Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Loneliest girl in the world.

Ben brought me a new CD (Actually it's an EP) that I fell in love with so instantly I haven't crashed back to earth yet. And some advice from a friend who has bounced back and forth between good friend and bitter enemy so many times I might give him a new nickname. He's long grown out of being called Tucker Max, I guess.

Sitting on the hammock while he sat on the floor throwing Jacob's guitar out of tune and being very mature and unBenlike I realized that he's changed. That he's learned from his mistakes and that he's a grownup boy now, with proper limits and a firm distinction between right and wrong, that our friendship meant more to him than a potential one-off. Unless he's biding his gentle time and hiding things well, but I would know. This new and improved Ben had a lot of very intelligent and introspective things to say to me and I listened.

Full circles have been drawn. Ones that get erased when they are complete because there's nowhere for us to go. And Ben is right as he draws a disparaging picture of himself and of the rest of the boys. We're outgrowing each other, these friendships are no longer sound and no longer holding up the way they did when we needed to lean on each other so heavily that what was once a godsend is now a curse of history. There's too much water under their Bridget now and she can't support their weight.

He is right. This almost never happens. But it still makes me so horribly sad, because instead of Jacob asking me to choose and instead of me doing what I know is right and letting them go, instead they're going to let go of me, one at a time. I know it. I can feel it and I know it's the right thing to do.

The last time I'll write about that weekend.

    Then I defy you stars.

Most of the moments we share don't involve arguments anymore. We've surpassed the bitterness and talked this to death. We've made concessions and bared our souls. He called me Medusa and I promptly knocked him right off his high horse, exposing his hypocrisy in his claim of wanting me, and only me. Jacob, in his actions, confesses his role on earth as mortal at last. A regular human man merely wrapped in angel wings for his disguise. I knew it all along and I'm relieved.

That brought a whole 'nother round of swearing because once again, I failed to see the point. I read too much into it. There's no emotional connection. He doesn't need or want her the way he needs me. What's missing there is the obsession, the single-minded consummation of his heart and his thoughts. With me. His heart was not in his betrayal.

And I will make this one single allowance for the brief loss of his mind. Tremendous pressure in an upsidedown world and even the most Godly and perfect of angels sometimes falls from grace. The issues with wanting, and losing our baby sent him into a tailspin I failed to recognize, so busy with my own neverending grief I didn't see that he was sharing it and I had shut him out. This I know, without a doubt. He never dealt with it sufficiently and it came back to bite him in the ass and then, in his shame, he hid all of it from me. Because we had larger, more suicidal issues to deal with, to be blunt. Those issues appear to be resolving, and so it brings in space to deal with everything else.

I still trust him.

He makes this allowance for me because I showed him that deep inside I still have some rage left and he's so happy to see that I haven't given up or given in, that I could get away with just about anything, but I won't.

He still trusts me.

A year ago, or even five, it would have been a different outcome. But after death and violence and a thousand soul-destroying/building conversations, at the end of the day, infidelity is not going to be our deal breaker.

Not this time. Again, sure. Are we back in counseling? Unfortunately yes. We've got some other things to deal with anyway. The nice overpriced professional series, not the coffee shop/favor series. Maybe you get what you pay for. We have to give things a chance. Maybe we're being tested with so many false starts and epic human tragedies because we're meant for greater things. I always believed Jacob was. Me? I'm not so sure, but I'm in this for the long haul. We chose to make a family out of this mess and we haven't quite figured it all out yet but we will.

I try to maintain how human we are, not as an excuse to fall but as a reminder that people are impulsive and driven by so much more than logic. I've never shied away from talking about Jacob's dry temper and legendary patience tempered with perfection. I've never glossed over the fistfights and dramas and wars over me that he has waged. I've certainly never made any effort to disguise the frailty of my heart or mind here anytime since Cole's death.

What would be the point?

Sunday we let it all go, at last.

Yesterday we resolved to enjoy the remainder of our kid-free vacation and upcoming anniversary to the fullest. Our first wedding anniversary is on Sunday and Ruth and Henry return on Monday. That gives us six days to work our way back to lovestruck, a little older and wiser than before. It gives us time to relax beside each other, secure in the newfound comforts of his imperfections and my remaining stabilities. We tested our bond and it held and yet we were both sufficiently freaked out to not ever test it like that again. It's a risk we've come to decide we're simply not willing to take ever again.

Now we go back to starry eyes and declarations without a single shred of credibility and it's fine, because this time no one else is allowed to weigh in. We'll do it our way instead of the way everyone else thinks we should do it. And maybe this time we'll get it right. Such a long and colorful history of stabbing each other in the back exquisitely, I could write for a million years and never tell it all. Eventually we'll get it right.

After all, we've never gotten closer to heaven than we are right now, and this was by far the easiest time we have had with honesty and patience for each other's faults. That, in itself, is outstanding.

That is what keeps hope burning bright. That's what keeps Bridget and Jacob going. That stupid light at the end of the longest tunnel I think I've ever traveled.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Bryte ideas.

Here's a passive-aggressive train of thought.

I wish, as I sit here and try to slog through changes (professionally and figuratively) I wish....

I wish Jon Foreman would cover some Nick Drake songs. Like Road.

That would be awesome.

I don't know what this is.

We drove and drove and drove until we hit water I couldn't find the end of. You stopped and turned off the truck and then turned your upper body to lean against your door and you looked at me and I stared straight ahead, amused and a little pissed off that you cut off the one song I need on repeat these days and you told me it wasn't a very good song anyway. We both know you were lying just like you lie about all kinds of little insignificant things that might make you appear too relaxed and too permissive. Or too beautiful for words. People were never supposed to be so flawless or there would be too much claustrophobia.

You scowled at the tears that followed, such an immature response to the sudden unwelcome silence. Instead of sympathy you offered adventure and instead of wallowing I chose risk and I followed you into the water in my dress that I couldn't hold on to and the cotton drank the lake until I was soaked to my waist and you laughed and told me to take it off, that no one would care but I cared and instead I decided I would take it off later in the truck.

We walked until the parts in our hair were pink and painful and our freckles stood out (but only in the summer) and our eyes were blind to the shadows and blasted with rays that seek to melt us down into basic liquid human forms, with condiments of beauty and pain, served in matching tiny bowls, flavor how you like it. We tasted all of them, never finding one that pleased.

You kissed the salt from my lips and the tears from my cheeks and you swore ugly words right in my face and let me see the hate in your blue eyes for what I am and then maybe you lied some more.

    A man with broken wings

I hold no blame against you like a lover for your honesty and no sadness for the truth of what this means. I am aware that you have asked for the thought as it arrives into my head but then it escapes from my mouth before my brain can capture it and keep it safe to avoid scarring you.

There is no competition here, my angel. Nothing to fear except for my runaway heart and it's your boomerang that you've lovingly shaped while I wasn't ever looking or even aware. While I daydreamed in my deafness, while I slept. You prayed and fought for the ownership of a loaded gun and you don't even know how to work it but you're learning and with few mistakes and a little bit of fear and blood you have discovered, to your delight, to your dismay, that you are still alive.

While I slept, you promised yourself you would learn.

With determination you drove all night and most of the next day to find a place where the water met the horizon and then you watched me unravel like a ribbon and fall apart. When it happened you were so surprised at the bang for your buck, the magnitude of what lies inside of the smallest packages, of what rage and fear and terror and pain looks like bottled inside of something so beautiful. Is it more or less real than holding it all in? Would it be better served hurriedly and distracted to lessen the strength of it, diluted with noise and mindless, endless tasks that help no one?

I only said he would have loved that song and it was too much for you and so you took out all of your remaining frustrations and poured them over me like a cold shower and I let you, I let you see how frail I really am.

We talked until we ran out of words. And then we walked until our legs could carry us no further before you turned and took my face in your hands and you told me we'd do it anyway. We'd keep walking beside each other, even though you said it was harder to be together than it ever was to be apart. Hard in a different way and I know what you mean, I really do.

We drove home in the blue-black night, the silence pushing into the truck and crowding us out, my still-wet dress plastered to me, making me smaller and more pathetic while you followed the yellow line south until we saw familiar markers and you never looked at me while I hit repeat fifty times on the stereo but I watched you as you mouthed the words to the song in the dark because you didn't think I was ever paying attention.

I am. And I know you love that song because it's about me.

    And the bed that we're sharing
    Is the home that I want to bring you
    Want to feel you
    I don't want to hear you

Sunday, 29 July 2007

The most fitting word-tattoo I sport. Phoning it in today. Have a good one.

    frag∑ile (frjl, -l)
    adj.
    1. Easily broken, damaged, or destroyed; frail.
    2. Lacking physical or emotional strength; delicate.
    3. Lacking substance; tenuous or flimsy: a fragile claim to fame.
    [French, from Old French, from Latin fragilis, from frangere, frag-, to break; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]
    fragile∑ly adv.
    fra∑gili∑ty (fr-jl-t), fragile∑ness n.
    Synonyms: fragile, breakable, frangible, delicate, brittle
    These adjectives mean easily broken or damaged. Fragile applies to objects that are not made of strong or sturdy material and that require great care when handled: fragile porcelain plates.
    Breakable and frangible mean capable of being broken but do not necessarily imply inherent weakness: breakable toys; frangible artifacts.
    Delicate refers to what is so soft, tender, or fine as to be susceptible to injury: delicate fruit.
    Brittle refers to inelasticity that makes something especially likely to fracture or snap when it is subjected to pressure: brittle bones. See Also Synonyms at weak.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Warm and sleepy Saturdays.

He's singing again. Progress.

I woke up to Iron & Wine this morning, coffee on a tray on the bed and a big handsome blonde man with a short fuzzy beard and a smile in his eyes singing to me while he played his guitar. I knew him from my sleepy fog by the ring he wore. It matched mine.

    Some days her shape in the doorway
    Will speak to me
    A bird's wing up on the window
    Sometimes I'll hear when she's sleeping
    Her fever dream
    A language on her face

Friday, 27 July 2007

Fragile miss and second (third, fourth) chances.

Jacob has returned to his wonderful ways of keeping close, of being right here within reach because that's where I like him best. There's nothing more we can say or do. We've said everything we could say and thought everything we can think and done what we can to offer help or shoulders or ears (my bionic ones especially) and all that's left is to pray and wait for the dust to settle.

I've never been the kind of person who was good at letting things go or with having the kind of faith needed to wait out someone else's meltdown or step away from a situation that wasn't good for me purely because of feelings for the person involved. Jacob is good at that, he's good at waiting. He says Loch will come around, that this was his version of running, it just seems more deplorable but he isn't the first man to get cold feet when confronted with fatherhood.

It seems like the beginning of the end, the group who used to spend summer evenings discussing movies and cooking new recipes on the barbecue and playing with my kids or going on extreme camping trips is no more. Did we grow up and grow apart? Was the stress of the past two years too much to bear?

I don't know if it is.

I might never know. It's out of my hands, now.

The chances are there. In the interest of grace there's no finite number of opportunities we have given each other, this group of friends, to keep things right. People are human. We mess up, we atone, make amends, eat lots of crow and keep going. We keep holding each other up. We move forward and distance ourselves from the foolish uneducated versions of ourselves who misstepped. We forgive. We love no matter what. We're there. For each other.

We should be a movie, for crying out loud.

In any case, we've opted not to host a dinner tomorrow. Jacob asked me what I wanted to do instead and I rattled off something about watching a horror movie marathon and polishing off the bottle of Stoli I found in his desk drawer. The locked one with the key in the other drawer.

He laughed and said that it wasn't funny, that he was actually laughing because I never learn. I pointed out that I was testing him, and that if I had wanted the Stoli I would have simply taken it. That brought a very big smile and a gentle reminder that we will be okay. That everyone will be okay. When it rains it pours but eventually the sun returns. God, I love this giant hippie.

Shaky, tenuous optimism. Wish me luck, I'm not very good at it.
May as well end this week on the most awfullest note ever.

    Everytime it goes down
    Everytime she comes down
    Everytime we fall down
    She dances all over me

The end of November. 126 days from now.

That's when Loch and Kiera's baby is due.

Loch said nothing about the baby. Nothing. He hasn't gone to a single appointment. He never told a soul. Not his family, not his friends, no one knew. Kiera has shouldered this alone. She told him to go fuck himself and decided she would just raise the baby herself, as people sometimes do. That she was better off without him if he acted like that. Caleb (of all people) found out and mentioned it to Ben, who told us all on Wednesday in the blistering heat of a sun's day that smashed records and hearts, the heat that brought that nights' epic rainstorm. Because Loch needs help.

Out of all the people who would do something so awful as to break up with someone half a breath after they tell you they're having your child, Loch would have been the last person I would have expected to pull a stunt like that.

No matter what you think of him, this isn't behavior he would normally exhibit. He's not that kind of guy. I knew he was in crisis and I'm angry that he didn't talk to someone. Anyone. It didn't have to be me. Instead he flips out and changes everything in his life and comes looking for me as if we could somehow turn back the clock. He's nostalgic and sweet suddenly, defeated. I played right into his hands. This is not Loch. I'm so disappointed in him.

He won't answer his phone. He knows I know and all I want to do is scream at him to suck it up and support his child and the mother of his child. For Christs' sake, do something.

What's so ironic is that Loch wanted what Jacob has and now the only thing Jacob still wants that I can never give him is the one thing that Loch just threw away.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Today is not a good day.

I could have spent all night looking at the stars and the moon but they weren't there and instead the rain lashed against my face and soaked my dress and the thunder roared inside my skull and Jacob found me sitting on the steps wishing I could be invisible. He took me inside and got me into a hot shower and then a dry towel and then into bed and I couldn't sleep but I could still hear the roaring in my ears and see the flashing outside our windows as the storm ravaged the city.

I am small. Small and insignificant.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Speaker of the house

(Edit: Two glaring facts I notice after finishing this entry. Loch is having definitely having a midlife crisis and Jacob has unhealthily refused to acknowledge my willing participation in recent events. No good will come of either.)

I hate speakerphone. I hate people fighting over me. I hate that I put all of us in this position. I hate that I can swallow my pride and most of my dignity and own my mistakes without making things worse, the way Loch is making things worse.

Lochlan, who has lost his ever-loving mind. Loch who used to be a pretty firm voice of authority with nary a hint of spontaneous foolishness has opted to play the fool. Sore losses, my Lochlan. No, not mine, scratch that. I've already had a few comeuppances for my cheeky comments after the fact. Maybe I'm faring no better. I'm learning to make boundaries. Slowly.

In any event, Loch (chief tech support guy in our circle now that Cole is dead) hears/reads of my computer woes and calls, to be helpful or to meddle, whichever. Computer issues are quickly resolved and then he asks to speak to Jacob.

Jacob was using both hands and one knee to hold Henry's airplane together as he glued it. He's fixing it as a surprise while Henry's away. He is not amused but asks me to put Loch on speakerphone. I press the button and they exchange some stilted greetings. Then right off the bat Loch has the audacity to make some crack about stealing me from Jacob. Jacob laughed with that Oh my fuck incredulous laugh he has, newly sarcastic to a fault and asked how Loch was going to pull that off.

Loch had an unreal edge to his voice and he started in with a litany of how Jacob inserted himself into my life and never let up with pressure on me and it drove Cole to an early grave and Jacob has everything so why would he want to break up a family?

I was beginning to wonder if Loch was drunk or had a selective memory to forget how Cole treated me or possibly he just has a newfound deathwish.

Jacob's voice caught as he yelled at Loch,

She's the only thing I ever wanted in my whole life, Lochlan, and I will love her forever, no matter what she does. If she chooses to spend the rest of her life with me, which she has, then I can want for nothing more.
Loch hung up on him.

I burst into tears. It was a half-shameful, half-grateful feeling that overcame my exhaustion.

Jacob propped up the wing and came over and put his arms around me.

It's really too bad you can't bottle what you have, princess. You'd be rich.

I am rich, Jacob.

Oh, now you sound like me.

I wonder why.

I'm not spending any more time back and forthing it with Loch, though.

I don't blame you.

Could you...can you just...

Just what?

Could you just shut it off now, please?


I would say this marks the beginning of the countdown to the moment Jacob asks me to choose between my friends and my marriage. I hope he doesn't do that.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Kiss count for the top of Bridget's head now: 247.

 I was staring at the sunset and it got too bright and I started seeing black spots so Jacob passed me his giant seventies sunglasses to put on while he was taking pictures.

Monday morning he asked if there was a specific reason I wasn't wearing my hearing aids on our drive the night before. I said I had worn them, what was he talking about?

He showed me a picture, taken surreptitiously as I watched the clouds roll out and I was busted.

I took them out because it made it easier to ignore the hurt in his voice as we talked. It made it easier not to listen. Sometimes it just makes it easier to hide. He understood, thankfully.

The good news is the top of my head is still his favorite body part of mine.

You were going to say something else, weren't you?

Snort.

Loch and load poems.

Sometimes even Loch doesn't know quite when to give up. I never cast him aside, I should never have been with him. We don't get along well enough to be more than friends. We never did, we never will. I used him and he used me. He practically raised me and then some things happened and he bequeathed me to Cole and-

Justify, justify, Bridge. Knock it off.

Here, I'll give you his latest. Previous poems are here if you can find them. Enjoy it or say What in the fuck? like Jake did.

One night the mermaid came to me
with tears upon her face
looking for a safe and sound
and warm and happy place

Her angel had rejected her
a temporary feat
her eyes were sad her limbs were weak
her heart had ceased to beat

The mermaid found her former flame
a love burned strong and true
he opened up his arms so wide
she knew what she must do

She went to into his circle thus
and kissed him sweetly so
she knew that she would hurt the angel
but upward she must go

For even angels make mistakes
as most of us will say
and sometimes feelings you hope might die
never go away

For the flame still loved his mermaid
as he held her in his arms
He swore that he would keep her safe
and never do her harm

But she swam away so quick and light
back toward her love
her wayward angel, so cavalier
waiting up above

He gets it all, the mermaid's love
the spoils, that coveted prize
the looks of adoration and reverence
pouring from her eyes

the former flame gets nothing
just her rare and precious skin
but nothing of that adoration
from the mermaid's heart within

The flame is but a burning light
a spark or just an ember
burning for the mermaid's love
from new years to december

He wishes he could cast the angel
back to heaven for good
and be with his beautiful mermaid girl
the way he always should

If she would just give him a chance
then surely she would see
that sometimes loves from days gone by
are the ones that are meant to be

Monday, 23 July 2007

Disarming.

    She's the world at my feet
    The sun that gives heat
    Take a rest and hold her near
    Or she'll float away from here

Friday afternoon I relinquished the kids to Cole's parents for their annual summer vacation. For the past three summers Ruth and Henry have spent two weeks on the farm in Nova Scotia, being hooligans, swimming, shellseeking, turning golden pink and being adored. Cole's parents are heartbroken, just heartbroken over life and how it happens and they now pour the hopes they had for their sons into my children.

And the kids love the hayrides and the orchard-tree climbing and the beekeeping and the ocean being right there. It's a heavenly spot. They will return right after our first wedding anniversary, reluctantly. It's a hard place to leave.

I won't talk about how I feel about them being gone for so long, it's difficult and I've said it before about how it feels as if my arms are missing or torn off. My kids are my life. I just don't write about them.

While they're gone Jacob and I appear to have some time that is filled with....no obligations. He doesn't start his new job for three more weeks, our friends have scattered to all corners for their own vacations and reunions and getaways.

According to the list we made of what we want to do it's going to be a vacation at home consisting of large helpings of Thai take-out, bad horror movies and sex, with a little sleeping in and a lot of running. And talking. Which is perfect, really.

That's not to say we're not still struggling with the betrayals we've leveled against each other like the barrels of a gun. If you thought we had escaped unscathed, you'd be wrong. But we'll get through it. We've resolved not to allow baggage to weigh us down and a simpler existence of respect and love and appreciation means we function as two halves of a whole, burdened by little save for the sheer magnitude of our need for one another.

We'll be fine.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Meltdown

My posting may be sporadic for a few days. We're having a heatwave and my poor little brain is just fried. Add in my laptop crashing continuously, the poor ancient thing, and you have a recipe for...well....absence.

Oh and my tech support guy? I don't really want to call him and ask for favors right now. Since I kind of slept with him a week ago and all that. No, calling him would be bad.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Or I could go all arty on you..

This morning I could savor my coffee while I write a litany of how many times I have broken down or fallen apart in the past two days and how many times I have been put back together. I could tell you how hard the past week has been or how we did indeed manage to mostly get through the shock of casting each other aside for momentary comforts. I could tell you how easy simple can be. I could tell you it's going to be a close and quiet weekend. I might write of how I feel the low biting at my toes as I stand on the edge of my entire existence and I don't even hear the wind rustling in the trees or howling across the landscape threatening to topple me from my perch and I could remind you to drink your water and stay cool because it's going to be a very warm day.

But I won't, because you know all this.

Kiss count for the top of Bridget's head: 73.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Making things simple.

I prayed so hard God finally answered me. Maybe just to shut me the hell up. I whispered Jacob's comfort prayer that he taught me a long time ago over and over inside my head so that it would be shared by two. Somewhere I hoped he was doing the same.

Thursday morning at 3 am I was lying in our bed wide awake. I heard the wind chimes. Usually when I hear them it means it's windy and about to rain and I'll always get up and watch them circle lazily on their chains. I heard them again, softly. Someone was deliberately making them sing and my heart stopped beating. I didn't go and look out the window, instead I pulled on one of Jacob's huge sweaters and ran downstairs and straight out the back door. And stopped.

If you've ever seen the person you love most in the world standing in front of you in stark moonlight with tears rolling down his face you'll understand it has to be the most beautiful and worst sight in the world. I froze. I think I was afraid if I moved or startled him he might bolt, like a wounded animal. I stood there and the tears started too. He walked to the bottom of the steps slowly and stopped. He had been watching me, close by but far enough away so that he could have whatever he needed-space, time, solitude, to figure out if he wanted to go forward or peel off to the left and disappear forever.

He held his arms wide and I went into them, hysterical. He held me tightly until I could breathe again. He finally pulled away and wiped both our faces with his shirttail.

He said if I would take him back, that he'd like to stay, that he loves me and he was sorry. He collapsed onto the steps with me in his arms, both of us sobbing. He rocked me, he stroked my hair, he knew. He knew I wanted him there and nowhere else. He knew how I felt but I tried to blurt it out and repeat it over and over anyway, trying to make him understand exactly how much I love him.

Why are you punishing me? We both screwed up.

Is that what you think? That I left to punish you?

What else could it be?

Bridget, I left to punish myself. Not being around you is hell on earth now. I had to pay for what I did. And keeping myself from you was my punishment. I drove you to act out and put yourself in a dangerous position with my stupidity and I hate myself for that.

So we can hate each other and be together at the same time.

I could never hate you. I hate what happened. I hate the thought of him touching you.


He asked me if we should take it back and I said yes. Two wrongs cancel each other out and Bridget and Jacob start over, granted, from scratch. If something is a dealbreaker then it's a don- deal, but if it isn't going to be then we need to not use it to hurt each other.

So over we start again. Thankfully. Humbly. Sometimes the most perfect love is so flawed. We still want it, holes and all.

He went upstairs, with my hand in his and went in to kiss each sleeping child and then we went to bed at last, never sleeping, just lying there curled together in spoons, wide awake, marveling in silent over the touch of the one we love the most after so many days' absence.

Friday morning we got up reluctantly and reiterated our vows to not hurt each other, to not seek out others for comfort and to not mess up this chance we have been given. Also we reminded each other of our promise to raise Ruth and Henry together as a unit and how that above all else was so important and should supersede any argument we might find ourselves in.

We're going to keep things simple. Bridget + Jacob = Love.

The kids were so happy he was home at last.

Then he surprised me again and called Loch. On my phone, so Loch picked up instantly and Jacob told him that he was forgiven. That putting his family back together was more important to Jacob and so he as going to concentrate on that and let Loch go, that Loch was not important to him right now.

 (Run, Loch, run far far away.)

Loch had already taken the hint, thinking Jacob was staying away because he was in town and had flown home Wednesday.

Jacob asked if I could stop with the thousand-mile games of tag. His laugh was ragged, exhausted and drained. No singing, we're healing. No easiness yet as we're so anxious to not wound or perceive to offend that we've resorted to a funny little overly-cordial routine that shames him to no end. It will fade. We've gone through it before after arguments. Soon we'll slide back into the informal closeness we've spun into gold.

We took it back. It's our life and no one, and no series of events is going to mess it up now. Our foundation is solid, it's holding. It's precious and we're not going to play with it.

So now I think I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. One thing Jacob was remarkably proud of was how I continued to give myself the meds, I didn't throw or smash the hearing aids, I didn't fall into a hopeless state and look for escape and I didn't leave the wall up that I had built Thursday between when he spilled the beans and when he followed us to the airport.

And I held it together while he watched from beyond the fence as I tried to keep the kids busy and Bridget busy and continue to woodenly exist without him, which is hell on earth and I don't want it. Never again.

All this time he was up the road, in his old office, talking with God and with Sam too and missing me like crazy and walking down the street when it got too hard, to watch us rock in the hammock and read to each other and wait for him to come back.

So he did.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Jacob is here. Home at last.

And you know you're a parent when, after being up from 3 on with all sorts of wonderful drama going down, you still get up at 7 to spread the apple jelly on the bagels because, oh, the kids make such a mess if you don't. I swear to God I'm only parking them in front of a movie for a little while because if we don't get some sleep I might be a basket case by lunch.

More when I have my act together. Thank you God for bringing him back to me.

Here, have a whole song. It's what's in my head.

    When you try your best, but you don't succeed
    When you get what you want, but not what you need
    When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
    Stuck in reverse

    When the tears come streaming down your face
    When you lose something you can't replace
    When you love someone, but it goes to waste
    Could it be worse?

    High up above or down below
    When you're too in love to let it go
    If you never try you'll never know
    Just what you're worth

    Tears stream down your face
    When you lose something you cannot replace
    Tears stream down your face
    And I...

    Tears stream down on your face
    I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
    Tears stream down your face
    And I...

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

He called.

    The only way out
    is letting your guard down and never die forgotten
    Forgive me my love
    I stand here all alone
    And I can see the bottom

    Promise me you'll try,
    to leave it all behind
    Cause I've elected hell,
    lying to myself
    Why have I gone blind?
    Live another lie
    You.


Jacob called.

He wouldn't talk to me, he asked me not to say anything, just to put the kids on one at a time. His voice was hoarse. His tone defeated and devoid of anything. When the kids were finished and Ruthie hung up despite my pleas for Jacob not to hang up as I grabbed for the phone they said only that he told them he loved them very very much and to look after mommy until he gets back. And that he loves mommy too and to tell her.

Until he gets back.

Until he gets back.

If he hadn't said that part I would have died. Solemn promises all around. He needs to look after mommy.

Live as though he is watching over you. A post-it on the side of the fridge. It's been there for three years.

Right. Who is he? I used to think that was God. Then I thought maybe it was Cole. Perhaps it's Jacob and he's maybe not far away. It would explain why I ate dinner last night with the kids even though I had no hunger, no taste and no drive to keep going except for hope that he might be proud that I haven't curled up into a ball and gone away somewhere dark inside.

He knows I can't, and this is my lesson. Keeping moving forward, that's the lesson, and waiting, that's the lesson too.

Monk.

hen Jacob hurts enough to run, he transforms himself into the monk. This is a true story about a man, a myth, a legend.

Oh gawd, Bridget. What in the heck?

(It's a pathetic attempt to amuse myself with the words I have. Now I fend for myself and I can prove to Jacob just how strong I am. Except at 4 am when I hear a noise and I'm not strong and then the loneliness looms in viciously and I somehow stave off a monumental panic attack with five of Jacob's journals in bed with me, using his words in my voice to self-soothe and hating, despising every single minute of it.)

When I met Jacob the farthest he had ever traveled in this world was from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia to further his university studies on his way to his masters degree. He was a small-town boy with a wide open heart and an easy, naive laugh. He was sweet, shy and innocent. So, so innocent.

And then he became my best friend. Me, the girl some have claimed will be the downfall of western civilization as we currently know it. Others truncate it down to simply "Cute but Dangerous."

The very first argument between us ended in a trip for him to Australia, when he proclaimed his only goal was to get as far away from me as he possibly could. I was so belligerent, I went out and bought him a big suitcase and told him it was big so he could stay away longer. He laughed and did just that, he was gone forever and I quickly realized the eve of a lengthy voyage was not the ideal time for yelling insults if I wanted him to hurry home, safe and sound.

He came back completely different and not the least bit put off by my antics.

Traveling alone in the big world is an eye-opener. It changes people. He learned to be self-sufficient, self-reliant. He learned to trust his instincts and order his needs from greatest to insignificant. He learned how to be Jacob.

It cemented his thoughts on spirituality and lengthened his skills in patience and understanding. Over the years he'd physically change too, adding muscles on his muscles from climbing freehand in Alaska and then the summits of Kilimanjaro, Kangtega and Acon-something-or-other in a two year span. He stopped cutting his hair and grew a full beard to stay warm, I liked it so much upon his return that he didn't shave it off very often after that, ever.

He learned he hates t-shirts as outerwear, that cords last forever, that shoes are a curse and that books run out quickly so it's better to take a notebook and a pencil because you can sharpen the pencil with your teeth and when the book is filled up you can start writing between the lines.

He found out that God is bigger than the boxes we put him into. He found out man should be more humble than he is and that people should try harder at everything they do and they'll reap the rewards of their efforts so much more sweetly.

He always brought me something beautiful from some place I couldn't pronounce, complete with a story about how he had to walk eight days up a frozen waterfall to get it or climb a tree infested with rabid monkeys in the pitch-blackness of night. The stories are heavily, hilariously embellished when they concern the trinkets he safeguarded in his pocket as he worked his way back to me. The efforts are not embellished, they are real. He discovered he was wanted and needed as he evolved visibly into the man he is today. He always runs as far as he can, knowing instinctively that when he comes home, things will be better.

He once went ninety-four days at a Carthusian monastery without speaking a word out loud and he claims it to be one of the defining moments of his life, somewhere between kissing me for the first time and discovering that it was okay that he hated wearing shoes. He did hard manual farm work there and prayed so much he didn't pray for weeks upon his return, and we had to remind him to answer questions.

He was growing on the inside, he told us.

He always came back from these trips peaceful and rested, fully stocked in spirituality and grace, brimming with faith and acceptance. He comes back as a monk and we get to see the transformation into a better man. Right before our eyes, he relaxes into an older, wiser Jacob, with that many more miles and experiences under his belt. That many more days he lived small in order to be a bigger person. His needs reduced to food, water, prayer and silence.

Jacob says you're never far enough away until you can no longer understand what people are saying to you, and everything you see is new and you don't know the customs or the dress and even the moon looks unfamiliar, framed in a setting you get to witness for the first time, with your very own eyes.

He gives himself harsh lessons to learn by making his trips as challenging as possible.

He goes just far enough away so that he can't see, he can't feel, and he can't touch. And there he does his mental penance, his brain learning to overcome what his body wants to have, his mind superseding his heart as the first in command.

It's a survivalist instinct. It's how Jacob gets through things. I've told you before he is a runner, or rather he was one, having pretty much stopped once he and I became something real enough to him that he no longer needed to escape from me and what I meant to him. Or so I thought. I can only hope that he is out there somewhere growing and changing and learning whatever he needs to learn in order to get through this.

And me, I'm taking my lessons at home, living like a monk, speaking in necessary phrases and boiling life down to our needs and our small comforts and no more than that as I wait for Jacob to make his way home, hoping he comes home full stocked in faith and at peace.

Basic needs, simple wants. It shouldn't be any more complicated than that and today, it isn't.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Facing music.

(Make this 2 of 2, or maybe it's part 2 of 3 if I'm lucky and it has a happy ending.)

    Time heals, time congeals around us
    Endless hours of wasted moments
    Understanding, not demanding
    Your eyes tell what you feel inside

    Setting sun can't shine, now you're gone
    Inside sleeping, my heart beating
    You know that you tried to hide it
    Shouldn't you have said what you meant

We're going down in flames here, bit by bit. Don't be surprised if I haven't answered many calls or emails. You may be angry with Jacob but in a few moments you'll be disappointed in me too.

Though oddly enough, most of you have been incredibly easy on Jacob based simply upon the kind of man he has been so far. For that you would be right. For that, I appreciate every last word you're sending me.

After the airport incident, we flew on to Toronto. I told the kids we were taking a few days to visit friends, and Jake was going to miss us and that's why he cried but we'd be home again soon. I was stone. And I couldn't reach Loch. Loch is supposed to be my emergency guy and he wasn't there. My big plan to run was falling apart already if I had nowhere to go, my arms full with the children, my head empty, focused on keeping the kids feeling a safety and security I have never had. I couldn't go home to the coast either.

Besides, I went hellbent on revenge.

Sadly, the only other people I knew in Toronto were Keira (Loch's ex-girlfriend who hates me), and Caleb. I reached Caleb, who sent a car for us and then showed us around his steel and glass executive apartment, so surprised by his good fortune he didn't bother trying to conceal the residual cocaine party that recently took place on his coffee table.

(Ohnoes. Bridgetwhyareyouhere?)

He was leering and smug and he scared the ever-loving fuck out of me, so I feigned exhaustion and locked the kids with me in his bedroom while he probably pouted outside the door on his leather couch the whole night through. I reached Loch early the next morning and he came to get us without stopping to breathe. We were whisked away to the other side of the city, away from the decadence and glass to the noise and combustion of Chinatown, to his new tiny apartment up on the fifth floor of a rickety little house.

Friday was the anniversary of Cole's death. Again to try and hold it together I locked the three of us in a room that night when the kids fell asleep and I just waited it out, the remainder of that day. Alone. So so alone.

Saturday it was sinking in. I lived through the year. I lived through Cole and I would live through Jacob too. Loch wanted to take the kids to the fair to distract them so we did and Loch unleashed all of his rage at Jake upon my head. Loch and Jacob have been at odds forever now. Jacob took Loch's place in my life. I used to go to Loch for everything. Then once I met Jacob I switched allegiances and Jacob became the knight. And then the king. Loch finally had a concrete reason to resent him and we both had an opportunity and a motive for payback of the worst kind.

Saturday night we put the kids to bed in Loch's room and went out on the balcony with plans to get completely shitfaced. He brought out some drinks and put his arms around me, settling me against the railing and I rested my head on his chest while I looked out and we counted stars and watched the city come out to play and talked and he soon sought to exploit the comfort I found in him and I let him.

I let him, up against the railing with his hands on my hips and it felt so good just to be loved by Loch. He was to be the least-painful choice in my foolish bid for revenge-lite, as if I could put a degree on it. I've gone to him a lot over the years, truth be told, to get away from Cole and then to get away from Caleb, who I've gone to to get away from Cole.

So, yes, I slept with Loch. The satisfaction of exacting payback was so fleeting before the remorse came flooding in on top of me and I drowned in shame. He made a half-assed offer that I could stay with him, one we both knew I'd turn down. Why can't we be like everyone else?

Everyone else always seems so happy and without guilt or fear or problems on the grand scale everything is with us. How do they do that?

Let's be them. Let's find out.

I don't like the answers I have now. They only bring more questions.

Sunday morning Jacob broke down the door. He knew the moment he saw me what I had done. He looked like hell, anguish painted in his eyes like a shroud and I realized he drove straight through to get me back and when he saw me he didn't want me anymore. He turned and left and I haven't seen him or talked to him. He hasn't called for the kids, nothing. No one will give him up if they know where he is.

And yes, Loch flew back with us. Because this is his problem now too. He wasn't about to send me back alone and watch me slide into oblivion, not knowing if Jake is coming home or not. He's not staying here, he's admirably facing the music bravely as a friend and answering to our other friends. I'm hardly answering the phone and not holding up at all, in contrast. I risked my heart and now it's close to dying. Bouncing back was never something I did well.

It still hurts to think about Jacob touching Sophie for a comfort I will never be able to give him as much as it does to know that I set out to break his heart. That I even wanted to break his heart. God help me, what in the fuck is wrong with me that I would do that?

I want my husband back. I don't care why he did it, I don't care why I did it, I just know that he is mine, and I am his and whatever else happens I want to be with him.

I am sorry.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Distract and crucify.

    As you look around this room tonight
    Settle in your seat and dim the lights
    Do you want my blood, do you want my tears
    What do you want
    What do you want from me
    Should I sing until I can't sing any more
    Play these strings until my fingers are raw
    You're so hard to please
    What do you want from me


Sure I can still write with a broken heart. Been doing it for a long time now.

Would you like all of it or should I just see what I can get through? Let's make it part one, then. I have to start somewhere.

Lunch with Joel was fine, He and Jacob have been colleagues for years. He even spoke of spending a little time with Jacob and Sophie during the conference in Newfoundland, something Jacob never mentioned to me.

Remember Jacob's conference trip last winter? The one he ended drunk, inexplicably? I blamed it on his fear of flying, his concern over us being alone. There was no actual concern. Jacob was drunk because he was full of remorse he somehow managed to swallow in the past eight months between that day and last Thursday, when he admitted that he slept with Sophie that weekend, during his trip. Out of the blue.

Who the hell is Sophie, you ask?

Jacob's ex-wife.

He further reduced me to nothing when he tried to explain it away as soothing his own pain from the whole baby subject being over in my mind because he still wants one more child with me and because he wanted a night where he was with someone who had their shit together, in a nutshell. Because his ex-wife is pulled together and not crazy like little Bridget is.

Dealbreakers, everywhere, baby girl, I'm so sorry but you're fucked up and I wanted to remember 'normal'.

Want a minute to absorb it before I go on or do you want to run, like I did because fuck, Jacob is the last person who would ever do something like that and I hit bottom before I was packed, my faith in everything destroyed?

Absolutely nothing left to cling to, even as I watched him being escorted out of the airport by the police when he tried to physically keep me from leaving him. He almost dragged me to the floor in his desperate bid to keep me from walking through the security gate, even after the kids had already passed through, his fear something I could taste.

Where was that desperation when he was holding Sophie in his arms? When he made a conscious effort to push me out of his thoughts for a night, because I am difficult? Because living with me is hard work.

When he's screaming down an airport concourse that he loves me, that he only wants me and I'm about to be very far away and not the least bit swayed by his pleas and promises I took his strength and walked away with all of it.

Update: I went back and read the entry I wrote the day after he came home drunk I can see it now. It's right there in front of my face and I've been so busy loving Jacob's 'perfect' that I failed to see his flaws at all.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

My heart is...just broken. Completely destroyed. There is no point in trying to protect it.
No worries, guys. We're at Lochlan's. He let me borrow his laptop. If PJ is having fun with you at my house on my laptop please kill him for me, someone.

Caleb thought this was hilarious. I've never run before, and certainly not to him. Loch rescued us yesterday as soon as I could reach him. Caleb is a functional drug addict. Did you know? I didn't.

We'll be here for a bit yet. Maybe a week. Apparently Jake is on his way by truck which gives me at least three days to think, knowing how far he'll drive each day. And I'm not sorry I didn't stay and hash it out because he told me things I wished I never heard, and then for good measure he said he didn't want to be around me. So why is he coming?

Oh the fucking story I could tell but I won't today. I'm far too busy trying to keep my heart from falling onto the pavement while I try and keep the world upright and seek my retribution.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Comments are off and I have a flight booked for the kids and I tonight. We're going to Toronto. If you have a kind wish, fling it this way in spirit.

Apt and obvious.

From Dictionary.com so there's no mistake:

    pro∑found /pr?'fa?nd/ [pruh-found] Pronunciation Key
    -er, -est, noun
    ├▒adjective
    1. penetrating or entering deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge; having deep insight or understanding: a profound thinker.
    2. originating in or penetrating to the depths of one's being; profound grief.
    3. being or going far beneath what is superficial, external, or obvious: profound insight.
    4. of deep meaning; of great and broadly inclusive significance: a profound book.
    5. pervasive or intense; thorough; complete: a profound silence.
    6. extending, situated, or originating far down, or far beneath the surface: the profound depths of the ocean.
    7. low: a profound bow.
    8. deep.
    ├▒noun Literary.
    9. something that is profound.
    10. the deep sea; ocean.
    11. depth; abyss.

Amantium irae amoris integratio est

(The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love, it means.)

Floating on the wings of a cast-iron moth she crashed to earth and realized that nothing was changing. Nothing ebbed, nothing flowed. There was no air. The extreme joy and delight with which she looks at him still gives her pause, makes her goosebump all over and fills her up with thankfulness and gratefulness and incredulity. He is no less starstruck by their union and the perceived societal time-line imposed by those with no similar emotions fails to dent their spark.

Sometimes now that light is tinged with shadows, for she is wary of luck, suspicious of good fortune and used to worlds crashing into fire all around her. And so is this always the beginning of the end? Is it an eventual disaster biding time? Is it a price that will be paid at date to be determined later?

Are you running on borrowed time, Bridget?

No, I wasn't.

As long as you don't bring it up I'm not afraid to wake up breathless. I'm adjusting to those goosebumps and the lump that rises in my throat when he touches me. OhhessobeautifulsobeautifulIwanttocry.

I can hear him now when sometimes I'll head upstairs first in the evening. To wash my face, brush my teeth, put on a little eye cream to try to stave off the ravages of sun and time so he will always see me as he did that first night, well-lit in forgiving semi-darkness, reflected in the water, preparing to unwind in style with few cares in this world or the next.

I laugh, because alone I have ravaged myself and all the potions and hopes in the universe aren't going to lessen my damaged interior. They can't reach. It's simply too far.

(Prettyontheoutside)

I hear him talk easily, a guarded film coating his voice when he can't find the right words but still so much better than before. We made it to this place. The together-place and so everything after will eventually sort out.

He is still amazed that he can touch her and she goosebumps all over, that he can tell her he loves her so and it brings her to tears when it should make her happy and she assures him it does but then why is she sad?

He knows, I think he knows. And I thought I was adjusting.

Had I had half a chance I would have presented myself perfectly. Oh my, the love then! Could you imagine it, if only for a moment to indulge me, if he and I had met and there would have been no others. No commitments, no baggage, no details, no established flaws in her being, none of this to work through. Oh sure I would have been depressed but hopefully only mildly so, well-managed and not stifled by the games of another without my best interests in his heart. Oh no.

It would have been perfect. Imagining perfect is what you ride through imperfect. It's what buoys you through rough seas and long hurricane nights. It's what, foolishly, we cling to. All of us.

It's a poor description of faith, he tells me. A joke, a cop-out. An excuse for lack of trying. A despicable thought. Faith doesn't come with a price. There is no eventual crash-landing, God doesn't exist on an iron moth any more than Bridget has to pay for her sins anymore.

Some would argue that he does and she will.

Jacob would argue that she already did and not to stick God in metaphors to suit one's will. God is God and that is that.

Bridget has paid, and there is no longer a cloud over her head. His year is up and he is no longer taking a back seat to dead abusive husbands, petulance or princesses with peas up their arses. Nor stupid friends, counselors who wish to carry out experiments or any definition of what appears to be right or wrong to the greater population. Life is now. Life starts here. Goosebumps are welcome, appreciated and so freakin' neat.

In other words, we haven't gotten anywhere but I don't feel like spelling that out. It's becoming so painfully obvious.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Butterflies are deaf.

The morning, for your imagination's pleasure.

    She's all that I see
    And all that I breathe
    Take a breath and hold her in
    As the shadows whispering

    And I can hear the laughter
    Knowing what they're after
    While she flies beside me
    A man with broken wings


There is a crack that runs from the floor to the ceiling in a lazy zigzag in the front hallway. The pictures on the walls are never straight. There might be muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor and the sun comes beaming through the sheer curtains each morning, beginning in the front hall and working through the house to dip below the fence that separates our yard from the next.

There are dirty teacups in the sink, and stack of books on the steps waiting to be put away on the crowded shelves upstairs. A giant Nova Scotia flag flutters gently in the porch window now and a giant Newfoundlander sings Gravedancer in the music room downstairs, because the kids appear to be sleeping in today. We leave the basement door open in the summer and the laundry's thundering in the ever-noisy dryer but Jacob sings above it, never shy about singing as loud as he feels the urge. I can hear him perfectly.

Perhaps instead of the carpentry as a new career he could go back to being a rock star.

Well, a fledgling rock star anyway. I can hear the girlies screaming again now. God how they screamed. Oh I was so happy when he gave it up and he didn't even belong to me then.

The coffeepot is full, and so is my heart this morning. All is well.

I meet Joel for lunch at 1 pm sharp.

    And everytime that we feel it
    It's just another long wasted night
    And the dance that we tear
    Is just another way for you to roll over me
    And the bed that we're sharing
    Is the home that I wanna bring you
    Want to feel you
    I don't want to hear you

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Berry extravaganza update.

We now have six pies and will soon have eight jars of jam for the dry pantry. I froze the rest. I don't think I'll ever need to see another strawberry in my lifetime. Pies have been dispatched to PJ's mom, one to Ben, one to the new neighbors on our right, one to Chris if he uses two hands to eat it, one to creepy Jack down the street (long story) and one to keep for late night snacks for Jacob, who has already pointed out he plans to eat the whole thing for dinner so maybe we shouldn't have given one to Chris.

Them's sour berries, I said.

I need a recipe for Strawberry cake because I would have rather had that. Unfortunately I have a knack for scratch pie crust. Who knew?

Tomorrow is lunch with Joel. Should give me lots to write about.

Endless afternoons.

He smiled at me from across the porch as I sat in the sun on the peeling boards of the steps we never find time to paint, hulling strawberries with his jackknife, my lips stained full and red from eating as many as I put in the bowl, cheeks burned pink from sun and wind, my hair tangled into knots and full of dirt. My legs were bare, splayed out in front of me as I sat trying to keep the newspaper and the big tin bowl centered so the mess stayed in one place. Dirt under my nails, even, dirt on the hem of my dress.

You look beautiful. Are you going to do jam or pies?

Thank you, and both, I think. There's enough.

He laughed and went back to reading his paper.

We've been busy working on our communication skills, like allowing each other time to get the words out before we jump all over context. And doing Five Things, which is when we verbally list five things we are thankful for in that day or moment before daring to complain about something we don't have or can't seem to reach.

For some reason we're always strolling through the farmer's market when we come up with the best lists and then we get distracted, forget to complain at all and wind up bringing home strange things like parsnips (no one in this house really enjoys a parsnip) or twenty pounds of berries, like yesterday.

Want some?

Monday, 9 July 2007

Scoundrels, all of them. But it's okay.

Somewhere around midnight last night, I fell asleep. A book on my face, the cool breeze carrying the scent of roses in to me, a few drops remaining in a cup of tea on the table nearby. The windchimes in the front room a gentle toll of bells that brought into my dreams a flood of boats bobbing on the water and buoys clanking. The hammock swayed just enough to mimic a rowboat slumber and I was in my glory, soon to wake up by the seashore, my first view that of my favorite blue water, the place where I breathe. I waited with such anticipation. I could almost taste it.

Instead I was gently prodded back to earth and away from heaven when skin mixed with rough stubble rubbed against my cheek. Lips against my ear, a hand on my other ear as he tried to rouse me to come to bed without startling me.

His lips left my ear and trailed gently, butterfly kisses until he reached my lips and we met in a sweet dream unto itself, those best ones being when you wake up mid-kiss.

So relaxed was I that not a single coherent thought could work through my brain and form into words. I struggled to greet him, to tell him how tired I was, to point out I loved him and this wasn't the ocean and oh, gee, I have to go to bed before I fall down. The words stumbled out in slurs. He laughed, he kissed my forehead and led me to bed by the hand, taking the book and the tea too, and once I was in a so much more comfortable place I had a final notion that I would sleep fully clothed because zzzzzzz.

Upon waking I am still a little fuzzy. I feel good, I feel a little tired but good. There is no barometer and these are the best days. The ones where I feel vaguely happy and barely ambivalent and all is strangely well.

Which means that I am still medicated.

Ha!

Jacob is so much smarter than I am. Because I didn't figure it out until this morning. Here I took the encouragement and support for what has amounted to a twelve pound weight gain and two averted almost-lows and thought I was handling things so much better. The joke is on me but you know something? It's fine. We'll leave it. It explains multitudes of events, or should I say, non-events.

In other news fit to print waking up on a Monday knowing the fridge and pantry are stocked, the house is clean, the laundry is caught up and summer vacation is now in full swing is just wonderful. I'm going to enlist the kids to help with a little yard work out front and then we'll retire into the shade this afternoon for ice cream cones and then a movie before dinner. Tonight is fresh sweet corn for dinner, courtesy of the farmer's market. So good with real butter and a little salt. I find something wonderful about a day with no commitments. Except for getting being well, but it looks like he's going to take care of that for me. Jacob takes care of everything.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

    Daylight dims leaving cold fluorescents
    Difficult to see you in this light
    Please forgive this selfish question, but
    What am I to say to all these ghouls tonight?
    "She never told a lie,
    ... well might have told a lie,
    But never lived one.
    Didn't have a life,
    Didn't have a life,
    But surely saved one."
    See? I'm alright
    Now it's time for us to let you go.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Round tables with square corners.

Updates for today are light. My ankle is fine. I can walk on it all day or climb and it throbs a bit at night but otherwise it works. I haven't run yet but I'm hoping to get back to it midweek.

The gym called Christian last night and told him he was stripped of his privileges there. He's fine with that, he says cockily that he can climb anywhere, there are tons of outdoor venues. Jacob asked him who would trust him for a partner and Chris just shook his head, knocked down a peg and apologized again. I don't think he really meant to do it as much as he meant to try to prove he is as strong as Jake.

Jacob, who is built like a blacksmith on steroids.

Those guys, geez, they're so busy trying to outdo each other the room invariably fills up with testosterone and chokes off their common sense. Nothing has changed in the last decade. The good news is it wasn't malicious and once Jacob cooled off a little he backed off considerably.

You see, Cole let everyone get away with murder. Jacob lets them get away with nothing. They're all still feeling out their boundaries with me, with us, with everything. Really, I give them credit for sticking it out. Most friends would have just drifted away when things get too tough. Not my guys. This army is going to ride it's own dissension until everything gets ironed out. Infighting knights. Kindhearted and fearless. Fierce and slightly hellbent on making a new and better history for these ages. Fools on errands.

When we went to bed last night before it was even dark outside Jacob took me into his arms and kissed me long and hard, to put his heart back from where it rose into his throat yesterday afternoon. I returned his kiss with fervor, cementing his heart exactly where it should be, held aloft by love and not by terror. I'm safe. I'm fine, but still he never rests.

The fragility returns, like it always does, to form my unwelcome shadow. I can't hide from it, I'll never outrun what seeks to keep me brittle and precious. I think Jacob likes things better this way anyway. He wields the sword, I'll stand behind him and he goes right back to being In Charge. We always return to this.

Because it works.

Today is church and then the park. It's cooler today weatherwise too, a perfect day for a walk and an ice cream and then maybe a movie late tonight. Some quiet times for four, then two.

Have a nice weekend.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Always use two hands, Chris.

Christian can be such a jerk sometimes. This afternoon he let me fall twenty feet to the heavily-padded floor of the climbing gym, only I didn't hit the floor, thank God, I landed in Jacob's arms. Because for once he was standing under us yelling repeatedly to Chris to use two hands. Chris got cocky and used one hand, making some joke about feathers and angels which ended in an oath of fear and surprise and one of those moments you wish you could stuff back inside whichever hole it crawled out of.

Jacob.

Caught.

Me.

One of those rare and wonderful moments where he's right where he wanted to be.

They made it out to the parking lot before Jacob went at Chris. They went down in the dust, and I stood watching until I saw blood and then I dryly asked if we could go home now. We arrived back in the house and cooler heads prevailed as I managed to fill PJ in on what happened. PJ barely had time to remind me that trusting Chris with my life probably isn't such a great idea when Jacob decided he wasn't through and launched at him again.

Sigh.

I have now locked them in the backyard and I can still hear Jacob swearing. It's great to see the summer sports going as smashingly as the winter ones do.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Jesus on a skateboard.

Jacob's secret to long life and how to gain fifteen pounds in a month flat? Because he's gaining weight along with me, which only makes him more of a wall of man?

Dunkaroos.

He's got a raging addiction to them, which I just found out about after wondering how half a case disappeared in less than three days. I figured August was a serial snacker so I didn't say anything and then I caught Jacob red-handed. He swears they're vegan, and so that makes it okay. I think he just likes the blue packaging. When I look in my bag it's full of blue Dunkaroos and blue keys.

The day we attended our final counseling session with the marriage counselor we kept firing and rehiring, I saw a older man with super long brown hair and a long beard on a skateboard and he looked like Jesus to me. A stoplight savior, I guess he was.

I rolled down the window and stuck my hand out to give him one of those blue keys from the stopgap program we have here to help feed the homeless. Instead of cash we can buy keys to give that they can exchange for a meal or assorted services and Jacob does not like it. He would rather see the money expand the shelters and get people off the streets at night and into rehab programs during the day.

Skateboard man smiled at me with his faded brown eyes and one dirty tooth and said,

Bless you, my child.

I smiled at him. Jacob looked across me and smiled and blessed him right back but that man never took his eyes off me.

The skateboard man has become a ritual for me. He hasn't left the corner where I make my left when I leave downtown and so if he is a summer fixture then I will be a fixture for him. I've given him seventeen keys so far this year, the equivalent of taking him out to dinner each night on a shoestring budget so he can rest with a warm belly full of food. He looks past my easy smile for him and sees other things. Maybe he sees things I don't even know he sees, as if we are both on level of madness that is only discernible to others who suffer the same grief. Some days I want to ask him how he ended up here, why he doesn't have someone, but instead I give him his key and receive my blessing and move on when the traffic dictates that it's time to go.

He's my daily reminder that things could be worse, but they're not.

Jacob brought home ten more keys last night for him, and suggested we park and walk to him to see if he wants further options. But I don't think he's real. I don't think he'll be there if we try to approach on foot. I can't explain it to Jacob because he might think I've gone off it but I think the skateboard man is Jesus and he's appearing to me and focused on me because I'm the one who needs help. Sort of like God sent Jacob to me but maybe God is frustrated too with how long it takes me to react to things and how long it takes me to accept the signs, take the help, make the changes. I have triggered a monumental flood of sympathy and support from those around me willing to help save Bridget. The army, I suppose.

I must be meant for something great. I think I even know already what it is.

Love, silly. It's love. I just need to stop fighting it.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Just stop it, baby, please.

I don't know what to do.

Be yourself.

Who the hell is that?

The girl who could breathe when she came to me. You didn't bottle it up, instead you let it out. You relaxed around me.

So why can't I relax now?

You're afraid.

Of?

Life, maybe? Change? Afraid you might like it if you did let go and embrace life without guilt or grief?

I suppose.

Could you?

Possibly, I don't know. Nothing works.

Then let's try it. Because bottled-up you isn't you and it isn't healthy. I don't care how unperfect you feel, it only makes you more perfect to me, princess.

My God, I had no idea how low your standards were, Jacob.

That's just the point. They aren't, Bridget.

Oh.

Yes, oh.

Wow.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Strip it down to the basics, for they are the important things.

I had a feeling one day late last week, well , last night anyway, of not belonging. The sun looked strange, my belongings alien, and I felt like if I lifted one foot off the earth the other might go with it and I would be yanked up into the atmosphere and no one would hear my cry. Then to cement the unusualness of that evening, after we went to bed, Jacob fell asleep instantly and I stood in the window watching the lightning strike the ground and the rain beat down so hard it have to have left dimples in the pavement. It roared through my head like a jet engine and it took subsequent hours afterward to get to sleep. Hours.

I didn't feel connected. I didn't feel present. I didn't feel like I had anything to call my own, not even an emotion that didn't end in fear and self-loathing. And it's dumb not having trust in things I'm supposed to lean on but won't and it's positively ridiculous how spending several days in the company of new perspective can pull the rug out from under so many things you thought were carved in stone.

August afforded me a view of Jacob's other side, a side I know less well, having experienced the less-chaotic part of Jacob, the part that rests, the side of him that's domestic and calm and settled. August has seen, traveled with and experienced Jacob in the wild. He's talked with Jacob in a way Jacob and I will never talk, because we always had the weight of our mutual attraction holding our conversations hostage. We could so easily just be together, and spend time we had saved, and yet all of our talks were stripped of their pertinent information and facts and innuendos about each other and filed away in our locked hearts to keep safe, because we knew.

August, of course, has never seen the side of Jacob I know, to be fair, though he arrived and saw how incredibly perfectly we fit together. How, despite the difficulties and the baggage and everything else we've two halves of a whole. Even with our doubts or moments where we really think something is going to blow up in our faces we know it won't, a trust I was looking for, a promise even Jacob isn't capable of making but he made it. Oh, he makes it daily. He wouldn't go if I sent him, he'd stay until we were shredded with pain and agony and then he'd stay on longer. August somehow showed me that Jacob most definitely is not the kind of man who stays when the going gets tough. He ducked out of life early on, considered a monastery far away and then opted to explore a looser ideal of God closer to home. When pressure mounts, he runs, having traveled to the ends of the earth on a shoestring just to get away from imaginary and real difficulties.

August pointed out that Jacob is still here.

And he was blown away by that, once he understood what our life together has been like so far.

Jacob shrugged and told him that I was what he wanted and now he has me and he needs nothing else in this lifetime. Something he has said to me privately but it's pillow talk, reassurance, or his charm, so I thought.

No, it's simply a fact for Jacob. He found what he was looking for. Now that he is here and I am here he is complete. He no longer requires a bible and a trail mix bar and a harness somewhere unpronounceable in the Himalayas to keep him going, to renew his life zeal, to give him adventure. He has it in a stormy little blonde package.

And then I was blown away too. He's an open guy but he gets teased by most of our friends for his apparent infatuation so he doesn't expand, well, not anymore. They know. With August it was easy for him to feel more comfortable and he could say whatever he wanted without a backlash or frat-boy retorts.

I have it easy. I can wax and wane about Jake and everyone just smiles. I had talked myself into it, wanting the trust and the comfort to magically appear because I hope it would. And then the trust came.

So the comfort cannot be far behind.

Don't get me wrong. There's an ease with Jacob I never had with Cole. As if I even need to spell it down here. I don't fear for my safety or my life with Jacob. I don't have to anticipate mood swings and rages directed at me or live in Cole's tumultuous emotional battles. The difference, for me with the comfort lies in knowing Cole would just step in front of me and fix anything that went wrong in our lives. The car, the house, the money, the furnace. The strap on my bag, the binding on my favorite book. He bought me trinkets and cried exactly four times in twenty years.

Jacob is even, his mood is perpetually jovial, buoyed by being in love, in having it all. He has no mood swings. He rages, but not at me, more like on my behalf. He will step in front of me if there is danger but otherwise he places his hand in the small of my back and forces me to confront, fix and repair weaknesses in myself. He gifts me daily with romance on epic scales and saves his tears for his despair over our difficulties, over the bitterness of having to struggle after having won each other's hearts for good. His tears come easily and are unashamed.

He won't rest until my feelings of disconnectedness are gone, until I am used to him. Until I am used to good things. He tries to hurry me along, which he knows is bad, but he just can't help it.

I still look at him and have to catch my breath. I find myself twirling my necklaces around and smiling when I think of him, I turn goosebumped. All tousled blonde hair and sinewy strength, his pale blue eyes crinkling right down to his dimples which are such a rare treat under the crazy blonde beard. His huge white teeth. His strong hands. The rolled-up sleeves and always bare feet at home. The watch I gave him that he never takes off unless he's making love to me, the watch with the darker blue face that compliments those endless eyes. I always wanted blue eyes but instead I got green. He loves my eyes. I love his. He loves everything about me except for one thing and that is my recklessness.

And I'm not the reckless one. I don't run off and do dangerous things. I park my ass in stasis and I wait things out. Which is interesting to be thought of as reckless and I'm not. I simply had a death wish. A self-comfort to the extreme. Things get too hard? I can check out.

Would I check out?

I don't know now. That's why I said I had one, instead of saying I have one.

I was visiting a friend with Jacob last week and this friend offered us a peek of his view on the fifteenth-story balcony. Jacob walked out easily. I could not. My knees went to rubber and my hands shook. I had the feeling of falling from that height. That was all I could picture, jumping, and still Jacob encouraged me to come out, as if to prove that I didn't have to courage to even walk out there, so how would I ever have the courage to climb the rail, and so my great escape is a moot point. No net. No safety.

An unspoken dare, maybe, because Jacob isn't sophisticated enough to see that that my fears won't protect me. Because he is simple in that way with his life ironed down to the basics: need, want and waste. He needs God, he wants his family and everything else is a waste, save for some beautiful sunsets, an endless horizon and a larder full.

I will protect his simple wants because it's what I work toward. Being less complicated. Being less difficult.

To prove my good intentions, I have gained weight. I promised I would. Working my way back slowly to good physical health was my show of faith and I'm doing it. 107 this morning which made him laugh out loud with delight and clap his hands. A normal weight. Very normal. I can stop pinning my clothes again.

The other night he took me out for lobster and wine and I think I ate everything and I was so full when we left I almost fell asleep in the truck on the way home. Learning to bask in the content, while I wait for the comfort, because, like August pointed out, Jacob is still here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

She talks to angels.

Some lyrics, some metaphors, some predictions. Same old same old. Repetitive. Here's the contents of Bridget's head today. So much for living in the moment when all we do is lament the past to the point that we're denying ourselves a future.

Firstly, the ankle is better already, since it's a mild sprain, I think. I can walk on it. A little more slowly and it's still very swollen all the way to my toes. My cute little ballet flats that are going to permanently replace the heels? I can't get them on. I'm wearing my running shoes everywhere, which is ironic. I don't think I'll be running for a couple of weeks.

    The world we knew
    Won't come back
    The time we've lost
    Can't get back
    The life we had
    Won't be ours again

    This world will never be
    What I expected
    And if I don't belong

    Even if I say
    It'll be alright
    Still I hear you say
    You want to end your life
    Now and again we try
    To just stay alive
    Maybe we'll turn it all around
    'Cause it's not too late
    It's never too late

August left yesterday, to be home to his home-away-from-home in time for a rollicking fourth of July party he is planning on attending. I daresay I'm relieved he's going, not only because he and Jacob are so much alike except that August is More, Louder, Extreme-er, but because at the end of the day an extra full-sized adult in the house is a hazard, and I am sort of back to eggshells but not. It's funny how when you let me go off and run around and don't bring anything up that isn't right or isn't good, I can go for so much longer before I crack. Bring it up alot and I'll struggle so much it's a wonder I can brush my teeth without assistance.

He left my house chock full of organic delicacies. Wasabi peas, green tea, chocolate bunnies, miso by the truckload. Just as I was leaning Jacob back toward regular food.

One thing he did do was give Jacob a very private and sheltered arena in which to blow off steam of his own. Sometimes late at night I'd wake up and hear them talking quietly into the night. Probably sitting at the dining room table with tea, I could never make out the words but I know August came at a good time to help Jacob fortify his own strength, reminding him of who he is, of what he is. Of what he can do.

Jacob defuses bombs.

I'm well aware I am standing here watching the calendar inch closer to a whole year since Cole died and I'm not marking the day. Not that day. Any other day but that day because I was there and I lived it for him when he died because he couldn't. And knowing he was gone in the moment he left me for good even though he was still there, his warm hands, his warm cheek, his hair in his eyes, as if he would just wake up and life would go on and maybe I didn't hurt him and he didn't hurt me and we didn't make a mess of everything but I left that room alone. I walked out of our life together alone. I cannot get past the alone part and I never will.

It's stupid. Jacob is the angel. The savior. The protector. The man I always ran to for something. It was comfort, wasn't it? No, it wasn't. I don't know what it was. Attention, affection, reassurance but not the same kind of comfort.

Comfort is scattered all over the beach back home, so long gone now and mixed with the sand and the sea and the air.

August made it out of here just in time and I wonder if Jacob knows of the low to come. I think he does, I think he suspects but bless his heart, the magnitude always escapes him. He sees what he wants to see and waits out the rest now because he's running out of ideas and dips heavily into his perfectly and lovingly saved store of patience and understanding. He keeps the cognac full, the knife block empty and his ears open. He sleeps holding me not because I love the affection but because he is scared I'll get up in the middle of the night and try and become an angel too.

And yet comfort is still up there, somewhere in Jacob's unexplainable heaven, somewhere just beyond the reach of this small woman with a broken heart and no patience, no understanding and no way to crumble the final battlements that lie between us.

Because time doesn't move fast enough. Because we fight about such big things that no amount of comfort in each other, no amount of the hot calm of his hand sliding across my back under my shirt or on the back of my neck as we stand or sit together will manage to eradicate the lack of comfort from a history he was never a part of.

I realize it's foolish. I realize it will eventually go away. And while we wait we fight, softly, gently, bitterly.

Oh so bitterly.

I never once threw it in his face that he wasn't there, that time moves slowly, that he doesn't know me the way Cole knows me. Oh no, Jacob looks after that part all by himself. It's practically a one-sided debate as he paces up and down the room, gesturing, pleading, demanding, praying.

I just stand there and don't say a word. I look up at him when he passes me and I think to myself,

You know me in a completely different way and it's better, I promise you it's better.

It's better because he is an angel. And someday I'll find the comfort I seek. When our patience comes. In the meantime we fall back on our friends status. Friends who have sex a lot because they can now. Friends who have spent the past year cementing themselves together in life forever because it was meant to be. Only we never measured to be sure of the perfect fit.

We guessed.

We cut once.

We were off by a little. Not a whole lot, just enough to make it wonky and so we've shimmed it up as best we could and we'll probably have to plane a little off one side and then with a fresh coat of paint and some selective amnesia, eventually no one will ever know it wasn't like this the whole time.

No one.

So there you go. The barometer for today is a fair warning and a reminder that we are friends first and lovers second and that somehow helps because sometimes I can hate his guts and still love him a s my friend and sometimes he wishes he had never met me but can't imagine a life without me.

The one hard part about having married a minister, as laid-back, idealistic and casual a minister as Jacob is, he is the biggest spin doctor ever. He tells the children such wonderful things about Cole being in heaven, comforting things, things that let them fall into sleep easy, things that make them smile and feel better and less afraid, less alone.

Me? He tells me none of it. Cole is not in heaven, there is no comfort in his after life, and I don't sleep easy, I don't smile nor do I feel less afraid without him here. Jacob's comfort to his own wife comes from a selfish black heart in which he contends that Cole is no angel, never was and never will be. That there was a reason Jacob spent ten years working to be my own savior.

Yes, there was, and it has nothing to do with Cole.

We can explain it away. Jake is angry. He's angry at Cole for not stepping aside gracefully. He's angry at Cole for Cole's unprovoked violence. Unprovoked? No, only possibly misdirected, but barely. The routine violence he was ill aware of makes Jacob red with rage. Cole and I somehow wasted ten years of Jacob's life trying to work everything out, trying to coexist in a world of unchecked emotional timebombs and sordid lurid flaws, we fought so hard and it was for naught and Jacob resents that all to hell.

His obsession now extending to include time we can't go back and fix, my God, for someone who tells me every day to let it go, to just stop, he has a heck of a time taking his own advice. And why not? He can simply fall back on his faith and cry out that he is a wounded man, broken by life and failed and everything is gone so now he can begin anew. Oh, but he is so wise and sacrificing.

And very very good at what he does and oh it drives him up the wall that it took that long for his charm to work on little Bridget down the road to shore because she, oh, she's mine. I's needs that one, b'y. She's 'is forevs.

But I am the one holding all the cards. And every night when I fall asleep in the crook of Jacob's concrete arm that is safe but not the same comfortable, I understand that we haven't had enough time. Soon, but not yet.

Repetitive, aren't I?

Monday, 2 July 2007

Short and sweet.

God has a sense of humor, and Jacob hates high heels.

Touch my shoes and I'll kill you.

Wear those again and they might kill you.

How are we supposed to dance?

Hey, we'll get by. I'd rather dance with you and get a crick in my neck than not be able to dance at all, like right now. We'll get you some new shoes you won't break your legs in.

Alright. Alright. Take them all.


And with that exchange he cleaned the closet out of every pair of high heels Bridget owns. And threw them out. Literally. I am one of the clumsiest people you will ever meet. If there's a door? I'll slam my hand in it. If there's picture on the wall, it will swing when I walk by and bump it. If there's something heavy in my hands? I'll drop it on my toes. Wearing high heels? No problem! I always have the arm of some large man to hang off of, and I've been slipping and tripping through life for decades on that theory.

So the issues I have had with navigating the front slightly bumpy, crumbly concrete steps of the church on rainy mornings when they are slick with water and I have on my cute high heels?

Legendary, my friends, legendary. Jacob is never present when I am exiting that building.

The elderly members take it slow. They hold on to each other. They wear sensible shoes. Me? I skip down them looking over my shoulder for Henry, talking to five people at once, and never paying attention to where my feet are in my cute little four-inch heels.

Down she goes. Oh dammit.

Only this time she didn't get up. Oh, joy, it's a crowd.

I finally got up, I left my pride on the pavement though, since I didn't need that anymore. Jacob was coming down the stairs so fast I thought he'd fall too but as usual his look read a mix of Oh shit oh shit is she okay? and I didn't catch her. I wasn't there to keep her safe.

Before I was fully vertical again and someone passed me my purse my ankle was starting to swell. Jacob's look changed to Oh it's time to get my princess to the hospital.

Thankfully the charming masochist in me kicked in and I was able to use his mountain climber self-rescue sensibilities to point out it was a mild sprain, look, range of motion! And let's consider some ibuprofen and ice and then wrapping it and we'll see how it looks in the morning because I am not spending Canada Day nor am I spending August's last full day here in the ER.
I can talk Jake into anything. I bet if I ever have a pitchfork sticking out of my back (oh, the threat's been made to this heathen girl but not by Jacob) I could convince him it was a flesh wound and I needed only a bandaid. He will believe anything I say. Even the part where I said I was still crying because I felt stupid (when really it was because it hurt like hell).

The good news is it is purple and black and my ankle is a puffy circle this morning but I can walk on it and it doesn't hurt so much as long as I go slow.

There's a metaphor for life if I ever saw one.

And enough with the jokes, God. I totally knew you were in cahoots with my husband to get rid of those shoes. I only hid a few pairs. I swear.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Ours, mine and yours.

PJ called me late last night to see if I had written him off. He's coming over for breakfast and to go to church with us because he misses us. He's feeling the sting of Loch's exposure of all these dormant crushes, of the fact that there's a reason most of my male friends are single, and of Jacob's blatant attempt to fill our tentative social calendar with his own friends. From his life. And changing everything to become his. His rampant ownership issues that all lead back to me and how he's still pinching himself.

PJ wants reassurance, he wants a hug. He wants time with me and I can't give him anything that will soothe his discomforts. Jacob doesn't want to see affection that isn't propagated or instigated by him. He doesn't want me spending time alone with any of the guys. He's not jealous so much as he's wary, it's hard to explain. Wary without attempting to launch any demands that I chose, which is lucky for him because I won't stand for that. He wouldn't do that, we already did that, with Cole, and it's not required of anyone else. Besides, PJ is one of the people I love most in this world. Absolutely and without hesitation, whatever he wants I will try to give it to him.

In any case, we're all six heading out to buy breakfast makings and it should be fun. Church will be short and then Canada Day gets underway officially, in spite of the threat of thunderclouds, both real and imaginary, as we figure out how to move on already.

It's July now, and that means something. It's been long enough, this bullshit of no knowing who stands where and who means what. My boys have to grow up now and get over themselves, just like I did. Or am attempting too, anyway.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!