Monday, 31 March 2008

Don't panic, Bridget. We're here to help you.

I think...I think the part where it took four tries to punch in the correct numbers in the right order was the giveaway. Endless fluttering of a bird up against the plate-glass window, banging repeatedly, looking for her escape and frantic with efforts that go nowhere.

I'm going back to therapy, well, tomorrow. The biggest April fool of all.

He is coming with me. Not inside. He'll wait in the little room with two chairs outside of a soundproof door but removed slightly from reception for privacy. He'll wait and he'll wonder what words I'm using to try and tell them they were right.

I made it so much further this time and one stupid tiny unguarded sentence tore it all apart. I didn't mean I would hurt myself because I won't.

But why would they believe me now?

It's okay. It'll be fine. Right?

Marked for life.

Confessions for a rainy Monday.

    I was waiting for my hearse
    What came next was so much worse
    It took a funeral to make me feel alive

    Just open your eyes
    Just open your eyes
    And see that life is beautiful.
    Will you swear on your life,
    That no one will cry at my funeral?

Hallo, good morning. It's Monday. Momday. A day to myself without the well-meaningsers and the only-concern-eds. I have told you I love my friends and I friend my lovers even. And no, I'm not drunk, just somewhat weirdly content today. Full of plans, full of hope, full of hopefully almost the next to last of the awful, overly-sweet cappuccino bullshit that passes for coffee today. Everyone else planned to get it on the go and Andrew didn't read my mind and bring any. Ben offered to make some but I don't think a whole pot to myself is any point noted today.

Tomorrow is April Fools. Does that mean Jacob will come back? Maybe to tell me that I failed. That I didn't wait long enough or grieve hard enough and I'm ready for that. I can just tell him I didn't start yet and then everyone can step back with their sympathetic horror and avert their eyes a little further peripherally so they aren't blinded by my amazing circus talents here. Those that involve perpetual pain and denial. He would understand me, and forgive me and then he'd probably vanish in a puff of smoke once again, for this is the stuff of dreams.

Instead Ben will replace my coffee grounds with earth and I'll get a potful of fresh-brewed mud, or maybe he'll say he has to work but spend the day at home instead, distracting me with sweetness while he sweeps the ghosts out the back door as I look the other way. He's good like that.

And he's even better with badly-kept five-year-old never-confirmed-but-long-suspected secrets. Like the ones about our tattoos and what they mean, finally admitted this weekend, publicly. The first time we went and got matching ones, his was a lowercase letter b and mine an uppercase B, both tangled up in ivy. At the time, when pressed, we both claimed to like slightly different styles and we both have names that start with a b, so why the hell not?

Cole left it with a 'to each his own' comment, since he thought art was art and as long as I was happy nothing else was important (pfft). Jacob always thought I got a B for me and then Ben got a b possibly also for me and it was one more reason for them to not like each other all that much.

In reality the big B stands for Ben, and the little b is for Bridget. We got them expressly for each other to honor this strange super-glue connection we have that holds in spite of just about everything.

Funny how things turn out.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Loose inside my head.

Tomorrow is going to be interesting. Andrew will be here bright and early to help Erin move what little she brought back to her apartment, where she'll live until roughly the new year. She'll have her things shipped out further into April. She's looking forward to getting back into the swing of things closer to the city in the meantime.

The kids go back to school as well, which will mean a hazardous jolt back into routine, which will take most of the week to sort through but I'm looking forward to it anyway. They've become wild heathens that I have had to use exemplary amounts of patience to wrangle. As it is, it's difficult not to let them get away with things simply on the basis of everything they have had to deal with, but one thing counseling taught me was consistency, limits and a firm, loving hand are what's best for them. Those who don't even know me who call me a shitty parent? I'm doing the best that I can, and the kids are doing very well, all things considering.

Ben goes back to work tomorrow, to the bland and not-exciting-in-the-least day job, running numbers from his cubicle on whatever floor they've put him on now. It changes every time he goes away. He and the insurance company coexist solely for cheap health plans and fighting off boredom with steady paychecks, something to do while everyone else toils in their less fortunate universes. He puts on his Clark Kents and hunkers down over spreadsheets with a ground-down pencil between his teeth and then spends the rest of his evening complaining that his neck aches.

And me? I'll be content to write and drink coffee and rattle around, with the music up loud and the pets sleeping peaceful in the sunny spots on the floor if there are any to be found, and you will hear from me at least once and the phone will ring and eventually Andrew will come back and take me somewhere for more caffeine and a break from the walls of my mental prison and then suddenly it will be closer to dinner and everyone will be home where it's warm and we'll put on a few more lights and for a while it won't seem like such a prison in my head, but a refuge.

One in the same.

And in the less like Cole, more like Jake division of all things Bridget being love or death, Ben's adopted an old habit of Jake's that I don't think he really acknowledges as Jake's, probably because it's not like it was patented or copyrighted or exclusive by any means, but it's still disturbingly wonderful nonetheless.

He holds my hand. Tightly, constantly. To the point where, once again, I find myself repeatedly pointing out that I need to go to the bathroom or pick up a heavy pot or maybe I want to pin up my hair but my hand is tight in a vise of invisible protection and ownership.

And I like that.

I forgot how much.

Tickle me evo.

Earth hour in our household sort of almost was kind of a mini-disaster that turned out very well in the end.

We don't live in a city that sees a lot of power outages. Windstorms and blizzards are relatively rare overall and we've had exactly one brown-out and one blackout in almost six years. Our raging blizzard began as a glorious heavy downpour and changed gradually to snow and wind after dark. The boys night plans included switching to candles and guitars from 8 to 9 pm in honor of the planet and we were off.

Only the kids decided five minutes in that they didn't like it and didn't care and could I put the lights on ohpleasepleaseplease and they were oddly not fans of it at all. Which is strange considering their genetic love of horror movies, watched in the dark of the living room or a movie theatre, and I rarely have more than one light on in the whole upstairs at night and only a couple downstairs. They play spies in the dark basement.

I didn't get it.

Ben finally suggested we take a drive out to the edge of the city and look at some other neighborhoods and make sure everyone else had their lights out too. John and Andrew wanted to, so we piled into his truck and off we went.

They did. Neighborhoods were black, invisible against the driving snow. Companies had the barest of security lights highlighting only entrances of buildings that are closed on weekends. Apartment blocks were quiet, dark bricks, candles flickering through open blinds. The kids were impressed.

And then Earth Hour was swiftly shoved aside in favor of a new discovery. Because we had to pass the car dealership mall that lies outside the city. With the Mitsubishi place right on the front line. Ben pulled in so fast I thought he had lost his mind, swerving to avoid an imaginary car or something. Or a deer.

He just sat and stared.

I sat up and looked past him.

They had an Evo. A Lancer Evolution. Or as we call it, Ben's Emo. Because he laughs and said he would cry tears of joy as he quickly passes people on the highway.

His favorite car.

I thought he might cry. He's loved these cars for like seven years and you couldn't get them in Canada without making heavy modifications, if at all. Now they're selling them. A forty-five thousand dollar package of horsepower and Japanese muscle and an intercooler that could suck in small animals and children but strangely and wonderfully enough, a family sedan with good backseat and trunk space. Four wheel drive, for our brutal eight-month winters.

Yeah, I think the big white truck's days are numbered, and he's only been a truck convert for the past year, having given up his previous car (mustang) after seeing how much the other guys loved their trucks (read: Jake).

He came home and ran some numbers (pointlessly) and decided that he will buy the car, but not for a year or so, until they have a few more colors and he looks after some other stuff. He asked if I liked it and I didn't have to ask if that really mattered but he wanted to know. Really I think it's expensive for a car but in the end life is short and it's not like he just saw it and liked it. He's liked it forever and he was like Henry when I take him to Sugar Mountain-bouncing around not knowing what to look at first. That reaction alone tells me the answer to his question.

Twenty dollars says we'll be going back today to look at it again.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Greetings from the center of the earth.

    You're so cold
    Keep your hand in mine
    Wise men wonder while
    Strong men die

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

It's Saturday. Another blizzard, another list of errands a mile long. I need some groceries and a new watch strap before I lose my mind. Butterfield wrapped me around a tree last winter, breaking my watch and I replaced my strap and have hated it ever since. Ben has a meeting. Erin is beginning to pull her things together for moving on Monday. Andrew is coming for dinner tonight as prepayment for helping with said move and John will be by tonight as well for a boy's night thing. I'm going to steal away to my room to read, since it's spring and once again I find my night table stacked to the rafters with books I haven't cracked yet.

And last but not least, Joel called this morning to say hello and I answered, from bed where I lay in Ben's arm, pulled tight around me. Joel seemed surprised that I picked up, probably having rehearsed the message he would have left and instead we had a good long talk about life without meds and positive changes and betrayals and it seemed that our justifications and accusations were mirror images, he having chosen the less productive route as well in favor of instant gratification with no thought to the fallout down the road, which is exactly what he accuses me of. I told him life could stand this way if he wanted, since we disapproved of each other and he asked me if I wouldn't have been happier with different choices. I knew what he meant but I ignored that and told him instead to send me his new address information and such so I can send him postcards from heaven. He laughed forever.

And then I forgot my promise and I warned him to be very, very careful with Caleb because he seems like he has your best interests at heart all the while he is taking what he wants from you. Joel said he knew, and he had watched what happened to me and to Ben and that he was immune to being influenced. I pointed out that he was there, wasn't he? He was silent for a moment and then he quietly promised me he would watch out for himself if I promised to call him if I needed him. I repeated that back to Joel and Ben laughed out loud. Joel heard him and said to say hello (graciously, considering) and I passed my phone up to Ben's ear, and he opted to be gracious too.

Hello, Dr. J. How are things in hell?...she's don't need to worry about her...worry about yourself now...yes.........just watch your back, man...k, will do. You too.
He passed me back the phone and I said my goodbyes to Joel and then hung up and I asked Ben if they might have actually made up in that brief exchange. He told me it wasn't important and that we needed to get up and get going if we were going to get everything done before the blizzard hit.

Then he went back to sleep. Because he's not worried about me, and he's not worried about Joel. It's interesting that the earthquakes hit, the shakiest walls are the ones that are still standing. In a million years I wouldn't have picked Ben as the one to stand fast and hold it together but he seems to have done a better job than the rest of us.

It brings a new sort of regret for me on this grey and snowy morning. I wish, over the years, that I had given Ben a little more credit. I didn't and I really wish I had.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Not safe.

    What did you say to me
    I'm not a novelty
    You're playing revelry
    But no one's listening

Emotionally things are different now.

I woke up at four-thirty this morning inside of a firework, explosions going off as synapses fired inside my little head, sleepily realizing that I was naked and sitting up, sitting in Ben's lap, my head lazing on his shoulder, his arms lifting me gently, over and over while he kissed up and down my collarbone. He has no qualms about touching me when I am sleeping, taking me out of whatever I'm sleeping in and doing whatever he wants to me. It doesn't surprise me anymore. I like it.

I didn't struggle. I dug in with my nails on his back instead. I sighed. He put his hand over my mouth, pushing me down onto my back again. In case I made a sound. I bit his hand and he grinned.

There are things about life now I haven't talked about. Things that are probably none of anyone's business. But things that keep drifting to the forefront of my mind and sticking there.

Ben is a lot like Cole. Way more like Cole than I let on.

Don't think I don't understand this. That Jacob was a wild tangent and I was meant to be not rushed and just admired and played with and appreciated for what I can achieve in Ben's arms and where I can get him. His best way of blowing off steam and being dark. His muse. Always his muse even though he denied it until last fall.

    Beautiful enemy,
    I'll fix your broken wings.
    I'll let you lie here till you
    fly away from me.

He's rather...dark overall. His passion just erupts in a rage of barely controlled strength and vulnerabilities of his own. He's gloriously cut and dried. I can work with this. He's predictable and beautifully depraved.

When it comes to sex, he is on. There is never off. He's never awkward or quiet like he is in regular Ben-mode. Ben is Ben all the time until the lights go out.

He is who I would pick to play off my predilections and I won't be made to feel sorry for saying that. He can match what I bring and then some. He leaves me hurting and physically ruined and breathless for more of the same. We match on a level I never expected to. Sexually he'll go anywhere I ask him to go and two past. We needed a safe word. He will pause and wait for me to invoke it, breathless, teeth gritted, hands shaking and I won't say a thing and he loves me to death. It took him all of three seconds for him to come to grips with my fragility inside his head versus my reality in his arms.

We traded fetishes. A match made in hell.

He evoked the word first, before I did.

And then we knew exactly where we lie.

He'll hold me down and force me out and not let me up. He'll match whatever I have inside my head and he'll find the dark and exploit it on my behalf. He is everything I ever wanted in that regard but I don't have to be afraid I might wind up dead in the process. He takes my goosebumps and my cries and forces me silent and still and then winds me out with his wants and then tells me he loves me more than he possibly thought he could ever love someone. We don't have to plan or ask or wish for anything. He knows of my issues and he'll indulge me in everything and anything. And I him.

Is it healthy? It depends who you ask. And when I am face-down with my hands behind my back I'm not your sweet princess and I'm not in a position to ask anyone anything. Half the time I'm not in a position to consent and that's just the way I want it.

The trust we broke there once before came back in mountains and eternities of faith in something I never looked for in Ben and found in spades after all.

Love, for love's sake. Love without fear, and love firmly grounded in reality. The perfect blend of Cole's fire and Jacob's romance, well-mixed and presented to me on a human form.

Had we not spent so many years learning each other from the ground up this would have gone a lot more slowly. Had we not had epic uncensored discussions on sex and fetishes and needs and wants and forbidden scenarios and half-assed invitations it might have been a less-spectacular coupling. Had we had any sense of common decency, I wouldn't have anything to share with you that makes my toes curl just like..that.

The echo of that is like music, isn't it? The promise of that warms my heart. That tiny fragment of twisted heart beating inside my chest in a cage made of bone and fight.

And it makes me so very happy.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Fighting for peanuts.

Okay I lied.

I have something for you.

This morning when I got out of the shower, I threw on a robe and ran down to Ben's closet hoping to snag the coveted Snoopy shirt. Long story but he has a t-shirt with snoopy playing guitar on the front. It's the dumbest, cutest shirt in the whole world and especially in the past year, if it's clean, he'll put it on. Which means we see it five days a week pretty much. Every now and then he lets me wear it but it's been a long time. He even said no when I asked if I could wear it home when I left him in New York after my visit. He wouldn't give it up.

So this morning he saw me coming a mile away and came around through the kitchen, down the other hallway and I flew into his room and grabbed for the knob and he actually lunged across the bed, grabbing me and pulling me down in the process, opening my robe (which was distracting!) and said he really really wanted to wear that shirt today and maybe I can wear it on the weekend.

I asked him why he never let me wear the shirt anymore and he finally told me. He said he didn't know how I do it, but even after I've washed a T-shirt I've borrowed from him, he still sees protrusions in the front of this shirt where my breasts stretched the fabric. Somehow stretching a Men's XL shirt. Right.

Nice, Ben.


I told him I'd never borrow his shirts again and he laughed and told me I look much better without a shirt on anyway, staring at all my exposed flesh, no longer covered by my robe.

Of course he's right.

(I didn't actually have to throw that in, did I?)


The only thing I have for the internet today is a hearty fuck you for the recent slew of hate mail.

That is all.

Maybe tomorrow things will be different.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Just a little tiny bit of something.

At the very last moment, we canceled. Everyone else will still go, nothing will fall apart, they can catch up and talk and maybe our ears will burn but maybe it will be more of a wishful thought that we could join them all but just for tonight we looked at each other and couldn't. Couldn't put on a coat and walk outside again, couldn't find the energy to put forth a social face and couldn't bear to let go of each other long enough to sit in a truck or in a restaurant and instead we're going to get the kids settled and then curl up early together and fall asleep and not talk or dream or move or be anyone other than ourselves.

I can count on one little hand the number of times I have ever not made good on plans made and it kind of feels alien at first, and then it feels forbidden and finally it feels liberating. That I could run upstairs before cooking dinner here and change into plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a long-sleeved t-shirt and make a huge platter of fruit and vegetables and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and we took them to the TV to eat while we watched an old movie and didn't talk so much at all, numb and mindless and comforted.

Ben's eyes are closing. The flash of brown where he rests, alert but sacrificed to fatigue is beginning to catch up with him, overtaking him at this point. He's on the verge of getting sick. He always gets sick at the end and earlier he laughed so incredulously and came to point out to me how, less than a year ago we had called it quits and he tried so valiantly to move on and failed and how dumb we were but how damned sure. And look where we are now.

And if I wanted to know something he has never told anyone before, then would I find it interesting to know that never once has he ever said I love You to anyone out loud in his entire life before saying it to me? He said it to me from the get-go as friends because it was true, only I used it as a greeting and as a goodbye and as a reminder and love for Bridget is sometimes everything and the kitchen sink but for Ben it is a sacred, beautiful declaration that is reserved only for the one you really do love that deeply and I had to think really hard because Christ, he's had a ton of girlfriends and some of them have been around in the past and I was convinced he had said it in front of us but he knew he hadn't and I couldn't come up with any examples at all.

I asked him if they had ever noticed or been bothered by that and he said all of them were, they had all noticed, and he didn't really care because he didn't love them so why would he say he did and now I knew why there were so many of them. No one would stay.


It was supposed to be a quiet night of going to bed early and doing little but it's hard to relax when you're covered in goosebumps. For a decidedly unromantic guy, he's really good at this stuff.

Citrus snow.

The best way to eat a grapefruit is outside on the front steps.

First you have to put a pinch of white sugar in a bowl. Then peel the grapefruit and separate into sections, breaking each section in half to remove any seeds. Discard the peel and the seeds and then toss the bowl a few times to land sugar on each piece. Eat voraciously while shivering and then lick the remaining juice off your fingers while smiling, because someone watched you from beginning to end with sleepy amusement.

Then if you feel so inclined you can wander down to the wrought iron gate and get the newspaper to take inside where you will be relieved of it before you can slip out of your boots. In exchange for the paper you're offered a steaming hot cup of coffee and a kiss and then an unexpected hour alone to jot down ideas and do a little bit of writing.

It would be perfect except you are checked on every ten minutes or so, which seems strange when the amount of time you have spent alone in the past two weeks is considered, but you opt to call it charming and give up on writing in favor of reading.

There is a big dinner planned for this evening, and not at home. Out at a place where we'll leave our shoes by the door and go inside and sit on the floor around a big low table and they'll close the rice paper doors and come inside in little groups to replenish things and it's a lot like the interruptions you have this morning but you don't mind those either.

Not today.

    Too alarming now to talk about
    Take your pictures down
    and shake it out
    Truth or consequence, say it aloud
    Use that evidence race it around

    There goes my hero
    Watch him as he goes
    There goes my hero
    He's ordinary

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Icing on the cake.

There's cake. I no longer need cake. I'm getting a little pudgy.


I need to run but the sidewalks are sheets of ice and it's too wet to run on the road so as soon as I get my act together I'm going to be using the elliptical and the weight bench thingie which is always not as fun as running but probably better than sitting around licking the knife from cutting said cake.

Almost forgot what I popped in to mention.

I was given my present this afternoon. After Ben almost lost it, since he had emptied out his suitcase and it wasn't there. No, it was under a guitar because that's where you put the important stuff.

A vintage music box. A very tiny little hinged box that plays Fur Elise (haltingly) when you open it. I found that funny because it's one of the few songs I can't seem to play all the way through from memory on the piano.

And inside?

His six month medallion. Six months sober. So very important, this is.

To thine own self be true, it says. Indeed.

Just perfect.

    Sacrifice yourself and let me have what's left.

There were wild bunny tracks all over the lawn this morning, defined in a thick white layer of new fallen snow. They're happy spring is here too, and they probably don't enjoy this most recent blizzard, one that saw Ben fly into the city with his knuckles most likely white in their deathgrip on his armrests. He said the flight was awful but he didn't care because he was home and because he was with me.

Is it so bad that when I see him I get goosebumps all over? All that and still he knows he's been handed the box of cookies with mere crumbled bits in the bottom. What was left. The part no one wanted. His favorite part. He has me all to himself now. Sometimes I can look at him and smile and then burst into tears and he knows why and it's okay and someday I won't do that, hopefully.

I bet he hopes that a little more often than he says he does.

Sometimes I wish I had been able to give him everything right off the bat. Instead of getting a survivor, weakened and broken and still vaguely unsteady, that he could have had Bridget when he met Bridget. New and fresh and happy and young and full of promise, plans and 'good' nervous tension.

The bad tension drains away when he touches me.

The unsteadiness evaporates when I am tucked into his arms.

The broken parts heal with his words or his touch.

He is a patient man. Whenever I bring up memories or disparaging things to talk about he steers the subject to hopeful things or funny things. Whenever I feel like I can't quite get my hands to stop or my mouth to cooperate he holds them or kisses me as if he can take some of it away or at least kill the bad stuff with a new moment, a good moment.

Since he came home last night he's been very close by. I won't even tell you how close he is right now. I just poked him, did you see that? I barely had to move. He's smiled more in the past twelve hours than he did when I joined him for the last epic visit on the road. He's as relaxed as I have ever seen him. Doesn't argue, even when I put the jam knife in the peanut butter to provoke him, which is usually cause for cries of Fail! and repetition of why messing the two up is bad and it's okay if it's for a peanut butter and jam sandwich but what if I'm having jam on a crumpet? Or peanut butter and banana and you just blended it all, messy girl. What am I supposed to do now?

Only he's usually kidding and today he didn't even care. And I didn't care when he fell asleep ON my hair instead of pulling it up out of the way like he usually does when we go to sleep. It's like we're just ourselves and there's nothing that can kill the mood.


I just pinched him to make sure and he grabbed my hand and pulled me in for a kiss and repeated what I just wrote. Nothing can kill this mood, little bee.

I didn't think he was watching that closely, but he was, with his customary white-knuckle approach. Holding tight in case of turbulence. Only the skies have cleared and all I see is the sun.

Monday, 24 March 2008


He's home! He's home! He's HOME!

And you all suck for playing along with his ruse, though I should have known better. Was I always this gullib-

Who cares? Ben is home. I can breathe. I didn't even realize I wasn't.

More bunnies, more letters.

Ben had three very large chocolate bunnies delivered to the house this morning. Included was a note to 'check email'. I checked email as instructed and he had written me a letter. I won't share it with you but for sake of partial disclosure, it contained some very soothing reassurances that he has talked to Sam, and that Sam's allegiances no longer lie with Jacob and that Sam would tell me as much if I didn't go out of my way to avoid talking to him. The other surprise was that when Ben is back for good, or rather, in a little over two weeks, we'll be starting therapy. Together. With someone new that came highly recommended from someone Ben knows. So that we don't begin a new season on the wrong foot, so we don't fall, so we don't forget what we're doing here. So we make it, or at least have a better shot at something than we might if we wing it alone.

This smacks of fixing things, doesn't it? It makes me glad, though. I told him I would think about it, not because I want to risk everything but because I have heard it all before and I think it's amazing that he wants to play peacemaker and it's completely hilarious that he finally acknowledges how much we argue.

Sometimes I feel so much deeper, slower and more exposed than everyone else. Like I'm the burn victim and you're all the candy-striped volunteers and you can't help me with the pain but just for a little while I am distracted long enough to make it count.

Yuck. That comparison sucked. Shelve it, would you?

This morning I was looking around the internet to see what has become of people I used to talk with or comment back and forth with years ago, people who have all but disappeared now. I couldn't find any of them but life goes on. Life always goes on.

    Words are my promises, carved into stone. Words are the light by which we fight back the night. Words are the stick by which we measure each other. Words are the only gift I have for you that will ever be enough. I love you. Don't you ever forget that, princess.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

A house full of girls.

Henry is the lone male in a house full of girls now. Erin is here. The kids are home. Ruth threw up in the truck on the way home from the airport. With her consent I threw away the outfit she had on. Then after they were tucked in bed for the night and Erin was on the phone making plans to see some old friends I went out and cleaned my truck in the dark. Thankfully this morning it looked pretty good and smelled cleaner than usual.

The kids may have grown. They were windblown and full of confidence. They were happy to be back and plunged into routine. Their systems are shot by the time zone change. Both were out of bed late last night looking for a snack.

Erin is well. This visit heralds her permanent return to the province. She's going to stay here until April 1st and then rent a flat in the city while her tenant expires the lease on her house south of here. She's not surprised or unhappy that I have found something in Ben, and she has managed to come to terms with her brother's death in an admirable way and has been adamant that I do the same.

Jacob sent letters to everyone. Mailed virtually the day he left town. Everyone got a letter explaining his plans and his reasons and his failings and Bridget got a book. I got a book. Dozens of letters that I don't know what order to put in, journals full of how he felt about me and why he was so temporary. It's like trying to learn a new language by sitting down with a novel written in that language and hoping for the best. There are so many words I drown in the quantity before I can latch onto a meaning for safety. I can't even read most of them.

Erin thinks I can just somehow accept it, deal with it and move on. So far I have only moved on. We somehow agreed silently to let it go. She is fine with Ben, she considered it an inevitability, which I found spooky, she thinks along the same lines as Loch when it comes to those things, and she is just happy to be back. She said the kids helped to rejuvenate her folks, that having them there helped to heal the whole family and she thanked me for allowing them to go.

She brought presents. She brought plans.

I'm happy she came back.

The house is now full of honey again. Honey and photographs of days that will never be repeated and love that will never return.

Someday bunnies will rule the world.

A little post on a quiet Sunday morning. I'm ready to roll but the kids don't get in until late afternoon. I'm not going to church, and the boys are all still asleep. I always have you, internet.

Well, I don't, but you rang my doorbell, I can't possibly have you going away empty-handed now, can I?

It's gorgeous here today, the sun is shining, the snow is melting rapidly now. My lawn is at least ten percent bare. There is no snow on the roof of the garage that I can see from the old master bedroom/Ruth's room or the turret, though there is snow on other people's buildings, still. I think it will be a painless thaw and a long, beautiful spring. The boys keep telling me there are buds on the trees and that geese are coming back in droves (or is that gaggles?) but I try not to look up at Jacob's sky.

I believe that Sam has all but given up on me. Our connection is broken, there is nothing to tie us together past his obligation to Jacob. August is slightly different in that regard, one of the few people that was able to swallow his professional opinions or allegiance to Jacob and become my friend easily. Joel couldn't manage it. Joel is gone (officially, permanently) at the end of this week from the rumors I hear. He calls every day still, without fail and I let my voicemail listen to his different approaches. One day he'll be quietly bitter, the next is a pretense that everything is fine, the next is a plea to just talk to him, that day followed by apologies and efforts to take his actions back. I just file them away in a mental cabinet that I will let the dust settle on until it is forgotten in history.

Yes, that's fair. I didn't just take. I was the only person Joel ever talked to about his agonizing divorce. I listened right back. I gave as much as I got. I owe him nothing. I'm going to owe him even less once he fully understands the gravity of choosing sides with Caleb. It's the most graceful way I can let him go.

As for Caleb, he does not call every day. He calls around twice a week and is well-versed in telling my recorded voice exactly what he needs to say. He's clipped and professional and rarely warm about it. It makes me laugh. There is no grace in dealing with him, I'm just trying to figure out how we went from passing all the cards back and forth to this new vaguely familiar standstill we wait at presently.

And this morning my wake-up call confirmed what I hesitantly mentioned last night. Yes, there are ten days left. Nine now, and promise. It'll be okay.

Easter for me has always been a starting-over point. This year will be no exception.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

The art of noise.

    Say it to my face
    Look me in the eyes
    And say what you have to say
    You know we can't erase these words before goodbye
    And turn the final page

    Here comes alone again

I'm a little grumpy tonight, but only just a little. It could be the poor sleep. It could be the craziness of this city on a long weekend and wearing myself to pieces trying to navigate through the chaos. At several points in the day, Schuyler would reverse direction, walking back to me to grab my hand to thread us through the shoppers and market-goers, all of whom were rushing (like us) to fit in their errands on the one open between two closed days this weekend.

We capped off the afternoon with a late dinner at an Italian restaurant. They began to suggest another movie, some games, maybe a late evening walk or something. I told them they had earned their time off for good behavior. Before trusting me to be alone they did do me the favor of walking the dog in the gathering darkness and Butterfield and I are now locked in tight for the night, alone together, though he is poor company. He's splayed out on the floor underneath the coffee table now, snoring and having his puppy dreams.

I talked to him for a bit but he didn't seem to care.

Daniel said before they left that I should sleep in my bed tonight and that they could be here in moments if I needed them. I reminded him that he says that every time he leaves and that in an emergency John is only two streets away but yes, I would call Daniel too. He said he'll be happier when Ben is back and I nodded because there was nothing I needed to say. I wish he was here right now because nights alone are things I believe I despise.

But I will be fine. I bought a new book to read. I filled the Easter baskets for the children and hid eggs all over the house in anticipation of tomorrow. I washed the dishes and caught up on the laundry since when the kids return home tomorrow everything in their suitcases will need to be washed again, and I hope to be in bed in an hour or so. I only have to stay up long enough to let Butters out one more time before bed and long enough to snag my treasured goodnight phone call from Ben.

I'll be happier when everyone is home. I'm one hundred percent sure the kids grew while they were away. They always seem so much bigger when they come home. Ten days is such a long time.

That's how many days are left until Ben comes home for good. But I'm not counting, I swear.

Open eyes, find head on flannel, cue twang of pain.

I woke up this morning with the indentation of a four-hole shell button on my temple from where my head was pressed on Daniel's shirt all night. Daniel, who was still wearing said shirt, who slept sitting up on my couch with one hand on my head, the other on my shoulder, feet up on the coffee table, woke up at once. He swore a rainbow of agony to the skies when I asked him if he could even move. I slept semi-upright, my face dragging down the front of his shirt slightly, jammed in between the arm of the couch and his legs.

Schuyler, the bright one, had wandered down the hall and crashed on Ben's bed. Said he felt great this morning while Daniel and I managed to be civilized to each other over coffee and bagels with murder in our eyes.

Why didn't you wake me up?

I couldn't just leave you there.

Why not? It's my house.

You might get cold...or something. I don't know.

Schuyler raised his eyebrow and went back to being invisible behind the paper.

Daniel, what in the hell is going on?

He asked me to b-

OH MY GOD. Ben asked you to babysit me?

No, he just asked me to keep an eye on you.

You could have gone down the hall. Everything is fine.

Yeah, well.


There's something that keeps people from doing that, Bridge.

What do you mean? The global fear of the narcoleptic among you?



You look really pretty when you sleep, Bridge.

I don't even believe you.


You just confirmed that you're one hundred percent related to Ben.

Did you ever doubt that before?

Sometimes, yes.

The lack of nail polish?


Ben thought it was hilarious, and confirmed if I had to assuage my needs for affection on anyone, it should be Dan. He said Dan and Schuy could probably serve all sorts of needs of mine but thankfully he had to go before elaborating. Good, I didn't want to have to hang up on him anyway.

He meant shopping needs, for all the perverts out there. Ben doesn't really like to go shopping and it's been a bone of contention between us.

Friday, 21 March 2008


I don't think very much beats a good curry, DVDs of The Wild One and Mutiny on the Bounty, and macking on Daniel without fear of anything but reciprocation.

You can't buy Bovinty Divinty anymore.

PJ isn't on my shitlist anymore. He's been on two dates now with a new girl, having opted to call the other one-night-stand a learning experience and move on from her. He reported back that he listened, asked all the right questions, was a gentleman, and has a third date punched into his calendar for this weekend. Go, Padraig! I'm sure it doesn't help matters that one of his best girl friends is a dysfunctional lunatic and I told him as much. He told me to stop being stupid and just enjoy that I get to hear about his dates.

For the record Christian and Chloe are as thick as thieves. I hardly see him anymore and I am so happy for him. He still calls every single day to talk, though. I told him not to, that he didn't have to and again, I was called names, gently. Don't be such a little pain in the ass, Bridge.

Today is a holiday but like most days in my world, it doesn't really mean anything different. Working from home means if I want to know the date I need to look on my watch or on the computer because otherwise I truly have no idea. I do have a large quantity of chocolate and bunny-related items hidden away for Sunday, when the kids return from the coast.

Both my mother and Sam already called and tag-teamed me this morning with suggestions that I go to church today. I thanked both politely and said I might, which is Bridget-speak for no, thank you.

Besides, I got a better offer (sorry, God).

Daniel and Schuyler are coming soon to spend the whole day/evening with me. They want to eat strange food and watch movies and gossip about Ben and PJ and be goofy. They said they'll drag me out for a manicure tomorrow. I could probably use it. My hands stopped cracking, thanks to the weather warming and one lovely reader's suggestion of paraffin (which I get in the form of dip gloves). I've stopped biting my nails again so it might be nice. Ben painted my toenails black last weekend in bed one night and it makes me laugh so maybe I can get matching fingernails.

We're all crazy about each other. Daniel is a shorter, less-intense, less-scary looking version of Ben. He is even more sensitive though. Schuy is laid-back and quiet but always always smiling. They are affectionate as hell. I am free to molest them all I want. I stocked the freezer with hors d'oeuvres (holy, have you ever tried to spell that?) and ice cream.

They'll come armed with comfort and terrific distractions. Good.

In other news. I lost two whole pounds. 122 now. Which will promptly be put back on because besides being Easter, it is Chocolate Weekend. The only weekend in the year where I will have a Cadbury Creme Egg, which look good in theory but after the first bite are really sickly sweet and totally disgusting.

That's usually when I cram the rest of it into my mouth all at once and relish all that is bad for me.

Like chocolate, men, sex and just about everything else worth living for. Life is so short. Eat the whole damned egg, I say.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Hearts only ache when no one is holding them.

I've come to the realization that I've been left in an unenviable position in life.

Holder of hearts. The Keeper.

The very first one I was given was Loch's. Held aloft like a challenge, easily gained via the wiles of a twelve-year-old girl from the other side of the neighborhood, a conquest for your average heartbreaking seventeen-year-old boy. I will argue I no longer have his heart, I passed it back and it's now shared between his girls and they will make it swell with pride.

We survived each other. Maybe? Let's hope.

The next heart was the heaviest. Cole's. Given to me at fifteen and I still carry it today. It is the longest burden, but the clearest cut designation. He may have had a roving eye and roving hands and violence in his spirit but when you stripped all that away, he only ever loved me. He loved me so much he would have rather I died then leave him.

The third heart I was given was Jacob's. The lightest, most hopeful, brightest shining heart of true immature love found in the scope of coveting someone. Blissfully ignorant and sure that he could mold our hearts together and all would be okay. Even when his darkness appeared he still was so damned hopeful. He left his heart with me and I keep it tied to a string so that it doesn't float away.

I have a fourth heart now, one just beginning to bloom with the blush of new love. The weird, unfamiliar ache of a new crush, where everything they do is amazing, every word, no matter how benign before is suddenly a symphony of logic or a sonnet of romantic intent. Ben passed his heart to me. I have dropped his a few times but it is quickly recovered and put into a continuous loop with the others.

Circus girl has a new feature show. I am the juggler.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Five days and five days.

I talked to two thirds of the grandparents today. Cole's folks enjoyed the kids being there, they shared lots of pictures with them, and said they were so well behaved and had fun too. Then I spoke with Jacob's mother. The first thing she told me was how much they both looked like Jacob and I bit my tongue so hard not to cry at the ludicrous sadness of that statement. They are going to paint pictures by the sea and eat wonderful foods and sleep so well again for the next five days, possibly at a slower pace and then Erin flies out with them on Saturday.

Cole's mom said she packed along some pictures for me. Very sweet of her.

I am so polite. I thanked her. Neither of us are that oblivious, and I know she is horrified by Caleb sometimes but at the end of the day she only has one child left and I never want to know how that feels. I can't fathom being in their shoes and so I pretend. We all pretend. That is what you do.

Instead of a pea, there is an orange seed.

The sun beams down through the stained glass onto the floor early in the mornings now. It is light when I get up, a physical lightness of being that helps me shrug off the immense weight of this winter. I cup cold water onto my face and meet my own gaze in the mirror, never failing to notice the pale skin, dark circles under my beautiful eyes. The lines under my eyes are soft but the experience within the halos of green corneas give me away for free.

Inevitable but excusable truths include not being able to get enough sleep, not being able to keep the dust away in this giant, quiet house. The kids will come back in a few more days and play in the sun as it moves from board to board and from the front windows to the back. And then quietly after dinner the beams are suddenly gone and light from artificial sources forces the perceived shadows back into hiding.

Only no one hides from them, we have learned to coexist.

I can't keep up and there are times when I can't even begin. Days and days where I come in from morning errands and crawl back beneath the blankets and read for hours because I am paralyzed somewhere between my emotional labyrinth and the life that waits for me outside the bedroom door. Promises of good things repeated loudly and endlessly and I still have a hard time believing that I will ever be anything more than that fluttery girl with fluttery hands and a fluttery heart, with the quilt pulled up, pretending she isn't even in the room.

Who am I kidding? Of course I will be more. I already am more. I turned a corner and am scooping up handfuls of life to live on my own terms. My life. My precious life with love on my terms and fun on my terms and history on my terms and maybe for the first time there are days I don't do what I'm told and times I don't jump to be a slave to my phone and even moments where I close the laptop and sneak under those covers with an orange and a new book, flaunting every last piece of good advice that says if you peel an orange in close quarters you wind up with a sticky face and sticky sheets and no one will care because it's your bed and your face and your mess and I really need to try this with a box of tea biscuits because crumbs would be more fun and destructive than orange juice in tiny splashes of sweetness or maybe...

...just maybe, I will close my eyes instead and sleep for just a little while longer.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A hiccup in the universe.

First things first. Excuse the dust. I need some color in my life. Loch is nitpicking my ideas to death now and says it isn't quite right yet so if things shift around a bit(which they will, as I revert back to the old design here in the interim), have patience and please feel free to write to me if something is borked or huge or impossible to see or sure, just write to me if you're just solidly convinced I got married over the weekend.

Because I didn't.

Besides, he's American and I'm Canadian. I'm not sure you can just run off and get married anywhere you want. Besides that even, I haven't had enough time and I don't think I want to be Elizabeth Taylor and maybe Ben and I fight too much to make this into anything super-permanent but this is a relationship in it's infancy, starting over from scratch. Let's just enjoy the sweetness of it and not rush anything. I wore the ring from when I got there until I was home because I didn't want to lose it. That's it. I'm conspiracy-weary.

I would tell you every last detail if I had married Ben. Because I love you and you've hung in there through hundreds of very unhappy entries. I would never deny you a happy one, if I had it.

When I have it.

I don't mean marriage, I mean happiness.

Digression. Okay. So excuse the dust and excuse the rumors. And yes, I would marry the guy. Possibly. Eventually. Maybe. I don't know. Think he wants me?

Things are good. I unpacked. All was well. Sometime this afternoon when I got up the water pressure seemed low. I filled an extra pitcher and the kettle and peeked outside for trucks. Nothing. Then the internet went out. Then my cellphone had no service.

I was thinking rapture, perhaps? I called John on the archaic land line and he said not to worry. So I walked the dog and when I came back all was indeed well. It was a hiccup in my greater universe, and now as I wash some dishes and prepare to do a few loads of bedding and winter gear I eye the taps suspiciously because I'm no longer sure I trust them quite one hundred percent to give me a roaring torrent of precious city water. I keep reminding the guys that if I cut out on ICQ or they can't reach me on my phone to call the house or just pop by, that things are weird lately. They laugh and tell me I'm silly.

Just like Ben does, as he makes absolutely no effort to deny the rumors currently swirling around, a hiccup unto himself, that one. Low pressure, perfectly reliable but regarded with suspicion.

Hmm. I just turned my boyfriend into an allegory involving the water supply.

Which means Bridget needs more sleep. Goodnight, folks.

Where we'll be safe; Where we'll be sound.

Good morning from the most naive person in the entire world.

I should have been tipped off. I thought Ben couldn't pull himself together enough even to scramble the private plane and save me the agony of eight hours in my white noise hell of airports and airplanes where I sat directly in front of the gate and still almost missed the boarding call and then fought to hear everything else besides.

The poor college boy beside me on the flight thought I would be such a promising traveling companion until even after telling him I was flying without my hearing aids he attempted to carry on a regular conversation and gave up an hour in. I finally put on headphones and closed my eyes and let Trent Reznor welcome me to the big apple.

Where I didn't want to be. I made it to the coast with a panic attack barely in check, exhausted and scared to death.

When I saw Ben I realized he was...fine. He smiled, a huge unabashed grin when he saw me. He was sober. I was all what the fuck? and hello, I'm flying in to a strange city at night alone and what the fuck? and trying to get a cab that won't try and take all my American cash in one go and find the hotel and I didn't have a room number and they weren't going to tell me it and finally he appeared out of nowhere. He hugged me so hard I was immediately wondering who rescued who but then I was still so worried. I had no idea what the fuck was going on.

He didn't know any other way to stop what we shouldn't have started. He didn't want to open the envelope and have a ring fall out into his hand. He didn't want it to be over and he didn't want such a blow up over extended dates but he was scared to death to tell me. And then when Caleb showed up at my house Ben tried to get away to come home and couldn't and so he planned the whole ruse with help.

We stood in the middle of the lobby and in whispers he told me that yes, he lied. And yes, he knew I was mad and disappointed but that he didn't care because I was safe, I was with him and he was so very sorry but dammit if he wasn't going to find a way to get me out of there.

He said he got out of the last two dates and would be back by April Fools which is fitting. I laughed until I cried. Mostly in relief but I was still mad and I was exhausted from the long night. I started to cry in the lobby. Then he did too, so he took me up to the room he had booked.

Guess what room he had for us?

Yes, the butlered suite.The one with the piano (oh, and the automatic "honeymoon" package, which is what prompted Lochlan to start thickly spreading the not-so-subtle suggestion that maybe Ben and Bridget had run off and gotten married, when I called to tell him I had made it safely).

When we got inside and squared away and Ben orchestrated room service and a masseuse for Sunday, he encouraged me to tell him how I really felt.

So I did. It was outstanding. Harsh and unrehearsed and uncensored and then he had some words of his own. For the first time in our lives we listened to each other without a single interruption and then grabbed each other in an incredibly fierce and tearful hug.

We realized we now stood at just a little more important of a place to each other than ever before, and that's where we are now.

Then I was sent to take a shower, which pretty much finished me off. When I came out I took one bite of food from the table set up by the balcony doors and then I begged him to eat all of it so I could just sleep. I headed for the bedroom and almost walked into a mirror. I was asleep before I landed on the giant bed. I briefly wondered how I was going to climb on to, it was so high. What is it with tall hotel beds?

At some point I had a massage. I don't remember when. Ben says midnight that night. Ha.

Through the late night Saturday and well into lunchtime on Sunday I slept, and then we opted to stay in that giant bed and make it up to each other.

Sunday evening was an evening spent largely alone, thanks to Ben's schedule. By ten I was sitting cross-legged on the bed in Ben's t-shirt and nothing else, eating pizza and talking to Schuyler and Dan on the phone. Ben walked in a few hours later and said that was the best thing he had ever seen, even though I had tomato sauce on my elbow and one knee and was struggling to stay awake still. We took our final abbreviated night to try and store up enough of each other to last the next two weeks.

I was sent home very early this morning on the pretty little plane, happy to skip the chaos of trying to navigate public flying in a roaring vacuum. I had barely set foot back on earth when Ben was on the phone, saying the world had reverted back to black and white the moment I was out of sight for him, and that he would be home soon, and things will be fine. That he loves me. That he was headed out to buy me a present, but he wouldn't say what it was.

And then he thanked me for coming to save him.

    The doorway stands ajar,
    The walls that once were high.
    Beyond the gilded cage,
    Beyond the reach of ties.
    The moment is at hand.
    She breaks the golden band.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Big quiet apples.

I have had far too much coffee for someone my size.

I am still in New York. The rescue wasn't so much about me rescuing Ben, but about Ben rescuing me. A lovely convoluted approach was used to pull this off, which I will tell you about tomorrow when I fly home.

And Loch! Knock it the fuck off with the rumors! Thanks. Geez, guys.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


Today's post is brought to you by the airport in Toronto, where I wait presently to catch my connecting flight to New York.

A short recap. Caleb left his card (with the number of the car service on the back) on the front porch and went to his hotel (I haven't heard from him since), I hit my laptop keyboard face-first in what can only be described as wonderful sleep, and late this morning Ben called me on Mark's phone (not blocked) and asked for help. Asked for my help. Explained nothing. Asked if I would come to him. Pleading with me to come to him, his words all over the place in dips and slurs of exhaustion and God knows what else.

And I said I would.

I'm somewhat terrified but hanging in there. I should feel good that I get to rescue someone else for a change but right now I just wish I was home and I wish Ben was there with me.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Quiet night.

Ben is going to party his way through the weekend. Two people have already sent me some photos that I deleted without opening the files. Maybe to get me to rescue him, maybe to rub it in. I'm not sure.

I sent for the courier and had his ring and his chip sent to him express. It cost a fortune but he should have them now or shortly. I'm not playing games and I can't give even an ounce of my fledgling heart to someone I can't depend on. Sure, I trust him. But not with everything.

And the devil himself showed up on my doorstep a little while ago. I didn't answer the door and so he called me and I answered the phone but I didn't say anything. He asked if I wanted to come out to play. I continued the silence and he tried some other tactics, including telling me he knew how others were spending their weekends, meaning he knew what Ben was doing. He proceeded to fill me in in excruciating detail until I finally said just stop. Then he softened a little bit and asked if I just wanted company, that he could come in and we could have some dinner and just talk and he sounded like his brother and my hand was on the goddamned knob. I was going to let Caleb in. His games are predictable. I can take them or leave them. I know what to expect from him.

But that's just it. I know what to expect from him. I pressed END on my phone. I took my hand off the knob and backed away from the door. I walked out of the foyer and down the hall to the den where I flipped on a few lights and drew the heavy drapes across the wall of windows. I made sure the door was locked and I sat down at the desk.

I think I'll write tonight. Anything else would simply be too dangerous.

No further progress.

    So there's problems in your life
    That's fucked up, and I'm not blind
    I'm just see-through faded, super-jaded
    And out of my mind

Sometimes I wish I had a little more notice to prepare, as everything shifts forward by twenty hours and it takes me fifty just to catch up. The kids are gone. Good luck to the flight attendants. Cole's mother had a crash course in Henry's health issues and Ruth was armed with her sketchbooks and a million stories to tell. At the last minute Ruth asked if she could bring her laptop. I almost laughed out loud but I told her very gently that if she wrote her stories longhand in her journal she could transcribe them when she gets home. As an afterthought she told me she loved me. I think this is a relief for them. No, I know it is.

Cole's mother didn't arrive alone, by the way, which means the evil one is roaming this city. Apparently he is "at the office."

I don't even know how to begin to tell you about Ben so maybe just nevermind.
Posted by Bridget at Friday, March 14, 2008 Links to this post
To be continued.

I'm fine. Really. Yesterday's short comment in the afternoon about taking the high road and ignoring the calls and emails was taken down after a short discourse on how cold I was being.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


To soften it, Ben made sure I was happy when he made his wake up call this morning. You know, the one in which he finally told me that the dates are extended through the first week of April.

Something he knew for a couple of weeks now (FINE, a week. He knew for a week, because somehow that MAKES IT ALL OKAY). The end date of March 17 had been retracted the day after it came out, and he didn't have the guts to tell me. Even after encouraging me to tell the kids when I said I wasn't going to tell them at all, in case it got moved back. It had already been moved back and he still pushed for me to give them something to be excited about.

I'm going ahead with my plans. Cole's mom arrives this weekend. She's with you-know-who in Toronto right now and then she'll come here, spend a night visit for a few hours because of the weather, take the kids back to the farm, and then after five days they'll be handed off to Jacob's parents, who will bring them back at the end of spring break as they accompany Erin back out-she is moving back out west permanently.

I'm excited that she's coming back for good. I'm thrilled that the grandparents are doing this for Ruth and Henry who are so excited they no longer sleep or wait turns to talk, chattering nonstop about the fun they're going to have. The kids being away will buy me a little time with telling them Ben is delayed.

Since Mark is with Ben, PJ and I are slightly cooling and Joel is gone, that leaves me alone to torture John, Andrew, Rob and August. Who are all busy and doing their thing and Ben had asked with a cringe of fear if I would just not be upset and I told him I wasn't and he was so relieved I think he promised to somehow make all my dreams come true whenever it is that he gets off his merry go round, when he's done and comes home and is bored and back to mundane real life.

I let him say whatever would ease his guilt because right between us, there on the phone was a huge flashing sign that said YOU LIED AGAIN and I wonder what else he's lied about and I wonder why I lied to him when I really was upset about it but instead I just pressed my off button and let it ride to preserve the day. It didn't work. It's sinking in that they're all selfish jerks who just take what they want and they leave the fallout all over the place and never clean up their mess.

I'm here, cleaning it up alone. But it isn't working and it just keeps happening and I'm not sure if they take advantage because I'm so fragile or if I just pick men that can't handle things and self-destruct but I know that somewhere, deep down, something has to give and I can't give anymore. I feel like calling up every last one of the guys and screaming them fully awake, telling them they knew. How could they encourage me so soon, how could they implore me to throw myself deeper into something knowing that when it didn't work that I'd be that much worse off because I haven't had time to figure out how to catch myself? I can watch myself fall, I can watch myself get smashed onto the pavement and it's curiously gratifying. Maybe now I can change my name and move somewhere benign and just start again.

Maybe I could find someone who isn't going to hurt me or lie to me or just use me.

Maybe pigs will fly.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Predictably Ben called and told me to stop protecting him. That his perfect woman was six feet tall and had dark hair and was really together but for some reason I got stuck in his heart and never got unstuck and that he's really fucking thrilled to be with me, and if I thought that making him out to be the bad guy here and trying to make him mad enough to walk away was going to work, that I don't know him at all. That he is hundreds of miles away and worried sick about me and all he wants to do is come home but that the worry is preferable to being without me altogether.

And then he said to knock it off and just go get through the last five days and then things will be better but he was going to go crazy if he had read any more of my attempts to derail myself when it comes to him.

I promised him I would try and then asked if he was kidding when he said his perfect woman was my exact opposite.

He said no.

I think I deserved that. I developed a lump in my throat the size of my fist. He said that told him more than anything I could write in this stupid journal and that he loves me, that he has since we met and he will when we're dead. Then he asked if I was okay with the whole idea of necrophilia.

I did say he was a weirdo. A really, really sweet one though.

Nose to nose.

    I don't have faith in faith
    I don't believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that's faith enough for me

Things were a little harder on Ben's last night home.

One of my biggest fears about falling in love again revolves around the risk that Ben might do something Jacob used to. Or Cole, more likely but still, while Jacob used second-nature actions and went on gut-feeling, I can't expect everything Ben does when he touches me or talks to me to be one hundred percent new or different.

So it's not and it's difficult and I have torn myself away from more embraces or moments than you could shake a stick at and one moment of overwhelming closeness that dissolved into horror on both our parts the night he instinctively traced my bottom lip and I completely shut down and he got angry and these are a different kind of eggshells to walk on, honestly.

They're all so much alike and it's why I loved them and Ben isn't perfect, not even close the way Jacob was and he'll never be as smooth as Cole could be but his heart is huge and his incredible grasp of simply living life as it goes along is monumental. He isn't like them, he's different in so many ways. You can't believe how wonderful he can be. Or how cruel. Wait, that puts him back in the Cole-likeness territory. Which figures.

He rubbed my lip again because he said he liked it, that it was intimate and incredible and close and that was what he wanted me to be to him and that I would get used to it maybe or maybe not but he wasn't going to second-guess himself with me to avoid the ghosts we keep.

I agreed and within half a minute we were nose to nose and that was so familiar too and I closed my eyes and then when I opened them again I was swimming in warm tiger-eye browns and his expression-rich face that is so incredibly solid and sure in spite of his reputation.

Beautiful. He said sleeping with me was underrated, that loving me was beyond what he had expected. I just stared into his eyes. He said he thought he loved me before, he had no idea.

I have ruined him, too.

He said he thinks of little else these days and I cut him off, reminding me that he built me into this, he's elevated me beyond my place, that he could not make me responsible for his own mistakes or his feelings. His whole face changed and he grabbed me and this time it wasn't sweet and soft and gingerly, it was harsh, painful and frightening. He said it wasn't a mistake and that he had tasted life, in every wonderful moment that could be, and now he knew what life was all about. What Bridget was all about. He understood what happens, at last.

We would have fought with it all night but finally in tears and exhaustion we fell asleep, arms around each other, Bridget squished underneath Ben's big frame as he was so worn out and I was so tired of the circles I think in.

In the morning he looked at me and said sadly that I was not forever, was I? I shook my head and said I didn't know. He broke down, mashing the pillow over his face to hide from me and I rubbed his back and told him I wasn't worth whatever he would go through and he tore the pillow away and shook me hard, saying something that will forever be burned into my mind.

But that's just it. It IS worth it. You ARE worth it. But am I worth it?

What do you mean?

I mean if you hold your breath every time I touch you in case it feels the same to you, am I worth that pain to you? Will you deal with that pain to be with me?

I will.

Then I'm not planning to mince words or actions. I hung out with the guys for the last billion years, it doesn't matter if we share moves or words. The point is, this is about you and I and has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with Jake or Cole. Can you live with that?

I can.

No, really, because I don't plan to complicate this. I'm not going to fight with you.

Oh please. We're born so complicated.

Bridget, look at me.


Who am I?

You are Ben.

Who am I not?

Oh, he was going to torture me now. I was reduced to hoarse whispers and trembling elbows.

You're not Jacob. You aren't Cole.

Good, then everything is new by default.

By default.

Yes, your favorite expression. You think I miss stuff. I don't. I hear every word you've ever said and done everything you've ever asked of me and now it's time you did something for me.


Don't make everything so hard or so profound. You're the person I went to when I wanted to feel happy. The one who always made me feel better and came up with fun things to do or make me laugh at the drop of a hat. You traded insults better than any of the guys. Where is that Bridget?

She's dead.

She isn't dead.

Oh, she's fucking dead.

Then I'm dead too.


He laughed and repeated that I wasn't dead. He is coming back with expectations. I know he is and I don't want to be in the position. The position of having to watch over his heart so that it doesn't get broken. Again.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Hesitating on the edge of I don't even know what.

    It's been a while since you last saw me
    One breaks down and the other ones fade
    These eyes can see the days break
    Too late for the other's mistakes

    Sit down laugh thinking what have we done
    Let me inside
    Is it all over before it's begun
    Please give me some time

The demand for emotion-filled posts on how I feel, how I'm doing seems to be blood for your veins and no one, even me, seems content to pass off a review or a few lines about how I spent a morning.

Interesting. Who is the masochist now?

Okay, I am, that wasn't fair, was it?

Here's the thing. Overwhelmingly, the most frequent question I get asked, aside from the please, write more porn one is why do I keep writing?

I promise, when I get to have more sex, I'll write about it. Until then we can all be frustrated together.

Here is why: I'm a writer, and I'm also loathe to leave anything unfinished. Walking away from this journal that will be four years old soon would be like turning off a movie you're really enjoying before the conclusion. I'm waiting to write my own happy ending.

I'm waiting to write better entries. I'm waiting to have better days. I'm trying to take deep breaths again and I'm learning to not worry about Ben dying or everyone leaving or winding up in hell where the fight over me will rage on. I'm content to have this incredibly stinging existence where I know I am loved and I can love in return but with a heaping serving of deja vu so large it throws a shadow on everything and keeps the sunlight from reaching the ground where I stand.

I'm going to get there. I'm looking forward to it.

I woke up alone this morning, alone with my smile. The sun came up and I threw open the window and beamed back at it. My friends called and I greeted each one of them with a happy good morning wish instead of my customary Hey. I walked the dog listening to happy music. I did some long-ignored clearing out of closets I haven't opened in months.

I found some strength. I found a little hope. I found that I might be able to get through this after all. Things get better. John gave me a rabbit's foot this morning as I stood on the field watching him take down the boards around the ice rink that Jacob helped construct at the beginning of the winter. He told me it would bring me luck. I told him he was right, it probably would.

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

Hey. Short and sweet. A Bridget staple.

In between learning how to give Henry his asthma medications and listening to Ben tell me in great detail what he'd like to do to PJ when he gets home next week and the temperatures being on the right side of zero, I have a request.

Go watch Across the Universe. Right now. Turn it up.

Now go buy the DVD.

It's that good. I cried the first time I saw the trailer a year ago (don't tease me, please), and not only because I'm a huge Beatles fan but because it looked passionate. it was. For anyone who cringes thinking of covering Beatles songs and how good could they possibly be, rest assured. They are.

Soundtrack also available. Right now it's shaking the paintings right off my walls.

All the guys loved it. The kids loved it, we all pledged to watch it again this weekend. Ben watched it the same night and loved it. It's awesome, I'm falling back on that word again. I can't even describe why I liked it so much. Let's just say it had a little bit of everything in it, but between the music and the emotions and the total visual overload, I'm happy that movies like this are still being made.

For the record, I will try to keep PJ safe (STOP LAUGHING) from Ben and Henry is absolutely okay, it's very mild, and mostly manifesting in chronic coughing. He's my little man, such a trooper.

    See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky, see how they run.
    I'm crying.

Monday, 10 March 2008


It's been healthy returning to some old favorite activities recently, like taking a morning out of the weekend to stroll the farmer's market, moved indoors until the warmer weather, rife with knitted goods and the remains of winter vegetables, mostly a few assorted, tired-looking squash, the every populous parsnips no one likes and apples, so many apples. I buy them by the basket. Potatoes too.

Saturday morning I took the kids by myself. We sang along with the new Jack Johnson CD (they like it, so hush) on the way out past the edge of the city and instead of the usual suspects in root vegetables we were greeted with new boxes of glorious early spring fruits, better than what I can find at the grocery store. Mountains of gorgeous California strawberries.

Before I knew what I was doing, I asked the man selling them for ten pounds, wrapped to travel. After all, it's been three seasons since I bottled jam for the dry pantry, we're all but out of it now. I was practically drooling. It was all I could think about as I fixed lunch on Sunday and then cleaned up, fielded a half-dozen phone calls and then sent the kids to play so I could start.

I picked up my paring knife and then I changed my mind, heading upstairs to the bedroom. I opened the closet and got out the big wooden box and dug through journals and treasures until I found what I was looking for, and then I returned to the kitchen, took the big bowl full of berries and a newspaper and brought it out into the sunny front porch, thankful I had my sweater on. It's still cool but the sun makes a huge difference. I sat down on the floor and opened Jacob's jackknife, retrieved from the box of memories because he always said it did the best job.

I sat humming and hulling berries for around thirty minutes when the porch door slammed shut behind me. I asked Henry to go easy on the doors and continued to work and suddenly I felt a soft breeze on my neck, like someone walking past me, only gentler. I turned my head and no one was there and all the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

Then once again, the most gentle movement again, on the back of my neck. A kiss. A kiss made by someone who isn't there any more. A kiss bestowed to let me know that he is most definitely watching over me, and that he is happy I am keeping with our strawberry traditions, that the work that goes into preparing the berries and cooking and storing the jam properly so that it makes it through the year is so much more satisfying and wonderful than heading to the grocery store for a three-dollar jar of brand-name jam. Commercial facist jam, corporate artificial sweetness, Jacob called it. Capitalist Smuck.

He approves of me making jam, then. I almost screamed in agony. I knew that kiss. Oh, how I wanted that kiss, but from his flesh and blood, not from his memory, a mere ghost to haunt the rooms I am in. On the other hand, I wanted to feel him, I complained that I couldn't feel him, that I didn't have him here with me, and he is here to tell me I do.

I feel him.

He is here.

Watching me make his strawberry jam.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


PJ and I got into it this morning.

He didn't come by last night, didn't call, and this morning I called him to see how his night went. He was just getting in. He started to give me a play by play of his evening, relaying his side of the conversation, telling his date about hanging out with the kids and with Butterfield and some of our trips to the farm. I stopped him twice, somewhat incredulous that he would spend the better part of a first date monopolizing the conversation with tales of another girl. Halfway through the date he lost interest when she predictably failed to be cool with all of what he managed to lay out for her.

I told him he was an idiot and that if he wanted a steady girlfriend, he should learn to let the girl he is with lead the conversation and for the sake of all that is holy, not bring up close friends who are girls. He dared me not to be the pot calling the kettle black, because who the fuck was I to be giving relationship advice? It was Bridget for the win because it's probably the only time I can be proud to rattle off consecutive relationships without a breath in between and not be ashamed of it, because he has had trouble finding girlfriends over the years. PJ asked me not to confuse being a whore to my friends with finding a soulmate.


He then said he slept with her anyway and when she was face down he pretended she was me.

Oh, he's uncharacteristically good at the hurt when he wants to be. He melts down all over me about once a year or less, he usually has his shit together better than anyone.

I didn't say anything and after about five minutes of angry silence, since we won't hang up on each other, he said he was sorry. That he felt stupid enough for the way he had behaved and I asked him if he was apologizing to the right person. He paused significantly and agreed to attempt to make it up to her.

Then he asked if he could make it up to me. I cut him off with a gentle observation that I think we're even. He said softly that he hates the rare arguments and that he didn't mean it. I said I knew and if he wanted to come by later this evening I would have some strawberry jam for him to take home. He loves the jam I make. I could hear him grin through the phone and he gently chided me for being too easy to forgive, too easy on him.

He would be wrong. It doesn't come easily but I try anyway because he is right, who am I to give directions when I'm more lost than everyone else?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Point taken.

    You make this all go away.
    You make this all go away.
    I'm down to just one thing.
    And I'm starting to scare myself.
    You make this all go away.
    You make this all go away.
    I just want something.
    I just want something I can never have

You live life knowing you're watched and then finally you stop spinning with your arms raised over your head and your skirt floats back from your knees to your ankles and your hair lies tangled down your back and you meet his eyes and in that moment you see so very clearly the transition from friend to more than friend. Or maybe that's the moment love drops into your life once again. It's a treasure I only wish I could put into a box for safekeeping, that moment. That is the most special of times in your life.

Would it not be for his liquid fallacies I swear Ben would have been content to keep his secrets forever. To pretend I was just a distraction. To be the watcher who wasn't paying attention but saw everything and took his opportunities when they presented themselves to him, rather than embarking upon frustrating campaigns for change. He jumped only with a clear or perceived or irresistible invitation.

You know something? So content is everyone with Ben's place in life that no one watches him anymore.

No one's watching the watcher.

They watched Cole, from a close distance. They put Jacob under a harsh scrutiny that he welcomed, that cracked him eventually, with Ben they have all now chosen to rest easy. At peace. The world resumes a steady tick around the sun and no one needs to check anyone else.

I find that interesting.

Give me an hour and I'll give you more time.

The clocks will be set ahead this evening and Bridget made it all the way through.

We've reached the point where I leave the curtains open in the evenings until dinner is finished and cleared away, instead of having them drawn before we begin.

I am looking forward to the warm torrential spring rains, the early morning thunderstorms and the unbearable heat. Sleeping on the covers instead of buried beneath them, wearing as little as possible. Living in bare toes and flip-flops from Old Navy, purchased in every color of the rainbow because then I can wear two different ones and people give me a third look.

The oblivion behind a roaring air conditioner.

I look forward to barbecuing entire dinners and not having to wash so many pots, and I look forward to doing my customary awful job cutting the grass and longer walks with the dog where my eyes don't water and Butters isn't limping with frozen pads by the time I reach the driveway.

I'm anxious to wake up to the sheer curtains billowing up in the light overnight wind. I'm excited for ladybugs and butterflies and spending all our cash on hand at the ice cream parlour. I'm excited to see the guys excited for their motorcycle rides and being able to play guitar outdoors.

My patio lights are ready to go up. When that two feet of frozen snow melts.

Camping. I want to go camping. I want to go on some long car trips, trading MP3 players and stopping in unfamiliar places to eat and later be grateful that there were no serial killers at that rest stop, because it looked like a hang-out for them.

I am awaiting the midnight sun.

I am awaiting my own life. On hold but not on hold.

He's gone again. He came home to hold me and now he has to go back. I'm taking the kids to the market this morning and then we'll run some other errands and come home and play Henry's math game and cook spaghetti, have warm baths and hit the hay early.

On a funny note, PJ called to let me know he might be by late if at all tonight. He has a date.

That was possibly the best news I think I have ever heard.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Good things come in big packages.

There was a surprise waiting for me in the porch when I came back from walking the dog.

It was over six feet tall, brown hair, brown eyes.

It's name is Benjamin, my surprise. And in eighteen hours he'll be gone again.

The long, breathless kiss was followed by a big goofy grin because he knew I never expected him home tonight. I only get him until early tomorrow morning so I must go and make the best of the time we have.


I think I'll post all day and just drive everyone crazy.

I am not dating Ben Folds. But thanks for playing, whoever emailed me their triumphant discovery. Ben is not that Ben. Oh, and please stop guessing.

I found the coolest thing on Etsy this morning. I need a pear cozy for my favorite snack because my pears get mushed in my huge bag.

The laundry is still not dry. Dryer-repairman wasn't one of Jacob's strong suits. One of few flaws overall or the least of many, your call.

Blinded by what I hear.

    Something that I felt today, something that I heard
    Swinging from the chandeliers, hanging on your word
    I remember watching you once upon a time
    Dancing from across the room in another life

I finished Ben's new scarf. Black and grey stripes like the little guy at the beginning of the Horton Hears a Who trailer. He can layer it over his headphones and ignore the world as he walks in his own, hands strumming to whatever plays on his iPod, eyes seemingly unfocused but missing nothing, an instinctive peripheral vision that borders on spooky.

When I put on my headphones, also threaded under and up over a handknit scarf, fuzzy pink mohair that I usually wind up picking off my tongue for hours afterward, I launch myself onto another planet where I am blind but my hearing is perfect, one where oxygen comes in the form of musical notes and I walk a rhythm on bars and tabs. The one where a freight train could sneak up on me and I would chose to ignore the blaring horn in favor of a great lead from a long-dead musician, or beauty in a lyric I'd concentrate hard to remember, to bring the words back home while that engine leaves streaks of paint on my skin and tears my clothes to ribbons, leaving me a memory for someone else to keep or shove away.

He worries about me. I have been glued to headphones of one size or another, one quality or better for most of my days, and I still haven't learned how to watch where I'm going or how to avoid a train.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I'm going to run out of wood (please, no jokes).

What do you get when you add a blowtorch and then ice water to a bowl of vintage marbles?

You get crackley marbles. Which look very pretty.

It's so cold here we have resorted to fire games to have fun (and to think I picked on my neighbor for a similar stunt a while back). Because seriously, the windchill was so low this afternoon that when I walked over to get the kids from school I had to unclench everything from the full-body kegel I was doing.

I bribed John this evening to bring in as much wood as I could make space for. I don't plan to let the stove go out until this latest gale is over. I suppose I should bribe him to stick around and keep me warm but Butterfield has that covered. As long as I sleep in Ben's bed instead of mine, that is.

Ten more whole days.

And I am still doing very well. The emails have been very sweet and supportive. You guys seriously rock. I'm not the easiest girl to come and read, I know. It means the world that you do anyway.


    When are you gonna come down
    When are you going to land
    I should have stayed on the farm
    I should have listened to my old man

    You know you can't hold me forever
    I didn't sign up with you
    I'm not a present for your friends to open
    This boy's too young to be singing the blues

It's a good day for a long overdue barometer, isn't it? The sparrows are back, the chickadees are outside shivering on a blindingly sunny morning. The kids are (somewhat) healthy, I fell asleep on PJ late last night while I waited for him to pass me back my phone, Ben again checking in before bedtime. I woke up on the couch this morning, fully clothed, PJ had locked up and gone home and set my phone to go off at six. He is all sorts of awesome. At 6:02, Ben called and told me his revised coming home date. March 17. Eleven days!

Speaking of dates:

February 12 was the last time I went to therapy.

February 24 was the last day I swallowed a pill.

Just thought you should know.

How am I doing? Fucking great. As in, really fucking great. The fog is starting to lift. I'm not dizzy or hungry or shaky or quite as foggy. I'm not spending my moments mired in working my brain and my heart as if they were ever supposed to be some sort of cohesive mechanism. I'm not missing Jacob because I just don't think about it. I pretend he never happened. I just glom onto PJ and wait for Ben to come home and cook and clean and write and shop and life is quietly like it's supposed to be.

I couldn't do it anymore. They kept forcing me to confront things I would rather forget. I'm going to do this my own way, or rather, no way at all. I'm just going to mash the gas and watch the scenery race by until where I am looks new and unfamiliar and like a place that I could spend a while. My mental Veyron, she is gunning for me to hurry up.

I don't want to think about Jacob . I can't. I can't. I can't.

It's one thing for life to be a circus. It's quite another to be strangled by one's own safety nets. I just couldn't do it anymore.

I'll be okay. I am always okay. I always come out somewhere in the middle. I will keep writing.

Don't yell at me, internet. Say your peace if you must but do it in lowercase, please.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Pressed for time.

The highlight of this evening would have been knocking over a whole row of Ben's books and discovering a lovely collection of pressed lilacs between the pages of the heaviest hardcover he owns (a Poe collection, I have the duplicate). When I asked him about them he asked me if I remembered the first day I was able to go for a walk after Cole lost it all over me and Ben picked enough lilacs to fill three vases because I love them?

Same ones.

You're flooring me with this, Benjamin.


Were you going to give them to me or something?



No, I was just keeping them because it was a good day for us, we had a nice afternoon that day.

Yeah we did, didn't we?

Please. You were so high on Vicodin you had no idea.

I knew I was loved by you. And I loved you too.

Yeah? That's good. That makes me glad.

He had to go then, before I got a chance to tell him that it makes me glad too.

Mmmm, carbs.

Three posts a day. Hi, I don't have enough to do this week. No, actually I've gotten way better at time management. I'll tell you about that later though.

In case anyone thought I was moping or somehow ruined you should guess again. August is here, we're making baked eggs in bologna cups (recipe here) and watching episodes of Metalocalypse on youtube.

Place your bets on whether or not August plans to eat any of this stuff.

And I'm FINE. Really. I'm totally fine. Whatever. I'm used to losing people I love now.

Bye bye, Dr. Perfect.

Well, that was interesting, anyway. It might have been nicer to duct-tape me to a bed and play Freebird on a loop.

Remember a while back I mentioned Joel was having some career issues? There was an internal review, and among other things, he had blurred some lines between being my psychoanalyst and my friend. We had pretty much picked up the latter before dropping the former and it wasn't exactly cool to do so. The lines remained blurred for the last ten months as he dispensed free therapy and pills and offered to marry me to keep me away from demons.

Needless to say, he was offered a lateral move to keep his job, working on the courts side of things so that he has less chance to fall for young widows and mess up on the job.

Joel declined the forensic position and destroyed our friendship in one go. Want to know how? By accepting an offer to go and work for Caleb's firm doing in-house counseling and resolving management disputes. A lovely high-paying white-collar gig that is about as redundant as the last seven inches of my hair. Good, go. Have fun in hot potato town.

In all opinions, this is for the best. Only with a ten-month old friendship I see no need and have no impetus to try and salvage anything. We have no history to soften this betrayal.

Ben says good, Dr. Perfect needed to go, baby.

Let's just countdown to the first time Caleb pulls out his happy pack and Joel gives up every last nugget of Bridget-lore that he keeps inside, shall we? Sure, I'm 'legally' protected, and if you believe that I have a Bridget I can sell you. Because this is nothing but another attempt by my brother in law to hit me where it hurts while he soothingly tells me we're even. I'm sad that Joel chose this. He used to sit with me, always hunched down into his shirt collars and slid-down in his seat and tell me that some people were incredibly skilled in manipulation and now he's been manipulated too.

The downside of Caleb checkmating me is that in order to use what I have against him I'll be subjected to the mother of all premiere screenings and I'd really like to avoid that so I wind up squished once again between the brick wall and concrete one, because over the past while I've decided I do care if my friends see that movie. I'd really rather they didn't.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Casualties of war.

This had less to do with you than you think it did, Bridget.

How dumb do I look?

Dumber than I first imagined. I simply saw a need and filled it. I pick from a pool of people I know I can work with.

No, you exploited a weakness and you're going to chew him up and spit him out.

He is an adult. He could have said no.

Your money, your power makes that too hard for most.

It worked for you and your new boyfriend.

We learned the hard way.

Yes, precisely. Anyway, I only called to tell you there's no reason preventing him from remaining your friend.

It isn't possible anymore. Not if he's working for you.

Joel is a professional, Bridget.

He never was with me, that's how he wound up in this situation.

And that is a gift you should be exploiting, princess.

What makes you think I'm not?

See, we could have teamed up and the whole world would have been our oyster.

Last time I had oysters I got food poisoning, Caleb.
I hung up to the sound of his laughter.

Cosmic jokes aside.

Every lament is a lovesong.
If I could do it all again would I? The answer is still yes.

I must be a goddamned trampoline. Or a masochist. Okay, yes. We all know the answer to that one. Give her a little pain and she's so alive.

Give her a little more and watch her try and fight back.

God has his hand on my forehead and I'm swinging and kicking with every ounce of my strength and he just laughs and laughs. Or so it feels, sometimes.

The fine print.

If you've read here for a while, you'll know I am slow to warm up, hesitant to reveal, reluctant to let you in on things.

A lot of people want to know what Ben is really like, what he looks like, more about him in general. I didn't say much previously because I didn't want you to get swayed by his looks. People do that. Ben's a very striking, good-looking man.

Don't get me wrong, Handsomeness is sort of a shallow prerequisite in my world. Somehow it happened that I am surrounded by guys who turn more heads than I do. I wouldn't have it any other way. Maybe I just gravitate towards cute guys. Ben is no exception, though he is just about the polar opposite of any golden-haired viking preachers.

He is the perfect result of what would happen if someone mashed up Keanu Reeves and the young Jimmy Stewart in a blender, but bigger, throwing in a little Rivers Cuomo with his glasses on. More than 6'3", more than 180 lbs, maybe that's off a bit, weight-wise. Again, I fit under his arm. Physically intimidatingly large but somehow he pulls it off with an uncoordinated gangly appeal. Knees, elbows and an adam's apple so sharp they are of the unintentional wounding sort. Short dark brown (he says black) hair that I secretly think he spends hours messing up just right. Sometimes when he's in the mood we all get treated to a fauxhawk which looks ridiculous and suits him well.

The shape of his face is an angular heart. His eyes are a warm brown. Tiger-eye stones lodged furiously into his head, almost against their will. He has the cutest nose, it turns up just perfectly, his jaw is hard but not obvious and he has perfect skin and eyebrows. As in flawless. I am jealous.

He rarely wears flannel and instead leans toward a metal uniform of t-shirts puporting bands he likes. Lots of Nirvana, Tool, Zeppelin, pretty much a duplicate to the black jeans and band shirts Cole lived in. Giant hoodies. He doesn't give a shit about clothes. If they're clean, he puts them on and doesn't think about it any more than that. Well, sometimes he wears...skirts..there was this whole punk phase that just...well, nevermind. Then a goth phase that followed..oh geez.

He wears nailpolish. Black only. Pink if Ruthie gets to him. Fine, you know what? It's a thing, just let it go.

If he isn't smiling, he is possibly the scariest looking man in the universe, leaving you to resort to guessing if he is in a good mood or not. I've learned over the years that his 'concentrating' face would be everyone else's incredibly pissed-off face, leaving me to wonder how one person managed to get his facial expressions so incredibly messed up. His mad face? Frightening.

We have several matching tattoos and piercings. We recently found out Isabellas and Reverse Prince Alberts brought together are accidents waiting to happen. As are both parties in a kiss with pierced tongues. Possibly we can keep all our coordinating tattoos, though. Big B, little b, the kites, the snowflakes. Meanings that lie deeper than we'll share with the world. They are our connections, our bond.

His hands are always ice cold. Always. Never, ever warm.

He brings bagpipes and guitars on camping trips but will forget food and a tent. We've all learned to allow for this. He can charm anyone out of just about anything, but do it without you knowing exactly what just happened.

He shaves, sometimes twice a day. No sideburns, no chest hair, nothing. He has quizzed me extensively about permanent hair removal but the subsequent fear of pain keeps him from going through with any of it, though he let me wax his chest once. That was funny. He did my legs.

I know, this isn't a good picture is it? Boundaries are something we rarely seemed to have. Picture your favorite girlfriend. Now give her a penis. No, give her a big one! Okay, that's Ben.

He is awesome and he's good with a guitar and better with his voice though he rests it mostly, singing very little as he walks around.

He is Henry's idol, proving that of course even with a job and responsibilities one is capable of playing video games for hours each day.

Ben is forever stuck at eighteen, or maybe that's 25 for boys. Managing to have boatloads of fun, working not because he has to any more but because it keeps him out of trouble.

He was Cole's very best friend. He has a responsibility to me that he wore on behalf of Cole until Jacob was gone and now it continues. A protective one that simply watches out for us, instead of trying to suffocate us in emotional bubblewrap.

He is an alcoholic, just recently down from a meeting every day to once or twice a week now. He used to drink and heavily so. He did all his best writing with liquid creativity but will be an even better writer now that his head is clearing. He's cleaned up his act to prove a point and because he was in a slow spiral to ruin. He made a magnificent stab at running with Caleb's crowd, chasing hard drugs and enjoying the fuck out of it but not having an ounce of self-restraint coupled with an incredible fear of death brought him running back this way.

As did his incredibly tiny and afraid friend (me, haha) pointing out that he was a very scary drunk.

I am so proud of him, always proud to be his friend. Oh my God, over the years we have fought to the bitter death with tears and ultimatums and pleas to just smarten the fuck up, him over alcohol and girls and me over love and being tougher and not molding myself into the perfect image of the man I am with.

He has been with so many girls he lost track years ago. Literally names or not, memories of them or not. His phone used to ring constantly (sometimes it still does). He could line up three or four in a single night and did. Thankfully via his fears of all things that might harm him he always used protection and to this day is disease- and child-free. There were bets. He proved everyone wrong. Thank God.

Of course I worried about him. I'm happy he is smarter than he looks.

He's a happy, moody fellow. Every conversations ends in all manner of perversions, he is absolutely rated X just about all the time. He is the master of turning innocence into depravity but he is surprisingly kid-oriented as well. The children love Ben and always miss him when he isn't around. He wears that like a badge of honor. It keeps him going, to be loved unconditionally by them.

He suffers from depression, and now keeps himself up with a mild pill or two and private therapy also.

He keeps a day job just to keep from getting bored and plays hockey to keep from feeling old. His on-ice nickname is Bunny. Henry thought Ben's name was Bunny when he was a toddler, so they wound up sharing the nickname for a long time.

He lives for his night job.

He whines during yoga and refuses to run, instead cementing himself to the weight bench when he feels the urge. Ben seems to like nothing better in this world than jamming me into the crook of his armpit with his arm around me and falling asleep that way. He doesn't move when he sleeps, not an inch, and he hardly ever talks after around eleven at night.

He's an introvert, just like me. This is how he is able to come and just be, just spend time with me when I won't or don't talk. He has all kinds of places to go inside his head and never minds or finds it uncomfortable, those long silences. When he is ready to interact he'll start going through my pockets or my bag or drawers in the room. He is curious.

I always wished I could be like Ben. He is life personified in black and white, has a loose list of low-slung morals that won't budge, but somehow putting happiness and safety over everything else. He plays music all the time and smiles a lot now and wears the scars of character won gradually and in hard lessons. There is a character-chip in his front tooth from an accident. He has a big motorcycle and a bigger truck, the bike is black and the truck is white. He picked the white horse out at Nolan's too, which this time around brought forth jokes at our expense, Bridget's knight riding up on a white horse.

Yup. With his nail polish on.

He has a weakness for Big Macs and prime rib but will live on raisin bread if he must.

So there you go. You asked for it, that's about all I can tell you for now. The only other truly intriguing points are that he's an orphan, he and his brother forming a tight long distance circle most of the time. Maybe that gives him more insight into me than I give him credit for. We are so much alike it causes problems sometimes. Didn't I tell you once he was Bridget in male form? An enigma of swirling emotions, contradictions and beauty, too? Fucked up but tolerable?

Yes, I believe I did.