had already asked his wife for a divorce I might have gone with him that same night but for some reason he didn't tell me. Oddly he didn't want to add to the pressure he had put on me to do something. Anything, as long as I didn't continue down this slippery slope with Cole. But he didn't tell me. Instead Jacob went home that night after giving me a long hug and not saying any more than he already had.

And me? I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. All I did was watch him when we were together and bide my time with Cole until that day in April. Three days after Easter Sunday when Jacob came over and asked me to go with him, and I did.

He says that campaign number three was a success. Because now I'm his. He swears it was the wet dog smell that won me over. I beg to differ.

Thursday, 5 October 2006

This is my...space.

Just wanted to take a brief opportunity to point out that I don't have accounts at myspace, friendster, or any other place on the web. I post here ONLY, I use saltwaterprincess for my gmail account and there are a whole twenty blogs out there that I visit regularly and try to comment every now and again so that's me. Otherwise I'm not 'on' the web. No flickr, no photobucket, no forums, bulletin boards or other websites contain my words or images, that I endorse.

I'm not as twenty-first century as most people.

I have little time for the Internet. I don't do celebrity gossip, I don't read the headlines much, and I rarely shop anymore even, preferring instead to read the latest entries of a select world-class league of bloggers that I found by accident or design and the rest? I leave it.

Okay there's the addiction to iTunes. Who can blame me?

I noticed that when people were doing searches for saltwater princess they were being taken to some strange places. And I just didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Or see a picture and think it was me, or Jake. Or one of my kids. I don't put our pictures up and neither will anyone else. I put one up once and promptly took it down. I'm a very private person in real life, contrary to the openness with which I write my entries. I do realize that the Internet is not so private in the end. People have words stolen, ideas pilfered and identities assumed and I hope never to be a victim but really all I can do is keep writing, in my little corner, never venturing too far.

Because I like it this way. It's a simple blog with a simple premise. Words, thoughts and feelings from me. No more but no less either. An easy promise for me to keep, and all you have to do is come and read. And I thank you for that.

Songs from Jacob.

Cold dark mornings sometimes bring rather melancholy singing from the karaoke man. Jacob goes down to the kitchen first to start the coffee and feed the cat while I find clothes and rouse the children. When I arrived into the now brightly lit and yummy smelling room he was softly clinking plates and singing a song by Creed. Because it's one of those days.

    The day reminds me of you
    The night hides your truth
    The earth is a voice
    Speaking to you
    Take all this pride
    And leave it behind
    Because one day it ends
    One day we die
    Believe what you will
    That is your right
    But I choose to win
    So I choose to fight
    To fight

Not a particularly good or bad day, just somewhere in between.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Chapstick and cheap dreams.

When I was seven years old my mother did something completely reckless and insane. She handed me the Avon Christmas catalogue and told me to pick something out.

So! Beautiful! They should...have sent...a poet!

I picked out a white plastic Frosty the snowman ring. When you clicked it open the head swung away on a hinge to reveal cherry-flavored chapstick. I loved that thing, I wound up scraping out the last of the chapstick with my fingernail and my mom showed me how to smoosh the contents of another chapstick tube into the empty hole. Oooh! Refillable. I wore it so proudly you would have thought it was from Tiffany & Co.

It was the start of a twenty-eight year love affair with chapstick, and catalogues too. Go figure.

I gave up the snowman ring for the infinitely cooler Maybelline kissing potion in the glass tube with the rollerball applicator within a few years, and the Sears Wishbook and Speigel catalogue held my interest far longer than Avon ever could. Now as an adult I have settled on Labello chapsticks and eleventy hundred different shiny lip glosses but will spend a large portion of each day looking for a tube, or applying the stuff liberally. A full-fledged addict, without shame.

On Sunday evening I asked Jake if he had a tube on him, or if he could go and buy some for me, or remember to even bring some from home.

No, Bridget.

What? Why not?

You have a problem.

It's chapstick, Jake.

Exactly. I've eaten so much of it I'm soon to be know as the Wax Preacher.

So don't eat it.

But then I can't kiss you.

Oh. Point taken.

So you'll cut out the chapstick?

Sure, I can do that.
(she says hesitantly.)

But then that sort of blows the whole dream I have had for years of tucking my chapstick and my cellphone in my pocket, jumping into my 1971 VW camper bus and hitting the highway.

Because now I have no chapstick, but more importantly, I don't own a 1971 VW camper bus. It's just one of those silly dreams. An escape, like having a tropical destination poster on the wall in your office. You look at it or think about it and your brain takes a mini-vacation. Or at least it's something to shoot for.

Something a little more exciting than driving to the drugstore in your 1971 VW camper bus and buying a dozen of your favorite chapsticks and going somewhere in disguise to apply them. Over and over again.

Because that, well, that's a really dumb dream.

Good things like Bailey.

My older sister Bailey is here. She flew in on Sunday and took over from PJ, who was drowning in the responsibilities that we had heaped on him.

Bailey is the oldest girl, and I am the youngest. Growing up we hated each other. I hated her because she got to do everything first, and she had independence. She hated me because I got the most attention. When she was supposed to babysit me she'd lock me in the closet and go out with her friends.

When we grew into adults and had our own children something changed and we found a common thread together. She has three teenagers who have just newly reached the independent stage and she's reveling in her own freedom once again. She jumped at the chance to fly out here and take care of us. And boy do I appreciate her doing it.

Last night she asked me if I needed anything. We had just finished dinner and I was helping as much as she would let me.

No, I'm okay, thanks, Bay.

You should really have some tea and sit down, Bridget.

I'm fine. I feel pretty good.

You should listen to me. You may be a grown up and all but you're still small enough to lock in the closet.

I could hear Jacob trying, but he failed miserably and broke out in a sob of laughter and it was the best sound in the whole world.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Now there's an old song I loved.

Bridget, you're in recovery. I need you to wake up for me now. Bridget? Come, on honey. Wake up. Please wake up now for us.

No...just go away. Please. Go away. God, just leave me the fuck alone.

The literal sweetheart. All 95 pounds of her. They don't listen to her anyways.

Where have I been? Who cares.

Saturday lunchtime I discovered pain that I think I would have traded for death. I don't have an actual normal pain threshold so it has to be exquisite before it even registers. I thought I had pulled something in my upper back from all the throwing up, I was crampy and miserable, the coughing was so incessant. But I wasn't worried. Overall, I was feeling better for once. Then I almost hit the kitchen floor at fifty miles an hour while getting the milk out of the fridge, taking a terrifyingly moment before fainting to register the confusion and fear on Jacob's face when he caught me on the way down and we realized this wasn't good. Our dream? Subsequently destroyed.

We were pregnant but we're not anymore. It was ectopic. Which explains why my levels weren't going up the way they were supposed to. The pain was from the tube rupturing, which nearly killed me. I had surgery on Saturday afternoon. We were given a 25% chance of successfully conceiving after this. Oh yay. Bring it on, God. Just bring it. The gloves are off now.

Twenty five percent. Because four previous surgeries and my 'advanced maternal' age (My age. Last time I checked thirty-five wasn't all that old.) are putting me in a club I don't want to be in.

I didn't want to listen to my doctor's mellow voice on Sunday speaking in such a cold light. And so I ripped out the hearing aids and threw them at the wall. The doctor flinched. Jacob didn't say a word, he just put them in his pocket. They're still there.

I didn't want to wake up and see Claus sitting there on Monday reading his notes, because he knows, oh, he knows, Bridget is going down now. I wouldn't speak to him at all. So he just kept me company, every day for around an hour and a half. I watched him read, feeling slightly like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. I was waiting to flip upside down and smash into the ceiling. I wished I could have. Just to make him leave.

I didn't want to open my eyes today and see Jacob sitting in the damn chair, with his hands tearing at his hair, only to have him look up at me in surprise and see the anguish written on his face, drawn in a grief stricken finality. I thought I had seen every emotion he had inside, but I missed the one labelled "rock bottom".

He brought me home. He's taking some time off. Time he can't afford to be off. His workload triples. He hasn't smiled. He hasn't raised his eyes to meet anyone else's, only mine, Ruth's, Henry's. He speaks in one word answers to everyone but us. Jacob has shut down. This was over before we had a chance to appreciate it and somehow that should make it easier but it doesn't. Or maybe I jinxed myself with my legendary superstition by writing about it here. I said I wasn't happy. I said I was scared.

What I wouldn't give to take it all back.

He said maybe he had asked for too much. My heart is broken again. I want to give Jacob everything and what came so easily before suddenly seems to be an insurmountable task. I tried to console him, the deaf leading the blind, I don't know what I'm doing. I tried to talk to him about the future and maybe later on, in a year or two or whenever he was ready we could try again and he cut me off.

No, we're done trying, Bridget.

Twenty-five is still hopeful, Jacob. Where's your famous hope? Where's your faith?

Don't talk to me about faith today. Not today. I can only see what's in front of me and that's you, Bridge, and I'm so thankful just for you.

We don't have to accept this. We'll get another opinion.

He stood in front of me and held my shoulders, digging his fingers in until it hurt and he spoke to me with red eyes, teeth gritted, the face of someone in the grasp of an unimaginable sadness, and an understandable rage.

No, we won't. Do you know how close I came to losing you? I can't go through that ever again. I had forgotten how sick you used to be, and I can't do this ever again. You weren't strong enough and I pressured you. We didn't get enough sleep. And then you almost died right in front of my eyes. I can't lose you, Bridget. I just found you.

Oh God. His voice. It broke again and it's the worst sound in the world. Hoarse. Out of control.

You know something? I don't think we can talk about this right now, Jacob.

I had to shut off. I'm too drained, too shellshocked, and now scared because his hands hurt where they embedded into my skin. He shook me then, hard enough to make tears come out.

Bridge, we can't talk about it anymore ever! I have everything in the world and it's more than enough and I wouldn't give it up now for a baby. Let's focus on the four of us, and just getting you better, and living life. Okay? Please? Because I can't live without you.

He let go. And that was that. No talking, no negotiating, no nothing. We knew the risks and we took them and we lost and now I'm angry that I was reckless, thumbing my nose at the odds in the first place. I'm not the person to look toward when you want a miracle and yet we did it anyways and once again we've been pushed back into our place by fate or bad luck or whatever position we were meant to hold by a redundant hand. I'm sure somewhere in there God picked up on my hesitation to have another baby and called me on it.

Slow down, Bridget. You've cashed in enough miracles for now.

Damn everything all to hell.

Jacob becomes emotionally scarred, his heart stitched back together by my shaking hand because he wanted this so badly. And the chances have disappeared in a frightening chain of events that again leave us surrounded by experts and that sickly antiseptic smell that only hospitals have, left consoling each other and wishing we were somewhere else. Unwelcome fixtures in our lives now, these places.

I become physically scarred, the angry red line low on my abdomen right where he used to like to place his left thumb when he was pulling me close to him, now traced by his shaking fingers as a taunting memento because once again he was forced to stand by helplessly while everything went wrong all around him, his only consolation being in the comfort of catching me halfway down while the milk splashed everywhere but he kept my head from hitting the tiles. It's not good enough for him. Once again he wished so ferverently for a happy ending. There's been so few of those. The consolation he finds in me is also where he finds the fault now. And still he loves me unconditionally. He was there for the first time at the right time and he couldn't fix this and now I think he understands his limits as a human being and he resents the hell out of it.

He stayed overnights with me in the hospital (sleeping in a chair). Last night he got up at 3 am and gathered me up in his arms and just held on and within minutes the sobs wracked his entire body and flooded me with a fresh pain. He doesn't think I'm strong enough for this. He's too scared to try again and too angry to talk anymore. He just quietly resigns himself to the blessings he has, leaning heavily on his faith in God now to carry him through this part even though he denies it for some reason known only to him and I don't get it. Again, I'm looking for the absolutes. He's calling it a test.

I don't want any more damn tests! I failed. I fucking failed. Let me be.

And where is the other damn door, the one people always talk about?

Because this door is now closed. Locked. And no one even volunteered a key. And just to make certain, they've started to brick it over. It's a door that we're going to have to walk away from now.

Jacob insists there are other doors that will open, I don't hear him. He's gone back to his whispering. And he doesn't explain. We've found a reluctant comfort in dark times with each other. Sort of like finding yourself adrift in an ocean and being rescued by what turns out to be a ghost ship, you find you weren't really saved after all but you find someone else in a boat that is oddly the same one you were in. So you keep drifting, together. And hoping. Holding on for dear life. I to him, and him to me. Haunted.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go have a nervous breakdown. But I can't because they're medicating me again. Lucidity comes hard today.

Fine by me.