Thursday, 30 November 2006


Hey. Good morning. Rest assured, I'm not having a nervous breakdown. I haven't written about much of the latest news at all, looking back because I was hoping it would all magically disappear. I feel like I'm losing what few friends I have left and they may have all been fucked up and had their own hidden agendas but is that better than having no friends left at all or not?

I can't decide. But what people don't understand is that they ARE my family here.

(I'm not saying my friends are causing my problems, let's just say they're heaping it on thick and I'm not strong to start with. So maybe I am saying this is their fault. I have no idea.)

But what was decided for me is that it was too soon to stop talking about everything, it was too soon to stop taking pills, it was too soon to stay up late, to skip meals and to fight with people. It was too soon for me to try to pretend that everything was fine and dandy and it came back and bit me in the ass. I'm not in control anymore because it's better if you just lead Bridget by the hand. She'll come, she's just going to need a very soft touch for a bit.

But I am still spoiled. Jake brought a tray with coffee and toast and my laptop upstairs and I can read and sleep and browse the internet and write if I want to or not and he's going to take the kids to school. They came in to kiss me goodbye and I told them I was feeling really tired and I didn't want to get really sick again.

And surprisingly I don't feel like I'm going to shatter today.

But I'm not allowed to answer the phone either, so your mileage may vary.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Here. Finally.

Jacob found a sitter for Henry this afternoon as soon as I opened my mouth.

Then he put my coat on me and took me out to the truck and put my seatbelt on me, like a child. He didn't say anything. When we parked, he took me by the hand and brought me inside, then again, took my coat off me and steered me by the shoulders straight into the office, no waiting, no bullshit. He said he wasn't going to take any chances, I brought up the very worst day of his life and he refuses to let me be in this kind of pain without doing everything he can to fix me. With help. With a whole team. He has connections, I had no idea. I came away with a plan, I came away knowing all of the factors which contributed to today's abrupt and frightening turn and I came away with more pills. Very strong happy pills. Which Jacob held up in front of me and he forced my chin up until my eyes were two inches from the bottle and he said, quite simply:

These you're going to take. Every single day. Because they keep me from being scared. I know you won't do it for you, so you're going to do it for us.

My teeth were chattering from shock because his voice was ragged from fear. From exhaustion. Because again I pushed myself, us and I was beyond overtired and hungry and slightly shaken by a lot of things lately and dealing with my usual depleted emotional strength and we both missed it in our joy of normal life at last. Or whatever that brief respite was.

My team (ha, that's funny) says a little backsliding is normal (ha)with new stresses and changes in a recent trauma victim and someone battling chemical imbalances as it is. They say it will get better but not for a long time. They say I need to not pretend things are great when they're not. They say that I must not push myself. That I need sleep, food, and medication. They also say I'm not to be left alone again for a while because the straight-laced logical part of me still refuses to say things that will make everyone comfortable. I told Jacob I was sorry and I told him that I love him and I'm not leaving without him but everyone else can go to hell. He laughed and said they sure could and he expects the promise to be made when we catch our breath.

I'm doing my best here. And I'm sorry for scaring everyone. Hell, I scared myself and I called out to him for help. I'm learning, guys.

Loch is coming for the weekend, bless his heart, since Jake has to work a bit, and I'll have all kinds of good influences present.

When we got home I was led into the house and my coat was taken off and then I was enveloped in the longest, hardest hug I have ever had, followed by Jacob pressing his lips against my forehead in a kiss that steamed up my eyelids. My god that felt so fucking good.

Because for once, he was here right when he needed to be.

He was here.


Slide. rule.

Right. Downhill all the way now. I shouldn't be trying to write and so I stopped. Again.

In behind the front, the flippant, confident inventor of so many silly similes and poetic waxer of cake, lies me. Just Bridget, flaky girl of extremes and irreparably messed up in the head. Coexisting with my own inner monster is sometimes a real fucking bitch.

Nothing changes with that. I started with it. It's still here.

Jacob may care a whole lot more. He's epic in his own right and I'm the luckiest person in the world. But he asks for a promise I can't make still.

(this is where you can go and search my journal for eggshells or unspoken history and you'll see what I mean, I'm not reading that again.)

Bridget. I need you to give me that. I need to know.
I shook my head. I'm not going to make a promise I'm never sure I'll keep. That would be foolish. I can't lie to him.

Tread carefully, Jakey. And I love you even if sometimes I lie and say I don't just to protect you from me.

It must be hard to live with me. I find it easy because if it gets too hard, then I don't have to do it anymore at all. I thought that maybe since it got so hard already that he wouldn't be so afraid but I was wrong.

And still, I shook my head because I can't make it.

He told me he was going to get help for me because this isn't how I'm supposed to be. I hope he keeps his promise because I'm afraid of myself today. I hate this.

Tears and mortar.

I think this house is causing problems.

It's a beautiful house.

Cole only lived here for exactly eight months and yet it's just full of him, with none of his things left, save for what the kids have. His visage, his imprint is somehow still here, hell, I don't know if it's the house. Maybe it's me. Why wouldn't he had an imprint on me just like his handprint was on me for so long. It was twenty years. It's been five months since he died and that's all. That's nothing. It was just in March when we stopped trying at all. No, I stopped trying. He continued on his self-destructive path without me. March was not so long ago and now even with so many changes and upsets and therapies, it's fresh and it hurts like so much hell.

I'm not sure if we're moving or simply disintegrating.

Once he was feeling generous or sad, I'm not sure which. It was one of the few more recent times when I was being cold, he hated that. I wasn't letting him into my brain or under my skin and perhaps he had a moment of regret, a twinge of a wish. I have no idea. He looked at me and he told me that if anything ever happened to him, to ask Jake for help with anything I needed. That Jacob was a good man and he would look after us and he had been around so long, so many years, that Cole knew he would hold true to his convictions.

I know.

No, seriously, Bridge, he's been there. Ask him for help, no one else.

Are you dying, Cole?

Everyone is going to die someday, baby.

Not you.

Even me.

I'll go first.

That's not even funny today, princess.

It's not supposed to be.

Just promise me.


Should I expect to be poisoned slowly now?

You should have suspected that all along.

He laughed softly and just looked at me for a moment like he had all the regret in the world. I'm left now wondering if he knew his heart was going to explode or if he sensed something. If he did he either told no one or no one is going to give up his secrets and I'll wonder this as long as I live. Or I could call it simple fate, or God's Big Rescue Plan for me with the help of his favorite wayward angel. I don't know. All I know is that it was times like that one that make me hate his memory less.

An excuse to make excuses.


Hi, Bridget.

Caleb. Hi.

Please don't be impressed on my account.

Oh, I'm not, trust me.

Can I just explain? Please?

I don't think any of it matters, Caleb.

I would like a chance to defend my character. Now, don't say anything. I'll be in town before the weekend for a meeting and I'd like to stop by and drop off some Christmas presents for the kids and say hello to you anyway if that's okay. I promise you'll understand when I explain why I contacted Ben. Please, Bridget, just trust me.

Fine, just please try to call before you come over.

I'll do my best. Thanks, Bridge. Look, it's been a while and I...

Don't. Please.

Oh, I can't WAIT to hear his excuses.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

He only lies to be kind.


Yes, Jake?

How many times are you going to play that song?

Until I figure out the notes!

Oh, my dear God.

(I heard him, I just wondered if he'd repeat it.)

Nothing! Sounds good, baby.

Crumbs for breakfast.

I think I'd prefer to wait until the latest event plays itself out and then I'll eviscerate everyone involved right here for fun. It sure isn't as pretty as I like to call myself. Or maybe I'll share it later when I have it figured out. I'm still thinking this morning.

Instead I'll reach into my mailbag. The Friendly Giant used to have a mailbag on his TV show when I was Henry's age. Jacob's other nickname (after Preacher Boy) is Friendly Giant thanks to his towering blonde stature and giant hands and feet (shhhh, perverts!) and mostly easygoing nature (hockey notwithstanding).

I'm going to do a random grab of things you've asked recently. I'll leave your names out, being the guilty pleasure that I am. Here are the questions that have been asked by more than one person:

What's your favorite post?

I have three (you can search in the bar, the links are all there):

1-Public Declarations, because it represents what normal used to be. Normal, happy. Before Cole self-destructed. When we all had our shit still together, or something.
2-Because All I do is Talk, because this conversation shows Jacob at his most heart-rending (to me, I don't even know why) and it's the only time I feel like I've ever gotten that across in writing.
3-Life Very Quietly, because it still pains me to read it and I'm a masochist. I'm not but I shiver when I read it. It's on the mark.

If you notice none of these are the big Event posts, like Jacob's proposal or any of our anniversaries, it's because there was never any way in hell I could adequately describe those days and nights here. In truth, they didn't translate well at all to a page and do better shining in my mind.

What's Jacob's favorite post?

I'll ask him and get back to you on that. I don't even know the answer to that one.
Coasting, because he loves the way I wrote of the wind undoing my braids and the way I described his home planet.

What's your favorite song?

Oh please. Forty Six & 2 by Tool. Though I keep listening to 9 Crimes by Damien Rice over and over today so I can figure out the piano by ear (new talent! if I can hear it maybe I can play it! Weee!)

What's your favorite drink?

Jack Daniels, just plain, in a glass. Hell, from the bottle. I never claimed to be a sophisticated drinker, though I'm not doing that so much anymore anyway.

When does Jacob start his new job?

Not until the fall, unfortunately. August 2007. He's anxious but it's a long ways off. He has trimmed down the number of hours he spends counseling and doing pastoral care, because he has already begun his work as a chaplain. There is no difference only this feeds the whole little-boy-captivated-by-lights-and-sirens-and rushing-around gene.

What won't you write about?

That list is miles long. I don't do so much politics, current events, or news. I'm not exactly worldly. I won't name drop if I know anyone famous. This is not a mommy blog, though sometimes I like to write about the kids but I keep it sparing. I don't name place names so much, I try to leave Jacob's innocent family out of direct mention, and if he asks me not to write about something specific, I won't. There are lines I won't cross out of respect for my husband.

Oh and Cole's genius/madness is censored right down to the bare minimum. I have said only what everyone else can handle. There is no point in freaking the fuck out of everyone I love, he's gone. What's the point? And because Jacob loses it just a little more each time he finds out something else.

Why do you swear so much?

Habit. I always have. Not alot of words but a good 'fuck' can be descriptive. It's satisfying. Shock value for my mother. I have no idea. I was told that I write in a weird, buttoned-up, uptight, intimidating manner in which I appear smart, and the only thing keeping me approachable is all the swearing. Nice. Lord knows, Bridget isn't so smart. I don't talk like this, I only write like this. If you heard me talk, you would laugh. I stutter when I'm very tired, I mispronounce a lot, I just plain miss a lot, I can't find the words I want unless I'm writing them down and it's really frustrating for others. It's hard to explain. I was a bit stunned when people expressed surprise that I write the way I do here.

What's with the song lyrics?

Without the stupid hearing aids, I can't hear songs so much as I feel them first, unless they are played loud. I would feel a song, go and look up the lyrics and study them and then decide if I liked the song. I fall in love with songs in reverse of the way most people would, as a result and I'm fascinated by the ways a song can create emotions in the listener, much the same way writing can. I'm not trying to be 'emo'. (I had to look that up. Jesus, people).

Do you have any female friends?

About as many as you would imagine, a few here and there but no one really close. I would have said a couple of years ago that men play less head games, but now I'm not so sure. I had one very close no-bullshit girlfriend but she died many years ago and I lost interest in seeking out new ones. Besides, Jake filled the void for a very long time. He still does.

What's your favorite color?

Green. You'd think it would be blue, teal, aquamarine. It's not. It's Celadon, Moss, celery, olive, not so much mint, but most of the slateish shades of green between. Not forest green but pine. I'm picky on greens.

What is your real height? How tall is Jacob?

I know I lie about this all the time. Why I couldn't be a 5'7" supermodel is beyond my grasp. I'm exactly five feet tall but I usually say 5'2". Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it's deep-seated baggage from this equation:

Very short + Named Bridget = Midget.

Happy now? Jacob is 6'4" possibly taller. That's what his driver's license says but he can't squish himself into my little car to drive it so I would say closer to 6'5". When he hugs me really hard just about everything cracks. And...

No, I'll stop there for now...

Monday, 27 November 2006

Burning Bridget at the stake.

So for what it's worth I have enemies now. Real ones that aren't just little Bridget with her big imagination.

Ben and Caleb have opted to join forces to try to...irritate me to death? I'm not sure. Caleb called Ben to talk about me. He had questions and instead of just asking me he decided to dig around. And Ben knows everything. Well, almost everything and now it seems he's got a new best friend.

Should I be worried?

Ben seemed smug. Jacob is concerned. Which makes Ben more smug and Caleb even more curious. Ben and Caleb have been spending far too much time together, I'd wager. This makes me laugh. This is absurd. For two people I have pushed out of my life out of necessity they sure are causing a ruckus.

When you guys are done with the high school payback attempts, let me know. And pardon me for trying to leave the trouble behind. Because that's what you both are, trouble. Caleb, I can't even believe you're stooping to this level. Whatever you're looking for, it isn't there, sweetie. And if you're just interested as a way to get to know me and learn everything you can, well, you're too little too late. When I was twenty you could have had me, I would have thrown Cole over for you in a heartbeat.

But thanks for feigning interest in my heart all the same.

I don't know what more I can say. I don't need this. How can I leave this alone? My ears are positively burning.

    Leave me out with the waste
    This is not what I do
    It's the wrong kind of place
    To be thinking of you
    It's the wrong time
    For somebody new
    It's a small crime
    And I've got no excuse
    Is that alright
    Give my gun away when it's loaded
    that alright with you
    If you don't shoot it how am I supposed to hold it


Have you ever been fed lines that sound so deep and beautiful and raw and honest that you fall for it hook, line and sinker? You proclaim the speaker of the lines to be a unique, precious charm in the otherwise pretty but dull costume jewelry bracelet that is your universe and you reserve large portions of time and brain power to the challenging and introspective conversations you actually look forward to now.

My weakness, I'll admit.

Then they go and behave like a total asshole and you discover that they're a fake and a fraud and a total charlatan. They lied, and that the conversations you were having weren't unique or deep or even introspective, they were a front for an image that was carefully, cleverly cultivated. Their words were just enough to leave you with a sense that they were just like you, with fears and failures and hopes and then you find out it's a front for some good old fashioned shallow bullshit. They're just like everyone else, and they were seeking out you in a way that would get your attention.

They got my attention with the imaginary neon lights over my head now that proclaims USED in capital fucking letters.

Jacob tells me to leave it. To be nice, to let it go and continue with the status-quo but really I'm having a hard time finding my nice for this particular person now. I was used and I hate this feeling. Someone fed off my sweetness and took it away just a little in the process. And they turned in their deceit for anger, at me. I did nothing wrong here. For once. Except I'm guilty of an unusual level of naivety because I believed it. He fit in so well. I should have known it was all a front.

A lesson for that friend would be not lying and not trying to be someone you're not.

A lesson for Bridget would be not to be a sucker for a pretty face and a soulful exchange.

But really, who isn't? Everyone I know is victim to that same weakness, wanting to be around the pretty ones and yet I don't put on a front. They know they're getting a slightly kooky, very brittle, somewhat kind and outwardly confident fun girl with some...issues. I'm not pretending. It's not a put-on (despite popular opinion), there's going to be no massive letdown for them in the end when I show myself because I was here all along. If anything I will prove to be less sure of myself then they suspected and I don't think that's going to come as any huge surprise.

My mistakes are in full view, my choices picked apart and evaluated and I have been judged and I continue to be judged and it's fairly kind, all things considered. And if you talk to me I'm not going to feed you lines. What is the point?

Did you want to be near me that badly that you had to pretend you were someone you're not?

    stones taught me to fly
    love taught me to cry
    so come on courage
    teach me to be shy
    cause it's not hard to fall
    and I don't wanna scare her
    it's not hard to fall
    and I don't wanna lose

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Coma kisses.

It's so cold here, the time of year has come at last when I resort to wearing clothes to bed. Mostly Jacob's shirts because they come almost down to my knees and they smell like him, even though they're clean. Like Patchouli. Like soap. Like...warmth.

I just need something warm around my shoulders because with the constant moving around, the blankets are mostly at waist-level. Even though he is warm and I don't leave his arms when we sleep, sleeping uncovered in the winter is a fresh new hell.

For too many mornings now I have woken up stark naked, and neither one of us knows why. I was wearing a shirt when I went to bed. I didn't take it off. And I'm not a heavy sleeper with two little kids and a big creaky old Victorian house underneath us. How the heck he could get me undressed without me waking up would be a magic trick in itself. He swears he didn't do a thing.

Then he laughed and his cover was blown. Because every time I come to bed less than completely naked he protests loudly, and because I almost believed him when he said he didn't remember taking me out of my clothes.

I wonder what else he's doing? It would explain the wonderful dreams I have about being kissed all over. Maybe they're not dreams. My dreams have become reality anyhow, my life something out of a romantic movie. It's a small price to pay for waking up with various cold body parts, I'll tell you that for nothing.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Not like the other.

I was looking for a way to describe a true cake emergency as only I can have it. I have a thing about cake. It's one of the few things I eat without having to be reminded. When you struggle to stay on the right side of a hundred pounds, food you love seems to magically appear on a regular basis.

There's a very decadent bakery many blocks from our house, and it's too cold to walk there in the winter and too hot in the summer because the desserts would melt on the return trip. They make the most decadent, delicious cakes I have ever tasted, and I love cake. I hate to run out of cake.

Bet you didn't know that. Nope. Surprise!

In any event, I was on the phone with Jake trying to make him see that he needed to hit the cake store on the way home, and he insisted there was a whole cake in the freezer. There was. A generic chocolate freezer cake. He kept telling me we could pull that out and warm it up and it would be fine.

Finally he stopped talking long enough to hear my horrified whispers, barely daring to speak of the pale imitation of cakeish-type sweetness lurking inside the ice box, the fast food little punk brother equivalent of a true double-layer black forest masterpiece baked with kirsch and lovingly drizzled with shaved chocolate curls. Oh...that is cake. And Bridget knows cake.

But Jake, it's ....ghetto cake. I need real cake.

He laughed so hard he had to hang up and he was still laughing when he came home, with a real cake.

I'm sure right now he's planning an intervention. I think I may have a problem.

Friday, 24 November 2006

I'll be waiting there for you.

If I were a poet I could recite my poetry on a corner.

If I were a songwriter I could sing my love songs in a quiet cafe.

If I were an artist of any note I would take my easel to the river's edge and paint.

But I am a writer. I suppose I could sit on the dock jutting violently into the sea and tell stories but really, who would listen? How would I hear myself in the wind anyway?

I'll never be a busker again, traveling around the word collecting coins in a hat, at any rate.

I've come to that conclusion. And I have to sell my soul instead in phrases and paragraphs and chapters at a time in exchange for an occasional cheque and I don't mind, because I love what I do, I'm very attached to my words and I'm always exclaiming over new ways to put different words together to make my points of note. I love my fictional characters with all my heart. I have cried and bled for them, I have wished some of them dead and refused to allow others to hurt as I had planned, because I was far too wrapped up in them emotionally. Which speaks volumes, it tells me it works.

Because I can feel it.

But I like writing here better. And some days I wish I could just pack it all up and go sit on that dock and tell you stories about myself, about Jacob, about my children and about my life and you might like it. You might stay for a while, you might stay all night and we could build a bonfire on the beach and maybe Jake could sing and then I would have new stories borne out of that night for the next day.

My life is a snowball rolling down a steep hill, a sandcastle in the throes of accretion, a book that keeps getting added to, chapter by verse, word by letter, day by night and it is turning into a story all by itself. And the poetry has finally surpassed the porn because I have never had such a big response to one quiet little post as I did with the one I wrote on Tuesday. Those who have seen the picture and know us and love us were left breathless from the momentum with which I described that time in my life and those I haven't met in person yet were moved to tears and wonderment and for all of the letters coming in from far-flung magical places, the encouragement to keep writing and keep sharing I say thank you. It means a lot when you take the time to tell me you were moved.

Because you can feel it.

Those letters are the coins in my hat. My storyteller hat. Because I always wanted to remain a busker, traveling the world. I didn't realize I still am.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

On ice.

Someone's amateur hockey career was over fifteen minutes into the first game. At least for this season.

Because of his temper.

I know! My God, here I was going on and on about the gentle giant singing me beautiful love songs in bed with his guitar and everyone I know was snickering because they don't get to see the Jacob I see. I wish they got to see mine more instead of the one with the temper and obvious lack of self-control. I don't like writing about it. I don't want to acknowledge that he has these issues but sometimes it bothers me. Sometimes it scares me.

Ben had to play last night too. He has balls to show up, but they're already short two players (Cole and Loch) so it was an empty bench altogether.

Jacob is the team's enforcer, he gets into a few fights each season as it is. He and Cole used to brawl whenever they had the chance and I have had many a winter dinner party in which the two of them sat at the table with black eyes or a few loose teeth. I stopped going to watch the games years ago because I couldn't stand watching them fight.

Cole's somehow passed his torch to Ben. I'd feel sorry for Jacob but he needs to learn to let it roll off.

They started hurling comments at each other before they got on the ice and were warned repeatedly to keep their personal problems out of the arena.

Did they listen?

Of course not.

I have been told that Ben said something to Jake when his back was turned and he was skating away from the net and that Jacob turned around and just launched himself at Ben and they went into the net, helmets and sticks skidding away and punches flying and that it took, once again, the bulk of the rest of the players on both teams to get them apart and keep them apart, as they attempted to go at it a few more times in the dressing room and then in the parking lot even, Jake's truck showing the brunt of that episode because they broke the passenger side mirror right off.


Ben called this morning to apologize. Jacob wouldn't talk to him and all Ben would say is that he said some really shitty things about us to try to get under Jacob's skin and it worked and he feels like an asshole for doing it. I asked Ben for specifics and he said it was too awful to repeat. I thanked him for continuing to keep me free of doubt in my decision to cut him loose. He was so damned bitter. I told him to stay away from Jake. That he agreed with. He has a broken nose and is sore all over.

Jake wouldn't say anything about it at all. He doesn't hurt anywhere, save for a sore ear where his helmet was ripped off. He knows damned well he's too strong to get hurt in a fight. He and his size 12 skates (two sizes too small for speed) are intimidating and he knows it and I wish he wouldn't give in when he gets egged on.

I told him I was glad he was off the team because I like the kind, gentle man who sings love songs so much better than the brawling out-of-control giant throwing punches with abandon. He said only that life is certain to require a little bit of both and he's ashamed of last nights' behavior but Ben crossed the line and he's already gotten away with far too much and he wasn't going to get away with anything more, but that I should be proud because I bring out Jacob's softer side, that he feels relaxed and unhurried and unstressed when he's close to me and he likes himself when I'm within reach.

That shouldn't be cold comfort, but it is.

The gossip making the rounds of the neighborhood today is simply the surprise that he was off the team so soon in the season. Usually he makes it all the way to January.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Delicate and definitely not Tool.

Last night very late Jake picked up his old beaten-down Martin guitar (that he usually pets instead of plays) and he started to sing a song I had never heard before. I had tears rolling down my face and he got more and more serious as he sang and finally at last his voice cracked just enough for me to barely hear it on the third to last line that he stopped and he put the guitar down and this morning after I took the kids to school I drove to the damned record store myself and bought the CD because the song was that good and he had been practicing it from memory whenever I left the house for a good while now. It's for 110 days of marriage, which is tomorrow, by the way. The mood just struck him, so I was treated to this gift just a little early. I love nights like that. Everything else fades away and I 've just got Jacob's voice. Maybe that's all I need.

Thank you, Damien Rice.

    we might kiss
    when we are alone
    when nobody's watching
    we might take it home
    we might make out
    when nobody's there
    it's not that we're scared
    it's just that it's delicate
    so why did you fill my sorrow
    with the words you've borrowed
    from the only place you've known
    why did you sing hallelujah
    if it means nothing to ya
    why did you sing with me at all?
I'm glad he didn't try to sing The Blower's Daughter, because I might have cried that much harder, and he laughed and said there was no way in hell he could do that song justice, but that I shouldn't think for a minute it didn't cross his mind more than once.

Oh, just kill me now. Please. I am so spoiled.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006


Oh, it's you. From the road I thought some kid had lost their beach ball.

Funny stuff, preacher boy. Be nice to the hugely pregnant girl.

Why are you down here on the beach alone, Bridget?

I'm not alone anymore, Jake, you're here now.

Where's everyone?

Still at work.

I see.

Why aren't you working?

I'm finished for the day. All my papers are written so I came out for a quick walk. Want to go for an ice cream instead?

No, thanks, it's too nice out. I just want to sit for a few more minutes.

What do you do in the winter when you come down here?

I bring a sweater. Then a parka when it gets really cold.


No. The sand feels good when it's cold in my toes. Like if I dug down far enough the warmth would be there just waiting for summer again.

I think I have a nickname for you.

I hope it's a nice one. I'm a little sensitive these days, being wider than I am tall.

Saltwater Princess.

Sounds high-maintenance, but I like it.

No, not really. I've just noticed that when you're on the beach or near the ocean you never look at anything but the water. You don't hear anything but the surf. You're the princess of saltwater. It's as if you're surveying your future kingdom. You're barely paying attention to me.

Well, the surprise is on you then, Jake,because that's exactly what I'm doing. Except for the paying attention part. I'm listening to you.

And you're about eight million times happier when you're within touching distance of the water.

Who could blame me? She's beautiful, isn't she? That's my ocean. Mine. And I'm happiest when I'm near her.

Everything is beautiful here, princess. And I think I understand what you mean.

I tore my eyes away from the aquamarine waves long enough to smile in appreciation for how easily Jacob's new nickname for me rolled off his tongue and the meaning of his words. He was smiling back at me. He sat down behind me and put his knees up so I could lean against him like a chair.

You do realize you're going to have a mermaid baby, with a tail instead of legs.

Yes, I know.

Two weeks, princess. You ready?

As ready as I'll ever be. I hope she likes the ocean.

Oh, I'm sure she'll take after her mother.

I closed my eyes and listened to the waves crash upon the shore, and inside me Ruth matched the vibrations of the waves with kicks of her own. She always kicked a lot when Jacob was talking.

Jake? I think I'm going to head back. Want to come for supper?

Sure, princess. I'd like that.

Are you really going to call me that now?

Special girls need special nicknames. It will catch on fast.

He was right. Within a few short months the nickname stuck like glue and everyone, including Cole was using it. And I had my mermaid baby, Ruth, who was five days old when she saw the ocean for the first time, and three weeks old when she visited the beach and I stuck her tiny pink toes in the sand and showed her mommy's favorite place in the whole world.

When she was nine months old, Jacob took Ruth in his arms and walked into the ocean up to his knees at sunset and blessed her in a dedication ceremony with all of our friends and family present, the latter grudgingly coming out for the 'hippie baptism', as they liked to call it.

I have the sweetest picture from that evening. It shows Jacob standing in the surf in the glow of the sun's final light, his jeans wet up halfway up to his thighs, his white shirt untucked and billowing in the wind, his hair flying into his eyes and he's smiling up at Ruth and holding her up high up in front of him. She is smiling back down at him with her one-toothed grin, her fine blonde hair blowing straight up from her head, her little dress buffeting around her diaper. If you saw it you would see the similarities, the connection they've shared forever and it makes me happy that Jacob has this history with us, that he has been a part of our lives and every major event therein. It's a permanence that belies the honeymoon phase of our relationship now with our marriage still in it's own infancy.

It gives us a deeper appreciation for each other, a foundation on which to build our castle, because this princess finally found the prince she was looking for. He was right under her nose all along.
The soundtrack for this morning was "Huh? ", "Really?" and "Eeeek!"

It's shaping up to be a strange day.

When I woke up I was upside down in bed on top of the covers and Jacob had one hand wrapped around my ankle. It must have been a spectacular dream.

Henry asked for Rice Krispies, which he never does, claiming he doesn't like them.

When we left to drive Jacob to his meeting we discovered a mouse living in the back porch, which would explain the hole in the bag of winter birdseed I keep on the floor of the utility closet in that room.

I'll be back with a real post this afternoon. Lots of appointments this morning. Ciao!

Monday, 20 November 2006

Pixies in the shallow end.

Yesterday I stood in front of the bathroom mirror holding a fistful of my hair out from my head and my giant sewing scissors. Frozen like a statue.

For close to a half an hour.

I just stood there, thinking.

My hair has an identity all its own. It's been long and very pale blonde with ribbons of darker ash and lighter white forever. The color of my hair matches my children's hair and my husband's too. We're a set of four. A blinding, vaguely Nordic, fully Irish flaxen presence, a towhead force to be reckoned with. It was stick straight forever until I let it grow with abandon and then it grew into crazy gentle waves and tendrils. It's called my crown, literally. Mermaid hair, princess hair, hair people covet so desperately they buy it in dyes and extensions and straighteners or they come up to me and ask me where I got it.

My hair drives me crazy sometimes. It's a love/hate thing. I go through a bottle of conditioner a week. It gets singed at the stove, it goes down the drain if I lean over the sink, Jacob is always pulling long strands from his beard, and off his coat. I tuck it into my jeans by mistake and get it caught in buttons and car doors. He sits on my hair without thinking, sometimes he lies on it, he's pulled out locks in his sleep because he's tangled in it. I veer violently from looking angelic to being Medusa. And yet it's comfort. I rarely wear it up anymore. Henry used to hold it when I fed him. Jacob holds it or touches it constantly, which I relish. And people stare at me and I admit I like that. It's been this way since I was around four years old. I'm possibly dumb enough to enjoy that kind of attention and admit it willingly.

But a small part of me would sometimes love to chop it all off and dye it bright red and be different just for a little while, not forever. Have it stick out all over in cute little turned-up points and become a smoldering firecracker, a ginger-flavored spicy pixie, instead of a vanilla lemon-drop princess. Why? Just to be different looking. Redheads are gorgeous creatures. I was born with bright orange hair which fell out within two weeks and then grew back in fuzzy and yellow and glowing. I've always identified with redheads. They get stared at a lot too.

Then slowly my common sense began to return in a trickle, because even if I say I hate my hair, I don't. I love it, unapologetically. But I didn't put the scissors down right away.

Jacob found me still standing there. When he saw the scissors he dropped his favorite coffee mug on the floor and it shattered into so many pieces I may spend the entire winter fishing shards out from between the hardwood boards.

Princess, what are you doing?

I'm thinking, Jacob.

Are you thinking about cutting it?


Can I ask a big favor?


Put the scissors down. Please don't change your hair.

I'm not. I'm just thinking about it.

You're thinking if you change your physical appearance enough you've have a clean slate, maybe feel different?

Something like that, maybe.

It doesn't work that way, princess. A big change can be symbolic but in the end life still picks up where you last bookmarked it. Altering your appearance won't change that.

I know. Somehow I know.

Bridget, I really love your hair the way it is right now. Call it a guy thing or a fetish if you must, just don't change it.

I just stared at him without responding. He had shaved his beard off early yesterday morning, sending his seventies sideburns and tickly mustache with it. Now he's baby-faced again, clean-cut if you ignore the shaggy blonde hair that he hasn't had cut since possibly June. He couldn't put any logic around his own minor treachery. He can shave off his beard and I almost cried but I can't cut my hair that he loves? Um, what?

I left the mirror and returned the scissors to my sewing basket.

Within an hour I was overwhelmingly glad I hadn't cut my hair. I'm sure relief is always more welcome than regret. I didn't think we were both so shallow but it runs deeper than that and I can't explain it. I guess when you have a trademark like the one I do, being easily recognized for my hair, my brand, an identity tied to a physical characteristic, you shouldn't fuck with it. A package deal. I'm not a superstar, therefore I don't need to try to reinvent myself.

My other remarkable characteristics that are shared by few constitute my lack of height, my color-changing eyes and the sacral dimple that always seems to be a fun surprise to my lovers. I can't change those either, and I wouldn't even if I could.

Okay maybe I would lose the dimple. I find it kind of an oddity. Like maybe I was meant to be a bowling ball with three holes but at the last minute, through a cruel twist of evolution, I turned into a human female. Sorry, that sounds really yuck but I'm laughing anyway. Or maybe it was a tail and I would have been a little more popular on the freak circuit but it just wasn't in the cards for me.

Made in the image of a Blythe doll with the freaky eyes, but anatomically correct, and real. A living mermaid doll.

And yes, I'm tired today. Too tired to write anything important. I need a bath. I have to wash my hair. I need to get started on the the ten loads of laundry we created over the weekend. So you get a two-page ramble about my hair.

Feel fortunate, I could have posted a two-page ramble about sex.

I still might.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Moon princess.

Snowy owl-sightings and snowier walks were planned for yesterday as we cleared out of our now-leafless Victorian neighborhood and headed up to the lake for the day. The days are growing shorter. Nights are long and the echo of the moon was visible in the daylight sky, holding low to remind us that the dark comes soon, keeping us rushing through our late afternoons.

The drive takes forever. We eat red pistachios and sing Nick Drake songs, and Jacob has the most hilarious running joke of taking any heavy metal song and singing it as if it were being sung by Harry Connick Jr. I laughed so hard I feared the pistachios might wind up shooting out my nose but they settled for choking me half to death instead. I haven't laughed that hard in ages.

Our walk was icy-cold. Frosty kisses were worth it. The kids kept giggling. Jacob would stop every ten feet, grab me and dip me back low so that my hair touched the ground. I was full of snow. He was grinning as we walked, his nose was red and his eyes bright. He taught the kids a silly song that involved lots of stomping and clapping to stay warm and then we finally got too cold and the dark started crowding in close to our twilight and so we turned and raced back to the parking area from the labyrinth of trails. Only I didn't run, I walked briskly and watched as Jacob pretended to run fast beside Ruth, pantomiming falling behind and then tripping and falling into the snow. She was howling in delight, Henry was chortling and had snot running all over the place. I was laughing so hard I couldn't say anything anymore.

Both kids fell asleep on the drive back to the city, and Jacob took my hand in his and sang to me the whole way home. Songs he was making up about a princess who lives on the beach and meets a prince that she falls in love with and he builds her a sandcastle with an oven inside big enough to bake a thousand chocolate cakes. It was quite something. This princess had pet oysters who gave her pearls in exchange for her affections, and there was a switch inside her castle that turned on the sun or moon at her command.

Only Jacob insisted that it wasn't a fairytale song but a true story and that I should recognize the princess in the song as myself. I told him I couldn't light up the moon at my whim and he pointed to the glowing sliver of crescent now clearly visible outside my window. He smiled and said I could do whatever I set my heart to. That I have control at last. That I am capable of anything and everything. That it's magical.

He's right.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Blue velvet.

Contrary to unpopular opinion (the boys), I am not out of things to write about. But instead of me writing, I'm going to treat you to a favorite entry from The Journal. Yes, that one. Jacob's book of incredibly flattering and incredibly horrible things that he's written about me. An amazing read. But I'm narcissistic like that. I love to read his descriptions of me for reasons I can't explain.

The coffeeshop mention that I again gave made me run and look it up and he's given me permission to transcribe it to my journal. It gives me goosebumps:

I wrote that I had met the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen a few days ago but today she met me to give me back my coat and she looked a hundred times more beautiful. She rushed into the diner on Friday morning in a flurry of bells and cool air and every head turned to watch her as she made her way to where I sat. Briefly I was the luckiest man in the world. When she sat down she stuck her hand out and smiled at me and told me her name was Bridget and she was happy to meet me, since last weekend our introduction was awkward at best. We both laughed, the sound from her throat a low, soft chuckle with a hint of rasp. She has a neat voice. I can still hear her in my head.

She took off her summer coat and sat on it. I had forgotten how small she was. She looked so pretty. She had on a white Indian kurta shirt and blue jeans and clogs and she had a blue velvet ribbon around her neck. With her coat she carried an umbrella and a patchwork tote. She has really great long hair. I really wanted to touch it but that wasn't appropriate.

The diner was loud and we talked a little, she asked me to repeat a lot of my questions, she wanted to know why I was back in school, and mostly she apologized for her behavior at the party even though I told her there was nothing she could have done better and I was glad I was there. There was something about the way she twirled her cup around in circles on the saucer and looked up at me through the longest blonde bangs and white eyelashes I have ever seen. I couldn't take my eyes off her lips, they were free of any lipstick or makeup, just pale pink lips and I liked to watch the way the corners of her mouth turned up when I said something that pleased her.

We were wrapping up our conversation and I was afraid I would never see her again and I wanted her to know it but instead of telling her that I said I wished she was single. She froze and I saw a flicker of pain pass through her green eyes before she collected her thoughts and began to rush to gather up her stuff. She told me she had to go and that she was happy and married and trying to get pregnant. She was upset and so I grabbed her hand, I needed time to apologize, I didn't want her leaving when she was distraught because I said something so reckless. I asked if we could be friends instead, because of our common interests. She made a joke about me trying to trick her so I could steal her from her husband and even though that's exactly what my plans were, I laughed and said something different instead.

I walked her out of the diner, unwilling to part ways with her but she was in a hurry to get to work so I said I hoped we meet up again soon, and I was gifted with another one of her softer smiles. She agreed and then turned and walked away down the sidewalk, head high, maybe knowing so many eyes were following her. Life would be like that for her. My own eyes followed her until she was swallowed in the lunchtime crowd of people, families and traffic. And then when I couldn't see her anymore I missed her already and that unnerves me. What kind of man falls that hard that fast for someone he has briefly met twice? Besides, I'm too busy working on my thesis to chase after any girl right now, let alone a married one. She's gone. She'll never be mine, my brain tells me. But then my heart says different, because I held her in my arms for a whole night and I can't explain how she has created these overwhelming feelings in me. I put her number in my book and I plan to call her in a few weeks and ask her out for lunch, hopefully we can be just friends and I can find a way to turn these feelings into simple caring for Bridget. If only I could get past her smile.

This KILLS me. Wow. If you ever wanted to know what a man was thinking at a certain time, it's a trip to find out. Maybe I'll post some more of his writing if he says I can. He was funny about this entry. He smiled and told me he had it bad from the first night for me and it took me forever to take him seriously.

This makes me wish I could turn back time.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Defining our normal.

We went to the doctor today. It's been a little over six weeks since I checked out of the hospital against my doctor's advice because I wanted to grieve and heal at home. It's been a little over two weeks since, again, without my doctor's consent, Jacob and I made love for the first time since the end of September. It has been a little over a week since I was given the very last of my much-loathed anti-depressants, having been weaned off them fairly quickly and with minor difficulties.

So tentatively I was peeking out at the world and wondering if all of my professional Bridget-keepers were going to clear me for normal life now, Jacob included.

And they did and it's bittersweet. We chose some birth control we can live with and we were told to go home and be happy and live normally, that I am healing just fine and am physically well again. Couple this with another follow-up today with Claus in which he declared that he knew I would find myself with time and the incredible support that I have.

In the truck on the way home we were quiet, each of us lost in our own separate thoughts of what normal life might be like, because we've never really known it before for anything length of time and yet, here it is.

What in the hell has ever been normal about our relationship? It's mostly been some quiet wonderful days that wire together the popping, exploding lights of heartache, pain and overwhelming joy. I'm not sure how to function like this.

Jacob was standing beside me, tense and and holding my hand while I sat on the table and waited for the doctor to return after my exam with some more information on future pregnancies. Jacob's hand was warm and damp, mine was trembling. Being here brought back everything but we remained in place because it's closure of a different sort.

Bridget, everything looks terrific. No pain with sexual activity?

No, none.

Jacob looked at the floor. We had expected a lecture. My doctor tends to do that.

Looks like you're doing very well. A model patient. Good luck with everything, you two.
Dismissed because physically the scars will fade. Emotionally the scars will fade. It's a contest, a marathon between my body and my mind now to see which one can claim resiliency first. My body always wins these races and my head plays catch-up forever.

When I look to Jacob to gauge his reaction to the doctor's placating reassurances, the fluorescent glow of the lights on his skin makes the dark circles beneath his eyes appear that much deeper and the hard set of his chin reveals his unspoken disappointments. We should have been sitting here hearing our baby's heartbeat for the first time. I hate those lights. The whole time the doctor was droning on in his professional voice all I could do was think about how cold those lights make the world, bathing our flaws in unflattering radiance.

This closure marks more step on the path to our future. We got through it. I'm planted back firmly on my axis, spinning with just the right angle at the perfect speed. There are no injuries to get past. No surgeries to heal from. No heartache to overcome, no death to grieve for. No fear of reprisals. No medications. No alcohol problems for Bridget at present.

Mark this date in history.

When we got home, Jacob took my coat for me and hung it up and we walked into the kitchen from the back porch and he closed the door. I turned back and looked at him and he was staring at me. Staring like he had never really seen me before. It was the same look he gave me that day in the coffeeshop back in 1997, the day he couldn't take his eyes off me. The grin that said he liked what he was seeing, a lot.

He laughed shyly, and put his hand up to rub his thumb on my bottom lip, like he does when he loves me very, very much and he's thinking.



Where do we go from here?

Up, Jacob. Up.

Yeah. Because there's nowhere else to go, is there?

I love you, Jake.

I love you, princess. And I thank God for you, every single day.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Pot, kettle, black.

I'll admit, I wasn't so impressed with Jacob's behavior yesterday. I never expected him to call from the airport to tell me he had been drinking and couldn't drive his truck home. You don't expect that from Jake, and besides, his birthday was barely a week ago. He's on some sort of destructive roll here.

The good Reverend is afraid to fly and it's worse than it was in August, because this time he was flying alone, and he is no longer comfortable with that. He's afraid he will die and leave us alone here on earth to fend for ourselves. God only knows, Bridget can't seem to fend for herself.

His solution was to have a couple of drinks onboard the plane to relax a little lot. Which is four drinks on the ground and far too much for Jacob, famous for not being able to hold his liquor.

He said he will not fly alone again. Ever.

His own very rare fragilities and weaknesses concern me. They astound me because I feel like I have become his biggest flaw. His excuse to fail at something that he used to be good at or seek out often because now he must stay behind and defend and protect poor little Bridget.

I meant fragile miss Bridget but I was too frustrated to even find my usual words, let alone spit them out in the proper order last night, this morning, an argument that keeps us traveling in circles since his return.

Christ, Jake. If you're going to give up everything you love for me then you're soon going to simply resent the ever-loving fuck right out of me and we won't be any further ahead. Maybe you're using alcohol to dull the pain over the choices you've made because I make you miserable.

So how do you think he responded to that?

Yes, he laughed. Again. He seems to think I'm funny when I'm mad. And I'm not, I'm frustrated. My goal was not to end up with Jacob simply so that I could ruin him too. He's not weak, my God, he's walked through fire to be here. He can withstand just about anything. He's strong and good and beautiful and I have come to realize that he isn't very strong at all sometimes, that I can push him over with one finger.

I'm not giving up anything, princess. I've just come to such a wonderful place in my life in which I know exactly what I want, and that's you. Traveling away from you and the kids for more than a day isn't something I need or want to do. And the pain from my life choices? Maybe if you'd wear your damn hearing aids you might have heard me for the past six months telling you how goddamned happy you make me. But you're too stubborn for that! Oh and if you're going to fight with me about alcohol, you'd best look in the mirror, princess. Besides, I'm home and I'm not planning to touch anything else for a good long while.

Okay, maybe not with one finger but I have my ways. When I figure out what they are, that is. He wins, again. Surprise, surprise.

Not the quiet reunion I was hoping for.

If you happened to be at a certain incredibly busy central Canadian airport yesterday afternoon you might have seen possibly the funniest and sweetest thing ever. Jacob, walking very quickly (a million miles an hour on his endless legs) and yelling my name across the concourse, which was packed with people. He was very loud, and only just a little drunk. Unable to drive in the state that he was in, and so he called me to meet him there. He only had enough wits to yell my name five times, so excited when he saw me, and trying to get my attention in the crowd, because he forgets that I mostly hear him now. He's never sure if I'm wearing my hearing aids or not. It wouldn't have mattered. He's tall and gorgeous and so loud, you can't miss him.

After tripping over a tour group of elderly Vancouverites and their collective baggage and a large gaggle of college boys who were blocking the stairs, he reached both arms out for me and suffocated me up into his coat to the point where I had to hit him on the back to remind him that I was better off breathing than a slightly-blue and completely dead plaything. He laughed and put me down and put his hands up to my face, planting a very sloppy, slippery, rum-soaked kiss mostly on my lips and slightly on my nose, too.

Then back to his arms I went. His hands into my coat, then tangled in my hair, and he surreptitiously checked to see if I had my hearing aids in. I clung to him like I used to when he'd return from being away for months. I dug in with both hands, clutching the back of his coat and balling up the fabric in my fists as if it might keep him grounded in my arms forever. He smelled vaguely of airplane fuel and even more rum. His beard felt soft on my cheek and I missed that. I missed everything about him so badly.

People stopped and watched. They do that when things like this happen. I would if I saw it. Because life is short and love is beautiful, and because Jacob made a complete spectacle of us.

    When spreads thy cloak of shimm'ring white,
    At winter's stern command,
    Thro' shortened day and star-lit night,
    We love thee, frozen land,
    We love thee, we love thee,
    We love thee, frozen land.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Hearts like paper.

Ruthie came home yesterday with a love letter crumpled haphazardly into the front pocket of her backpack, put there in secret when she briefly left the room to put on her snowboots. She pulled it out and unfolded it, a huge grin on her face. It was a piece of paper crudely shaped with safety scissors into a makeshift heart, a glorious display of the innocence of the grade-two set.

What does it say, Mommy?

It says 'to ruth i think you're pretty love james.'

She giggled and told me in hushed joyful whispers that today during morning recess they were going to get married on the ball field. I smiled and told her not to kiss anyone until she was old enough to drive. She smiled back at me, her satisfaction evident at having caught the eye of one of the more eligible elementary boys. He was tall (for a seven year old), dark and handsome and he routinely looks for Ruth's full attention on the monkey bars.

I realized how completely unequipped I am to handle this.

This heartbreaking thing they call 'growing up'. The inevitable highs and lows of watching your children repeat history in their own unique ways, with their own personal hopes and dreams ready to take flight, and quite possibly vastly different from what dreams you held at the same ages, and equidistant from the dreams you hold for them now.

How do I tell my daughter that love is so beautiful and difficult all at the same time? How am I going to celebrate her love when and where she finds it without wanting to save her from the certain heartbreaks? How do I teach her that it isn't okay for a man to hurt you ever, even if you could never prove it? How do I teach her that I didn't do things the right way and I'm incredibly lucky that I ended up with her stepfather? How do I make sure she is happy with the one she loves, secure and safe, treasured and respected? How do I not cringe when she brings home the rough ones, a dangerous glint in their eyes, rapture in hers? How will I ever stand back and let her make her own mistakes without ever letting her know that I could have prevented things she will go through?

How do I keep her small just a little while longer while I linger on the innocence with which she played yesterday, forgotten in her preparations for her recess nuptials today?

Ruth is only seven years old now. If these are my thoughts and feelings brought forth by an harmless note to my daughter from a classmate, how are we ever going to make it through the next ten to fifteen years?

All these thoughts rushed through my head like wildfire, and Ruth folded the note up and placed it back in the pocket of her pack and banished my fears in an instant with her next remark.

Don't worry, mommy. James is going to have to share his Oreos with me too or tomorrow Steven will play the groom.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

The courage of hobbitses.

This morning I'm listening to Encomium (Hootie and the Blowfish doing a smashing cover of Hey Hey What Can I Do), I'm coveting a pair of green cowboy boots and a Samsung SGH-i760 smartphone, and I'm sporting a pair of very tired, burning bottle-greens, thanks for asking.

The boys came and took me out for a second breakfast, I call it a hobbit breakfast because they are the only people who eat breakfast twice, and I am stuffed so full I can barely walk. It was a very rare and much appreciated treat for me on my last day alone before Jake comes back tomorrow.

I also did something else very smart, too.

So fucking smart some of you will alternately slap me on the back so hard I fall on my knees or you'll just fall to your own knees to give thanks that I finally went and did something that needed to be done without just standing behind Jacob's shoulders while he did it for me.

Oh yes I did.

Well, almost anyways.

I called Caleb last evening (still with the ceiling-crawl issues when I hear his voice, and I called him. Talk about baggage) and told him he had to back down because I can't take it. That he can't visit, he can't call and that right now I'm not in any place from which I find it easy to interact with him.

He was reluctantly flattered, not surprisingly.

I wanted to murder him.

I can see where it gets difficult. He looks like Cole, he acts, sounds and even moves like Cole. He has the same sense of humor, same passionate attitude, same laid-back yet stressed out demeanor. And since I said I still loved Cole (I know, I waffle. Sometimes I still do), Caleb transferred those feelings unto himself. Uninvited. I said I couldn't distinguish between them as two separate people and yet there remains a strange and wonderful barrier of complete unreality that keeps me grounded and mercifully out of trouble.

I told him I had no plans to spend any more time with him and that he wasn't going to get a free pass to step into his little brother's shoes and complete the heartwrenching love triangle that has played out over the past ten years once again, oh no.

Caleb is fully aware that Jacob won the contest, for whatever it's worth. And in a way that speaks volumes to me about the possibility that the brothers might be less alike than we can see on the surface, he understands the frailty of my emotions and my refusal to take any kind of chance, no matter what need he might harbor to set things proper.

It's not going to happen. Ever.

We'll welcome his letters, if he wants to write to the kids, and he can call them, if he can pre-warn me by email or text I will answer without freaking out and then give the phone to them. But I can't see him. I can't be in a car with him. I can't be having awkward moments in hotel rooms with him (because, my God) or non-awkward moments in the middle of crowded airports with him, I can't look at him and wonder if he hurts the women he sleeps with when no one is there to witness his depravities. I can't honestly wonder if he likes to grab their wrists and hold them down because he isn't Cole and that is none of my business.

I can't go there. I'll self-destruct completely just thinking about it.

And you know something? Caleb already knew about my feelings. He understood the trouble we were in and he had already agreed to stop contacting me altogether.

Because Jacob called him first and told Caleb he wasn't about to sit by like Cole did and do nothing while I struggle through my feelings. Jacob was going to fix the parts that were wrong and so he asked Caleb to stop calling, and to not plan to come and spend time, for now. That it's too hard for Bridget, and too soon, and Jacob isn't going to allow for anyone making life difficult for his wife, himself included, so not to take it personally. Caleb told me what Jacob said, word for word and ending with the most wonderfullest (more new words) sentence.

Bridget will not be hurt again, ever. I won't allow it.
Oh, music to my everloving ears. The hearing aided ones. Yes.

They agreed to meet for lunch tomorrow on Jacob's way home through Toronto and bury whatever hatchet they shared, and Caleb was very much in awe of Jacob's firm and devoted approach to my emotional well-being. To protecting my precious heart.

Aren't we all?

Again Jacob put his shoulders between the world and I, so I can be safe and that's fine by me.

He and I talked on the phone late last night for three hours, which also speaks volumes about how serious and non-flighty this whole situation had become. Jake was quietly very concerned and incredibly patient with waiting to see if I would come to him about it, and not wanting to call attention to it if I was simply being my customary over-reaching emotional self. He was prepared to call Caleb over a month ago and ask him to refrain from contacting me but he was thrilled and audibly relieved that I did it myself, unheeded. He's looking for the safe passage for us through the latest stormy sea and was moved that I found it too, without looking to him first to fix it.

He also said he much prefers to be the bad guy and is happy to have me standing behind him while he fights whatever battles rage near enough to us to warrant our defensive.

Because we didn't get this far to stop now. One more night and I'll be back in his arms where I belong.

    Wanna tell you about the girl I love
    My she looks so fine
    She's the only one that I been dreaming of
    Maybe someday she will be all mine
    I wanna tell her that I love her so
    I thrill with her every touch
    I need to tell her she's the only one I really love

Keep breathing, dear Bridget, keep breathing. He's coming home soon.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Of mice and monkeys.

Well, shit.

Caleb called to schedule his next visit, he asked hesitantly how I was really doing with Jacob away on business and possibly doesn't believe me when I insist that I'm fine. I realize everyone is waiting for me to fall apart again. Maybe I sounded a little weird because whenever he calls he says my name when I say hello and for a few seconds I have to peel myself off the ceiling and remind myself it isn't Cole on the other end of the phone. They sound exactly alike. No wonder I don't sound so good when he calls. I can't hear myself talk because of the damn screaming inside my head.

And that isn't hard or anything. Nope.

You probably guessed who the monkey is. Caleb doesn't seem to believe in thinking of my happiness or comfort level first and that's a brick wall I keep throwing myself up against because I have to come first. He thinks he has to come first and so he's going to keep visiting and keep calling even if he knows it's hard for me because he feels better. Wow, we're stubborn collectively. Which also doesn't escape anyone's notice.

I used to think he and Cole were polar opposites but I am being enlightened every single time I interact with Caleb that they are almost exactly the same. Caleb is simply Cole from the future, had he lived.

Yes. Hello. I know. Please don't. Don't let Bridget go there.

No more, please.

I need time before I confront him again because it's like a window into my past and my future all at once and I'd like to board that window up for just a little longer. Seeing him took so much out of me. He, on the other hand, wants to feel better yesterday and so if he's here a lot or checks in all the time then he is satisfied that he's somehow going to erase my past for his own peace of mind or possibly exist to drive me insane. He says he's trying to atone and it's bullshit.

I've been throwing out a lot of mental well fuck you toos his way today. Oh, I lie. All month long.

Jacob stays far out of his way. He's spooked by Caleb, not having really spent any time with him and yet having spent so much with Cole. He's apprehensive and aware of their similarities and what it does to me and yet he can separate it. I can't and it makes both of us nervous and weird. No pretty words for these feelings, I'm sorry.

I keep telling myself that they are two different men. I can tell myself that they are not the same and that I'm with Jacob and life is going to be better.

But Bridget doesn't see it at all.

Textaoke. Is that even a word?

So much for the mighty mouse.

I was doing really good right through this morning, after a wonderful wake up call from Jake at 6 am. It was 8:30 his time and he was waiting for his meeting to start and he missed me so much he said he ached. I know exactly how he feels.

But what a way to put a smile on a girl's face. Which was terrific because the first thing I look for on Mondays now after waking up in his arms is a full coffeepot and fresh bagels from the bakery sometime around 10 am. I got my own coffee and opted to skip the bagels, having toast with the kids at 7 instead.

Right. So as I said, I was doing really well.

Just as we were starting to bundle up for the walk to school he started sending text messages, one every half hour or so. Here's what I've gotten so far.

i love you

i have loved you all along

i miss you

been far away for far too long

Looks like it's going to be an all-day 5000 kilometer karaoke fest, one line at a time, starting with our song, which I didn't figure out until the last message just now. This kills me. Which is really sweet and kind of funny. So yeah, I'm sort of doing good considering how much I loathe being alone, being without Jake right now, but at least I'm one night closer to him returning safely and he's sticking close where I can reach him when the ache gets really hard to withstand.

Yeah yeah, drama queen. I know.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Corduroy sheets.

I'm possibly the only fool who would use them exclusively. For some reason I can't fathom, I love corduroy. Love it.

And believe it or not I loved it before the coat, which is coming out of retirement with a fresh retrofit-new elbow patches and re-sewn pockets, since it will work well for class where it had stopped working so well for Sunday services.

And yes, I stuck my nose in it too. Just to smell it. Even though it had been put away washed, of course. I stick my nose in all kinds of things, so you know.

Even cake.

Tonight Jacob has to catch a flight home to the rock. He's speaking at a conference and will be gone for three nights-enough time to attend two days of meetings, speak at the dinner and check in with his fading great uncle. While I would love to loudly vocalize my fragility and keep him home because I don't want to be without him that long or because I'm afraid, this is a reality. He can't be beside me every moment and I have to grow the fuck up and live life in spite of the overwhelming want to run and dive into our bed and pull the quilt up over my head, refusing to move until he is safely home.

I'm staring down a very long week, I guess.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Hit the lights.

Last night involved take-out pizza, pink floyd and a winter hat with earflaps. It also involved a couple of lights-out shots, which, for the uninitiated, are shots made up of half vodka and half Jagermeister.

It was a very relaxing night, exactly what we needed. And no, the earflap hat wasn't anything sordid. It was a hat I finished knitting for Henry, and I put it on to model it for Jacob. He thought it was adorable on me and suggested I keep it so I wore it all night, but I gave it to Henry this morning. He always has cold ears so the flaps are a necessity.

So so happy to be done with the antibiotics, done with the antidepressants and pretty much not anti-anything right at this moment.

    Its a sin that somehow
    Light is changing to shadow
    And casting its shroud
    Over all we have known
    Unaware how the ranks have grown
    Driven on by a heart of stone
    We could find that were all alone
    In the dream of the proud

Friday, 10 November 2006

The view from the flannel wall.

If I close my eyes and press my nose into his shirt I smell patchouli and coffee and soap. And love, newly tactile somehow, if that's even possible. He bends his head down and his hair tickles my ear while I shiver as his warm breath touches my back. He sighs and closes his arms tight around me and I feel safe. Safe, loved and almost human again in a way I haven't felt in months. I'm not straying so far from his arms these days, truth be told.

And I feel like this without the checks and balances. without the drugs anymore, without having to rehash every last painful moment with doctors, with family, with friends. With myself.

    Theres a passion in being alone
    A grace in a loveless time
    There's no new cross, there's no new sign
    Only the sun and the changing tide
    And out of respect, well I really must confess
    I never lost your number
    I never lost your address
    And if we remain friends at best
    Sometime later no, no not yet
    We'll smile and remember it like this

Secret guilty pleasure. When I wrote that the other day something snapped awfully hard.

Today I don't feel like sharing anything and that's not cool to me, this is my place to sort through everything and lay it all out bare and unprotected under the bleakest lights, judgments be damned, and yet right now I feel protective and remorseful for sharing so damned much. My very first pang of modesty with my words. You would have thought the pornographic writing would have been the first regret but it's not. I hope I feel differently tomorrow.

I can't put this shit back in, you know. It's out there, cached in the living internet machine and anyone, everyone can see it and I don't like that right at this moment. My, our history, a good quarter of it spilled into cyberspace. In my haste to deal with everything in the best way I knew how I forgot you were all out there watching me collapse. A quarter of it because I'll never tell everything.

Guilty indeed. I know who reads. I stopped posting pictures. I turned off the comments, with help. There are few links save for reminding myself where I said or did something relevant to a new entry. It has become so simple to make it easy for people to keep my words. Because words are all I have to give, and within them I have given you everything. No pressure, come and read, then come back tomorrow, because you know there will be more. Bridget, one molecule at a time.

I rarely comment on other's journals anymore either, I feel awkward and stunted when I try to weigh in on their lives. I have no business commenting on your lives when my own is so fucked up sometimes and that didn't even hit me until this morning.

Was it a bad idea? No. I work through alot. I have a place to hang out. I have an identity I can grasp by reading back. I can see who I am without blinders and editing. I could read about that girl and recognize her instantly. It's me. For fucks sakes, it's me.

I'm simply struggling with how public this has become and so, via my usual beloved words I am exploring how I feel about it.

Because I do that.

So no worries.

Tomorrow I'll share, but with a brand-new monkey on my back. I just have to figure out how to type without waking him up. Because you would have thought for all Jacob's (half-assed) pleading to take down the journal it wasn't him who gave me this pause. It was someone else.

And none of us are happy about it.

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Non-conformist noodles.

I crinkled up my eyes and smiled at him from across the table this afternoon. Jake was making chicken noodle soup while I was finishing a short story for a deadline that passed on Monday. Not a fortune to be lost but I waited too long to get my shit together this month and I am so behind already.

Organic chicken soup with whole wheat noodles, organic flax crackers and green tea.

Jacob, this is why I'm dying of colds this year. I have no preservatives in me.

You'll live until you're a hundred if you keep eating right, princess.

What if I don't want to live to be one hundred? I'll be deaf and dumb and probably blind and even more wrinkled than I am now.

You aren't wrinkled now.

Crow's feet. Look at them. I'm an apple doll.

Please, you've had those since I met you.

Right, which means I'm aging dreadfully.

Oh, be quiet and eat your soup. is pretty good. Pass me one of those hippie crackers, please?

One hundred, princess. Mark my words.


(Save the Bridget, save the world).

I might have t-shirts made. Does anyone want one? Hell, I might wear one myself.

Random drive-by panic attacks are exhausting for husbands. He's not helpless, he talks me down. He talks to me soothingly until my breathing slows and my eyes lose their wild glow and my hands stop with the fucking fluttering. He's amazing. This is why he's going to make such a terrific chaplain, because in an emergency he's the one you want right beside you.

Even at four in the morning, like last night.

I really hope that was just a scraped-up effort culled together by my brain to check for progress. Because I would like to point out how really really good I'm doing. And I'm going to continue on that path, I just need a little more sleep first.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

So, meet the sugarbaby.

The friendly giant is awake and drinking coffee, feeling none the worse for wear this morning. And yes, I busted myself by talking about sex. Technically I'm not supposed to be having any. So, shhhhh please don't tell Dr. P.  But really. I feel good and we're not indulging in x-rated Cirque du Soleil here so cut a girl a little slack. And cut me a lot of slack for the location choices of said sex I'm not having, because judging by my inbox you people are even less impressed than I am.

Did I mention slackers? Guess who phoned this morning?


Speaking of which, I remain, faithfully yours, the secret interweb guilty pleasure of repressed Canadian businessmen. You wouldn't believe it if I told you the numbers. If I had a webcam I bet I could make a fortune.

Let me just figure out how to hook up my new speakers and then I'll deal with the webcam in about fifteen years when the technological part of my brain recovers from this latest onslaught. Because! speakers! There's more than one plug and so I'm flummoxed. You should have seen me the other day-the stove element came apart and I considered ordering take out for a good hour before I realized it's supposed to do that.

I digress. I'm tired. Jacob kept me up half the night singing the blues. John Lee Hooker no less. Slightly tipsy ministers have no business singing the blues, you know.

Okay so...Caleb.

Caleb called to thank me for his visit, for the meals, and the company and for the belongings of Cole's that I set aside for him to have. He's having his real mid-life crisis or something. He's broken up with his latest girlfriend (loosely used, that term) and wants to plan to come out once a month or so and spend some time with the kids. To be present to somehow make up for Cole's memories. I assured him the kids have mostly good memories of their dad. He wants to know immediately if we need anything. Again, I assured him that we have everything we need.

And then I dropped the protests, because maybe spending time with his niece and nephew helps Caleb feel better about the time he didn't spend with his brother. I can't deny him that comfort if he needs it and so I relented. As we chatted for a few more minutes I distinctly noticed his sentences changing in form from talking about seeing the children to talking about seeing me. I corrected him twice and he hadn't noticed but I'm left slightly bothered by that. I'm bothered that after five years he's back in my life, just. like. that.

When I told Jacob about the call he winced when he laughed (hello, hangover) and then asked how many sugar daddies does that make now?

I frowned.

I've lost count.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Bottle green.

Or maybe I should call this entry bottle empty, for that's what it was when Jacob was finished celebrating Birthday 2006.

This time I got to play designated driver. Which held way more peril for me than it seems to for him, most likely because if I'm unsteady on my feet, he can simply carry me home. If he's unsteady on his feet I have to enlist at least two of his friends to keep him upright. He's a big man, and it's been a very long while since he's had a drink. Let's just say that he was long overdue and gee, did he ever make up for it tonight.

(The funniest part about Jacob having one too many that embarrasses him half to death is that he'll reach a point where he starts to talk rather strangely, adding a whole round of extra words to everything he says, alot like the Winnie-the pooh-speak and it is the best thing ever.)

We went out to dinner with all the guys to celebrate his birthday, with a sitter at home to keep the kids happy-they don't like Thai food and it is a school night. There was less food and more alcohol than usual. Jacob listened as each of us stood up and said a few words about the past year of his life. Mostly everyone reiterated that he was moving in the right directions all the way around and we were so very proud of him.

He stood up and raised his glass, drinking it down and then he started talking. His Newfie accent is so prevalent when he's had a few, what a riot. It was touching as he went around the table and told each person what they had meant to him and how they had specifically supported him over the past year, and then when he got to me he stopped talking and just smiled broadly for a minute. His eyes were glassy. I smiled back at him. Everyone started to tell him to just get on with it so we could all have dessert (the cake) and so he did.

To my Bridget. My bottle-green-eyed bride of ninety-four whole days, the past year has been impossible with you as usual. You make me so crazy. You make me worry. You frustrate me and sometimes I'm rocked dumbstruck at what it is about you that keeps bringing me back for more. But now that I've held you in my arms and you've become my wife at long last I know the answer and I wouldn't want it any other way. I love you, thank you for being with me. I hope I do you proud. Thank you for this day. For this year.

(He was easy to understand until this point, then it was all downhill.)

He bent down and kissed me and told me he loved me again, while some noisy awwww's rose up from the table. They brought out the cake and we sang and ate and drank some more.

Too much more for Jacob.

Which...well, argh. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or give in.

Finally the simple fact that it was a weeknight brought our dinner to an early close. Jacob seemed okay to walk out and I drove us toward home, perched on the edge of the truck seat because it's difficult to reach the pedals.

I need to stop in my office for a minute, Bridge. Something important must be done and so I have to be there for it.

Okay, I'll wait out here.

No, come in with me because you're out here and I'd much rather see you without seeing you, and it's dark right about now. I think.


He unlocked the side door of the empty church and we went in, he grabbed my hand and I followed him down the darkened hallway to his office door. We giggled and whispered the whole way as if we might get caught. He stopped when we got inside his office and I bumped right into him. He closed the door and locked it.

Jacob, why don't you turn on the lights?

Lights? We need those? I see everything I need that was here right behind me and always in front of my eyes. Like magic. Let's keep the dark going. Because then I can do...this.

He bent his head down and kissed me so hard I swear he bruised my lips. His hands searched inside my coat and he didn't stop until he hit bare skin. He tasted like whiskey. He was trying to unbutton my dress but he couldn't manage the buttons and so he went for hiking it right up instead. His hands lifted me up onto his desk and he was pushing me flat onto my back. I'm sorry, God. I tried to take him home. I think his patience rode the whiskey right out of his mind.

Oh, no, Jacob. Not here. This is your office.

Right. It is and my God, it's so messy and I think I want you right now, princess. Right and completely this minute.

Jacob, your office is IN THE CHURCH. We're in the church!

It's not like we're under the pulpit, Bridget. Just let me worry about that and take your damned dress off because I just noticed I think I hate some buttons like these ones here.

Jacob, we're going to get struck by lightning

Then our hair will stand on end forever and make us laugh. We'll finally have black eyelashes and smoke will come out of our noses. Now come here, beautiful girl.

Could I could blame the whole thing on not being able to understand what he was saying half the time?


Well, I never said we were saints. And I never said it was proper. And I will definitely never look at that desk the same way ever again.

Jacob maintains he has had the Best Birthday Ever. We are so going to hell.

German chocolate, please, boxed.

Today is Jacob's birthday. He's 36. He's the walking definition of a true Scorpio. Read for yourself:

    Scorpios are known for their intensity. They are determined folk that absolutely throw themselves into whatever they do -- but getting them to commit to something is rarely an easy task. In fact, it's better not to even try to "get them" to do anything. Solar Scorpios absolutely have their own mind. And, their primary motivation is unlikely to be prestige (like their Capricorn friends), or even authority (Leos can have that, too)--it's real power. Their power can absolutely be of the "behind the scenes" variety, just as long as they have it.

    To others, Scorpios seem to have plenty of willpower. They probably do. Scorpios do know what they want, and they won't go out and grab it at the wrong moment. They simply sit back, watch (quite expertly), and then get it only when the moment is just right. This apparent patience is simply their powerful skills at strategy at work.

    Scorpio isn't afraid of getting their hands (their bodies, their minds) dirty. The darker side of life intrigues them, and they're always ready to investigate.

    Scorpios simply never give up. They have tremendous staying power. They're not in the slightest intimidated by anybody or anything. Confrontations are not a problem. In fact, talk to any Scorpio about their lives, and you'll probably be in awe at all they've gone through. Trauma seems to follow them wherever they go. When Scorpio learns optimism, instead of expecting the worst, they'll find that they possess amazing regenerative powers -- the power to heal, create, and transform.

So do you know what this means?

Of course you do.

Bridget gets cake today!

Update: I had to throw in his very spooky horoscope too:

    The time is right for you to make a career move. Your talents are developed well enough for you to take the next step towards your goals. Go after that promotion or start searching for a better position elsewhere or even go out on your own. You may be a little nervous about, but the planets are in your favor. Act boldly and you will get to where you want to be much quicker.

If that isn't a sign, I don't know what is.

Monday, 6 November 2006


This whole teaching gig reminds me of a crush I harboured in middle school. My Junior High English teacher, who was once accused of getting 'too close' to his students. Oh I wished to be one of those ones but I never was. The rumors turned out to be false eventually. I still really liked him.

He was kind and patient and encouraged me to write, because he assured me I was pretty good at it.

Because I got an A+ on my book report for Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself.

He was blonde and blue-eyed too. He wore plaid shirts and jeans and he had a beard.

I'm sensing a trend here...

I told Jacob I hoped he was ready for all the university-girl crushes that will soon follow him from one semester to the next but he assures me it can't be any worse than Mrs. MacAskill down the street. She's 86, long-widowed and I think she would eat Jacob for breakfast.

If she could catch him with her walker.

Parting shots.

Get some coffee, you'll need it.

Yesterday's revelations seems to have rattled a far greater number of cages than the news that I had left Cole ever did(I still write Trey every single time. Stupid Phish. Well, okay, Phish isn't stupid. I can't listen to them anymore though. I never will again. Cole got his nickname because he resembled their lead singer, Trey Anastasio, only darker-haired and better looking. He could also play and sing like him).

I woke up distraught and annoyed today. The phone has been ringing off the hook. I'm not annoyed with any of the callers (okay, scratch that, I'm annoyed with one in particular) but I'm fed up with my hearing aids, which cause me to jump four hundred feet straight up when the phone rings. When we took it off the hook both our cellphones went off instead. Groovy.

Everyone is surprised beyond belief, shocked, happy and oddly relieved that Jacob is switching gears. Most of our friends held him at arms length for so long before they realized he was in no way a reflection of whatever image we grew up with of a 'typical' minister.

Typical is the last label you would stick on Jacob. He surprised us all with his laid-back personality. He has a drink once in a while. He plays guitar, often. He sings rock music loudly. He'll put Zeppelin on in the sanctuary early on a work morning so loud the police have been called. He lives in his jeans for everything but weddings and funerals. He's taught everyone that God doesn't care if you're always on your best behavior. He brought God to us as a cool, supportive force in our lives, not as an almighty disapprover, which was how we all felt before Jake landed in our lives. He'll swear beautifully when moved to and he's...

I think you get the picture.

I really wish the phones would stop ringing already. I can't keep my train of thought like this.

My God, they've lost their fucking minds. Again.

Financially what the hell are we doing? What does this mean for our faith personally? What happens in a few years when Jacob decides that teaching isn't what he wants to do? How far away from God will he try to run next? His father warned him that he couldn't pack up and jet off to the far east or Australia with a wife and two kids and classes on Monday and bills to pay and maybe we should come home and Jake can work through the winter with his dad and we'll live there and Jake can think about who he is and who he wants to be. Jake's dad is a fisherman. His life is black and white. Or grey and gray. He doesn't like bullshit. Jake's mom just said, come home. Bridget can sew and the kids can go to school down the road.

Days later I'm still wishing Jacob would say fuck it and take us home.

On the other hand, this job will come in handy in ten years when there is tuition to be paid.

And frankly, he and I know who he is, God knows who Jacob is and that's all Jacob cares about right now. He has lost nothing here. I'm aware that I didn't write much about Jacob's evolving relationship with God. It's private. I also didn't write much about our actual feelings on him leaving his church with good reason. I'm aware I touched on the logic but not our thoughts. Possibly on purpose. We still have our eyes squeezed tightly shut while we jump and when the time is right we'll force them open to squint and look around and see if we are still intact, if we landed safely. Faith says we will make it. It's all we have left, aside from each other. Exactly what we wanted.

I'll have to save those thoughts for another time while I deal with something else entirely.

I'm shouldering a lot of blame today. Too much and I'm unhappy about it.

A heck of a lot of people have forgotten that Jacob had one foot out the door of that church long before I went with him. And I realized I have dredged up something that now appears to make no sense. And writing about it is really fucking disturbing for me. But I need to do it because of the gaping hole in our history that people keep bringing up.

What in the hell went down between Cole and Jacob with the open marriage bullshit anyhow?

Yes, well, I can try to explain it. I won't promise anything.

(When I first left Cole I alluded to the fact that he had given me to Jacob um....temporarily and that both men expected me to go back to Cole when Jacob moved away. Which is as weird as it sounds, I won't deny it. It's weird and disturbing. It's difficult. So fucking difficult to talk about now.)

Cole was feeling generous. He was so egotistical about his marriage to me. He was the first to know of Jacob's plans for moving. He suggested that Jacob could borrow me. A gift. A parting gift between friends. Mending the war between the boys. Cole knew Jake wanted me so badly but he didn't want to give me up. What he would do, instead was loan me out. Fulfilling his open marriage curiosities (that I never wanted any part of) and being generous, because he knew damn well he could use it against me later however he wanted, and Jacob would then be long gone.

Cole was planning to set me up using the weakness Jacob and I shared-each other. And at the same time, he gave his friend something he really really wanted. Me.

Two free birds, one stone.

Well, Cole, Jacob isn't stupid.

Jacob agreed with him, that he would uh,...well, take me for a week or so. That I would be his for a very short time and then Jake would leave town and life would continue on. It killed Jacob that Cole could offer me up like that. The day Jake came over he was supposed to offer me a week with no strings attached. A week we would spend together and then he was supposed to tell me he was leaving. We could get each other out of our systems once and for all. Then it's over forever. And Cole would have leverage against me for the rest of my life. Which wasn't fair. He had cheated. So many times. But then again, so did I, once.

Jake knew I would never ever agree to that. Cole didn't seem to know, but Jake did. He knew what Cole was up to and he had a different plan in mind. Jacob's plan was risky but by then I think he knew all of us well enough to take the chance. The worst outcome would be nothing at all, in his mind.

Jacob's plan was to simply ask me to be with him forever, because he knew that's the only way I would go with him and the time had come to take the chance or lose it forever, with emphasis on the forever part strictly for our benefit because at that point Jake still planned to leave the city.

When I stood behind Jacob when Cole came home and told him I was leaving him for good it landed on him like a hammer punch. It was the last thing Cole expected (or maybe not, looking back now) and he was strangely humbled. He fell apart to the point that he stopped being a monster again and was kind to me. So kind I didn't know who he was anymore. I was so confused by this. All of the sudden I held all the power. Briefly. Wonderfully for so many days.

And then it was gone again.

Jacob told me about his career plans and made no mistake about it, he was going and I was not even invited. The supreme double cross. He told me he wanted to smarten Cole the fuck up before he left because he knew that I would be going back to Cole. And besides, Jake didn't want me to be alone. The last time I was left alone I tried to kill myself. In his eyes I was better off with Cole behaving responsibly than I ever would be on my own alone. Because Cole knew that Jacob knew everything. Finally. Someone knew all his dirty little secrets. Humbled indeed. Cole knew Jacob would kill him if he hurt me. Which almost happened in May anyway.

Jacob's plan worked really well. Which killed him just a little bit. No, a lot. Too much. And something happened between us and Jacob realized that he just couldn't do it. He couldn't leave me. I didn't think we could fall harder but there was so much more further to take it. It was the most incredible thing I have ever felt.

And so I left Cole a second time and the rest is chronicled right here so that everyone can see it and understand how this happened.

It was a strange end to a strange experiment. The worst part was they knew, they all knew. All my friends knew of Cole's plans and they all lost respect for Cole and then for Jake too, who simply agreed to the open marriage thing, took the judgements that were leveled against him and said nothing of his true plans.

And no one said a word to Bridget.

And eerily Cole did smarten up in the end. Well, if you don't count that one very violent, frightening night that will be forever branded into my heart. He learned that his actions had life-altering consequences and that I wasn't going to be his catharsis anymore, the object of his own inner war with the demons he faced. He learned quite brutally, spectacularly that he had lost my heart to Jacob long before I left him, that emotionally I had been gone for such a very long time and that this was bigger than everything. He learned that Jacob gets where he is by the way he treats people and the good man that he is. He learned that you can go from having everything to having nothing by throwing it all away in a selfish display of bravado and power. He lost, plain and simple, by gambling with his family.

Sometimes I think he was hoping I wouldn't come back, because he was so much sadder than he ever was when I did. But as much as I believe that Jacob and I met and fell in love for a reason, Cole with his violence and his sick brand of love pushed me right into Jake's arms, shoving me right off my feet. Had he never been like that I might not have fallen so hard. I can admit that, it's logical. I was looking for rescue for years. I always thought Cole would change when we got married. Maybe change when we had children. Maybe change when we moved. I never thought I would fall so fucking hard for Jake and lose my mind all around myself. I'm still picking up the pieces, we're still dealing every single day with our hypocritical actions. We are accountable. This happened because we caused it. All of it.

They all say I'm addictive. It isn't me, it's Jake.

But now you know why Jacob was accused of fighting over me like a trophy and why he expected me to go back. Mistakes were made all over the place. We're fixing it as we go. As much as we can. Cole died and left this hole which will be here forever. I will never have answers from him. I will never have absolution from him and I fucking know this. I know it.

I can't look for redemption from Cole because he's gone but I'm here to live with every mistake we made together and I will. Jake and I are trying to make a life out of this mess. A happy one, a secure one. I have said all this before. This change in our lives is another attempt to move forward and put the pain behind us. Does it make me feel better to have explained it? Not really.

Are we running? You bet we are.

    When nobody's watching us
    I missed the last song
    I blame myself for just standing there too long
    I missed the last song
    I blame myself for just standing there
    I miss the love, I miss the holidays
    I miss my best friend, cheap cigars,
    stupid kids and movie stars
    and I missed the last song and I miss you
    and this time this one's for us