Hit like a ton of goddamn bricks because I have things to do. Five loads of laundry. The house is a mess. The children are battered, fried and done and Ben is back on track after yet another magnificent stab at falling apart and failing. Because that's what he does when things go wrong and Bridget was doing terrific, all things considered and then some fucking idiot asked me what the date was and I looked at my blackberry and the world stripped away, the sky peeling back from it's neat edges, trees sucking back into the ground, a layer of dust settling over what remained, with black crowding in where the blue once was.
October 24th is tomorrow.
And I've already got a run-date and a lunch-date and a gallery-date and a movie-date. And that's just tomorrow! The week has been filled up, appointments and plans made and cross-checked and coordinated because last year we cleared the week and I didn't manage so well, but that was the first one. This is the second and so that makes me a veteran of enduring the Hard Days of anniversaries where bad things happen out of the blue. Like Jacob leaving, the week before he jumped from a high building because he was a magnificent fucking hypocrite and a coward.
Nothing brought more clarity to me than going into that house and seeing the shrine of a bedroom and sitting down to hot soup for lunch and knowing that I was still here, living, breathing, laughing, crying and where is Jacob? Locked in a concrete room in my insane little head because I don't know what to do with him and whatever is left of his ashes in the box which didn't wind up in the ductwork of my house isn't him so that doesn't even count and there's a marker by the ocean at the house but that doesn't count either so he's just trapped where I can hold his memories and none of them will leak out and they are safe but dammit, I'm the one enjoying his mother's soup and homemade bread and asking her about her garden and taking her to have a girlie day with Ruth at the hairdresser.
He shouldn't have left but he did and I can't help that. I can only help the big firecracking idiot Benjamin who threatened to take a drink every second we were there until Jacob's father got a hold of him. I don't know what was said but Ben came out of that day white as a sheet and on his best, and he renewed his position with a fortification that he must have checked out of the library because you certainly can't buy the sudden resolve that he was drenched in any more than Lochlan thinks he can charm the universe into presuming that he is the one running this circus.
You aren't paying attention. I run it. It's my show and I finance it with money from my brother in law that I get in exchange for things you don't want to know about. I know no one is thrilled I'm going back to work for someone I repeatedly have to unleash my lawyers on, but that's all part of the game and the game is maybe something I play because self-preservation is all or nothing, same as it is for Benny. There are no more secrets. There is nothing left to do with my love except to swing it around overhand and see who I can clock with it. I knocked Ben right out, apparently and he's been seeing stars ever since. But he hung on, down to the minute-by-minute and managed to white-knuckle Lochlan's bullshit and Caleb's smug ruggedness and he came home straight and narrow and incredibly upright, where he sagged into Nolan's arms at the airport and then I found out how afraid Ben is that every time the circus passes a Hard Day mark he waits for me to upend the tent and run off with some other clown. Because I've done it. Because I've ruined everything before. His solution is to make everyone hate him while he dies of fear.
As you can imagine, it's not very productive and almost assuredly counterproductive but Ben is Ben and he is slow to change.
JUST like BRIDGET.
There never seems to be anything BUT change anymore and we're attempting to force routine and permanence and we get burned repeatedly. Ever seen a circus tent go up in flames? I have. It goes up fast and it burns so hot. Permanence has come whether we rushed it or not. Routine will follow. Ben is planning to get a vacation loan to hang on to this library-borrowed strength until he can find some more ways to keep it going and me, well, I'm back in town so the circus is once again on.
All day, every day, half-price on weekends.