Saturday, 13 December 2008

Tuning in.

Sometimes I think God has switched my life with a TV talk show or a soap opera, and the quiet, happy, almost-mediocre times are simply commercial breaks. We catch our breath and before you have time to pour a glass of water, everyone is calling you back to the living room to see the next installment.

Hurry up, it's starting!

My guys can be stoic in their anguish. Lochlan has been losing weight, being angry and mean in a way that doesn't speak of his true personality, and generally everything that has come out of his mouth since he's been here is something that we're either going to have to excuse or things are going to get a lot worse yet.

Last night we had a family meeting where everyone took turns telling Lochlan that we were here for him, so that he would remember. As if he didn't know. He doesn't know which end is up and someone asked if he would be moving back here permanently, he looked at me, his eyes positively crazed over like a wretched lunatic and asked how he was supposed to leave his daughter? PJ started to say that she isn't yours so what did it matter anym- and before I could stop myself I said too loudly that just because someone isn't yours suddenly doesn't mean your love for them shuts off like a switch.

Great, now everyone is looking at me.

What? I said. Should he just walk away? He is the father SHE KNOWS. He loves her. That hasn't changed. Her needs supersede all others until she decides something else.

So he's just supposed to keep providing for her?

Legally, she's his.

Thank you Bridget. Lochlan was smiling at me, but barely. I wondered if I was crazy for doing nothing.

And with that the SOS order shuffles again and Joel gets knocked off the stage where Ben and I sit together and now we're joined by Lochlan, who's never been up here, and doesn't like it one bit. Joel can be moved since he's accepted a position with a research organization and can still work in the field, just not with patients. At least until he somehow grows less naive and less good-looking. (You asked.)

The SOS stage is an imaginary place where those of us in our haphazard family can go up to when things go wrong and we need intensive support from the rest of the group. Everyone has been here at least once. Ben and I have our names on the backs of our director chairs because we've collectively spent much of the past three years here. I invented it a long time ago when Andrew broke his elbow and it's been there ever since.

It's a peaceful place when it's empty, but a horror show when it's full. The kind that gets big ratings, the kind that people refuse to admit they watch.