Thursday, 31 January 2008

The cult of Jacob.

Several readers have sent me notes of concern recently.

How I could forget Jacob so quickly, how I could move on? What am I doing to the kids? Why I can write so flippantly about fun moments after my husband died? And didn't we go through all this before and you're a fucking fake and Jesus Christ are you ever fucked up.

My therapists thank you. The bills for just one will cover the cost of a small villa on the French Riviera.

You know, if I had any idea my life would unfold like this when three years ago I was writing that Cole was working long hours and gee I hated shoveling snow but he came home and did it for me, I might never have started at all. Do you think it's easy having it all out there? I can't even walk away from it now because every last person who comes to read gets their update and if I don't write the assumption will be made that I finally did myself in.

Well, fuck you too, as long as things go well and I keep working so hard I think I can and will overcome that urge. I think I already have. How many of you are just waiting for that?

You're so smitten with Jacob that you forgot the central points involved in his takeover of my life. Encouraging poor opinions of Cole. He never let up the pressure on me. And then when I fell for him he took over everything. All of the sudden my friends were limited in their access to me. He encouraged me to drop several if not most of them. My car was sold. Cole was painted out to be a monster, when he was nothing more than a man with a violent streak a mile wide that was nothing I couldn't handle but he was dead so Jacob had free reign to paint him black.

I was stripped of my own opinions and reduced to a shivering, weakened doll while Jacob used his heavy handed charming approach to fix my life. He was going to take over and fix all of it. He would be a better man, a better father, a better husband and a better friend and God only help you if you disagreed with that. And then little by little it fell apart around him as I got worse with him instead of better.

He couldn't fix things, it just wasn't falling into place and his facade began to crumble. His self-esteem took a dive, he started making mistakes and he began to hate me for his obsession. His obsession with me, I don't even know how it began or what happened to it but it consumed him and then he decided he would drive me insane while still fixing everything and I would be fully dependent on him and it would hurt both of us and he could no longer make any sense of anything and he couldn't get rid of my friends and it got too hard and then he cracked and he stepped off a building and died and left me here alone, in amazingly poor mental condition and I've spent the last three months in therapy five times a week learning how to be human again.

He was my David Koresh, my very own Jim Jones, a live, in the flesh psychopath masquerading as the most amazing human being I've ever known. Of course he's still on a pedestal, I am mostly still under his spell even though it's been carefully dismantled piece by piece. I still love him. My God, had he not sent all these journals and the letters that he did I would still be in the dark. He knew what he was. He knew he hurt me. He knew he was a monster in his own right and he'll never be able to change that now just like Cole can't change the picture painted of him anymore. They won't get better, they're dead.

But I will get better. I want to.

I'm alive.

I want to be normal and I want to be in love and if that's with Ben, then it will be wonderful and if it isn't then that's okay too. If you can't handle reading or you don't understand how so much could go wrong in such a short while then trust me, you are not alone there, but please, for the love of God stop writing to me to tell me how awful you think I am.

Because I don't write for you.

I do it for me.

Find the road.

Yesterday's carnelian mittens and rose cheeks gave way to silver and gold notes from a lengthy before-dinner guitar lesson and then slid easily into blue and lavender dreams, restless sleeps for kids with colds (again).

Last night brought a new song and a new revelation, for if Cole was the keeper of the Zeppelin catalogue, Ben is the finder of their lost tracks, multiple takes and rare alternative versions, painstakingly seeking out every last recording the band has ever made. When he took me to bed somewhere around nine, early because I am trying to sleep enough instead of hardly at all, it was to the strains of a new and wonderful but old familiar song I knew well that I lay in Ben's arms while we did things that are new and different and so very right for us. Perfect for us.

The song was In the Light. Only this version is called In the Morning and I made a note inside my head to ask him about the song today, as I tried not to cry out as he easily found that one amazing place between not enough and too much.

Somewhere around midnight we fell asleep to the strains of The Rain Song, and it occurred to me that not only do I not feel homesick when I'm with Ben, but I also don't feel frustrated by him, I'm not trying to force him to do things he shouldn't, nor am I trying to get him to stop doing things I don't want him to do. Sleeping with him is a perfect match of skill and experimentation, of want and energy, of just the right level of perversity and gentleness. We match. Uncannily so.

Which leaves me kind of speechless, actually.

    Though the winds of change
    may blow around you,
    but that will always be so
    When love is pain it can devour you,
    but you are never alone
    I would share your load.
    I would share your load
    Baby, let me

    In the light
    Everybody needs the light.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Ambient noise.

    It's all wrong
    Don't cry
    Clear away this hate
    And we can start to make it alright

Today is a much better day, though slightly low-key, between my hands being sore and burned from the cold and the slow dissipation of the sleeping pill from my body I'm not going to do a hell of a lot. I'm all foggy but rested and loved and ready to not wake up on the low side of Bridget again any time soon if I can help it.

Can I blame this on Ben? No? It's okay, I didn't think so.

Last night was the first night I went to him since we came home from Nolan's. I crawled into his bed and right into his arms and told him about the pill and kissed him and unfortunately maybe fell asleep before the kiss was over. When I woke up he was already gone, off to work at dawn so he can leave a little early to come home.

There was a note on the table.

I love you, bee. You drool. Sleep well.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Heart-stopping dinner conversation.

Do you know why I stopped drinking? I stopped drinking so that you would take me seriously. So I wouldn't be known as the irresponsible party animal anymore. I stopped so that you would see me for who I am. I stopped because I knew that you would need me and I wanted to be able to be there for you one hundred percent. I didn't stop so that you would spend the rest of our lives thinking I can't handle anything difficult. I've been handling this and it's the most difficult thing I ever did and I did it because I wanted to show you how strong I am. Jesus, baby, to find out what kind of shape you were in at the end of an entire oblivious work day pisses me off because I could have been here. I'm here for you, why won't you come to me?

Because this isn't your responsibility. You can't fix this, Ben.

I never said I could fix it. But I can damn well hold you while you fix it yourself.

The world at night.

Sometimes I think that while I sleep, night seeps in around my edges, looking for a crack, any flaw or opening, a way inside. When I wake up I am filled with dark, with black, and I cannot see and I can't feel anything good and it hurts like hell and it takes forever to get rid of. I even tried to let a little of it out with a dull knife on a scarred thigh and I set myself back a good twenty months progress-wise but I was at the end of my wits, if I ever had any left at all, and I didn't dare call anyone for help nor would I let on that anything was wrong while Ben was still home this morning.

It wasn't until Loch phoned to tell me he had made a new template for this page and I just asked him to leave it like it was before and he asked what was wrong and I didn't know. I never know, I never have words that come out loud to tell anyone what it is. I just know that it was a black homesickness, a feeling I wish would stay away. I'd like to get better but then it comes to remind me I never will and then the hopelessness gives the black more weight and Bridget suffocates underneath it.

Loch was adamant that I share this feeling and get some help and he's pretty much been after me all day now as I flutter around the house with no words coming, the silence taunting me like a ghost.

Of course it's a ghost. It is two.

I could rest in the cold snow at the foot of the bench all afternoon, sitting on my knees, legs long asleep in the freezing wind, clutching the tiny copper box with the enamel bluebird painted on the lid in my frozen bleeding fingers wondering how they fit a man as big as Jacob into something so small but eventually someone that Loch called makes me come home and then they sit and stare at me and wonder how one little human could go so left of center and how in the hell do we bring her back and keep her here? Gosh, she doesn't weigh much, she's pretty complacent when it comes to direction, why in the hell is this happening?

It's the dark. It covers everything and I can't hide from it.

I can keep it from finding Ben, that's pretty much all I can do some days. He has his own things to deal with, I have always kept him from this.

It took forty-three minutes to pry that precious little box out of my frostbitten hands. Whoever said I wasn't strong should have really been here this afternoon.

Monday, 28 January 2008


This morning was spent in a hotel restaurant making sculptures out of the butter shells that were served alongside of my incredibly overpriced bagel and fruit, courtesy of a panicked Joel, who is in conference all this week but needed to talk to me and was in a rush, could I meet him for a quick breakfast downtown as he headed into his meetings?

Right. He took a leisurely two hours to tell me everything that is now wrong with my life while I pointedly ignored him and made a little butter astronaut guy exploring the face of the butter moon.

The maitre'd scowled at me relentlessly and I continued on while Joel tried and failed to drown out the clinking dishes. He knows damn well I have trouble with restaurant noise but it was his two hours and his hundred dollar breakfast so I let him drone on while I thought about PJ patiently waiting for me to return home, having planned to spend the day with me again, happily so. I actually messaged PJ twice and I don't believe Joel even noticed.

Joel didn't say anything I haven't told myself already. Nor did he say anything Ben and I haven't already covered at great length. Yes, we covered Bridget being half out of her mind, medicated and barely even fresh out of one therapy, still heavily invested in two others. We covered the kids and dads issue and Ben being more than friends. We've covered the incredible risk of recovery versus new and difficult relationships, and widowed people filling holes as a stop gap and temporary measures and rebounds and addictive personality types and killing friendships and Bridget's recklessness and sex addiction and life alone and life not alone and how doomed this is.

After two hours of his endless voice he came back around, wrapping up his gentle tirade with a reminder that I'm unstable, that I've just been through a lot and it isn't fair to Ben or to the kids to begin yet another relationship against the odds.

I was just about to ask him if he was prepared to break into song when I realized he contradicted himself ten times over in his closing arguments. I pointed that out and he didn't have any excuses left so I squished my poor little butternaut, got up and wished him a good day.

I believe at this point I have dealt with friends and jealousies to death and I'm not doing it anymore. Adapt or die, Joel. Everyone else did and he had fair warning that being friends with me was going to be hard and he was better off when he sat in his office on the other side of his desk dispensing pills that brought fog and relief from pain, conducting the symphony of mental health professionals who have walked in and out of my head ever since. When he was the objective band leader instead of another person looking for their cut.

You think I'm cruel? You weren't there this morning. The butternaut was so ludicrous it was the only thing keeping me from crying at the goddamned table.

Don't trash the first fucking thing that has made me happy in three fucking months. Just don't. I'm a big girl and I know the risks of what I'm doing.

I also know the rewards.

Sunday, 27 January 2008


    Hanging by threads of palest silver
    I could have stayed that way forever
    Bad blood and ghosts wrapped tight around me
    Nothing could ever seem to touch me

    I lose what I love most
    Did you know I was lost until you found me?

    A stroke of luck or a gift from God?
    The hand of fate or devil's claws?
    From below or saints above?
    You came to me

    Here comes the cold again
    I feel it closing in
    It's falling down and
    All around me falling

I opened my eyes in the dark and looked at the clock. It was three in the morning. I went down to the kitchen and Ben was already there, quietly putting on the kettle.

Why are you awake?

I don't know, I just woke up. You?

Same. Join me for a nightcap?

He held up the hot chocolate tin and I smiled and went to get two mugs. We didn't talk anymore, waiting for the kettle to begin it's quiet whistle and Ben pulled it quickly from the heat. We blew down the steam and sipped thoughtfully, staring at each other across the wide wooden table.

When we were finished Ben took both mugs and put them in the sink and then he held out his hand. I took it. He was going to walk me back to my room where the kids were sleeping.

We stopped outside the door and he pulled me back toward him and kissed me.

Oh geez, why did he have to do that? I stepped back out, closing the door quietly and began to walk toward his room instead. Next door. He didn't follow, he was rooted to the spot.

I think I'm dreaming.

Shhh, don't wake anyone.

Soon I was firmly ensconced in Ben's arms, his face jutting up over my head, his breathing quiet. His sheets were so warm. Dark brown jersey. Like a favorite t-shirt or the arms of an old friend. I moved and he lifted his head off the pillow and moved his arm up as I turned inward to face him.

You smell so good, I'll never be able to sleep.


Don't be.

I pushed my head up until I found his lips. I kissed him, a long kiss, a loving kiss. He responded easily, his arms sliding down around me. He climbed over me and kissed my neck and then my lips again and I pulled my legs up around his hips. He rolled off me promptly and reached up to turn the light on.

Bridget, I don't want us to be a casualty as friends. I can't do that.

Me neither.

And I know I always back out at the last minute but I really need you in my life and if we're just going to have a fling and ruin everything then I don't want to lose you.

So let's not let it ruin everything.

How do we prevent that?

We keep things good between us and respect each other.

I've done the fuckbuddies thing, I'm not interested in trivializing you like that.

What do you want us to be?

I'd like it if you were my girlfriend.


Jacob's dead, Bridget. And you're still alive.

Sometimes I wonder.

You feel alive to me.

Do I?


Let's just take it slow then.

Okay, I'll go sleep downstairs.

No, stay here.

I can't.

Ben, just fuck off and be here.

Bridge, if I stay here we're not friends anymore, I'll just warn you right now.

What are we going to be then?



Are you okay with that?


I nodded as he turned off the light.

He kissed me hard and pressed against me. I was caught up in his arms, so warm and strong and wanting and it felt so good. My legs found their way back to his hips and I put my arms around his neck and he wrapped his arms around me tighter and kissed me again.

Now you're in the right place, Bridge.

I wish I had a heart to give you.

You do-

I don't. It's gone, it's broken. It's not beating. I don't know where these feelings are even coming from.

He put his hand over my heart.

Right here. It's right here. It's faint but it's healing, that's all.
His voice was raw, filled with emotion and fear. I could hear his fear. Fear of losing me, losing us, the closest friendship we've both ever had in our lives. How many times have we given up on each other but not given up on each other? We could never stay away, never be apart. He kissed me gently and I know he was about to leave and so I countered his tenderness with a sudden hunger I couldn't hide. I reached the point of no return. He followed. I couldn't ride hard enough against him. We devoured each other.

For such a goof he's probably the most sexually experienced guy I have ever been with and it showed as we spent the rest of the early Saturday morning getting to know each other on a whole new plane of existence. Finally we couldn't move another muscle. He kissed me again but didn't say a word, he just held on very, very hard. We had torn at each other until there was nothing left and we realized we hadn't lost a thing.

The sun rose.

Not a thing.

I went to meet him last night too, and it was more of the same. This is all so new. It's like we're falling for each other in reverse but slowly, too. Physically first and emotions seem to trail along afterwards like wayward children. I never expected to feel this strongly for him and it shows. Every time I look at him I smiled involuntarily.

The other guys caught on fast. He didn't say a thing, and neither did I. We didn't have to. I think it was obvious. We've now drawn a huge amount of endless teasing for getting together on a snowy weekend in which we did little more than sit together in the corner of the big sectional in the great room, hunkered down into a blanket together, watching the fire, talking quietly while everyone else played outside, getting to know each other in this way, this new way, so new the tag is still attached and we're still not even sure if it fits.

Okay, that's a lie. We know it fits. Like a...oh, nevermind.

Holding bright, holding tight.

We're back. Home at last. What fun. So much to tell you but right now I'm being tortured with Duran Duran blasted through the house on eleven by my favorite nerd.

Please, Girls on Film was never a masterpiece.

The Seventh Stranger, however, was.

Whoops. I just exposed my inner dork again, didn't I?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Good things come in threes, two. (A Friday postscript).

Twenty sessions and our family therapist proclaimed us to be managing very well and we're a cohesive bunch, us three, learning to roll with the punches. We're done, we graduated, though I'm not dumb, she's on speed dial if I need anything and I set up three more monthly sessions to see us through until spring, just in case.

Well, in case I need answers, because sometimes being a parent is flying by the seat of your pants and being a single parent after something as catastrophic as the children losing two dads in two years, let's just say I'd rather endure the therapeutic microscopes than risk fucking up Ruth and Henry forever.

To celebrate a free weekend we're headed up to Nolan's with some of the boys. The kids are excited to get another (slow) snowmobile ride or six and some sleigh rides too. There's so many people going some of the guys are going to have to double-bunk. It's going to be fun. My truck is full of food. I'm full of excitement.

Geez. When's the last time that happened?

Gardening tips for the faint of heart.

    So sacrifice yourself and let me have what's left.
Lyrical cautions or simple cravish plea? Does it matter anymore?

No, does it, really?

Does it matter that I'm OUT THERE standing on the ice at 6 a.m. with him while he skates circles around me spraying me with snow from his plow stops and making me flinch every time he slams his stick down? Does it matter how I feel, does it matter if I want to be the selfish princess taking some much needed time just to stop the fucking world from moving and I can't help it if it won't? Does it matter how much he holds my hand, squeezing it so hard I grit my back teeth without realizing it. He reminds me to breathe, to not worry and to stop eating. He laughs over the last one.

It's absurd.

He isn't in charge. He needs me as much as I need him, except for the fact that we swear we don't need each other. He isn't interested in fixing things, surpassing greatness or in happily ever after, he is adamant that we should just blow off some steam in each other's arms and then things won't feel so bad. Then he laughs again, disqualifying his own words as a joke, thinking I won't see his nervousness, his deep desires, so entrenched now he is too vulnerable for castigation on my part. I wouldn't hurt him anyway but maybe I am without fully realizing it.

He is vulnerable and tenuous. He's been to his edge and come back running. He lives a different life from the rest of every human being, a carefree, adolescent existence of spontaneity and mistakes and fresh chances and thin remorse that make me envious. He is so far left of perfect he has an open charm that reads flawed and yet no one finds it off-putting in the least.

Maybe it's a lift, being with someone on an equal plane of imperfect.

Maybe it makes us perfect for each other.

Maybe he just wants to be everything Jacob wasn't and nothing like Jacob was.

That's good. Being unguarded is a breath of fresh air and not even remotely akin to the weakness I expected. Just a naked, tender truth of who we are, what we are. Human. Bent. Ugly sometimes, sometimes, not.

I've figured some things out and come out intact on the other side, slightly warped maybe. I can't keep waiting to get over Jacob, get over myself, I am learning to live with it instead. Live around it and through it and in spite of it. With help. With so much help I am drowning in good intentions, saved by grace, humbled by love.

I'm also learning that I can't replace him. I couldn't if I tried. And I no longer want to, having set myself up for failure so easily in the past I have it down to a mindless routine. There is room for Jacob to stay here as part of me.

I can do this.

I can let my heart grow back. It's like planting a seed, right? Take a little piece and bury it somewhere safe and give it plenty of love, how can it not grow? How can I not live life to the fullest while I have it laid out in front of me? It's a gift and I'm wasting it sitting in the dark.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Rawer words.

I never was the sharpest tack on the board. So maybe locking myself upstairs after the kids went to bed to read through my journal and read some of Jacob's wasn't such a hot idea after all.

I miss him.

You will never understand how much I miss him.

You slid away from me.

After the kids went to school, Christian and I took Butterfield and a few tennis balls over to the river and Chris threw the balls and Butterfield gave chase while I hung on and slid for what seemed like miles. Squealing the whole way.

Christian says I am very easy to entertain.

He also was proud of me, I've been dealing with a lot (extra) lately and doing really well. I got a hug and then a dozen more, as we haven't spent a lot of time together lately. But really if I could stuff Chris in a jar and keep him on a shelf in my house I just might. He gives the best hugs in the world. Somehow he utilizes every muscle in both arms; instead of being encircled within a halo of elbows and hands, he simply squeezes the bejesus out of me.

So maybe I'll fill you in a bit more as we go along here. I've been a bit hesitant to talk about certain things because of the rampant armchair judgment and distance diagnosing going on. And because I was never really clear before on exactly how many people are standing by waiting for me to fuck up and how awful that feels when I'm just trying to do the best I can. It's one of the very few times I wished I had never shared my thoughts publicly and I just...I don't know, I just want you to come and read and feel and then write to me if you want to but not as my therapist or my conscience or my big sister or brother. Lord knows I have enough of those and they squeeze from all directions.

Thank goodness I love hugs. Even internet ones.

Touch and go.

I think I write this post in some variation at least once a year.

Let's see. Yes, but I'm not linking. They're such sweet moments, memories of Jacob and I can't read them right now. If you'd like to just type in 'cracked fingertips' in the search box top left. I can wait.

We've reached that magical time of year when my hands are so badly cracked and bleeding that I have taken to wearing bandages on the tips just to keep people from freaking out. My skin is like touching fine-grit sandpaper and I feel like a giant itch. It doesn't matter what I do, it just happens. I drink a ton of water, I wear rubber gloves when I wash dishes or clean, I wear gloves outside, I use a ton of moisturizer, even straight oil sometimes, hardcore stuff-shea butter, emu oil, you name it. Humidifers and I are close friends.

I think it's just the price for living here in this high-altitude low-humidity windblown wasteland of dryness. I'll live, two months and it will be a memory, I hope. It's a long two months when you're reminded of it every time you touch something, which is 37,000,000,000 times an hour.

Everyone is obsessed with my tiny little ruined hands and I spend all my time hiding them in my pockets or sitting on them, snatching them back from boys determined to inspect or soothe them, fielding questions about their condition and deflecting sympathetic expressions of concern, as if there is something worthy in the plight of this usual seasonal drama to discuss.

Fuck that.

It will pass. It always passes. Just like time and pain.

Though it would just be nice if it hurt a little less to type but instead every word is a testament to my dedication, a measure of pain meted out one sentence at a time as only a masochist can truly appreciate.

I suppose it would also be nice if I hadn't just written this entire entry to be nothing more than the continuation of the incredibly obvious information blackout on my life while I go and get some things sorted out but sometimes it's a necessary evil.

Much like having to touch stuff right now.

    I will not be made useless
    I won't be idled with despair
    I will gather myself around my faith
    for light does the darkness most fear
    My hands are small, I know,
    but they're not yours they are my own
    but they're not yours they are my own
    and I am never broken

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


(The old/new title wasn't meant to be cheeky, it's a nod to the trolls I feed).

I ran this morning. I picked the coldest day of the year and I ran and I sang to myself because my phone stopped working the moment I opened it and then my legs stopped working shortly after that and I only had one decent fall that will come back to haunt me tomorrow.

I need new gear, some of it is tight. Hauling an extra twenty pounds on my frame is exhausting and so I'm going to try to fix it. I'd like happy mediums instead of hard lows and epic highs. I'd like it to be warm. I'd like not to have to deal with the climbing gear I found in the attic and I'd like to know that I'm doing okay from someone that has no stake in my life, financially or emotionally. I'm tired of being the little bourgeoisie princess with too much money and too much heartbreak and I'd like to blend in.

Jacob promised to teach me how to stop thinking and just be, but we weren't finished and I can't remember the steps and ironically it is like filling a thimble from a bucket instead of the other way around.

I ran down to the bench today too. I wasn't going to even tell you that because the boys will probably be pissed because they can't figure me out and Cole is an appropriate listener and yet he didn't have any answers but Jacob is too far out of my reach to try to talk to right now and so I ran through the silent cold and just tried to stop thinking.

    this is the first day of my last days
    I built it up now I take it apart
    climbed up real high now fall down real far
    no need for me to stay the last thing left I just threw it away
    I put my faith in god and my trust in you
    now there's nothing more fucked up I could do
    wish there was something real wish there was something true
    wish there was something real in this world full of you
    I'm the one without a soul
    I'm the one with this big fucking hole

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


There are moments in my life that I can peg as the exact moment in which I changed. The moment I grew, learned something or re-adapted to my environment to be able to move ahead to the next phase. These are the moments with which I mark time, the moments that are strung together to hold the lights shining for me.

I had one of those moments last night.

My cheek burned red and hot scraping across his. His fingers traced a line down my arm to my hand, leaving goosebumps, the hair raised up from my skin like it does when I'm feeling fear or anticipation.

He laughed softly, his eyes bending into crescents, breaking into silent mirth. He waited for the goosebumps to fade and then did it again, with the same result.

Incredible, he said.

I nodded. I didn't say anything. I just watched him while I waited for the color to leave my cheeks. I waited to see if my flesh would become accustomed to his touch. I noticed I was holding my breath and so I stopped and tried to breath deeply but I know the moment I stopped thinking about breathing that I would hold it again.

He was doing it too. Holding his breath. Rocked by his effect on me and stunned by a physical response so basic and visceral it warmed his heart to the very core.

He broke the spell and apologized for burning my skin. I shook my head, willing him back under the spell but it was shattered.

He kissed me. I returned it once and then deferred. I saw his eyebrows go down and then soften and I knew he was wanting to protest but not willing to risk an argument and I liked that so he got a second kiss. One that didn't end easily. The one that took the breath I was holding and used it all up.

Then he turned and looked out the window. It was late. It had started to snow, again. The dark skies were dotted with feathery snowflakes skimming on the wind, spiraling down, landing everywhere. Covering our mistakes with a fresh coat of pure.

He walked me back down the hall and when we got to the door I started to close it and his look changed.

Why are you closing it?

I don't trust myself.

Does it matter anymore?

I closed it on him in response and slid down one side while he slid down the other and his fingertips came under the door and I grabbed them and held on.

I'm just not ready for this.

I don't even know if he heard it when I whispered it. I just know that his hand was there until I woke up this morning and then I imagine it was gone because he had to go to work or maybe he went to bed or something way smarter than sleeping on the wood floor pressed up against the door like I did. I knew when I woke up I had made the wrong choice once again, picking misery over warmth, solitude over companionship and the dark over the welcoming light of his room.

And so I called him at work and I told him I fucked up. He said knowing I was asleep on the floor bothered him worse that the rejection and that we could talk tonight if I wanted to or just let it go and everything would be alright. It was then that I realized that I can mark the moments that others grow and change too, because that was so not the old Ben that I love last night. It was some new guy that I know by heart but hardly recognized.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Things in the mirror are sometimes not as dumb as they appear.

    Maybe there will come a day
    When those that you keep blind
    Will suddenly realize
    Maybe it's a part of me
    You took to a place
    I hoped it would never go
    And maybe that fucked me up
    Much more than you'll ever know

This morning was very incredibly satisfying.

I took Ben and Joel with me, and I marched into Caleb's hotel suite, walking straight to the desk where he sat and I tossed a nice fat manila envelope in front of him, papers flying everywhere while he regarded me with his usual smug amusement, asking me what it was.

I explained to him it was a copy of his ruin, that I had similar envelopes waiting to be sent to his firm, his family and to our mutual high-end friends, and that if he really wanted me that badly, the price had just gone up. He would lose everything and if there is one thing I could ever tell you about Caleb, it's that he has worked hard to be where he is, and he is defined by his position. He enjoys his position. He won't risk his position. And so rather than calling me on my own threat, he tapped out completely.

His smile turned bitter, sliding right off his face. He asked if that was all I required to be released from him. I confirmed that I meant leaving me, my children and my friends, most of all Ben, alone, that we can all exist peacefully and he can get updates from his parents if he wants to be an absent uncle but otherwise I'm not doing this anymore and I'm not living in fear anymore.

He said he liked me better when I was fragile because that was the only part of me that had held any value for him anyway and without it I am just like everyone else.

I smiled and walked out.

Maybe that's exactly what I want, to be like everyone else.


Strangers in a darkened room. Who were holding hands and no one saw.

    Sometimes it's hard to love me,
    Sometimes it's hard to love you too.

And of course I went to see Cloverfield this weekend. We took the kids even. Which caused a little keffufle at the ticket counter as I was informed my children don't appear to be 14. I pointed out I'm well aware. The guys were adamant about how well-versed the kids were in scary monster movies and the theater people seemed to be just thrilled. I made no apologies and we took our seats. It's a guideline, not a law.

No one told me that before the movie started I'd be gifted a viewing of the new Jon Bon Jovi video. Or that it was possibly written with Ben and I in mind. Or that when it was done I would look around and find everyone staring at me with stupid grins plastered on, nodding.

Bunch of idiots. Ben was absorbed in his blackberry pretending to be invisible. Ruth was talking my ear off. Henry was busy eating his snack while the lights were still on.

The movie was awesome once you got past the car sickness aspect. The kids enjoyed the heck out of it, especially the Very Gross Part, and we all resolved to go see the sequel. If you last right through the end credits it will all become very clear.

The other interesting moment was when Ben asked me if I was hungry. I nodded and he walked away, over toward the concessions. PJ asked what his problem was, and I asked him what he meant. PJ pointed out that he didn't wait to see what I wanted. I started to say he probably knows and then it kind of hit me all at once.

It's kind of like falling very hard and watching yourself do it. But from outside of your body.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Mornings with Poe.

Up for the dawn with coffee in hand, and a blanket for two, for the sunrise this morning felt colder than most. And inspiration came to me in the form of a fragment of old poem that I know, succinctly, by heart.

    But Psyche, uplifting her finger
    Said Sadly this star I mistrust
    Her pallor I strangely mistrust
    Oh, hasten! Oh, let us not linger!
    Oh, fly, let us fly, for we must
    In terror she spoke letting sink her Wings
    until they trailed in the dust
    In agony sobbed, letting sink her
    Plumes till they trailed in the dust
    Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

    I replied this is nothing but dreaming
    Let us on by this tremulous light
    Let us bathe in this crystalline light
    It's sybilic splendor is beaming
    With Hope and in Beauty tonight
    See it flickers up the sky through the night!
    Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming
    And be sure it will lead us aright
    We safely may trust to a gleaming
    That cannot but guide us aright
    Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night

Saturday, 19 January 2008

You are the quintessential tornado, now, aren't you?

What do you want, Caleb?

I wanted to make sure you were alright after you concocted your brief little display of disinterest in our mutual friend.

I'm not interested in him and it has nothing to do with you.

Bridget, if you're trying to protect him by pretending not to be interested, you've already failed.

Why don't you just leave me alone?

Why don't you bring him along to our next meeting? Then you can show me how much you don't love him. Do you think I'm stupid? I know what you're doing.

You know nothing about me.

On the contrary, my dear princess. I know precisely the difference between giving you ecstasy and hastening your death. I try not to forget the numbers. Sometimes they get mixed up.

Did you just threaten me?

I have no reason to do that.

Sure you do.

What would that be?

Kicks. Your own amusement.

Yes, that's important, isn't it?

Not to me.

Well then let's try something different. You want to save your friend? Protect him any way you can. And be a little more subtle about it. Having him move in to soothe your fear of the dark won't save you any more that your lies will save Ben's life. Don't forget how suggestible he can be.

Leave him alone.

There's the princess we all know and love.

You don't love me.

Oh, but I do.

Prove it by leaving me alone.

That isn't as much fun, Bridget. So I'll be in town on Monday and I'll see you around nine. Yes?


Pardon me? I couldn't hear you.


I could hear you, I was just making sure you heard me. I'll make sure you're carried out with your hearing aids this time.

Fuck you.

I heard that too, Bridget.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Daylight to break.

This morning I pulled on fuzzy grey tights, a grey wool skirt and a warm nubby brown wool sweater that is long and warm with a turtleneck. I twisted my hair up into a messy bun with bits sticking out all over, stuck my reading glasses on top of my head and slid my watch on over my right hand. I slipped into my doc boots and went down to make some coffee.

No one else got up in time so I went into the den, closed the door to keep all the heat in the house from leaving and I opened the french doors all the way and I stood in the -45 degree morning and watched the sun rise between the pine trees in my backyard, the magenta glow highlighting the Victorian roof peaks of other houses in our neighborhood. The world was still and quiet. A time to reflect. A time to embrace myself as me, just plain old me, here to greet the day and consume my piece of the planet pie and leave my tiny mark which isn't really a mark so much as a chip on the rim of life's cup.

One that could cut you if you aren't careful but one that you ignore because the cup itself is so pretty and it's your favorite. So you carefully turn Bridget to the outside so that she won't cause any problems and you watch the sunset and sip from the smooth side, the unmarked side, the place that you will stake out to leave your own mark.

Soon the noises and smells of everyone up for breakfast came filtering down the hall and I reluctantly acknowledged the end of the dawn of the morning and went to join my children for waffles and fruit. Ben did not get up and join us because he's having a lazy day and will sleep for a while yet, I imagine but it's okay.

There will be another sunrise tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Home, warm and safe for the night.

Joel and Daniel concluded jointly that my brief over-the-shoulder zing concerning schadenfreude was...bratty.

Petulantly as a princess, I don't rightly care.

I'm well-aware that some people come here only so they can feel better about themselves and several who come only so they can clap their hands with glee when very bad things happen to Bridget.

How do I know this? They wrote to me to let me know.

Even when I put it out there, I'm not putting much out there at all, Don't forget that and we'll get along just fine. Now pass the hummus and some bread, I am starved.

I left Sam's office better than what I found it in. I set up his voicemail and taught him how to use it, all the filing is now caught up, I had groceries delivered and I even booked the cleaning service and the guy who comes to plow and sprinkle salt so no one wipes out (Bridget). I stood in Sam's office looking around at the same brass rubbing on the wall in a frame that doesn't match it and a bookcase full of gentle God-centered self-help and a few aging spider plants and some or most of the same furniture and the room smelled very faintly of sandalwood. Just for one little tiny quiet moment that maybe didn't exist outside of my head for all I know.

On purposes.

This post will be short. I'm working for Sam today. I'm answering phones, mostly and filing all the papers that have piled up in the past four months. To put it most kindly, Sam is a bit with his office. He said he was desperate, he needed help and didn't want to call a temp though if I had to wager a guess I'd say he wanted me to revisit Jacob's old office.

Which I did. No comment. There are no comments to be had. Fine, it hurts. Magnificently.

There's your schadenfreude for lunch, hope you enjoy it.

Anyway, around twelve I realized I was starving. I poked around in the kitchen and came up with the following:

One mini-can of ginger ale.
One bottle of water.
One mini-pack of pringles.
One frozen burrito that had to be chipped out of the freezer door.

This kitchen used to be fully stocked with fruits and veggies and seeds and juices and other goodies. Coffee/tea always on or close to it. Jacob was always feeding people.

I did notice that if you put the ginger ale and the water together in a big glass it tastes just like club soda.


Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Death and taxes.

    I'm gonna miss you
    I'm gonna miss you when you're gone
    She says I love you
    I'm gonna miss hearing your song

Today was a whirlwind of caught breath, a new diner to try out, a new CD to spin, some new clothes to break in, a few haphazard kisses, some one-year rule reminders, perogies by the potload and taxes, which have to be filed for the deceased whether you're on board with that or not. Thankfully I know three accountants, two of which I'm even speaking to.

I had my teeth investigated, I sold the motorcycle, making John the Happiest Person Alive and I agreed to give up Friday night plans of sitting in the bathtub feeling sorry for myself in exchange for good seats at the hockey game, which is so small-community there are no tickets to buy but if you can help fill the stands it's always appreciated. I will bring eight people and then feed them afterwards. Ben will eat a whole pizza by himself and still be invisible when he turns sideways.

Bridget, not so much these days. :)

Have a lovely night.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

What if it does?

Indeed. I've been turning it over in my head all morning. What if it does? What if it works out and there is a happily ever after somewhere in my lifetime after all? What if he was the path I stepped off of by mistake? What if my favorite, most perverted, most vulnerable friend in the whole world was supposed to be THAT guy? Oh crap, he's been under my nose and up in my face for five years and I was busy chasing pain.

What if, what if, what if.

All these thoughts are now best left for another day. The rest of this day involves curling up on the window seat in my kitchen with the snow swirling almost within touching distance but separated by clear intentions, biting on a strand of poppy jasper beads and drinking cappuccino while I read the very surprisingly good book I stole off Ben's night table a few days ago.

I made a fire in the woodstove, I have some nag champa burning upstairs and a roast in the oven for tonight and a whole lot of thinking to do. But not today. Nope, today I am taking it easy, enjoying the coziness and just being good to myself.

Followed underneath my own skin.

    Just call my name
    You'll be okay
    Your scream is burning through my veins

When I opened my eyes this morning, the ring was on my bedside table. I turned over to get up and smacked into Ben who was sleeping on top of my covers, fully clothed, his arm out as if he had just let go of me. He hadn't come home after work last night. I finally called Daniel (Ben's younger brother) because I was worried about him and Daniel said he was probably at a meeting (AA) and that I can't feel responsible for Ben's emotions. He's right but it doesn't make it easier.

I slipped out of the room and went down to look after feeding the pets and making coffee. I brought him back up a cup and shook his shoulder and he bolted up. I almost dropped the cup.

I'm sorry, little bee.

No, I'm sorry.

I told you before you don't need to protect me from Caleb.

I can try.

He can't hurt us.

You don't know that, Ben.

Is that the only reason you gave the ring back?


What's the other reason?

What if it doesn't work out?

What if it does?

Monday, 14 January 2008

No, it's a no. The answer.

It's no.

He came home for lunch because I am alone today and I couldn't get out of my own face and rather than be nice, rather than wait, I gave him back the ring. I want him here as my friend and nothing more. There isn't more to be had. I love him the way I love all my friends and I can't do any more than that.

Maybe the social graces were missing but at least he's not living on hope anymore and I can't tiptoe around his wagon as if he can't see me. Hell, how can you miss me? I'm a fucking tornado. Rocking foundations and destroying lives all over the place.

Rebel without a pause.

    Can't you see that you're smothering me
    Holding too tightly afraid to lose control
    Cause everything that you thought I would be
    Has fallen apart right in front of you
    Every step that I take is another mistake to you
    And every second I waste is more than I can take

Here, have the confusion and the doubt, I'll just sprinkle it all around myself and distract you with pretty while my insides turn black. Like a rotten birthday cake or a dead rose.

Why should I? Why would I bend to his will? What do I owe him? The last time I checked, just because he asked, just because he put himself out there and made the offer it doesn't mean that I am bound to accept it. Just because he's somewhat loyal doesn't mean that I have to do a damned thing.

Here's the point. He's holding out. You don't get it. I can use him for companionship. I don't ever have to be alone. Especially at night. I can be safe. He uses me because when I next feel self-destructive, he'll be in the right place, having craved my body long before he ever offered to share my heart. The hype. I am so overrated but it's too late for reason.

For everyone who keeps reminding me that I'm harsh on him, I find it funny how quickly you forget his motive for being my friend for at least half of our relationship. For everyone holding their breath for us to hook up remember you'd be pairing two ruined souls. We fight. A lot. I looked him straight in the eye earlier this year and told him I would never love him like that and he was fine with it. He didn't care about that, he was too distracted thinking about fucking me. Who is the bigger masochist? Who has the most to lose? I can't answer those questions. I DON'T FUCKING KNOW.

I forgave him for that, though. I did.

Maybe we deserve each other and I should give him whatever he wants. Let's face it. I'm holding out for...what? I didn't hold out for Caleb. I never held out for Jake. If I sleep with him maybe he'll stick around and maybe he'll be off and ready for his next conquest or six. He's been with a lot of girls in his life, I'm just one on a list to be had.

I could even marry him. I could just start in on him and rip him to pieces and leave him in my wake, another casualty of Bridget's fragile, twisted fucked-up love. Whatever definition you want to give. And then he falls off his wagon and everyone blames me. Or worse. I could give him a real shot and wind up hurt worse than Cole ever hurt me. Or Jake for that matter.

Oh, yeah, let's not go there. No one wants their day ruined hearing about Bridget screaming in pain and Cole laughing. He used to tell Ben things and Ben would agree with him, that I was around for their use. That Ben could have me. Dangling me like a piece of meat in front of my friends and he could force my hands behind my back and shove me forward and I would have tears streaming down my face and Ben felt guilty because Cole was going too far. But what of the desire it brought out in Ben? Do you think I didn't see it? I saw it then and I saw it the night he touched me when he was loaded. I saw it written all over his face and I just tucked it away for later. His betrayal stung me but at the same time I loved it. I loved it that he wanted me so bad. I always knew. But I tucked it away. For later.

Now, it is later. And my only thoughts of revenge lean toward stealing his presence for my comfort, exploiting a history he no longer cares about. At the same time falling in love with this guy because he won't get out of my way. It's too soon, it's all wrong and it won't ever be fair to anyone.

Here's the one shining point to be the wrench in the gears. I don't feel crazy with him. Never have. If you'll notice anything striking, out of all the times I've gone down screaming he is nowhere to be found. I left him out of it. I never thought he could handle me being uncontrollable because he's always had his own monkey to wrestle with. When he came to the hotel, that was his very first attempt to pull me out of the fire. He did well. And for some reason when he's around I feel like he and I are on the same page, that we make decisions together, we talk and no one gets the upper hand, no one is in charge, we're just us. Not crazy, though, never crazy. Never unstable, never fucked up. I have a love for him that is so different and so profound I can't even describe it to him or to myself. Why do you think he never leaves me, even when he tells me he hates me? We're already in love, it's been five years now.

How does that happen?

    I've become so numb I can't feel you there
    Become so tired so much more aware
    I'm becoming this all I want to do
    Is be more like me and be less like you

So this is where we are. You may say I'm stupid or foolish or easy or you may say I'm in pain and looking for a way out or a way in to dilute that pain and you might say it's a disaster in the making, but it's okay.

Because I still can't hear you.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

And this is my kitchen sink.

    Stay away from these rocks we'd be a walking disaster
    (don't reach out, don't reach out)
    Just cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there
    (there's someone on your shoulder)

Mmmm, internet I am up far too early for my taste on a Sunday but Butters was barking and Ben isn't responsible for letting him out even though they mostly sleep together now. I called Ben's phone from my bedroom to wake him up and beg him to let the dog out in exchange for french toast for breakfast but then I remembered his phone was charging in the kitchen when I went to bed last night.

We did manage to turn the game off long enough to catch the sickening end of another losing round of Leafs hockey. Everyone left around 10:30 and I went to bed to read around eleven, waking up with the book I was reading on my face at four a.m. I hate that. And then the dog at eight a.m. You can't tell me you're not going to wake up if that happens. But Ben pretends not to. He sleeps hard anyway. He sleeps like a rock, he doesn't move, he doesn't stir, sometimes I think he doesn't breathe or dream, He just drops.

If you're wondering how I know that there is a whole list of disastrous camping stories that left a bunch of us packed into one tent or the other, waiting out torrential rains, snowstorms, people who forget tents or large parts of them, wayward bears, rabid raccoons and other assorted situations that left him sleeping right behind me, curled around me, one arm down under my knees while Cole breathed down on my head in front of me, arms around my shoulders.

Yeah. Uh...


Today I have big plans. I'm going to church, going to try again now that people have stopped seeking me out for comment or curiosity, now that Sam has settled in and it doesn't feel like he's filling in and I'm only going to show Sam that I'm not avoiding him, even though I won't grant his request to come to the office and talk with him. I can't go in that office. But I can damn well stick my middle finger up at God and defiantly take my place in the sanctuary. I'm still angry with God and I'm hoping to change that.

After church we'll have a quick lunch and then I'm going shopping because I have no clothes. None. Everything is tight. Twenty pounds is a whole four sizes up and I'm happy for that but I don't know what to wear. Ben said just buy some jeans and one dress-up outfit and I'd be good to go. Maybe a couple of sweaters or something. I'm not used to shopping for myself and Cole and Jacob had the same tastes in what they liked to see me in and I think I'm done feeling like a doll. My plan today is to wear a sweater over my skirt which is held closed with pins because I can't get the zipper up. Haha.

After shopping I promised to head over to the outdoor rink before supper to watch Ben's game. They, unlike the Leafs, are doing well this year.

Dinner is at home tonight, since it's a school night. And I would like to go to bed early. I've been up for two hours and I'm already tired. I think it's because I feel the weight of God's expectations and it's a lot of work ignoring Him.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

My rocker looks just like me.

I don't know quite what happened to this day, but it began with a phone call and Ben took off and was back fifteen minutes later. More phone calls were made and the room downstairs that functions as the official music room was left to gather dust as my living room was rearranged to accommodate Rock Band, the game.

I've never seen a more excited bunch of guys (and kids). They even had pledged an information blackout, vowing not to find out in advance what songs were on it. So, to our surprise, there was Ben's favorite song, one of the first ones you get to play, no less.

Remember my issues with REM being stuck in my head? Well, Ben has had the same problem now for years, but with Radiohead's Creep. He can be as self-disparaging as the rest of us and probably won't want you to know that he sings this to himself just about all the time he's not singing something else but I'll tell you anyway and probably everything else besides.

The game is a riot though. It will eat up your whole day if you're not careful. I thought it was eleven when I went to make lunch but it was already three o'clock. Something tells me they will play all night. That's okay. I love company. And I love music even more.

    I don't care if it hurts
    I want to have control
    I want a perfect body
    I want a perfect soul
    I want you to notice when I'm not around
    You're so fucking special
    I wish I was special

    But I'm a creep
    I'm a weirdo
    What the hell I'm doing here?
    I don't belong here

    She's running out again
    She's running out
    She runs runs runs

Friday, 11 January 2008

Baptized in alcohol.

Hmm. An interesting evening. Skateboard Jesus told me I looked fulfilled and asked where the preacher man was. I said dead and he nodded and said he expected it. I was about to ask him how and instead I was ushered away again. It was dark out. The restaurant beckoned with warm lights and enticing menus framed in the window.

I ate more than I usually do. I stole PJ's roll even. I had one glass of wine and I enjoyed myself. I didn't feel crazy or grief-stricken or abused or ruined or even fragile. I felt like Bridget, who once was a girl before she became this, whatever this is. This soulless bird who flits around perching in everyone's tree looking for a nest that was destroyed in a storm, rebuilt and then destroyed again. Looking for shelter, looking for refuge from future storms.

I don't feel crazy. I can talk about Cole. I can listen to stories about Jacob. I can endure gentle jokes and comments and others pointing out how much both men are missed. I can appreciate the lack of judgement over things they did in their lives that weren't quite right or so terribly wrong and I can revel in small moments where life doesn't hurt quite as much as it has in the past.

But maybe that's because I'm almost just about totally drunk off one forbidden glass of wine, because no one dares deny me that but had I asked for a second I would have been shut out completely. Tomorrow when I'm back to me again I'm sure I'll wake up beside crazy. It's just waiting for the good to wear off again. It stalks me.

And pathetic. Did I mention pathetic? Yeah, that's what I am.

It's a happy-pathetic though, no worries. A kind of wow, what a loser but at least she's doing well pathetic. A beautiful one.

And please for the love of God stop telling me to put the ring on. It's not about the ring. It's about the crystal ball. I have a really big shard of it left and it said my future is...


But goofier than pathetic. THAT I can assure you. First day without pain of any kind. Tomorrow must be a doozy.

K, so drunk. Bye.

Tell me I could have everything.

So, the Sunday before the new year.

Our walk in the woods out at Nolan's. Snowshoes on for a good hard hike way out to picnic rock, a big flat rock by a rushing stream that was so loud it left me deaf and yet I had what felt like tunnel hearing while Ben talked, laying the ninth marriage proposal of my young life on my head to weigh me down, drowning me in his frustration which came out of nowhere after I dropped a piece of my heart in his lap and then promptly snatched it back. I jumped the gun. I fucked up. I should have left things alone. I was confused. I don't know which end is up and I'm having trouble going on feeling.

Ben's words on our picnic in the snow struck me dumb and have haunted me since. A ring produced and held out in a shaky hand this time. Again, an offering of a life resumed after an interruption and here, here, just take a chance at a real life and it probably won't be so romantic and I wouldn't be blinded with huge sweeping gestures and maybe it'll be so normal it's sick but it will be stable and kind and wonderful and loving and all the things life is supposed to be when the embellishment is stripped away.

Real life. With a real man.

One who is willing to put his money where his mouth is after I failed to take him seriously the first time. One who's alive and not messed up. One who beat his demons and came out victorious. One who knows how to be strong and yet still be an equal. One who can atone for his mistakes and learn from them and grow from them. Now they're just beating me into the ground repeating his good qualities. Making sure I know.

I know.

Here's the tangent I know you want: Nine proposals spanning thirty-three years. Andrew was the first, when we were three. He wanted me to bring my apple and live with him in his tree house. He liked my frog barrettes. Cole was next, with two proposals over two years, I was too young the first time. Then someone else, I haven't talked about him at all. Jacob was next. Then came the disaster that was Christian, Ben and Joel looking to try and help end my misery with promises, nobly so.

And now Ben returns, this time with a ring to show he's not going to give up on me. That he's putting value into his words in a way I never required him to before now. He's offered me half of his heart to replace the one that I broke.

I took the ring and looked at it. It was a simple classic princess cut amethyst on an art-deco band. An antique ring, no less, which he knew I would love. I smiled. He said don't put it on, just to take it home and put it in a box and if I ever wanted to I could put it on and think about his offer.

It wasn't extended lightly. He isn't trying to rescue me. He...he's looking for the rest of his life, in me. I shook my head. It's not fair.

I can't do this.

He wouldn't take it back and so I put it on my chain to keep it safe for the trip home and he smiled tightly, his smile that he wears when he doesn't quite know what his next move is. Ben, aware of my entire history and trying to circumvent it via ignoring it instead of trying to fix everything. Pretending history doesn't exist and living in a moment in a way I've never seen anyone else pull off. Mindfulness. Intensity of a different sort.

I've never had this much trouble with a girl before.

I tried the ring on yesterday for the first time. It's beautiful. I can hear his quiet plea not to make him wait forever. I'm just not sure that his heart is big enough to hold both of us. He may say it is, but really, I'm getting really good at breaking hearts and I can't risk losing another.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Fairweather future.

    Ray: Maybe we should kiss goodbye

    Molly: Just a kiss?

    Ray: We'll leave it at that for this book. I'll reconsider the ending for the movie

    Molly: Here's my kiss. Now remember I'm ready to do anything or be anything you want or need

    Ray: I'll keep that in mind

    Molly: That's where you'll find me

    Ray: Too bad I have to wait a century to meet you

    Molly: Or to be me

    Ray: Yes that too. Actually Molly, there are a few other questions that have occurred to me. What were those limitations that you referred to? What did you say you were anxious about? What are you afraid of? Do you feel pain? What about babies and children? Molly?

Duncan said something interesting to me this morning. He told me No one ever falls out of love with you. I thought for a moment while I sipped on my orange juice and then I reminded him that Loch did and Duncan said No, he didn't. I mentioned another name and he again laughed and corrected me. I asked him about John while John sat across from me getting high off his espresso and Duncan just roared and said he wasn't going to say any more.

They're going to bury me in sweetness.

Except for Mark, who wouldn't cover up my lyrics today. He maintains they are his best lettering work ever and he said I was being rash, that if I still wanted it changed by July he would do it then. I pointed out it's a psychological burden (having gotten it the weekend before Jacob left us) and he laughed and said he told me that when I got it. I said he had a shitty way of doing business and he said it had nothing to do with business and everything to do with friendship.

Ah, okay. I get it now.

Seventy-eight. Stay in love forever.

Today will be quite busy. I've got John watching over me. I have more Christmas thank-you notes to write, and a tattoo to be covered among all the other things. Bright spots, I suppose. John is such a grump today too. He doesn't do mornings so well.

Yesterday was saved by the collar of her sweater. It began with the delivery of food and a fukubukuro (Andrew! rocks!) for the children and ended very late with a halting, painfully awkward quote thrown over a shoulder, a few lines from Baudelaire that warmed me to my toes, and a song played by Ben on a strange guitar, the culmination of an incredibly weird few weeks, distorted with an offer, made impossible with an expectation. One that remained unvoiced until yesterday.

Which I will explain tomorrow. Ha! Cliffhangers. Because I'm always the quintessential attention whore for you everyone.

I'm headed to see the lawyer now to look after Jacob's parents, assign guardianship in the event of my death (PJ with a landslide victory over even blood relatives. Which speaks volumes.) and to make sure Ben's ass is covered, living with me and my mental problems, so that he has rights as my tenant if someone misses the next collar that swings by, and I have a lunch date too, Lord knows John will be asleep somewhere by ten. What time is it now? Yes, 9:40, so that's about right.

    She says I'm the one she really wants
    But I'll never be the one that she needs.
    I'm not here to be a creep.
    I'm just feeling incomplete.
    Take me home.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

No idea what I'm doing.

I'm just not having any luck with today, so my apologies as I remove three very truncated entries containing mostly song lyrics and a few four-letter words. Literally, there was nothing to read so I got rid of them.

It's been seventy-seven days since he left. I wake up crying every morning. This morning a kiss was stolen from me, I threw a cup of coffee at the wall in therapy and Butterfield ate the chocolate chip muffins I left out for Ben. I tried to talk about my future and got nowhere. I lost a button. I had to coerce the kids into wearing snowpants because it got very cold again and I listened to Nine Inch Nails a lot.

I cried a little more and the stereo was turned off on my behalf.

I helped clean up the coffee and put Sam Roberts on the stereo this afternoon instead. I tried to win back this day but it just isn't coming. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Browns and blues.

Today brings a favorable shift in the winds, I believe.

He stayed in his new digs last night, which aren't so new considering he was spending every weekend here anyway. Only this time the door at the end of the hall stayed unlocked, and open. However we remained on two different floors at the opposite ends of the house from each other because there's nothing going on. Contrary to rumors, contrary to popular belief. Contrary to Rob's countdown to Smurfette giving up her blue. I never laughed so hard. Smurfette? Geez, you guys.

I will admit it's like sleeping on the floor of a cake shop when you're starving but you didn't hear that from me.

I'm human. Am I not human? Every now and then I feel human, so it's a start.

    It's all wonderful
    Living happily
    To lose it all
    Think you have everything

    Stop tell me where you going
    Maybe the one you love isn't there
    You're going under
    But you're over it all so you don't care about all that I had to see
    I'd watch you wait until you come around

I was sitting earlier at coffee, picking lint off the knees of my black tights. Black shoes spattered with slush from melting snow on the sidewalk and icy patches that left me clutching Ben's arm as we went into the coffee shop. Wearing the coat he likes me in. My robin's egg blue one that is his favorite color in the whole world. Not smurf-blue but yeah, I get it.

He took today off to move. Shh. He already moved. Yesterday. There's only some out of season stuff and big pieces of furniture left. Things he doesn't need for a while. Things he'll pick up on the weekend. His goalie gear takes up half the basement. And hockey mirrors life. Jacob was defense but he was also the enforcer, and Ben makes the saves.

Wow. That's a lightbulb moment if ever there was one.

When we picked up our coffees and sat down he whipped the kids' Scholastic catalog out of his pocket and asked which stuff Henry and Ruth would like best. I smiled and said anything would thrill them beyond belief, as usual. We made up a list to order. We do this every month.

Then he asked me what I would like best. Right here, right now.

I said,


Monday, 7 January 2008


I'm going to be the landlady.

Another afternoon spent arguing with Ben, as he tries to pass off keeping the pictures of me up in spite of his promises to remove them. Pictures of Jake, pictures of the kids. He's known for a very long time how I feel about having a lot of pictures on the web. I don't mind the occasional one, but a whole pageful? Forget it.

He did take it down and then he wrote me off. Again. I did the same.

We've discovered something very interesting. Mondays are rough. He goes back to work. We say goodbye after three close days together and even though he sometimes comes for dinner or the evening during the week, it's not the same. We get tense and stressed out about it, dreading the week ahead and we let our words degenerate into disrespect and ultimatums and finalities. Ben said if I couldn't trust him he'd just go back to his old girlfriend and live with her. At least she was sane and slightly more predictable. Oh and tall.


He's also been tremendously stressed about his living situation, finding it difficult to find a new apartment to rent. His lease is up at the end of January, it wasn't renewed, the building has been sold. He currently lives three blocks from me and the closest place he can find is a five-minute drive away, closer to twenty blocks and he wasn't keen on being that far.

So cue the fight of the day and we wash our hands of each other. He's getting too old for this, he'll just write me off before he'll back down or indulge in any kind of headgames.

Good. I love him and so I backpedaled all the way to the start.

I asked him to come and live here, with us. That we would draw up an agreement and have it approved by both lawyers and he could be my tenant and the rent that he pays would not only be cheap but it would become the house fund, so repairs or improvements would be paid for out of that and I'd reap some of the benefits of this huge house.

It's a perfect solution, since the guestroom has a bathroom across the hall, has it's own entrance, the side door, and I can close off that whole wing and lock the door at the end of the hall to secure the house. He'll have a key for the side door. He'll have everything he needs, though I seriously doubt I'll be locking the door. I've thought about that for a while now. It doesn't need to be locked anymore. Not with Ben. I do trust him, in spite of my words. I have for a long time now.

I get a live-in companion. He could have his meals with us or not. He can use the washer/dryer and just about anything else his heart desires and I don't have to sit for hours with the guys drawing up a schedule of who gets what night. It takes the pressure off.

It eliminates Monday fights.

It proves trust. In the event that something wonderful happens down the road we don't have to make any huge changes. It gives us both something we want-stability for Ben, and assurances of my faith in him, and companionship for me but a little privacy too, as his own space means he won't spend all his time waiting and watching.

It takes a tiny little bit of time away from the other guys. That's been a bone of contention. He wanted more time and we couldn't figure out how to pull it off and going back and forth is hard, especially in the winter. Especially when everyone is so tense.

He's at his apartment right now. Packing. He and PJ will be back later tonight with most of his things.

I'm really excited. And really tired. What a long day. If none of this makes any sense forgive me.
Joel and I walked Butterfield on the ice today, around and around the outdoor rink. Butters digs in and pulls me around, all I have to do is set my center of gravity just so, so that I won't get pulled off my feet and I bend my knees and get a hell of a fun ride.

Joel thinks that everything is fucked up. He never has anything new to say anymore.

I'm considering moving and just starting over somewhere where no one knows me. Meet someone who knows nothing about me, maybe in the witness protection program. A new name, a new life. A new start without all this. And go back to not saying a word and not listening and not doing much of anything, quietly and somberly, the way I spent my first thirty-five or so years.

Except that everyone would find me. Christ, it took you guys a whole four hours to find that goddamned Flickr page that Ben said he took down and didn't. You guys are relentless. And every time I think I can trust Ben one hundred percent he lies to me.

I can't disappear. It's too late for that. It's too late for everything and whatever brief respite that comes is gone before I can savor it and I'm tired. And THIS is the self-destruction that results, at least it brings feeling of some kind.

Off to therapy, a perfect chance for them to see precisely how un-pulled-together I can really be.

Numbly so.

    Show me that you love me and that we belong together.
    Relax, turn around and take my hand.

    I can help you change tired moments into pleasure.
    Say the word and we'll be well upon our way.
    Blend and balance pain and comfort
    Deep within you until you will not want me any other way.

    But it's not enough.
    I need more.
    Nothing seems to satisfy.
    I said, I don't want it.
    I just need it.
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.

There are a lot of things in this world that don't make any sense.

And then there is Tool.

I'm going to ignore Caleb and not write about him, as so many of you have suggested now. There isn't a judge left in this city who would grant an order of protection against him now, since I went to him willingly and I take his calls because I'm a masochist and a curious one at that, but I'm not afraid of him in that way. Mentally, maybe but never physically. He wouldn't touch his niece or nephew and the guys have gone out of their collective ways to remind me that they can take care of themselves. I know they can, they shouldn't be in a position where they have to.

Thank you for the emails so far, though sadly it's an experiment I'll never repeat again. You've been kind and beautiful and almost completely unanimous. You sound like everyone here. My cheering squad just grew and I have no idea what I ever did to deserve such beautiful surroundings.

I fear I might have been one of the few holdouts.

I'm going to give you an excerpt from one letter received Sunday morning, very early.

    Dear Bridget,

    You've already gone to great lengths to point out you love him. You've known each other for years. You've fought over stupid things with him but you made up easily. You two are more alike than anyone else you know. He would die for you, he's already proven himself to be protector of your heart. He looks out for you without a single thought as to what might be in it for him. He doesn't try to trick you, making sure that you're aware of his feelings without smothering you with them. He's hurt by the way you pass him over sometimes but he gets over it and aside from one incredibly stupid drunk action that you already forgave him for, he won't hurt you. Ever. Except with a rant because you're so damn frustrating. You should really let him grow on you.

    And he makes really good scallops in linguini if you're up for that for dinner tonight. Oh, and he is soon to be homeless and wants to know if you'll take in a boarder. Oh and he loves the kids as if they were his but of course they aren't because no one has the same glorious plain brown hair/brown eyes thing happening. Oh, and he'll try and stop being so clumsy. Oh and really you should share all the other stuff you leave out so that people see how cool he really is.

    Because I love you even though you're a little pain in the ass.


It's sort of like he gave his own closing arguments at a trial, isn't it? Of course it does, because loving me is obviously some sort of death sentence.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Fear nothing.

(Bar the door, PJ. It's all gone to hell.)

A very interesting email came today. Not to me, though.

This one was from Caleb to Ben, offering Ben an incredibly lucrative job, an advancement over what he does now in accounting (by day, mind you), a letter that would buy him a free pass out of the prairies and he would only be beholden to Caleb in some way or another for the rest of his natural life.

Caleb, who first finds your weaknesses and then uses them to destroy you. It's how things are done in his world. This letter went on to say that Ben should cut his losses and just go, that he is not worthy of me, that I am out of his league and I will never get out of my own way for a 'nobody' like him and that he can have anything his heart desires where Caleb is, that Caleb will personally see to it that Ben's life out there surpasses any life he could have hoped to build here.

That Ben will forget me and all the heartache I have caused him.

That if he doesn't go, a veiled threat was made, to be very incredibly aware that Ben swimming in waters with sharks, that I belong to Caleb and anyone who fucks with that is playing with fire.

In spite of Ben's assurances that Caleb can't touch us, that I'm safe as long as I stay away from him, that he's only a guy with a big ego and some good connections, we can just ignore him and continue on, I shook my head.

Caleb originally called Ben to come get me from his hotel room not because Ben is my best friend and he knew he'd look after me while I was fucked up and high but because Caleb mistakenly assumed Ben would help him cover it up. He thought I would be too ashamed to write about it, let alone talk about it.

His ego won't allow for any sort of rationality at this point. His brother's death has become his ax to grind and his sister-in-law is the wheel. His own perversions will supersede any common sense I thought he had left.

He called me a little while ago and told me he could easily take Ben and eliminate him, dangle Ben's favorite forbidden vices in front of him and Ben would soon cave in and then when Ben is ruined and long gone I'll only have Caleb left and if I just maintain the status quo then I can have my cake and eat it too. That I can keep Ben as my friend, at arms' length and Caleb gets to do whatever it is that Caleb does, namely destroy Bridget for kicks. After he's done licking her all over, that is.

I think my choice has been made for me. It's just a door, guys. You can't stop him, and I won't give him Ben.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

A request for your thoughts, if I may.

Hi. This post is probably going to be a mistake but hey, aren't they all?

I'm still here. I'm cold. It's cold in here. I turned the heat down and my hand is throbbing tonight even though it's faded to a lovely pinkish-red blotch where Joel's pen went in and I'm a little sick to my stomach and tired but doing pretty well and really, there's no rhyme or reason to my posting anymore, so you get some extra thoughts at some strange hours.

My apologies if you can't keep up with the volume. Sometimes it can't be helped. Sometimes I'm lonely and I feel like talking but I don't want replies.

And sometimes I do want replies. If you can swallow any more of my dumb replies to your emails, I'd like to poll this jury of readers I have collected.

Answer honestly for me and I'll share a lot more. What do you think of Ben? Am I crazy to want to be with someone so soon? Is it this normal to be afraid to be alone? Is my confusion warranted or should I have a better handle on my own life?

I have been alone but not alone for almost eleven weeks now. Not long at all with regards to my heart but an eternity inside my head. No one here has been any help at all with answers.

No one is objective. And it's such a popular subject these days.

Tell me what you think, and I'll tell you what he says. It might surprise you. And no he won't mind this post. He's sleeping in the guest room downstairs and yeah, the door is still locked.

An update.

I'm home. I'm okay. I get to skip a few pills and rest for a while, my blood pressure was elevated, as were my blood levels and so yes, I need to drink more water and look after myself better. Even when I'm being looked after just wonderfully there are things I need to do that I get lackadaisical about. Ben has harangued me suitably for it, no worries. Overall I am doing well health-wise and surprisingly well emotionally.


The best news of the morning wasn't that I'm okay or that I could reschedule family therapy for later on today. No, the best news?

123 pounds.


Canceling therapy due to opening my mouth after being up but not talking to say good morning and slurring it just a little too much. Headed downtown for a blood test instead. I haven't had enough water this week. Will update later. Don't worry. I'm okay.

Setbacks are normal.

This disheartening feeling, normal. Yeah.

Friday, 4 January 2008


    Good times, bad times,
    You know I had my share
    When my woman left home
    With a brown eyed man,
    Well, I still don't seem to care.

Friday night. Godsmack on the stereo. Ice water in tall glasses and a damned good book to read. Ben is on his phone with PJ, who is stuck somewhere, I have no idea, I don't read lips but he was driving back and never appeared and seems to be somewhere in Ontario maybe? August is emailing me horoscopes every ten minutes and Joel called once. Really, it's a lovely super-down quiet night.

Here, have a look at this total spookiness:

    Sagittarius and Taurus:

    Taurus sees an adventure in Sagittarius. These two signs will party, play and be very good friends. There is much to be learned from one another. They will have similar ideas and share common goals. Sagittarius will be instantly attracted to sensual Taurus. Taurus will stick with Sagittarius in sickness and in health. Sagittarius will feel at home with Taurus. Taurus will find Sagittarius independence very attractive. This is a highly rewarding combination that has both long and short term potential. Before they know it, they could fall madly in love. Taurus is serious and sensual. Sagittarius considers Taurus a keeper and friendship will be evident long after the attraction has ended. You will learn more about yourselves in this relationship. Itís worth the insight.

For the record, I'm a Taurus, Ben is a Sagittarius. His birthday was December 2nd. He's not 36 though. He's 39.

No, THIS is Sparta.

See, that's one of the problems. If I begin to tip-toe around my own life for fear of offending anyone, I go back to square one. If I make a stand and choose who I want to spend time with, who gets to take which child out for what fun, who gets my attentions and who become godfathers, feelings are hurt.

At the end of the day it is not lost on me that these guys fancy themselves warriors from the middle ages. Fighting for their way of life, and infighting over perceived atrocities. Putting their women on pedestals and trying to be too tough and too fierce to let anything under their skins. They want food, lots of physical activity and a warm woman in their bed at night. They don't want to be nagged or bothered or hindered by complications. They joke around a lot but mostly they have forged a brotherhood that has withstood just about everything that has been thrown at it and it means everything to them.

Instead of a queen, they fight in the name of their princess. Instead of leather garments and armor they were jeans. Instead of swords they use fists to conquer their enemies and awful words exchanged with fervor and instead of sending word via messengers they use their blackberries. Few of them ever shave and their horses are metal, trucks in the winter. You hear them coming from the bottom step and as a group they are impenetrable.

They have a war cry, a secret handshake (shhhhh) and devotion. They have a creed. They have honor. They, so they have told me, have better bodies than the painted-on muscles of the guys in 300. I've seen most of them, I can vouch for that.

They have heart.

But I won't stand for being the one thing that divides them. They tell me I can't, it won't, but I do and it has. A million times over, every last argument and problem and concern has been because of me.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Humble apologies for the hurt that I have caused.

(Thursdays at five, Ben shows up and stays with us for three days straight. It's wonderful.)

Oh. Well, just shit.

I hit a nerve. I hit several.

Way back when I started writing this journal, Ben started reading it with a vested interest. He left comments, dissected my entries and began his own blog, which he stopped using and all but erased after writing some less than stellar entries about me and getting grief for it, most likely in retaliation for me writing about him. I closed my comments. He took down his Flickr account too. It was just easier to write without the immediate feedback and without pictures of me all over the web. Sometimes I don't feel very self-assured. I even check the email for the site only when I feel like I won't be skinned alive for what I've put down here. I don't talk about this place with my friends. They read, they usually keep their feelings about it to themselves.

And it didn't seem to matter what I shared over the past two years. I kept a lot private though. Mostly for Ben's own privacy issues and some because, contrary to popular belief, my life isn't an open book. You don't know the half of it. All of it I hid under the guise of his double life. So he could have a quiet life when he is home and not on the road.

In any event, he's never had a problem with my honesty or my verbal spillage until tonight, when he reads that he 'gets to play Dad without recourse or responsibility', which he took as a full-on insult, personally. That he plays with our lives and doesn't have to answer for it. That he might be shallow or flippant and not interested in an investment.

Ben would now like me to tell the internet that he most definitely will take on whatever responsibilities we can throw at him and he will gladly be on the hook. In his world, there is much recourse and he wants it. Greedily so, but he's been very good with not pressuring me and I've been REALLY FREAKING GREAT at not molesting Christian and Joel in return.

Yeah. What a pair.

In any event, should I pass his involvement off as lightweight any time ever again, his Flickr account goes back up. It's extortion of a different kind, though I pointed out I don't want to see pictures from dinners and barbecues and sports events and camping trips. I don't want to see Jacob smiling and happy. Or me, for that matter.

Ben corrects me still and reminds me of the wardrobe malfunctions, the epic number of sticking-my-tongue-out replies to his request for photos and the few truly awful candids he feels belong on the internet for all to see.

I'm doomed.

So, yes, this is my convoluted apology and my comeuppance, all rolled into one bedtime snack of crow. I spoke out of turn. These boys are gold and I never forget it for a second. Ever. I would be lost without them. Possibly dead but I'll get shit on for saying that, so I'll just say thank you instead.

And that it goes both ways. If I had a nickel for every photo I took of a drunken Ben I'd be...well, just nevermind. His account stays empty and I will never cheapen their roles in our lives again.

Let there be more light. And more words.

Of course there's more. I'm so unsettled this morning. I stopped running. I've got nowhere to put all this endless energy and yet to look at me you'd tell me to go lie down, that I look worn out.

I did finish replying to all the emails here. And I'm sorry, I couldn't write a decent email to save my soul. They're just awkward and cold somehow. Kind of like Bridget.

What pisses me off is to watch the kids with the boys. They gravitate to them for odd things, like bedtime stories, help with piano practice or sledding. Help opening boxes or building Lego. Talk over cookies. Not even deep talks, just random stream of consciousness-type conversations about harmonicas and marshmallows, or about school and the weather. They crave male influence almost as much as I do. Part of me wants to be everything for them now and the other part smartly knows I never will be, that I can't be.

Every night they ask me if whoever is here can put them to bed, tuck them in and start their music boxes and leave their doors cracked open just so the nightlight in the hall spills in enough to keep them from fearing the dark. Every night I say yes and Joel or Chris or Ben or John or August or whoever is here takes the most important and solemn of honorable tasks and sends them off in comfort to their dreams, playing dad with no recourse or responsibility.

I don't know why it makes me angry but it does. It's one thing for me to deal with all of this, some that I caused, some that I didn't, but for the kids to have to manage life in a quiet uproar, missing people they loved so much, well, it just isn't fair.

Blue velvet and Becel.

In my early twenties I wore blue velvet for it's cachet.

Sometimes in black comedy movies, there will be a predictable scene where the heroine will be standing in a crowd and she'll throw back her head and scream up to the heavens in frustration while the camera spirals out to show she's just one fish in the sea. Cue laughter, segue into next frame.

I reached that point over the past few days.

I have a cheering section. They're wanting me to go and be happy. I'd like to go and be happy but HELLO, I have this cloud hanging over me that won't go away any time soon. I'm still using the new tub of margarine Jake opened before he died and I'm weirdly skimming the edges. There's a tower of margarine in the middle from where he stuck his knife right in, leaving whole wheat crumbs in it, buttering bread for Henry.

That's dumb. A monument that will soon be used up, though I'll probably just throw it away.

Sleeping in shirts owned by the dead. Living for nothing, blind to a future I can't conjure up in my head no matter how hard I try.

And this. This weird pressure that no one is going to be shocked or sad or disappointed if I step out of my mourning clothes and come back to life and it's a heavy burden. It's a leap I have no courage to make right now and they pat my head and tell me I should just do it anyway and one withdraws into himself and bites his tongue so as not to have an opinion at all even though I squeezed one out of him anyway and it wasn't so bad after all.

I went back to therapy this morning. I sat in the chair and drank their institutional-tasting coffee and we caught up, beginning with how the holidays went and I mostly talked about how leaving the house was better than staying in it and how much of my life is currently conducted around what people might think and why, at this point, I would even care.

I don't. Somehow in the past year I was conditioned to behave in the way a...a...a...minister's wife would behave. Proper. But I've always been proper, because of the way I wanted to be perceived. A cold and high-strung girl who made the right apologies and wrote thank you notes and helped out without being asked and inside was this completely depraved creature who wouldn't know proper if it throttled her breathless.

I managed to separate them even though they'd like to be together and finally when I couldn't name a single person or reason for not giving myself permission to have something I want I realized that maybe it's because I get to call the shots and I'm not ready to give that up quite yet. I was corrected quickly. The submissiveness remains. I pass the reins over without question, I mostly do what I'm told. Sweetly deferring. Always so sweetly so as not to hurt feelings.


And my mourning clothes are not black.

Instead I wear navy blue, a hue that sucks the sunlight right out of the sky. A hue that makes my eyes wash out and turns my hair to spun gold. A color I was assigned as a child when people died and my brown-haired sister wore black. Blondes had to wear dark blue, because black would wash me out. That was the way it was done.

I have a blue velvet hair ribbon that I tied around my ponytail hastily when Cole died, to cover a pink elastic. When I picked it up again when Jacob died it was still kinked in the middle. Not enough time. I didn't get enough time. I don't want the stupid ribbon.

I have work to do.

I cannot talk about it anymore.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Better than paying people to listen to me.

Yesterday I kept charge of two adults, an eight year old, a six year old, a fourteen-month old and a newborn, just this side of four weeks old. The adults were sent home early for infighting, because they kept raising their voices and I refused to let their quiet tension cut through a house full of happy children.

Gabe and Hope were special visitors, with me through the afternoon and into the evening while their parents all enjoyed a little adult visiting time and a dinner out on my urging. Plus it was the first time I've laid eyes on Hope and I wasn't about to let her go until I had sufficient chance to enjoy spending some time with her. She looks like Keira, save for one wild strawberry-blonde curl on top of her head. She mostly slept sweetly and I fed her one bottle and rocked her a bit but she was never awake for long. Gabe on the other hand is walking now, and wanted to run around the house chasing the cat, chasing Henry, touching the baby and anything else he could put his little hands on, and he was fast. I think it took me close to two hours to un-babyproof last night but it was worth it.

Keira and Loch are happy. It's so wonderful I can't even describe it.

I had so much fun. It was a nice break from the usual routine of Being a Widow. In which people come and go briefly but often, checking to see how I am, what I need, and then drifting away again while the darkness crowds back in close. This was like a break. A lungful of air.

When they came back I got a lovely dose of Lochlogic too, something he saves up and unleashes on his poor unsuspecting victims when he wants to make a point and drive it home.

More approval. More confirmations. Solid green lights at every intersection and the road ahead is straight and clear. I asked him why and he said the one person who grew up first, who went and straightened out his shit and came out okay first was Ben. That Ben saw through Jacob first and tried to tell me and I didn't listen and maybe he's less carefree and sees a lot more than people ever gave him credit for. Ben had repeatedly told me Jacob was a control freak, that he was pulling strings I didn't know I had but I was so blind to Jacob's flaws I pushed Ben out of my life but he wouldn't go. He self-destructed under the pressure instead but instead of running away he lingered around the edges while pulling himself back together again.

Looking back over the past week it makes perfect sense to me.

Before they left Loch had one final observation to make. He asked me to consider the idea that maybe my life isn't completely derailed. That maybe Jacob was a detour and it turned out to be a dead end. That maybe I wasn't on the path that was chosen for me and I could find my way back and get on it at any time. That my life was waiting for me as soon as I am willing to get back on the right road, if it isnt the road I started on, with Lochlan.

So far I hadn't considered that possibility at all. I didn't want to. I didn't want to trivialize or minimize Jacob's impact on me or his meaning to me. I won't reduce him.

Loch grimaced, and had one final wisdom that he tossed out and left hanging in front of me, so that I wouldn't forget it.

That's the problem, Bridget. You built him up so big that no one could ever compare to Jacob in life. And now you're doing it in death. He was just a man. He was flawed and he hurt you probably more than Cole ever could, in a way that will forever be harder to forget. Don't give him any more credit. Just don't.

It was something I needed to hear.