It's easy to get things done when you don't sleep. It's still a while before I need to wake the children up for school and the laundry is finished and folded, the dishes are washed, I've had breakfast and have made six granny squares toward a scarf. I also went for an hour-long run. Alone, in the dark, against everyone's wishes because it was a better deal than staying here watching Ben and Lochlan square off.
You think some things never change? This is one of those things. Lochlan and the chip on his shoulder flew out here so he could spend Christmas among friends. His soft place to fall is still here, after he generously gave in to Keira's wishes that Hope stay with her for the holidays, since this is their first Christmas apart. Last year Hope was a newborn, and all was well for them and this year it's a mess. He was supposed to have the baby for Christmas and he was going to come to the city for a few days and instead he's just decided to stay for the next month, using the time off he deferred from last month, arriving just in time for the children's Christmas concert tonight. Fulfilling the obligations he's allowed to, as well as the ones he shouldn't. Between the unchecked quantities of affection and the offer to be there every second of every moment, I can see why we keep going in circles.
So he comes home to bury his head in the sand and ride out his miserable holidays among people who love him but wish he would get a clue and go fix his once-perfect life. I wish he would let go. I wish he would stop causing problems, stop trying to encourage this game, and stop leaning on Ben so hard I'm waiting for the inevitable crumble.
I wish I could say any or all of this to Lochlan's face but I can't, because I don't have the guts. Because I like doubling the affection and I like the fact that he's attentive. That he worries about me first and everything else second. Fine. There. Happy now?
But I also love Ben in a way that trumps Lochlan by a million miles and Ben and I have pulled each other off the vicious cycle and we started our own pattern. No repeats. No do-overs. No end in sight. Lochlan's share has been appropriated and he missed his chance and for him to come barging into my house at eleven at night insisting that we all pick up right where we left off is cruel. I know he hurts. I know he's lost things. I know he has regrets. And I'm trying to be here for him because he has been there for me.
Over the years, Loch's blatant disregard for my feelings leaves me cold now. He can put his arms around me and pull me close and say he's sorry and he just wants things to be different and it doesn't change the fact that I have moved on. Ben was there, too. Ben has been the one, as much as he could have checked out completely with his own issues and his night job that took him away for weeks at a time, Ben has been here. With me. The whole way. In spite of everything.
So we can comfort Lochlan through his first holidays alone since becoming a father or we can all go down in flames together. We picked comfort. He is still family, and he needs us.
Even though right now? I think I wish he wasn't here.
You're not holding up your end of the arrangement, brother.
There is no arrangement anymore, Loch.
Come on, Tucker. What's changed?
She's my wife. The games are done.
You guys like games. She'll come around.
You might like to shut the hell up before I take you out. Oh, and don't call me Tucker.