Sunday, 30 September 2007

Standing room only.

Word travels fast. While greeting this morning, a quick head count was made and Jacob realized that there weren't enough seats for everyone.


That's never happened before. A half-dozen men went down to the community centre and borrowed thirty stacking chairs. Still not enough. People lined the walls, filled out the back of sanctuary and Jacob began his return to the pulpit with a emotional remark about not telling the fire department how many people were packed into a room meant for about half that. It was met with loud laughter from at least a dozen of the volunteer firefighters who were present and then to Jacob's surprise a round of spontaneous applause.

True to form, with a catch in his voice and his devastating dimpled grin, Jacob paused and took one of his very long silent moments to just softly smile out at everyone, saving me for last, thank God, I was in tears already at the amount of love and support in that room today.

Announcements were brief. He commented on a similar but opposite phenomenon this same week two years ago when just eight people showed up for the service because of the flu and laughed and then had the perfect launching point for his sermon on humility.

Jacob spoke about everyone needing grace. About being willing to learn and accept yourself for who you are. It was as biographical as it was spiritual and no one missed a single word. I didn't look around, like everyone else I was riveted to his eyes as he spoke and when he wrapped it up he was rewarded with one of those other long silent moments in the church when you know people get it, when they have heard everything he said and are applying it to themselves like tiny firework epiphanies.

And we had one of our own, like we sometimes do, where his words are applied to our life together like a thick paint with very good coverage and it hides the mars and discoloration and makes a fresh new outlook possible. A sermon as a launching point for this week, for this year, which has been all about humility as we learn to work with what we have, move forward and be ourselves, taking help where we need it, being good people and not being afraid to say, I've made a mistake. Can you help me find my way back to where I need to be?

After his closing remarks, he walked down the steps and took my hand and kissed my cheek and then we took the kids to the door, where we usually shake hands and bid people well before Jacob would return to his office to organize his papers and do a postmortem with Sam on the service. Except today we spent close to ninety minutes receiving hugs and encouragement and kind words of support and the overwhelming consensus that the entire congregation was happy (no, more relieved) to have him back. I wondered briefly if Sam was the least bit put off by the reaction to Jacob's first day back but Sam was as sure as everyone else when he gave me yet another hug and told me that he is sure that this is where Jacob belongs.

I didn't think this would be so hard to write. There's a sense of homecoming that pretty much eradicates the uncertainty of every other aspect of life today. There's a sense of our support network being far greater than what we had previously acknowledged once again. It keeps growing.

Most people didn't give me the delicate hug and the it's good to have you back refrain. No, I got full-on hard squeezes and most people simply had huge smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes as they told us welcome home.

This gives him strength so far beyond anything else. He keeps turning his back on it and then he gets slapped down by life and he is reminded of what he stands for, and what he leans on and I don't think he'll try to walk away again. He's had a long search to find himself in all of this.

Once the remaining stragglers were gone, Jacob took a moment to say goodbye to us since Joel and Christian had convinced us that Boston Pizza would be so much more fun than going home for soup so off we went.

Lunch was fun with the five of us, those two get along quite well and Joel tends to analyze me less in mixed company (thank god). We came back here and Christian and the kids have spent a good hour or more playing games.

I called Jake a few minutes ago on his cellphone to see how he was and he was so emotional. It's such a huge part of him and he knows damn well the heartaches and the politics and the long hours are going to come spilling back in, the close shadow always present, but at the same time he has been redeemed. He knows this is where he needs to be and he needs it to be who he is. He needs it for strength and rebirth and he can get through anything with his faith as his soft place to fall.

I laughed softly and told him to remember that when he wants funding for fixing the fence or paint but really what he was telling me so gently was that he's aware that I can't be his faith and that his balance works and I need to work harder. A gentle but obvious recrimination but one I can accept.

With grace.

With humility.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

More fun with small places.

This afternoon I got the kids to rake the leaves over me into a huge pile in the front yard. Jacob came out and asked them where I was, and they told him I was taking a bag of leaves down to the garage and I'd be right back. So he snapped out a new leaf bag and bent over to pick up an armful and...

yup...there was that funny high-pitched scream again.

This is so much fun.
Today is a beautiful day. It's sunny and warm and I'm headed out now to pick up some groceries and maybe if we feel inspired we'll head over to the costume shop to start scouting out ideas for the kids for Halloween and start perfecting our deplorable technique for making candy apples. They never turn out quite right.

Family therapy has been shunted to this afternoon. Then possibly we'll barbecue some chicken for dinner and make a pasta salad and watch a movie together.

Jacob preaches tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. Christian is going to go with us as muscle since Jacob has to be there early and leaves very late and doesn't want us to be alone. It's okay, he's bringing Halo 3 with him so that Henry can kick his ass in it.

Stunted writing today, I know. Blame last night's whiskey and please disregard any drunken ramblings or partial posts that may still be on your feeds. I did say there were other incidents and I should just keep my mouth shut about all of that stuff. My apologies. It's all been deleted anyway.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Loud and clear.

There is something about the palette and startling clarity of fall days that leaves me wanting to hit pause on life and just breathe it in. I stopped in my tracks on the sidewalk three times this morning on the way home from taking the kids to school only because I wanted to remember the rich burgundy of the leaves, the smell of wood burning and the brightness of the blue of the sky.

Jacob did not want to stop, in a hurry to get home to finish his coffee and so he pulled me along by the hand while I daydreamed my way back, pointing out that I could look at the leaves all I wanted on our way into the city to attend therapy.

He was right, and he held my hand again the whole way there and back, never letting go except to get out of the truck and then to go around and get back in after opening my door.

He runs his thumb across the back of my hand as if I am a book and he's reading me in Braille. Which is funny today for some reason because my sight has ratcheted up a notch or twelve to compensate for the remainder of my hearing being gone for over a week now.

If I could turn the tables on him and evaluate his emotions by touch I would say concern is paramount by the tightness of his grip on my hand, by his extra time walking slower so I can keep up, speaking slowly and loudly so I can hear him or at least understand what he wants. We have a system of communicating that seems to be one part telepathy and one part familiarity.

Which is how I got us out of therapy early with one flutter of one hand. Jacob cut it short a moment later and we were off and on our way home again to steal some quiet time before lunch.

Home to discover the carnage inside the garage as he pulled open the door and saw that my gardening area had been smashed to bits. Completely destroyed with his own sledgehammer, which was left in the garage after renovations and was sticking out of the wall halfway up. All of it was intact when we left. The garage door was locked, the side door locked and everything was fine when we left. His tools are untouched. Nothing was stolen.

He's out there talking quietly with the police who showed up to take a report and keeps throwing the word vandalism out as if I don't know who did this. Christ, everyone knows who did it. Or who had it done. Wouldn't want to point fingers or anything.

I asked Jacob if he would just take it all away when they're done. Not to rebuild my shelves or replace the pots or try and figure out what seeds went with what packet. Not to unbend the rakes or watch my panic build as I try to pretend it didn't happen at all. That I never had a potting shed in the garage or that the person who did it took the time to re-lock the lock on the garage so that we wouldn't be forewarned. Or watching Jacob and the police searching the whole house while I returned to school to pull the kids out simply because the amount of damage screams rage to me and I wanted to have my eyes on them at all times.

What a way to end the week, changing locks again. Police cars again. Evil, again.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Hiding scars.

    Can you pull me in where you are?

Last night Jacob missed dinner for a meeting so I sat with the kids while they ate a good supper and then when he came home we took turns supervising baths and bedtimes and somehow forgot about eating entirely. He was so tense, holding his wings rigid, I could feel it even when he insists he's not.

I think he has no idea I know him as well as I do. But I do, and he should know that by now.

Jacob returned to full-on in-crisis mode (as if he is ever not in it) based on my magnificent freakout yesterday morning and so as is customary when he needs an extra hand he waits until he thinks I am asleep and then he'll walk down the street to the church and get an hour to himself to sort things out and pray and think and reflect and find positives.

To feel less alone.

Which breaks my heart.

He was off early last night because I was so wiped I fell asleep at nine and woke up fifteen minutes later when I heard him leave. When he returned to the house around 10:30, bearing a satchel full of paperwork to catch up on this weekend at home he found me wide awake in front of the fire, with a tray full of dinner for us, waiting for him. The beef pot pies I had made for him earlier, from his mother's recipe, before I went to pieces. And his silly 1892 traditional beer from back home in Newfoundland that he enjoys so much.

And an apology from me, for not holding my shit together any better.

He sat down and laughed for a good ten minutes before his eyes filled right up and he leaned over and kissed my sick pretty face and told me I'm impossible. I shook my head and stuck my lip out and he got very serious.

Oh, now, that won't work anymore here, princess.


Yes, seriously. But the way to my heart is on this plate. Wow.

Well, eat.

After you.

I took a bite.

Fuck! It's hot. I just burned my mouth.

Okay, so we'll wait for it to cool a bit. Since there's one other way to my heart for you.

He took the tray and moved it away and then he pulled me down and got a blanket and covered us both and I fought him out of his jeans and he pulled his sweater off and then my pajamas too and it was the first time ever he kept his shirt on while he made love to me. It was also the first time ever that he conducted the entire event without taking his eyes off mine. It was very hot and very intense and his voice was very deep and emotional when he told me he loved me over and over again. While his wings unfolded to surround us and the rest of our clothes were struggled out of.

We didn't bother putting anything back on afterward, instead snuggling up in the blanket together and taking our plates right off the trays to hold them while we ate. He loved the beer as a treat but what he loved more was how I found something positive and fun to salvage such a terrible and difficult day and this morning he asked if I would keep it up. That I am so sweet and fun and beautiful always but so very much more when I put my heart into it and he is restored by that.


By me.

Because I did that. I salvaged the low, the day. I turned it and I tried to make it into something else. I succeeded and under this kind of pressure that makes everything better. By far.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

    We made these promises
    You made these promises

Enough with the fakeness. The false cheer, the air of 'things are getting better'.

You've missed the point. Hell, I missed the point. Jake got the point before anyone else and he has this way of...I don't know, of making the most of a temporary anything. He lives life. He wants for so much and so much is fleeting.

Things are getting better in the sense that the plan is working. The therapy works. It helps. The pills help except for a few aspects. Things are getting worse in other respects as we settle into this life with all it's thorns. Caleb is engaging in a quiet harassment. I worry for Ben. Jacob fends off as many ghosts and people as he can. The shit hit the fan the other day when his annual conference invite came in the mail and he considered it thoughtfully. And then I realized what I have done to him. I never should have met the guy. He wouldn't have this complicated life walking on eggshells and being able to do damage control in his sleep.

Who does that?

Jake does. My poor overtaxed, overtired, overextended angel boy who should have a better life than this, for all his efforts. And watching him valiantly deny and justify all of this hurts. It hurts me, and I take full responsibility for ruining what could have been the most beautiful years of his life. He shouldn't be living on pins and needles, hanging out at the edge of Bridget's dark and crazy world.

No, he should be..well, he should

Televangelist for a day.

Jacob survived being on the five pm local news show. It was a segment in two parts about young urban families and the resurgence of regular church attendance, the trend of spirituality.

He thought that was very cool and so they came out to interview him in the church and instead started right in on an edgy pigeonholing of ministers under forty and how they bring a cool factor to an otherwise stodgy institution.

I've done it, thought it, said it myself. What irked Jacob was their intro, it blindsided him when they introduced him as Local Unitarian minister Jacob Reilly, the founder of (our church) in (our neighborhood) who is a lot more rock and roll than Reverend.

He didn't want to focus on Jacob. He doesn't want people showing up because it's the new cool thing to do, he wants them to show up to worship.

Once we stopped wincing (since what's done is done) the actual story itself was positive, upbeat and succinct, and both Sam and Jake are proud of the numbers they can quote attendance-wise, and even more proud of the stake the church has and the positive role it plays in the community.

Nowhere at any time did anyone mention how popular the back lot is at night for casual albeit safe-sex encounters. I went over to help rake leaves this morning and found four more condoms. Maybe they should put that on the news. Jacob is still over there now, installing motion-sensor lighting to try and make it less appealing. I came home. I'm out of steam already and it's only 10 a.m.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Echoes, silence, patience and grace.

What a perfect title for a record. So far I love it but it's only been on the stereo for seven minutes.

And one of the joys of never seeing music videos anymore (yes, fuck you too Muchmusic, Muchmoremusic and MTV for being so busy showing 'reality' TV programs that my children are going to grow up to believe that radio killed the video star) is that you don't get to see the difference when a major band like the Foo Fighters changes drummers.

Not until your husband is on television and they make a crack in the intro about the "minister of this church is more Taylor Hawkins than Billy Graham" (wow, how crass, really) and he tells you he asked them to change it and they basically refused so you looked up Taylor Hawkins and kind of squeal a little (well I did, Jake is still really mad) because they totally look alike. Taylor looks more like a younger Jake. In any case, I've been a fan forever and I had no idea. I wonder if Taylor knows he's going to get a little older and cut his hair and be compared to Robert Redford a lot, too.

Distractions, folks, distractions are good for Bridget. It keeps those nightmares from driving me..well, to distraction.

Life imitating art.

Hello Caleb.

I used his charisma to mask some of my trepidation.

You think you're brilliant but you've played a bad hand. Jacob is going to be along shortly.

I'll be gone before he gets here, princess. I simply wanted to remind you that writing about 'snowmen' and my private affairs is going to bring you nothing but heartache.

You're a neverending gift in that regard then, aren't you?

He walked across the path and stooped, picking up the black ribbon that I had pulled from my hair and brought it back to me, presenting it on his outstretched palm.

You always looked beautiful in black, Bridget.

Mourning clothes.

You can mourn only for things you can no longer have, princess.

You don't know me, Caleb.

Oh but I do. More than you realize. I know you put on lavender lingerie this morning and that you threw away the breakfast danish Jacob left for you. I know you're taking penicillin for a sore throat and that you have been driving a lot alone lately, and I know that Jacob is off doing a tour right now of his precious hippie church with a TV crew and that you didn't want to be filmed so you decided to take his distraction and use it to your advantage. An interesting move considering that usually, princess, you are the distraction at hand.

You have no business being here, Caleb. This bench is for Cole's children.

Ah, yes, my beautiful niece and nephew. Please reconsider my offer and take them out of that wretched neighborhood public school and give them half a shot at an education in a private school.

They love their school, this isn't any of your business.

I simply want what's best for you and the children, Bridget.

What would be best for us would be you leaving us alone.

I wish I could, but I'm so drawn to you.

Get un-drawn.

It didn't work for your large and largely unruly husband, why would it work for anyone else?

Because you want me to be happy, maybe? Because you want to make up for your brother's abus

No, princess. Wrong on all counts. Because I want to keep you. Keep what I once had. Clear and simple. My little brother had impeccable taste and I'm hungry. Families keep their riches within the ranks, and you are our brightest treasure.

Go away, Caleb.

Oh I will go away, but I'll be back. Until then, keep that beautiful wardrobe of pastel-colored panties in full rotation. They look magnificent on you.

I opened my eyes, fighting the sleep that wanted to pull me back down. I was warm, the fever raged within, I was awash in fearful sweat, bathed in a cold terror from what amounted to a simple nightmare.

Caleb wasn't here.

Or was he?

I sought Jacob's arms and burrowed into them and he rolled away in a slumbering protest. I was burning up. His hand came to rest on my forehead.

Baby girl, stay in today.

No, I have to go visit Cole for a bit and then I have one phone conference this afternoon.

Cancel both, you can do it tomorrow.

No, I'll be okay, once I'm up and have had some Tylenol.

He agreed and I rose to head for the shower. Within an hour I did feel better, and I was just putting the finishing touches on my outfit when Jacob emerged from his own shower to get dressed.

Wear the black ribbon, Bridget. You always look so beautiful in black.

I turned to stare at him curiously and he was holding the black ribbon out in the palm of his hand, exactly the way Caleb had in my nightmare.

I fainted.

Jacob waded into my unconscious subconscious with an ice-cold cloth and shaking hands.

Jesus. What happened?

You quoted a line from my nightmare. Something Caleb said.

What was it?

How beautiful I look in black.

Everyone says that, Bridge. It's the contrast of light and dark. It's stunning. Don't read so much into a nightmare.

Maybe it was a warning.

That he's here? I don't think he'd return. I don't think legally he can return.

I wouldn't count on a ruling keeping him away.

Naw, but I would count on fear. He's only alive because I won't risk losing my life with you to permanently end his trips to be near you.

Then maybe that's why he continues to push. He knows you can't touch him.

Pretty much the same method of madness that Cole lived by, right?

I don't even want to talk about it anymore, Jake.

That's fine, but I'm going to drive you this morning.

That would be nice.

No, it fucking sucks but under the circumstances it's a better idea than most, princess.

So I found myself an hour later walking through a deja-vu haze as I wobbled down the path toward the bench I think I know every inch of. I got there and it was empty and I turned and sat down on it and the relief came flooding out in a long sigh of a breath.

And then I looked down at the ground beside the bench itself and there was a newspaper bearing today's date.

I flew back down the path as fast as my high heels would let me go on those slippery leaves and I ran right into Jacob, hitting my head on his chest and springing back like I was hit with force.

What happened?

I don't know.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Hold me while I sleep.

After indulging in several wonderful days at home again, Jacob returned to work today, joining Sam down at the church, who graciously had a second desk brought into his office and encouraged Jake to just roll with the status quo and continue to consider the church his own, the place where he will always be welcome and made to feel at home in an understanding place when it comes to having needs met, just as Jacob originally intended this church to be, before it swallowed him whole.

That sentiment couldn't have been truer today by the phone call I received an hour ago.

How are you doing, Bridget? You were sleeping so restlessly when I left.

I'm okay. Not a hundred percent but not as bad as before.

Nightmares? I read your entry this morning.

Yes. The pills make them worse, Jake.

It's okay. I'm coming home in a little while.

Really? How come?

So I can hold you while you sleep. You won't have any more nightmares that way.

445 nights without you.

The damp leaves were slippery beneath my feet. My black pumps were treacherous, my long coat was drenched and my ponytail, curled inside the collar of my coat sat against my neck, damp and uncomfortable, cold. My umbrella was long discarded in a trashcan at the edge of the parking lot, having been turned inside out by the wind and rendered useless and yet the wind died down quickly as I entered the park. The old-fashioned Victorian streetlamps were lit to ward off the daylight's gloom and the park itself contained few people.

I've never encountered anyone using Cole's bench as a resting spot until today. As I turned left on the path that wound down past the cherry blossom trees I could see Cole sitting there. He had a suit on and an overcoat and polished black shoes and he read a newspaper. As if he was waiting for me.

My Cole only wore a suit three times in his life. Two job interviews and a funeral. Not to our wedding and not to his own cremation did I expect to see him in a suit and so to see him now, so stiff and formal only spoke of the unreality our life together had become at last. A figment of our collective imaginations, a make-believe farce, easily dissected.

The wind was picking up again, swirling wisps of hair out of my ponytail and lashing it into my mouth. That was Cole for sure, he never liked my hair up, he liked it loose and soft.

I pulled out the black ribbon and let it fall to the ground and I began to walk quickly, I wanted a little time with him now, before I got caught up in school and life and Halloween and therapy and Jacob and no one seems to understand that sometimes I need time alone with Cole and then it makes me feel so much better and I can go a little longer and a little further away from him and things aren't so bad.

I reached the bench and stuck my hand out to pull away the paper from his face to kiss him and it wasn't Cole.

It was Caleb.

Sitting on Cole's bench, waiting for me.

Hello, Bridget.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

First fall day.

This year brought a quieter, gentler start to the fall. A roaring fire to see us through breakfast, and a big thunder and rainstorm. Then a quiet morning reading and drawing and watching the leaves flutter down to the sidewalk in front of our house, as the skies cleared and the honking geese bade their goodbyes on the wind, en route to warmer shores. Jacob playing Gordon Lightfoot songs on his guitar but not singing the words today as he rests his voice, as he tries to decide how sick he might be. My throat was on fire this morning, daggers all the way down with each swallow and I can't wait to get better.

The toothbrush-holder cup has been replaced with four travel cases and each brush now has it's own sterile spot and there are four cups along the counter for each of us to have our own. We have a cupboard full of homeopathic remedies, tinctures and capsules to offset the regimented prescriptions and newfangled medicine and between all of that we'll beat this illness sometime during the week to come, if we are lucky. The doctor told us to remember to wash our hands even more, now that the cold weather has come and I reminded him of last year when my fingertips cracked and bled every day and I couldn't hold them together and I would bandage them up and just keep typing and he asked if I wanted to be sick like this or just use some extra moisturizer.

Inside my head I politely told him where he could stuff the moisturizer.

It's now around 30 degrees and heavy in the skies and so I'm guessing the rain is going to make it's return so I closed the windows in the bedrooms but left the others open for now. Soon the temperature will drop and Jacob will light the fire he laid just now and we'll curl up again together once the kids are in bed and talk about nothing, just read with our heads touching again, Jacob with his copy of Kerouac's Good Blonde and Others and me with a whole stack of helpful books from Joel's library on learning how to live with myself that I will ignore in favor of starting a new embroidery project. Ruth has two pairs of jeans she'd like personalized and I wanted to do the pillows upstairs so that they match, they're all different shades of green so if I use a cream thread and embroider the same design on each one, I think it'll look very nice.

However, based on the way today has gone so far, I imagine I'll wind up resting my head on Jacob's shoulder and falling asleep like I did last night (missing the last fifteen crucial minutes of The Departed) and doing absolutely nothing at all.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Van gogh and good tea.

We're home, a long day so far and still a few hours to go before I can sleep. I went to bed around eight o'clock last night after struggling through chills and a raging fever and I couldn't hold a cup of the final mystery tea so Jacob gently ordered me to bed. It would have been wonderful to sleep but I was up at twelve to get water for Henry, who still wakes up coughing here and there, and then again at 3 when my stomach decided that antibiotics were the worst thing ever and I woke the whole house up with wonderful retching sounds. Always fun.

This morning we had family therapy, then medical checkups to make sure Henry is clearing up (he is) and the rest of us haven't gotten any worse (we're not) and then we went to a Van Gogh mixed media tribute installment at a gallery with Joel. Afterward he took us all to lunch, where I had the best cup of tea in the world. Maybe it was simply better for having followed the works of a painter that gives me the chills when I look closely at his work, as when I looked at the paper this morning, reading about his final piece going up for public sale, I was struck by how light and colorful it was but also by how much homesickness it conveyed to me. Amazing. Did you know he tried and failed to become a minister before taking up painting in his late twenties? That's where his spirituality speaks, in his brush strokes. Phenomenal.

This afternoon we went for groceries and bought more tea and more soup makings and a giant combo pack of day/nyquil for me to dive into and we're not going to church tomorrow either, having been told by Sam to stay home and get well and then Jacob can conduct services next weekend which will be fun and comforting to have him back where he belongs. Plus Sam is scared to death of germs and avoids people who are under the weather while Joel is so important he never gets colds and therefore doesn't care. It's funny but what is wonderful is they both care about what is good for us, and that will always be a fine arts exhibition for Bridget and a day off for Jake.

I'm off now with yet another cup of tea (fully labeled!) to go and snuggle in beside Jacob while he writes in front of the fire. He's a much better writer than I am anyway, only not when he writes about life. His words turn to lyrics only when he waxes on the big picture, the philosophical nature of life itself, God, love, eternal happiness. Not so much when writing about tea.

We're a pretty diverse and interesting bunch, I think.

And yes, I happily bought him a case of his favorite cookies today. Only he wants to keep them on top of the fridge from now on. Fine by me.

Oh and for the scorekeepers of irrational reactions, you will be pleased to know that Ruth pointed out as we drove home that the geese were flying south for the winter. Sure enough, I looked out the truck window and saw the great wide v-formations in the sky and promptly burst into tears. It's sort of becoming a tradition.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Seven very long days.

I was taken to therapy anyway. I kept coughing and within 15 minutes our productive discussion had devolved into some old-boys network jokes about how my coughing sounded like the barking of a new puppy and I finally let my eyes come to rest on Jake and I motioned for him to fuck off, that we needed to go home. I'm really not sure how I was supposed to navigate therapy sessions with my charades and nodding and constant coughing but Jacob was more concerned in the end that I not do any backsliding. Remind me of this the next time he is as sick as I am now.

He made it up to me, making lunch when we came home (for the kids, we're not much hungry) and then once they were installed on the couch with a good movie he took me upstairs and we crawled under the blankets, where he stripped off my clothes and explored my feverish skin. He remarked on how my weight gain has meant rounded out elbows and knees and belly and how I'm thin but not sticks and bone anymore. He turned me over and pulled my hair back and his other hand held my ribcage up off the bed and he was slower and heavier from being sick and it was so difficult to find energy to return his affections but I tried. Now he's sleeping and I am back downstairs while the rest of the world chants TGIF as if it's a religion. Tomorrow we have doctor checkups, family therapy and groceries so it will be a busy morning.

Hopefully we'll all feel better by then.

The Reilly family on autopilot.

As is the case with life, eventually the whole house will succumb to the sickness that comes into it. Considering the toothbrushes sit beside the bathroom sink in a ceramic coffee cup, more often touching than not. Considering the kisses and long embraces and cold air that makes for closed windows and the return of school days in which I'm beginning to suspect they pipe germs through the ventilation system for compliance from the older grades.

I can't get my head off the table today. I can't hear a thing and I can't speak. One of those days where you burst into tears only because you feel so damned sick and you're frustrated. Because you know that you still have to cook and clean and work and comfort everyone else and you're down to the painful stub of your own resources. We're not even getting dressed today and I'm jumping through phone hoops to cancel therapy this morning because the idea of putting on clothes and driving downtown to sit in a dry room to be dissected for ninety minutes would be more painful than decapitation at this point, I think.

I was washing dishes earlier, leaning heavily against the counter, doing an awful job, when Jacob's arms came around me and he took over and told me to take it easy. I pointed out that he was sick too and should get some rest and he laughed and told me I wasn't in this alone. That he loves being able to cancel days and say out loud that his wife and children are sick, instead of pretending to have a family, or wishing he did. To be able to find that sort of perverted glee in a bad cold/flu made me laugh but I was touched at the same time. He still has so much joy in being here, in being part of this family, even in being sick along with us that makes me feel a whole lot better. It almost makes up for the sicknesses that can't be cured with prescriptions, rest and liquids. It makes up for so many things.

It makes me feel a little more normal and a lot more grateful.

Off to rest and drink tea for the rest of the day, and sleep, hopefully. One of my favorite things in the world these days is crawling under a warm blanket into Jacob's arms and having a late afternoon nap. I hope there's one in here somewhere today.

If you have any ideas for getting through the rest of the winter without our usual rounds of colds and flu bugs drop me a line. I would like to tackle this season head on, instead of playing catch-up until May.

Thursday, 20 September 2007


See you when I'm there
Are you right where you belong?

Thank you for your kind 'feel better' emails about Henry. Once we surpass his strep throat/double ear infection and resulting all-night coughing I'll feel much better. He gets very sick very quickly and we have to be so vigilant living here. The cold wreaks havoc on more than just our dispositions.

He has medicine to take and will be home the remainder of the week, which works well. Jake is home and will take Ruth to school and bask in my rare strength at the same time. I'm going to sleep it away when I can. The week, not the strength. I need this week to end.

Ben went out to Toronto to meet up with the rest of the guys, hooking up with Caleb as well. An all-night party led to all sorts of admissions from Ben about where he gets his inspiration and Caleb took it and ran with it. He publicized it. Curiosity and judgment has been swift. Let's just say I suspected as much but I didn't feed enough of my ego in to fully entertain these possibilities and it pretty much destroys another large portion of my life and it left Jacob reeling, even though he always suspected as much. Right down to calling Ben out on his tattoo of a B that didn't stand for Ben. Yup. even that. Oh, yes, and there's more but I don't plan to ruin it for Ben's supporters. Yes, he is a genius but at what price?

The funny part is, this is done. It can't be fixed. We know, it's over and it's out there so we have to just swallow it or ignore it or somehow come to accept it and accept Ben's position on it and Caleb's utter glee over it and keep moving ahead.

Caleb decided to make Ben his best friend and built him a snowman. Ben, one half of the infamous toxic twins, has always wanted to make the leap and is now in a difficult position, probably about to lose everything he's ever done for himself and then some if he isn't careful. Oh, he's having fun now and Caleb has his own puppet. A puppet full of secrets that he has now blown wide open. Open secrets. No worries, Caleb cannot touch me. Ben will enjoy a brief surge in creativity now until the snow melts and he dies, maybe.

I won't be helping Ben.

I can't help him.

Ben broke every deal we've ever made and as bad as we were for each other, he's old enough to know better and my hands are tied, legally and otherwise. I already let him go and I'm done.

Everyone seems very proud of me right now and confirms that I'll get over the guilt. Guilt holds on tight and I keep turning this around. What if it were me? How many chances would I get?

The answer doesn't bring much comfort, honestly and I'm not above immersing myself in pain.

Another night of no sleep brought me to the den, where I could slip on my giant headphones and escape into Ben's world, to see exactly how bad it was. Applying myself to his work with purpose, so that I could see what everyone else now sees.

It was beautiful. I was beautiful.

He knows exactly who I am. And I feel sorry for him for that.

This morning Jacob picked a new song, and it instantly became my favorite. Black Cloud. Jacob sings it with his early-morning ragged voice that catches on the long notes and sounds perfect. His own ego seems to receive the confirmation it requires on a daily basis. Somehow though, Jacob is not a man who lets his pride overtake his gratitude and I wish the other guys could pull that off.

No, scratch that. It keeps him above all this. So that I can find him easily. So that he can lift me up. And hold me there. I figure if we do that long enough I won't stick out like a sore thumb anymore. I might be accepted and given a place of my own.

And wouldn't that be lovely?

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

I think for today, Caleb and Ben can go fuck themselves.

Henry is very sick and so there will be no post today. Perhaps tomorrow when we exit Night of the Living Dead. I'm so tired.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

You know nothing about me.

Look for the weak points and attack from there.

It's standard logic in matters of war. Hit where it will hurt, get in any way you can. Lie if you must, ethics and common decency be damned, turn her screws and ruin her and maybe you'll feel better when she's destroyed because she took away your little brother.

Ben called me. Ben is a royal mess, beyond words, beyond common decency but he called me. I am the Contact of Last Resort and he called me because he needs me. Which means it's very, very bad.

He is at Caleb's, having been staying there while he prepares to head out on the road. Caleb has been supplying him with just enough fun to fuck him up beyond repair.

Out of a hundred million questions that could be asked at this point, the most important one appears to be: Will Bridget take the bait?

Bridget Hill.

Last winter we watched hundreds of movies here at home. I love the movie channels. I hardly ever buy or rent movies but I religiously check the networks and specialty stations for new releases. Especially since it costs a good $50 for a family of four to go to the movies these days and it will be eons before the kids are old enough for my taste in psychotic horror movies.

We'll just ignore that fact that I was watching the Exorcist and Halloween when I was Ruth's age. Ruth was weirded out by Pirates of the Caribbean so let's just say she's not ready for Hostel.

So one night after the kids were long asleep Jacob and I turned out all the lights and watched Silent Hill.
Which, on it's own? Not so scary.

However...the nurses.

Oh, those frightening, twitchy nurses. (Which you can enjoy now, thanks to Youtube.)

Jacob laughed out loud when he saw them. The noises. The tight uniforms. He said I should have been in that scene, I would have killed it (oh god, yes he makes horrible puns) and that it had to be the most ludicrous thing in a horror movie ever.

But of course, like the Jackal in Thirteen Ghosts, those nurses have stayed with me a long time. And Jacob is a joker and loves to capitalize on my nonsense and for the past five months when we go to bed at night he'll wait until I'm halfway up the stairs and then he'll shut off all the lights, plunging me into darkness and then he runs up the stairs behind me and grabs me.

And then I scream, we wake the kids and I pretend I'm mad. A few times I might have peed myself and I swear I did indeed kick him once because the minute the lights go out...he's a nurse. A huge, twitchy bearded nurse.


So anyway, payback took place this morning. I told him I was going to try to get in a quick run. I know for a fact that when I go out for a run he heads straight for the pantry and gets oatmeal chocolate chip cookies by the handful (HUGE handfuls) and eats them. For an hour. He denies, the kids don't like the organic free-range cookies he does so funny how I go through 2 boxes a week if no one eats them, right?

Instead of going out I opened and closed the back door and then tiptoed in and shut myself in the pantry cupboard. Because I fit. And it's low and deep so Jacob just reaches in, grabs the box without looking and takes his snack to the den. and then pretends he doesn't eat much for breakfast later on.

I heard him whistling down the stairs, and then heard him agreeing with PJ, who was on the phone with him, and he started to say something about the weekend yard work as he opened the cupboard. He reached in and I grabbed his arm with both hands and growled at him.

Most priceless moment ever. He screamed at an octave I didn't think he had. A very high one.

It was magical.

He forgets how small I am, and how well I fit into strange little places.

And that will be the downfall of the friendly giant, because I was tired of dreaming about scary nurses with beards.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Dreams I'll never see.

As we packed up Jacob's office earlier today, I realized how laid-back his new colleagues were towards him and precisely how much this job might have fit him had he given it more of a chance.

After all, it isn't every day that we would be stopped seven different times in the span of one hour and reminded that the entire department suspects that Jacob was the model for all those wicked Molly Hatchet album covers.

They have a point.

He's going to be missed. The Viking makes quite an impact wherever he goes.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Tour guides.

    Show me how defenseless you really are.

Every night I get into the middle of our big bed, a tiny form wrapped in my own nakedness, and I drift off to sleep between two men, locked in a three-way embrace while my head wages war with my heart. While the baggage lying unclaimed inside my brain wreaks havoc with my flawless itinerary around the sun. While I fight on for order and peace, a one-girl SWAT team named Bridget with her useless and broken emotional weapons.

Every night is a wild swing, a battle between heaven and hell. Four strong arms wrapped around me, two strong and warm, smooth and muscled, two rotting sinew and bone, grating and rough against me.

For one is so so alive and one is so very completely dead.

But they are both here, with me. Surrounding me with their own ideas of what love means.

Every night the angel brings me to heaven for brief glimpses of sunshine and lightness of being and every night the devil's little brother drags me down to stand before the burning gates of hell to show me the pain within. My views of heaven are blown open and offered lovingly, the views of hell a locked-down purgatory of torture with a soundtrack of laughter and my own screams.

One set of arms holds me aloft, an offering to all that is good, a smile, some encouragement, while the other set holds me down in order to inject the nightmares, grinning while I cry.

The nightmares would be worse if I had buried Cole instead of having him reduced to ashes. I did that so that he couldn't come after me any more where I lie, protected by wings I can peek over to make sure we are safe.

And I have failed. No one is safe here.

He's right beside me when I sleep, he won't go away.

I'm not even sure if I want him to go away.

Saturday, 15 September 2007


A melodious plot indeed.

He was quoting Keats all evening in his painkilled creative state.

Jacob did very well, no complications, in and out and home to the couch where I surprised him with some new DVDs, a documentary on Mount Everest and three installments of Eco-Challenge. He asked if I would make him some fruit salad and then when I brought it back to him he was out cold, sleeping because he hadn't slept Thursday night.

This morning he woke up and we exclaimed over how bruised he was and wow, are we ever a matched set because I bruise astonishingly as well, and then he looked at me and told me not to worry, that this closed door is a blessing for us and that doors are opening all over the place and we'll notice them soon enough and that he is content, that he is happy, he has a perfect family and he's a lucky man and that if I have absolutely any doubts that this was the right thing to do I am to let them go now, because it is the right thing for us.

And then he apologized and asked for another pill and said he was going to go back to sleep for a bit.

This weekend isn't going to consist of any more than taking it easy. Work stops for a little bit on the house. We probably won't go to church tomorrow. It is supposed to be a little warmer so maybe later today he can sit outside and watch the kids practice their gymnastics and maybe we can grill a final summer dinner before the cold returns.

While I keep my eyes open for those new wide-open doors.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Sunflowers, turkeys and little hopeful beans.

    Happy is a yuppie word
    Nothing in the world could fail me now

Surviving another week has brought us some rewards, a cottage sold and finalized and a large quantity of cash in our bank account. I can be bought, we got a good offer on the property and we took it because the money is worth more than a difficult trip once a year. We can see the location of Cole's ashes from any one of a dozen spots along the way, the kids are not emotionally attached to the place, and yes, my rocking chair will be shipped back to me here. Really it was too much money to pass up, okay? I never said I was sentimental.

I have Switchfoot on this morning, some quietly comfortable songs while we get ready for a long and interesting day. This morning I'm helping in Henry's class, I have a few pounds of clay and we're going to make turkey placecard holders for Thanksgiving. It's a two-stage project, I go back in a few days and we'll paint them up. Should be fun and noisy.

In contrast, this afternoon will be deathly quiet and a little weird.

Jacob is having his vasectomy.

I'm driving him and will coddle him to pieces when we return home. He is very incredibly one hundred percent sure of it. Sometimes I wish I could be like him, develop a problem and just fix it and get over it and then move on, though this issue was a huge one for us and he wound up being more sure of it then I was, in the end. His single-minded devotion to every last aspect of his life is extraordinary to me, while I ping and pong all over the place, my newfound freedom and safety and his bottomless pit of offered affection wreaking total havoc on a human bean positively withered from previous neglect and poor treatment.

I was a sunflower that was tossed into a dark corner and dried up but then was lovingly uncovered and watered and placed in a sunny windowsill and now I won't stop growing and sometimes I choke off the sunlight, covering that whole window in my enthusiasm and then you cut me back or turn me so I can grow straight and I'm fine again and beautiful and strong and bright.

Someday to be admired.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

We were lucky it's Thursday.

Therapy was lovely this morning as I slid into the hole and hung on by the tips of my aching fingers to Jacob's hands.

Today they talked about stupid things like electroshock therapy to try and scare me. They scared Jake, I'm not scared, he'd never sign off on that and he's in charge. I believe they think I'll snap out of it if they use threats. Smarten up, girl. Ha. Jesus Christ, this is ridiculous. I was fine until Cole died and then I fell apart and that's all there is to it. I can't collect my shit together anymore and I can't figure out why. Well, yes I can. Because the fun never stops. Because instead of a giant stressful event every two years they now seem to come every two weeks. That or I just can't manage life anymore. I can't manage anything anymore, but the writing, well, the writing goes along swimmingly, thanks for asking. Sort of like how the best songs are written while heroin is in heavy use. There's a reason for that.

For those of you blaming me for being this way, please know, I don't want to be this way, I know it isn't right, and yes, Cole did do it. It's a result of his abuse, which I've barely discussed here, hell, I've barely discussed anything here. Don't try and diagnose me over your computer. You'll fail.

Today I was called on my trust issues and Jacob got to blow off a lot of steam and calmly yell at me in a controlled, supervised environment. Which is better than at home. They always side with him and put a wall up between us and send us back to our corners and then we spend the afternoon tearing the wall back down until we can be nose to nose again and it makes things harder.

He pulled me out of the hole and we left the office an hour later after having worked some things out. Mainly, that no one's electrocuting Bridget.

Today we tore the wall down in the truck, soaked because it started raining again (better than snow) and we weren't prepared. He threw my wet mittens into the back and kissed me and told me I wasn't being fair and I can call him every name in the book but I cannot doubt him, ever. That I'm his life and I will be his life, forever.

Cue melted princess, who stopped going under long enough to really appreciate that exchange.

I live for those moments. He has come to believe they're no longer necessary, that I should know by now but I still need them.

He insists that I will be fine and he knows damn well that I'm working and I'm working against myself and it's such a hard road and it's sucking to be with me but he loves me.

I think all this does in the end is positively cement the idea of my needing rescue. Look! She's not just fucked up, she's Fucked Up. Enjoy, Jake!

Be careful what you wish for, they say.

He has decided to extend the no contact orders to include Ben. So I can get better in peace. They're all busy engineering a city-sized rubber room so that I can bounce around and not get hurt. This should be interesting.

We came home, got the kids and made lunch, took them back and now. he's. singing. Gravedancer. at. the. top. of. his. lungs. On purpose. I feel better. It sounds awesome.

His last band mostly covered Stone Temple Pilots tunes, so that's a given. He does a good Scott Weiland.

    I relieve and release your hurt that you may be set free.

Funny how I go poking around in my brain for Carroll quotes only when I feel completely unhinged. That and the lyrics to Home. Funnier still is precisely how many days the pills and the changes work before everything just stops working like the turn of a dial and I am right back where I started. I have what they call "resistance".


I have something, all right.

I think it's called crazy. The funniest thing of all is that Cole knew how to work it. He created it, after all.

I think I'd really like to figure out how to end it all.

No, that's not what I said.

Go away. Bridget isn't having a Life. Whatever.

Mixed messages.

It's supposed to snow tonight.

I went running last night. Stupidly. Alone. Recklessly. In the dark in the city, only I didn't head toward Chinatown and I didn't head down through the financial district to the river trails on the other side, no, instead I headed all the way down the boulevard to the bridge and flew across it and up the other side until I hit Cole's park bench and I couldn't run anymore.

Jacob found me there an hour later. It got so cold. Perfect. I could indulge in a little release, a little pain to help ease the homesickness. He put his jacket on me and his arms around me and took me back to the truck without a word, short of the relief-swearing I heard when he saw me.

He took me down to the church for a little while. One of the few places where he feels as if he is on sure footing. He prayed. He asked me to, and I could not. He shook his head. We ended up talking for an hour in circles once again.

Jacob is an enigma.

He's so simple in all aspects of his life. His needs and likes and wants are basic and prolific. He doesn't make time for frivolous things. He's cut and dried, black and white, he doesn't want to exist in shades of grey, and yet he grows into a man who chooses faith as his path, along the way he picks up odd talents like telekinesis and hypnosis and illusionist tricks, like Lochlan has. And that's not all.

He jumped into my life with both feet. He tells me he'll never leave, he has my name permanently marked onto his skin. He adopts the kids, he swears up and down on his bible, on my head, on my life and his too that he won't leave, that he's never letting go and then we go to therapy and he tells them he's not sure how much more he can take. That he wants to run but he knows he can't and the only thing keeping him here are promises and glimpses of what things could be like.

If only he could have me deprogrammed fast enough.

He firmly believes Cole and Caleb brainwashed me and the only thing missing is a word or a memory and Jacob could undo all of it. That I'm locked in a mental prison and as soon as he can find the key I'll be out and we'll be happy and I'll be just fine. It doesn't matter how far we go or what he is told about what is wrong with me, he likes his version better and oh fuck, he digs with both hands and he's covered with dirt and he's exhausted and where is that goddamned key?

It's beautiful, really. It's almost as if you can visibly watch as his wings come down to rest against his shoulders in defeat. My angel, who has used up every last ounce of energy he could muster and he's not able to do this and maybe now that he's figuring that out we can get somewhere, because he is what's holding me back right now.

At least that's what Cole tells me in my sleep.

    So lie to me once again
    and tell me everything will be alright

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


It's an excuse to indulge. That's why.


There's no responsibility to be had. Everyone knows where they stand. Everyone knows the rules.


Because I could.


Because I don't think I'm worth more than this.


Because and only because he grew tired of the game.

Because it's time to grow up now. I think I went one game too far. I'm afraid I can't go back.

His summer girl was gone a long time ago but he refuses to accept that. And so he thinks he can reinvent her.

Why can't anyone tell me why I'm getting worse instead of getting better?

Read twice, cut once.

Here's the thing. It isn't the way it appears to be. Jacob is not Cole, and Ben has not become Jacob. Tell that to my head. It's successful this time because I spend no time with Ben anymore. Because I don't have to get away from Jacob, I'm not afraid of him, he's not systematically destroying me and Ben is not rescue. No one gets this. I'm not an idiot, but...



What kind of love is this? Ben and I have destroyed each other. We've broken each other down and used each other up and he is not someone I could have or would have made a life with. The day I met Ben he was singing. He smiled and complimented me and I complimented him right back and then I introduced myself and discovered he and Cole were already friends. I liked everything about Ben but namely I liked how shamelessly perverted he was. And it has stuck and we were twins in how sick and twisted we could be together. Verbally. How well we got on together.


And I knew when he fell and I knew the moment I became his muse, too and not just Cole's. A different sort of muse that now takes the brunt of the truth for what he felt for me.

Unaware but so so aware.

I held no shame, I let it roll, and on it has rolled for a million years and I really thought it was a surface thing. A flighty, crushy, lowkey, softcore kind of love. And he slapped me in the face with truth and it changed everything and it changed nothing and it took me away from him and then I realized that I loved him like a brother and he loved me like a wife. He wouldn't have cared if it was incestuous, I'm not even ever sure if Ben cared if I were male or female, there's something that he needs from me.

And I need something from him, only I can't figure out what. And don't be sarcastic with me because you think you know what that is. You don't know a thing about me.

For scorekeeping purposes, whatever I had with Loch I'm hopefully getting out of my system, we haven't talked nor have we felt the need to. But with Ben, I'm having a really hard time letting go.

And he has fallen apart.

Jacob will tell you I am vulnerable and it doesn't matter what I feel. Maybe he doesn't know me either.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Wearing the inside out.

There's something so romantic and chillingly sentimental about candlelight on a dark night in the city, the quiet din of glasses clinking and couples sharing secrets while the rain slides down the glass outside in rivers. It's inviting.

I waited for him under the restaurant canopy, my umbrella dripping water around me in a circle as the rain poured down upon the midnight city lights, leaving them to exude a steam laden with dust and grit from a long hot summer, now turned to icy fall days. My red raincoat was the color of blood in the darkness, the rich hue contrasting with my pale wet skin. My hair was damp, pressed against my head like golden parchment. My shoes were flimsy in this weather, my feet soaked. I heard the distant rumbling beyond the traffic noise, beyond the ebb and flow of the crowds. I checked my watch for the fifteenth time, the hands illuminated in the dim glow of the window. His meeting ran over. He was late.

Just then a yellow taxicab pulled up to the curb and he emerged from the back, unfolding into his recognizable form. His hair was tousled, his face relieved. He called out and quickly crossed the sidewalk to where I stood. He picked me up in his arms, umbrella and all, causing the water to arc out all around us in the air. He kissed me as if we hadn't just parted that morning, his damp beard brushing against my lips.

Did you wait long?

Of course not. You're right on time.

He smiled seductively, honestly.

Are you ready?

Yes, let's go inside.

We retreated in through the wide glass and mahogany doors. He put his hand on the small of my back and we stopped at the lobby to leave our wet things, and then he replaced his hand as we were led to a quiet table in a private corner of the restaurant. He pulled my chair out and waited for me to be seated and then he took a chair across from me and ordered a bottle of Masi soave, a favorite, to be brought while we perused the menu. And bread, he always likes bread with wine.

The wine was delivered, tasted and approved of, and then he took over pouring duties and smiled as I covered my glass with my hand. He chuckled and asked for water to be brought as well.

As we talked and enjoyed our dinner the rain traveled in sheets down the glass, the navy blue sky divided every now and then by a fork of white lightning. The rain made caustics dance on my skin and his too, shadows of nature at play. He reached for me once our dishes had been discreetly removed. He turned my hand over in his larger one, running the tips of his fingers around my wedding band and over the face of my watch, as if he could sense time and intent.

His eyes met mine across the table.

Hey, beautiful.

Hi, handsome.

Would you like cake tonight?

No, I think I can do without.

What next? Jazz club? Dancing? Brandy in a smoky bar?


He smiled. You sure?

I'm sure.

He gestured for the bill and we paid and left quickly. He hailed a cab easily and we bundled into the back and gave our address. The ride home was quiet and close, the smell of wet pavement and dried leaves all around us coupled with the aura of smoky air and fresh rain. His arm around me, keeping me warm, keeping me close.

By the time we pulled up to the house, the rain had stopped. The lights were burning in the front windows and we hurried inside, anxious to get out of our wet clothes and into each other's skin. We tore our coats off and and met in a blur of warm lips and frantic hands.

He smiled and blocked me into the corner. I returned his smile and put my arms around his neck. His hands traveled from my waist up to my shoulders and then to my ears, holding my face as he kissed me gently, breathing lightly, hesitantly, as if he was waiting for my response.

I tightened my arms around his neck and kissed him hard, forcing his head back, making him laugh. He wasn't going to let me control the events, and so he kissed back and I was pinned against the wall, in his arms, in his heart. His hands dropped to my hips as he gathered the hem of my dress up in his fists, raising it high, and I wrapped my legs around his waist as he lifted me up and carried me upstairs to our bedroom, where the curtains billowed violently, the windows open as the remnants of the night's storm slid off the edge of the wind in the early morning sky.

The lights flickered and he smashed his hand on the switch to kill the interruption and the room plunged into blackness punctuated by the lightning strikes. He fell onto the bed with me underneath him, safe from his weight, supported by his muscled arms.

He ripped his shirt off with one hand, his tattoos visible in the electric dimness. He slid his hand up my thigh, raising my dress once more, bending his head to kiss my thigh, trailing his lips up to my hip. I sighed softly, he frowned and flipped me over onto my belly. He slid the dress up and over my head, kissing up my spine and then turned me back around to face him. We made our own stars to match the ones already beginning to show their hiding places in the sky as the clouds cleared away. We made millions of stars, our gifts to each other to remember this moment in time.

We passed the rest of the clear cold night in a warm flush of arms and legs and hair in our eyes and breath caught in our throats, need bringing out a lust that canceled everything else out. The sun rose on our bodies, now spent, exhausted, renewed and refreshed all at once. He smiled sleepily and wrapped his arms around me once more, wanting me to stay in bed longer, willing the night to return for one last round of lovemaking, for one last touch before the distractions of a new day crowded around us.

He said he was beginning to love the rain.
You're so cold
Keep your hand in mine
Wise men wonder while
Strong men die

Show me how it ends it's alright
Show me how defenseless you really are
satisfied and empty inside
Well, that's alright, let's give this another try

It's alright
It's alright
It's alright


Some days being small and quick is a blessing. It means I can put on my trainers fast, grab my keys and my zen and hit the ground running, soaring across the pavement and down the sidewalk so that I can't hear him calling after me. Sometimes the best place to be is six kilometers away from everything that reminds me of who I'm supposed to be.

And then, as always, I am required to turn and come back.

Some days that part is so very very hard.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Free radical.

    Don't act like an angel
    You're falling again
    You're no superhero
    I found in the end

    So lie to me once again
    and tell me everything will be alright
    lie to me once again
    and ask yourself before we say goodbye
    Well goodbye
    Was it worth it in the end?

Cold mornings bring steaming cups of coffee and warm Lopi sweaters to my world as we greet this new day with vigor and promise. Jacob has pulled out his newsboy cap, his ears are cold. I sat outside this morning and kept him company as he split wood and stacked it beside the garage for winter. It's almost impossible to believe we're heading for another long cold prairie winter, another five month stretch of endless nights, relentless cold and neverending white snow. It's a backhanded gift as well, a full season ahead of me spending cozy nights by the fire, and passing the darkest hours snuggled deep into Jacob's strong arms for warmth. For security on so many levels. We exist in a perpetual winter, perpetual darkness from which I must defend my thoughts.

This morning as Jacob swung the ax he spoke of his plans for work and home. Sam made him an eleventh-hour offer, a generous shifting of roles and a lessening of obligations that makes for a fine balance between the politics of the church and Jacob's long love of preaching. This would fulfill everything he wants, keep him busy when he needs to be busy and free him up when he needs or wants to be free to support me, or simply spend his days with his arms around me.

Sam somehow convinced the board that a second, part-time minister is required and Jacob would be perfect to fulfill a role that he fought to have added for years already. It's ironic that they approve it now, but he had a long history of butting heads with his committees, who could never see far enough past Jacob's radical tendencies, even by Unitarian standards, to give him free reign. Sam is quiet and conservative, and it took him echoing Jacob's reasonings for them to finally cave.

And Jacob is thrilled by it.

This lets him preach a once or twice a month, it gives him a little bit of everything, but namely it gives him the perfect balance of time at home and yet he won't go insane being home twenty-four hours a day.

He jumped at the chance to go back to what he loves most without the politics (Sam gets the politics, let's see how long that lasts before Jake wades right back in) and without the time commitment. He got the call, confirmed the details and then struck a match and burned his very first bridge down and doesn't regret it for a moment.

Oddly enough, the university calmly put out the fire and wished him luck, telling him they'd love to have him contribute in a guest capacity, writing and perhaps a lecture or two if time permits in the future. A very generous reaction under the circumstances.

This means I still get to be the minister's wife. He did ask if he could keep his Viking nickname, however. I said I'd let him know.

It also means he's going to be home to run with me, which we're going to begin again every morning after we take the kids to school.

Human Jukebox.

What a cheeseball. He came home from our run with his endorphins on fire and he's singing Back for Good to me. So loudly and with feeling. Leave it to Jacob to remember the cheesiest songs I've ever loved and keep them for moments like this. You can listen to it too, but who can forget Take That? Man, they were hot.

I can admit that. Few will, you know.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Sunday breakfast, standing up.

The good news is that Ben didn't come after all. He told PJ he was coming, he asked Christian for a crashing space, he got all fired up and then PJ talked him into not doing anything stupid, reminding him that the last thing I need is him coming home. Possibly threats were involved. For some reason he got that message when he doesn't seem to get the others. Weird. I know I can't worry about him but I do. He's drinking heavily, he's not doing much better than I am. I'm a hypocrite. I love him to death and yet I'm supposed to turn my back on him? Where would I be if everyone had turned their backs on me? He needs as much support as I do.

The rest of my updates and and oh, boy, stories from the past week will have to wait a day or so, today we've got a family day planned here and we're about to be appallingly late for church.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Hey! There's no update today. I have a new laptop and as soon as I get everything installed and as perfect as I like it I'll write something useful. Until then, no worries.


Friday, 7 September 2007

Waiting for my tea to steep.

Someone please find Ben something to do before Jacob murders him. I wrote I was home, he got on a plane and came back. If he thinks he's coming over he'll be in for a surprise.

I give up. These guys must have billions of aeroplan miles by now. And a hell of a lot of nerve.

In other news? Bailey cleared out the moment I got in, so we could have our privacy and to get back to her own family, and Erin leaves at eight tonight and may or may not help boot Ben out of the province again.

And Jacob?

Quit his brand new job on Tuesday and just told me this afternoon. People wonder why I can never catch my breath. But it's okay. I asked him to on a whim. I never thought he'd actually do it.

Sympathy for the devil.

The rumors can stand. Guess whatever you want, imagine whatever you can. I can't possibly address everything so I'll just continue with what I need to get out here.

If you were feeling sorry for me, don't. I've been running around with my emotions fully out of control for almost two years at this point.

Don't feel sorry for me for being put on a private plane and sent to a lovely private center staffed with some of the best doctors in the world, a five-star menu and thousand thread count sheets. I never claimed not to have friends in high places and I never said they didn't enjoy using their ungodly wealth to help me, though I have paid the price for it already.

That's a long story for some quiet day when I feel like making you fall off your chair.

In any case, the fact that I was there and Jacob and the kids were here means that one large part of the changes to take place starts tomorrow. Family therapy.

To help my family deal with me.

Under a whole new diagnosis. One that fits like a glove. The others never seemed to. I was told it takes a long time to get to this point.

So that Jacob can withstand me. So that he and Ruth and Henry won't be damaged by this. As if.

I didn't help myself and I didn't get enough help and I realized late last week that oh, I needed way more help because I love Jacob and I don't want to fuck this up. He's not the kind of man to put up with someone who won't help themselves and yet he understands that this was serious and unchecked and I couldn't get where I needed to be and he's done more than admit to exploiting me too (sexually, no less. Jacob.) and he's got some issues to deal with and he needs as many tools as I do, to learn to live with Bridget.

Because the best advice out there if you're married to someone like me?

Is to run.

Far far away from them, and don't look back.

That makes me want to bury myself in a hole forever. A destroyer of souls has no place with an angel like Jacob.

But Jacob shook his head. And he choked right up and told me he's my unconditional man and that he will love me forever. Even after everything I have put him through or may put him through in the future.

It's like my hearing but emotional. I have to work so hard and I miss things anyway.

I signed over control of all of my money. All of it this time. I put all the power in Jacob's lap again and he's in control now and I'm so much happier. And there's more changes to speak of but today is only one day.

When I'm done rambling you'll be the first to know but every time I feel it start I remember his voice whispering to me.

Unconditional, Bridget.

It's my new favorite word.

We'll be okay. The road just got longer, the broken glass is spread over it seemingly endlessly. The work will be difficult. We'll do it. And here's the point in the choose your own adventure novel where you can decide if you want to come with us or stop reading and find someone less difficult to enjoy.

Because, oh boy. We all knew I was pretty messed up but who the hell knew it was this fucking spectacularly bad?

Post haste. Welcome back, little Bee.

    I won't live your way
    Won't hear what you say.

You know, five days away to get my head on straight and indulge in three differently wonderful kinds of therapy isn't always a bad thing. Getting a better handle on my emotions won't be a bad thing, and us flinging the usual fed-up ultimatums at each other tends to be the best catalyst in the world to make me move.

Because Nothing in the world could fail me now. It's tattooed on my skin. It means something to me.

I'm wonderfully fixable. Eventually.

In the meantime, don't believe a word I say, and for gosh sake's don't be surprised at my largely inappropriate behavior. Those of you long ago who sent me long letters telling me I was a certain way, well, let's just say I'm a little freaked out that the internet had me pegged long before the professionals who were close but not close enough.

More later, I'm a little hesitant today. Even though I need to get a lot of these words out, it's going to take a little bit. It's going to take even longer to get through these emails. How many of you are there? I am floored. Thank you.

I need some Jacob time now. I haven't seen him and he's home and I need to not let go of him for a little while. I'll be back.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Just for a little while.

My house has been full of people since around five this morning. And I'm not going to be here to enjoy any of them, but I know they love me and I know they want good things for me.

Bailey and Erin are going to be sharing care of the kids and looking after my Jacob.

I'm going to go somewhere where I can get some help. I'm going this morning. I'll be admitted at eleven.

You see, life isn't supposed to be this hard for anyone and I'm constantly sabotaging myself because it feels better when I hurt. I can no longer deal with things and it's time to stop putting off real help. Just know that Jacob is not the bad guy I make him out to be. I have torn him up with my words and just about ruined him, and neither one of us can take me anymore. Not this way.

Wish her luck, I know she's in here somewhere.