Friday, 31 July 2009

Diners are people too.

Bridget, what in the hell are you doing?

Giving the internet something to chew on, since they won't leave Ben alone.

He's got a thick skin about it, why don't you?

I'm not the star, Andrew. I don't have to read the crappy things people say about me. I can turn off my comments and delete my mail, I'm a nobody, after all.

That isn't true. You're our girl.

So then let me take some of the flack for him.

That isn't how it works.

I wish it worked like that.

So will you take down all the stuff about the commune? Your mother's going to be horrified.

No, in fact, I think it's time for another detailed lap dance post and I can finish myself off.

So the internet is your imaginary adversary now?


Destroy all monsters?

If I could.

Do you know why we're here?

Lap dances?

I wish. That would be nice but your husband would crush me. We're here because we want to destroy the monsters for you.

What if you guys are my monsters?

That's what we're all afraid of, princess.

Maybe you just need thicker skins, then.

Oh, I see what you did there.

I'm good, aren't I?

The very best.

Further distractions will keep you off his trail, or About my house.

(I've thrown you so many bones this week you can practically re-enact Jason and the Argonauts, complete with your very own skeleton army.)

We call it a collective if we call it anything at all. The reluctant Utopia.

You call it a commune.

I hear that often. Daily even.

This house is large and rambling and built on a square. The hallways are large hexagons with all doors opening into the center. There are rooms within rooms and secret doors and windows and a dumbwaiter and a rooftop turret that I demolished with my bare hands and a weathervane. Copper filials outside and miles of wooden trim inside. Wooden floors. Big black grates on the walls for heat. Leaded glass windows in just about every room. It's like a church inside. A comfortable one where the light shoots right through the center and fills the house with joy because it needs to be filled with something and so we chose something good.

I don't care what you think, personally. It was meant to be.

Originally it was a good deal. A huge rambling Victorian house, laden with gingerbread and windows and bedrooms, tucked out of the way and somehow passed over by most, probably because it has one bathroom, and few people will consider a house without at least two. This actually has two, because the water closet at the top of the stairs has it's own door and window, and then you can exit stage right and enter into the huge bathroom proper with the big black cast iron and enamel bathtub, still with room for a large sink and as much other furniture as you would like inside, before continuing out through into the upstairs sunroom surrounded by windows on three sides. It leads to the west wing. This is not a small house.

No one else gave it a chance, and so it became mine, for around a third of what it should have been sold for. Not only was it a good deal, but it would serve as a base or a home away from home for the myriad of beloved friends we keep. Artists and musicians and actors and preachers and uniforms and family too.

And it did, in the beginning.

And then it evolved.

It runs pragmatically. There is a gentle hierarchy, only because there has to be. The children come first, followed by me, followed by the more vulnerable of the boys at any given time. Usually Ben because he struggles with everything so. He fights his recovery, he fights his work, he fights his emotions and so they coddle him. Then seniority plays a large role after that, leaving Lochlan pretty much in charge of most big decisions, but only if they don't involve me so much. PJ looks after my head and has much input from August and then Sam and then Joel if need be.

I cook and clean and do laundry, mending and I care for the children before all the rest. I listen. I keep the music playing and I serve as muse. I wash a heck of a lot of dishes. I borrow very large flannel shirts when I catch a chill and I will ask you for a hug before you can put your stuff down when you first walk through the door, if you've even left at all. The boys are responsible for male influence for the kids, co-parenting, if you will, lifting heavy things, all repair and carpentry, making Big Decisions, protection and affection. They are to create and to rest when they're here.

We buy groceries as a group, spend and save money as a group, and I keep their hearts intact. They keep my head screwed on straight and mostly keep us busy living life so that I don't fall behind and begin to miss. They have a water-tight schedule so that we are rarely, if ever, alone and the driveway is always full, to the point where I will come home and have to park on the street. It's fine though, someone will go out and move my car later. Someone will fix it later too, if need be.

People come and visit and never leave. Friends of the boys. Some keep their own space. Lochlan bought a house a stone's throw away. PJ lives a bit over but never goes home. John lives at the end of this street. Schuyler and Dan have their flat. Caleb has a loft downtown. Dalton, well, we all know of his beautiful apartment. August lives in his office, I believe (it's a joke but not really). Sam has the parsonage that Jacob sold out from under the church, who had to buy it back later and Christian doesn't live here at all anymore but he visits as much as he can. Technically the only people who live in this house are Bridget, Ben, Ruth and Henry but really we all know better.

This is home. To everyone. Ground zero. Space One. The House. Wide open with twelve keys flung to the ether and caught by those I trust, so good luck getting in.

But the house is not the important part.

The people are.

You may have a bias towards the way we do things here but what works for us may not work for you and vice versa. Traditional roles shared in a nontraditional setting are ultimately both romantic and horribly disdainful to the majority. Curiosity is usually the first reaction, followed by enthusiasm and then caution. Imaginations run wild. Old hypocrisies surface and are swiftly quelled because you see, dammit, you see how proper and uptight I am and how I don't stand for infighting that isn't valid or decisions that aren't fair or appearances that deceive.

I do care when I hear that there are rumors bouncing around so there, once again from the whore's mouth, the explanation. The best part is that it just seemed to happen. There were no plans to do this. Not all of us are hippies. Not all of us are extroverts who thrive on constant contact. All of us are well aware of the stigma of an intentional family to the outside world. But since when have I cared what the outside world thought of it all anyway?

You thought I was kidding when I talked of my kingdom.

I was not.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Devotion on all fronts.

Caleb is Henry's father.

(Now, read carefully.)

As recently as a year ago, Caleb gave me a choice. Sleep with him, regularly, or he would tell. He wanted everyone to know. He needed to stake his claim in my life because they were forcing him out. He is just like his brother was. Depraved and unholy.

It mirrored a decade ago when I was forced to sleep with Caleb on a regular basis, only I minded that less than you might think. Cole had ideas, you see. Ideas and plans and needs that make average, normal people cringe and cry. Scream. If they were a movie you would have turned it off and poured scalding water into your ears to cleanse your brain. Only he went too far.

He always did.

We suspected Henry was not Cole's biological son and for the sakes of everyone involved and everyone we knew and for his own absolution we decided to keep it a secret. Forever. Cole didn't want his friends to know how truly awful he could be.

But he's dead now and this doesn't have to be a secret anymore. I just became so good at keeping it. I kept it from the boys, fearing their judgment, kept it from the children and from Cole's parents. Besides, it was a suspicion, not a fact, right? That blew up in my face the spring Cole died (the week before his death, if you can believe that), when we had testing done to see, once and for all because there was an outside chance that Henry belonged to Jacob, too.

Because while Cole was torturing himself by letting Caleb have me, I was torturing all of us by going to Jacob.

I already told you about all that.

Jacob wasn't Henry's father by almost a hundred percent. Caleb, however, was. Cole was crushed, Jacob too, and I have spent a long time trying to pretend that this is not the truth. That maybe it was a dream and I'm not the monster. It doesn't matter if I was forced and then coerced. I'm still the only one standing in the glare of these headlights with my shame for all to see, a deer caught running all over the woods when she should have kept to her own tiny, perfect glade.

Outwardly, I continued to keep the secret. From my boys, of all people. They all wondered, and they speculated and hit on the truth a long time ago, discussing it out of my range and choosing to wait me out, knowing I would tell them when I was ready. I ask for an inch and they give me a mile. And Ben knew because Caleb had once enlisted him in the Big Plan to take me away from Jake (which blew up in Caleb's face, now didn't it?). So the news I had been so scared to give turned out to be a wash, and Caleb loses all his power over me in one giant breath.

The only thing he wants is time. Wow. If I could control time I'd be the center of the universe, now wouldn't I? He wants to spend time with both children. He wants to be a part of things, with assurances that down the road I won't take the kids from him and he won't try to take them from me. Henry knows and Henry is okay with it. He says it makes him even more a part of his dad, right? I smiled through my tears and said yes, it does. He doesn't understand. This will take time.

In retrospect, I married the wrong brother and everyone knew it. Only you're never going to pick the smooth, calculating and ice-cold one if you have a choice. You'll pick the passionate one, the romantic. The painter with the guitar who lives by his wits and loves until the day he dies. I loved Cole. All he wanted was his perfect little family with the pretty blonde wife to tuck into his arms, a girl, a boy and a house within which to grow the love we made. Only his predilections prevented that and I covered that cost and have since ruined three (four? five? six? twenty?) people and then some just by being me.

I'll take the blame because there's no one else left to do it.

I never said I was perfect. I am so far from perfect. I just hope you get it now. That you'll lay off a little and understand why when Caleb goes away, he never truly goes away. This is why. I could be awful. I could take all of Ben's lawyer power and I could make Caleb go away but he is also the victim here. He got caught up in something sick and twisted and he's been hurt by it too. It's left him wanting to love me and kill me at the same time. It's left him with rage and bitterness and guilt and it's left him with an obsession of possessing the one thing I won't let him have. His brother's family.

I can't help that. I'm not in love with Caleb. It doesn't work that way. Someday he'll get it. In the meantime, I just have to be careful. But finally there's a whole line of people with flashlights, leading me through the woods, pointing the way back to the meadow, back to familiarity. Back to safety.

Back to where I belong. Right here. Waiting for Ben to finish his work and come home to me. Because at the end of the day the distracted but painfully focused artist who plays guitar and keeps the romance bottled up until just the right moment, the unbridled temper tamed with stoic helplessness and true love is the one I want and I'm not giving that up to go be Satan's bride.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

I believe in you,
I can show you that
I can see right through
All your empty lies.
I won't stay long,
In this world so wrong.

Say goodbye,
As we dance with the devil tonight.
Don't you dare look at him in the eye,
As we dance with the devil tonight
Taking a day to breathe. Lip gloss reapplied after lunch. Ratty jeans and a rattier hoodie jacket over a low-cut t-shirt. Hair in my signature twist with a clip and the tendrils just perfect. Hoops and tunnels, diamond pendant, watch and the big skull rings in place. Socks. Man, it's cold.

Music on eleven. Breaking Benjamin today, because I need a little sweet with my loud. Clean house, laundry up to date and for the first time in almost three weeks I can put weight on my broken toes, which I smashed beautifully again on Tuesday night and I think that put them back into place nicely because once the agony wore off they seemed a whole lot better.

Going to go have an hours' worth of tattoo work done and then come home and cook a big dinner. See ya later alligators.

Maybe tomorrow you'll find what you're waiting for.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I only spent $120 at FAO Schwarz.

We're home and the away-guests left this morning to return to their own routines. Writing will resume as of now. My saltwater princes rule my world.

Where to begin again?

Firstly, the kids and I are well. Happy. Safe. LOVED. Oh my God, I had no idea how loved. Ben is healthy, relieved and redeemed, back to work for a new week of magic in his favorite format, back to inspiration and creativity we can't explain. Everyone is so much better than I ever expected. We're going to resume life missing Ben, watching Lochlan try to fill in as Male Influence, convincing PJ's mom to let us have the puppy back because she fell in love with him in our absence and breathing fully, all the way to the bottom because the other shoe dropped and I can stop waiting now.

Hmmm, what else, because I'm just not ready to write it out just yet. The courage seeped away this morning as I stared down the mountain of dishes and laundry I left behind in my hurry to be the one to take the blame. I beat Caleb by hours.

Four airports in as many days. Trips to places I didn't expect to see for awhile. My cracked iPhone that I dropped face-down on a rocky path still trucking along, ringing constantly with messages from the boys, all of whom dropped their routines and came to be with us and stayed with us until I felt brave enough to peek out from behind the wall they formed.

For the record? I found redemption too. Once again not finding blame for keeping secrets I thought would spell the end of friends, lovers and dignity too. Once again finding surprise that deep-dark princess secrets were actually open secrets, long speculated upon and discussed to be the truth and they were planning to wait me out. I cracked right on schedule. I begged forgiveness and was shunned because apparently there is nothing to forgive and I need to stop taking on blame and wearing faults like chains around my neck.

So everything is okay, everyone is well. The children are happy and had a wonderful time with so many uncles and family doting on us. The butler doted on us. Batman doted on us. It was surreal, you see, only you can't see and I can't show you things that would help you understand.

Sometimes you just have to be there.

At least that's what Ben said.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Home tomorrow. Everything's good. Have faith. Everyone's here.

Holy cryptic. No time.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Safe mode.

We've washed your brain and cleansed your soul
Until nothing's all you need to know
Hand over your will and then you'll see
Now get on your knees and worship me
I'm taking the kids to New York for the week to be with Ben. Teflon-Dalton will meet us and watch over us while we're there to some extent, otherwise they're making arrangements for a driver if we want to go places (we're staying in the marble-floored and heavily-butlered hotel that I love that better be kid-friendlier this time). FAO Shwarz opens at ten tomorrow, there's a good place to start. I'll spend all the money Caleb keeps giving me. Wish he would fuck off already.

PJ and Lochlan will be standing in for the roles of Dr. and Mrs. Doolittle. I'll let you decide who the girl is.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Sacrifice, buttoned-down and in girl-form.

You take away
You take away
You take away
You take away
You take away
You take away
A monster, when so driven.

A sophisticate, when calmed.

Pick someone, anyone. It describes every last one of them. Every last one of us. I'm not immune.

A drop-D tuning of a life with distortion so loud I can't hear anything save for a tone-deaf roar in my ears. And then I see it. They aren't from his point of view, they're from mine, songs destined to attempt to prove once and for all that he knows how I feel.

I am the artist.

Words elsewhere, hands, affection designed to prove that he knows what I need, what I want and why I don't have to draw a distinction between the two any longer. I've reached a point in my life where I don't have to make excuses or abide the lines I have drawn. Freewheeling. That was always Jacob's definition of Bridget. Freewheeling. Somehow he and he alone could see potential past the high-strung, uptight, proper and destined for great things Bridget to Bridget without boundaries.

Only I think he was wrong.

I realized I could get away with so much more than anyone ever thought I was capable of and I tasted it and I liked it and so I ordered another round and now I'm drunk with a ridiculous sort of power that won't turn off.

No excuses and no punishment except the kinds that come from self and from the night-monsters who serve as the heroes by day and the villains by night and it is liberating and breath-taking and so horribly wrong.

I was gifted my final deadline this morning and now I have to figure out if it would just be easier to dive from a high peak or run like hell. Standing around to face this music will free me of the pressure of being the muse but the true monster among us will be revealed.

One will be redeemed and the other forfeited.

I just didn't get to choose which one I would be.

Monday, 20 July 2009

White Zombie and plaster.

Scratch off the broken skin
Tear into my heart
Make me do it again
Seven weeks. That's a long time for Ben to be away. But do you remember when I told you the boys were planning to enlist me to help finish my own house, learn a few trades, hone my plumber's crack and generally be less pretty and more useful?

They weren't kidding. And I have plastered a whole wall all by myself.

Huzzah, bitches.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sola-numb. Dustfingers. More goodbyes.

Yesterday was a hiccup rescued with a lifeline fed continuously and generously down the side of the mountain to where I dangled, not sure if the effort of holding on was worth the thought of letting go. The white knuckle grip was beginning to ache and the tension ran like an electric current through the branch I was holding, threatening to blow me off in volts instead.

I had one Vicodin and one vodka on the rocks and then when we sat down with the children draped all over Ben to watch Inkheart I was asleep in seconds. Woke up a few times to see that I was missing an amazing movie and then it was finished, and Ben took the dog out, I took the kids to bed and we rendezvoused on the couch once again to watch Push. Except this time I didn't see much of anything, out instantly and finally my eyes opened to find him watching me.

What are you doing?

Watching you sleep.

He led me to bed and boom, out again. I slept from before midnight until six, when Bonham started his morning bark, and then he stopped and I fell asleep again until eight. Restorative, deep sleep free of nightmares, ghosts, anxiety or fear, oddly enough. Selfishly because Bridget wouldn't choose and so it was chosen for me. Sleep. Then everything else will sort itself out.

Ben flies out late tonight and it will probably be the last time I see him until the second week of September. He thinks I can't hear him when he talks in the Bridget-proof low tones to the others but sometimes I catch just enough and it breaks my heart because I know he'll say he'll try to get back soon, to provide the loft that might keep my hopes up. I know it's going to be hard. I know the other boys are here doing everything they can to fill in as guards, dads, carpenters, jar-openers, affection-dispensers and moral support posts you couldn't knock down with a bulldozer.

It's just that they're not Ben.

And that matters. So very very much.

I'm going to miss him. But I'm going to be very busy with finishing more stories and training Bonham up to be a good puppy, keeping the children busy with their bicycles and sidewalk chalk and library books and playing confessor and surrogate wife for my boys as they form the calm around my storm, as much support for them, I hope, as they are for me. Just in different ways.

What's left of the summer will be spent quietly, in the shade of the porch on the painted floor, with a pencil and a cellphone and a blank sheet of paper, a glass tumbler full of fresh blueberries to one side for snacking and a glass pendant hung on the screen door handle when it became too warm to wear any longer, a memory on a string of our week in Venice and the endless glass shops we combed to find that tiny orb with the green flower inside.

When the sun goes down the tiny white lights will twinkle on, one string at a time, and the words will flow out into the darkness and hopefully reach his ears, and he will find a way to weave his musings into song, because we simply never ever waste a word anymore.

Goodbye sweetheart. Tucker. Benjamin. I love you. Come back to me soon.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Snapping back.

Ben took this picture on his knees. That puts him almost level with me. You should see the one I took of him.
I suppose I need to change my profile picture here now, since I defected from RIM, sneaking across the border, climbing the electrified fence so that I could join the Apple colony where things are easy, smudged with fingerprints and there is no memory to be managed. Wow, that pretty much compares me to everyone else, if smartphones were people.

I suppose I should concede defeat and acknowledge the return of the Vicodin and vodka fairies because I don't deal with stress well. I don't know how.

I look happy, though. I think I can pretty much fake just about any emotion at this point. Lucky for that, it makes things easier for everyone else.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Expert level difficulty (sing it for me).

You wouldn't like me.
Keep moving on until forever ends.
Don't try to fight me.
The beauty queen has lost her crown again.

So here we are, fighting and trying to hide the scars.
I'll be home tonight, take a breath and softly say goodbye.
The lonely road, the one that I should try to walk alone.
I'll be home tonight, take a breath and softly say goodbye.
Yesterday was a Family Holiday. The four of us plus Daniel, Schuyler, PJ, Christian, Sam, Caleb, Duncan, Dylan, August, Lochlan and Mark spent the day together, with extended visits besides from Nolan and his boys and from Joel.

I'm always amazed when I can pack sixteen men into one room. This house is Victorian, the rooms are small. The men are not small. Okay, Lochlan and Daniel are smaller and frankly sick of me pointing that out online so let's just say it's a treat to have the dynamics of everyone here at the same time. Those who could not come called, and those who could not call wrote, there was no shortage of proof of live and love and I was able to check off another entire anxiety-free day in my life, I almost have a handful now. I'm proud of myself.

They were all relaxed, though, somehow. It was cold out, I was surrounded by jeans and sweaters and hoodies and warm smiles. Not having to be in charge. Only one tense moment early on when Ben put himself in Caleb's personal space and they exchanged a look so dark I could see lightning flashes in the distance and then inexplicably the skies cleared and it was clear blue sailing and I didn't stop to question it, I let it rest because they've reached a level playing field and that's where things are best so don't mess with it and everyone was so excited that Ben was able to carve out some days, he's learning how to concentrate in fragments since that's one of the biggest challenges of being a parent and so he can now almost slip in and out of his head with minimal damage workwise.

Thursday evening when he got home he pulled me into the hot shower with him and scrubbed me all over, sending rivers of soap over my skin and washing off any fingerprints that weren't his. Lathering up my hair and stripping the scent of the days without him from my head. Holding me so tightly under the stream against his chest so none of my breaths were without him. Washing off his life without me, his travels and time spent investing in the future so that someday he'll be free of his contract and he can go back to work at will which is the way he works best, ironically.

I have swung back to days without suspicion, secure in that I am loved instead of wanted as the prize, safe without cost and I don't know if that comes from Satan's best behavior or Ben's presence in my days and nights suddenly again or if there's something in me that I figured out finally. I don't know so I'll just take it, but not for granted, and see what happens next. It's just nice to have things the way they are supposed to be. It's rare but wonderful, as was yesterday, and I want my boys to know that they are my world and my air and my heart.

And so I told them. Didn't see much surprise on their faces.

What I did see though, on one, was the absence of the ego chip that flies home securely fastened to one rather large shoulder in particular. A chip that generally was taking around six or twelve hours to dissolve when it arrived each time.

Except for this time.

That chip was gone the moment he laid his eyes on me this time, and was replaced with the softened watery-quavery sweet-Ben with the quiet eyes and hollow angelic voice that I think he prefers to keep hidden behind a bitter defense. He didn't hide it this time. Not with me, anyway. And I didn't hide anything from him either, choosing to acknowledge the hardest aspects of his absences with slightly twisted variations on his own quantifiable solutions that make everyone happy. Who to spend time with, how to deal with the overwhelming fear-urges that take over and make us destructive, unhealthy. And so when he finally had a clean and untouched Bridget for his very own and he forced my head back, his lips against my jaw, forcing his thumb between my lips and the breath from my lungs, he said he could live with this, that he liked this, that I could be his heart and still manage to breathe, on my own, without his air when I had to. When I have to, not when I want to.

There is a difference. And it is defined at last, on a very important day, no less, so we can mark it forever.

Cake included.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rock Star Caveman, take seventy-eight.

I was right. Ben was extremely thrilled to hear that Robert Redford is now off the market and it brings his competition down into the low twenties, as I have a whole list of people I will eventually imaginary-marry.

Except I say imagimarry, because I'm weird like that.

Ben told me all this as he tucked into a hamburger that he made on the barbecue in the backyard, because he's home for an extended long weekend. I'm sure he'll chase the burger with a lipgloss and some Bridget-porn and we'll pick up right where we left off. We seem to have the ultimate in-the-moment kind of marriage, where it doesn't matter where we've been or what we've done, the second we are back in the same atmosphere we're taking the same breath and deliriously thrilled to be in each others' company, with endless grins and boundless affection to bookmark separations that are too long and too painful to even mention, let alone explore with any effort. I know what I signed up for and so far I'm getting gold stars for being a good wife under duress. Imagine that.

Benjamin was tremendously grateful that Caleb didn't manage to extract too much of my soul, that August and I made up with the ease of true friendship and the boys were getting along otherwise and that, for once, he smells like burned meat instead of airplane fuel.

Chased me around the house for a whole damn hour yelling OM NOM NOM PRINCESS CARNIVORE! The kids were squealing. I tried to climb the dining room drapes and settled for throwing myself into the dumbwaiter three seconds too late and was pulled out by my ankles for a long delicious charbroiled kiss and two days of stubble that turned me rose-pink.

And I'm the weird one?

Right on.


Every morning I wake up to boy-filtered news, thanks to the boys who send me links of interest and things I might want or need to know, or even just funny little things. They call it the Bridget News, and it's a roundup of links that I read each morning to get my take on the day.

Everyone sent only one link today. An ironic one, to boot.

Bob, what can I say? You were supposed to wait for me but apparently you grew tired of me chasing after painters, ministers and musicians. Didn't you see the trend? You were on the list and you've blown it now, mister. Congratulations and I hope she can keep up with you. I could have. Though Utah and I didn't get along so well, honestly, so you would have had to move here. It's okay, everyone comes here eventually. I collect people.

People like August, who came here and stayed because he and Jacob always liked the same things, and he has taken over the frustrated, appropriate outrage at all things Caleb, since Lochlan has apparently passed the torch and Ben is off working and pretending real life isn't real and fake life is. So my day yesterday, coupled with the fact that I had abruptly canceled dinner with August Monday night, was difficult. He made me wait over an hour for him for lunch yesterday and then sat there and ate and in between bites he ticked off a list of everything he doesn't like about me and everything I did Monday that was detrimental to my emotional well-being and everything Jacob had ever told him about the efforts made, once upon a time, to keep Caleb and I apart, be it on Cole's watch, or Jacob's or Lochlan's, or Ben's, of course, but we're still going under the assumption here that Ben is going to stick his head in the sand and wait me out because he needs to work and so he needs to focus.

The more August talked yesterday the more he simply turned into Jacob again. Only Jacob without wings and muscles on his muscles. Jacob without the curls mixed with straight. Jacob with a darker blonde crown and not-blue eyes. Jacob more laid-back and Jacob more objective.

I've gone down that road with August before. Letting him be Jacob in my head. I've done it with everyone, looking for one more moment with Jacob or with Cole, just a little more time. We know it's not a good idea. They are desperate to find comfort for me and I am desperate to have it.

Yesterday it caught up with me just enough and I finally stood up, picked up my bag and said a curt goodbye to him before the tears could completely ruin whatever thimbleful of composure I still possessed. I walked out and headed down the sidewalk and ran straight into Skateboard Jesus who asked if time was finally healing all wounds.

No, it doesn't change a damned thing, I said, and I kept walking. I walked all the way down past the University and I didn't stop until I was outside of a bridal shop with the most beautiful princess dresses in the window. White full tulle skirts and tiny embroidered roses, the kind of dress that would have been perfect for me only I've never had one like that, because like I told you before, my moniker has absolutely nothing to do with the high-maintenance type of princess label that gets cast about these days. I stood looking at the dress, oblivious to my surroundings until I felt hands on my arms and I thought Oh, no, I zoned out and someone's going to steal my bag and I was turned around to face August-Jake who told me he was glad he knew how bad things were and glad for my transparency of admission and glad that I don't keep my feelings inside ever.

I stood there and wondered who he saw, who he was describing because it wasn't me. It's easy to admit that you see dead love in every face and memories around every bend. Hell, that's child's play. It's the rest of what's in here that they should worry about.

I let him finish his thoughts because I won't lose another, I have my collection of wonderful hearts that form a fence around my broken one, sentries against further damage and I can't bear the thought of losing any more and so I suffocate all of them and I project and I rail against their good judgement and bad, too. I let him talk and then he asked what I had to say and I turned and pointed at the dress and asked once again where my fucking fairytale was.

Where is it, August? What's the holdup?

I don't know. I can only help but you won't let me.

I'm not your client, August.

No, you're my friend and I love you.

Then you need to not be yelling at me on the sidewalk.

It's okay, people think we're fighting over that dress.

I should just buy the dress.

What in the hell for?

For when Robert Redford comes to take me away from all this.

I think you've already been spoken for.

Ben will understand.

I doubt that.

Do you really?

Jesus, Bridget. Have you seen the way he looks at you?

Not recently.

You need a hobby.

I have one. It's men.

Stop joking around, Bridget.

I would but then I'll cry and you don't want to be the guy standing next to girl crying in front of the wedding dress of her dreams, do you?

I've been in worse places.

Are you running, too? Is that why you're here?

This isn't about me.

True. It's about an imaginary princess, isn't it?

No, it's about a girl and her friends.

Are you my friend?

One of the very best, I hope.

I thought you were in charge of keeping preacher's memories intact from my attempts to discredit him?

I'm in charge of keeping Ben and Lochlan apart so your life goes smoothly.

How is that going for you?

Pretty easy when Ben's away, actually.

Not for me.

I know, princess. But it will get better. The more he goes and comes back, the better you will do.

Now I know what you're in charge of, then.

What's that?

Encouragement and good vegan food.

Then next time you should eat something.

I will, I was too busy listening to your list of everything that was wrong with me.

Then you didn't hear a thing I said.

Your falafels were noisy.

He laughed. So loudly people turned and stared at this goofy couple standing in front of a bridal salon, the women with tears drying on her face and this man laughing, and they probably wondered what in the hell was going on.

It's okay, we wonder the same time sometimes. Actually most of the time. My circle has become a lazy oval and Robert Redford has finally killed my princess dreams for good.

Ben will be so happy.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Interest only.

I should be used to this by now. Caleb and his thousand-dollar suits and seven-hundred dollar shirts, his weekly haircuts and close straight-razor shaves that evolve into an incendiary threat to my fair skin with each point of contact. He activated the fluttering early in my hands by pretending to miss a cheek kiss and landing it just under my earlobe, a calculated, successful attempt to throw me off guard while he murmured appreciatively that my dress and killer heels were very pleasing to him. Ironically I chose that outfit specifically to throw him off, and as usual, I was lagging early on in the power struggle that we've come to define our adult relationship with.

I was an observer yesterday. Holding hands, ready with hugs and tissues as Ruth acted out quietly in the way she does when she doesn't know quite how to act, Henry checking and then mimicking her lead, hoping for cues to tell him what to do because he doesn't know. Perfect Uncle Satan deflecting everything smoothly with the promise of having phoned ahead to his favorite restaurant, securing a private dining room and arranging for an ice cream sundae bar, dropped just at the right moment as an incentive to find some happy in a sad day and they would toast with their silver spoons to giant pieces of their lives that are gone forever. I tried not to roll my eyes. He forgets the fallout from these kinds of extravagance. The sugar highs that only serve to magnify the hurt later on, that ice cream is a band aid, just like anything else.

But it wouldn't be important because he said he would stay until they were asleep and he kept that promise, even when Ruth came wandering downstairs close to eleven to make sure he was still there and he was, suit jacket flung over the back of the big easy chair, sleeves rolled up on now-wrinkled shirt, nightcap in one hand, Blackberry in the other. We've boiled life down to the occasional good dessert and keeping promises. Relationship dynamics and trust. The point people, a chart with retro-astro stars made of circles connected by straight lines to see how our own galaxy appears on paper and in our hearts.

I waited all day for the fear to trickle in and it didn't because he knows better, oh does he know better. Medicated just enough to not be able to hold my breath and yet still able to walk in those shoes was a nicer choice than trembling through the harder parts of the day without the lifeline of my guys, who were clutched in my hand in the form of Ben's old phone and Caleb only asked twice if I was ever going to put it down and I never answered him nor did I ever once put it down.

Sometime around four in the afternoon as the kids expressed their interest in more movie time, watching their father larger than life on the big screen, Caleb smiled and said he would cook, that we should keep watching. His excuse to round out the day, spending more time watching me than even I am used to and I'm sure every eyelash on my face and every freckle on my skin was inspected, catalogued and filed away for his future use. That's what they don't like, you see, the way he looks at me.

It's the same way Cole used to.

I know what he wants and he's not getting it, and we're going to be old and white-haired someday down the road and still doing this dance and I will win because he'll get tired first. I can get what I need, and not from him, and he's not having that same kind of luck and frankly I don't care. I left the focus on the kids and on the good parts of our memories of Cole and the rest can go fuck itself.

Last night it didn't seem like it's been only three years. It felt more like fifteen years, maybe that's because everything moves slower with Caleb. He's walking nerve gas to me and I have to fight to stay conscious because he brings out this horrible, animalistic craving in me to just give in and get what I need straight from God and Bridget's biggest enemy, only because it will be that much sweeter and I can just pay for it later. But now the tab is too high and I find myself working it off but not making a dent in the balance and at some point there will be an emergency plan invoked to help get it consolidated into something else but for now, for now it's still manageable. He is manageable. It's either the calm before the storm or the rare mellow Caleb that I could adore, save for the fact that he is probably the only person left on this earth who can destroy me without lifting a finger.

I don't like that, but I like that I'm done with yesterday and the children with their heads and hearts are still intact and the boys haven't killed Uncle One and I didn't add to Caleb's bag of tricks and eventually even this fluttering will go away.

Like Cole did.

Except not forever.

Today I have breakfast to go to with August, who was suitably Jake-angry last night when I cancelled our dinner plans with seconds to spare, because the Big Master Plan included his classic deprogramming, which consists of his counselor-rhetoric that I never really hear and his Jake-accent and Jake-sensibilities that helps bend me back the other way from exposure to too much Cole. I didn't get that because at that moment I needed more Cole and I wanted to be swallowed by the dark but I didn't, I just stood near the hole and looked down but of course I couldn't see a damned thing anyway, just the absence of light. And so I made another date because the delicious thrill of ice down my spine is enough cause for alarm and enough reason to explore why I'll put myself on the ledge for someone who isn't good for me and I'll have some crow for breakfast, choking on bones and feathers and being looked upon with horror.

It's funny, really. The pain is going to kill me, and my honesty is going to kill them. I told them I didn't care that they were angry so that they would know. I sounded my own alarm so that they would know and I endured the eight extra hours with the devil because I know.

You don't know.

The choices are not mine to make.

I don't know why I wrote this out. Maybe just because people wondered if I went off the deep end again and wound up with Caleb as monster, like after Jacob flew. I didn't, okay? Well, not that monster that he can be. I got the garden-variety everyday Caleb-monster. So you can relax.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Instead of being up early to run this morning, I was up early to let the puppy out, and I spent a small fortune in time with the newly risen sun and my thoughts and the cool still air of a summer morning. That sweatshirt-required cool dampness that burns off as the sun warms us? Love that part of the day. It reminds me of simpler times.

Or maybe everything just reminds me of everything else.

Three years ago today Cole took his last breath before my very eyes and I still haven't dealt with it yet. They had to peel my fingers off him, one by one and then my eyes and lastly my heart, but they left a huge piece stuck to him because they were in a hurry, you see.

I am not.

When I think about him I choke, swallowing back huge gulps of regret washed down with tears because of the way I have managed to vilify him for leaving. Because he was the smart one and I got tired of living on my knees and I did something so horribly selfish and destructive to my family that I still can't live with it but I got burned by it and in the end I think he got off easy and I am here to spend the rest of my life in emotional shackles as a punishment. As a curse. I shouldn't have done what I did but now the only choice left is to begin again. There's a lot of that around here. I always say I'll tear it all down and start from scratch, only it's not turning out the same. I can't rebuild it. It doesn't work so I get a little ways in and then I rip it down again. I need lessons. Time. Experience. Whatever, I don't even know anymore.

There were good things about him. Great things about him and there were awful things too, things he was driven to do because he couldn't control the incredible gifts he had, things he would live to regret when they became the platform upon which I would build my reasons for leaving.

I spent the early part of the morning talking to him. I've been awake for longer than I've been up, you see, with places to go and things to do and I brought a Maglite this time so I could see his face, so I had a focus on his dark blue eyes shot with red and his fingers now permanently curled into claws. Because he is the villain and I am the ghost and not the other way around. It's the only way I can picture us. I told him about the kids playing with the new puppy and part of his face broke off when he smiled, cracking and shattering on the floor like new porcelain. From the corner Jacob sent a beam and when Cole looked up again his face was whole but his eyes had further darkened into bottomless pools of blue unspoken emotions and I clicked the button on the light because my regret came flooding back in a tidal wave and I ran out of words and he screamed for me not to go but I had to. I had to because the fear of myself is so much greater than the fear of him.

Today we'll be going to the bench with Caleb, who is taking us out for a long brunch afterward and then to his loft for some home movies on his stupidly extravagant projection screen. The kids are looking forward to marking this day, though I don't even think they really remember Cole. How many memories do you have from when you were four and six? I mean, they remember who he was, but I don't think they really remember him.

I gave him this because I don't deserve any better. Three years in and I still don't know what to do with any of it. Not a clue. But last year I wouldn't have said it was okay to miss him and this year I am giving myself permission to do just that.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

He snorts in his sleep just like I do.

Meet Bonham, a three month old Lhasa Apso/Bichon/Shih Tzu cross who weighs less than my big platform boots and sleeps more than Benjamin does, when he's home.

After Butterfield, the saga of The House that Needed a Dog returned with a vengeance, only I didn't have the heart to look for a dog and ignored it, just on principle. But Bonham came looking for me, and so we brought him home this afternoon and he fits in just like icing on cake.

Or maybe like peanut butter on Milk Bones.

(Bonham, for those not in the know, is for John Bonham, the late drummer for Led Zeppelin. I think that part will soften the surprise when Ben comes home since he doesn't know yet.)

Surprise, honey. Isn't he cute?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

They'll be chanting GSP! GSP! by ten o'clock for sure.

It's one of those positively gorgeous days. It's lush outside, green and warm, and the air smells fresh thanks to the storms last week that washed away the rest of the grime that coats the city. We've cleaned up the branches and swept away the debris and noticed how much everything grew from the long drinks of Thursday as the rain never seemed to end. It was worth it to wake up to this. Yesterday was nice but the promise of today looms huge, blocking out everything else.

I have all kinds of plans, around a quarter of which will be accomplished, and the rest left to the wind.

I also have a little free time in my schedule for the next month at least, as I won't be running.

I will most likely switch to lifting weights instead. I kinda sorta totally broke a toe yesterday, smashing it head-on into a door frame while going into the kitchen. I stub my toes a lot in this house, there is some beautiful woodwork and the baseboards are all twelve-inch high works of art that extend two inches onto the surface of the floor as well. You have to give them space and I always seem to miss. I thought it was stubbed and I would be fine but walking for the rest of yesterday was tough and I still can't put weight on it today. It's turned a lovely black and purple and I will take a picture of it for you and post it so you can enjoy how wonderfully I bruise.

Like a newborn star as seen through the Hubble telescope.

So that's three, if you add in the fall on the steps two weeks ago and February's head trauma in the garage when I wiped out on the ice and knocked myself out cold on the floor.

I think my house is trying to kill me. All it needs really is to time opening the dryer door while I'm facing the furnace and it will be all over for me. Seriously. It's like Kill House, only my house is way nicer and my life far less cheesy. At least I hope so.


In other news, it's Fight Night. Where my house fills up with testosterone and beer and then it foams out under the doors and over the window sills and you can hardly breathe for all the flexing muscles and shameless intent. I'm an odd girl, I love the UFC. Go Lesnar and Dalloway! Wooo!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Caffeine-free princess.

It's official.

I have no vices left.

Okay, maybe I have one. But even that has been removed at present.

I don't drink pop anymore. I don't smoke anymore. I never did drugs past the barest of experiences (Shhhh). I don't have a gambling habit. I don't eat too much. I don't have a shopping problem or a candy addiction (PJ, be quiet!). I drink a glass of wine or a cooler when so moved, like once a week or less and really, I'm about to enter middle age as the poster child for healthy living.

Which is funny, really. When Cole and I got our first apartment I happily lived on Kraft Dinner and Jack Daniels, and when we had a few dollars, I would have McDonald's for dinner. I extolled the virtues of being able to choose for myself and put my physical well-being on the back burner in favor of tipsily hitting the dance floor five nights a week and chasing the hangover with some deep fried food the next afternoon, or whenever it was that I would wake up. Heading in large groups to various cottages only meant we'd trade the dance floor for midnight swimming and the fried food would be replaced with delicious things grilled on the barbecue.

Life is different now. Jack Daniels is rarely welcome and Kraft Dinner causes gastric issues since I haven't really been able to handle dairy products in large quantities for years. Smoking gave me headaches and cost a staggering penny, and pop is fizzy and makes me have to pee all the time, and ask any of the guys, I pee enough. Christian says it's like having a perpetual potty-training child around, every place we go I scout for the nearest washroom, just in case. Whatever happened to my teenage aversion to icky public washrooms had to be hung up as I realized any place was better than holding it in.

I think I have veered off my point.

What the hell was it? Oh yes.

I quit coffee this morning.

Not really cold-turkey, over the past few weeks I've been tapering off slowly, down from more than 40 ounces a day. I cut out the afternoon cup first and staggered through days and days of narcoleptic moodiness. Then I began to drastically reduce the morning cup until I was down to 10 ounces and finding that I still had lots left in the late morning as I ignored the cup and went about my day.

This morning I didn't have any at all. It's 9:30 and I'm ticking along on my regularly scheduled Friday and I don't miss it. My father calls it liquid pesticide. It was never more than a crutch anyhow and the fact that my headaches and anxiousness have dissipated all together leads to me to believe I've done the right thing.

At least I hope it's the right thing.

(If you see me writhing on the sidewalk later clutching my head in agony, for heaven's sake run to the nearest Starbucks and save my life!!)

Now, about that last vice. I'm kidding. There is no Friday porn entry because as you can see, my husband is still AWOL. DAMMIT ALL TO HELL.

I will live, I guess. Caffeine-free, no less.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Drop names like rain.

I always listen to the Allman brothers (at the Fillmore East) when I get tattooed and I listen to Pink Floyd when it rains. My boys have raised me well. I listen to heavy masters jazz through the open window of my vintage neighbors when we walk and I listen to Norwegian speed metal (all kinds) when I clean the house. I fall asleep to Phish and make love to Tool. I'm very picky, I guess.

This house alone is a full-time job, I think. Though the work was outside as we had the mother of all storms this morning. The street became a lake and I put on my slicker and went outside with the big sharp shovel to clear my adopted storm drain, and then the one across the street, too, since I was completely soaked within seconds, and because my neighbors are lazy (and dry!). I wore my sauconys, I'm afraid they won't recover and I'll be in my vibrams this winter. Not sure if that's good or bad, maybe it's just brave. But I did it because it's MY storm drain and it's MY branches and leaves stuck in it from MY yard and MY street, even though I faithfully clear it every time I do any yard work at all.

Once everything dried, we took the kids on a short walk to see the muddy high creek and pick clean wildflowers and then returned to sweep the patio, check all the gutters and assess any further damage. There are roofing trucks parked up and down the street now, and people who thought they had some problems before with their roofs now have emergencies. I don't have an emergency. I got a new roof for my birthday and my house was bone-dry after the storm save for one tiny leak on the north side behind the washing machine. I can deal with that, this house is ninety-five years old and very gracious in her old age.

Lochlan has been the gatekeeper this week, and it's going well. My new routine is to get the kids into bed and then I crawl underneath his arm and fall asleep until Ben calls for a second time and then if I'm lucky I can pick up where I left off and Lochlan is beginning to complain that he is too old to sleep on a couch and he misses his big spendy bed so he gets a pass and I will torch PJ instead with the heat of my nightmares and the damp fear of my dreams. PJ figures sleeping anywhere but home is cause for excitement. The kids just love the fact that he eats all the Froot Loops Ben keeps buying but is never home to eat.

Oh, and when the sun comes out we listen to Switchfoot. Surfing noise from the surfing boys.

Works for me.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Five to three.

Fitful dreams in the heat of Lochlan's arms where I fell asleep in spite of myself last night drove me to the caves underneath my heart. It hasn't rained in a while so there were no puddles to splash through to heed my arrival. I walked slowly, feeling my way with my hands outstretched in case I tripped, the concrete is broken and wedged up along the way. It's a treacherous walk.

I make it to my room and throw the bolt again, an action I can do in my sleep now, twisting it slightly to break the rust. I pull the ring and then automatically wipe my hands on my skirt. The door opens and I call his name because I don't see him.


God turns on the glow light. My dead husband is a Playskool toy. Squeeze him and he lights up. Only I can't squeeze him. I can't touch him. Cole screams from the rafters and my eyebrow goes up slightly in bemusement and fear, too.

He's angry.


It should be his time right now.

It is. That's why I'm here. I can't do this on my own, so you're being prewarned.

Where is everyone?


Now? Have they forgotten?

I don't know. I don't ask.

Cole bellows in agony and a fine cloud of dust descends, settling in my hair, giving a haze to the air that magnifies the glow and makes it hard to see. I call up to him.

They didn't forget, I think they're just waiting to see what happens!

He stops and considers this and Jacob begins again.

Will you be coming here?


You shouldn't, Bridget.

I don't care.

I smooth my filthy skirt again with one hand, trading my contraband to the other fist and he watches me.

What is that?

Nothing. Just a worry stone.

May I see it?


Perhaps next time.

Cole snarls and Jacob puts a hand up toward him and turns his gaze to what I can't see.

Black wings disturb the air, flapping indignantly and Cole is somehow quieted. They've been communicating again. I like it when they do that. Makes things feel safer to know that they are safe together. It's such a tiny room. I can't do any better right now.

When are you coming on Monday?

Five in the morning. Do you have other plans? Does it matter?

I need to prepare.

Ice-cold blood in my veins.

Will you be here, Jake?

Of course I'll be here for my princess.

Will you..will you switch places for a little while for me?

He turns his head and points again and I see that there's a wooden chair in the right hand corner of the room. I couldn't see it in the dark. He has Jesus beams that blow out of his broken fingers. It's like a superhero talent down here.

Thank you.

I didn't put that there.

Yes, you did, princess.

I look up and strain to see Cole's face in the dark. Jake sends some light his way, not enough to burn him, just enough for me to get his attention.

Will you talk to me on Sunday overnight?

He nods, sullen and rebellious.

I'll see you then. His voice suddenly overrides the screeching monster sounds that crawl out of his throat and he speaks to me clear as day. I always look forward to time with you.

It's been a year since he has said so many words to me down here and my breath catches and chokes me. I stand up slowly and turn to step carefully through the door, not willing to trip like last time. Once safely on the other side I turn back and as the door swings closed I notice they have already taken their positions, Jacob is sitting in the chair and Cole is standing in the center of the room, the backlighting from Jacob's glow giving him an impressive, daunting presence.

I spin the bolt, whisper that I love them both and take off down the hallway before the darkness closes in. When I emerge into the bright light again I look down at my hand. Clutched in my dirty fingers is the case from an old pocket watch. Inside are two locks of hair. One is a warm golden brown, tied with a thin black velvet ribbon. The other is white golden and tied with a ribbon of blue. No one knows I have this, and no one ever will.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

My kids were glued to the screen, I was glued to the table (stop laughing).

Yay! I got the zap glue off my fingertips, long enough to touch the laptop and let you know that the last baby peregrine falcon chick has fledged. She took her sweet time. Thanks, CBC!

Synonym toast.

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way she moves
Scarlet begonias or a touch of the blues
And there's nothing wrong with the look that's in her eyes
I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by
Henry popped downstairs this morning and asked for synonym toast. I think he meant cinnamon, but he's just like his mother and found a way to stand out in the crowd of two in the kitchen.

It's okay. Yesterday as we were driving downtown, I was narrating my usual mix of kid-friendly expletives at other drivers and pointing out neat things and at a long stoplight I said Oh look, a hipster boy with a manbag and a jaunty floral scarf. Ruth gazed at him until the light turned green and then said Awkward.

I laughed for the remainder of the day, I think.

Yesterday we filled up on library books and I snagged a copy of Living with the Dead which made me squee virtually the whole way home. I didn't crack it last night, my eyes were far too heavy by the time Ben called for the final conversation of our day. He said he was craving my lip gloss and my hair for a security blanket and he was tired. That he was back in his hotel and he told me about his afternoon and what he ate for dinner and he asked how long it took Ruth to fall asleep after he talked to them at bedtime and if I was doing any more drawing that I could scan in for him and he said he loved me.

I said I loved him too.

Good day?

Yeah, it was, actually.

Monday, 6 July 2009

A looking in view.

Her footsteps creak the floor
The shadows give away
Someone outside the door
Won't let him in
Here's a bunch of stuff. The brain is being emptied, it's Monday. I like Fridays better.

American Eagle Outfitters is having a sale, just FYI. Plus buy three things and get free shipping. I love their v-neck t-shirts so I ordered three. Two black, one teal. One says East Coast, which yeah, I'll be living in that one for the rest of my life. Girls with gardens to weed can't wear dresses all the time, you know. Also, horseback in a dress? I could probably pull it off, but I'm not sure that I want to.

Before Ben left he put a star map application on my phone. I saw Vega last night and snorted ginger ale out my nose. Vega. They should have sent a poet. I should pull that movie out and watch it again, it's that good. Instead last night we watched half of Pineapple Express and all of I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry because I may or may not have a crush on Kevin James. (Fine, I do.) Then I tossed and turned all night. I don't sleep well alone. Ben called four times and I still couldn't muster up enough comfort for a whole night so darn it, I'll have to muddle through.

I think I can muddle through, it's sunny and beautiful out. My grass is growing. The flowers have bloomed, and really I can't think of someone who is more blessed right now than I am. In spite of my efforts to prove that I am nothing of the kind.

Also, FYI for the Alice in Chains fans out there, did you hear it yet? Oh my God, AWESOME! Bravo, boys.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Charm? Right there beside 'Airplane Mode'.

It was one of those Sundays when the sun was too hot, the drive was too long and the nerves were too frayed to play nice except for in front of the children. Otherwise we were prone to throwing insults to the wind, cursing under our breath at each other, slapping steak spice and barbecue sauce on the ribs as they cooked and generally slamming cutlery around in a sort of angry tango. The after-meal walk was more of the same, with Ben stalking ahead of me through the woods, talking to the kids intently, wisely choosing to ignore my mood. Not sure if the emergency of him leaving changed things or if my declaration that he was being a jerk wore him down (it probably surprised him) but by the time we returned to the house he had his arm around my shoulders and I had my customary position with one fist curled around the back of his shirt at the waist.

And then he smiled and grabbed his pack and kissed the kids and I followed him outdoors into the glare of the sun once again, head still splitting from the stress of waiting for this moment, and he kissed me and followed Christian to the truck, headed for the airport, back to work, back to routine, back to a scaled-down version of life on the road but not because there's no bus and seven minutes down the road from the studio is a place that makes even better ribs. He should know, he'll eat them every single day.

Here's the weird part. My bad mood? (Aside from wishing he didn't have to fly out again) Saturday night got away from me and I followed some of the boys onto the vodka train and then fell asleep late, waking up with nightmares of living in Sussex facing a dike, not concerned for the floods but for the small-town mentality and the fact that the apartment we had leased was still full of furniture that wasn't ours. I woke him up with my unconscious hyperventilating and so we didn't get any sleep. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

He said we were sharing, He was hung and I was over.

As usual, he is right.


Friday, 3 July 2009

The blank slate.

I try to save you but I can't
Find the answer
I'm holding on to you
I'll never let go
I was waiting to fill my backpack. A good book, a drawing pad and a few pencils. My favorite jeans and clean shirts and a warm sweater with a hood. A rain shell and a wooden comb. A tiny box to hold my hairpins and my ring while I sleep. My violin case lashed to the front of the pack for when I play and a jacknife dangles from one of Jake's old carabiners. There's a forgotten house key at the bottom of the pack and if I'm lucky a granola bar with chocolate chips.

My phone is in my pocket with my headphones and my glasses are on my face. They're spotted with rain and smudgy but I haven't noticed yet. Hearing aids, check. I'm wondering if I should wear two braids or one or just tie a knot at my neck and let my hair go halo like it always does. Starting out combed smooth and then escaping in wisps all throughout the day until I look like a lunatic at dinner. And shoes. I'll never be able to pick shoes but if I had any say it would be the FiveFingers, though I'll probably be vetoed in favor of something with ankle support for the hard parts.

From here on out it's food/sleep/comfort/experience. Or so I expected, in the beginning. The endurance race that I put off forever, delaying, never starting out for fear of going to the wrong place with the wrong people, or maybe hating it. The perpetual gap year that somehow got lost in a shuffle of appointments for tires and bloodwork, homework, grocery lists and clean sinks.

It wasn't mandatory and I've found that what I thought I needed in my pack isn't enough for any more than a year proper anyway. It just isn't.

And so on this long weekend at the farm I didn't pack sparingly, and I didn't pack like a college student going on the life-changing trek.

I packed like a mom, and a hurting one at that. A magic bag. Iodine, because we always get great ghastly splinters in the barn and on the split-rail fences by the paddock. The book Ben got for me, The Time Traveler's Wife, because I read like a hungry masochist, such inappropriate things and he's not a slave to herstory, as he says. Cappuccino! Because I still need caffeine in the morning or I'm going to become a social pariah, nodding off when I should be sparkling. Warm socks because at night my feet get cold and let me tell you, I look damn cute buck naked with striped blue, purple, and green fuzzy knee socks on.

Okay, so maybe I packed like an aging stripper. My point is it's not about the big trip, the once in a lifetime adventure, no sir. It's about the little things. The little things like the cherry lipgloss I brought because it was in the pocket of my bag with my keys. Ben ate it this morning but promised to replace it when we go back to the city on Sunday. I got a little thrill that shivered up my spine with the promise of a trip to the drugstore where they have a wall of lipgloss for people with the same kind of weird tactile addiction to tubes full of glittery fake-flavored chemicals that I have.

I might be really adventurous and try the papaya one. Who knows? The world is my oyster, after all, and the experience of that will count for everything in the end.

Peach, definitely. Or maybe strawberry.

Okay, strawberry.


I'll have to let you know. I can't make up my mind.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hello Hurricane this October.


Not my video (I haven't been in California recently) but it kicks ass all the same.

If you find me face-down in a bowl of Cheerios, at least wipe off my chin, okay?

The upside of cutting my coffee consumption by 75% over the past week and a half is that the anxiety issues are a lot better as of late. Or maybe life is just teaching me how to roll with the punches via experience.

The downside? The narcolepsy. It's bac-


Wednesday, 1 July 2009


At eleven last night the doorbell rang. I was already asleep, curled up on the couch under Lochlan's arm while he read a book, phone on the table waiting for the call that never came.

If you live in a city and the doorbell rings late at night, you panic. It doesn't happen. Home invasion? Emergency? Bad news? All the boys either have a key for the back door or call first and I meet them at the door. I never hear that bell. I'm sure it still has Cole's fingerprint on it and possibly Jake's too.

Lochlan told me to stay put (FAT CHANCE) and he went to check. He looked through the window and let out a huge laugh and swore and then threw the door open and walked away.

There were my brown eyes and the smile I like to stick my fingers in the sides of because I hardly ever see it. Lurch goes the heart and everything magically stops hurting.


Woke up the kids, who came booking down the front stairs sleepily and they got hugs and Ben said tomorrow there would be presents and he took them back to bed and tucked them in because love is thicker than blood and he said he was sorry he missed bedtime. They quieted instantly, Lochlan packed up his things and slipped out, to his own house down the street and within ten minutes it was just Ben and I, standing in the front hall smiling at each other.

You big jerk. Why didn't you call?

I was busy working as hard as I could so I could come home, bee. Hell, I married a Canadian girl, I have to be here for Canada Day.

He said if you didn't call-

I haven't had that many pucks to the head. I called him first and let him know I was on the way. Everything's fine.

Everything is NOT fin-

He grabbed my head in his hands and looked right into my eyes, crinkling his up in a further smile. Most people I know smile and their eyes get warm but don't change shape, Ben's go from big black circles to mirthful half-moons. It's amazing. His whole face is handsomely comical when he wants it to be.

It's okay, bumblebee. I'm home.

I nodded and he let go and pulled me into his arms, squeezing hard. Holding on.

We'll figure this out. We've been through worse, bee.

Right, so now we should catch a break.

I love what I do. Besides, I have to put food on the table.

So be a farmer.

If I'm plowing who will sing to you?

And based on the fact that we both found that too funny to continue, rest assured that we went to bed where I inhaled enough airplane-fuel-smell to leave me downright queasy today and we slept hard, waking up together in a lazy tangle that we were reluctant to sort out.

On that note, Happy Canada Day.