Sunday, 31 May 2009

Too much time and then too little.

(Alternately titled Goldilocks and the 3 Husbands because it's funny.)

Someone sent me an email recently asking me what my deal is. That was it. One line. What's your deal?

If that wasn't a rude demand for something for nothing I don't know what is.

And then it occurred to me that I've removed all of the archives that would have led readers back to oh, 2004. Even though nothing much happened until 2006. That was the year I think the world as I know it exploded.

Here's a really truncated look back because I can barely do this but it's been demanded of me and who am I to ignore a direct command, ever? To match, it's staccato, and just as rude. There will be no poetry today.

In April of 2006, I left my husband, Cole. We had been married for 12 years. We had two small kids, Ruth, who was 6 at the time, and Henry, who was 4. Cole was sexually abusive. I was submissive and already incredibly fragile.

I left Cole for Jacob, one of Cole's best friends, one of mine, too. Jacob and I had fought our feelings for years. Maybe I was never one to play very fairly. I tried hard to be a good wife, though. The separation began amicably enough but stopped the night Cole broke into the house when I was there alone and hurt me. He broke a lot of bones, I'm five feet tall and 95 pounds, fighting back was a fool's game. Jacob saved my life that night like he had several times before and Cole went to jail. Two months later Cole suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 37. We were not yet divorced.

That was when something in my head broke and I was never the same again.

This was also when I learned to stop waiting.

In August, Jacob took me for a hot air balloon ride. He proposed. I said yes. We were married two days later in his church. He was a Unitarian Christian minister. Someone else performed the ceremony. In September we got pregnant and in October we learned that the pregnancy was ectopic. My head got a lot worse after that, but so did Jacob's and we struggled mightily through the next full year trying to stay afloat. He was trying to fix everything and I kept trying to break it, too busy to notice things that were going on around me. Trying to keep normal going when normal had packed up and moved away.

We tried to embark on the romance of the century and you got to go along for that ride and that's one of the reasons I have taken off those entries. It hurts, you will never understand how much it hurts.

In October of 2007, Jacob left me. Left us. Just up and said he was already gone. That he wasn't a good person, that he needed to leave. I broke a little more. The resiliency of this one little human must be positively outstanding. I foundered around numb for a week and then on Jacob's birthday, my friends came and told me that he was dead, having taken his own life the night before, leaving behind some incredibly detailed instructions, provided to ensure that I would understand exactly what had happened to him and to us. Sometimes, to this day, I do understand and sometimes I don't get it at all.

This was when my head went on vacation completely. I did a lot of very self-destructive things and then I went away to a lovely place where they fix heads like mine. I came home weeks later, too soon, incapable of being any better off but loathe to abandon my children the way that Jacob had abandoned us. I continued to be self-destructive for a long time after coming home. Honestly I still am sometimes.

The winter I came home when Ben began to show me who he really was. I liked that person. And Bridget doesn't wait anymore. There is no point.

Honestly, I knew what he felt for me. Those of you who have read here for years have witnessed almost first hand our comment wars online and real-life difficulties we've both written about extensively but we've never had a dealbreaker, he's my boomerang boy. He always came back. Ben has an unconventional job that I don't talk about much and he may or may not be on the road or in the studio for a good three-quarters of most years but if you ask me I will tell you he's a door-to-door tattoo machine salesman. Hell, we have enough tattoos between us to make a stab at the truth with that one. He is none of your business in that respect so don't ask me what our last name is or if he's famous because that is the only time you will ever catch me in a lie anymore. I'm fine with that.

So I stopped playing and started looking at him a lot different in January of 2008 and by April we were married and oh, here she goes just like Elizabeth Taylor but really, Ben and I bicker just enough to pass for normal, married people and so far so good. He went to rehab this past winter and is currently celebrating seventy-nine days sober. He's been through more than I have, but that's for another day, again. I'm just trying to get through this.

When I'm not sharing too much information with the readers who wander in and out and number in the thousands now (thank you for the daily collection of outraged emails) I write short stories and novels too and I look after my friends and my two not-so-little kids (Ruth will be 10 this summer, Henry will be 8 and yes, they were named for candy bars but it could have been worse if I liked Kit-Kats and 3 Musketeers) and I cook dinner for a crowd every night. Friends that I write about include Lochlan, PJ, Christian, August, Joel, Sam, Duncan, Andrew, Daniel, Schuyler, Dalton, Dylan, Corey, Robin, Mark, Caleb and Chris. Some are awesome, some are evil. Who is which depends on the day. Some are very reluctant to be written about. Others, not so much. Some come and go. Others never budge. I am lucky to have them and lucky they love us so much.

I like to snowboard and climb rocks (very low rocks because I'm afraid of heights) and slow-dance and lap-dance and eat cake and cotton candy and draw cartoons and make up words and listen to music and play music on my violin and my piano.

I read music lyrics like other people read the newspaper because I have a degenerative hearing loss that someday not so far off in my future will leave me with only the music in my head and I'll be damned if I'm going to forget the words when the time comes.

That's my deal, in a nutshell. What's yours?

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Manufactured by Westeel Stelco.

I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine
I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find
In my grandparent's old house the furnace was on pull-chains and the stove ate big split-wood logs by the hour to cook all-day weekend dinners like pot roast with fresh peas and boiled potatoes. Here things aren't much different except that my twenty-year old furnace swallows natural gas and my oven plugs into the wall. I still cook all-day dinners sometimes.

Today was a cool and breezy day. Managed to get the groceries this morning. Bringing home string-tied celery, baskets of vegetables, paper-wrapped meats and a big jar of honey always makes me feel kitschy, vintage. Fifties, early sixties maybe. Makes me want to put on my apron and hum aloud while I scrub floss away from fresh ears of corn, the radio on the counter belting out Donovan or The Shangri-las. Ben would come in, muck dirt all over my freshly-mopped kitchen floor, one single lock of black hair falling onto his forehead, his clean-shaven, hungry grin huge and wide for me and kiss me with one hand while he changed the radio with the other to the talk-station for the news and weather. The kids would be upstairs, playing quietly in the sun on the upstairs porch floor, Lego bricks spread all over the place in their bid to recreate the diner we like to stop at for milkshakes and french fries on hot summer evenings after a cruise around town to see the magnolia trees in bloom.

But not tonight, because tonight we're having the roast I've had simmering in the oven all day, and even though my grandmother's radio would have been tuned to the hymns, I think she might approve of my efforts to pick and chose what I need and want to keep from the memories I have inside my head. I hope so anyway.

There are more memories to sort through. I just can't quite reach those yet. Some idiot built a wall in front of them and it looks like I'm going to have to tear it down. I'll do that, as soon as I find myself a vintage sledgehammer. Stay tuned.

Friday, 29 May 2009

You don't need to know these things.

Weeping shades of indigo
Shed without a reason
It's Friday. A sunny, cool day, perfect for swinging in the hammock in the front porch with the windows closed, curtains opened to allow the sun to warm the room. I've got my laptop and a big bowl of pistachios, iced tea and plans to drag everyone grocery shopping after dinner this evening so that I can go back to dreaming about being Gilda Texter in Vanishing Point instead of Jennifer Aniston in Rock Star, as well as lying on the grass in the sun at the park and finishing the book, which is so good it's a travesty that I've only been picking it up very late at night if I can't sleep.

Sometimes I am both characters in both films. Yesterday Ben took me up to the lake, the farthest I have been from home on a motorcycle in forever, and he found a quiet network of dirt roads between fields far away from prying eyes, slid me out of my jeans and boots and wrapped me in his leather jacket and then we christened the Harley, because there's no better way to spend a sunny Thursday morning than perched on the back of a parked motorcycle with your husband defiling you to the delight of whatever prairie wildlife, and that one trucker might happen to witness. (I'm sorry, mister, thank you for not stopping). The legend of Tucker Max lives on.

Besides, if I am to drive around the back yard naked on a motorcycle we're going to have to get one that's my size. (First one to make a scooter joke will be punished severely.)

Had my first waxing of the season. Will not be going back anytime soon. It was successful, I believe all my hair was ripped out at soul-level and I'm left with smooth legs for the first part of the summer. I don't grow regular hair, I have a nice white downy baby-duckling coat that probably wouldn't even have to be removed until I'm in very bright light and I emit a fuzzy all-over glow and that just isn't cool to me. In addition to the soul-baring I discovered my skin doesn't like whatever wax was used and I'm also covered in a rash again. Apparently it will go away in a few days. Gee, thanks. Just what I need, to itch my way through another season. (Again, please refrain from jokes, none of you are brave enough to do it.)

And lastly, I have new summer dresses. And they make me feel pretty good. Or maybe that's good and pretty? Whatever. It all works. Though I won't need them if I get a little motorcycle for the yard, now, will I?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

I am trying to break your heart.

I'd always thought that if I held you tightly
You'd always love me like you did back then
Then I fell asleep and the city kept blinking
What was I thinking when I let you back in?
This morning is all about loud music, running fast and hard for over an hour, which made me feel somewhat human and less flighty this morning, and a scalding hot shower followed by a hotter cup of coffee. Dark roast, thanks. I have no use for weakling beans.

Post-shower I put on my skinny jeans, black skims and cardigan and my favorite dark grey t-shirt and I came downstairs to pronounce myself human again (out loud) after almost fifteen hours of resembling the little monster who lives in the pantry again.

Yesterday I heard something that made me think and I'm still racing towards it, wedged between Ben's back and the sissy bar, my wrists clenched around his chest for dear life, face smushed against helmet smushed against his leather jacket.

The difference between the way you are and the way everyone else is, Bridget, is that they are content until otherwise stirred to sadness or anxiety and you are the complete opposite of that.

Granted, it was an offhand comment made somewhere mired in a whole big session on What's Wrong with Bridget's Head, Part 78328173457598821-F but it stuck out to me because it explains precisely why I get so frustrated.

(I'm falling. Ohshitohshitohshit hard landing.)

I felt myself sliding down the hill. By four in the afternoon my legs were dangling freely over the edge of the day and I had two tufts of grass clenched tightly in my fists, unwilling to lose any more ground. The guitar cords swelled around me and leached into my brain and I was screaming and it just wound up lost and distorted in the noise and it got so bad I almost let go so that I could put my hands up over my ears but I didn't because if I checked out of the day right then it would have been a longer climb back and I'm worn out. I don't want to make that climb.

So I kept holding on.

Eventually a head appeared over the guardrail, Ben's face smiling down at me. He yelled down that I should grab his hand.

Fuck you, I yelled, It was your driving that flung me off the motorcycle in the first place and put me here. Don't think for a second you can risk my life and then turn around and save it too.

He shrugged and took a bite of his sandwich, chewing thoughtfully and looking up at the sky.

Fine, do it yourself then. And he settled in to watch.

I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone fling me off any of these cliffs. I can jump off just fine. But I won't because the contentment is worth this stupid climb. So I let go with one hand, swung as hard as I could and grabbed at a patch of vines and grass a little higher up, giving me a better purchase.

He nodded and hollered an encouragement. I missed it when the wind blew softly in my ears.

I forced my arms to pull up my body and dug the toes of my boots in to the soft earth. Another foot. Another dozen inches closer to safety.

A good half hour later, my hand landed an inch from Ben's avengers and he reached down and took my hands and lifted me onto my feet, on the safe-side of the guardrail. He spun me around to brush away errant grass and leaves and then held me out at arm's length, staring at me like he's never seen me before.

Tougher than you look, bumblebee.

I shook my head, because I really don't think I am.

You wouldn't have been able to pull that off a year ago.

Sure I would! The inside of my head screamed at him. I'm a pro.

Outwardly, I just burst into tears, because sometimes not a damned thing inside my head matches what happens outside of it. He knows. And he pulled me in against his chest until I couldn't breathe anymore. Until my legs were no longer rubber and my soul was wedged back in place. My own voice echoed through my head, drowning out the bike rumbling, Ben talking, everything around me. It kept saying You're okay. You're okay. You're okay.

I've never heard that voice before. Not in here, anyway.

Contentment. It might be within my reach after all. I just seem to have incredibly short arms.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


CBC's Falcon cam is back up. It was called to my attention last year simply because the mom falcon is Princess and the dad falcon is Trey. Ruth and Henry have been enjoying watching the progress, since the babies just hatched.

If you'll notice the bucket they're sleeping in, hopefully it will prevent a repeat of last year.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

My talents extend far beyond lap dances and now I have proof.

I am a busy girl this morning.

Sent Ben off for his appointments with a smile on his face. Had a long run. Planted the rest of the Clematis and the Osteospermums (terracotta), hosed down the cobblestones and hanging baskets. Cleaned and put away the tools, started laundry, and then, I got to work.

The funniest part of planning an afternoon of baking (banana bread, apple crisp, blueberry-apple muffins and cinnamon bread)? Precisely how many of the guys show up to just 'hang around'.

You would think I never feed them or something.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Breathe on my head and I'll love you for the rest of my days.

Sometimes life is just that simple.
I am the crisis
I am the bitter end
I'm gonna gun this down
I am divided
I am the razor edge
there is no easy now
This morning I woke up in the hammock, in the front porch, Ben holding me against his cool skin and the sound of heavy spring rain flooding my head. Sensory overload of the best kind, and a fitting end to a week that was long, arduous even. He whispered, his lips against the top of my head, a far away sound competing with the glorious rain.

Shhhhhhh. Everything's alright.

It is, oddly. And instead of making wrong choices we seem to be making right ones. Asking for help, time, hugs, clarification, space, less space, patience.

Maybe it's a novelty, maybe it's easier than reading minds and making assumptions and wishing and hoping. Maybe it works because many times over this week we've been surprised to ask for and get what we wanted, or what we needed, rather.

Maybe there is hope in small comforts and big love in broken hearts. Maybe no one cares if I have quiet meltdowns or silent melodramas playing out in my head or in my world. What matters to me is he cares, and that he's here. There's less saying things are better or fine, and more moments that we just know, and we take them. Ones when the house is still quiet and he can move me so I wake up to sounds I usually never hear. Ones where he holds my hand and for the moment I'm not pulling away to run, physically or emotionally. Ones that are steeped in new routines that are too new to remember they are routine, and so we hold them that much harder.

Life is never going to be perfect or much different than it is now. We'll struggle. I know that much now. But oddly, admitting's not a disappointment.

It's a relief.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Life without an OFF button.

I'm officially volunteering to be the world's first brain transplant.

And we are home. Sometimes when you bite off more than you can chew, it helps to remember you can discreetly spit it into your napkin. Apparently Bridget is still not ready for solid food.

Or normal life, it seems, as boundless fear takes over every last good and wonderful thing. As I lay on my back in the twilight sky, the room with the skylights, Ben moving above me, my whole body sliding up with every thrust he made until he remembered to put one hand on top of my head to keep me down and that's when I always cross that line into painful pleasure, pinned to the floor. Instead my head went the other way and just decided to randomly begin to doubt that we could hold each other through the next day alone and I lost it and I was ashamed because this time there was no reasonable explanation for it. My head just went off and did it in spite of protests. In spite of the huge effort Ben had put into making a safe place for us, reassuring me I was so loved by him, holding me tight enough that physically I knew I was okay.

If only he could take my brain and put it in that fierce, loving embrace of his, I would be set for life.

Instead he listened to my shaky request for escape from the escape. Against his own wants, he brought me home a day early. I was not ready, that's all.

I wonder when I will be but no one has that answer. Fuck all of you then.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I can give you this.

He said that one sentence and that was it. And then he gave me his shadowed-face quiet grin that melts all the ice inside me into puddles of mush and he took my hand.

I could just buy it if you want.

I shook my head. Part of the appeal is that we have no responsibilities for this other than to enjoy it and leave it in good order when we go home.

Where did life turn to this? But I didn't say it out loud, I just crossed to the windows and looked out over the rainy ocean. He brought the ocean to me. All I had to do was take my seat and fasten the belt and then take a little ride up over the clouds and abra-cabridget, I am here in this glorious place where the grass on the dunes is so sharp you bleed just looking at it and the ocean churns up homesickness and comfort in one heaping spoonful. Just for you, princess.

Just for me, princess.

I don't deserve to be here.

But I am and I should enjoy it.

I turned around. He was going for a walk. The deal is we have forty-eight hours here. Ben deals in time because time is what we measure life against. Forty-eight is the magic one now, twenty-four to sleep and make love, twenty to write. The other four hours remaining are for searching for shells in the rain.

Sorry the weather isn't better.

The weather is perfect, Benjamin. Just perfect.

Better get started.

Yeah, I know.

I'll go get us some coffee and groceries.


And Bridget?


I love you.

I turned around to smile at him when I answered him, but he had already left.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Postcards from Haaay-Zeus.

It said only:

Thanks for getting things organized with my place. Now turn off the tunes and go do something, Bridget.

PS The girls here are easy. You could take lessons.



I wrote back:

Dear Dalton,

You're welcome. Stuff it.

Love, Bridget.

We're rolling down the highway
I'm rolling down my window
Then I stick my hand out and drive with it as it flows
If I started thinking, instead of looking back
You wouldn't see me sinking, before they covered up the tracks

This is what it feels like, coming down
We're all in the movie, can't turn it off or shut it down
This is what it feels like, if that's so
Then where is the director to tell us where the hell to go?

I've got this film in my head
They've scripted all that I've said
Let's make it real before we're dead,
because we're close enough, diamonds in the rough
Today's the day we finally say can't turn this movie off
And if we're not, we might as well just blow this all to hell
It's not a film or a fantasy we're not just make believe

So this is what it feels like, running through my lines
I never need to ad lib; I find it's just a waste of time
This is what it feels like, when the hero dies
On to the next one, funny how time flies

I've got this film in my head
They've scripted all that I've said
Let's make it of real before we're dead,
because we're close enough, diamonds in the rough
Today's the day we finally say can't turn this movie off
And if we're not, we might as well just blow this all to hell
It's not a film or a fantasy we're not just make believe

As long as I play me, and as long as you play you
God I love this scene, I gotta thank the cast and crew
Don't let the credits roll, don't let the credits roll

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Lake.

I woke up this morning in a PJ & B sandwich. Which isn't nearly as weird as it sounds if you knew us. PJ is our champion these days with Lochlan not far behind, since he has now settled back in to life here at a much slower pace.

Today isn't great, however. I feel stretched across my own emotions like a rubber band on a stick, cradling a stone hellbent for wounding. Life is summer in the grass, slingshot in hand, hoping to inflict pain, transferring it on the small insignificants of life in order to make it less for me, selfishly. I feel a bead of sweat rolling down my head and I squint one eye shut, taking aim with the other and I stick my tongue out just a little of one side of my mouth and pull my arm back and let it rip, holding my breath.


I roll onto my back in the deep weeds, the sun blinding me, the heat stifling, crickets singing in the still air.

No fireflies in the day, I think to myself. I roll back over and sit up, brushing errant goldenrod out of my hair. I won't tie it back, I won't be a lady, I want to have fun like the boys do. I want to get dirty, bruised and bloody and I want to throw punches that knock people down, like they do and I want to be allowed to follow the path all the way to the creek bridge like they do and stay there until dark, fashioning boats of paper to send around the bend toward the lake. I want to join their sleepovers and have dinner at their houses and have a chance to hold the salamanders they catch and release.

I don't want to be late to every morning game of Kick the Can because my mother made me sit for twenty minutes while she brushes sticks out of my hair from the day before and plaits neat tight braids I will rip the ribbons from the moment I can't see my house anymore.

I don't want to have to go grocery shopping with her instead of staying at the lake with Bailey and her friends because I am the youngest and the smallest kid in the neighborhood and not that good of a swimmer besides.

Lochlan will rescue me if I fall in. At least he said he would (but would they please trust my life to this boy because he hasn't lied to me yet). Cole will be there, too. They're all good swimmers, please mom.

Stay off the tire swing, Bridget.

I will.

Stay with Bailey.

I will, I promise.

Those boys do treat you protectively. Just be careful.

I will.

I smiled and grabbed my backpack. The boys thought I was a pain in the ass. A nuisance. BridgetMOVEsoIcankicktheball. Yeeshyou'resuchababy. Those words smeared together, bouncing off me like rubber balls on pavement, I was so determined to be noticed. So determined to be seen as grown-up and independent. So determined to be one of them.

When I got there, I took a deep breath, spread out a towel closer to the boys than the girls on the grass and took off my shorts and my shirt, leaving just my swimsuit. Bailey laughed while I tried to act natural, teenagelike as I stretched out to catch some sun, just like Bailey, who was thirteen, and all her friends were doing.

Okay, bored.

I turned back over and leaned up on my elbows, watching the swimmers crossing to the tire swing.

Want to swim out?

It was Lochlan, who would turn fourteen that year, smiling at me. I mistook his interest, which was platonic brotherly affection and nothing more. I would never have to do that again.

Sure, I'll go.

I went, with instant regret, as we hit the water and he proceeded to ignore me, swimming quickly across the lake to the swing, to the other boys, gangly in their too-big trunks with their burgeoning muscles, on the cusp of becoming men, hell, on the cusp of becoming high-schoolers. I felt fear mingle with the cold water but dammit, I wanted to be with them, not with the girls. I swam but I couldn't make any progress and Lochlan wasn't really watching anyway so I finally gave up and returned to my towel. Bailey had been watching and she smiled, telling me I was too young to be hanging around with the boys. I sat up and looked at them, they were swinging far out over the water on the tire and doing flips off the branch and shoving each other in. I knew I was too young. I put my shirt back on and walked down to the water's edge. Cole was coming in to the beach, doing an easy crawl. His dark hair and blue eyes reflecting the water, he smiled up at me.

Going home already, Bridget?

Yeah, it's boring here.

In a few years it won't be.

I think I like the beach better.


You can find shells and sea glass and crabs. It's not just grass like here.

Do you find a lot of glass?

All kinds. I have a bowl full of it at home.

Maybe I can come see it sometime.

My ten-year-old brain didn't miss the brotherly tone in his voice. I turned and went back to my towel and told Bailey I was going home and I gathered up all my stuff and started walking up the road toward home, remarking that I was dumb in the first place to go hang out at the lake when the ocean is that much cooler and not more than a short walk the other way. A horn blared behind me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned to look and it was Cole again, hanging out the window of Caleb's car, Caleb who was sixteen and could drive and didn't want to be fetching children from the lake, only doing so because his parents said he had to.

Want a ride, Bridge?

No, I'm fine.

Get in, we'll take you up the hill.


Cole was shirtless, leather cord around his neck, brown Jim Morrison curls on his shoulders, dry shorts on with his clean t-shirt and a towel on the bench seat between the boys. He scooped everything up and threw it behind the seat and jumped out so I could get in and sit between them. He was always nice to me.

What's wrong?

Nothing, I just don't fit in. I don't care what the girls are doing and the boys don't want me around.

That will change.


About four or five years from now. Everything will start to change. You'll see. You'll wish for these days, when things were uncomplicated.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Since some of my readers seem to only be here for my once-yearly shoe post, these boots.

Because every proper princess has a pair of scuffed up, rarely-conditioned baby-pink cowboy boots.


Are you saying you want less misery and more fashion? From me? Holy, did you ever come to the wrong place.

After the fact.

Dumb outfit.

So cold.

He's not going to be okay.

What day is this?

I think every thought that could be had scrolled through my head like a filmstrip flapping at the end of a reel. So uncomfortable, my back pressed against the cold plaster wall in the hallway, sitting on the warm wood floor, cowboy boots still on from rushing into the house, thin white filet sweater and strappy embroidered dress, hardly warm enough for the spring we're having. Wild waves of hair no longer parted neatly on one side, instead forked all over the place in a zigzag, scraped back behind one ear so I could see. Watch falling off my wrist and I finally pushed it up to my elbow so it wouldn't scratch Ben's face.

My arms wrapped tight around his head, he lay in my arms on the floor sick, tired, desperate. Listening to my heartbeat and only my heartbeat, nothing else. One of those incredibly dark nights in which my body turns inside out and I can feel every last neuron of pain he fires out looking for contact. His hands alternately clutch at my arms and relax against them as he fights to keep afloat because he knows this is hard. He knows deep inside on the skin-side now since he is inside-out as well, that we're not cut out for this kind of pain. That we're not cut out for ultimatums and rock-bottoms and end-of-worlds. He knows sitting here reminds me of the night Jacob left and he knows I have nothing more to give him than this cold and wooden embrace but it's better than the nothing he has for me right this minute and I stay in this position because the only warmth still here is his breath against me, ragged, harsh and shaking.

I don't know what to say or do. I no longer feel like I can call anyone in this night that sometimes goes on longer than regular-night and ask to be saved and to bring him along. We make mistakes. We sit and wait and know that we'll be rescued, and when he caves in to his demons I keep holding on because he's not allowed to go, not allowed to leave, not allowed to give in, I'll be the dead weight, a hundred pounds sewn into the hem of his shirt to make him hang straight, keep him here, keep him moving slowly.

Not gonna happen.

I've watched all the shadows as they have moved across the cream painted walls and through the open door. I've remarked silently on the dim that takes over the house once the moon takes the place of the sun, and when I heard my phone ringing from where I left it with my car keys on the kitchen table as I ran through the house looking for Ben I realize that it's going to ring nonstop for the rest of the night but I can't get it, because I can't let go.

I startle. The phone isn't ringing anymore. My limbs come to life with a sickening tingle as I realize I must have fallen asleep at last. I crawl out from under the sleeping giant and I can't pry his hands off me. I shake him gently and whisper that he needs to come with me and he nods and sleepwalks his way across the hall, dropping his two hundred pounds of surrender down on the sheets. I pull him out of all of his clothes, shedding the freezing thin dress and awkward boots at the same time and stand on the bed, pulling the quilt up over him and then sliding down against him. He resumes his position in my arms, asleep before I can get a kiss, locked around me and I am a part of him and I feel his body start to give, relaxing one cell at a time, until within minutes he is breathing peacefully and I bring my elbows up tighter around his shoulders, pressing him against me. I kiss the top of his head and his hair tickles my cheek.


Instinctively he squeezes back. Hard. Somehow letting me know I haven't lost him too.

Morning brings the light back in, and makes everything hurt a little less, and PJ is in the kitchen downstairs, making coffee. Because not answering my phone is permission for PJ to use his key.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Oddly enough, 'learning to use tools' didn't make the cut.

You think you’ve seen it all but you’ll never see
You gotta open up your eyes and come with me
It’s alright.
I finished my list this morning. The apocalypse list I promised to finish in January? Right. Never said I was fast. I finished it mostly somewhere between the screaming cold drive this morning that Ben and I went on, windows open, music blaring, hot coffee and tired smiles and the later failed attempts to wield the power drill at Lochlan's house, hanging curtains and giving up before I started because they turn the chucks too tightly and then when I complain they tell me to go do something else and they lovingly roll their eyes and just for good measure I stamp my feet and growl sweetly just to make them laugh.


Since that was the longest sentence in the universe, I'll add some more. No, I won't be posting the list. For many reasons, not the least being it's on actual paper, a legal pad I stole from Caleb's, written with the now-infamous silver pen I stole from Joel, with his permission. It's going to go in the safety-deposit box because I don't feel like being picked on for the rest of my life for some of things I want to do and I don't want to be judged for others, but I did come to the conclusion that I need to be working towards some of these things instead of waiting for them to come to me. I don't think they have directions, and that dawned on me this morning as Ben tore up the dirt roads between freshly planted fields far outside the city where the sky seems big enough for two and the world a little less hungry for our souls.

Life, for me today, seems to be about learning how to balance the small decisions with the very big ones, learning to keep the hearts juggling in my hands and learning to keep my head firmly screwed on so that I can begin to live again.

Somewhere between the dirt roads and the clean curtains, I will find a space.
I will not back down to anything or anyone
You cannot contend cause in my head I’m number one
It’s a mad, mad world but baby what you wanna do?
You just watch your back, I’ll watch mine too.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Henry Hudsons for zone 3.

This year my garden offerings are going to include mostly perennial flowering shrubs dependent on what comes back this year. So far I have buds on the apple tree, the lilac and the thorny hedges out front that I trimmed and wound up picking splinters out of my fingers for eight months afterward.

This year we'll be gardening bitterly, I believe. Grass seed first. My stone angel statue needs a permanent home as do the wind chimes and the outdoor tiny white lights hopefully go up next weekend when the rest of the storm windows come down. I need a hanging basket for the front and I think I will prevail with some heirloom tomatoes and spices out back but not a whole bunch because I have other things I want to get done this year.

Roses, I'll do roses everywhere to compensate because the big wild ones seem to like us. Possibly because we are bee-people, or maybe just because we are just like they are, beautiful to look at, but dangerous to touch. Bees or roses, take your pick.

And whatever Lochlan had in his system, I think it's out now. Last night he had his annual Drink & Talk (otherwise known as a case of the IloveyouBridgets and filled in all of the blanks for everyone. And he gets his pass and life resumes only because we're family and we don't shut each other out. People are fallible. We're human, and for fuck's sakes, if you haven't been beaten over the head with that knowledge from reading here for the past five years then I don't know why you come.

Forgive. Forget. Move on. That's all there is. Life is for the LIVING and by God, we're trying.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Ad Hominem.

Divide the dream into the flesh
Kaleidoscope and candle eyes
Empty winds scrape on the soul
But never stop to realize
I don't think I protested until things changed in the dark and it became a contest. I don't think I fought back or struggled until I realized I was no longer getting enough air to sufficiently remain lucid, present in the tangle of limbs I was to sort through and straighten out. Hands gripping my ribcage, lifting me, crushing me. Wrists pinned. My mouth was dry, my eyes watered, my breath came in labored gasps but I couldn't speak. I couldn't say anything, couldn't cry out, couldn't stop it. Powerless, left without even that one word that stops every action immediately and without regret. Without that word I had to disengage from my body and wait them out. Without that word I had to go and find a place inside my head that I haven't been to in a very long time and I had to open up the shutters and sweep out the cobwebs and relight the fire in the fireplace. I stayed there so long I lost track of time and suddenly the air came rushing back and I was pulled out of my now-cozy, welcoming place. Shutters smashed and splintered against the clapboard and the fire blew out in the rush and I was back in the dark, in the pain, in the moment I left and I found the word just in the nick of time and I yelled it because I knew if they didn't hear me that one time, they would never hear me again.

This time the word uttered in panic brought regret trailing along by her fingers behind it. This time the word brought strong arms closing around me, then one removed, hand held out to stop the advance of time. Eyes raised in warning, a hush spilling from between rough lips connecting with the flaxen crown kept safely away from precisely where it was placed. Rage lashed out from a darker corner as if some terrible hunger had been awakened and with that same regret, it shrank away to nothing when the first light of the sun reached us, leaving behind the curls and kind eyes and logic I always think I know but don't. I haven't left the safer place, though, not when I can revolve like a little planet in the gravitational ring around the black-haired, vicious and passionate princess-keeper I have now.


And safer than I once thought.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Wolves in my dreams.

Raise your hand if you slept through Wolverine last night.

(Sheepishly puts up hand, averts eyes, blushes mildly.)


In my defense, the 30-second guy yelling at the sky while he ate his cereal on Youtube was better.

The movie was awesome, though.

Reviews are subjective. It wasn't for me, I guess.

You're such a girly-girl.

Yeah, I don't know how that happened.

We figured you'd be all Hugh-drooly and happy to lick him with your eyes for two straight hours.

See, on any given night, I would totally have done that and thanked you afterward, but honestly, I was just really freaking tired.

You stayed awake for Crank 2.

Please. That's Jason Statham. There's not a woman on earth who would sleep through one of his movies.

You're impossible.

And rested! Are we going to go back and see Star Trek again this weekend?

Friday, 15 May 2009

Just right: a story without guarantees.

You're here.

I have failed to compare them successfully and now I know why. There is plausible deniability here and I wanted so many things. Love me like Jake did, but keep me safe while you're holding me out to the wolves, like Cole did. Be dark and passionate and quietly crazy like Cole but be goofy and impulsive and immature like Jake was. Don't mince words like Cole did, say what's in your heart, in your head, like Jake did. Don't leave me like Jake did, try to keep me. Like Cole did.

I have it all. When I had nothing left there was nowhere to go but up. Three friends with three incredibly distinct personalities and the one guy everyone thought would be dead first seems to be the only one who remains. The only one who hasn't heard his eulogy or left anyone behind smiles and proclaims to do nothing more than try. The hero. The guy who built his life on empty words and foolish chances still breathes in time with his princess.

I don't care if you like him. You don't know him. He can get away with murder, he won't talk to you, he'll just do his own thing and not say all that much and then suddenly he's wired his face with that famous oh-fuck-look-what-I-did-now grin, the fratboy smile that makes you want to tell him off in a thousand distinct languages until you realize you're smiling too, usually around the same time a pat of butter sails past your left ear and hits the wall and laughter breaks out around the table. Or maybe in the midst of a catastrophe you follow the carnage and find him staring out the window and there's more of a storm in his black eyes than there is in the sky outside and he shakes like a leaf but he won't sit down, he doesn't seek comfort, he just stands and stares and shakes and thinks and eventually he'll ask how I am and put his hand out and play with my fingers as he holds my hand and he'll sing to me until he can no longer speak and then he just sinks to the floor and suddenly I find myself holding him up, a feat like nothing else considering how big he is and he'll take comfort in my bony little embrace because he told me that's the only comfort there is now.

He's taken the hard jobs. He's been the bad guy when no one else has wanted to take the fall, he has stepped up with nothing left to lose and thrown the bolt that lets the bottom fall out of my world. Then he's reached down and at the last minute grabbed my hand and pulled me up. Not all the way, just enough so that I can get a better hold, so that I can go back to holding him.

Because Ben doesn't fix things and he never will and there's no mad rush to make things perfect and as we build the character that our lives rest upon he laughs because nothing else could go wrong that hasn't already and we've covered enough ground for seven lifetimes here and we still haven't really figured out who the hell God is and where he stands in our lives because we can't name where we're standing right now let alone define anything else at this point.

He's been the bad guy so many times over and you don't understand the magnitude of that. When everyone else has chickened out or wandered away in their own despair, Ben has wiped his face on his shirt and cleared his throat and tossed his hat into the ring because someone has to.

There's work to be done and we can't stop now. It's just a risk. People take them all the time. You're worth it, Bridget. Keep going, we can do this.

Indeed, Ben. I think we can.

I'm here.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tenacious B and the house of destiny.

She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough.
Had we had an inspection before buying this house, I think I still would have wanted it. With it's old furnace, old gas water heater, old appliances, leaky windows, crumbling garage, the ominously-bulging pipe in the basement and questionable roof we might have been steered away.

I think the leaded glass windows and expansive oak floors and the sheer quantity of woodwork, unpainted and glorious would have kept me anyway. Having miles of tiny closetless Victorian rooms and dusty corners under weirdly-placed (and sometimes hidden) windows would have kept me. Three-season porches all over the place would have kept me. Skeleton keys keep me. The huge elm trees shading the property keep me. Rooms inside rooms and a master staircase and that ancient clawfoot tub with the now-thin enamel interior and striking black exterior keep me.

The potential keeps me.

Memories keep me.

This was my first house ever. First one. We got to make the decisions and I bit off so much more than I could chew it's been running down the corners of my mouth and pooling in my apron on my lap for years. We got to pick colors and change things and make it ours. Make it mine. I've spent just about every minute of my life in this house for the past three years and I've grown to like it. It's warm. It's beautiful. When we moved here Ruth was six years old. She hardly remembers anything before this house. Henry was four years old and does not recall a thing. This house freed me from the prison of the previous place, and it's been open doors and sunshine and dusty corners and keeping up with cobwebs and paint chips and wayward branches and shovelling snow ever since.

I never thought in a million years that I would be content here, in a place that snows in May, in a place that sees temperatures of -58 Celsius but the schools don't close. In a place where certain people have stared at me for standing out like a sore thumb with my Scandinavian coloring, a place where people are united by the cold and by the need to help each other when the water comes to lick at our heels and Jack Frost takes over for so long I believe everyone who lives here has two moods, grateful when it's warm and dry and resolute when it isn't.

I have spent my life building character, and this experience has only enriched that endeavour. By far I think it forced me to be a grownup when that seventeen-year-old immature teenage girl would much prefer to run to her room and slam the door, turning the music up so loud she drowns out her own ridiculous emo-misery until she chooses to face the world again. Grown-up Bridget doesn't get that choice, she doesn't have that escape anymore.

Thankfully Bridget the grown-up has an open-mind and does pretty well with adventure. She can make something from nothing and keep comfort and routine when the rug gets yanked out from under her feet. Every year the children get a little bit older and things seem to become just a little bit easier. That's a comfort you can't buy with your paper dollars and your marble-cold good sense. Bridget isn't that pulled together, but she'll tie her windblown-blonde back into a ponytail, pack her carpet bag with all her worldly goods, lick her finger and hold it up to see which way the wind is blowing and head due west anyway.

The circus is closing up and heading to warmer climes. Odds are there will not be another full year here for this little clown and her carny friends. I'm turning this snow globe over and over in my hands and I think I'm either going to pack it carefully in a box with newspapers to protect or perhaps I'll just bring it up over my head and smash it on the goddamned floor.
Oh but don't bowl me over
Just wait a minute,
well it kinda fell apart,
things get so crazy.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Never gives you more than you can handle.

This is my life
It's not what it was before
All these feelings I've shared
And these are my dreams
That I'd never lived before
The pansy blooms are upside-down today, giving up in their search for the sun. The leaves disintegrate, plastering themselves all over the wrought iron fence, the stone path and the metal door that lead into my house. The wind licks my future, tasting it and alternately returning for a greater helping and recoiling in disgust. Today every friend is an enemy and every enemy a comfort. Up is down and in is out. Today I can't get a purchase on learning from the past and finding my place in the present. I'm afraid I'm holding everyone up or perhaps they might be leaving me behind.

A book in the tall grass with a lantern on a hot September night, tire swing bumping gently against the rubber soles of my shoes that are worn smooth and ragged from a summerworth of running to catch up to the boys, catch up to the fun, catch up to the fireflies that make my breath catch in my throat with their simple beauty and then that same breath chokes me because I know that it's September and I know we're leaving soon and I can't have this comfort, I can't keep this place and I can't even do well-enough a job of bringing it back inside my head when I need it now. And I no longer remember what the ocean sounds like because I've never heard it enough and I'm never sure if what is done is done in spite of me or because of me.

I wonder if I'll ever catch up.

It's a rainy day today, pinning ghosts to the crumbling walls and counting pieces of leaves stuck to the stained glass from the outside in. And I'm wondering if I'll ever be okay.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

That little clown, look, she's talking to herself.

I was patient. I waited for morning. I'm still not seeing whatever it is that should be there now. I'm not fine. I don't know how people think stringing together my new words out of old words, spending hours and days arranging the ones I want, searching for beauty in a blown-out nuclear winter wouldn't be a tip-off that I've overstretched and pulled something.

I can't juggle men. I can't even lift one, let alone keep them all in the air in this circus sideshow. I can't manage their hearts and their feelings and their expectations and their moods any better than I can manage my own. I have stopped writing about some of them altogether when it gets to be too much and I've stopped talking out loud half the time, instead choosing to sit on benches and on cold floors texting spaceless, thoughtless messages out into the ether waiting for someone to say the magic words that will somehow take all of this away and leave me be.

Lochlan doesn't need to be here. I am perfectly capable of fucking up my own life out of his reach. I was perfectly fine having meltdowns he didn't know about and sometimes, well, holy hell, it's actually pretty fun to make my own decisions.

Ben doesn't need another keeper. He has a dozen already.

Oh but there's Cole's hierarchy and I'll never outrun that. There are the mistakes and missteps I have made in the wake of Jacob's flight that I'll never be forgiven for and there is hell to pay, always, for whichever talent of few I sold my soul to the devil for. Under duress, I might add, for I don't recall willingly giving up a damned thing.

Lochlan's place is right up front. Shotgun, now, I guess. Best view in the house, none of the work.

So as usual, there is no point. I just have to work through it, roll with it and possible punch its lights out. But you know who was really happy to see Lochlan move back? My kids. And for that, maybe this is gold under tarnish after all.

I'll be over here continuing my act. Show's not over yet, folks.

Monday, 11 May 2009

So I spy on her, I lie to her, I make promises I cannot keep
Then I hear her laughter rising, rising from the deep
And I make her prove her love for me, I take all that I can take
And I push her to the limit to see if she will break
Well, there is nothing like an ambush on a Monday afternoon, and please forgive me for leapfrogging over topics, I will catch up eventually but for now I need to put this down somewhere because I've gotten gloriously paper-thin in the span of hours.

Lochlan is moving back. Permanently. As in, he's bought the house down the street and is now pulling a Jacob on me and I went to the bench and I expected Jacob to tell me how I should feel about that but Jacob didn't have any answers for me because he's sometimes all over the place and sometimes he is nowhere at all.

Part of me is really happy. Loch has been gone for over two years. I was sad when he left. Our relationship is different long distance. Everything is harder. His arrivals and departure wreak havoc on my universe, his need to exert control and supervision from afar don't fly when there's a twenty-hour drive between. And he's been miserable because everyone is here, all of his friends. And because his ex-girlfriend is taking Hope and moving back to the west coast so there is nothing left for him in the hot potato save for overpriced rent and great lakes weather.

He's coming home. Well, as relative as home can be, since that's what we call it here now. Only took seven years to make that leap.

Some people will think this is just another ploy by Lochlan to win me back. Others will blame Ben for not being together-enough to give anyone the confidence to be further than arm's length in case I need them. Still more people are going to call us all fucked up and indulging in a free-wheeling sort of commune.

Personally, I was just thrilled that my heart didn't lurch when I found out. When Lochlan looked into my eyes and told me he was coming back and he'd be here all the time instead of months here and weeks there, my heart didn't leap and it didn't flex. I was glad but not in that way. Not in the way like every time Ben ever showed up on my doorstep a year and a half ago. Not the way Ben does now. Just in a content way, and I know it's going to make Lochlan sad when he reads that but it's something that has to be said.

Waiting for the lilacs.

What have you done, Bridget?

I conjured up ghosts. My ghosts. I didn't do anything to you.

But you have, don't you see? They're my ghosts too. I have to live up to them. Surpass them.

I can't see right now. Come back later when I'm composed, okay? Please.

I'm afraid this can't wait.

You're afraid? What about me? If I knew I could do that before I wouldn't have wasted all this time.

So it was a waste. After all of this.

That's not what I mean and you know it. It was there all along, that's all.

Are you sure?


So what happens next?

Nothing. It's done. But it's there and that's what I needed to know. Someone should have told me.

No one is as brave as you are sometimes. We didn't know.

Well, we know now, don't we, Benjamin? And I'm not brave, I'm just crazy.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Hero of 1968.

So if you ain't lonely then why'd you let me in,
Pulling me from the wreckage?
And you smile-but smiling's just a phase
And I can't get caught in your forever.
I'm lying on the ancient, expensive studio carpeting, the kind you could lob grenades onto and you still might not hear the explosion, the kind that is dull beige and boring as all hell, mostly like the rest of this room with it's smoked reflective glass and polished wood and black equipment and few touches of art or style here and there that try to render it avant-garde and relevant. I'm not sure if relevance has had a place here since Ben was born, but he likes it because it means he's being productive. Actually, he is being produced, but still, potato-potahto.

And I know (because I can feel the vibrations in the floor ever so softly and you wouldn't feel them at all) that he is pacing behind the glass, like a caged lion.

Lochlan is sitting here with his hand on the small of my back and my children are with Satan because he thought he would entertain them with a webcam and his gigantic TV as monitor so they can say hi to his mother back home. She'll love it, they'll love it and I get a break or something, which is nice. But I promised I wouldn't talk about villains today. Only heroes.

This hero wears a big skull ring on his right hand, but never in public-public. In public (squared) he dresses just like all the kids who buy tickets to see the circus show when it comes to their town: jeans, t-shirt, sneakers. Unassuming. Just like you.

Oh, but not you, internet. You assume. That's okay. Open books spark dialogues and questions and curiosity and sometimes nothing is better than to have your interest stoked up and burning along at a lightning clip.

So you explain to me why Lochlan puddle-jumped his way back. Don't you usually? I create drama so that he will return? I cause things to go my way and pull him back into my orbit? I play games with his head and leave him unable to know for sure which place is home?

None of the above.

He loves me. Pure and simple. Or maybe it's desecrated, complicated. Dirty love. Mixed-up, tangled, broken and rusted love that should be tossed but it's kept and treasured and exploited for comfort, for sentimentality.

For sport.

Somewhere behind the glass the inherited hero plays a chord and hatches his plans. Somewhere behind the glass the hero seeks his own comfort in watching us. Somewhere behind the glass is my very own Jekyll and Hyde. A monster masquerading as a man.

At least that is the analysis of the villain. And we all know whose side he's on.

I'm done apologizing for my life. I don't need to answer to you, I only need to answer to them. And they have a strict Don't ask, don't tell policy firmly in place.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Fire Everything: texts from last night.

Okay, you win. I'm a convert.


I'm sorry but he is so hot it's sick.



The Romulan?


Bridget, you're impossible

When's the DVD come out?

That's Eric Bana.

It is not.



Truth. Hulk. Your lukewarm hunk. You called him a lunk.

No, I called him a lurmk. He's improved then. A whole lot.

I'll buy you a poster.


Should I let Ben know he has competition?

You know Eric's people?


I know. But DAMN. That movie was AWESOME.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Beautiful little bird,
I'll fix your broken wings.
I'll let you lie here till you
fly away from me.
Too many goodbyes this week. Too many things at once and too much upheaval and the flu caught up with me yesterday and I alternately vomited and cried through much of the day. Didn't I tell you I'm stupendously beautiful at all times? And you believed me. Not sure what that makes you, but I fear I might be more human than all other humans combined, in the purest of forms, because...

Because I don't have the fuck it gene.

That one ability to just let things go. Distract, roll it off. Fade out. I can't do that. I worry things to bits, leaving them bloody and on life support and then I can sweep them under my skirt and sit on them so no one sees how bad I have made it and sometimes, like yesterday they rip everything back and there is my mess and oh, goodness, Bridget, what have you done?

I just stood there with my hands behind my back and I shrugged. I don't know. I can't help it. It just happens and I've asked for help in fixing it and the help doesn't seem to work so I just flutter for now. I flutter in between the bloody mess and worry and the okay so-so's and try to make it work. Mostly I think I pull it off and then enough rockernauts take off and one more thing tips the balance and the universe that keeps my fuck it gene dangling far out of my reach tips away and I fall to the bottom.

I climbed up again. On the sun-side this time. No worries. I will just keep trying.

Good thing the 'nauts are tethered via boomerangs. I know they'll come back. It's still hard though.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Nomad of Metropolis and other true stories.

Dalton's nickname is Teflon Jesus. Long story I won't tell today. But here's one I will tell instead.

Teflon Jesus sits back and picks up my cup, taking a sip while raising his eyebrows at me in question. I offer a belated nod and continue to let my legs swing, bare toes feeling along the light breeze while the sun bakes the top of my head. The balcony offers little shade, in spite of the heavy coating of ornate white wrought iron icing that decorates the front of the building Jesus lives in.

Jesus smiles and continues to tune his old guitar. I study him while he does it. Slight beard, long uncombed russet curls that gave birth to part of his nickname years ago. Threadbare red shirt and charming soft grin while he listens and adjusts and thinks up questions for me. I pick up the teacup from his side of the balcony railing and take another sip of the now-lukewarm green tea, and the soft wail of a crying baby fills my ears from somewhere below us in a building stacked with people who come and go almost as much as we seem to.

Jesus is one of Jacob's friends who travels extensively, one of his friends that he would press fifty dollars into a handshake for without a word and sleep easier knowing that Jesus would go and get some food and a good book to take on his next adventure, Jesus who doesn't think people should be confined indoors ever or in shoes, which is how he and Jake could see eye to eye and he frowns at my sandals discarded by the door.

He tells me that I'm young, that I should see the world, that I have seen a lot of the bad and it's time to go see the good. That I could go with him and we could hang out, I'll buy postcards and he'll spend all of his charm, buying girls with open rooms where he can get company and a hot shower and then make his heartbreaks and move to the next city, somehow marvelling that he has not had to purchase a hotel room to sleep in since the early part of this century and still his friends give him cash because he's the technical hobo of the group.

He asks me if I'm going to continue Jacob's traditions and I say no. He smiles again, broadly, for usually he just preaches, kind of like Jake and I listen, kind of like Bridget used to, but my world is different now.

Jesus is leaving for the summer and fall, heading down some other coasts to pick up girls and do the job he loves. He says the people are kind on the road and the weather never changes. I'm here to get the keys to his mailbox downtown and a raff of cheques and instructions so that he can sublet this beautiful place and make more money while he still does less work. I have four interviews this week to find a suitable renter. His requirements are few and it should be easy, like it is every year when he goes again.

If it wasn't for the spiral staircase made of iron that ascends to heaven, he would have given this apartment up years ago. It's cold, there is no water pressure and his kitchen is a five foot long one-piece unit with a three-quarter fridge, a chipped porcelain sink and a stove that works for lighting cigarettes and boiling water if you have the time, but not much else. I used to want to live here, but Jesus always told me I deserved better.

I take the envelope full of his important papers and wait for his arms to close around me, the scratchy hemp of his red shirt and the fresh honey smell of his hair invading my space long enough for one of his rare hugs and then he stops and puts his hand around mine. I look into his dark-pine eyes and he smiles.

Is Ben going to be okay?


Good. I'll see you for Christmas?

You'd better. You haven't made it to a Christmas dinner in five years.

He smiles at the sun but says nothing, and within hours he is gone again.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

My wife, she is scared of men with chocolate face.

All my life I've tried to be good
Or at least to myself
You did what you thought you should
But it hurt me like hell
The lack of sleep and plethora of cake and arms to hold me are going to do me in, you know that? Last night was AMAZING, but best of all was the cake that said Happy 18th birthday with a man in a speedo made of icing. On the cake. No, really. He was on the cake. Ruth would not eat any part of the picture of the man. I thought it was hilarious.

I don't know anyone who would actually wear a speedo in real life, unless you count the time PJ showed up at a Halloween party dressed as Borat. Yes, that outfit worn in the movie. The green number. One of PJ's finest moments. Thanks to him I have memorized a whole slew of quotes from the film, including the title for my entry today.

But I digress.

I'm headed out to lunch with Dalton but Dalton is stalling because that's what he does and so I can enjoy a little more cake which spoils my lunch but that's okay because a lot of times Dalton forgets about the meal-part of time spent together. Then hopefully I will be home before it rains, home in time to snuggle with my beloved and maybe fall asleep after dinner for just a little bit because my eyes feel heavy and my heart feels light and I suppose that's better than the other way around.

(P.S. Benjamin organized one heaven of a night for Miss Bridget and is doing a terrific job of late, being home and being himself. The only reason I haven't written about him so much is that he likes to be dark and mysterious. Drives you nuts, doesn't it?)

Dalton is ready. Speaking of mysterious. I will tell you about him tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Satellites, fireworks and other things you can't see in daylight.

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean
Guess I should
I guess it's inevitable. You can't outrun days on the calendar. Hell, we can't even get something proficient enough to clock the speed at which time flies past us let alone try to keep up.

Today is all mine and I stupidly sat down at the piano and the intro to A Long December came flying out of my fingertips and I wanted to put it back in but it wouldn't go and that always leads to the stereo and before you know it I have set the mood for the day and I didn't mean to do that to this day. So on this day, I turned the music off.

Because this day is my birthday.

Another year is gone and I still haven't learned to ride a ferris wheel without screaming or change a tire. Maybe that will happen this year, but maybe it won't. Maybe I'll still feel queasy after eating a whole bag of blue cotton candy and maybe I'll use up the fourteen brand new lipglosses in my makeup bag. Maybe my hair will grow fast and be as long as the princess hair that I chopped off last fall when I realized that some princesses don't get to live an easy life and maybe I must not be a princess after all. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get away for a few far-away trips this year.

Maybe I'll find where I left my patience and maybe I'll relax long enough to get a good night's sleep. Maybe the summer of this year will be glorious and cool and the winter short and sweet. Maybe I'll somehow overcome my beloved addiction to cake and hugs and maybe pigs will grow wings. Whichever way my year goes, I know it will be okay.

I've got my kids and I've got my love and I don't think I really need anything else.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Running in the woods.

We brought spring home with us last night, pulling up to the house in the warmth of the most beautiful evening, the air trailing the scent of horses, hay and coffee behind us, truck covered with dust, children with heavy eyes from enough fresh air to last them forever.

It took me almost our full weekend there to convince Ben that his white-knuckle grip on the air we were breathing could be loosened, that he could sleep, that he could do whatever he wanted. We went in town and poked through antique stores and had breakfast out while Nolan kept the kids happy at the farm. We talked for hours into the night. We got hot and dusty on the walks around the property, through the woods, turning back at the swollen creek that is still over and around the footbridge, cutting us off from picnic rock. We opted to let the busy week ahead slip away for the moment in favor of savoring the present. We barbecued dinner and mucked stalls and late in the night Ben would wake me up and take me quietly, keeping his hand over my mouth, holding me tightly against him, stifling any sound I wanted to make as he kissed my shoulders and whispered to me, driving hard against me, returning us to those early days when I fell in love with him in spite of things he thinks he should have been ashamed of but somehow isn't anymore.

So we're home now, tired and achy, muscles used for farm work that see little use here in the city, running shoes all but destroyed by dust and rocks and mud, me favoring my right ankle twisted on a tree root because I am too soft to run in the woods, preferring the gritty cement sidewalk and the diesel smell of the traffic to my right.

Ben would like to move there. Ben still thinks he can have it all somehow, his own flawed faith, thinking he can keep his head down and go unnoticed and at the same time fit right in. Still thinking he can force change from within by going without, still assuming that everyone hates him because so far he hasn't proven a damn thing.

But I never asked him to.

I never said that he had to be the hero now. I never said that life had to be perfect, or that I wanted a whole laundry list of things done and said or engineered on my behalf.

I could have stayed easily. Hanging laundry out over the porch railing to the crab apple tree on the other side of the turn-around drive, picking peas in the summer from the garden that seems to get little attention for the bounty it produces and talking to the horses, who seem to understand our troubles better than any kind of therapist or friend and I'm not trying to insult anyone when I say that, it's just a truth I can't ignore.

I could live there forever if only someone would ask.

I could.
She seemed dressed in all of me
Stretched across my shame,
All the torment and the pain
Leaked through and covered me.

I'd do anything to have her to myself,
Just to have her for myself.
Now I don't know what to do,
I don't know what to do
When she makes me sad.

She is everything to me,
The unrequited dream,
The song that no one sings,
The unattainable.
She's a myth that I have to believe in,
All I need to make it real is one more reason.

But I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.

Friday, 1 May 2009

I'm dropping a quote here that I saw today. I don't have time to look up who said it but it's amazing. If you know, pass it on so I can credit the proper source.
All that matters in the end, is how well did you live, how well did you love
and how much did you learn?

I'll beg for you.

I have all my Stone Temple Pilots CDs packed and ready to roll. Lessons well studied from Jacob in the firm refusal to give up the music I love because it hurts, instead I embrace it because it belongs to me and not my ghosts. That lesson took a few tries but now I have it down pat.

I'm filling my veins with coffee and my bag with warm clothes, because tonight we're heading to the farm for the weekend. Just the four of us, and since Nolan is now Ben's sponsor, he'll be somewhere safe.

Still Remains drifts through my head this morning, a song I know as well as the number of heartbeats each child puts out in the space of a minute when they sleep because I've never heard them breathing when they rest. A song I have inked into my soul via my skin, stretched so thin sometimes but still armor against the past.

There's excitement in changing routines for the weekend, exchanging the usual weekend for horse rides and barn work and food that always, always tastes better. Bundled up in Nolan's quilts, we'll sit in the rocking chairs on the porch and drink coffee, and inside we always find a roaring fire and hot chocolate late at night. Sleeping where the stars are closer works wonders. Being together works wonders too.
Pick a song and sing a yellow nectarine
Take a bath, I'll drink the water that you leave
If you should die before me
Ask if you can bring a friend
Pick a flower, hold your breath and drift away
See you on Monday. (In which I whine about feeling like my glasses make me look old. Perhaps it's that I can see myself in the mirror now in full HD rez and hole-lee, does something ever have to be done about what stares back.)