I prayed so hard God finally answered me. Maybe just to shut me the hell up. I whispered Jacob's comfort prayer that he taught me a long time ago over and over inside my head so that it would be shared by two. Somewhere I hoped he was doing the same.
Thursday morning at 3 am I was lying in our bed wide awake. I heard the wind chimes. Usually when I hear them it means it's windy and about to rain and I'll always get up and watch them circle lazily on their chains. I heard them again, softly. Someone was deliberately making them sing and my heart stopped beating. I didn't go and look out the window, instead I pulled on one of Jacob's huge sweaters and ran downstairs and straight out the back door. And stopped.
If you've ever seen the person you love most in the world standing in front of you in stark moonlight with tears rolling down his face you'll understand it has to be the most beautiful and worst sight in the world. I froze. I think I was afraid if I moved or startled him he might bolt, like a wounded animal. I stood there and the tears started too. He walked to the bottom of the steps slowly and stopped. He had been watching me, close by but far enough away so that he could have whatever he needed-space, time, solitude, to figure out if he wanted to go forward or peel off to the left and disappear forever.
He held his arms wide and I went into them, hysterical. He held me tightly until I could breathe again. He finally pulled away and wiped both our faces with his shirttail.
He said if I would take him back, that he'd like to stay, that he loves me and he was sorry. He collapsed onto the steps with me in his arms, both of us sobbing. He rocked me, he stroked my hair, he knew. He knew I wanted him there and nowhere else. He knew how I felt but I tried to blurt it out and repeat it over and over anyway, trying to make him understand exactly how much I love him.
Why are you punishing me? We both screwed up.
Is that what you think? That I left to punish you?
What else could it be?
Bridget, I left to punish myself. Not being around you is hell on earth now. I had to pay for what I did. And keeping myself from you was my punishment. I drove you to act out and put yourself in a dangerous position with my stupidity and I hate myself for that.
So we can hate each other and be together at the same time.
I could never hate you. I hate what happened. I hate the thought of him touching you.
He asked me if we should take it back and I said yes. Two wrongs cancel each other out and Bridget and Jacob start over, granted, from scratch. If something is a dealbreaker then it's a don- deal, but if it isn't going to be then we need to not use it to hurt each other.
So over we start again. Thankfully. Humbly. Sometimes the most perfect love is so flawed. We still want it, holes and all.
He went upstairs, with my hand in his and went in to kiss each sleeping child and then we went to bed at last, never sleeping, just lying there curled together in spoons, wide awake, marveling in silent over the touch of the one we love the most after so many days' absence.
Friday morning we got up reluctantly and reiterated our vows to not hurt each other, to not seek out others for comfort and to not mess up this chance we have been given. Also we reminded each other of our promise to raise Ruth and Henry together as a unit and how that above all else was so important and should supersede any argument we might find ourselves in.
We're going to keep things simple. Bridget + Jacob = Love.
The kids were so happy he was home at last.
Then he surprised me again and called Loch. On my phone, so Loch picked up instantly and Jacob told him that he was forgiven. That putting his family back together was more important to Jacob and so he as going to concentrate on that and let Loch go, that Loch was not important to him right now.
(Run, Loch, run far far away.)
Loch had already taken the hint, thinking Jacob was staying away because he was in town and had flown home Wednesday.
Jacob asked if I could stop with the thousand-mile games of tag. His laugh was ragged, exhausted and drained. No singing, we're healing. No easiness yet as we're so anxious to not wound or perceive to offend that we've resorted to a funny little overly-cordial routine that shames him to no end. It will fade. We've gone through it before after arguments. Soon we'll slide back into the informal closeness we've spun into gold.
We took it back. It's our life and no one, and no series of events is going to mess it up now. Our foundation is solid, it's holding. It's precious and we're not going to play with it.
So now I think I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. One thing Jacob was remarkably proud of was how I continued to give myself the meds, I didn't throw or smash the hearing aids, I didn't fall into a hopeless state and look for escape and I didn't leave the wall up that I had built Thursday between when he spilled the beans and when he followed us to the airport.
And I held it together while he watched from beyond the fence as I tried to keep the kids busy and Bridget busy and continue to woodenly exist without him, which is hell on earth and I don't want it. Never again.
All this time he was up the road, in his old office, talking with God and with Sam too and missing me like crazy and walking down the street when it got too hard, to watch us rock in the hammock and read to each other and wait for him to come back.
So he did.