Sunday, 30 November 2008

Coffee in my veins, beans in my head.

Everyone buys,
Everyone's got a price
And nothing is new
When will all the failures rise
Caleb in church this morning, winking at me as I took my seat staring at him like what in the heck are you doing here? and he gave me a little smile that said, well, I'm just trying to fit in, and I watched his eyes drift away from mine to see my ears and my hearing aids which I think I only wear for church and that surprises him and everyone else too. There's too many people. It's noisy, I have people who whisper to me and whisper about me and I just cling to Ben's hand which wraps tightly around mine and his other hand opens two of the buttons on his black dress shirt because he doesn't like shirts that aren't comfortable and then afterwards we're gone before I can get to see Sam because Ben avoids Caleb as much as he can and I'm with him far too much as it is.

Out to the diner for a late breakfast and too much coffee and this is why I crash magnificently hard for a nap every night on the couch or any time I am forced to sit still and stare at a screen for more than an hour and I miss certain things about life, like back in the mid-nineties Cole would go and rent three or four movies and we would get a pizza and some pop and snuggle down on the couch and proceed to slog through six or eight hours of new releases and I'm lucky now if I make it through one movie.

I fell asleep during Bolt earlier this week, my chin bumping down against my coat and waking me up and Ben looked across at me and I lied and said, no, I wasn't sleeping but I was and for some reason I never want anyone to know how tired I am because then there are no movies, no time to just stop and just escape and just enjoy without any other thoughts for two whole hours at a stretch and I am told to get some sleep.

He will wrap his hand around my throat and kiss my face and tell me soon, we will get some sleep and my eyes are always heavy these days and if I don't get that late-afternoon cup of coffee that I have come to enjoy at two o'clock every day but always forget on Saturdays then you can be sure that by ten I am nodding again and telling you I am fine.

When we sleep, he is closed off, still and unyielding. When he is busy working or otherwise engaged I spend too much time these days rattling around with myself for company, marveling at how together I seem lately and keeping busy with minor things which enrages the superstitious Irish part of me, that figures if things are good soon something will be bad and we are not to become complacent. My hands no longer shake right now, because things are good.

Nothing in the world could.... me now.

Tattooed on me for a very specific reason. At any point in my life if I invoke this particular piece of poetry that masquerades as a quietly inspired song lyric I know that I am at whatever bottom level of the current situation and I will start fresh and pull myself out and things will keep getting better no matter what. No matter where I am. No matter how well I'm doing.

Home now and checked on Daniel who is still sleeping. Ben has already changed back into a t-shirt and a flannel shirt, open and soft, no buttons buttoned, and jeans so broken in they should be tossed away and he and the kids are flying remote-control helicopters and laughing about the puppies we watched at the pet store yesterday, the pugs that Ruthie once again called Siamese puppies and the Chihuahua-Dachshund crosses that I insisted if we got one (we won't) we would have to name it Pancho Caliente, because it's a Mexican wiener and I don't even know if that's right but it's one of those things that becomes an in-joke but you can't really explain it to anyone else.

Like me falling asleep at the movies.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

I need to go get dressed.

I'm determined. And I'm cold right now. A robe and bare legs and an empty coffee cup to bring a day that couldn't be as good as yesterday if it tried.

It could try, though. That would be terrific. As long as it ends on the couch with a plateful of samosas and Bridget sleepy and willing and some fun scary movie on the television it will end just as good.

In other news, it's snowing! Perfect for crazy carpets, less perfect for grocery shopping. The market is closing forever and I'm going to have to figure out how to get the things I need at the other stores that I don't enjoy and really such is life. Changes, progress, learning how to not get too comfortable because then you get mired in ways that make it hard to adapt.

Adapt or die, princess.

Yes, indeed.

Now bring on the samosas, fool, and let's get this show on the road.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Thanks for the cake, boss.

Wait for the light
But you've been still sly
Baby, it's not your sleigh ride
But this yet it's ours
And maybe tomorrow
We're gonna see
Things we'd never believe
I'll make you want me, you'll see
I sorted out payroll yesterday, streamlining it into a better system and making it easier to keep track of everyone. Caleb's accountant has nothing on me. Seriously. In between I was permitted to teeter around the loft calling Daniel repeatedly to see how he was, and in our discussions of a second Thanksgiving dinner to please the Americans among us I mentioned my plans to swing by the market and get the stuffed turkey breasts because I lost track of the days and forgot to defrost the frozen turkey I had.

Satan overheard.

When does he not overhear? I am tempted to start having fake phone conversations with myself and start spreading wild rumors, just for fun. Maybe I'm hard on him, he is very generous. He had dinner catered, on a whole four hours notice. Four courses, dessert (CAKE. Oh my God.) and sparkling soda and juice. Real dishes, two servers, and dinner for fifteen, which meant two tables in two different rooms and dessert on the floor around the fireplace. Music came in the form of Badly Drawn Boy (I've grown attached) and PJ's mom was thrilled at the decadence with which Caleb carries out his holidays. I told her that was nothing and he said he would be thrilled to show himself up for Christmas even. I thought it was a strange thing for him to attempt to invite himself for Christmas considering I had already booked his tickets for the Caribbean, for Caleb and his 'guest' (Holiday girlfriend? Well-compensated companion? Whatever.) She travels with him every now and then and is hoping he'll settle down, I'll bet, and let her loose with her own expense account.

I daresay she is wasting her time. Do I need to mention that she is a Bridget-clone? Seriously. Only way taller.

Okay, but back to dinner, because gravy like we had only pours from heaven and there's no way I can get french bread that warm and still soft at the same time because it just doesn't happen. The icing on the cake though (and I don't mean the double-chocolate torte that had Bridget written all over it) was checkers.

The kids really liked the fact that they beat EVERY grown-up in the room at checkers.

Cutthroats, my kids are. Merciless. Vindictive.

So I will give thanks for that and for what turned out to be another very lovely evening. What's sad is that I spent it listening still, for the sound of that other shoe dropping.

(PS overnight the rest of the cake disappeared into Ben. Should I let that go? I should let it go. Trying.)

Thursday, 27 November 2008


Since I've been above you seen and loved you so
You pick a place that's where I'll be
Time like your cheek has turned for me
Back to work today. I don't need the whole week off since Daniel is home now (at my house) and doing a lot better. Schuyler is looking after him. There's a turkey frozen solid in the deep freeze and I'll swing by the market on the way home to pick up some stuffed breasts. Otherwise, Happy Thanksgiving (again)!

Today so far I have eaten eleven butterscotch lollipops, walked over to the printer four times and the last time came back to my desk with a splinter which I can't figure out because hello? A splinter? I don't think I even touched anything. And my throat is very sore and scratchy so I'm trying to baby it with tea and suckers because tea gets cold fast and I brought some carrots and celery for lunch but I hope since it's been a long week that someone will swing by and take me out for lunch but I won't plan on it and this skirt is itchy and you know what?

(Take a breath, Bridget)

I would rather be home nestled on the couch with my arms around Ben's neck and my face in his shirt.

That would be good.

Oh so good.

But darn everything and jobs and obligations. In my future post-apocalyptic utopia all work will cease to exist and we will all be free to indulge in endless preferred activities. Number one on my list will be resting my face on flannel-wrapped heartbeats.

You totally thought I would say something else, didn't you?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Clementines in miniature. For the brutes.

I took the hand that was offered only because this weather has settled into a mild winter but everything is covered with a thick layer of bumpy ice and it's very hard to walk on, especially in heels. The hand that was offered in a sort of ownership way, just like my schedule that was set for me. Movie on Saturday, tree cutting on Sunday. I forget about my indignation as I feel my balance wane and I grab the arm that's attached to the hand so I don't land on my head. The arm stiffens and the conversation shifts.

Tell me about your leg bothering you. And you should be wearing decent boots.

It's just a little inflammation. I'm fine. And the boots seem popular. They allow me to be taller.

Don't delude yourself. You still only come up to here.


Your leg-

-is fine, PJ.

K. I see you're going to be difficult today.

I'm tired.

Don't let that happen, baby.

Easier said than done.

Is it too much to have them at the house?

No, it's easier. And it keeps me busy. Daniel and I keep good company.

Yeah, that's true.

Another near-miss and we dropped the conversation in favor of another.

Did I tell you I think I've got a date this weekend?

You think you have a date? What, are you hoping she'll ask you so you don't have to stick your neck out?

In a perfect world, sure.

Well, I hope it all works out.

Me, too.

You might want to tip the odds in your favor and ask her out already.

Bridget? Are you giving out relationship advice?

Why not? At least I've had a few.

That went down in flames...

At least there was fuel for my fire.

Oh, that was all kinds of funny. Haha.

Feel the burn, PJ.

That brings me back to your leg. I think you're minimizing how much it hurts.

Do we have to talk about my leg? I wouldn't be wearing these boots if it was that bad. I'm just taking a few weeks off from running, that's all. I'm fine. Change the subject.

What would you like to talk about?


This is why you're my best friend, Bridge. Seriously.

Could you slow down then? I'm going to fall and break something in a minute.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Focus on Daniel, you idiots.

Looks like another day staring at this print in the hallway, which I love anyway, being a van Gogh fangirl and thinking about this message that was kindly forwarded to me:

No, man, she put herself squarely in between Ben and Caleb. Together they practically invoke Cole. Which puts her as far away from preacher boy as she could get. It's a knee jerk for sure. I gave it a year but she's still holding on to him so we'll give it another and see where she is then.
What's sad is that everyone thinks they can be the one to make a difference. We all want the same thing. Makes me infuckingsane.

Monday, 24 November 2008


Thank you if you're praying. We've been home for a little while. Daniel has a hefty list of minor injuries, or maybe they're major, I have no idea, I'm just thankful it wasn't any worse. He looks like he got the wrong end of a hockey stick in the face. A broken nose, concussion. Some bruising. Okay, a lot of bruising. He'll be purple-dan by tomorrow. They're keeping him for a few days and then we'll bring him here and spoil him rotten for a few weeks.

It took a lot of convincing to get Schuyler to come here to stay too. He's still at the hospital with Daniel and is worse-off emotionally. They were fighting and from what I gather ultimatums were given and Daniel took off his seatbelt because Schuyler was going to pull over and let him out. But the ice was black and it was still dark and the car is toast.

Daniel was almost toast, and I'm so glad he's okay. So glad to the point where the other shit pales because this is bigger. I daresay it will be a cold day in hell before Schuy forgives himself and we all started suggesting he see a counselor. It broke the black ice around Daniel's bed, anyway. Even Satan showed up, since it was cold there in hell, to check on Daniel and give me the week off because I'm the closest thing to a mother/sister/lover that Daniel has.

You know what I mean.

I'm rattled. Going to bed now.
This morning Schuyler lost control of his car and rolled it into a ditch. Daniel wasn't wearing his seatbelt and he's pretty smashed up but he'll be okay. Schuy is okay. They were fighting. Everyone's shaken.

Prayers would be appreciated.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Metal Christmas.

Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the angel voices
Far be it for me to be the only one to feel things so pointedly.

Sam is gathering up his resources for another very special candlelight Christmas eve service at church this year, it's only thirty days away so he's doing well to work hard to keep it simple, stark and profound. And it seemed safe to reinstitute the highlight of the service each year, having lost it a few times since I began to share it with you. One year being the Christmas that Jacob had the cold to end all colds and actually gave up right in the middle of a sermon, and the other year was last year and I don't know what they did because I was hardly present and not in a position to do or remember much of anything past spending Christmas staring at the fire trying not to cry for Jacob, while Ben held my hand.

Maybe that's why this year Sam is giving Ben the glory moment of the service. I'm not even sure that Ben wants it, because Ben and church aren't all that friendly. But Ben and music, extremely friendly. To the point that I might be jealous. And if you recall me whingeing romantically about wailing, ragged male voices singing, I'm in for a treat.

Sam asked Ben to sing the closing carol this year. Ben with his beautiful three-octave voice. O Holy Night. A song that seems to give everyone chills. Only this year Sam would like to hear the whole thing. And Ben does fine til he hits the second Noel. He stops breathing or something and cracks the note but he's been working on it all morning and I'm almost a puddle on the floor. I'll need the next month to learn not to cry while he's singing this one. Some of the songs he sings, it just happens, like turning on a tap, but I'm working on it.

I held the phone out for PJ and I'm sure it made him cry too, he just won't admit it.

Ben shows up Josh Groban, anyway. I just need to convince him to do it without the guitar. But he's always put a lead on his carols. Doesn't everyone?

PS The hilarity ensues in email. Let me clarify one thing: This is for the late service. Sam will not be inflicting Ben on the early congregation. Ben scares the little old ladies with his tattoos and his nail polish, even though if they would just speak to him they would see how non-scary he can be.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Pair bonding.

I know someday you'll have a beautiful life,
I know you'll be a sun in somebody else's sky
but why can't it be mine?
I know his hands and his heart are hurting but he was there, last night. When I turned over to burrow deeper beneath the blankets in the cold air of night his arms opened to pull me in against him and I woke up fully and put my nose against his shoulder and opened my eyes and then closed them again. His hands slid up around my neck and then his thumbs came to rest in front of my ears, his fingers cradling my head against his skin. So, so warm. Kisses, hot, searching. I put my arms around his neck and he lifted me underneath him, exhaling out loud, trembling against me as he pushed me down hard, his hands leaving my head to wrap around my back. He kissed up underneath my chin, along that magic goosebump path to my heart and I locked around him. We didn't sleep anymore and when the sun came up he took my hand in his and pulled me with him under a hot shower.

So I could see the extent of the bruises. Both knuckles raw and the shadow of a landed strike on his cheekbone. I didn't say a word. If they want to continue to use their fists to solve their issues with each other well past their twenties then I'm going to ignore all of it. I can now. After a difficult morning in which I wanted to just stop worrying, Lochlan called me and said he and Ben made their peace, took each other to the ground and got over themselves, but he is going home to be with his daughter and regroup and he'll be bringing her back her with him for Christmas this year, if we'll have him. More apologies, more hesitant admissions that none of us seem to know what we're doing anymore and I stopped him mid-sentence. I stopped him because my conviction came bubbling back up from the depths and I said that I know what I'm doing and I know who I want to be with and I know I'll fuck up and tell you I don't but in my head things have changed.

I'm not cold at night anymore. The part of the night I did sleep, I slept hard, one hand stretched out to touch Ben's shoulder, forehead pressed against his arm as I listened to the sound of his peaceful, shallow breath. He doesn't seem to have caught on that when I want to wake him up at four in the morning, I can just put my hand over his mouth. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. But since it's already dark again, I'll spare you all my useless facts about Canada geese and simply point out that I will happily get no sleep tonight at all. At least, that's what I've been told.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Ben is home. And we're learning the usual character-building lessons along this way, learning about the fine balances that exist in all of us between our own selfishness and the need to protect the welfare, and well-being, of those we love. It's such a very fine line, you can see where we have all crisscrossed back and forth over it so many times, it's hard to tell it's even still there. It's the difference between what you really want and what you know is right, or better for everyone. It's a struggle, that's for sure, and if we need to be the poster children for building that kind of character then someday I'm going to be the most magnificently graceful human you have ever seen.

But who cares? He's home. He's home and he's plotting to go remove alpha from his selfish perch and some of the guys offered to help Ben because they're pissed at Lochlan for messing with my head so badly but really the risk is one I take and so it falls on me and I'm trying to assume that Loch holds his own internal struggle on a daily basis that means he is just as human as I am.

But he does need an attitude adjustment, and since Ben has no qualms about taking a good hard swing at anyone who threatens the fragile happiness of one tiny little insignificant Bridget, I think Lochlan would be smart to take his epic and flawed humanity and run.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A literary count (to ten).

I can't stand it
I know you planned it
I'm gonna set it straight,
This watergate
I can't stand rocking
When I'm in here
Because your crystal ball
Ain't so crystal clear
Let's take a few lines from one of Henry's favorite songs, add in a dash of conscience and stir it all together. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then turn it off, leaving the dish in all week long.

Dinner is served. We'll call it a recipe for disaster.

I bet you thought it wouldn't be such a big deal but it quickly got out of control and your saving grace is your inability to deceive, at least for long, and the constant headache and the hum in my ears and the songs in my head wore you down, you can't stand to see me suffer and so you caved first and you're really lucky you did, before I took the kids on a dangerous wintery three-hour drive for nothing.

Loch came over during dinner, with my letter. The letter Ben left for me because Seth is all business all the time and he took away Ben's phone, left Loch as the usual alpha in charge of city stuff and opted for some time away, a chance to deprogram Ben one-on-one away from his usual distractions. A heavily sanctioned plan by all involved for four days, just to get Ben grounded again briefly. Nothing but nature, trees and his own sober self. Which has always worked wonders to put Ben at ease in his own skin, a place he has never been comfortable.

They are coming back tomorrow.

Only Lochlan figured if I didn't get the letter he could achieve three things. Firstly, he could pay Ben back for their scuffle over who was in charge a whole whopping week and a half ago, secondly, he could drive a wedge between us, when he doesn't seem to realize there are two wedges already between us, in the form of ghosts, and three, he could move in on Bridget. You know, since he wants me and doesn't want me and generally makes my poor little head wobble in crazily dizzying circles.

Then he just couldn't go through with it because he saw something he didn't expect.


Missing Ben. Being hurt and lashing out in my old predicatble ways, but without my heart in it. Because my heart isn't broken anymore and I don't have it anyway. It's with Ben. All of my thoughts are with him and I'm here hanging on to what I thought was an interminable time alone, veering wildly between what I've done in the past and almost nothing less than normal to try and find a way to feel better, but not falling apart, not giving up, just settling into a functional despair.

Not like me, no. Not like me at all.

Time apart from Ben is a hole in the center of my chest. It's a burning, aching void where he is supposed to be and I....

....guess I didn't expect that.

We used to be comfortable as adversaries, almost secure in our own convictions that we were right and the other would come crawling back and we'd make up. This time felt so final it was as if I had buried him with the others and time stopped once again.

And of course, Ben thought I had the letter and was toughing it out. He kept telling Nolan he was proud of me. Nolan was just plain confused. Hell, everyone was confused because Lochlan told them that I wanted a break. He took a page from Jacob's history and attempted to isolate me in order to ensure my focus (and my dependence) would be on him.

It would have worked too. I do really stupid things when I feel rejected or worse, abandoned.

Only I don't think I am fragile miss Bridget anymore, you know that? And I'll tell you up and down, swearing on graves that aren't even settled yet that Ben is a welcome distraction but he's nowhere near on the scale of love that I once held for other men, and I'd tell you he drives me nuts and I may even tell you I'm killing time and so is he and that we're doing it together because no one wants to be alone.

And I would be a liar.

This is hands-down the best letter I have ever read. Because Ben is a liar too. And there is more to us than just a couple of fucked-up mistake-making, struggling failed human beings that you see before you. So much more. So stop trying to sabotage the best thing that's ever happened to me.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go express my disappointment. In 3....2....1....

Be easier if I had a job in the Keebler factory.

I'd love to say
Do you love me, but
I'm as humble as a bumble bee
I'd walk away
If you come with me or
I may crumble
For all to see
Well, it's Thursday and that means my first week of gainful employment comes to an end in about five hours and I'm glad because I have spent the day so far hiding at my desk looking out the window and hoping no one notices how red my eyes are, or my nose. Thankfully it's college-boy-lunch day and so Caleb has pretty much cleared the day so that he can fly out to go and drink and eat and smoke cigars and tell stories with his university and law school classmates. I asked him to send one of his henchmen to my house to collect the Lexus because I told him many times over I had no intentions of driving it and I think he thought I would change my mind. I didn't and I finally grew tired of it taking up half the driveway. Not that the driveway is full, mind you. We're short one truck because Ben has his at the farm. I spoke to Nolan last night. He said all Ben has done is sleep and eat and grunt responses at Seth, who spends a lot of time on the phone, and that they've been back to the city every second day now, so that's two trips back since Monday and still Ben won't call, because he's working on himself and he won't call. The last time Seth was here I met him on his way home and Ben had literally disappeared to the point where I thought something had happened to him, like that maybe Jacob had murdered him and buried his body in the dirt floor of the church cellar and then poof, he appeared, clean and rested and back to his old self but better because we all know how depraved his old self can be and that wasn't going to fly after what led to sobriety the first time around. And frankly this isn't flying now at all because he has a wife and kids and you just don't take off without saying goodbye and I know he's not far and I can talk to Nolan any time I please but it's not the same and it leaves me here alone which right now isn't good either.

God, why didn't I wear waterproof mascara? This morning instead of running I broke into the church and sat in the first pew where I used to sit but I don't anymore, with my headphones on, listening to music that Jacob sang most often because I keep a playlist that I can torture myself with because it's nice to feel even when it's painful and Sam appeared out of nowhere but I didn't say anything to him, I just held out my hand with the key in it and kept my headphones in my ears and I bet he could hear the music because it was loud. He shook his head and took my hand, closing my fist around the key, telling me I could keep it. Last night Loch yelled at me because he doesn't understand why I'd ever want to spend any time with Satan at all but he doesn't understand the need to keep the Coleries and the Jakories as they have come to be known and I know that nothing is worth more to me in this world then those things and they come from such unlikely places. In his own frustration he kissed me a little too hard and held on a little too tight and the really stupid part of Bridget's brain asked him to stay because she is so tired of being alone but he thankfully refused even though he wanted to because life has changed and all of the sudden no one wants to take advantage and advantage is being given out still because everything can't be changed all at once. This isn't fair but it's right and right is the high road, today.

I believe I'll leave early. No one will ever know. The doorman won't tell, I'll just tip him well to keep quiet.

Ah yes, little miss fragile. Pretend. You've gotten so good at it.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

You know there's something missing.

Don't find nothing
No more coincidences

Pretty baby
Look in his eyes and you will see
Things will happen
But only if they're meant to be
Lochlan's going to roll his eyes. He's not a bad boy, he would never understand.

In the brief interim between when Loch broke up with me and I fell for Cole, I had a crush on Charlie Sexton. This one. (Please remember, this was 1985. Not the recent Arc Angels-version Charlie.)

He was such a bad boy. A loner with earrings, cigarettes, a leather jacket and a chip on his shoulder five miles wide. A guitar.

But this post isn't about Charlie. Despite how under-appreciated he is.

When I walked into work this morning, Caleb's new habit seems to be to cross to me, put his hand on the small of my back, lean in and kiss my temple, and then he'll ask me how I am and what I'd like to listen to today. This morning I said Charlie Sexton. He laughed.

I haven't heard that name for years.


You would have been fourteen?


I see. When you and Cole got together.


No Jacob music today?

Fuck you, Caleb.

My apologies. It was uncalled for.

No, it's fine.

We get along very well, as you can see. This week I've gone from bitterly confident to miserably convinced that I shouldn't be working for him. Maybe the other guys are just wearing me down. Maybe old habits die hard and bad habits are hard to break, and please pick a proverb on my behalf and I'll take my blame and go home. Don't get me wrong, Caleb has been nothing but a gentleman (alright, almost) and as bosses go I think he would be so far among the very best kind to have, but I'm growing rawer as the week goes on.

Ben and Seth have gone to the farm and as per usual, when Bridget is out of sight she is out of mind. Ben has terrific focus. To the point where he forgets about me and everyone else is left to try and fill in around the edges of my issues with epic imaginary loneliness. Which can't be quieted and so instead I'm left to defend myself against a relentless onslaught of negativity about my new job and my boss and just about everything else I do. Or sometimes so it seems.

I need a hug. Probably be a while before I get one again.

Beat's so lonely indeed, Charlie.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hell is caffeinated.

We found you sleeping by your lover's stone
A ream of paper and a telephone
A broken bow
Across a long lost violin

Your lover's angel told the captain's man
It never ends the way we had it planned
And kissed her palm
And placed it on your dreaming head
It's a sad day when your boss asks you to bring your violin to work and then makes you play for a cup of coffee.

I would have played for free, but he buys the very good coffee that I told him I liked. The Sumatra beans from the Human Bean, ground very fine. Served black, in a cup as large as one's head. That was my gift for my song today and now I'm in the throes of setting up my new (work) laptop and pretending that this morning didn't bother me one bit.

The contractor came by with his new plans, and Ben's surprise went out the window. The original suggestion of making the old turret into a widow's walk was shot down before he finished describing it. Simply because of the implications. Can't do it. Don't want to do it. Dear God. So Ben came up with the idea of taking out the windows in the upper old porch which is now a playroom and glassing in the walls to make an atrium. More usable than the turret, and then we could have plants. So many plants. All sun all the time. Bridget remains in the house instead of being on the roof.

Only he meant for it to be a secret for me and I stood like a fool and grinned at the contractor and told him that he needed to call Ben, that I wasn't supposed to know.

He said he would try, sheepishly. Then the car was waiting and I almost forgot it was time to go to work. Mike (Caleb's driver) waited patiently while I ran around collecting my bimbo shoes (whoops.) and pulling on my boots and got two laptops and he met me halfway up the sidewalk and handed me a Blackberry BOLD (HELLO!) and on it was a message to bring the violin so I went back in the house and got my case while Mike put everything else in the car.

And now I'm here. I think I figured out the coffeemaker and have pointed out bosses don't take their employees out to every meal and I brought a pear and a banana even and I won't starve. Caleb smiled (again. Stop that.) and pointed out few employees would adhere to a dress code the likes of his. I pointed out few girls like me would fail to indulge someone in a fetish and he asked me if that was so.

I just stared at him and then we both dropped it and started talking at the same time. About the weather.

I think it's already been a long week and I'm ready for a day off. Just from the psychological pressure. I'm the ninety-pound weakling and he is the bully.

Only holy, has Caleb been a busy beaver. Not only do I have a Bold which is awesome and my Blackberry curve is now happily living in my bra because the bold can be the bat-phone, but he had a desk made for me. A desk made from a Victorian gate, with a glass top and inlays made of beach glass and mother of pearl. And he put it in front of the big window in his office so that I can look out over the city. With a big comfortable overstuffed parlour chair I can curl up in. And it defies his masculine sensibilities because he has this behemoth of a wooden medieval desk already in the centre of the room and this beautiful little thing throws off the whole look. It's out of place.

Oh, wait. I just described Bridget, didn't I?

Actually, Caleb came up with that one.

He is spoiling me because after yesterday I don't think either one of us thinks this is going to work. But we're both too stubborn to give up without a fight. Okay, maybe that's just me and I'm projecting.

That's what seven cups of coffee will do for you.

Wait, what was I talking about again?

Monday, 17 November 2008

Far too fast to pacify you.

In a year of fallen angels
Broken hands and boys in danger
Pray the lord might pacify you
Ain't no telling what he's up to
Let's enjoy a little morning coffee with Bridget, shall we? As she begins her first day at work, as assistant to Mr. C____, who, as bosses go, is incredibly indulgent so far.

I knew Caleb was sending a car for me, which is silly considering the Lexus has been in my driveway for two days. But he himself showed up in the 350z again, which handled poorly in the snow but I could see that he was enjoying ferrying me around and a lot of times I think Caleb has made so much money that he pretends to be working and he doesn't have to work at all.

He took me out for breakfast to celebrate my first day of work, and of course I wasn't hungry because I didn't know he was going to do that and I had already eaten but I had coffee and a warm piece of pecan pie that I ate half of, while he had an egg white omelet and bacon and steamed vegetables because he will not allow himself to gain an ounce. It was this vanity I was marveling over when I found another. The lines at the corners of his eyes that are not as pronounced as Cole's were because I think Caleb rarely smiles.

Unless I'm there.

He has smiled through most of the morning, I'm surprised there aren't feathers sticking out of his mouth.

To address all the people who pointed out that Sam has asked me to come work for him many times over and I have refused, and yet here I am, working for my devil of a brother in law, let me just say this. Working for Sam is beyond difficult because I spend my day staring at or walking in and out of Jacob's old office.

That hell is worse than this one.

This one so far is not so bad. So far work-wise I have ordered new business cards with Caleb's new information on them, I have arranged for a huge Christmas tree to be delivered to the loft on December thirteenth and he's asked me if I can show him how to use his Blackberry when we come back from lunch. Oh and I charmed his doorman. To absolute pieces.

Basically I think my job description is to let Caleb watch me walk around in his loft in my ridiculously high heels. If he's going to pay me this much money to do that, then yes, Lochlan, I am selling out. No better than a whore? That's great, thank you.

There is something in it for me, too. You seem to forget that.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Like a Scorpions song, only much more profound.

Something about wind and change.

The winds here are warm. Winter seems to be holding back. Perhaps Autumn has kidnapped Jack Frost and our usual minus twenty mornings aren't appearing as scheduled. It gave me an extra breath to prepare for the cold. I was ready weeks ago. The boots and coats and mittens and everything out in their places. Shovels at the ready and we have had to shovel once. The back steps are bare.

I like this. More like home, less like this godforsaken city that's putting me through a seventh winter even though I vowed I would get out of here years and years ago. If everything happens for a reason then I would like to know the reasons for this. I think I might be making my peace with this city at last.

Change comes in the form of noticing this morning that it's November sixteenth and the kids have only had a very minor cold each and a one-day stomach flu around Thanksgiving. The three years previous to this had us in front of the vampire cowboy doctor at least four times by this date, inhalers every night, coughing constantly and exhausted beyond repair.

Here's the part where I squeeze my eyes tightly shit and then crack one open for a quick peek around, in case Jinx heard me. She's the one that hears her name and then comes and fixes what she missed. So within two days I expect the germs and the snow to descend on my big old house in a flood of ruin.

Pleasepleaseplease just miss this house this year.

In other changes. We went to the early service and are home already (thank you Sam for your words this morning, clearly directed at us). Seth and Ben have already made out a list for the week. Ben seems more confident and has limitless enthusiasm and very few cravings today. This is living life one day at a time to the fullest.

And I start work tomorrow in the lair of the demon of the business underworld. I'm halfway excited. The other half of me is cautious, as usual. One must be cautious when one meets the devil on his own proving ground. And I have all kinds of things to prove.

Not to him, though. To ME.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Nothing doing.

On this Saturday night the mercury is dropping fast and we're all tucked in for the night. Only this night is a little different. Even though the Leafs are playing the Canucks and later on the UFC fight to end all UFC fights is scheduled to be on, we have the TV off, the friends are home (thank you PJ for the hugs and coffee and thank you Seth for looking after Ben today) and we've lit a roaring fire and are going to spend the evening matching our fingertips under a blanket on the couch.

Just us, just two silly fools who have names that begin with the letter B, just the ones covered with sadness and effort and tattoos and then tomorrow the day starts all over again. And it will be another good one, just like today.


If it's Saturday I talk to myself out loud. Wait, nevermind.

When the sun clears the dark away I sit quietly, legs crossed, eyes closed, left abandoned in a moment but only for a moment with a kiss on the forehead that means meeting time, he'll be back and I hear the doors close and then a thud as the truck door closes and the rumble of life from the big beast with FORD stamped on the back.

Seth seems nice, since two years ago I was briefly introduced but did not talk with him at any length. Last night he sat at the kitchen table and I watched him watching us. He does not take notes or act as if he's thinking about anything of importance, in fact, he acts a lot like August. You wouldn't know what he does for a living and when I remarked last evening that being stuck here for the next ten weeks or so doesn't seem like much of a living at all on his part, he let his warm blue eyes rest on me and he smiled, telling me candidly that he averages three clients a year, and then the rest of the time he does whatever he wants, that he is well-compensated. He likes what he does and he doesn't consider it work.

Ben will do well again. He wants to do well, he just doesn't have the self-discipline required to do it on his own. Self-discipline isn't something Ben comes with. It's sold separately. Like batteries.

Seth will be Ben's batteries. Ben is going to do a lot of really hard work.

I am not.

I'm going to continue on this path for a bit. No pills, no therapy, just a new routine that is slightly busier, which means I have less time to let my brain crash around inside my skull. Bridget's idle brain is her worst enemy and time is her nemesis and between the two, she's been cultivating destruction all by herself.

She does that, you know. The tiny tornado, flattening very big structures and causing fear in people for no reason at all. A glitch when all conditions are right.

I don't want to go through life being known like that.

Maybe I'm too late.

No, dammit. There is always time. If I ever learned anything from Jake, there is time for me. Of course, there was no time for him, but there's time for me, there's time for Ben and there's time to get it right.

Limitless chances, princess. Just do the best you can.

Do you think if I fill those empty spaces in my head his voice will stop finding a way in?

Is that what I even want?

And with that, I must go, because PJ is here. To fill my empty head with coffee and my arms with some really good hugs, I hope.

Friday, 14 November 2008

This post is not about Caleb.

When I was a little girl growing up on a beach somewhere on the East coast, I thought the devil was cool. I figured he was about 35 years old, chain-smoked king-sized cigarettes and had tattoos. He wore a lot of black, usually biker clothes or funeral director with a wild-west-twist suits, and he listened to heavy metal. In my head he was a combination of Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger and James Hetfield all rolled up in one man, but better looking. Scorching, smoking hot.

And Jesus was a wimp. One of the uncool kids, sitting in his room with his record player and out of date seventies garb, fringed faded jeans, love beads and flowing white shirt with his long wavy hair and a beard to die for, spinning Simon and Garfunkel or perhaps some Nick Drake while he waited and hoped for the heathens to settle down. While he prayed for them to be good people.

For some reason Jesus was impossibly eighteen years old in my head.

And emo.

Both images are forever stuck at a point when I was eight years old, like most ideals I have. Possibly this might be where my brain stopped growing. In fact, I might be almost one hundred percent sure of that, since I still like to play with the Rubik's cube when I pass one. Sometimes to the point where I am late for an appointment or miss a call, because hey, if I can get this side all red, maybe I can get this side all white and how the hell do people do these again?

Must be nice to be so smart.

But this post is not even about how smart or how dumb Bridget is.

No, this post is about Seth.

Seth is a guy who fixes lives. And he is a friend of Ben's. And two years ago when Ben went off his rocker completely and came on to me in one drunken, dangerous night, Seth was the guy who flew out here the next day and stood close to Ben for weeks on end, pointing out the pieces, and Ben picked up those pieces and managed to put his life back together and stayed sober for over a year. Seth is coming back and they're going to pick up the pieces yet again because the first time Ben couldn't hold on to them. Seth is someone who will shadow Ben, schedule him and basically become his new best friend. He will evaluate and get him all the help he needs and then in twelve weeks hopefully Ben will be at a better place and he'll be able to go back on the road because the night job is calling again.

Thankfully Ben does well with direction and he does even better with deadlines and all he needs is a push because life got to be a little much and he's been veering wildly between being Jesus and being the devil himself lately.

(I do realize that I am no picnic to live with either. No one likes the beautiful fucked-up ones with the maturity of your average eight-year old.)

And so I'm hoping that when Ben has to go back out there into the world where the devil comes in many forms but so does Jesus and so you better watch out for both, that Seth might stick around and maybe give me a little direction, some guidance, a plan of some sort because I am currently without one and I'm sure the recent levelness of my head is due solely to the fact Ben keeps my hands and that single-digit head of mine really busy. In twelve weeks that vanishes for a bit again and I might lose that kid.

I don't want to lose that kid.

Thankfully the kid isn't old enough to drive, she's in her room listening to the Stones and to Black Sabbath and even to a little bit of Drake.

And fine, yes, Simon and Garfunkel.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Polarity begins with a B.

Yesterday's double post was not supposed to be that way. Sometimes I empty my head and then I save it and delete it later but that 'publish' button seems awfully close to the 'save' one when your fingers are cold and I'll just be thankful it was an innocuous entry.

Now, can I ask that you take a day off from the mean emails? I don't ask very often so I'll ask twice in this month because I don't need them today. Please. Thank you.

Change is upon us once again on this marathon swim of a life in which I'm given precious seconds, a wave sweeping over my head, in which to take a deep breath and dive back down for more. Beginning on Monday, when I begin work (no worries, I will have time to journal), Ben will begin work as well, because he's been lying in his own road to hell being repeatedly run over by a large, heavy wagon loaded down with his life's tragedies, disappointments and pressures, bottled in liquid form so he can at once be mired in and escape from darker memories and an incredibly skewed outlook on life now that's getting in the way.

I will be watching him, encouraging and supporting him and hopefully learning from him. Because Ben is a lot like Bridget, needing to be flung to the bottom repeatedly before change will be called for, before things move, and then when the change occurs we usually run for the hills because good things have become the things we fear.

We're bad for each other. With a soft spot a mile wide for Ben, I will coddle and enable him to the brink of ruin because I have always tried to give him an ease in life that no one else gives him and I don't know why but it's there. Whatever I could do, I would do for him. And he's been much the same way for me and I don't expect people to understand because when they were off playing soccer or volleyball or got up to get and fill a plate at a barbecue or dinner, Ben and I were usually sitting together somewhere talking. We've talked about every last thing on earth there was to talk about and then some more. We know the inside of each other's brains so well that I knew yesterday that he was safe and that he would come home with change in mind because we know sometimes when things get harder instead of easier it's really time to move some stuff around because the feng shui is fucked again and if we just align things better, good fortune will follow.

Hey, at least we take turns.

At least this time I KNOW he's in danger, instead of being fooled.

And me? I'm doing okay. Worried, nervous about Monday, heck, nervous about every day but in a whole other completely selfish way worrying about Benjamin keeps my head busy and we all know what a good thing that is. And it isn't lost on me that he's exactly like me, and I have to admit that seeing him self-destruct repeatedly is like looking in a mirror. I always say I'll change and improve and do whatever I need to do to get past this place where I am stuck, mired in a purgatory and I can't seem to pick a side. I need to pick a side. Ben needs to pick a side.

I really hope we pick the same side.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Falling for you.

I fall for candy apples and new charcoal pencils. And for cute black shoes. I fall for unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough and yarn in shades of pale blue. I fall for seashells and sand dunes and smooth river stones. I fall for leather satchels and new credit cards and white-ripe tomatoes. I fall for plaintive guitar leads and jingle bells and odd noises and sometimes odd things. I like beads and tictacs and marbles and tactile things and light, the way light hits the rooms in my house.

I love voices. Particularly male voices, particularly when they sing. Hard songs with painful emotionally drained verses and powerful choruses. I fall in love with the voices of singers I'll never meet, fall for their words, for the catch at the end of the hook, for the way it's all packaged together and for the gift of pinning that song onto a memory that it will trigger forever when I hear it.

I can be allowed that. It's one of the few vices I wish to keep.

The red pen.

Born to bear and read to all
The details of our ending.
To write it down for all the world to see.
But I forgot my pen,
This morning held a write-in. A ritual began and then abandoned as life took over. Chris and Joel and I invaded the diner with our colored pens and printed drafts and ordered breakfast and began to pass around our offerings, their research papers and my short stories. We edit each other's works, when time permits, and there are strict rules in place. We don't critique content, we only work with making sure the spelling, formats, syntax and tenses are watertight, editing-wise, and then the work must be accompanied by a full and complete breakfast (i.e. something hot, Bridget.), followed by at least half a dozen coffee refills.

It's been a long time since the last one but it was nice to be prepared with stories I have managed to put down and print off, surprising myself. Still writing. Still ticking, still going, still trying to create something worth creating.

They will call this my dark period, which is kind of funny, since the stories are not all that dark, just different. Maybe a little deeper. I don't know, really, that's for future critics to decide.

I ate hash browns and bacon until I was stuffed and drank coffee until I was floating on caffeine and I had to really fight both Chris and Joel not to go easy on my errors, not let things slide just to give me a break and I was hard on both of them, especially on Joel's tendency to use his Newfie colloquialisms.

I have a lot of work to do now before the next write-in, which will be moved to Fridays once a month to accommodate my new job, and so for the day, that's all I'm going to write here. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Harder than I thought.

(The brain is off-leash today, this is what results.)

Starting this day in a thick gray sweater that is wool but is not itchy, having poured oil all over my skin this morning in a bid to seal in the moisture, pulling on my slim jeans and my green cowboy boots quietly so as not to stir anyone, I could creep downstairs and pull almost an hour out of thin air from which to think without talking, be without being.

For lack of comparison past height, adoration and that odd brand of faith let's say that Ben has obsessions of a different sort and that they come in liquid form. Last night he left for a meeting and came home slightly drunk and I don't know how that happens or what kinds of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings serve beer but it was really interesting from a sociological point of view to watch him come in and decide how he was going to play it. He chose unwisely, trying to pretend he was fine, only he wasn't trembling and wouldn't touch me and the hesitated when he tried to leave his stance against the counter in the kitchen and that split-second was enough for me to see and then I went to him for a hug, not to confirm or test but because I'm Bridget and I like hugs, I like physical contact and he pushed me away and told me not to judge him. I asked him if he remembered who I was and that I would always be the last person to pass judgement on him but he just defended and said he knew who I was, he was drunk, for god's sake and maybe I could just let him celebrate winning the girl of his dreams away from all the better guys without raining on the goddamned parade.

As if I wasn't even that girl.

Ten more minutes and I could see his undirected ire building and I was forced to trick him and have the most ridiculous picture in my head now of running back down the hallway between the kitchen and the back door and locking my beautiful husband behind the other side because when he has had that much he is unpredictable and I am scared. He yelled some horrible thing between the door jambs at me, things about wishing he had stayed out, about the cute girl with the long black hair who could have rocked his night and he wouldn't have to put up with me, or maybe he should go back and get her and bring her here and I can join them and loosen up a bit. Then he pounded on the door so hard I jumped a hundred feet in the air and in spirit banged my head on the attic and then the trees and then the power lines and then the clouds.

And then he stopped but it was moments too late. I had PJ and Chris on speed dial to come and clean up the mess that is their friend because those comparisons in the few rare places that lead me back to Cole can also be the ones that make me fear for myself and the comparisons to Jake are the ones that make me fear for the future and I get this giant, wet, cold slap in the face once again that we aren't making a sweet, idyllic life here, we're simply choosing to be together in between our own personal freakouts and it isn't very pretty, no matter how many lovely and rare words I pull off the pile on the floor to arrange.

I don't hear anything else and then gradually within ten or fifteen minutes I hear voices toward the back of the house, more than one and I know the other guys are here. I hear their sure and confident voices making statements about what will happen next and then a roar erupts from Ben because he doesn't want to leave, he wants to be let in his own house, he wants to be with his wife, he's supposed to be there for her. Is it too much pressure? Sure. Yes. Sometimes it is. Sometimes I think I should set him free but he doesn't want to be set free and I don't want to be without him. I run back down the hallway and open the door and both PJ and Chris are standing in the sitting room and Ben is sitting in the chair holding his head like he does when he has just crossed from unreasonable to surrender.

I run across that little room and throw myself in his arms and hold him as tight as I can. He says that he is sorry but I don't hear him so he says it louder and stops halfway through the word sorry. I shake my head because I don't care what his problems are if he's here. And he says he'll never get mad at me and doesn't understand why I call everyone when I'm afraid instead of just telling him. But there are nights still burned into my head that called for me to be protected from him and I made promises to others on behalf of my children that I must keep so I called. He understands, for their sakes and for mine and he falls deeper in despair but I pull him back up as hard as I can, our fingers slipping even as they grab just a little higher, tighter. Don't let go. Please, God, don't let go. Just hang on to me and I'll hang on to you and then when we get a little stronger and there's just a little more time under our belts, this won't be so hard. it won't be something that requires interventions and stern talks and more empty promises and more reassurances that yes, I changed my mind, you guys can go home now, we're okay and they shake their heads and mentally place labels across our foreheads because the old ones faded and peeled off in the sun but the words on them don't change but we don't really care and I will always flinch when someone's hands fly out and he will always drink when someone's judgement flies out, maybe it's so ingrained now it's just hopeless. Finally there are others who also are not perfect. Finally there is someone out there just like me, we think. Isn't that awesome?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Changing of the Guard.

Angels on the sideline again,
Benched along with patience and reason.
Angels on the sideline again,
Wondering where this tug of war will end.

Gotta divide it all right in two.
Was it a dream? It felt like one but it wasn't.

Alpha, meet Omega. He's going to kick your ass.

I'm sure I said that as I was roused out of where I fell asleep on the couch. Lochlan was there, shaking me awake gently. Whispering to me. Me looking around for Ben, knowing he would be nearby, allowing things to happen that should not happen because and only because if it were reversed he would feel much the same way, that denying him access to me was the one thing in the world that ever scared him so much he broke.

Lochlan, with a long history of making me feel safe and being the first person I ever let into my heart, the one guy everyone figured I would have gone to after Jake died, only I didn't, for once. I went to Ben and Loch came around just a bit too late. But he still wants his cut and he was back with sweet apologies and open arms, trying to atone for not being here through a difficult week for me even though a long time ago I told him he didn't have to be, I told him to back down because I was happy with Ben and Loch had to work harder in his own life, that he was a father now and that had to be his first priority.

It's not the same anymore, our relationship and when Ben finally had enough, telling Lochlan it was time to go, Loch scowled at us and said of the whole group we were the biggest screwups. That we deserved each other. It hurt like hell. He made one final pitch, that I shouldn't go work for Caleb, that he heard and saw things while they both lived in Toronto that spoke of bad news only once again he was too late. He looked to Ben for confirmation and Ben just took me right out of Lochlan's arms. It was as if I was home at last. The way Ben's arms felt was like a relief, a comfort and a familiarity that spoke of home. I was home. I chose my side and I'm sticking with it. I'll stick with Ben.

Loch made a few further comments about us not lasting very long, that when I cracked Ben just cracked further, and who did he think he was, since he wasn't remotely as strong as Jacob or as perfect as Lochlan and Cole both were. Ben abruptly stopped talking to Loch and just looked at me with a question on his face. I nodded and Ben kissed me.


The kind of kiss you don't indulge in when there is someone else present. Then he let go of me and went and saw Loch out. They exchanged some bitter words in the hallway and then Ben said he knew what Loch was doing but he wasn't going to flatten him tonight because he was indeed working on himself just as we all should be.

Loch had nothing to say to that. As he was halfway down the walkway, Ben spat to his back.

You're not the alpha anymore, asshole. She isn't yours.

Lochlan kept going.

Oh, but it didn't end there. You see, all this took place after midnight, and then in the early hours of Sunday morning, Ben got up early, showered and went downstairs. I kept expecting him back. I was trying to stay awake for him. I tried to stay strong for him. I cried. I miss the way Lochlan used to be before the strain of life and death and loss took it's toll on him, too. I miss a lot of things but I'm absolutely sure of my choices because I don't lead with my head. I'll never lead with my head because my head has been messed up for a long time but my heart seems to still be under warranty. It gets broken and repaired time and time again and it hasn't failed me yet and so it wins.

After two hours he still hadn't come back so I got up and showered and went downstairs.

Ben was sitting in the living room staring into the fire, an empty glass in his hand.

What are you doing?

Trying to keep control.

He's gone, Ben.

Things come so easy to him, princess.

Not anymore, they don't.

He's right. I'm not good enough for you. I'm not enough for you.

Stop it, Ben. Isn't that what you tell me? Just stop and just be and all that simplistic crap. I'm supposed to do it, then why can't you do it too?

You know something? He's gone, princess and life is never going to be the same for you if you stay with me.

I'm not going anywhere, Ben.

I love you.

He let the glass slip out of his hand and I caught it when I caught him and I tried to hug him instead of being overwhelmed by him and I kept my arms locked tight and he didn't shake or talk or cry, he was strong and back in control and he hugged me as long as I could keep breathing for, crushed against him like that from the floor. I finally let the glass roll out of my hand and it hit the oriental rug and went rolling on one side across the room in a wide arc but Ben kept holding on.

Great, you married the Omega man. Me against the family. Wonderful.

No way. He dies at the end of that movie.

Everyone dies, Bridget.

You're going to live forever.

I'm guessing I don't have a choice.



Ben, please God, just shut up.

One more thing.
I love you. You never said it back.

I love you too. And you need to go to a meeting. Okay?

Yeah, that would be a good idea.

And so yesterday he did go to a meeting and I waited in the truck and then he took me out for coffee and we poked around the bookstore for a long while and we had a normal day, refusing to be crushed under the weight of other people's expectations or other people's assumptions. And there will be a lot more slips and a lot more meetings and probably a lot more screwups before we're done in this life.

Just like everyone else.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Fight over the clouds, over wind, over sky
Fight over life, over blood, over prayer, overhead and light
Fight over love, over sun, over another

Angels on the sideline again.
Been soon long with patience and reason.
Angels on the sideline again
Wondering when this tug of war will end.
The barometer this morning is rather peaceful, and quiet and calm. It's a barometer from a girl who is un-therapied and un-medicated and un-pressured to do anything except just be. Just today and then we'll worry about the future and the past some other time. Just eat when you're hungry and sleep when you are tired and paint and write and read and watch the kids play in the snow and just take it easy a little bit. Just go for a hug when you feel the slipping and break away a little when some strength shows and maybe go for a run and maybe sneak a croissant and maybe just ditch some of the chores around the house in favor of doing nothing. Not wake up early enough to go to church and send the minister a text message that sort-of almost apologizes because Sam is cool with that but then he intends to get you anyway and plans to stop by later with a handful of prayers to stuff into your ears because you need them and you won't help yourself and he really wants to help you. Both of you because you're good people and you'll be okay so why not take the hand when it is extended for you because they all love you so, so much?

Of course, you will take what is offered. You always do even if sometimes it's a selfish offer that benefits someone else because you don't know any better. Your judgement has been broken for years.

But you mean well.

You will be well.

This life is new, and changes are required. This guy, though some of the attitudes and mannerisms and ideals are similar, well, he isn't the same. But he loves you and you love him and he's a hell of a lot easier to figure out because everything is simple and he doesn't wrap his words in gift wrapping that needs to be interpreted, he just says it. He spells it out and you repeat it back as soon as you have absorbed the letters. And all he wants is a simple life, and to have fun with you and he wants you to have fun with him because you always have. And he works so hard not to touch things that are bad for him but he's always been so bad and self-destructive and extravagant in some ways it takes a lot to relearn those things but he says you make it easier. You. Surprise. You've provided a home and a stability that he's never had before and he cherishes it more than he can express to you but you laugh. Stability? From me? He nods. It sinks in that you're maybe doing better than you think you are, than others would have you believe, but it's true.

It was always true. You just have to figure out how to manage your selfish and generous sides. You have to figure out a lot of things. You're just over-complicating things again.

You always do that. I don't know why you do that.

Stop it.

Just go be happy. Life is all lined up, you just need to live it.

He is smiling at you. So damned cute. So alive.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Full guard.

This first snow won't be going away. Winter came in and cleared the table in one sweep of a long, cold arm and sat down in a chair to laugh maniacally. Oh yes, she said. I'm here for the duration.


She stuck out her icy foot and tripped me and I fell face-first into this most despised of all seasons. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. Just not winter. I got up and took a wild swing at her and she kept laughing as I landed nothing, my tiny fists sailing easily through her, an apparition.

I vowed that in March and April I will harness the power of the infinite sun and incinerate her into oblivion and she finally looked concerned. Bet last year's incarnation of winter failed to mention that the gig is on a tight deadline, or that it ends spectacularly for the cold.

So ha-ha to you, you evil bitch. Do what you have to do and get the fuck out.

Friday, 7 November 2008


Where the hell have I been?
Sleeping, lost, and numb.
I'm so glad that I have found you.
I am wide awake and heading home.

Glorious, infuriating snow coats everything with a fresh thick layer of white and cold, covering our tracks, hiding the entire city, now frozen and brittle and hurriedly adapted to the winter that is our virtual trademark and begrudged friend. Soon the river will be open for skating and Christmas weddings and long walks on the thick ice, and the hot chocolate stations will be set up along the way, connected by strings of tiny lights glowing warmly in the night and it isn't so dark anymore.

I ran this morning. Sliding against the slush and stumbling through memories disguised as hurdles I flew through the wet streets in the dark, keeping my footing but just barely, keeping my breathing regular, timed with my steps, working toward a 3:2 ratio from my usual 2:1 for better oxygen. I shook my arms loose and kept my shoulders down because I'm trying to work on my posture when I run, and so my chin was jutted up and straight ahead as I ran down the path and straight past the benches, and almost wiped out when I saw the roses everywhere but I did not stop.

No. I'm done stopping.

I kept going, kept forcing my legs to support me even when I could feel the heaviness creeping in and I poured on the rest of my strength and headed back across the river and over into Chinatown, turning at the shady little dim sum place on the second corner to come home. This time I did not look for the roses, I concentrated on keeping my back straight and I shaved minutes off the return trip, making my brain work in conjunction with my legs. Working hard and finally being rewarded with the endorphin flood just in time to block the agony I was punishing my body with.

I turned down my street and ran home just as the sun was beginning to stir, smiling because I could see the porch light on halfway down the first block, and I ran the rest of the way at full bore. Home. Home to remove wet shoes and wet clothes and jump into a hot shower and then get back in bed with big Ben, who was still sleeping, one ear left open to listen for my eventual return.

And I got an Eskimo kiss.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

One year.

This morning Ben woke up before me, put his arms around me so tight I woke up startled, and then he kissed me and smiled at me through equally glassy eyes. Sometimes it's a wonder we can see each other.

He said one thing.

Be strong.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

After supper interventions and other assorted ideas.

The pills were found and taken away again and it appears I'm an incorrigible brat. Granted, a cute one, but incorrigible nonetheless.

Is that ever a hard word to spell when you're messed up on illegal anti-anxiety pills. But no worries! Because God loves me (please.) and my friends love me and now I have to sober the fuck up and just get through tomorrow and the day after that and then I'll be on the other side of this magnificently awful anniversary and I can try and get my footing again. Because I gave it away or lost it, it's here somewhere and I'll get it. After the waterboarding. You dilute all this medication.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. I've been spoilt. A nice hot dinner, comfort food, and now a hot bath with a big guy who takes up the entire clawfoot tub and then early to bed, with the same guy who also takes up the entire bed. He's opted for Kangaroo care which oddly works very well despite the fact that my head is a metronome, only instead of a beat it goes:

Jake Jake Jake Jake Jake Jake Jake Jake

I wanted it to stop. I just went about it the wrong way.

Give nothing away.

Prayed like a father dusk to dawn.
Beg like a hooker all night long.
Tempted the devil with my song.
And got what I wanted all along.

But I,
And I would,
If I could,
And I would,
Wish it away.
Bridget's listening to Tool today. And making bruschetta for lunch but the knife was too dull and it took forever. And drinking coffee and trying to crawl off her high and out of her hole and well, I guess that makes this a ledge, then. She was doing far better last night after several extra hours of focused attention but dammit, life muscled it's way back in and took over and really it's not important because she can wait. She's so very patient with everything sometimes, just enough until she doesn't have to be anymore and you'll know that by how you can see her decide to climb down and dangle off the edge of that ledge by her fingertips, which turn whiter than they even usually are, and they'll slide slowly toward the lip and she'll frown and hope someone notices very soon and usually, most times, they do. And you can take away her too-high shoes and her too-strong pills and you can wipe her memories and clear her head and rub the tears off her face and hold her really tight but the next day when you go looking for her once again you'll find that nothing has changed.

Someone tell me how to do all this.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Something I have missed.

Jake's beach house was always cool and breezy. He left all the windows open, all the time, so any time I would go over to visit him, I would know what music he was listening to, or if he was singing or just washing dishes, or watching a movie. The painted floorboards were always warm under my bare feet and the seagrass mat outside the door caught and held most of the sand that always threatened to take over.

Food tasted better there, you know that? Wine tasted fuller, spices were stronger and pasta had a better texture. Bread was airy and toasty. Chocolate, so rich.

His blankets were softer, his couch more comfortable and I could hear the surf from any point within. Looking out over the waves, standing in front of the wall of glass, wearing a bikini and a big shirt and having a cup of coffee was my favorite way to pass the time. Not watching Jake watch me. Not reading his mind on purpose. Not wearing watches, ever. Not thinking about the future or the past. Not thinking at all, mostly. Just spending time with the soundtrack of the white noise from the sea.

Monday, 3 November 2008

November Writing Challenges.

I'm not doing them. I'm just going to continue on with the massive effort underway at self-preservation. Right now I'm uncomplicating things in my life instead of making it harder.

In other words, I've had enough challenges for a while, I won't be volunteering for any more.

Other things I have done to simplify my life? I started eating a lot of fruit and nuts. Raw. Easy. Good for me. Drinking more water, less coffee. Smoking less. I sold my spinning wheel to someone who will enjoy it. I'll spin up the remainder of the fiber I have with the hand spindle and finish that round rug that I add to every now and then. I fired my entire team of mental health professionals. Started with one and it snowballed until they were dropping like flies. Why? I don't know. Ineffectuality, I guess. I dreaded going. I can't do something when I get hives just thinking about it. In the panic for order within my skull, bad choices for doctors were made. It's okay, that's fixed now.

Well, the bad doctor part is fixed. My head? Oh lord, you don't want to know.

I got my shoes back. Chris swung by and collected them after a call from Ben. I start work for Caleb on November 17. I'm really hoping he doesn't proposition me every single day. I'm going to order the physical CD releases of Limbs and Branches and the Winter EP because iTunes and I REALLY aren't getting along, or have I mentioned that previously? I roasted all the pumpkin seeds and collected the rest of the cherry tomatoes from the basement. They're all gone now.

Oh, and there are four days left in this year without Jacob and I'm doing really fucking good. Place your bets now and hope for the best.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

On Ben's methods and Caleb's madness.

Yes, we went to the party last night. Like I said, everyone who was anyone was there, and I'm not sure if the fire code allowed that many people in one factory loft at a time or if it just felt like it was that full but as I moved around I spent a lot of time reaching up and tapping shoulders and saying Excuse me, can I slip through here?

We were late of course. Instructions to the sitter ran long, Henry had a meltdown from being all jacked up on Halloween candy and then Ben couldn't find his hat. He was Clyde, I was Bonnie.

Caleb made a speech about welcoming people to his new home, in his new city, and then he thanked everyone for coming, said that it was important to him to honor my efforts with a small, intimate celebration (nothing small or intimate about it) for my work in a difficult year, and he also formally announced that I would be coming to work for him, starting this month, as his assistant. That he is so lucky to be graced with my organizational skills and my beauty besides. People nodded and murmured and I briefly wondered who the fuck they all were to be affirming his nonsense? I kept thinking, nobody knows me. I mean really knows me.

But after the first hour of clinging to Ben's hand like the ultimate wallflower I ventured out a little on my own. Spoke to some people that I had not seen since Cole's memorial. Spoke to a few people who had met Ben in Toronto and spent time with him and were thrilled that he had settled down. Danced with just about every man there. Forgot all about my medications and took the champagne when it was offered by a server. Drank it too fast and got a little dizzy. Realized how tired I was and I looked across the room and saw Ben talking to some guys and right at that moment he looked at me and he nodded and rubbed his eyebrow which means we'd leave in a few moments, because our brains are now tethered and we can sense when we need each other and oh my God, when did this all happen? I decided fresh air would be good, so I went out on the balcony. The first thing I noticed was a bistro set that wasn't there before, two chairs and a tiny glass table, reflecting the string of white lights along the balcony railing. It's not even a balcony, it's a generous fire escape. I pulled out one of the chairs and sat down facing the river.

The cold worked nicely to clear my head. I was glad. I stood up to go back inside and turned around and Caleb was just opening the door to come out. He had a cup of coffee for me. He put it on the table and then stepped back. I could feel eyes on us. Good, they're watching him. Better still, they're watching me.

I took a sip of the coffee and thanked him for his attentiveness, as that table is for me to write at while I work for him, as long as it remains this mild.

He really loves you, princess.


Benjamin. He loves you.

I know.

And you love him.

Yes, of course.

But you don't think you do, not enough. You think he deserves better because your loyalties are divided.

How nice of my brother-in-law to drive me to tears at my own party.


Do you want to know something interesting, Bridget? Something I've never told you before?

I just stared at the river and nodded because I've learned never to try and anticipate the moves that the devil will make.

When you came to me last year, when you wanted me to take the pain away and I did, and when you'd start crying again and I'd give you more and make you feel better, do you know what you asked the most?

I closed my eyes. I would have to walk the gauntlet of dozens of happy partygoers in a minute, I didn't want to do it with tears streaming down my face but thinking back to those two days after Jake died and I asked Caleb for something to help me forget I had to keep living without Jacob and he complied, naming his price and for two days I was his prisoner, not feeling anything but numb and then sometimes fear and then that would go away too. I didn't say anything, I just waited for him to keep talking.

You asked for Ben. You never stopped asking for him. You were so fucked up and yet you weren't asking for Jacob, you asked for Ben. I find that interesting, don't you? I think your feelings for him run deeper than you realize, princess.

Whoops, everything was swimming now and I turned to go back inside because there was some sort of breakage in my head again and his arms closed around me and I tried to shove him away but then I looked up and it was Ben's face there, it was Ben, the brain tethering worked and he came out to get me.

Caleb asked quietly if maybe we wanted to stay, that we could continue the celebration, but just for three, that he would end the party now and then we could take part in another, more sordid one. Ben declined, for once. He's accepted in the past. And I realized that he's kept me on a long leash in hopes that I would never stray very far, and he's gone out of his way to not be as possessive as Jacob or Cole. He's made sacrifices to ensure success for us. He's smarter than you think he is. He's as depraved as anyone could ever get, but he knows when enough is enough.

Caleb made several more offers, but Ben was no longer listening. He got us into our coats, and then he took my hand in his and we left by the fire escape, walking carefully down the four flights of steps and then at the end, Ben pushed the ladder down and made his way to the bottom, had me throw my shoes down and then descend into his waiting arms where he held me off the ground while he lined up my shoes and then put me into them again.

Hey, that was neat.

What do you mean?

Like your memory thief.

I looked up and grinned at him. Rescue from such an wonderful and unlikely source. Seen in a whole new light which is how I keep catching glimpses of Ben and being surprised. Grateful.

What did he say to you?

He reminded me of when I came to him last year. The needles...

Okay, let's get you home and then I'll come back and hurt him.

No, it's not like that.

Then what is it, baby?

He...he told me when I'd come to, I'd always ask for you. He said I wanted you and that I loved you more than I realize I do.

You would ask...for me?

For you.

Do you think he was telling the truth?

Yes. When he's lying, he smiles.

No smile?

No smile.

For me.

For you.

Ben wrapped his arms around me and lifted me off my feet, out of my shoes. He kissed me so hard he took my breath away. Then I quoted our characters, since we watched Bonnie and Clyde a few nights ago. He remembered.

You're good!

I ain't good. I'm the best!

And modest!

He grinned the whole damned way home. Me too, though he said I was still drunk, that I must have been since my shoes are still in the alley where I was lifted out of them. That's okay, I don't need them anyway. I have something better now.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

For she's a jolly good psycho...

The past twenty-four hours have been a blur of costumes, candy, eyeliner (yes, on everybody, what did you expect?) and quick pecks on cheeks as people have been in and out. For a while there I feared the kids were suddenly going to have a better social life than I do, only of course I'm not supposed to have a social life at all right now, especially not this week as we round the corner to the final six days of suck and then whatever comes after that.

Well, don't look at me. Every day I open my eyes is a fantastic surprise with mostly no plans and I can do whatever I want. Maybe that's a gift in itself but I haven't quite learned to appreciate that yet.

In the meantime, there's a party tonight. It's a half-Halloween, half-graduation party (for me! For graduating from Sam's program!) thrown by Caleb, who throws one hell of a party when he's less the devil and more James Bond. Plus he wanted to break in his new loft in style, and style is what Caleb does best. Everyone is going. EVERYONE.

Because it's a party for me.

And boy, do I need a party. It's been such a long time. It might not be the best time, but I'll make do.