Wednesday, 31 January 2007

A halo made of antimony.

Watch her fly, Jacob. And be ready with your arms wide to catch her.

I once talked myself into a corner and I decided I liked it there and so I never left it again. He has stayed patiently close to anchor my crooked halo over my horns while I stirred him with my delightful stories and my adoration.

I don't know why he does that.

I don't know if he'll return. His princess added an unexpected tale of repugnance to her repertoire and when you suspect something but its never confirmed it's easy to forget that it might be true after all.

Reverse psychology.

It's getting long again.

Yeah, I suppose I should shave it.

Keep it, it'll look great when you meet David Suzuki.

Yeah or I could shave it off and look younger.

You and Ed Genochio*. You both look hot with beards and yet you both keep shaving them off.

You think Ed Genochio is hot?

Of course. Don't you?

Not so much, Bridge.

Well, you should, because he is.

What about David Suzuki?

That depends.

I see.

He's no Ed.

Stop with the Ed nonsense.

Are you jealous?

I've walked more than he's biked.

I don't doubt it.

I've been to more places, too.

Are you playing a one-sided game of my-cock-is-bigger-than-yours?

Possibly.

Why on earth do you need to do that?

Because you said he was cute.

Well, he is. He's got a great accent, too.

I don't need to know this, Bridge!


(*For the record, I've had a crush on Ed Genochio for a few years now.)

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Nocturne.

Today's barometer is that we're all sick again. Last night I took Nyquil to quiet the raging sinus pressure and pain and had a restless sleep. Henry suffered the worst, coughing most of the night, tossing, turning and at one point calling out for..Daddy.

The kids don't call Jacob Daddy, they call him Jake.

The hardest parts of life are not my own, they are the children's, too young to fully understand life as it is now, their dreams bring back their memories in full bloom, as if they could reach out and touch in their sleep what no longer exists in their waking hours. Henry is no exception. On nights when he couldn't sleep Cole would rub his back and sing Harry Chapin to him, Cats in the Cradle, sort of an inevitable confession because Cole knew he worked too damned much and he felt guilty constantly but he never changed. I hate that song. Hate it.

Last night Henry asked Jacob to sing him to sleep and rub his back like daddy used to do when he had time. And Jacob couldn't dare bring himself to sing that fucking song and yet he wasn't about to refuse Henry any request for comfort that he could ever ask of Jake. And so Jake settled blissfully on a song that Henry now calls Jacob's lullaby, even though Henry is well aware that it rests on one of Mommy's favorite CDs of all time, the final track of U2's Unforgettable Fire, and he's heard it a million times before, but never a cappella, in Jacob's baritone, at three o'clock in the morning in the dark, which lent it a haunting simplicity that left me with no words at all.

    Sleep
    Sleep tonight
    And may your dreams
    Be realized
    If the thundercloud
    Passes rain
    So let it rain
    Let it rain
    Rain on him

Monday, 29 January 2007

A polaroid from 1976.

    Sing with me,
    Sing for the year,
    Sing for the laughter and sing for the tears.
    Sing it with me
    Just for today,
    Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away.


Oh, don't roll your eyes. I heard it live in 1994 at an Aerosmith concert and it still sounds just as epic to me as it did when I first heard it when I was five years old and my dad took a momentary breather from his beloved collection of Eagles, Elton John, Gordon Lightfoot, Beach Boys and Creedence Clearwater Revival 8-track tapes and put on the radio.

I was hooked.

If only I can infuse my children with this eclectic, psychotic love of music I'll have done a good job. You do realize someday these little kids of mine are going to grow up and make their own marks on this planet, don't you?

I know.

I don't think anyone is ready for that. Hopefully they won't be the least bit shy about stepping out of the shadows of their infamous mother, all flesh, ocean-obsessed and headphones permanently fused to her skull.

Hard to believe they are such well-adjusted people. When I am not the least-bit well-adjusted, and am prone to pulling songs up over my head like favorite quilts and hiding in their comforts until people pull out the searchlights and come looking for me.

Why?

Narcissism. Plain and simple. The dark and seedy underbelly of some of my highest days. The inevitable exposure of all of me. Because I'm here, dammit and I'm going to leave my mark, even if it's only the smallest of bruises.

Nien and thirty, sleep, pretty girl.

Jacob woke me up this morning by whispering that there are thirty days remaining until March first, and that I have survived the dark ages, and graduated to over nine hours of daylight at last.

    Once there was a way to get back homeward
    Once there was a way to get back home
    Sleep pretty darling do not cry
    And I will sing a lullaby

    Golden slumbers fill your eyes
    Smiles awake you when you rise
    Sleep pretty darling do not cry
    And I will sing a lullaby


I find winters here very difficult, and that's a general observation not borne out of any other reason besides a horrific disdain for more dark than light of a day. Something I can't explain but I talk of often. The summers are glorious here, with the sun baking our little corner of the planet from the middle of the night to late in the next night, it's beams piercing the bubbled glass at 5 in the morning and providing a relentless glow until long after 10 pm. We get little time to hang upside down in the dark..like bats. I'm not a bat. I would do well in Denali, says Jake.

One of my disdains is for these room-darkening, insulated curtains. The kind we quickly discovered we needed, and we spent hundreds of dollars on them and then a few hundred more on better curtain rods and hardware with which to anchor these twenty-pound panels.

But they work, and around this time of year they choke off my enthusiasm and I begin to resent the hell out of the shroudlike weight of these protective fabrics that prevented the light.

And the cold, let's not forget the cold on a morning that saw the hinges on the screen door just about refuse to budge and I couldn't get back in for a few moments. The cold that makes me appear to puff down the road like Henry's favorite TV train character. Even though no one can see me, they're all safely nestled behind their own insulated drapes.

This week also heralds in a full moon on Thursday and so the children will be wild and we will be slightly moody and wondering why and it will all culminate into a surreal existence in which we have epiphanies that spark a new understanding, of how we can exist as skeptics and then fall back on something as simple as the hours of daylight or the phases of the moon or the dates of an ancient calendar that we cross off to find our place and gauge our moods. How I scrape the snow away from the sundial in the yard and peer at it as if I'll be able to wish it into service.

Jacob is trying to help me keep my faith through what might prove to be a difficult week but I'm going to focus on small, insignificant things and glide through it like I'm on a rail so that I don't linger too long and take those dreaded two steps back once again.

So far so good.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Low light.

We're home. Jacob wanted to come back early and do some work, and so you get a post.

He isn't doing a lot of preaching anymore. He's still the congregational minister but there has been a long line of guest ministers and his partner doing the bulk of services and he has appropriately shifted his presence to the background, in preparations for the transitions to come.

I miss it. I miss his sermons. I never thought I would say that but it's true.

We did had fun with his sister. I love her to pieces. She's happy I'm part of the family. And I'm happy we're sisters now, having been friends for about 15 years. She was the one who wanted to party and begged her brother to drive her everywhere and if it hadn't been for what used to be a maddening subject between them, I never would have met Jake.

She painted our nails-hers, mine and Ruth's. She tried to get Jacob and Henry too but they resisted. She took me out for long drawn out virgin martinis (apple juice and olives-they were awful) and put low lights from a box in my hair in her tiny cluttered bathroom. We laughed until we cried and she hugged me hard and often and told me she was happy that I made her brother so happy. More than once I would point out that we've got our problems but every time she would stop me and reiterate how happy he is.

They are a lot a like, those two.

And now I've got a Sunday afternoon alone with the kids to catch up on laundry and story times and Jake will be home by 9 pm or so for a late romantic supper and maybe some snuggles. No skating tonight, since it'll be too late when he's finished at church.

Hope you had a nice weekend too.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Light bright.

Oh yes, the hair cut.

I would have forgotten that I did it other than the fact that my head is five pounds lighter and my back gets a little cold but that's all imaginary, issues that are inside my head. I have heard more stories about people cutting their hair to signify change in the past year than I care to admit and maybe they finally got to me and so I had a moment of clarity and I did it.

My hair had reached past my waist. It was getting to the point where I had to either lighten the load or I was going to shave it off completely and join the Hare Krishnas at the airport. I look very good in orange, you know.

So I lightened my load, by fourteen inches. It's now..er...nipple-length or thereabouts. And I look like I'm fourteen years old.

And now it's in my mouth when I brush my teeth again and there's so much less for the battle braids, but it also means I don't have to check the kids' necks and fingers after they are asleep to make sure they aren't going to be suffocated, it takes me half the time to wash and to comb it out afterwards and...

..he loves it. When I came out he smiled so broadly I thought his mouth was going to spill right off his face in order to infringe on the scenery behind his head. He made a crack about sleeping with the new pretty girl and how we couldn't tell his wife, which is probably the oldest haircut joke in the world. And a miserable backhanded compliment but I let it slide.

And no one missed my hair until Henry went to grab it to do our elephant walk to bed, until I went to make sure I didn't sit on it when we sat down to dinner, until Jacob went to wind his fists three times into it when he kissed me, because he does that. But even though it's gone and it was one of the biggest hidden psychological crutches I ever had, I am reminded that it is simple vanity, and it's still really fucking long, considering how much was cut off.

My ponytail is on it's way to Locks of love, and I'm on my way to enjoy an extended brunch with Jacob's little sister Erin, who invited us to come out at the last minute for a weekend visit and we jumped at it so I am posting from her speedy little laptop today. The kids love Auntie Erin, possibly because sometimes, like Jacob, they can't understand a word she says. But she believes in cake for breakfast, and that's all that matters. So no post tomorrow, we'll be soaking up the Erin-love and making our way home again.

See you on Monday!

Friday, 26 January 2007

Morelasses and follies.

I'm just going to post with my heavy eyelids somewhere around my knees so I'm not going to make any sense at all.

Why he pronounces Molasses with an 'r' I will never understand. But it's funny. When he's in a rush or exasperated the accent just flies out all over the place and my heart melts right down through my body and pours out of my belly button in response, where I collect it in a teacup and put it up on a high shelf for safekeeping. That happens an awful lot.

And he sounds like this (ignore the ad, just listen to the salesman for an idea of how 'tick this accent is). When Jake gets going the rest of us are left uproariously in the dark.

I've run out of coffee. I have possibly forty drafts of semi-coherent posts sitting here that I never seem to finish. Caleb is stalking me, or so I have been told, and by an objective third party no less, but I don't know what this means. Jacob is working all day but planning to pop home for pancakes and his morelasses and kisses as he finds short breaks here and there, one of the joys of living close to work, close to his church.

I'm still tired and still trying to finish two more stories for my actual workday and then I'm going to beg off and watch movies for the remainder of the afternoon, one of the joys of working at home, though I'm supposed to say I'm so busy all the time and I do sometimes and then it gives me permission to do whatever the fuck I want to, and right now I want to sleep. As soon as the laundry and work and pancakes are done.

Bye.

Oh and yes, I got rid of the REM song from my head. When I woke up at three I had Relient K's Deathbed stuck there instead. Which is way more morbid and cute and funny and beautiful. It's 11 minutes long and a rollercoaster of a song but it's worth it for the voice of Jesus in the end, sung by the ever-plaintive Jon Foreman which is so freaking cool. His voice also makes my heart pour out of my bellybutton. He's a beautiful singer.

My friends are going to flip out and mourn the loss of the metal girl at this point, I'm sure. No worries, she's expanding her horizons!

And even more things I have to share, the owls, the icicles, Saw III, cutting my hair (because I did) and more but right now I'm feeling as slow as...morelasses.

Snort.

No rest for the wicked.

Oh, good morning, Bridget!

I've been up for hours and upside down for most of them. Shhhhh.

If you don't mind, I'm just going to lay my head down on the desk and not type anything at all. I'm so tired I could fall asleep just about anywhere. But it's for a good cause. That would be the Jacob wanted me and woke me up at 3 am because he couldn't help himself and so we made love for four hours straight cause. I missed my run, he missed an early class and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sometimes everything works the way it's supposed to and it works well and I have a smile on my face for the whole day. If only we could fix all our problems with epic Olympic-caliber sex. The world would be a better place. Or maybe Bridget would be a better place.

Oh wait, Jacob said I was a very good place indeed.

Har.

He said that tonight would involve cake and mulled wine and some completely despicable activities. I can't wait. I just hope I don't fall asleep in the middle because I actually did that once and I hurt his feelings but I made it up to him a million times over, no worries.

So.

Tired.

So.

Sated.

So not writing anything remotely worthwhile in this state, am I? Whew. It's going to be a long day.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Accidental discoveries.

A nose appeared from the edge of my peripheral vision and I looked up quickly to meet the pale blue eyes and dimpled smile of my husband. Sometimes he's all teeth and twinkles and it's really cute, you have to look hard if you're watching for signs that he's aging. There's a maturity in his expression that was hard-won, a world-weariness that tells you he has seen more with those eyes than most of us ever hope to, a light that never quits that tells you he has hope for everyone, including me, and a warm coldness that I can't describe because it alludes to his incredibly surprising asperity with our relationship.

Jacob is always in a rush.

He's not as laid back as he was when he was a friend.

When I write I usually grab the coffee, take out the hearing aids, put on my headphones and let my hair fall over my face in a curtain and those are my signs that I am tuning out life to enter my imaginary world with no distractions save for the wandering of my own brain as it tells my fingers what to do. A reverie I would trade my life for if only sometimes it were permanent, sanctioned daydreaming, escapism I have grown to covet.

My concentration shatters when he puts himself into my line of sight, a broken train of thought that disappears and I become easily frustrated and impatient. He is unable to stand back and watch now that we have arrived in this place, in this time in history. He used every moment he had and now there are none left.

But I'm being good. I haven't had a drink save for a sip of a mimosa on our trip. I take my pills, I went back to Claus after a major blowup in which I said I would jump off the roof if I had to return to the other. I was taken seriously, and he's mad and I'm disappointed, both of us in my need to resort to that level of painful dramatics to make a point. I told him that was precisely why I can't get anywhere with him, he doesn't pay attention to what I want until it's too late.

And sometimes I get mad and tell him just to go for an hour so I can work and he points out the new carafe of coffee he was offering me, nothing more and I feel like a bitch and he gets to play martyr and it only really works well when our roles are reversed and he can be the hardass and I am the trophy who can do no wrong.

And sometimes I really like the interruptions and the fuss he makes over me. I feel less alone and the glass dissolves before my eyes and his coldness and his rush fall away and he is my ready steady rock.

And sometimes thoughts just stop and never make any sense at all, it's just some thought that has to get out, whether there's resolution or not. Like turning off a song in the middle and when you go to listen again, you start the whole song over.

Strategies.

I'm so very clever.

Everyone's waiting for me to talk about things I won't talk about yet.

Like Jacob's reaction to running into Caleb here, when we didn't know he was here. Like Loch's damage control from a thousand miles away. Like Claus' master plan for me and Jacob's refusal to comply, and their attempts to one up each other with radical ideas. Like my dates circled on the calendar that spark fear instead of triumph, as if it never mattered how far I have come. Like how no one listens to the frail one anymore, they just wait, and then decide on their own.

Like being surrounded by people but I am behind glass. They're all there, I can see them.

I just can't reach them.

I can't hear them.

Apocalypse cupcakes.

There's something fundamentally disastrous about elementary schools and bake sales.

Jacob offered to help Ruthie bake cupcakes for the sale to raise money for a class field trip. Neither one bakes much but both are fiercely independent and heavily resistant to supervision. And so Henry and I went to the library and left Ruth and Jake home to do some hardcore baking. They had some mixes and all the tools required. It sounds simple, right?

We returned two hours later to find them on the phone with Jacob's mom, in preparations to start over again. The kitchen was trashed, just about every bowl and spoon used, batter on the walls, floor and ceiling. And on the table, cooling, the fruits of their labours: giant-sized mutant cupcakes that were black on the outside and still liquid in the middle.

I couldn't do a thing but stand in the doorway and laugh and laugh. Their reasonings were priceless. Bigger cupcakes will fetch higher prices, and to speed up the baking process, if the oven is hotter everything bakes faster.

Henry said they were volcanoes, black mountains that spew hot lava. That sent us into fresh peals of laughter. It took forever to calm down but finally we stopped and cleaned up the mess and went out for more supplies and then I showed them tricks like turning off the beaters before lifting them out of the bowl, and using a broom straw to test for doneness.

The cupcakes were a huge hit yesterday at school, and Ruth was able to contribute $25 to the trip. She sold out.

When asked if she was willing to make cupcakes again for a future fundraiser, she respectfully declined and asked if she could sell chocolate bars instead, or maybe even just pay cash.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Tropic of Bridget.

 Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror, dogging the scene...
The song is still there. Jacob keeps saying,

Thank the Lord it isn't Everybody Hurts.

Oh, but sometimes it is and I'm not allowed to listen to that song. I've been down that road before. And today is fine and I bailed on you to go and sit in Chapters instead with my brand new Henry Miller because the old one fell into the bathtub and swelled up so awfully I could no longer turn the pages. Yes, Tropic of Cancer. Where do you think Henry got his name? Fine, I lied. I named him after a candy bar.

I sat and people-watched and drank caffe mochas and pretended I was fine.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Violent green.

 As usual, my email address is in my profile, please feel free to say hello.

It's an REM day, for those seeking Bridget's barometer.

    Every whisper
    Of every waking hour
    I'm choosing my confessions
    Trying to keep an eye on you
    Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
    Oh no I've said too much
    I set it up

I'm in a holding pattern. One of those wonderful and bittersweet life times that Jacob holds his breath right through. This time of the year is incredibly difficult for me as it is, but I'm not going to talk about anything bad today. I am going back to see Claus. He was the best of the bunch and didn't try to pulverize me with emotional bombshells every day and so I happily pop the pills and I'll see him later on today. He told me to bring all the pills and my writing and an open mind. And he said Jacob was not invited.

    Follow me, don't follow me
    I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush


Casual poetry has become a new lust. Reading, not writing it. Are you mad?

And weirdly I am still waking up with What's the Frequency, Kenneth? in my head, every single day. It's been months now. Maybe if I listen to In Time for a million revolutions it just might leave me alone.

Or maybe it won't.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Subjection.

Happiness is a skill, it requires effort and time.
So said the monk reputed to be the "world's happiest person"

That's right, it does. It takes time and effort. Happiness isn't something that falls into your lap and unfortunately neither does anything else. I'm betting the monk doesn't have bills to pay, homework to supervise, pipes to thaw, or relationship issues. I picture him like the monks I see in movies, living in a hushed monastery perched on top of a mountain somewhere, a minimalist with prayers and time and faith and very little else. The monks are always self-sufficient in those movies, they grow their own food, they're off the grid. They don't have a care in the world.

How do you really expect to glean advice from or have admiration for someone who's life is nothing like yours?

Exactly. You don't. You can't, or you'll set yourself up for disappointment. It's inevitable.

I'm cynical. I need to work on that too. So here, something I rarely share. Being a minister's wife, I should be beating you over the head with this kind of thing. But I don't. I find it a deeply personal and private matter, usually. Kind of like how Jake feels about our sex life.

    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your Presence?

    If I go up into the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

    If I rise on the wings of dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

    even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

    If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me",

    even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

    Psalm 139:7-10


This is written on the front of one of Jacob's notebooks and it always gives me comfort. It soars like a dove over my moods and lifts me right up out of wherever I have landed on that day or in that moment.

So does Rufus Wainwright and Ben Harper, singing Beatles songs to me today. I've got new coffee mugs and the neatest garland for the porch windows. It's all wooden daisies and beads strung on white raffia. My porch is becoming an eclectic little spot. A hammock, gardening stuff and copper windchimes, lanterns and tiny lights and now the garland and blown glass window balls. It's our cozy hideaway. We got rid of the swing. We spent so much time on that swing last spring we decided we hated it. We're on a mission to change most of the rooms in the house, one at a time.

Because..well, onward and upward, right? Because Jacob and I are just as relentless in our our love for each other as God is for everyone, no matter what.

Night skating.

Sunday night I opted to surprise Jacob instead of the other way around. Payback for some of his romantic efforts of late. Retribution for some of the heartache I have caused him lately. It's been 170 days since our tiny little surprise wedding and we like to mark the milestones, however quirky and nonsensical they may be.

I took him night skating on the river. After the kids were in bed and the sitter was settled in, we grabbed our skates and headed down to the river, where there are plowed trails, lit with lampposts, with hot chocolate stations and warming cabins every half a kilometre or so, and very few people out on a Sunday night after 8 pm.

We were off, out and free in the exhilarating night air.

The evening sky was a beautiful shade of teal, with a sliver of a silver moon and Jupiter visible just below it, the brightest star. The wind was calm and the air was brisk but not as cold as I expected it to be, allowing for rosy cheeks but no frostbite.

We trundled down the steps and onto the ice, making our way to a cabin with a fireplace, where we laced on our skates and put on mittens, and then Jacob took my hand and we glided off down the path. It was so still and so silent, one of those nights when your eyes take in the entire sky and you feel more alive than you've ever felt before. We didn't skate fast, just briskly enough to cover several quiet miles before stopping to buy steaming cups of hot chocolate at a stand a little off the beaten path. We sat by the fire and sipped the chocolate and talked a little bit. Mostly about the week to come, purposely avoiding any heavy subjects that might cast a pall over such a luminous night. When we finished we resumed our skate, turning to go back the way we came. Jacob showed off just a little, skating circles around me and then coming in fast and lifting me off my feet and I was howling that if he let me fall he would be in trouble. We danced on the ice for a moment and then tripped and almost went down but were saved at the last moment by a well-placed light post.

And then we just stopped and stood with our arms around each other. My cheek pressed against the cool boiled wool of his old pea coat, his arms tight around me, a weird thrilling feeling in the cold, dark quiet of the river trail. We were finished skating for the night.

Hand in hand we found our way back to the steps and our boots and we took off our skates, cheeks flushed and fingers icy and stinging, and we returned to the truck.

Once inside and warm, Jacob drove home slowly, the roads were slippery and it was hard to see.

I wish we could do this every night.

Be together?

Yeah, and glide across the ice with Jupiter over our heads.

That was a nice touch, princess.

Thanks, took years to coordinate that special ambiance.

I can imagine.

So you really had fun with me, Jake?

So much that I think we should make it a weekly thing.

But?

But?

I hear a 'but' in there.

I feel like it's the calm before the storm. Like we're very good at all the remarkable moments and unable to keep the momentum through the unremarkable ones.

Stop. Don't ruin this.

We drop it every time.

Because it's too hard.

Then how do we get through the in-between times?

We try harder.

I thought we were, Bridge. I thought we were all about getting it right this time around. Why is this so tough?

Because we had lives and we pushed them aside. We were selfish.

We weren't selfish! Christ, we waited forever.

Maybe we were selfish in that we built lives knowing we weren't in the right places and we did it anyways, trying to have it all.

Or maybe we just need to try harder.

Then that's what we'll do.

Can we?

We can. I can. I will, anyway.

Did I ever tell you I love you?

Not within the past ten minutes.

I love you.

Thank heavens, I was starting to wonder. I love you too.

You'd better. I think trying to find a third wife to make up for the first two would be a real pain in the ass right now.

Did I mention you suck?

Jupiter took your words, didn't he?

He did, be jealous.

Eh, he can have you.

Suck, Jacob. You suck.

Can't carry on a conversation with you anyway. What good are you?

Oh, I have my moments.


With us, goofy talk usually leads to flirting, which leads to kissing, which leads to getting the babysitter safely home and then it leads to a lapdance, which leads to making love in a chair in which Bridget can do nothing except hold on, Jacob has to do all the work and so he leads. And it works and we don't fight and we don't struggle and it doesn't turn into something bad. And it was a most wonderful way to mark 170 days with my husband.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Jumping Jeremiah.

So Jeremiah Johnson turned out to be a beautifully rendered, seventies edition of Legends of the Fall. It was really good. I was a whole ten minutes into it when the time frame shifted and Bob appeared with a full beard and longer, messier hair and I just about fell off the couch. He looked exactly like Jacob. It was a little bit unreal.

Now I see what the fuss was about, why everyone wanted me to see the movie when it came out on TV. And when Jacob came home and I mentioned it he just laughed and said if he cut his hair and shaved every day people think of him as Redford's character in Barefoot in the Park and so it's better for them to liken him to the half-crazy fur trapper living in the woods who does what needs to be done. The guy everyone reveres and no one will mess with.

He's probably right.

In any event, at least no one calls him Sundance. The mustache with the beard is cool, but the mustache alone just looks strange on Redford, kind of like it does on Jake.

I'm on a mission now to watch the future! So I have to hunt down the rest of Bob's newer movies. I've seen Indecent Proposal seventy million and one times and we don't joke about it. We lived it instead. Only I did it for less than a million dollars and there was an alternate ending.

Shhh.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Checking off a list.

I'm fine, really. I'm sort of okay if you don't dig very deep.

And I have a date tonight with Bob.

Four messages on my answering machine telling us we have got to watch Jeremiah Johnson on AMC tonight. No one said why. But they said not to Google it so I can't even link you.

Which is funny, I'm a huge fan of Robert Redford (not just because of the resemblance to Jacob, or is it vice versa?) but I've avoided a few of his movies because they were older and maybe the subject matter seemed unappealing. Fur trapping? Wilderness? Naw, I'll pass.

I'll watch it and see. Kind of bizarre, the enthusiasm for this one though. Sam said it was the 35th anniversary of the movie and it has been restored. He's all excited for me to see it but he wouldn't tell me why.

Saturday night fur trapping movies. Yeehaw. Not like we had any plans because Jacob has to work tonight and is on call but still.

So I can bury myself in blankets and absorb into a movie and pretend that life is like it is in the movies because I like it that way.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Threats and promises.

Dollface, you'll never be in control of your life.

Cole used to say that to me. Too often. He was an in-charge type of absent in which he had final say and I did all the legwork and if I fumbled somewhere along the way he would simply reiterate that this was why he was in control, so that he could control me. Convince me I was useless.

Scathing, burning memories on a day when the sky is that milky grey it turns to just before the snow starts and I miss him.

His presence in my life was so prolific and predictable and constant it's still hard not to look around for him or to wait for him sometimes. When I have to make a decision I wonder what he would do. I miss the way I was able to get my way with him with a few big crocodile tears. Cole would drop everything and positively crumble when I cried, save for a few very violent occasions. His world ended when I was that upset, he much preferred me to be vaguely unsettled and permanently frail, in his debt. He wanted me to need him and so I did and I learned to rely on some phenomenally destructive personality quirks that grew into a wholly immature adult woman incapable of not needing a man around to be In Charge.

On days like these I wonder if he's cold and that's dumb.

Dammit, the rambles are loose. Ignore it all. Or don't. I don't care. It's not going to be a happy blog. I don't do happy blog, okay? I need help.

So why do I miss Cole when it snows? I really don't have an answer. Considering all of our anniversaries and good memories are during warmer seasons. All of the bad memories are from those same seasons, too. He even died in the summer, during one of the hottest weeks on record. Maybe it's because I can't get away from him. He chases me through my dreams every night, he's woven firmly into my memories and good or bad, I can't erase him from my past because I have his living reminders here. Reminders that he did love me even though he couldn't show me in any sort of acceptable, peaceable way. Reminders that his legacy will do better than he did and that we survived his madness. Or did we?

Reminders that he made threats and they're all going to come true even though he's dead. A promise that I will never be allowed to deal with any of this because Jacob won't allow it. He would prefer to continue to pretend that Cole never existed, except to the kids. He has all the time in the world to talk with the kids about Cole, and not even one single second to talk with me about Cole. And that is why they're doing well with it and I am not.

It's been six months and I haven't been permitted to grieve. Ever. I've been led firmly, one hand on my back, pushed through decisions and plans and memorials and I can stand here and say I hated him for what he did to me but..

I don't.

So it would be a lie.

And Jacob doesn't like lies.

Play dead, Bridget.

Bridget loves George.

Did I mention how cool was George Stroumboulopoulus' shirt on a few weeks back on The Hour? Well it was awesome, and with PLAY DEAD written across the back in huge gothic letters and an adorable tiny skull on the front it was bound to catch the eye of Bridget's hushed inner gothic princess, who promptly dragged Jacob in by the TV to see it. He liked it. I'm buying him one.

I found the company quickly, Play Dead Cult clothing. I have to get Loch to seek out the actual shirt as it wasn't on their website - he has all kinds of time to run wild goose chases down in hot potato town, right?

Of course he will for me.

For Valentine's Day, which is just about a week after the noted day on which Jake and I will have been married for six whole months. Where in the heck did the time go?

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Glowbug.

I just noticed how early it is. We've been up since 5. No running today, for the man of the house had other plans.

Jacob dusted off his hammer this morning and tore the back porch to shreds. Shreds. Right down to the insulation. He and PJ are installing new drywall later today and then he's going to build a bigger coat closet, cubby-holes for the kids with hooks to hang their coats and backpacks and then on the other side he's putting in another bathroom and some cabinets that will house the pet food and all the recycling bins, out of site.

He loves doing this stuff. He even had some extra tin-punched insert cabinet doors shipped up from the cottage work so he could tie it all in.

It's going to look amazing once we dig out from under all this sawdust and drywall dust. Which is now tracked from the back door all the way up the stairs.

But a nicer, functional and warmer back porch will be wonderful so I'm not complaining.

Jake wants me to paint the floor, as long as it isn't plain. Which was almost the coolest idea ever. A floor mural. A scene painted directly on the floor and then sealed with many coats of varnish to protect it. I've planned to do a forest scene with a lake with owls and the moon and stars which will be done with glow in the dark and sparkly highlights. All dark blues and greens and rich browns. It'll be amazing. Bats, hidden bunnies, moonflowers and pond lilies.

Maybe you'll even get a picture of it. Cole wasn't the only painter in the group.

I sketched a quick representation of it and Jacob went and bought all the paint for me last night. I can't start for a couple of weeks, until the rest of the room is finished, but it gives me something fun to look forward to and our house remains unique but is brought up to date because that porch was probably the worst room in the house. When we moved in Cole and I ripped up the old carpet and tore out the old cabinetry and then dropped it. It was a shell that was used simply to keep the heat in the house while we came in and out.

Now it's going to be a neat place to enter into our home. Full of love. Full of kids-little and big.

Edit: There seems to be a proliferation of flannel and toolbelts going on around here. It's hot. Or maybe I have inhaled way too much sawdust.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Keys.

I think I'm done with my tantrum. You said what Jacob said. Ignore the bad, or take what you need and leave the rest.

I deleted all of the bad from my email and I felt somewhat better. It's kind of like therapy, being forced to admit your mistakes over and over again, being judged for doing all of it ass-backwards and having everything go wrong all at once. I quit therapy, remember?

And I'm on edge anyway. So much stuff, and it never stops.

But I'll be alright. Eventually. And I know it's hard to read here, it's certainly not the most uplifting journal in the world unless you can somehow pick your way past the difficult parts and predict the future for me. That's what I hold out for.

Sometimes everything is wrong. Sometimes it's so perfect I can't see straight. Days like that I fall to my knees and thank God. I am safe and I am loved and the kids are wonderfully resilient and loved and provided for and I can't ask for more.

I'll try to make it a little better, I've still got so much to work on and this is where I sort it all out, so it will take a little time, we all know how slow I am to do things.

So we need a little light.

I've got a little here and I'm using it.

Rootless forest.

You got it wrong. All wrong.

Weren't you paying attention? Or did you skim through a few entries and decide you knew me better than I know myself, than my own husband knows me, or Cole or eight different doctors and therapists and counselors. Or my goddamned friends?

So many nasty, unbelievably off-base emails I am considering just taking this down forever, or making it private or just deleting the whole fucking thing. Or maybe I could take off the email but sometimes I get amazing letters of encouragement from people who have been where I am, who know what the fuck they're talking about instead of projecting their useless bitterness on to me out of spite. The wonderful, beautiful souls have left their names, they're written many times, they give a shit.

If you don't give a shit about me then leave me alone. Why waste your time?

It seems pretty simple.

Oh and I know my world is small and yes, right now it revolves around ME, while I struggle to not alienate my brand new husband or fuck up his life, while I comfort my kids who miss their dad and struggle through holidays and they can't understand where exactly he is or why he is dead and why Mommy sometimes can't explain it, or why she cries when she thinks about him. Or how to keep moving forward when I'm in this Quaalude fog that never ends but if I leave the fog I might just simply kill myself if I get low enough and I can't let these three people down. I made this bed.

So fuck you too.

I've had enough.

But I'm not taking it down because the accountability close to home is something I need right now.

And for the record, I don't have him wrapped around my finger. Jacob's had a thing for me for years and I fell for him right back, I have never tried to excuse that, I have said more than once I was a shitty wife to Cole. Jacob is also not a pushover. The only reason he never killed anyone is because he believes that shit is for God to look after. He has one hell of a temper, I just leave that out.

Because I don't need people to tell me I'm about to repeat history here. So once again, fuck you. Because I've got no words for this today.

All the same.

I love karaoke mornings, he sings with so much passion. It's awesome.

    I don't mind where you come from
    As long as you come to me
    I don't like illusions I can't see
    Them clearly

    I don't care no I wouldn't dare
    To fix the twist in you
    You've shown me eventually
    What you'll do

    I don't mind...
    I don't care...
    As long as you're here

    Go ahead tell me you'll leave again
    You'll just come back running
    Holding your scarred heart in hand
    It's all the same
    And I'll take you for who you are
    If you take me for everything
    Do it all over again
    It's all the same

    Hours slide and days go by
    Till you decide to come
    And in between it always seems too long
    All of a sudden

    And I have the skill, yeah I have the will
    To breathe you in while I can
    However long you stay
    Is all that I am

    I don't mind...
    I don't care...
    As long as you're here

    Go ahead tell me you'll leave again
    You'll just come back running
    Holding your scarred heart in hand
    It's all the same
    And I'll take you for who you are
    If you take me for everything
    Do it all over again
    It's always the same

    Wrong or right
    Black or white
    If I close my eyes
    It's all the same

    In my life
    The compromise
    I close my eyes
    It's all the same

    Go ahead say it you're leaving
    You'll just come back running
    Holding your scarred heart in hand
    It's all the same
    And I'll take you for who you are
    If you take me for everything
    Do it all over again
    It's all the same


For the uninitiated, the song is the same one that plays during the video for the Free Hugs Campaign. Which still makes me cry and I've seen it dozens of times now.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Bravely marching forward.

My sister sent me this and we got the biggest laugh out of it when I sent it back, I thought I'd post it here while I pointedly ignore all the negative emails today's post generated. The show must go on, after all.

Soundtrack to my Life Movie Forward:

    Here'ss how it works:

    1. Open your library on your Zen or other MP3 player.
    2. Put it on shuffle.
    3. Press play.
    4. For every question type the song that is playing.
    5. When you go to a new question press the next button.


Opening Credits: Me & my friends, The Red Hot Chili Peppers
(nice, so far so good)

Waking Up: It's All Understood, Jack Johnson
(perfect wake-up music)

Falling In Love: Dragged Down by the Weight of Existence, Fear Factory
(uhhh...interesting in a cosmic joke kind of way.)

Fight Song: Mary Jane, Alanis Morissette
(if you're going to fight an internal battle, maybe)

Breaking Up: Another time, another place, U2
(oh, ouch)

Making Up: Nothing Else Matters, Bif Naked (covering Metallica)
(PERFECT)

Life is Ok: Tea in the Sahara, The Police
(Yes, please.)

Mental Breakdown: Dirty Glass by Dropkick Murphys
(funny, this is one of my happy songs-Jake and I sang this at a karaoke thing in Newfie and brought down the house).

Driving: Heartache Tonight, The Eagles
(makes sense, my dad's favorite song, I was raised on it)

Flashbacks: Fatal Wound, Switchfoot
(this was one of Cole's favorites so why the hell not?)

Happy Dance: Sober, Tool
(tool time is happy time for Bridget)

Regret: Song of the Flesh, Black Crowes
(okay, it works.)

Final Battle: Eskimo, Damien Rice
(way off. I don't even favor this song.)

Death Scene: Mad World, Gary Jules (covering Tears for Fears)
(I could see this happening for real.)

Final Credits: Default Judgement, Fear Factory
(Perfect, I couldn't have chosen better.)

Feel free to try it, it's kind of neat.

Exoteric, or, Nothing that's perfect is real.

Do you know the story of Icarus? Maybe it's my story too. He was a slave, imprisoned, and he built a pair of wax wings to escape but when he did it felt so good that he flew too close to the sun and his wings melted. He fell into the sea and drowned. In other words, perhaps I am pushing my luck.

Thirteen unlucky words to describe Bridget this past weekend:

You're a pretty little masochist with a high pain threshold and absolutely no remorse.

I laughed. He always gets it right. Jacob has a name for everything and I am simply a sheltered girl, insular, locked in her turret by the handsome prince while he tries to figure out what the fuck to do with me. For the second time in my life, no less.

And then I cried. I took my praise for making Cole so goddamned happy and just ran with it. If I told you I was easily influenced by the men that I love would you forgive me for it? If I told you we once had it down to a science, my pain for Cole's pleasure and he gave me whatever I wanted as my reward would you forgive me for that?

Jacob won't.

He sat up and swung his legs to the side of the bed, feet on the floor, perhaps planning to carry him away of their own accord. His hands covered his face, fingers clenched in vexation, lines underneath to prove his eyes had closed themselves, a futile, inept reflex to protect him from even thinking about accidents of intimacy that we caused on purpose.

He told me he was sorry. I had asked for all of his limits to be removed simply so we could explore it together and unwittingly he agreed because he is devoted, because he is generous with me. When I insisted that he wouldn't hurt me, he grew angry very quickly. He pointed out our obvious, marked differences in size and strength for the umpteenth time and that if he got caught up in it and harm came to me he would never be able to live with himself. I interrupted him and he yelled at me.

You don't understand, You're not helping things, I won't hurt you, Bridget. I will not hurt you and neither will anyone else!

We've had this conversation before, and it made me angry and I raised my voice but he cut me off again. He turned around and stuck his finger in my face, jabbing at the air around me and I cringed at that while he swore that if Cole could turn me into a masochist then Jacob would turn me back into who I was before that. I was the salt to Cole's vinegar. Rubbed into my wounds because it feels good, figuratively and otherwise. I am what Jacob says I am.

So add it to the list, we'll put it somewhere before victim and after mentally ill. And funny, I covet my submissive label. I like that word. That was the one I can live with. No one cares about that one, it's a very quiet little epithet, my inevitable role and the only one I can play that covers up the darker, shameful ones. That is the only one he likes.

The next time I opened my mouth, I was cut off once again. Jacob looked at me sadly and said,

No, Bridge. I don't care if we ever fix any of it or don't. I love you and I always will.

A small comfort, found in his anticipation of my question. Which is sometimes the very best kind of comfort. Even in the throes of a painful argument, we can still read each other's minds. I could eat him alive and I know he feels the same way and yet sex is this huge battleground, every night he is forced to be dominant, to physically restrict me so that I don't turn it into something he doesn't like, a double-edged dangerous sword in that half the time that's exactly what I want from him.

It will never be perfect at this rate. Jacob wants movie sex, in which he carries me to the bed and I make little noises and simply receive him and let him gently lead the way.

Bridget, well, she's in the seedy unmarked theatre down the street watching a whole other kind of movie.

He just read that and laughed. A laugh barely tinged with a bitter contravention, discernible only because I know him so well and maybe he didn't know me so well.

And one of my greatest joys is that even though such a huge part of him is entangled in his work, he's such a passionate, reverent man, he's upright, and he confided in me that he loves all of it, he doesn't just pull out the easy parts of Bridget to adore and plan to fix the rest, he truly loves all of it. All of me: the sweet, deeply emotional, fiercely loving, word-inventing distracted writer and the fucked-up over the top freakish sexual deviant too.

Which makes him vaguely a freak as well. He's only just a little chagrined by his own revelations on a regular basis but the fact that this has become our new standard argument because we've just about settled everything else is almost comical.

I can live with this one, Bridge. We'll get where we're going.

Do we know where we're going, Jacob?

Of course. But the point isn't the end, it's the journey. And ours is an adventure, we're granted passage a little at a time.

I bet you wish you had booked a cruise instead.

Are you kidding? I thrive on conflict, and adrenaline. This is my fetish, maybe.

I knew you were a freak.

Birds of a feather, princess.

Oh, you're not going to start in with the Icarus-stuff again, are you?

No, instead maybe I'll tell you about Atalanta, and the golden apples she could not resist.

You have a very large brain.

Oh here we go.

Matches everything else.

Uh-huh.

I like that, Jacob.

I bet you do.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Esoteric.

Friday night after a few stops and starts and one incident in which the friendly giant couldn't help himself and took off, leaving me to navigate the hill alone after having never navigated a hill quite that large that didn't take place on skis and subsequently yelling at him when he caught up with me, he had a few more surprises up his sleeves.

Reservations at a dimly-lit upscale restaurant. Lobster. Sparkling water after which he asked me what I would like for a drink and after I said water I realized it was a test. A pretty velvet box that he put on the table after he ordered for us.

I'm thinking, what is this?

The high-maintenance princess who never is allowed out of my brain was hoping for a Breitling Starliner. Even though they're $6000 and Jacob isn't that kind of man. Heck, I'm not even that kind of girl. I saw one once in real life and it was beautiful. But it was also just a watch, nothing of any real consequence.

People say that about me too, I suppose. Beautiful but of no consequence.

The logical princess won out, to match her logical prince. There was no Breitling in the box. What was in the box was two new hearing aids. The tiny ones I wear inside my ears, replacements for the one I lost at the cabin and the one I threw away in a fit of frustration.

Jacob happily spent thousands on those. This man is unpredictably predictable.

Jewelry would have been more romantic.

You've got enough jewelry. Put them in, Bridge.

You make it hard to hate you.

Wouldn't it be easier to talk if you can hear me?

Sometimes.

Then put them in.

I excused myself and went to the powder room to do it. When I returned Jacob whispered to me.

Every man in the room watched you come back.

Sorry.

Don't be. I bet they've never seen a more beautiful woman, either.

Please, Jake. I look washed out in black, my eyes are tired...

You couldn't look bad if you tried.

None of my cute dresses fit anymore.

They aren't looking at your dress, Bridge.

They're probably all gay and seeing what the competition is for you, mister gorgeous.

Well this table is a veritable sugar bowl, isn't it?

If the shoe fits, preacher boy.

What would you like to do tonight?

What are my choices?

Anything you want.

Be careful what you...indulge me in.

Anything, princess. I mean that.

And with that, I knew it was going to be a long night.

Let's worry about all that after dinner.

It proved to be a two-hour dinner, we carried on the quietest conversation, savored the best food I have ever tasted and finally left to return to our room, where a fire had been built and chocolate-dipped strawberries had been delivered, a treat courtesy of Loch, who is in the Irish Mob along with Jacob and who may or may not have had a lot to do with the last-minute reservations.

Jake did indeed indulge me in anything and everything I asked him for and as usual he made himself stop because he has a herculean sense of self-control not seen often in mere mortals. And so Friday night ended in one of those stupid quiet arguments that we dropped in favor of pure simplistic intimacy in the end, easily found after losing our way over more awkward affections.

Damn that, anyways.

The next day we almost didn't leave the room, but we didn't want to miss the entire day and so we lounged around in bed until close to lunch, then ordered mimosas and brunch. Jacob coaxed me into the shower easily with a promise to wash my hair and then we hit the village to poke around a little, because we both adore nighttime snowboarding, it could wait a little longer. We got matching tattoos.

Oh, don't roll your eyes.

Matching. We're a set now permanently. Salt and Pepper. Bonnie and Clyde. Jacob & Bridget.

To commemorate the biggest single surprise and amazing moment of our lives because although he won't admit it, I'm positive there were times over the spring and summer where he really did second-guess his heart.

We somehow surpassed being comfortable with each other and graduated to completely exposed to each other, whether it hurt or not, cementing a mutual trust that we've been fighting for.

Maybe we just needed to find a safe place to achieve all this in a neutral setting. And I realize I'm not making any sense. Confidence can make everything sharper. Time makes everything better. Trust makes everything extraordinary. Exploratory time, successful or not, can be a catalyst for a positive change.

Jacob's innate goodness eradicates all things dark. Like me.

As God intended. I have resorted to laughing about it now because rather than curse out loud the constant barrage of tests God is putting me through, instead it's rather amusing to believe that maybe he put me here as one big test for Jacob. One that Jacob is determined to pass.

I may continue to sabotage his efforts. I laughed at a quote I saw last week while reading reviews of the new Switchfoot album, it said,

    Somewhere in there is the idea that good things happen to bad people, not bad things happen to good people.

In any case, Jake came back a very confident, trusting man, having confirmed to both of us that no matter how hard I try I can't break him, and me, well, I'm still melted butter and vaguely as depraved as ever.

And mostly unfixable.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Retrograde.

I don't think I know where to begin. Everything has an opposite, right? And so I bring many stories to the table, and I'm not sure which direction to head in first.

I could go with the awesome boarding, the amazing food, the hedonism, the sheer largess of the lavishness with which I lived the weekend, the..uh..(oh God, cheese alert) matching tattoos, losing my fingerprints all over that man, and not being permitted to join any clubs, mile-high or otherwise.

Party-pooper.

Or I could go with the name-calling, walking out, being ambushed and the exposed rawness of assorted emotions that run on full constantly, wearing us down, wearing us out. The tears which leave us dehydrated and depleted. The exhaustion of trying to make our relationship work the way it should instead of the way it does.

I think I'll start by saying my face is wind-burned and pink, my hair is straw again and I am happy to be home. I need new goggles, I scratched mine all to hell, and Jacob is limping just slightly, having twisted something or other in his hip on his final kamikaze run down the hill alone.

Hanging out with an adrenaline junkie is exhausting. But for all the yin and yang of the trip it turned out wonderfully and we worked out a bunch of things and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm just too worn out to talk about it tonight so I'm going to bed and I'll start tomorrow, after my run.

Everyone say goodnight to the stupid girl.

Restoration.

I feel like hardened pull-taffy. Stiff and vaguely sore in places that generally aren't sore but my insides are melted butter.

Your girl doesn't have a care in the world.

Dear God, can I just stay this way forever?

The snowboarding was groovy beyond words, the flights and drives went without a hitch, and everything here at home went smoothly. Jacob went so far as to have hot chocolate and warm cake brought to our room both nights at midnight, I had my very first hour-long massage. By him.

I have been loved so hard I think our fingerprints wore off some time over the weekend.

    Let your love be strong, and I donĂ­t care what goes down
    Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
    Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
    All of my world hanging on your love

Thursday, 11 January 2007

No rain, just words.

No rain, just words.

I'll start on the negative and end on the positive.

To the reader who attempted to rain on my parade by telling me I was a spoiled girl, throwing a brat-attack after your husband busts his ass to make magic for you, it was less of a bratty moment and more of a moment in which I had to do something before I cracked in half again and it would have occurred regardless. It's not like I was only attending therapy in hopes that he would reward me with a trip. Don't forget he tried to take us away for Christmas and I asked him not to, preferring not to travel during the holidays when things are so hectic. He likes to plan surprises, he doesn't dangle things in front of me. Attacking me while you have only half of the information is a fruitless endeavour, my friend, just because I post some revealing moments doesn't mean I share everything.

Jacob doesn't need anyone to defend him, I take his criticism when he gives it, he doesn't require help in that department. In fact, he's one of the few people in this world that I can't distract at all when it comes to having his say. He's not afraid to cut me down, piss me off or leave me sitting in a room by myself when he's had enough bullshit. Trust me, I can't fool him any more than I could lift him. He's good at handling life. He's good at...handling me.

And so on to the sunshine.

We're all packed! There is a mountain of gear in the back porch and all that's left now is to pick up Bailey after dinner tonight and then we leave very early tomorrow morning, back late on Sunday afternoon. I won't be posting again until Monday. Will you miss me?

We haven't had a block of alone-time like this for a while now and we're both looking forward to that moreso than anything else.

While I'm gone, here's something to tide you over, A list of 25 of my favorite bloggers. There is more, of course, which I'll save for another day. Enjoy!

Blue Poppy
The Boyfriend Files
Broken Cow
Diaries of a Pumpkin Princess
Elation
Evil Heshley is Dead
Geek, Inc.
Hard to Believe I did it Again, Eh? I know, not really.
In my Element...
Ice Queen on Defrost
Kikiville
{love, Joleen}the blog
Madhatter
Paravonia
Potor Can't Write
Rising With Grace
Rockstar Mommy
Rude Cactus
The Sound of your Heart
Thimble
Sweetpeas
Switchfeed
Waiter Rant
Waiting for my Husband
Yah Lah Yah Lah

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Ollie ollie oxen free.

(Because normal isn't good enough for this man.)

I was sitting at Jacob's desk writing yesterday morning, stealing his laptop. Sunglasses perched on top of my head because I always forget to leave them by the door, pencil clenched sideways in my teeth, hair on top of my head in an updo that was half undone by then, turtleneck, snowpants, sipping a cup of coffee and singing Beautiful Day as loud as I could while I wrote, because I write with very loud music playing.

    Touch me
    Take me to that other place
    Teach me
    I know I'm not a hopeless case


Jacob walked past the den and I waved and said Hey handsome without looking up while I typed and resumed singing. He smiled and then stopped and stepped back to look at me.

You look adorable and happy, Bridge.

A temporary affliction, I'm sure it'll be fixed by tomorrow.

You're too hard on yourself.

No, I'm being prepared.

Girl Guide?

Brownie, actually. I never made it up to Guides, was too busy figure skating.

Oh, you know what we need?

Brownies? I could go for something right now.

No, a vacation.

What did you say?

Your New Year's eve, princess.

My new...It's January 9th, Jacob. We'll get a date night soon.

How about this weekend?

Sure, I can call a sitter.

Already have Bailey.

What? What do you mean?

Bailey's coming out.

Isn't that a lot of effort for a date night? I'll call PJ.

PJ can't really swing two nights.

I stopped typing and stared at him. Pencil still there, eyebrows to the moon, which made him laugh.

Take that thing out of your face, Bridge.

What are you up to?

How does two nights in Whistler sound?

Oh my fucking god! Jake! Are you taking me snowboarding?

If you want to go.

Are you kidding me? Of course I want to go!

Pack your stuff, baby.

Oh, seriously. Are we?

Only if you can stand a few days of carving up the slopes and then afternoons at the spa and evenings by the fire with me.

I can stand that and the...Oh my God! Kidless trip! How in the world do you do this stuff?

I have connections.

You're in the mob, aren't you?

I can't tell you that.

Seriously, you're in the freaking Irish mob. You pull strings no one else can even reach.

No, I just know people who know people who like to help make you happy.

Jacob, I'm happy here with West Side Story on cable and the ghetto cake.

I know you are. Which is one of the reasons I want to make our life together memorable.

You already did. Seven times over, baby.

Well then let's make it eight. And then nine after that. We'll keep going til we reach twenty-nine hundred million, okay?

You don't need to do things like this to make me happy, Jacob. I'm happy. So happy.

I know that, princess. I don't ever want you to settle for happy when you could have breathtaking, because that's what you are to me.

You just never do anything halfway, do you?

Not when it comes to you, Bridget. And I think I'll keep it that way.

You do realize if I write about this no one is ever going to believe me.

Then stop writing about it on the computer.

No way! It's too good not to share.

I should check with my guys and see if we can whack the internet connection.

Oh, see, now, that's mob slang right there.

Just take the schwag, sweetheart, and don't ask questions.

He winked at me and left the room, and I couldn't write a freaking thing for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Talking to herself.

Hey.

So tomorrow is Wednesday, girlie. Day of reckoning, if reckoning could be a weekly thing. If you're so inclined, maybe lend me a little strength and just a few extra good vibes so that I don't fall apart like I do every single time. I am working on it but it's slow going. It's hard to hold everything together when you get flayed wide open and picked apart until there is nothing remaining save for a pile of gristle left on the floor. A pathetic lump of former human bean.

Such is me.

The good news is that I have some good news, a wonderful, unexpected surprise, but in the event that tomorrow proves to be far too difficult to process, I'll leave it to tell you then.

Have a great night.

Layer cake.

    Privately divided by a world so undecided
    And there is nowhere to go

    In between the cover of another perfect wonder
    and it is so white as snow

    Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed
    and there's nowhere to go



There's something to be said for waking up only to spend most of breakfast negotiating the quantity of clothes to be worn that day and a mini-lesson on temperatures. I feel like a hostage negotiator, keeping my kids' health as collateral against their imminent need to get outside to play more quickly at recess.

I win.

I always win.

I don't really have a choice. Someone has to be the bad guy.

And we lead by example. So today I'll give you a rundown of the average wardrobe today, because there will be no anthropologie swing dresses and stiletto heels on this day. Today is brought to you by Mountain Equipment Co-op. My second most exciting membership after Greenpeace, because I need to be warm while I help save the planet.

I'm sporting underwear, a camisole, two pairs of wool socks, silk longjohns, a thin t-shirt, a thick long-sleeved tshirt and a wool fairisle sweater. Flannel lined jeans. When I go outside I add a fleece shell, a windproof jacket, skipants, sorrels (my sorrels fit INSIDE Jacob's giant ones) and thin gloves inside line waterproof mitts, wool scarf and hat.

By the time I've got all this on, I can barely walk and you might not be able to tell if I'm a boy or a girl, it depends on if the braids wind up inside or outside of my coat.

This is why I run so goddamned fast. I can't wear all this stuff when I run and I freeze my ass off at first.

Yeah, living here is a just a riot.

Monday, 8 January 2007

The speed of sound.

It's a form of sensory deprivation.

Running for me is like being in a tunnel filled with water. I rarely look up, I hear nothing except for my songs, loud in my ears to feel them right through me and knock out everything else. I don't look around except to check for traffic. The city passes me by in a wet smear of urban grit. I count the intersections I cross, I don't make eye contact often and only when the pain starts do I look up at the moon that is still awake or the stars if it's clear and I beg for the release of endorphins, the inalienable runner's high, my rush, my prize for a grueling solitary marathon.

I am not allowed to run at night, for fear that I might be attacked. It's a big city.

I am not allowed to join a gym, because the fresh air is best. So sayeth those who know better than I.

When I get 45 minutes out in any direction, I must turn and come back, because sometimes I want to keep going and some day I might and so I turn.

When I'm out there, without rules to bind me and emotions to weigh me down, it's just me and my body (which responds nicely even when I take long breaks from running ) and the cold dark morning air, and I am free.

And I no longer think about anything when I run. Instead I tune into my senses. When you lack so much of one you want to overdevelop what you have. Sometimes it's a quiet obsession.

My nose begins. When I leave my neighborhood I inhale the woodsmoke from my own house and that of four nearby houses, rotten leaves, exposed once again by the melting snow. Newspaper, briefly and then my nose wrinkles up when confronted with fresh dogshit that someone failed to pick up. I smell my own patchouli oil, a gift from Jacob so I would stay out of his things, the warmer I get, the stronger it smells, beautiful stuff. And then cold snow, which stings my nasal passages with it's icy blandness. I run through hints of toxic clouds of gasoline and motor oil, the Ethiopian restaurant and their ever present lingering odor of cooking oil. Below my feet the wet asphalt smells like tar.

Taste. As I run the only tastes within my mouth are a film of toothpaste and the heady aftertaste of early-morning traffic. So instead I think about the tastes I like the most. Jacob's cognac kisses. Chocolate cake. Ruth's sour gummy worms and their skeptical assault on my tongue. The tart surprise from a plum or an orange, and the overwhelming sweetness of bananas and icing. The gooey bitterness of very good cheese mixed with the comfort dirt-taste of fresh mushrooms. Exquisite antipasto. Salty sweat from kissing Henry's forehead, hours after he has fallen asleep. Biting acrid champagne bubbles and not being able to describe the taste at all. Spicy cracked pepper chips and sharp rye bread.

Sight is easier. Kilometers of black and filthy grey wind an infinite ribbon beneath my sneakers. I see my socks bunched around my ankles but over my tights to keep blisters at bay. Trash, so much of it, discarded fast food wrappers and paper coffee cups and sale flyers that I wonder how anything ever makes it to the landfill. My reflection in glass windows, a blur of navy blue and blonde flies right by and I wonder if I really know her. Rocks of all sizes, sort of like people in their various shapes and colors. Dented traffic signs perched in the black snowbanks reflecting their warnings in headlights . My fists, balled into fury against my will, pumping in front of me like we are having a race. Shop owners, setting up their paper stands and changing their doorhangers from CLOSED to OPEN nodding to me as I pass, in a show of solidarity to a fellow early riser.

And then there is touch.

I have almost been run over turning this one over in my mind.

Jacob's hands sliding across my flesh underneath my clothes, a contradiction of gentle movements and calloused hands. Feeling his rough stubble on my lips, once past the initial barb of contact, a softness that belies the ruggedness of his demeanor. My fingertips fluttering a constant pulse on the car window as he drives and plays anything I want to hear on the truck stereo. Always fluttering, tactile thinking that I cannot seem to quit. Fierce battlehugs from my kids, who compete to see who can squeeze mommy until she squeals. Reaching under the deck for the shed key and brushing away months of long-abandoned cobwebs, now for rent if they survive the winter intact. Kissing Cole's warm cheek after he died, his face bloated from the efforts to keep him alive so that he would live to condemn me. The silken flax of my children's hair, precious gold spilling over their skulls to bring visual halos to their beautiful souls. The gritty paper of dollar bills. Jacob's skin, soft like a shell over granite. The feel of my own skin inside my running clothes, beginning to crawl ever so slightly as I begin to sweat. My bangs, grown down to the tip of my nose again, which stab my eyes whenever they get a chance and so I rake them out of my sight for the seven millionth time in a day. It isn't seven a.m. yet.

Of course the missing puzzle piece is the hearing. Eventually I will give away what I have left due to the constant assault of my headphones, because I want to feel those songs and the only way I can do that is to pull the volume as far as it will go. I miss the whispers and innuendo but I will anticipate your feelings because I study you even though you don't quite notice that I was. I will anticipate how you feel, what you need and why you need me and with few repetitions we will land on the same page and do what has to be done.

I have lived life in a gilded cage like a birdgirl, sheltered, protected. Everyone who heard my song was hypnotized and yet no one could set me free.

Until now.

Because I am not worldly does not mean that I am naive. When I was released from my subjugation I wasn't so sure and so I hung back when the world became too large and too loud, fishing for a way to balance that shelter and protection and attention with being free.

I stopped and I returned to the cage but I left the door open this time because I don't want to hear you and I don't want the fear of the unknown but it's certainly nice to step out and fly around for a bit and hone what senses I do possess.

And with that, I turn and run home.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Bridget emerged.

I was lying flat on my back on the hardwood floor in the front hallway.

(No, this isn't porn.)

Jacob walked by and stopped and we listened to the crackle of the fire from the living room. I can only hear it when I hold my breath.

What are you thinking, princess?

The usual existentialist thoughts.

I don't think you even know what that means.

It's one of my favorite words.

But can you define it? I have a hard time with it, which is why I'll never teach philosophy.

Mr. Kerouac, the point is not to define but to blow your mind.

You write just like him sometimes.

I come from a long line of hippies, gypsies, beatniks and freaks, preacher boy. It's expected. I'm just too cynical and jaded to admit it.

Right, and you're much easier to philosophize with over wine or hallucinogenics.

Since that day has long passed, let's mourn for it then, and find a new pastime.

Naked twister?

I was just going to say that.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Elevators.

Not such a good day here for Miss Bridget. I'm on an elevator that goes up and down and every time I try to get off someone tells me it's not my floor, or the doors simply close in my face. I could spend all my time sharing Jacob-stories but that doesn't get me anywhere, at least not anywhere else except here, clinging tenaciously to a beautiful and terrible past because I can't let it go because if I let go of all the bad things, then the good things might go with it and it's a risk I will not take.

Post traumatic phone disorder.



    Dear Jeff,

    How are you? I am fine. The next time you start a new job please don't give your workplace my cell phone number for your contact information, as I've spent most of the past few days fielding calls looking for you. They don't believe that you're not here and frankly if you've going to drag me into this then I suggest that you at least show up on your first day of work to make a good impression and not leave your coworkers high and dry. Because by now you're probably unemployed again, Jeff, and how are you going to get your own cell phone if you can't show up for work when you're supposed to?

    Yours truly,

    Bridget.


(I don't know anyone named Jeff.)

Friday, 5 January 2007

Say cheese.

I maintain there is absolutely nothing wrong with really really liking those $4 generic superstore pepperoni pizzas.

Zah is zah. But everyone else is having lamb. Which I don't like.

In other news, if you're going to have a Nirvana day, stupid girl, for gods sakes turn it off before you get to Lithium, because...damn.

    I like it
    I'm not gonna crack
    I miss you
    I'm not gonna crack
    I love you
    I'm not gonna crack
    I killed you
    I'm not gonna crack

Hollow.

  What else could I write
    I don't have the right
    What else should I be
    All apologies

I promised this memory to you a long time ago but life intervened and this morning I was reminded that people were still waiting. It's welcome now because I'm struggling today to find a bridge between my perfect morning mood and a draining week. Softer, sweeter we go now while I take you on the memory that was our first kiss. I very purposely left it out, you'll see why by the time you reach the end.

Jacob set the bar so very high with one kiss that I was never the same and he was never the same and it's one more piece to our puzzle that cemented us together forever as soulmates. I might still be where I was had it not been for the persistence and sheer tenacity of this guy and I tell him every day that I love him. When I describe our connection as lightning it's because our first kiss almost got us killed but I will never forget it even for a second.

One evening when Jake was free he took me down to the beach. He spread out my old quilt and we sat on the sand to watch the waves break. I was tired. I leaned against his shoulder and we talked about nothing, about his studies that he was looking forward to returning to, about life. We talked about how the air smelled like rain. The skies were overcast and there were no stars that night and he frowned and said we should go. I didn't want to go, I just knew this would be my last visit at the beach while it was still warm so I asked if he would get us some bottled water so we could stay just a little bit longer.

He walked down the beach to the canteen at the other end, strolling slowly, his feet in the water, his pant legs wet as usual. He turned a couple of times to check on me and smiled.

When he reached the canteen the heavens opened. I mean, it poured. One of those fast summer thunderstorms. The thunder rumbled right through me and I was completely deafened by the noise of the rain. Huge, driving drops were soaking everything. I forced myself to my feet and was trying to gather the quilt up without bringing so much sand with me and before I could make any progress at all Jacob was back beside me. The rain was coming down in sheets now. His hair was plastered to his forehead, his shirt soaked to his chest. I made a mental note to keep that picture in my head forever. He yelled that we needed to get out of the open and to leave the stuff. I said I wasn't leaving my things and that if he would just help instead of arguing with me, we'd be inside faster.

But I couldn't hear myself and it freaked me out and I grabbed at his sleeve.

That stopped him in his efforts and he just stared at me through the rain. Then he seized my face in his hands, pulling me into him, kissing me full-on, like a lover would, on the mouth. Hard. I kissed him back and when he stopped I didn't want him to stop and so I bit his bottom lip. He shook his head and then kissed me one more time, much more gently, one hand on the back of my neck and the other resting on my shoulder, with his thumb in the hollow at the base of my throat. When he pulled back the look in his eyes was despairing. He grabbed the quilt, took my hand and we hurried back to his truck. Once inside we slammed the doors just as a huge fork of lightning hit the beach. He looked at me and I looked at him.

This is the best night of my life.

Mine too.

And the worst, princess.

I know, Jake.

You can't tell Cole.

I wasn't going to.

Oh my God, this is wrong.

What's wrong is that the only thing keeping me from asking you to take me home is this baby.

Oh God, the baby.

I'm sorry, Jacob.

What are you sorry for? I did this.

We both did.

I'm supposed to be strong. I can't be strong around you.

No one asked you to.

Bridget, it doesn't matter. My God, I'm in love with you and you're pregnant and you've got a life already.

You're....you what?

I'm in love with you.

Oh, no. Jacob, no. Don't say it out loud.

You know this. You kissed me back, I know you feel the same thing I feel.

I know.

Then what?

You saying it out loud tears me apart.

Saying it, Bridge, saying it kills me. You should be with me.

Stop, Jake. Please!

Bridge, I would help you raise this baby.

I know you would.

So let me.

Take me home, please, Jacob.

You should be going home with me. Say you love me.

Stop it, Jake.

Say it!

I love you.

Can you hear yourself now, Bridget?

Yes.

Good. So there's no mistake then.


And with that he threw the truck into reverse and pulled out of the parking lot and drove me home. Eleven hours later I went into labor.

Ruth was born a day and a half later. Her first visitor was Jacob, dressed in a gown and mask that they make NICU visitors wear, proud to be a first-time godfather. He congratulated Cole and I and we stared at each other in agony over the tube and wires in Cole's presence and we kept our secret.

Until now.

Because that kiss Cole never knew about.

And now he never will because I have outlived him.

I still have that image of Jake, soaking wet to the skin, clothes plastered against his flesh, standing on the beach poised like he was about to grab my hand and run away with me forever. His thumbs tracing my cheekbones while I tried to breathe him in and my heart fluttered so hard I thought I might die. Every time I see him in the shower he looks at me with that same look and I'm transported back in time to that day.

Here's where I admit I didn't even bother trying to describe the emotion held in those moments. I couldn't if I tried. It wasn't all sneaking and trying to have my cake and eat it too, it was difficult and bitter and painful and emotionally draining. And at the same time it was euphoric, culminative, joyful and passionate in ways I will never share with another human being as long as I live, only Jacob. It held feelings I never felt with Cole in a million years and we were in love just as hard at one point. There's just no room for that experience more than once in this lifetime.

Most fairy tales don't end so happily. Happy being a relative term, we're working so hard at our happy ending, we will get there.

Cole and I took Ruthie home after a week spent in NICU and I tried to forget the image of Jacob in my head. I tried to forget the taste of his mouth, the way his beard felt against my cheek and his hands on my skin. I tried to forget the darkness and the rain. I tried to forget that night, instead concentrated on figuring out how to be a mom, how to exist on a few spare hours of sleep and how to somehow remember that I had a husband who needed me to focus on him and our new little family and not on his best friend.

I have had to live with my actions and even though it could have been much worse, I know damn well the only thing keeping me from sleeping with Jacob that rainy night was the fact that I was hugely pregnant. And that to me is way weirder than it might be to you. But it's there and it's how I feel.

Do I think Cole knew? Of course he did, maybe not times, places, details but he knew that I was torn, he knew that Jacob rocked me off my feet and he knew that he was loving me on borrowed time, right from the start.

Prophetic and spooky and sad. And incredibly telling, for after polling my male friends, they all proclaimed me to be akin to a glass weeble when I'm pregnant, irrefutably fragile but completely round, with rosy cheeks and tentative, difficult movement, usually very sick and very hungry and very demanding, cranky and stubborn and that they wouldn't have been attracted to any of it, and weren't and that Jacob is a singularly remarkable man.

Yes. He is.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Labelmaker.

Nonsensical rambling from a nonsensical girl. I apologize, this entry is poorly strung together. I just had to get it out.

Post-therapy thoughts are so difficult so please excuse me as I unload all over the place now that I have done all the things I'm supposed to do. It used to be just Wednesdays that were so bad, we're going to change it to Wednesdays and Fridays now. Oh, joy.

I've been trying to let it go but it won't let go of me. How much power did I claim for my own? Absolutely none if it wasn't sexual. I had no control, the submissive wife. How do I take power back that wasn't mine to begin with? How do I assert myself when I've been a puppet my whole life? A Barbie. Dress her up and watch her smile and she'll do anything you want but then expect her to make a decision from a choice of more than one and she freezes, numb in thoughts she isn't capable of processing.

My head doesn't seem to work in the right way anymore.

And now with Jacob, who has infinite patience to my face but none behind my back, who's heavy-handed approach to counseling and dry delivery of his comments and responses make it seem like I'll never make him happy. He's a tough nut to crack, easy to please but no nonsense too. Bridget is mostly all nonsense. He's my very own Brubaker and I'm the prison in need of reform.

Oops, ignore that, one more nickname will only confuse you, unless you've seen that movie and there you have Jacob in a nutshell. The warden of Bridget, and a dead ringer for the Robert Redford of the mid-seventies, but with a beard. And a much better wardrobe.

Oops, digression.

Jacob is all-encouragement but he wants it yesterday and then he refuses to let you turn the tables when you point out the...enabling. And god forbid he admit anymore how hard he struggles between trying to help me and wanting me to be the fun and unpredictably reckless girl that he knows so well.

We've been instructed to keep playing, keep expanding minds and boundaries, to find Bridget some more time by herself each day (I don't recall wanting that) and to structure said days rigidly, into blocks of time that won't get overwhelming, with routines. No more varying bedtimes, no sleeping in, meals at the same time each day which are to be eaten and not ignored and to talk as much as we can. Hobbies, chores, errands, my running, talk.

That's all we do.

Oh yes, and to have patience, because I may act in ways that aren't characteristic. I may stretch Jacob's understanding of me to the point of no return, I am getting a free pass on my behavior because that's what crazy people get. Bridget can't help herself, she's so messed up.

Oh and the whole wanting a baby thing?

He doesn't trust me. It's a desperate attempt to hold on to me because I'm less likely to leap off the gingerbread if someone needs me and also if I do make the leap, why, he'd have a piece of me left here on earth after I'm long cold.

Nice. Sweet even. Way to go, Jake, on the trust issues. If I say I'm not going to do anything drastic then I won't. Even if I said I might. Of course it makes no sense. I wouldn't trust me either.

But on the other hand, the wild girl stopped and stared at Jake for a few minutes, completely and utterly dumbstruck because that was the most touching and totally fucked up thing he has ever come out with.

I'm still....wow.

Oh, and then they turned the screws and changed everything and maybe made it worse. I was dismissed like a broken toy. Right in front of me, they didn't have the decency to let me leave the room while they discussed me and I am forever branded in his eyes.

God, which one would you like first? The mentally ill one, or perhaps the one that hurt more, the depersonalization designation, that when Jacob heard that one he stopped talking and did a double take at my psychiatrist and it took him way too long to finish his thought. All along he had been just fine with my atrocious disregard for my chemical imbalances, my freaky depression that would come and go out of the blue. For the first time he saw what he's going to have to live with forever and I don't even know what his reaction is. I got stuck on the mentally ill part, too.

And to think all this time I thought I might be okay.

So just add delusional to the list, please.

I have a way of pretending I'm normal without really doing it at all. Which I knew..I'm not that fucked up that I don't see it.

We were both rather stunned. Apparently we've been speeding along at a rate that isn't productive, it's counterproductive, and Jacob's new duties mean that right off the bat we'll be fighting a chaotic schedule that isn't very routine. He gets calls at strange hours, but I am to forge ahead, eat when I'm supposed to, sleep when I should and keep going. I knew damn well I was sabotaging myself all along, which is part of the whole illness. That pesky mental one.

Oh and Jacob pulled another fast one on me that I've been waiting for for years and was almost bound to the conclusion that maybe he really didn't want to know. He does, he wants to know everything. Not to be content with knowing what Cole didn't do, he wants everything out there and there are few ways I can do that short of storytelling here. If I just say it all out loud I might disintegrate into little pieces that never fit back together ever again. If I have to tell him looking into his eyes I'll take so much away from him, things I don't want to ever lose.

Of course the team agrees. So either they're all perverts or they're all better than I thought they were and I will get away with nothing. I'm going to be drawn and quartered psychologically and they're going to dump me upside down and pound on my feet until I'm completely empty.

And I looked at Jacob and ignored them all and I whispered to him that I didn't think I would survive that. He smiled gently at me and told me I already did.

He only thinks I did.

I asked them if I was normal at all. If I would ever be less flinchy, less startling, less messed up, less depraved and less able to turn on and off different areas of my personality because Jake doesn't really know what the hell he's going to wake up with each morning.

Mentally ill.

They assured us once again in their soothing tones that time and hard work will fix me.

I asked if time alone will do it and they said no. Because I think I would rather die now than tell him things that Cole did. Or Caleb for that matter.

Dammit.

I didn't want to be humiliated or ashamed anymore. I don't want him to have that information in his head, I don't want him to picture those things. If I quit now I look like I'm not trying to get better. My hands are tied.

Bridget gets backed into a corner and then scooped into a box for safekeeping. Until she's retrained to be released into the wild. I'm my own monkey on my back now, look at that.

The only way out is through and that's not an option because I went through all of it for one single reason and then I got caught up and couldn't do it and then I couldn't do anything and now..well...now I don't even know what to do.

I believe I've been just about finished off here. I'm not really sure what the fuck end is up or how I went from trying to hold on to a destructive marriage with a violent man that I was completely in love with and possibly brainwashed to ending that life and beginning a new one that was supposed to be full of happiness and love and romance to winding up dismissed as mentally ill while they sat there and talked about my options to learn how to live with this and not wind up worse, further incapacitated. I was sitting there saying, I'm not incapacitated! Fuck, just help me deal with all this shit, and then help me deal with the shit that comes from nowhere!

It's really fucking unbelievable. It explains a lot and it ruins more.

I've been assured I most definitely can come home and continue to write my sweet little stories and continue to spin wool and read to my kids and make lunch and dust the musical instruments and do bookkeeping for the church and drive my friends up the wall because hey, life has to go on.

Just take the pills and continue the therapy forever.

Incredible.

I said very little after that, and mostly tried to pretend I didn't exist.

At the end of the afternoon yesterday when it started to get dark I went into the den to draw the curtains and Jacob was sitting at the desk, no lights on. Just sitting in his chair staring out the window into the snow.

Why are you in the dark, Jake?

I'm thinking, princess.

About how quickly you'd like to run away?

No, about vacations and revelations and second opinions and a lot more sleep.

Heavy stuff.

Oh, it's very serious stuff.

Do you regret marrying me?

Please don't tell me you think I'm that kind of guy.

Hey, at this point I would say you've had more than your fair share of this bullshit and no one would blame you if you bailed.

Then you don't know me very well, princess.

Boy, am I happy to hear that.

I aim to please.

Ah. Charity for the mentally ill.

You're really stuck on that, aren't you? It only means you're depressed. Christ, Bridge, I see twenty people a week who fall into that category too. They're teachers and representatives and cops and some of your friends, even.

I know. I was just hoping we could build a rubber room.

So you can thrash around and go apeshit in one?

No, so we can play naked twister and not get hurt. Silly man.

Why did I know you'd find a way to pervert that?

Because I have to laugh about it or I'll lose what's left of myself.

Then naked twister it is.


For the record, we've never played naked twister. Somewhere along the way it became a running joke that never stops. There are lots of those. Happy memories.

So there you have it. Pretty, loves to write, loves to tell you stories about Jacob and how romantic he is, but mentally ill. Way to go, Fragile Miss B.