Thursday, 30 August 2007

More dust.

I'm going to figure this all out if it kills me. Templates, I mean. Not relationships. That would be too hard.

Update 3:12 pm- going to give up. any. second. now.


I love the stacks of paper and abandoned pencils that lay scattered over Jacob's desk like autumn leaves on the grass. I love the way he sweeps the whole mess onto the floor in a blizzard of white when he pulls me down for love renewed in strange places, assuring me that my worth is of more than his scribblings, more than his thoughts on paper.

I love that the windchimes ring constantly in the colder mornings and that the morning ritual of a fire is a necessary chore now. The smell of the smoke and the crackling fill my nose and my ears separately and I shiver into some clothes and head down in search of a strong coffee and a long hug.

I love that he can now somehow anticipate how far downhill I have slid overnight by how tensely I sleep.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Star in the dust.

Even though I opted not to take the job at the church, I'm helping Sam out a little bit here and there while he looks for someone to fill the position. Today I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the steps in the foyer when I realized I was being watched.

The church has three gardeners, basically three of the more reliable men who frequent the shelter Jacob volunteers at. They hold odd jobs and pay for their rooms and stay out of trouble. Two of them were standing in the doorway watching me. Just curiously, like I was a bird who might fly away. That's when I realized the reverence they hold for Jacob, and the fact that we sometimes live in a movie.

A western, to be certain.

One of them said quietly to the other,

That's the Reverend Jake's Miss Bridget. Ain't she pretty?

Breathe water.

We stood in the cold saltwater, up to our ankles in foamy, freezing surf while seaweed in heliotrope-hued goosebump bubbles swirled around our feet, catching in our toes and caressing our heels.

We held hands. The soft rubbing of his thumb on my fingers, on the back of my hand. His hand, warm and strong and self-assured. The wind had forced his hair to whip into his eyes and he shook his head and turned to block the wind from my face.

Cole smiled softly.

I'm going to ruin you.

Instead of responding I turned to go back up the beach to our blanket. Only he wouldn't let me go.

I'm serious, Bridget. You shouldn't be with me. You used to be so happy.

I never answered anymore when he started to talk like this. He would get angry if I did and I learned a long time ago that the small moments of self-doubt that crept into his words were enough to help me remember that once, he loved me. Once, he wanted to be a better man. It was better to let him speak and let him get it out and then he would turn back into the Cole I knew now.

You should be with someone like Jake. Or maybe Ben.
He'd laugh.

And then he would be gone, just like that. And the Cole I didn't like would come back. And most of the time when that happened I would stand in the surf and wish the ocean would swallow me whole.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The luxury of falling apart.

Proceed at your own risk. You can always tell I'm tired when I tell you things you don't need to know and my punctuation leaves something to be desired. Or when I tell you about a quarter of what's on my mind and it makes little sense as a result.

Something to be desired. Yes. There's the theme for this post.

Sometimes funny songs make it into his repertoire. Constantly singing. Perhaps it's the peril of marrying the (casual) lead singer after having been married to the drummer for so long. Every song you hear that stands out winds up being played back to you, sometimes in the form of the strolling afternoon minstrel who has run out of things to do and is now following you around the house while you put away laundry, wielding his acoustic, and singing the theme from Snakes on a Plane.

I kid you not!

    So kiss me goodbye
    Honey, I'm gonna make it out alive

Some days are incredibly skewed from before. Our dynamics change and briefly we're given a taste of the partnership we cultivated as friends. Friends on equal footing.

He pointed out today feels alot like those times when we got comfortable enough to finish each other's sentences or to leave them be. To be comfortable together in spite of the albatross roosting between us. To be friends with all the expectations we heaped upon each other, swords drawn, dares stated and left to be fulfilled, if we had the guts.

Jacob sees his own doctor and has finally been given some medication to help relieve the pressure of being Jacob, married to Bridget. He is absolutely stunned by how much he managed to hold together and bottle up unwittingly over the past two years and the toll that has taken on him.

I'm dealing with all that fresh guilt, feeling responsible and he (and everyone) keeps trying to insist that it's not but really I'm not that dumb. In a way it's a huge relief because I've been worried. Jacob has crashed brutally just when things start smoothing out or when I feel strongest and then we both start over again. We're trying to prevent the crashes, the meltdowns, the lows or at the very least be decently equipped to deal with them when they occur.

I never want him to bottle his emotions and try and be strong for me when he doesn't feel strong. I don't want to wear him out or drag him down or put pressure on him anymore to fix things he has no control over. I want him to be happy. Happy in his own skin, happy with this life, happy with me and I want to be happy with him.

His own breakdowns served so many purposes. Reminders of our losses. Reminders of his humanity when I build him beyond his earthly capacity into someone who can fly. Reminders that it isn't just Bridget going through hard times and reminders that he can't hold things together forever and sometimes he fails. Sometimes he falls. Sometimes he doesn't want to be everything.

Sometimes he resents me.

One of the biggest, most shameful aspects of his feelings for me would be the resentment. How could I charm him into my life and then flaunt my other friendships, other relationships in front of him. How could I take his heart and then throw it away, repeatedly. How dare I not stick around and support him when he is angry or frustrated or overcome. How awful that I would close a chapter of my life he hasn't even read yet and refuse to have a baby with him, what he considered a knee-jerk reaction.

All of those are hypocritical. He approached me first with his emotions. He's thrown my heart away out of self-preservation needs. He has not supported me when I was overcome or frustrated. He closed the chapter first after losing the baby, he refused to comfort me, refused to talk about it.

He works so hard in some ways and closes off other avenues of communication with audible thuds. He's a walking contradiction.

What's good about it?

It's normal. Oh so normal. It can be changed, it can be encouraged and supported and turned into the right kinds of reactions. The right kind of openness. Without resentment. Without the need to bottle up. People like Jacob can only bottle up so long.

He has a great analogy? Metaphor? Story. Okay, no it's a sermon that details beginning a rocky, perilous journey on a road paved with broken glass and we're crawling on it with nothing to protect our flesh and as we learn to cope with the pain and the hardship we are granted shoes and soon the glass is sand and then it becomes quicksand but we conquer that too and then it's gravel and our shoes are worn so we get boots and pretty soon we'll be able to hail a cab. It's a very funny way he tells it. Not funny comical but funny touching. Every now and then in the story, he'll stop and take my hand or I'll distract him through a rough spot. It's hopeful.

Someday I'll get him to write it out.

He is human. A medicated broken human working to get better. To be better. To deal. So we can find the really good part of the road and stay on it. It's way easier for him to sing all these goofy songs on the smoother parts of the road.


Off-road beard riding with full stick control?

Yes, that's word-for-word the offer I got to cheer me up last night. Because he is as incorrigible as I am.

This is not my entry for today. I promise

Monday, 27 August 2007

Keep talking.

I thought today's ramblings were going to run the gamut of waffles and Pink Floyd. I guess not.

    Where were you when I was burned and broken
    While the days slipped by from my window watching
    Where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
    Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
    While you were hanging yourself on someone else's words
    Dying to believe in what you heard
    I was staring straight into the shining sun

I hope Loch never calls looking for his copy of The Division Bell. I'm going to wear it out. It's the theme for today's thoughts.

Somewhere there's a list of major stresses, by degree, starting with death at the top. A scale, with two last names I no longer recall. Claus showed me this list once and I saw it again this morning. Things that would usually send people off the brink no longer phase me. I've become numb to everything, having ticked off just about everything short of retirement and foreclosure.

So I am re-sensitizing what I have put aside.

My meds have been readjusted yet again. It's become a comfortable high-wire act in itself. I go for tests to monitor the levels in my blood. I haven't fought it.

I go to counseling twice a week now. One psychiatrist and one therapist who specializes in adult sexual abuse. Both are working miracles and I'm committed to not being a total freak forever. I also have Joel and August (casually) to help talk and disperse the stress on Jacob. I'll write about that part tomorrow.

If there's one underlying theme to your emails, it's that I am 'strong' to have withstood so much in such a short time. I think all of it was inevitable. Life's been rocky and tumultuous underneath a facade of fine forever. Things were accidents waiting to happen. It's just a pileup. All of it I could have predicted, thinking back. All of it eventual.

I'm not strong. Maybe I'm just patient. I will be strong.

Bulletproof glass, perhaps. Oxymoronic.

The only thing I didn't see coming were Cole's suicide attempt and his sudden death that wasn't even sudden, taking days. His suicide attempt was a farce. A half-assed show to pull me down. He took enough pills to scare everyone but not enough to do much more than make himself vomit. He was famously sarcastic and uncaring about the subject of my own attempts and had pointed out people who commit suicide have choices, but they're cowards who won't help themselves or drama queens. I can't sit here today and believe that he was reduced to despair over the loss of his family to another man. I really can't. Reading his letters to Loch, Ben and Jake, he tells me different and I'm not ready for that.

Just not.


I'm not ready for him to be dead yet. I keep dancing around it. I call his phone, disconnected long ago and I talk to the dead air after the automated message telling me the number you have dialed is not in service. I talk to him in my dreams, unconsciously, sharing secrets with him that I shouldn't. Telling him things that are none of his business.

I do that, you know. He's a huge part of me.

I'm trying to fix the memories. To keep the good ones and let the bad ones go. I want good things. I want a good life. I want to remember the good in him, for my sake as well as for Ruth and Henry.

It's coming. Things are falling into place.

This morning saw the arrival of a couriered package from Caleb's law firm. It contained a letter that outlines his promise not to sue my husband in civil court or contact us further. A promise, and a confirmation that he is going to fade away and become yet another memory for us. A professional, courteous send-off confirming what we hoped but never counted on. That he isn't going to continue, that I've been through enough. That as long as I don't contact him he won't bother us. A witnessed letter that is signed by several other partners, showing clearly that he came clean, admitted to his colleagues that he had developed designs on his dead brother's messed-up wife based on their previous relationship and he, for the sake of his career and his reputation, was going to put an end to our relationship. It's a very incredibly formal version of the send off that I gave to Loch and Ben. What goes around comes around. I can't blame Caleb for everything, I exploited him thoroughly and Jacob exacted a price for the return of my attentions. It's technically lip service that might be illegal thanks to the order of protection but the fact that he has done this has given us, given Jacob a relief beyond words today.

Long overdue relief that all of his real enemies have surrendered. Now if we can just get the imaginary ones to follow suit, maybe we'll be somewhere finally.

Onward and upward, Reilly family. Up you go.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Coming back to life.

In honor of today being a busy day, I'll leave you some crumbs from my breakfast. A tiny version of Things You Didn't Know About Bridget Volume 46537294. Or perhaps it's the first. I don't know, the dog barked all night. I'm tired.

-I have an unreasonable crush on the young David Gilmour. Like an extreme my-panties-are-on-fire-for-him type crush. Unfortunately when he was running around the planet wielding his guitar and looking like this, I was in diapers.

-I like dreadlocks. Seriously. Especially on guys. Jacob had them a long time ago. It was awesome. They felt very weird. I used to stick things in them to piss him off.

-I'm not taking the church job. It's a good thing, I've taken on more writing, I expect to be pretty busy this fall. Actually it's purely motivated by church politics since Jacob stepped down but they don't need to know that, do they?

-After listening to me complain forever, Jacob now makes my hair conditioner. He mixes three parts honey to one part olive oil and I use it after shampooing and then rinse out. It's seriously the best and easiest conditioner I have ever used. And he has some odd talents, don't you think?

-I'm learning things about myself at a frightening rate. And it's all good stuff. Not egotistical things, I mean things I do to sabotage myself and how I can work towards fixing that. I'm soaring, it's like I found the switch. Makes him positively beam. Makes me flood with relief.

Must go, church in fifteen minutes and Jacob has a wedding to officiate (!) this afternoon (he's still a minister, dear readers). Plus dog needs more walks than he's getting. That or I'm going to put sleeping pills in his bowl tonight because argh. Kids finally sleep through the night and then we buy a dog?

Sometimes I wonder.

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The legend of alcyone.

On the drive home last night he had his window rolled down. Looking at him in the streetlight glow, the wind ruffling his hair, one lightly tanned arm resting on the sill, the other firmly on the wheel, a smile on his face as he talked easily, I was struck by how much Jacob values me. Of how much worth I hold to him, as a person. Aside from the romantic obsessions. I have everything he wants. Someone to show off and be his companion, not his competition, someone he can appreciate and talk to openly, without fear of reprisal. Someone he trusts. Someone he wants. Someone he can be with and be himself.

Knowing how hard he's fought to hold back, to not want me to get better for him, but to first get better for me, and for the kids, and for us, and lastly for him. Most people would say, fix it for me, so that I can deal with it. So I can be comfortable.

He's never wanted that. He's so rarely selfish it's a shock when he is.

This morning I came downstairs wrapped in my robe and wool socks to be greeted with hot coffee and a small fire in the woodstove. Jacob was making fried potatoes and giving every second slice to Butterfield, and he smiled again.

A different kind of smile. That contented, peaceful smile I rarely see. I hope to see more of it. I think we've turned a new corner here.

It's a very cold fallish morning, freezing and crisp and perfect. A perfect day.

PJ called this morning too. He's fine. He really doesn't want to be lumped in, he's always tried to be a good friend, and he'd like to continue being a good friend, if we can do it without the weirdness and just get together every now and again for a meal or a trek or a short visit.

I said that would be wonderful. He laughed and said I was a big pain in the butt. I told him no, I'm not. I'm Bridget, and I'm a terrific person.

He paused and then he laughed,

Yeah, you are. You always have been though.

Today we're heading to the Farmer's market, and then we'll finish up the outside work for the winter. I need paint chips to match the trim and then we'll barbecue some burgers tonight and sit out late, drinking lemonade and listening to Jacob strum the guitar. Just the four of us. Very soon the kids return to school and routine and the craziness of the mornings and then the stark quiet of my new alone-time, since Henry will no longer be in half-days.

Maybe we've purged the rest of the pain. Maybe Loch was the key to unlocking what was holding up my recovery. Maybe finally being forced to cut ties with Ben helped spur us into a better place. Maybe not talking about therapy here and working really hard to find the right medications and the right counselors and getting my weight back on track has helped demonstrate that I mean business.

That I want this.

Maybe we won't have our Indian summer this year. Maybe we can look ahead to our halcyon days instead.

    How pleasant the salt anesthetic
    Of the air and the sand and the sun;
    Leave the earth to the strong and athletic,
    And the sea to adventure upon.

And to make up for the surprise of throwing a Nash poem at you before I'm fully awake, I'll tell you something funny. Last night, Jacob was repeatedly referred to the Viking. It made me laugh.

He likes it better than Preacher Boy, that's for sure.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Higher education.

I'm so not off the hook, am I? You'd like a real post too?

Christian comes in this afternoon and mutters something about yet another post about Jacob and his sweetness and his godawful inability to drink for a Newfie, let alone a giant and jesus on a stick, Bridge, we know he's affectionate. He's also completely whipped so don't even bother.

Nice, Chris. Lovely to see you too.

Christian is pretending to be all huffy so he won't have to acknowledge that half of his friends are now divided once again.

PJ was right behind him, they stopped in to borrow even more gear on their way to a climb. Only PJ wouldn't speak to me. I questioned him directly twice and Chris would cut in and distract.

How obvious. And stinging.

I let them take the gear and then as they left Chris told me not to worry about anything. PJ wouldn't even meet my eyes, though he did take a minute and scope out what the kids were doing. He didn't ask if Jake liked the job or if I was really doing okay or if he could have something to eat and based on the fact that they were in a rush (right.) I didn't push him. I haven't talked to him so I can imagine he feels weirded right out, maybe responsible, maybe he's blaming me, maybe he's blaming Jake, maybe himself. I won't speculate until he talks to me.

It's okay, PJ. Ben already ratted you out, sweetie. I just wish you had let me know first.

You see, PJ's been going to see Joel for months now. On a professional level. Because he knew all about the letters and was having a hard time dealing with the guilt. Which is funny because Jacob had decided he would just fight them off and not tell me and try to pretend it wasn't happening, PJ worked tirelessly to blend into the woodwork because he didn't want to wind up in the middle.

In PJ's position, not in Jacob's mind you, I would have ratted them all out.

PJ's crush on me serves only as a wish for a wife and a happy little home with children and has very little to do with me as a person. He's a safe friend. There are no strings attached to Padraig.

At least, there didn't used to be.

I can't worry about that now, I'm feeding the kids early and we have a new sitter from the neighborhood coming tonight so that Jacob and I can attend a cocktail reception at the university. Jacob doesn't really need any more cocktails tonight but it's a chance for me to meet the rest of his immediate colleagues, having met a dozen or so already yesterday.

I won't be having any cocktails at all. In case you were wondering.

But never mind that, it's an opportunity for me to put on my very sophisticated little black dress and my black stilettos and be smiling, scintillating arm-candy for Jacob while he shines in his new role as the youngest assistant prof they've ever had.

He's definitely the cutest.

By far.

Pooh and his plan.

Last night Jacob came to bed late, much more capable of hanging out in a lawn chair late into the night, drinking whiskey and water and relaxing than I seem to be. He had one foot squarely in the hundred acre wood and one foot out when he walked into the bedroom and he shook my shoulder gently until I sat up and asked him what was wrong.

He took my face in his hands, and kissed my lips until I tasted like whiskey now too and he said,

No worries for this life, piglet, I have a plan that will be carried out most presently.

Hmmm? What plan is that?

A plan to be happily ever after forever, piglet.

Oh good.

It is. It will be. You're everything I ever wanted. I still wake up dreaming of you and go to mush when I can kiss you in public. In private I'm a goner, I really am. I never thought I would be so excited over another human bean in my life and I'm blessed with every glance you throw my way, every word you speak to me and every moment when I know you love me, princess. I'm so grateful for you.

At this point Jacob is attempting to sound drunkenly whipped. Doesn't he? He isn't, Smitten, sure. Obsessed, of course. Whipped? Not on your life. It's a bone of contention in a world of pure chauvinists. Trust me on that one.

Drunk, definitely.

Jacob, you're in charge of your life. You created this life we have, with me. I'm the one who's blessed.

See, piglet? I told you we had a lot in common and I really believe we do and we don't even know the half or the whole of it as of yet.

Yes. What you said.
(I'm tired and just trying to keep up with his words.)

Only I really can't hold this liquor anymore. It's slipping to the floor and I believe I need some sleep.

Right. Goodnight, Pooh.

Good night to you, Piglet. I really really really love-

He was asleep right then. And I keep playing it over in my head, the drunken words he was so passionate to tell me.

He has a plan.

For us.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Worth it.

I spent a couple of hours cleaning and catching up on laundry and business emails this morning. Bogged down and concentrating on wrapping it all up before lunch so we can head downtown this afternoon and surprise Jacob at school and take him out for dinner or something fun. Something different.

I went up to find the kids to tell them lunch was ready. They go off and play for hours alone now, creating fantastical play worlds or painstakingly building Lego villages or whatever captures their imaginations. They're independent.

I found them in the new guest room, the room that used to be the master bedroom before we moved to the back bedroom. The radio was on, playing classical music. Ruthie was in her ballerina costume and Henry was wearing Jacob's very best suit jacket, a tie knotted in a droopy bow around his neck. They were dancing in each other's arms. I stood and watched quietly as Henry spun Ruth around and then struggled to dip her as he has seen Jacob do to me.

And then I watched as the song faded to an end and Henry moved in very close to Ruth and put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her nose and smiled. As he has seen Jacob do to me.

That makes it worth it.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

With friends like these.

   So clever, whatever, I'm done with these endeavors
    Alone I'll walk the winding way (here I stay)
    It's over, no longer, I feel it growing stronger
    I live to die another day, until I fade away

    Why give up? Why give in?
    It's not enough, it never is
    So I will go on until the end
    We've become desolate
    It's not enough, it never is
    But I will go on until the end

I suppose I need to get on with it now. Four of us know what happened, the rest would like the lights put on now. An existentialist, nihilistic turn of the tides today and a very uncomfortable post. I'm sure I'll leave something out.

It's long overdue. I'm always the last one to move. Turtle-girl. Jacob's morelasses lassy. Stuck in her fears. Spurred into action only through panic and pain. It makes me laugh because it sounds ridiculous but that's exactly what it is. What it was.

Lochlan and Benjamin will no longer be a part of our lives. We're done. It's over. I'm cutting ties and breaking hearts all over this country this week. You would be surprised at the lengths to which I am going to go to save this marriage.

Beginning with ending relationships that aren't healthy. There's two factors I've never given much thought to in my relationships and I finally see this. It's as clear as day. Jacob's been beating his head against a rock for years trying to make me see and I'd almost see it and then drop it like it burned.

The first thing is that I'm so used to not trusting people that I automatically come to not expect it. That allows a permissiveness. There's no accountability. I expect you've already failed or will fail me and so I let you off the hook without consequences. Doormat.

The second is that I refuse to make decisions. That has to stop. I'll move heaven and earth with my mighty little hands before I 'll choose. I'll sit forever on everything and never make the choices before me. I'll defer to you, to anyone. I'm so used to not being consulted after years of having choices made for me I am incapable of doing it anymore and it's coming back slowly. Oh so slowly. I only picked Jacob at long last because I would have died if he had left my life for good.

If I don't have to make choices I'll never have to be responsible for the outcomes. I'm never accountable. I'm delicate and above reproach. I was Cole's porcelain doll and I liked it that way. And then I was that to everyone. Hey, the more the merrier. No one's here for my mind or my heart. They like the doll and I like the attention. I don't care if it's negative. It could be the worst kind of negative and it would never be as bad as Cole and so I perpetuated the most unhealthy, destructive, sickly permissive friendships you'll ever imagine in your head. Letting them run my life and giving them access to touch. No respect for my body or my self. Loch. Such a long history with Loch.

Jacob came along and was a little weird on all of it. But he brought something else. Respect for me. A refusal to decide for me, instead forcing me to choose for myself, even if it took forever.

Of course everyone was still off listening to whatever Cole told them. He was the ultimate spinmaster. He was like an icon to my friends. They followed his word as law and so even in death they listened to him. And oh did he ever have a plan.

Sometime between Cole's attack on me and his suicide attempt he wrote letters to Jacob, Loch, Ben and I promising this plan for my future. Or so we think. When my letters were destroyed Ben and Loch decided to keep this secret against Jacob's will.

Cole wanted to mobilize our friends to take his place.


Cole offered them a polyfidelitous, polyandrous fantasy. With me.

Fucked-up, freaky, depressed, medicated, suicidal, deaf little Bridget.

Way to aim high, guys.

Cole was always obsessed with the subjects of open marriages, polygamy, polyamory, and the aspects of cheating versus nurturing multiple deep relationships. Maybe he knew Jacob and I better than we know ourselves, each other even. Maybe we are puppets. After all, my indiscretions with Loch set it into motion and my previous indiscretions (holy whore) with Jacob probably fueled Cole's fire. The road was now paved with permission, to move in and close ranks. To fight each other off while they promised me I'd be okay.

Ben told me the only reason he left now was because he felt left out, like he would never have a chance. Like he would always be last and so he was the first to cave in, especially since he feared someone or all of us would wind up hurt. Ben cracked first at the thought of leaving my life for the next four months.

Cole never trusted anyone one hundred percent but he did always want me to feel taken care of, financially, physically, emotionally. To solve that issue, ensure my comfort and satisfy his twisted bent for sexual deviancy, he wanted to form a collective, a group arrangement whereby I would be cared for and loved and kept safe and supported and everyone would get something for their efforts, for their cooperation.

A piece of Bridget.

I was to sleep with all of them regularly and exclusively, and Jacob and I would share parenting of the kids besides. No one would be above the other in relation to me and they would be faithful to me. I would be exclusive property of not one, but three men, who would all be accountable in their actions to each other. Something he knew would destroy Jacob if it didn't destroy me first.

They were taking their time, he asked them to take it slowly. He knew I would adjust to change so slowly. He knew I would warm to it. Eventually.

He knew me so well. Did he ever know me at all? I knew him and I wasn't surprised by his invention, what surprised me was Loch and Ben running with the ball like they have. Hungrily so.

I went from party favor to timeshare. And I never even knew. I'm embarrassed, ashamed and confused. I'm disappointed in Cole. I'm disappointed in all of them for never telling me.

Cole asked Loch and Ben to quietly infiltrate (destroy) my relationship with Jacob so that I would see him as only part of a larger image, instead of as the whole picture. Hence the offers, the admissions and the awful conversations, the situations and the encounters. How many times did I write here that both of them were so weird now? Jacob was told that he was only part of my life and that he'd never be everything so not to fight it.

They were never looking to ease my grief or give me a better life, they wanted their share.

And Jacob became possessive and angry, waging a one-man battle, sleeping with one eye open, aware of the betrayal lurking behind the scenes but unable to tell me. Watching me flit from man to man like a wounded butterfly, watching me fuck up.

He couldn't tell me and they wouldn't tell me. They would have denied it, leaving me to question Jacob. The damage was being done, don't you see? As much as I relished his unusual, breathless devotion, his actions would have eroded the trust we've tried to build. And I trust that all of his romance and all of his words were because he loved me and not because he wanted to win. Because he has already won.

So God knows what was in my letters. Frankly I no longer care.

I was too fragile to be trusted and too blind to believe. And he was forced to live in agony because if I didn't figure it out for myself I never would have figured it out at all.

I am too fragile to withstand this but I'm going to do it anyway. It's not a bad thing, just something that was long overdue.

This is weird and cold and so uncomfortable and I was afraid. At the end of the day this is exactly how Cole always wanted me to feel. It's the type of thing he would do. A half-misguided, totally fucked up way to ensure that his little Bridget never wants for anything and the perfect way to keep his closest rival from ever having it all. He was a dangerous man and right now I'm glad he's dead.

All of it fucked up and doomed to fail. And I told this to all three of them and they stared at me expectantly. Like they were still stupidly waiting for me to accept or reject Cole's instructions for my future. Pressure keeping me from having a choice. My own twisted definition of love and how it works working against me for the first time ever. My own sick unspoken curiosities scaring the fuck out of my husband, who doesn't want this. He left the room, unable to breath, to keep from panicking, his fears rendering him incapacitated. I don't often see him like that. I never want to see it again.

I know running through his head right then was a litany of prayers to please please let me stay with him. Possessive and stubborn to a fault. Hopeful to no end. Selfish enough to not even consider how wrong this feels. Or how unacceptable it really is. He knows he couldn't fight this one with religion for backup, knowing Cole fucked me up that much.

That I would consider this because of what's in it FOR ME.

Standing there surrounded by the men I've loved almost my whole life I balled the letters up and threw them to the floor and turned my back on three of those men. Loch and Ben are as gone as Cole. Three strikes you're out, third times the charm.

As always, running a million miles an hour on shock and feeling without a plan.

Only I won't talk to them in my sleep.

Their hands. Why do I remember hands? Loch's hot hands on me, parked in a cornfield when he chose the hottest night of the summer to make me scream and never look back. Ben's icy hands curled around my knees the night we lost a tent in a snowstorm on our first group winter camping trip and we opted to sleep packed like sardines in the one remaining tent for warmth. Jacob's perfect hands, rough and larger than my head. Cole's beautiful soft artistic hands.

Jacob came back into the room, composed and resigned. To wait for the inevitable cue from me. He knows me well and didn't have to wait long. It's my life and no one, especially someone who's dead is going to decide how I'll live it. I looked at Jacob and whispered to him,

Fix it, please, Jake.

He shook his head sadly and waited and I stared at him for the longest time in total silence.

No, Bridget. You have to fix this.

I threw Loch and Ben out and told them not to come back. I said the time has come. I'm not going to stand by and let things happen, or let people close to me who aren't good for me or don't want what's best for me and if they want to think he's controlling, well, then I don't really fucking care anymore but from now on I come first and this sick game is over because Cole is dead and he doesn't run this show anymore. I do. I'm going to, from now on.

They left. I went down. Hard. I have now buried three of the people close to me and I'm running out of arms to run into.

I turned around and the biggest, most loving arms were wide open for me.

He held me all night. My last vestiges of comfort, my last memories of life before Jacob taken to the same place the ones with Cole now rest. Right there, but beyond my grasp. A place I can visit but I don't have to live there anymore.

I asked for and received some seriously illegal sedatives. I think we evaded what could have been much worse and things are so very quiet now. While I slept all traces of Lochlan and Benjamin were obliterated from this house. We explained to the kids that they wouldn't be around any more and we were truthful with them. God, that's what hurts the most because the boys had close relationships with Ruth and Henry, who have now lost three people and they're too young to have to deal with this but onward we go as a family.

It just adds to the load my heart must carry but I can handle this. It is with relief when I wake in the mornings. Not grief. I thought it would be grief but it isn't.

Jacob pulled another moment out of thin air to keep me from catching my breath as long as I live.

I asked him why he didn't just boot them out, cut them off, overrule me or somehow give up Cole's secret a year ago? Even as I also kept Cole's dirty little secrets to protect my friends, why shouldn't Jacob keep Cole's secrets to protect me?

He said that more important to him than us, is me. Simply me. And if I am happy, then he is happy and that is all that matters. That I come first, before his wishes and even before what he sees as good for me or not. That I'm not his to control but yes, he's going to do everything he can to protect me until the end of time. That we've made so many mistakes but we're going to learn together and decide together and be together and it's going to be healthy. For me.

He promised me I'll never be lonesome, I'll never want for anything, and I'll never be used or hurt ever again. And he said that he was even prouder of me now than he was when I jumped out of an airplane on our anniversary, because I'm learning how to step outside of my uncomfortable zone and take leaps of faith. It's just so fucking hard.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

I know I haven't written what you want to read.

I'm thinking.

I'm thinking I'm never going to have a normal relationship with a man, ever. Everything is so fucked up, but mostly it's me. I'm fucked up. And I don't think Cole made me this way sometimes, you know that?

Monday, 20 August 2007

Asleep at the wheel.

I can't even tell you about it. Not today. Perhaps tomorrow. But I do have some lightbulbs coming on over here, just when everyone was ready to toss me aside for sitting in the dark all the time. Because the dark loves me so.

    Just when you think that you're all right
    I'm calling out from the inside
    I never hurt anyone
    I never listen at all

They were never good for me, really, I counted them as family. I tried to protect their friendship with Cole and I never let them see what kind of man he was because they were friends first, before I was part of the equation. And they promised me when I left him at last that I would be safe, that they would never let anything like that happen to me ever again. They stepped in admirably as big brothers, close friends, incestuous landmarks I have run around for years.

But they fought Jake every step of the way, suddenly concerned with my every move, with his temper, with my emotional state, with my mental state. With how I lived and who I loved, who I spent time with, decisions I had to make. I could tell them anything and they'd move heaven and earth to ensure my comfort and sometimes decisions were made on my behalf. For a time, I was spoiled rotten.

And I was the very last person to find out what was really going on.

They didn't have my best interests at heart and things weren't nearly as cut and dried as they told me it was. Behind my back they were plotting to wreck everything I fought for and they made Jacob crazy and no wonder he's been on edge so goddamned long and no wonder things have been so, so difficult.

In any event, it's done now. Because I have to get better, we have to move on and we can't do it this way.

They set out to ruin it all and I can't forgive this. I'll forgive so much your head might spin with the permissiveness with which I exist but it's over.

All of my relationships were born in a toxic hell, save for one.

And you know something?

It's not all that healthy either.

But at least we can give it a chance now.

Jacob can breathe now that he has everything. Protection orders, memories with deadlines, no more wars to wage except with my brain (which doesn't put up much of a fight, having been tranquilized into entropy) and a promise from me that I'll be here. Forever. It's like Christmas.

But what would I know? I just woke up two hours ago. After sleeping for twenty.

And it's a brand new day. Only it's really quiet and I really hope I'm making the right decisions here.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Meant for greater things.

I forgot to tell you something.

The strangest thing happened in my dream last night that I was sure was real and it might very well be.

I puffed my cheeks out full and held my breath. I squeezed my eyes closed and forced my hands into tight fists and I concentrated. I concentrated so hard I think I broke something in my soul.

And then in a blinding flash of white nuclear light and total silence and the absence of all earthly forms, something extraordinary happened.

A tiny white feather popped out of the skin on my right shoulder.

It hurt like hell but it was there. Because this morning when I woke up Jacob's hand was there. And he was stroking it and praying softly, wide awake for no reason at all.

Control of nothing.

Then touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
    And we can have forever
    And we can love forever
    Forever is our today

Reality resumes when Jacob pulls me in against his chest and wraps his arms around my head, rocking back and forth because the simplest of unconscious comforts reveal themselves when everything else gets stripped away. It's why a mother hums and rubs her child's back in times of crisis, why men pace in emergencies and why people offer mere hugs when your world has been ripped away.

He resorts to praying aloud. Beautifully, endlessly. He never wanted this for me. He tried to stop it the whole time and I wasn't ever aware.

This opens up wounds that I haven't had time to get used to the rawness of yet, let alone heal. Bad memories that I thought I had cast out were waiting for me and come flooding in, ready to drown anything in their path. I should have known Cole could still have this kind of power over people and control from hell. Why wouldn't he?

It's a Hitchcockian zoom in all the way back to square one but in my water-filled soundless cage I reached out and told Jake it doesn't matter because he is here and I am so grateful and could he please do something because I can't breathe. The panic makes it hard to breathe because I know waiting behind the panic for a turn is more sadness and oh God I can't take anymore.

Jacob. Help me.

I may have to take a few days away from writing. I'm not in charge anymore so I don't know for sure. Who am I kidding? I've never been in charge.

Friday, 17 August 2007

I can't breathe. Why can't I breathe?

Every time I try to write my eyes fill up and I can't do it.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

I've gotten good at taking pills and writing distracted and playing the music so loud I miss the lyrics again because it's distorted. I've gotten good at blocking out harmless conversations and grief that goes on far too long and anything remotely uncomfortable. I'll never be good at being alone or dealing with bullshit or making do.

Send me an email. I could use some love. Yes, you.


A bright spot in the day for this actress. Ruth and Henry are delighted that the boys are going to be here later. Especially at the same time. This was in between Henry telling me all through lunch that he would eat it only if I would let him have two "think noodles" afterward. He meant fig newtons. He can have whatever his little heart desires, he's maybe the only guy I trust anymore. There's a fun cross to bear for a six year old.


Ben and Loch are coming out this weekend for a family meeting. So far it appears that only Ben, Loch and Jacob were recipients of this letter. Surprise. No one else will admit to having one and Ben said that the letter itself spells that out clearly.

I did say bad things happen in threes, right?

Jacob refuses to say a word about it for now.

But now I think I know why Ben left and why Loch has been the way he has and why Jacob is on such a mission to win this imaginary fight.

Because it wasn't imaginary after all.

Oh fuck, scrap that. He just called again and said they'll be here in time for dinner. Tonight.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Well you bunch of.

I want to call you every name in the book.

I want to throw things and break stuff and scream.

But not until I have a few more facts than a drunken Ben can provide before lunch. Poor Ben, he was doing so well. Was that a lie too? My God, you're the ones who are fucked up.

I want to know who got them and who decided to keep it from me and don't say you don't know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Cole's goddamned fucking LETTERS.

I think I hate all of you right now. Forever and ever. Prove me wrong, please. I'm begging you to tell me this wasn't orchestrated the way I know it was. Prove that you didn't just fuck up my life even more.


I'm wearing the t-shirt Christian brought over for me. It didn't fit him and he would be the smallest of the guys so the next logical wearer is me. It's huge and it says Fabbing Fuckulous on it. Jacob laughed and asked if I was planning to wear it in public and I said yes, but only to church and PTA meetings. Of course I was kidding but the look he shot me was worth it.

Ben has not called back. Instead I lunged at the phone at 9 pm and it wasn't what I expected at all.

It was Sophie.

She'll be the only one relatively unscathed by the mess made because she wasn't even engaged when it happened. And it was a fluke that Jacob wound up at the conference, there was a last-minute opening that he was able to grab as a favor repaid. They haven't had contact since, no, I'm not worried that it's going to happen again, from what I know and have seen, while he admires her togetherness as much as he abhors my chaos, she doesn't move him nearly an iota as much. He fell for me hard, he is all mine in a way that has surprised, and continues to surprise everyone.

She called to apologize to me and to wish us a happy belated anniversary and to ask me if I had anything I wanted or needed to say to her. That she didn't want me to hate her. That she was surprised by how not into it Jacob turned out to be and how grief-stricken he was and how she assumed he had admitted his mistakes long ago.

This is how civilized adults mend fences. We're all in our thirties. We should all know better. We keep trying to do better, and that's all we can do.

God, am I this magnanimous?

Not on your fucking life.

She apologized and asked me not to forgive or let her off the hook but just to know she wouldn't hurt me again. Or Jacob. She also had told her fiance before they were engaged. I wasn't kidding when I say she is pulled together and so not that type of person.

I'll never be that self-assured or that pulled together. She is the tight chignon, the business formal and I am the wispy mess, the day at the fair hair, undone and unkempt.

Soft and wild. Sweet and certifiable.

Everyone rushing in to assure their absolution from me is astounding. Since when did the world ever revolve around me? Apparently it always has, and my happiness has come to command a king's ransom. One that was paid for when I asked for it. I took Jacob's heart back because it belongs to me and it stays with me, from here on out.

She said she probably won't call for a long while, maybe at Christmas to wish us well, or not, but that I should know, if I don't or if there's any doubt, just how much Jacob truly loves me, that the time she has spent with him whether before their marriage or after, was filled with my presence and his preoccupation with me. With his obsession for me that supersedes everything he does.

But here's a little deviation from the way everyone expects Bridget to react to all the reassurance that Bridget's the one he wants and he'd never do it again. Maybe it's cold, maybe it's a result of diluting my emotions and anticipated reactions from all the drugs, which were increased recently, did you catch the shift? Maybe I wasn't born yesterday and maybe I never saw this coming, I thought I had him wrapped but I was sure I did before he married Sophie so maybe she takes up just as much of him as I do and maybe, like me, there's more than enough room for more than one soulmate. Maybe we're lucid and acting and feeling but we're not stupid in never putting all our eggs in the one basket because you never know when it'll get kicked over and you'll have a mess left to deal with. Alone. Human beans weren't meant to be alone.

We weren't meant to be so fragile either.

Was I meant to be so cold?

I think I know exactly how Jacob feels in that when he thinks about me going to Loch he feels an uncontrollable sadness, and a panic and a rage that threatens to eat him alive. So it's better not to think about it all. We talked it out privately, we've dealt with it in therapy, it's done. Sophie calling now just seeks to undo me again and I'm not going there. I'm no longer naive and I don't care that *I* haven't fully dealt with it, preferring instead to take my knocks for my own betrayals and not touching Jacob's.

I can't. I'll die if I think about it and so I don't. Why in the hell do you think I happily agreed to upping my drugs to the highest dosage ever yet? Because I will put it off forever. It's how I deal with things. I just keep on going and pick up the pieces of my heart along the way and pretend everything is fine.

I told her I wished she hadn't called. That it wasn't fair of her to use me so that she could move on and feel better and soothe her own guilt. I think that's what surprises everyone now, how much rage can fester inside of such a tiny package unchecked for much longer than most people can carry that load.

I can. Indefinitely. And that can't be healthy. And I refuse to talk about to the right people. Because I simply feel like holding all the cards right now and making them nervous and maybe the stupid fragile girl is less stupid and even more stupid than we all previously thought.

Because I really have no idea what I'm doing here. What's sad is how comfortable this feeling is.

What's even more sad is how unfeeling this feeling is.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Swords drawn.

I'm currently NOT falling in love with one of the Eagar brothers. Cursed Outdoor Life Channel. To spite you I won't even say which one. Probably the one who looks like Jake. This is why I don't watch TV. I'm all like Oooooh, cuuuuuute. I saw ten minutes of Heroes and Milo Ventimiglia and his gorgeous hair were lodged in my dreams for a month afterward.

Incorrigible girl.

Speaking of heroes, Jacob went back to see Mark early this morning for a bit of repair on one of his wings. Comes home with Protector in a gorgeous script above the now-fixed wings, clearly visible if he's only in a T-shirt. I'm floored and little bit cautious. He believes it goes well with my fragile tattoo. I have my reservations. However, he can pull it off in the way that only a 6'4", 200 lb guy can.

It smacks of another show of force, maybe. Another claim to ownership, a permanent statement, not as much for me as for everyone else. I think that's what I don't like. He doesn't need it.

Then he headed off to work, half days this week, department meetings and organizing his new office (shoebox, don't know where he's going to put his long legs when he sits down) and he's so excited, even though classes don't begin for a little over two more weeks.

He was cautious in leaving and has called five times. I don't see how he's going to get anything accomplished at this rate. He worries about me. I'm doing okay today, we went shopping. We're going shopping tomorrow too. I'm a little worried about me being alone too.

I'm a little more worried about the four times Ben called and didn't leave a message for me when he's been gone a whole twenty-four hours and usually he doesn't call for the first whole month or so.

The rest of this week is going to be as long as the previous hundred or so. I can tell.

It really is a nice tattoo. I'm going to ask Jacob if I can post a picture of it later. Maybe he can have it engraved on his imaginary shield to match, since no one's ever going to see it underneath this fortress he's built around us now. Proverbial or not, the armor's on, the flag is raised, I can't wait to see what sort of upset all these phone calls are going to cause.

I'm sure it goes both ways. Wait until the guys see that tattoo.

Fresh preacher karaoke.

Our kitchen is too busy these days for Jacob's favorite solitary pastime, there are four pairs of hands now committing effort to make meals and clean up. He has moved his one-man band to the backyard patio and sings and strums in the evenings, dedicated in a different way from the manner he follows singing through his days.

Last night I barely got one step over the threshold with his tea before I was moved to tears. It's been a while since he could do that with just a song (click the link to play, it will begin automatically and it's worth it to hear.).

    Rain rain go away,
    Come again another day,
    All the world is waiting for the sun.

    Is it you I want,
    Or just the notion
    Of a heart to wrap around so I can find my way around

    Safe to say from here,
    You're getting closer now,
    We are never sad because we are not allowed to be

    Rain rain go away,
    Come again another day,
    All the world is waiting for the sun.


Monday, 13 August 2007

Turn toward the ocean.*

(My apologies for brief drunken journalling. Pathetic is an easy, easy role for Bridget to slip into.)

We went to the beach Saturday. White sand and freshwater north of us on a pretty lake and that's where Jacob takes me when I want to see a lot of water. Like a fish or a mermaid in danger of perishing if she dries out. It's one of the places we run to now, having found it on an exploration drive one morning while we were staying at the cabin we used to borrow.

Jacob gave the kids some swimming lessons and then we ate lunch from the picnic basket and I turned onto my stomach to read and sunbath for ten minutes or so and the kids proceeded to bury Jacob in the sand. They squealed and howled with laughter as he kept pretending to sneeze and half come out of the pile they had made on him.

I turned onto my back and put the book down and closed my eyes for a minute.

There it was.

My imperfect perfect.

That was it. A belly full of potato chips and a cucumber sandwich, sand in my pop and a borrowed copy of The Husband to read. Pink toenails courtesy of Ruth and a flash of blue bikini as she ran past with a bucketful of water to throw on Jake, who is bronzed perfectly with a hint of pink, muscles etched like a Greek statue in his brown board shorts. The only time his beard looks uncomfortable or out of place is here but he keeps it because he knows I like it. Henry was busy beside me digging a Big Hole, he told me, and asked if there were any cookies left. Or maybe watermelon.

I heard Jake's cellphone ring and I picked it up and it was nothing more than a wrong number. A nice change on the weekend.

I sat up and decided a quick swim was in order and before I could step in the water Jacob ran over and scooped me up and ran straight out and dumped me in the surf. I felt warm skin and then ice cold water and I screamed into a laugh and he laughed too and pulled me back close to him.

A wet kiss and a huge smile.


We came home a bit early to seek shelter from the sun and make some supper and the kids were asleep before 8. Then Jacob made us an electric lemonade. The alcohol hit me rather quickly thanks to drinking it so fast and the large doses of drugs. My head spun and I flipped out. I figured he'd be mad. I didn't know what I thought. He made the damned drink for me.

I went outside to clear my head and stumbled into a chair. I drank water and tried to wait it out but I was upset and tired and not able to deal with it. After a few harsh words I decided I'd just go to bed, having ruined such a nice day. Jacob blamed himself and followed me, trying to get me to stop. I missed the top step and fell forward and he caught me and we collapsed in the upstairs hall in a clumsy embrace.

Where I realized I wasn't the only one who had too much sun and too much alcohol.

His hands were so rough. He flipped me over onto my stomach and pulled off my underwear and slid his hands down around my hips and I fought with him and wound up with my head pressed to the boards while he did what he wanted to do anyway. I didn't get into it until the bitter end and he gathered me up off the floor and managed to pull the quilt off the bed and we collapsed onto the sheets in a sober embrace, ruined and forgiven and exhausted, sunburned and spent. He fell asleep mid-apology, knowing I didn't fault him for his brief abrasiveness. He fell asleep with me locked in his arms the way he should and I didn't fault him for his possessiveness either.

Because I don't. I don't fault him for anything anymore.

Sunday morning began awfully early for the sunrise service in the park but Jacob was on a roll. I was right, he did miss sermonizing, but he says not enough to return except occasionally. I expect when he is older and retires from teaching he'll make a most spectacular return. Of course, thinking ahead he could also quickly turn his back on all kinds of conventional careers and become an adventure travel guide in China. Nothing would surprise me with Jake. Nothing. I've come to expect the unexpected.

We went out for breakfast and then returned to church for the late-morning smaller summer crowd and then the day was ours again and we headed out for our family climbing workshop. The kids had a blast this time, being a lot more familiar with their gear and the people.

I collected $120 in cash for my weight gain and endured all kinds of jokes about cake and running and taking money from friends. Ben made his exit until our neighborhood is snow-dusted and winter has us in an icy grip once again. PJ did indeed stay for supper and Jacob and I have spent a lot of time talking about boundaries and feelings and control and overrides and difficulties and pulling rank on each other and partnerships too.

He never would have let Caleb in the house save for him feeling as if I would think he was trying to control me and oh, what a lovely mess we have to sort out in therapy today. Being married to Jacob is like living with a control freak who makes a huge effort to not appear to be a control freak. He admits this freely.

It's one of the least of our worries but we persevere. We work on everything.

*(The title is nothing more than a charming set of directions I read this morning, in perusing the real estate listings. We're selling the cottage but not some of the land. I'll write more about it when I can do it in a less-homicidal fashion.)

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Im not drunk and not even scared, not anymote. Becasye Jacob loves me

Ones and onlies.

Let's have a Saturday morning barometer and go from there, it's been requested, as have a few other points I need to clear out, talk about, whatever.


It's so awesome having the house full of kids again. I know, I know, two shouldn't make such a huge difference but it goes from empty to full and noisy in a heartbeat. My heartbeat. They keep talking about Caleb and sports cars and how he showed them pictures of daddy and told them stories about when Daddy was little like they are and wow, I'm right back to nodding and smiling and pretending it's fine and I want to scream that he's not a good person. In any event, they were given a lovely lesson on passwords and familiar strangers and we're working with them so they know it's not okay for him to show up and take off with them.

It kills me to realize his goal is achieved and I'm scared. He knows where they go to school.

I can't think about it anymore. Hopefully the imaginary safety net we've drawn around them will hold. I can't think he would ever harm them, but hey, let's count how many surprises I have had with people I thought were safe?

No, on second thought, let's not. Let's move on, instead.

The dreaded weight check is in. I'll be collecting my cash winnings all week. Never place a weight bet with a princess who counts cake among her favorite things. I'm at 111. Highest ever. Jacob has pointed out that my cheeks have filled in and my abdomen is rounded a little. Lovely. But don't laugh at me, Jacob has tipped 200. Which he's so not happy about.

Ben's stopping by later to say his official goodbyes. He's on the road officially as of Wednesday and has a lot to do. He'll be back shortly before Christmas but in the meantime he wants to see me again before he goes and I'm willing, I know it's strange. I can't explain. He's broken up with his girlfriend and moved out of their apartment. His stuff goes into storage here and at John's place and then he's going to start over when he comes back. Not sure if it was good timing or better planning but Ben is Ben and what the hell can I do with him?

PJ's stopping by too with some climbing gear he borrowed from Jake. Watch it coincide perfectly with a mealtime. We're climbing this weekend and I'm expecting to find it much less scary than I did last time thanks to that skydiving surprise in between. I'm looking forward to it, which never happens. Even though in the summer. Jacob. climbs. shirtless. and. wow.

And I live with the guy.

Church tomorrow is Jacob's turn in covering Sam's brief holidays while he can get them. I'm excited. I love watching Jacob preach, I know, I'm a broken record. This is a test to wait for him to say he missed it and watch him lean back toward toward the left a little. Wait for it.

Now, we're off to the beach.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Perfect imperfect.

Envy gets the best of me this morning as I read through the blog updates that greet me each day over coffee after Jacob goes off to putter around and I dive alone into the remainder of the coffee pot to float for a bit.

Everyone's lives are so....perfect. They go about their perfect days with their perfect lives. They can hear every leaf rustle and take time to breathe and play and read and go to the movies and laugh and travel.

Never did I wish for such an existence like I did this morning. Never did I want so fitfully for that mediocrity as I do right now. This morning I'm in tears reading of happy bumps in the roads of the people I have become so attached to and I wonder why the planet spun to chaotic when I had my turn to pull the lever.

Drama. I could throw it all away. As much as I refused to cause even the smallest ripple before, it seems as if the past two years have been nothing but and I'm ready to throw up. Caleb was maybe the last straw. I can't take any more.

I had tea with Joel last night. The professionals among us tend to crowd back in a little more to make sure I stay where I am. And honestly the barometer is changing little. I seem able to roll with the punches and bounce back more easily now. I haven't woken up screaming in a while, Jacob can leave the house now without wondering what he'll come back to. I seem to be able to wind around the lows instead of falling into them. The medication has leveled out, we've worked with it and monitored it and I take it every single day and it seems like a better life than whoever that dark girl was who moped her way through this life before.

The drama queen.

Now it's a magnet.

Fuck me.

Joel says I gave up control of my life and that's why this is allowed to continue. He says the last time I exerted any sort of control was when I left Cole and then I promptly threw it into Jacob's lap and Jacob refuses to wield it.

He's right to an extent.

No one's manning the fort here.

I should have told Caleb he couldn't come into my home. That I didn't appreciate the bait and switch, that based on what happened in Toronto and here even, I should have been notified that he was around.

I should have let gently go of my friends before they let go of me.

I should have paid closer attention to Jacob's weaknesses and difficulties. He hides things well for a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He'll insist everything is great right up until the moment he falls apart. He hates that about himself and therefore even as the closest person in the world to him it's all I can do to drop everything and try to hang on when he goes down.

We'd like the every day quiet happiness but it doesn't seem to be playing out.

Do we thrive on catastrophe? Have I become the reluctant energy vampire? Oh Christ, cast me off now, because that sucks.

I barely get two paragraphs into a happy little post about our dog and life loudly demands that I write the good stuff. Only it isn't good stuff and I wish it would stop. Maybe this is my price for my choices. Instead of normal girl friends or couple friends I wind up with a dozen big brothers who want to get into my pants. Instead of finding my equals, I find soulmates in controlling (yeah, even Jake) men with hair-trigger fists and injustices to be righted.

I somehow find painful sex and vicious arguments and drop dead romance all at once. Or maybe that was vicious sex, painful romance and drop dead arguments. I'm no longer sure.

My bad habits are going to be my downfall. I've begun to bite my nails again. I twist my hair until it breaks. I dig my fingers into Jacob's hand until he shakes me off and swears at me and then pulls me in close by my neck and kisses my temples.

I never relax. There's no such thing as taking the tea out in the backyard and spending the evening doing nothing. I'm wound up. Hopped up and messed up. And everyone has the cure. From losing the more toxic friends and setting limits to more drugs, different drugs, street drugs if I'd like (I wouldn't like). A drink, no drinking, smoke a cigarette, don't start smoking, sleep less and go do something, sleep more and rest your pretty head. Take a trip, no more changes. Don't run, find an escape.

I don't know what the fuck I'm supposed to do anymore.

The worst thing is that all of it is tied into Jacob. When I left my implied-perfect little life for him everything went straight to hell. Brewing for a long time, this storm, and he didn't cause it. He kept me alive and there's no way to spell that out for anyone sufficiently.

Cole was slowly killing me. My death was planned. I wasn't sure if he would kill me before I would kill me but I was slated to die. I was miserable and frightened and Jacob knew and he tried everything and finally the threat of him moving on, of permanently giving up on me was enough and now fixing the mess I made by staying so goddamned long puts an unreasonable blame on him for a mess he never caused. A mess he would dearly love to fix and tries so hard it's inhuman that he cracks less frequently than he does. This grief has a stranglehold on both of us in completely different ways.

Last night, today, he's full of remorse. Usually punching someone in the head is quickly forgiven and instantly resolved. These are physical guys, they do this alot, but today Jacob is ashamed of his instincts and his urges to hurt another human being to the point of requiring medical intervention. He never goes that far. Neither one of us ever for a moment thought he'd be capable of that. Which is stupid. He's capable of whatever he wants.

Today he's fed up with his own temper and poor decision-making skills. It doesn't matter how many times he's told he did what he had to do. It was too late to unallow Caleb into the house. Jacob had no choice but he still did something he doesn't condone and he curses his superhuman strength. He still sees nothing but me in an emergency.

Save the Bridget, save the world.

Groundhog day.

It never changes. I think it's always Friday, and something has always just happened or is about to.

He just came through the kitchen to get some juice and asked me how I was doing and if I'd like to come sit outside for a spell in the gathering light, for a breather. For a prayer and a little soft hand holding and some reassurance that I'm not going to go crazy because he's holding onto me so tight nothing bad will ever get me, though they try.

I'm going. I won't relax, but I'm going.

Maybe tomorrow will be perfect. This is what faith is to me now. Taking each day and hoping to make it better.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Bridget and the big bad wolf.

Ruth and Henry arrived safely yesterday late in the afternoon, tired and grumpy and full of stories and logical arguments on why they could now stay up until 10 pm, drink full bottles of lemonade (One for each, mommy!) and wear their shoes in the house.

Cole's parents were always the most permissive people I have ever met. So permissive that instead of grandma flying back with them and spending a day or two here as we planned, they were easily talked into a different plan.

One I knew nothing about until I saw my brother in law walk through the gate with my children.

Jacob had a colorful response to that sight.

Oh ye got to be kiddin' the fuck right outter us.

From the top of the escalator Caleb shot me a smug warning look over Ruth's head that basically said Control the giant. Your children are watching us.
Jacob had other plans and went right to the gate and grabbed the kids up in a hug and quietly told Caleb to turn around and go back into whatever hole he crawled out of. Caleb smiled in his cocky way and loudly pointed out that Ruth and Henry wanted him to stay for dinner tonight as a last supper since they had all had so much fun back home at the beach.

He enjoys twisting Jacob's screws. That or he has a deathwish.

Caleb isn't dumb, though sitting at my dinner table protected by children's ideals since that was the only thing keeping Jacob from hammering him into the ground headfirst I was beginning to have my doubts.

He was smart enough to keep the focus on the kids and then Jacob took them up to get them into bed, they were so exhausted from a long travel day. I couldn't leave Caleb alone with Jake and Jake didn't want to leave me alone with Caleb but I was the lesser evil and so he went up, reluctantly.

The kids are doing really well, Bridge. I'm impressed. They're just about seasoned travelers now.

Thanks. Next time you want to spend time with them check with me first, please.

The folks had a good handle on it and I love to spend time with family. They're my blood, they're all I have left of my brother.

Me too, so please don't put them in the middle.

In the middle of what? It was harmless fun and I brought them back to save mom the trip.

You're messing with my head, Caleb.

Your little head is already profoundly messed up, Bridget.

Leave, please.

I think we should talk.

About what?

About you removing the drug mentions from your diary and writing an apology to me there. I don't do drugs.

There were drugs all over your apartment.

Really? Prove it. Prove they were mine, even.

I don't have to prove it. I saw them and we got the hell out.

Take it down.

Fine. But it doesn't make you any less of an asshole.

(I edited while he stood over me. He knows people. He is people.)

Remember what I told you about one-sided stories?

Are you going to threaten to sue me again?

What if I hadn't brought them home, Bridge? What if I had taken the kids somewhere else?

He reached out and stroked my cheek.

I looked up into his eyes, at his beautiful face, so much like Cole's. I wasn't going to just sit there and be told that I would now live in fear again. Something in my brain snapped. I went at him with plans to scratch his eyes blind and Caleb caught me and bent my arms back until I cried for him to let go when my elbow gave out. He didn't let go. I was on the floor and he wouldn't let go.

Jacob made him let go.

Jacob put Caleb in the hospital.

Caleb, who rarely had the time of day for me unless I could travel with him and spent little time with us when Cole was alive who suddenly seems to have such high stakes in this family since Cole's death and I can't understand it. I curse every encounter I've ever had with him, at this point.

And I wonder when I look at the children, exactly which awful traits they inherited from their father's side and which ones they're going to get from me.

It got chalked up today as a 'resolved' domestic dispute. Jacob was warned that his idea of self defense was harsh but warranted, as he perceived a threat to me. Caleb will be or has been instructed to stay away from all of us and I from him. Because I know better. Somehow I keep thinking he has to be a part of their lives, but he doesn't. He isn't and he won't be anymore. The bridge is now burned. Destruction of it comes in the form of an order of protection.


I'm okay today really. Mood stabilizers are lovely things. Empathetic police officers are lovely too. Understanding grandparents are even better.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Libel (OH hi Caleb.)

Under threat of legal action, I've been forced to edit a couple of entries here. Long story which will probably end violently if I'm lucky.

I've also been asked to write a public apology and I'm only thinking about it, since under the circumstances I highly doubt I'm the one who's causing the most trouble right now.

Proving them right.

(In one post I'm going to expose Ben for the whole internet to see. The cross-dressing, bagpipe-playing, serial destroyer of his own perfectly good relationships Ben. Who still retains his cool, since he's going on tour now and all that. Oh, at the same time I'll expose myself as the dysfunctional needy damsel in distress I freely admit to being.)

Ben's off to fulfill his dreams for a few months. Some of you are aware that his day job is not his real job, it just pays for his wishes. I won't say any more than that to protect his privacy. He'll be back before Christmas.

You moving in?

Nope, Bridge, just returning some stuff I've hung on to for a bit.

Oh, I see.

Inside the box were random golf clubs that I didn't know belonged to us, some books, a few CDs and Cole's bagpipes. There were also a bunch of pictures of me and one of Jacob's bulletins that had our marriage announcement printed in it. A sweater I thought I lost at the fair.

Ben, none of this stuff has to come back. You can keep it.

No, Bridge, it has to go. These are your things.

You can have them.

I don't want them. Oh, geez, Bridge. Maybe I need to get your stuff out so I can get you out.

Of your head?

Of my life.

Wow. Way to make a girl feel good.

That's just it, Bridget. We've sponged off your generosity far too long and we have too big a say in your choices. The only way to let go of our ownership over you is to let go of you.

Oh. PJ got to you?


Oh, please don't say Jacob is doing this.

No, it isn't Jake and it isn't PJ. We've all talked and we're not good for you anymore. I was never good for you anyway. You're doing so well and we just want to see that continue without any of the bullshit.

You're my friend, Benjamin.

Hey, I'll always be your friend. I'll just be around less. Going to be gone most of the fall anyway.

What about the kids?

They're going to be in school all day, Bridget. I'll still see them when I'm back. You still have to invite me for the occasional dinner. I just can't be here all the time and be around. You guys need some space so you can have a real chance.

So Jacob starts his job in a bit and you leave and everyone else disappears and I'm left alone?

(sweet panic follows)

(big hug follows)

Don't guilt me.

Don't abandon me, Benny.

I'm not abandoning you, Bridget. Jake isn't Cole. He doesn't like having everyone around all the time. And you, you need downtime, and quiet time and time to get used to being with him. Watching you two together is excruciating. I mean you waited so long to be together and now that you are, you should be happier together but instead you're both wound up and miserable and stuck in some sort of frozen state in which you can't accept that it's okay for you to be together. You guys need time, Bridget. Time to get to know each other. Without all of us sabotaging you.

I know.


So can't we do it without the dramatic farewells and creepily mature conversations?

Yeah. I could put this box down and throw you in the kiddie pool.

Hearing aids, Ben.

Oh yeah. Dammit. Okay, how about another hug? A friend hug, nothing weird.

Please, Ben, everything is weird with you.

Bring it, princess.

You got it, Tucker.

My God, this is hard. I was all cool about it until you turned those Bambi eyes on me.

Who are you doing this for again?

For all of us, Bridge. Maybe leaving is the only way I can really leave you and the giant alone. The guy deserves a real chance and he isn't getting it this way. That's something we call can agree on. If I had my way I'd throw you over my shoulder and run off, caveman style. But seriously, you and Jake, man, it's sweet and it needs a chance to play out. Take it and be happy. He's good for you. He'll be good to you. Or we'll kill him. There will be no more Coles in your life.

You'll kill him? Good luck with that.

Okay, maybe we could all attempt to knock him down.

Then what?

Run away while he's getting back up?


Love you, Bridget. Go be happy. I'm sorry I ever tried to mess with you.

Trying my best, here. Love you too. Fucking idiot. Go find a girl to fuck.

Oh trust me. I'm working on it.

It's about time, Ben. Find one that sticks. Not in a gross way though.

Shut up already, Bridget.


Didn't I tell you? They're all going to make their excuses now and cast me off. It'll probably be the best thing they ever do.

Jacob's response?

Ah! The old agony bags, I thought they were long gone. Maybe I should learn to play.

Sweet mother of God.

Kids are back this afternoon. I'm bouncing off the walls.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

He's savvy enough no to figure out the RSS feeds.

Esoteric, insane. Ignore, please.

An easy answer and she didn't even have to spell out a question for it to come flooding in via a giant blonde man walking purposefully from one end of one floor of the house to the other end of a different floor of the house where he found his tiny wife, still typing like a madwoman and having a hard time figuring out why she can't latch on to the simplest of facts anymore. Because she forced him to watch as she was broken by someone else, someone she couldn't even let go of until she was forced to choose. And maybe as much as she is grateful for that she knows that she also blames him for that.

The weaker she became, the more power she held in her helplessness. Everyone loves her fragility. It brings out who they are and it protects who she used to be.

The similarity is love, passion for you, Bridget, and the difference is that you traded the sadism for affection. Because now you finally know that there's a difference.

Resemblances past and battles won with silence.

(A comparison I never made and never wanted to, and a memory I'd like to keep, even if I shouldn't. It's a piece of my soul and everyone wants it, so here. Jacob wants me to deal with this because I steadfastly refuse to and it's holding him up. I'll apologize for the three-way conversation in advance.)

    If I had to
    I would put myself right beside you
    So let me ask
    Would you like that?
    Would you like that?

Looking around at my friends, they're all intimate in some way, they're all alike, I can predict what they will say, what they'll pick to eat or do, how they'll feel. They found each other through similar interests-music, death defying sports, Cole, me. Sought out because these guys love to be in close vicinity to Bridget's sweet smile and long blonde hair, especially if she'll feed you. Food to your belly and thoughts for your soul.

I love men who are athletic, artistic, emotional, affectionate, muscular, musically inclined and medievally minded. Which I'm not explaining today.

So it stands as slight surprise that Cole and Jacob were alot alike, despite the fact that they were polar opposites.


Cole had dark brown hair, dark brown beard, usually a goatee, dark blue eyes, he always wore black t-shirts and black or blue jeans. The dark ringer for Trey Anastasio.

Jacob has white blonde hair, a blonde beard, eyes so light blue they're just about white, he lives in white shirts and paler jeans or cords, dimples and a drop-dead beautifully amused smile that makes him look just like a young Redford.

Attitude-wise they were both tensely laid-back, mellow but quick to anger, kind but cutting.

And that's where it stops. They liked different foods, different drinks, Jacob likes alcohol once in a blue moon but it ruins him, Cole could drink anything regularly and it never phased him. They spoke the same language. They both played guitar, only Cole very rarely sang, while Jacob never stops singing. Loud. He has no shame. Cole was too shy for that.

They both loved people around but Jacob likes to stick to the phone once he's home for the day or night.

I said they spoke the same language. I wasn't kidding. The night I left him, Cole came home to find Jacob blocking his path into the kitchen, where I was sitting in terror of his arrival. Shaking so hard in fear that Jacob was disgusted. He expected a war, at that point.

What's up, Preacher Boy?

She's mine, Brother.

Take her and go, then. Have fun, baby girl.

No, Cole, she's not coming back to you.

Cole stared at Jake without saying anything, the cockiness leaving his eyes, flowing out visibly as it dawned on him that Jake was right. From that point on he ignored Jacob's presence.

Bridge, baby, what have you done?

He wrenched Jacob's arm out of the way and kneeled in front of where I sat at the table.

We're done. We're finished, Cole.

What have you done?

Do you have a place you can stay?

He put his hands up to his face, I flinched and Jacob tensed up but Cole simply rocked back on his heels and then laughed, sadly.

The kids...

Jacob cut him off.

We'll sort out the details later, tonight she wants you out. Fair?

It isn't fair, Bridget.

No, it isn't.

You reap what you sow, Cole.

Don't you say that to me, Preacher. You've been trying to steal my wife since you met her.

I love her.


You hurt her.

What did you say to him, Bridget?

Nothing. I said nothing.

SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING. My God, do you think we're blind?

I never-

Exactly. Just go, we'll talk tomorrow.

I'm not talking to you. You're a fucking thief.


What, baby? Anything.

Go. Please.

He stared at me for what felt like hours and then he stood up slowly and turned, heading upstairs. I heard him go into each child's room, knowing he would kiss them as they slept, oblivious to the change about to happen in their lives and then he threw some clothes into a bag and came back down. He stood in the doorway for a moment, staring at me. I would have run to him right then but Jacob was holding my hand. He looked at our hands and turned and left. Slamming the door behind him and then the car door and then I waited for the sound of screeching tires but it never came.

I turned around and asked Jacob to leave. He was incredulous but accommodating.

You can't be here right now.

I know. But if he comes back-

We both know he won't come back tonight.

Bridget, I don't want to leave you alo-

Please just go, Jacob.

The difference between them is Jacob never listens to me either. (Thinkfastdearreader) He didn't go. He decided he should stay and tried to overrule me, instantly overstepping boundaries and claiming ownership and I moved those boundaries closer still and threw him out anyway and he went home after a kiss. After a long kiss I already wrote about here.

I still maintain he probably slept on the front lawn or in the tree house so that he would be close by but he says he walked down to the church for a bit and then went home and slept fitfully.

Someone asked me the other day if I would do it all again knowing what I know now. I would but there would have been a lot of things I would have done differently too. I just don't really know what they are yet.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Delusions of grandeur.

If you ever thought things were perfect, that the universe smooths itself out and everything is suddenly right again and I was under a lucky star, you'd be mistaken.

I'm just trying to keep up with things, with what I want to talk about or what I plan to deal with first, or how I've been steered. It's all right here, there's too many words, it won't make any sense if I rush.

Our anniversary was capped with a trip to the planetarium and then a lovely late romantic dinner at the devastatingly exclusive revolving restaurant that spins slowly above the city lights. It was the completion of my sky gift. It ended a week we began on the floor in the back porch painting the moon and stars on our mural with glow in the dark paint so that the kids will be surprised when they come home on Wednesday.

And then we went to bed to celebrate some more and I pushed him too far and he walked away and hit something and I slid a little farther away down into a hole. He came back full of apologies but he never bothered to stop whispering so I could hear him from that hole.

It's okay. I'll get out of it someday. I don't know when. I can't see where his limits end and mine begin. He says I have none. I have them, he just doesn't understand the difference between a good hurt and a bad one, but I think he is ashamed of me anyway.

He's burning pages before I can write on them now, tearing them out. Such a hurry, always.

Hush, Bridget. Not like that.

But I want it this way., you don't.

Dog day afternoon.

I'm going to let hell freeze over today and talk about the dog.

His name is Butterfield.

Butter, for short.

I know. How predictable.

Butterfield is a golden retriever that we've had for some nine months now and I hardly ever mention him because this isn't a dog journal.

There was some talk that he had been purchased by an older gentleman to be trained for use as a hearing/service dog for his deaf grandson but apparently the dog wasn't very trainable. They released him to the shelter here and he came into our lives on a fluke a few days before Christmas. Or I should say, a few hundred dollars right before Christmas. Jacob was in the right time at the right place, because who needs a renegade hearing dog more than Bridget?

His name was Butter before Jacob could get the naming question off his tongue. We are in love. He's blonde, like everyone else, slightly shaggy, like everyone else, and completely goofy, like everyone else.

He ate all of my shoes, the entire corner of the bench in the back porch and a large assortment of drywall and hardwood in the first three months he was with us. He'll eat anything, but his favorite things are carrots, wasabi peas, Jacob's ankles and the top of Henry's head.

He whines if we're all upstairs at the same time. He won't come upstairs. The few times we've bathed him Jacob had to carry him up.

He takes us for three walks a day. Mostly to the ice cream parlour or the river. No, mostly for ice cream. He's eaten through four leashes. I have to use a chain leash now and he looks like a biker-dog.

When we go away PJ comes and looks after Butter, letting him ride shotgun in the front seat of the truck and buying him giant rawhide bones. Butter loves PJ in an unnatural way but mostly he loves nighttime when we let him out before we go up to bed and then he comes in and settles on his pretty plaid dog bed and looks at his nightlight to make sure it's on and then he goes to sleep before we are out of the porch.

He barks at everyone like a psychopath who comes unannounced to the door or to the gate. Everyone except for blondes. He goes ape-dog barking at Christian (very dark redhead) and doesn't even look up when Loch arrives (red but closer blonde this time of year).

He's always at our heels and under our feet. He's in our thoughts when we're away for the afternoon and you could melt in his big brown puppy eyes. I could do without the drooling, chewing and shedding, but I've been told we have another year or so of that.

What I do like most about Butter? He likes to run, but he can't talk. Which is more than I can say for my other blonde running mate. Especially on days like today when Jacob is in fine verbal form and has all kinds of words he needs to get out.

What I like even better than the lack of words is Butter's ability to drink from his bowl in the kitchen and drool water all over the floor so when Jacob goes to grab the ringing phone he wipes out on the tiles.

Oh, I never laughed so hard as I did to hear this huge crash this morning and come in to find Jacob sprawled out all over the floor. He's okay, no worries. He only hurt his pride. And he still loves the dog like you wouldn't believe. If I had drooled water all over the floor, causing Jacob to fall I would have been outside for the rest of the day. Possibly on a leash.

But no, Butter is in there now lying on the couch with his head on Jacob's shoulder. Must be nice.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

What today is.

    When love beckons to you, follow him
    though his ways are hard and steep.
    And when his wings enfold you, yield to him
    though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
    And when he speaks to you, believe in him.

Last year on this day it poured down rain. Every time the thunder rumbled I had to ask Carolyn what the words were that I was supposed to repeat after her to say my vows. I was nervous and terrified and so so happy.

A year later, let's evaluate.


I still maintain I did the right thing. I think the numerous detours, roadblocks, potholes and cataclysmic accidents were all tests and we survived to drive another sunset drive down the highway toward the big orange ball surrounded by a lavender hue that makes me restless and drives me blind.

He blows my mind.

I'm happy I married Jacob. I'm blessed to have him. I love him. I wish we had found a way to lead a quieter first married year. Some of it we caused, some we didn't. We lost the one and only baby we'll ever try to have together. We destroyed our trust in each other and tested each other's faith. We cast off our respect for each other like dirty clothing. We've thrown ourselves to the wolves to see if we would emerge in pieces or surprisingly unscathed. We've made improvements. We've made changes in the way we think, and the way we act. In the way we treat each other.

We've grown patience and now tend it like a beautiful garden.

He still loves his little fucked up deaf girl.

If you want, you can share in the toast Jacob made over the champagneless mimosas that he brought upstairs this morning. Possibly the most unromantic he has ever been. And that's okay too.

Damned if you aren't everything I ever wanted and whole bunch of stuff I didn't expect. Here's to the rest of our lives, princess. Fuck, I hope the future is calmer than the past, and even better than the present.

Happy very first anniversary to my beloved Jacob. We almost never made it to this day but I'm so grateful that we did. Happy that we did. Relieved that we did.

Now on to year two.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

High deafinition.

Yesterday was a religious experience. Sorry, honey. There's no way to adequately describe this. True to form I'll give it a shot.

Jake is certifiable and possibly prouder right now this morning than he might have been a year ago last night after having gotten the acceptance of his marriage proposal. He accomplished something he has wanted to do ever since he taught me how to turn the sky into my ocean.

He gave it to me, in two hands, with ease.

Something we can't seem to pull off with the saltwater.

And I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane yesterday afternoon. Albeit strapped to the front of my now incredibly friendly instructor, who, after consulting with the other instructors and ground crew decided that I would tandem jump. I'm guessing this is normal for the first time? For that I was incredibly grateful. Up until that moment I felt...well, ugh, handicapped, unprepared.

No, I'll be honest. Up until that moment I felt like I was planning my own death. More on that in a minute.

Before we got on the plane Jacob came over to me and took my head in both his hands and pressed his nose to mine and told me when we jumped I was to open my eyes, and take in every cloud, every shade of blue, every quilt pattern of farm fields on the ground. I was to record every heartbeat and every ounce of good fear and exhilaration and bliss and to remember every nanosecond of how it felt. That he was going to give me the sky and I was about to really feel full of life in a way I never had before. That it would change me forever.

He kissed me as if it was one that had to last a lifetime. Which kind of freaked me out. Truth be told I was a bit sarcastic with him.

Quit with the dramatics, Jake, you're making me nervous.

Oh, but if I had any inkling of how right he was, I might have been easier on him. But he wasn't nervous, he's done this a dozen times before, he was nervous for me, for I have never had any ambition to fly past being on the roof of my house or jumping into his arms when he's been out for a while. Not since the circus, anyway.

We went up. I couldn't hear anyone to talk much in the plane. I held Jacob's hand in a death grip. We rose thousands of feet in the air and then I was strapped to someone I met yesterday morning. How...awkward but he seemed pretty capable.

And then I watched my husband blow me a kiss and step out of the plane.

Four more people went after Jacob and finally it was my turn. It took forever to come.

(This was the way it would be, then. Surrounded by strangers with qualifications, unable to communicate my wishes, in an alien setting, this would be how it happens. Without Jacob.)

And then I died.

When I dared to open my eyes in heaven the world had turned silent, overly bright and surprisingly cold. I was confronted with a birds' eye view that I never wanted but he gave it to me and I knew he would keep me safe so I embraced it. I missed nothing. I saw everything there was to see. I felt my heart racing the wind back to the ground. I felt my soul scream something that I couldn't hear and I was flooded with a joy I've never felt before. When we were close enough to the ground to pick out features I zeroed in on Jacob and watched as his face turned from concern to utter victory. When my toes touched the ground he left the earth again, jumping into the air and pumping his fist. I heard him yell something. He came running over and I was quickly unstrapped from the tandem master and Jacob took my helmet off and then swung me around like a rag doll.

I couldn't even speak but he knew I was happy by the huge stupid windblown grin on my face.

He touched my face. Ow. Windburn. Sunblasted. A kiss I couldn't feel because every molecule inside was burning up.

But there was no fear. None. Zero.

I didn't think you'd do it.

I love you, Jacob.

I didn't know I had a choice but now I'm glad I didn't know or I may never have gone up.

I never would have felt so alive.

Watching the movie they took of me (complete with Jacob's victory leap in the foreground!) it took far less time from beginning to end for my jump than I actually had up there. I haven't quite figured that out yet. Very very freaking neat.

What did he yell when I landed?

That's my girl!