Monday, 30 November 2009

Cringeworthy.

Caleb had a huge vase of cattails on the island this morning when I arrived at the loft. I asked him if that represented the remains of his weekend. He gifted me with his unabashed laughter. Pure joy, a rare display from someone who checks every last nuance obsessively. He told me Sophie had been in town for the weekend and a weird stabbing pain shot right through my body like a bolt of agony and disappeared into the floor.

I would have said something incredibly unladylike but I couldn't. It's Sophie. I don't have anything over her. She can run circles around me with...well, everything. The one person who still can make me feel like an incredibly unpulled-together chaotic mess and short and ungraceful to boot.

That and I'm weirdly jealous that she was with him for the weekend.

Oh my God, I am insane.

I'm not all that sure which part I'm jealous of. Maybe just that they had a fun weekend where I was at the farm feeling disconnected and shut out while the boys bonded and did man things and I was sort of an afterthought until late into the evenings and I am so short on affection and time and support right now it was almost an attempt to thumb my nose at Benjamin, coming here, only Benjamin wouldn't notice because he is busy being taken care of so he can be whole and manage without so much handholding.

I'm not sure it ever matters what I do because their eyes are blind and then other times I feel like every move is going to be the wrong one or a lesser one or a total incendiary action that will blow up my world again.

So I go to see Cale and feel even smaller and even less significant but vaguely evil and it's enough to keep a spark lit so that I feel like I have something to offer or withhold from SOMEONE only he isn't really doing it for me so I come home early and Benjamin is playing Sufjan covers and hardly looks up which means he is processing things and this is a good sign. So I go and track down PJ and PJ is all about food and what food should I make and I hesitate one second too long and so we wind up going out for Thai takeout and Ben doesn't say much and the kids are lost in their own worlds and PJ starts to zone out on me and I slip. Just a little. Knuckle to wristbone. Enough so that I get another jolt, only this time it's less jealousy and more plain old vanilla fear.

Stop it, Bridget.

Hmm?

You're worrying yourself to death.

Right, Lochlan. Think it will work this time?

Not funny.

No one cares.

I care.

I don't care that you care.

Stop being difficult.

Stop being an opportunist.

Okay.

Just like that?

Sure. If that's what you want.

I never ever get what I want.

You got all of us.

Okay, then I get everything I want.

Except?

Ben.

Bridget, I had this conversation with Ben word for word three years ago. This is hilarious.

What's so funny about it?

That you two are married and you're acting like he's dead.

We're all dead.

It's going to be one of those nights, isn't it?

Yes, Lochlan, it is.

What can I do?

Put a heated floor in Narnia for me.

What?

Nevermind.

Bridget?

Yes?

Time for some sleep.

Is it ever. Good night.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Pale Shelter.

I have this now on my Blackberries, which makes me very happy. It's lovely to be able to keep track of the games without having to plunk down in front of a television on Saturday night at six o'clock.

Speaking of television, the program we have settled on this winter is Ice Pilots NWT. It's very good. Much along the same lines as Ice Road Truckers. I loves me some Northwest Territories. I bet I'd do well there save for the 30 Days of Night-caliber vampires that might appear. But then again I do well anywhere, I bloom where I'm planted. Or maybe it's that I rot where I am tossed. Oh, the vampires will love me now. The sweet, sweet smell of decay and desperation could melt the snow for miles, and I will gather handfuls of blood into my handbag and keep limping along down the middle of the deserted street calling for someone to come and be my company. Or maybe for someone to just leave me alone.

We're heading home in the morning. Ben has been reinforced, patched and repaired and feels strong for having siphoned strength and wisdom from those ahead of him on the difficult path. The ones holding the flashlights while he trips gainfully along in the dark following my drops of blood and the smell of cloying fear that has lead him to me every night for the past two years.

Bridget is not reinforced. Bridget is a mess of sleeplessness and a runaway train of brewed coffee and frustration, a bundle of nerves and a frightful little thing right now.

Just frightful. I won an Ambien for my performance earlier. I plan to take it in about an hour and with a little luck I can begin the week on a better note. I have pulled all of our things together and I'll leave here reluctantly tomorrow. Looking back down the drive until I can't see the porch anymore. Wishing our visit had been longer or successful at all but instead we eat the wasted effort, a non-weekend. No do-overs, no time machine, no grace.

I can't help the past.

Off now to watch a bit of a movie (escape, Bridget) and snuggle down between Ben and Lochlan, human insulation from my relentless nightmares, deflection for the jealously I feel when Ben gets all the attention and I am left to slide.

Thank heavens I slide whoreizontally sometimes. I did not invent that word. Bet you can guess who did. But I can't say anything, I won't mess with the Witch-Lochtor when my sleep is at stake.

Will write when we are home tomorrow. We're leaving here super earlier. So early I don't know why I'm going to bed at all.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Important update.

Going to go with broccoli and cauliflower roasted with garlic and parmesan for vegetables.

And Nolan had these on my bedside table when we arrived. Are they not the prettiest damned things ever? Oh, I know, but sometimes it's the little things.

Lochlan is being nice. Still. A new record.

Hoping for sleep.

I'm making meatloaf for dinner. Everyone is turkeyed out, smoked out, worn out, rode hard and put up wet and there are places all over this house where you can find a boy with a beard and a book or a laptop and a hot cup of coffee and a lamp on low.

It's snowing again to add to the coziness.

It's grown dark so I went around and closed all the curtains in the bedrooms.

It's grown a bit chilly so I checked on the kids and saw that they were warm and I went and got one of Ben's hoodies because I always was a girl to steal a t-shirt/flannel jacket/suit coat from a man if cold.

Why not?

Ben has learned and he doubles up because he gets cold too.

Only now he has his beard to keep him warm and even though Movember comes to an end Tuesday he has been threatening to go all Wolverine on us and keep it. I love it, he looks beautiful with the longer hair and the beard. Wild, almost. Untamed.

Apt, perhaps.

We're missing Karsh by being here. We're missing the fake-ass black weekend pseudo-sales and the crazy Christmas traffic and the chaos of the city. We're missing the take-out and the noise and church tomorrow and that part is okay because Sam is here so we brought the God and the rest of them can suffer through substitute sermons and cold formal greetings. Tomorrow we'll have rock church in the snow, on horseback. Druid church more than Unitarian. Nature-worship while we still can.

I'm baking potatoes now too. One potato, two potato, just about six pounds total for one dinner. I'm still plotting vegetables, probably will use the rest of the cauli and call it good. Bread with garlic and olive oil. Wine for some, water for others. Milk for the children. Coffee for Ben. Coffee doesn't seem to affect Ben the way it affects me. Lucky boy.

Tonight I am planning to work my way through some more of Duma Key. Tucked in the crook of Ben's arm, warm, safe, full, sleepy.

Would like to just stay here for this. Maybe forever.

Calm before the storm.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Forging halos

Good morning. I've come out very late into the new morning with bedhead and a growling belly. Jeans from yesterday and Ben's hoodie zipped over nakedness because I am so hungry. Nolan left a pot of cream of wheat on the stove for me and a fire in the fireplace and there's a note on the counter that tells me men and children are out on the trail and they will be home in time for a snack mid-morning. Which means I have another hour or so to myself.

It's so lovely here. When we arrived last night, Nolan had decorated for Christmas. Or maybe he decorated for Ben and Bridget and we can become a holiday that people can celebrate. Every tree had lights, the whole way down the long driveway into the woods. Then at the house, the roof, railings and windows were outlined. Multicolored lights because Nolan once said all white lights were less festive and more sophisticated, and Christmas should be a festive time. I agreed but no one questions me leaving my tiny white lights up all year around either.

It looked amazing and I didn't expect it. He doesn't do much in the way of decorating. He has enough to keep him busy. But he did anyway and I love him all the more for the effort.

We came inside, dropped our bags, got hugs and went to our rooms. I tucked the children in in the midst of a huge yawn and I don't think I managed to turn out the light on the table beside the bed before I was in dreamland. Maybe Ben turned it off.

He did not sleep in. Up early to worship the gods of nature and serenity, he's been anxious to get out and get away from it all, so the ride will be good for him. My legs still ache from Christmas shopping in high heels yesterday and I'm thinking a hot bath might round out my lazy morning. It's chilly here. The temperature plummeted overnight and it's hard to get used to the cold outside and even more difficult to get moving now. I could stay under the quilts forever in our bed here, it's hard to imagine that life out from under those covers could be as good as life under them, but I'm up, for what it's worth and I plan to enjoy today. We're having a belated turkey day today. Everyone is here. I couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

So break yourself against my stones
And spit your pity in my soul
You never needed any help
You sold me out to save yourself
And I won't listen to your shame
You ran away, you're all the same
Angels lie to keep control
My love was punished long ago
If you still care don't ever let me know
If you still care don't ever let me know
This morning is Slipknot and chili lime pistachios while I write emails and pay some bills and wrap up Caleb's week in business here at the loft. I'm headed out Christmas shopping shortly and then to the school for parent-teacher meetings and then with a little luck by dinner time we will be in the truck to join the caravan for the trip to the farm for 'Merican Thanksgiving. Nolan is waiting with open arms and we really really need a lot of that right now.

Happy thanksgiving! Again. because we get two. Think we can try for two Christmases too?

I know. Always worth a shot though.

Ben is doing better. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Flakes, snow and otherwise.

Show me where it hurts
And I will make it worse.
I have been a busy little bee this morning. I went and bought wrapping paper and stocking stuffers. I found magic drip candles in a store and bought three boxes because I love those almost as much as magic rocks and fire, too. I made my list and tomorrow I plan to go back out and finish shopping for the children and for the out of province family and then I'll come home and finish packing for the farm.

We'd like to be out of here tomorrow evening. I have parent-teacher interviews tomorrow afternoon and then we're good to go. Might even have dinner on the road. Which kind of excites me, because really, Caleb's caliber of restaurant may be just lovely and easy to get used to, but nothing beats truckstop coffee.

And Bridget loves her coffee. I fell asleep in a cup of coffee yesterday afternoon which was a whole new narcoleptic low for me. I will blame the dog. He wakes up at five and so we put him up on the bed and he'll curl up against Ben's legs and sleep for the rest of the morning. But then hallo, Bridget's awake. Ben is awake too but he'll pretend he's asleep until the radio goes off an hour later.

I will sleep this weekend at Nolan's. Next week I will finish up shopping for the boys. Shhh.

I'm trying the Keeping Busy routine and hopefully I can recruit Ben into this plan and maybe we'll squeak through winter without any more upsets. Yesterday we laid low. Ben went to meetings with the boys. I stayed home with the other boys and wrote a little and tried to rest and got spoiled rotten and then Ben came home and rested too and I got a hell of a lot of cuddles and snuggles and a fire lit and kept and I went to sleep in tears anyway because I was worn out and overtired and not feeling so hot and totally frustrated. Ben put his arms around me and pulled me in tight against his chest.

While we slept the snow came, bringing with it a fresh start and a &#^@$* freezing cold morning. We do well when it snows. It's magic of a different sort.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Hold harmless.

There is a sideshow school (!!) at Coney Island and I'm drowning in sleeplessness today. Ben and I each seem to average about three or four hours a night, less when we are being dramatic, more when we are tired of ourselves and each other and give up the ghosts in favor of healing rest.

It's the way it is.

I still harbor the great escape in my head. For times when I am sitting at the bottom of the pantry in the kitchen and everyone wants me out but no one wants to come in, I run away to join the sideshow freaks and they welcome me home and it's glorious and it's simple. They want bacon and cars from the seventies, they want to find some fun on a cool autumn evening and they want to be love. They want to get some mail and fresh wildflowers and a pretty ring. They want to entertain you for their dollars and they know how to boil life down on the rusted ring burner of an old electric stove in the back of a booth on the edge of the pier and they know how to eat what remains and thrive on it.

We, on the other hand, are just pretending.

Ben opened the pantry door, via the gorilla goalie method because I was already on the island and failed to hear his final warning and I was launched out of the park and back into his arms and he smelled like whiskey and love and cigarettes and sad. He yelled at Lochlan to back away and he put his hand over my ear so I couldn't hear him anymore. He is growing to be attached to my hair. Like the others.

Touch=safe.

He would do well to come back to the carnival with me. There are no devils in New York and no complications and no history of anything. Just grindstones and mermaids and cheap Louis Vuitton fakes and Production. Also there is the Aquarium but I haven't made it there yet, I fell in love with the gritty boardwalk and the lights and I can't be torn away from them, I must be physically carried until I can't see them anymore and then I'll walk under my own power.

I would love, oddly enough, to see that in snow.

I would love to be in the mermaid parade too.

Monday, 23 November 2009

I found miracles there.

I'm at work. I feel like shit. I don't sleep or eat. I just runrunrun and try to stay upright as long as possible and when I get sixteen or eighteen hours into a day I can stop and sit for a bit and sometimes maybe I get a couple hours of sleep.

Right now I'm busy trying to scan in the kid's school pictures. Caleb has the past four years here too so I'm going to make a slide show that shows how much they have grown. Ben should be here any minute to collect me from my day in hell and we're going to go have coffee with Nolan and discuss the weekend. I want to go to the farm for our 'merican turkey day. I want to escape for a few days. I want to go back to where it was when Ben and I were the only two people on earth and it was dark and snowing and we broke the surface of life together and took a really deep breath.

That's what I want.

He's here. See you later.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

(Getaway in) Stockholm syndrome.

I say hell it is love
You say I must suffer
She's a motherfucker
Resurrect me

Sleep well in your killing bed
Give a jig and show some life
Favor for a favor
Don't separate the
Pain from the knife
All the doctors sing
You got to suffer for the cure
As the world fades away
You wonder where you were
I can be bought for the price of a few pretty little things shipped from Agent Provocateur, so says Caleb yesterday as we were preparing to leave his loft. He laughed as if he was kidding only that's when you know he is not, just like he always smiles when he lies.

The tightrope is worn rather thin over that part of the city.

And he is right, for I came away from the weekend with some gorgeous new sets of black ribbons and ruffled pink satin, a favorite combination. Dress up the doll and put her on display. Use your timeshare wisely. All girls like to be spoiled rotten and treated well and not the other way around.

Ben's eyes grew dark as he fought to honor his agreements and quell his own appetites and I let the excuses of history serve as our joint confession. He goes with me into hell. I won't be made to choose between Ben's continued success and my intactness. It's a no-brainer. It's a wash. So I kept my apologies to myself and I took my husband by the hand, box under his arm and we took the car that was sent across town and fulfilled obligations that sometimes seem never-ending and decadent and possibly undeserving and sometimes seem as if they were scraped out of the gutter and presented in a silver teacup.

Kind of like how you can scrape a girl out of the gutter and dress her up in pretty pink satin and tell her she's beautiful when it's all a mistake and a miscommunication. An error in being. A flaw in time.

An aberration in humanity. Like a half-formed future reject off the assembly line that makes people, I appeared with broken ears and a broken mind and a heart that loses whole big pieces and a total lack of judgement that makes everyone who loves me want to alternately scream and line up for whatever sort of enkindled torture it is that I can produce for them.

None of this is true, mind you. I don't think I'm flawed, actually. Not all that much, anyway. Ruined for sure, but I can harbour enough of a reasonable facsimile of myself to make Benjamin so incredibly happy he married me if only for claiming ownership of a visual that is tactile for him. Everyone else must be content to entertain it in their dreams save for for a handful of others who have passes but they are only good for certain times and the only way I can rectify that inside the brokenness of my head is to embrace some other part of my personality that remembers these boys don't remark on beauty that isn't remarkable. That I am worthy or they wouldn't want me. And that no one rocks the pink and black satin like Bridget rocks it. Like she rocks everything.

There will be no remorse until tomorrow.

Here where the tightrope is thicker and I have better balance, the pink satin is tucked away in a drawer that sees less of a confident reflection and more than a little doubt, thinner skin with which to be stung by judgement and hurt by glances carelessly stripped of their intended ignorance and doubt bubbling up from a well that should see the most confidence in all.

It isn't a sport, it's an obligation. Hunting princesses in order to leave the knights alone, I have a real life monster who thrives on making me afraid but also knows how I thrive on the attention it gives me.

I am not one to apologize and I know it will be dismissed as Bridget being crazy in the first few years after Jacob..well whatever it is that they say and I pretend not to hear because I am too busy being Shocking and Difficult and Impossible. Too busy making sure everyone loves me.

Just in case.

Just in case something else happens and a little more of my heart gets crushed into glass. In case you fail to understand that there are actual rules of engagement, something I am not required to share. It's a rare and precious occasion for him to actually touch the satin, don't you see? He much prefers to view me like a movie, burning me into his brain. Trying to erase Benjamin out of the picture, maybe. I don't know. I don't ask.

You think I care that you don't understand?

I do not.

Not tonight.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Black clouds with silver linings.

Very long day, bear with me. I need a vacation and not like the mini-Vegas one I just had. That didn't count. What will count is the fact that the children brought home their school picture orders and as soon as Ben gets home we are headed back out for Thai food. The fridge is restocked (so you can come back now, PJ) and neither Lochlan nor Caleb gave me a hard time today. August is a prince among thieves and I finally had a whole cup of coffee like ten minutes ago and plan to sleep the sleep of the dead tonight no matter what. Tomorrow has been canceled due to lack of interest and we're going to make fried potatoes, coffee and bacon and build a fire to keep all day long and watch movies. And it ain't even snowin' yet!

See I can be an optimist, I just need something to work with.

But damn, the day was long and difficult. So damned difficult. I'm done with that. No more please.
ARGHHHHHHH.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Benjamin is watching Hangry & Angry videos right now.

That is all.

(Snort.)

Presenting Miss Bridget Doolittle (oh, but doesn't Eliza Reilly sound more romantic?)

I’m becoming a monster just like you
After it all you’ll try to break me too
Falling forever chasing dreams
I brought you to life
So I can hear you scream
Because I don't know what else to do.

I'm not presentable. I'm not good in high society. I have a small town, south shore-girl accent and under my pretty dress I have dirty bare feet, and a chip on my shoulder that makes my dress hang funny. Awkwardly off my bony white shoulders and it lifts it up a little more and shows that much more thigh which is fine, they're one of my best features.

But no one is looking at my legs, they're always looking at my head because it's mayhem from ear to ear and beautiful chaos from my fivehead to the bottom of my overly pointy chin and Jesus H. Christ on a pancake, don't even get them started on my big quavery green eyes that appear to leak. Steadily. Drip drip drip. The plumber's been in, there is nothing that can be fixed.

How goddamned embarrassing it is and yet I want to yell fuck you into a crowd of people I'm supposed to live to impress and walk out. I don't want to be famous. I've seen what famous does. I've seen what infamous does as well. I want to be quiet and arrange my words and go for hugs when I need them and not talk for days if it suits me lest I open my mouth and all these unrefined and inappropriate emotions fly out and people wonder where you found me. She's wild, perhaps, they whisper as if I am their curiosity, even though ironically these are the same people who, for the price of a ticket, will come and bring their families and sit safely under the big top and watch the show in a controlled environment.

Reilly because I kept it. Couldn't do it, lost my nerve. Poor Benjamin, she doesn't trust him enough to take his name.

(Cover my bills, Mr. Higgins and I'll show you what talents 'high society' can learn from me.)

No, actually there were other reasons involved. Very significant and well-thought out reasons that led me to keep my last name and no one here had any issues with it whatsoever, especially Ben.

But you know what's great? He is so much like Cole. So much like him. Save for one thing. That quiet confidence. Ben only has that confidence in certain places and it's rather obvious. He's fallible. Forgivable. Unsure, even. Which is a far cry from Jake's unsure, because Jacob dealt with his weaknesses by hiding behind God and hiding behind rules that would Keep Bridget Safe and we all know how that went down. Thanks, asshole. You left me unable to trust the only guy who gave enough of a shit right through everything to stick around and pick up the pieces of me no one else appeared to want.

So now without Jacob's guidance and Cole's quiet violence we're left to do damage control while we're still busy wrecking shit and at this rate Eliza or Bridget or whoever the heck she wants to be today will never be presentable to your public, for your approval.

If you want her she and the big guy are busy putting on their tights and their makeup, there's a show tonight. We're billing it Pygmalion. For all the heartless guttersnipes like me who like that kind of thing.

I just know when you marry a girl from the circus your life becomes one. And it isn't always shiny happy exciting, is it?

Goodness, I've left dirty footprints on your silly marble floor.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My favorite is the Creelman Blickensderfer.

For anyone who thought I was harsh on Lochlan the past little while, please remember this is the curly golden boy who says whatever will make him look best. Of course he'll finally have my best interests at heart. Of course he won't try to come between Ben and I.

Pigs. Flying. Look how pretty.

None of it matters because nothing can come between us. Ben and I are nothing apart and everything together and I have yet to be distracted from that. Okay, I was mightily distracted from it this morning as Ben wandered around the house with his coffee and his tattoos and his pajama bottom pants yanked down just perfectly and the hair all tousled and sexy and his Movember beard and moustache now at ridiculous lengths and we were the only ones home and took full advantage and now he has gone to some meetings and Daniel is home sick and sleeping, having gone to work and returned with perfect timing and so I am shut in the library hall with the tiny desk at the end of the room in front of the window with my pleats arranged just so on this black dress that shows too many tattoos in itself and black stockings, black shoes and a dainty little silver evil eye necklace. Hair in the customary disconnected, cascading chignon and black glasses halfway down my nose. I always make an effort to sit up very straight while I type and apart from lunch, which is soon, I have the remains of the day in which to arrange the words so that I like them.

It's been a while.

Sometimes we go off the tracks and weeks go by and something rocks me and I lose my focus and then suddenly it's there again and I can block out everything else and the windowsill corners get dusty and papers pile up on the table and I begin to forget to do things like buy groceries and follow Ben around unplugging his instruments and amplifiers because if I didn't sometimes we get a loud surprise from a trespassing cat or a curious Henry.

I don't actually forget to buy groceries, it's more like I put it off until we've done a pantry challenge and use up some meal ideas that have been waiting for a bit. That's all. If you think I could ever go a day without pouring hundreds of dollars worth of food into these growing boys, you would make me laugh. These are the three-cheeseburgers-in-one-sitting type of eaters and then I am given ample opportunity to curse their male metabolisms as I try and zip up my dress after half a burger, no cheese.

I'm relishing today with the cold winter sun hitting at just the right angles to avoid needing lights in here, the books lining the shelves all the way around have a tendency to darken this room and the rickety glass chandelier that I can't reach to change the bulbs does little to help one to read. That's why I removed the window seat in this room and Cole made a built-in desk instead and lower shelves for my collection of antique typewriters. Only it's so narrow it borders on unusable, except by me and sometimes Ruth when she is moved to come in here. There are whole areas of the house they just don't bother with and others you will always find them in.

They prefer the sunny back of the house to the gloomy front and I can see why. It's been a challenge to find a balance between warm family-friendly rooms and my penchant for medieval chill and gothic revulsion in decorating. The urge to paint every room black gets bitten back in favor of the weird warm shades, like the pumpkin guts color that wound up in my kitchen.

The urge to leave the words in a tangle on the table is gone as well. I've put it off, let it go, ignored it in favor of letting the low grade fear run through me, incapacitating my brain again, letting the boys call the shots, fight over me and run the show.

Sometimes it's necessary. Voluntary even, as my head checks out and I live on auto-pilot, breathing quick and shallow, pulling the ribbons on my dress tighter so I don't notice and sabotaging the moments of levity with the greater future threats and past weight that precludes just being who ever in the hell it is that I am.

Whoever she is has enough charisma to secure the means to figure the rest out. Everything else I will just blame on words.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Biggest brownie I've ever seen.

One morning I woke up and the guard had become the thief. Jacob could always see things that much more clearly than the rest of us. Divine foresight through God. Yahweh for the win. Dumb Newfie luck.

We beat him to it last night and managed to reach a new level of understanding in the process. If only it serves to bring some comfort to Ben. I think he needs it very badly.

Perhaps I do too.

Lochlan and I got into it during dinner. He asked Ben if he knew of anymore concrete plans. When Ben is leaving. What the dates are. Was it before Christmas or right after? Perhaps through the bitter end of the cold weather and onward to spring? Let's talk, brother.

This, after I specifically asked for a moratorium on any talk of change for just one night. Please. One night of peace. One night of no bullshit so I can breathe deeply.

So I called him on it. I asked him what the fuck his problem was and if he was just going to be completely absent from me all the time while he was here he could go on ahead because I don't need his crap. He asked me if that's what I really wanted and what I really wanted was to stick it to him so I said yes. Go. Get the fuck out already. Give me some peace and quiet and stop doing whatever it is you do that unsettles everyone because you're judging us.

I'm making you unsettled.

Yes.

Holy Christ, Bridgie. Let me find you a mirror.

What the fuck, Lochlan. Where have you BEEN? Why are you doing this?

Because HE asked me to, and I'm trying to give the ape the benefit of the doubt.

We both looked at Ben. Okay, everyone at the table looked at Ben. Ben looked at the floor.

Benny, what have you done?

He checked the ceiling for holes and then he looked at me.

He'll have you all to himself. I wanted to know what that felt like.

You know, Benny. Christ, you already know.

No, I don't, Bridget. I've never actually had that.

You never wanted it, Ben.

He just stared at me while the revelations clanged into place all around me.

You asked him to leave?

No, I asked him to just back off and give me a chance. Baby, I don't know what I'm going to come back to. This is all I have.

You'll be coming back to me.

That's not what he says.

He doesn't know me anymore.

When I looked at Lochlan next, his eyes were glassy and he was staring at the table like it could put his composure back together on his behalf. I went and got the bourbon and I took his hand and pulled him outside, on the porch where it's freezing cold and we could be alone.

I thrust the bottle at him and he took a drink and passed it back. I took a drink and gasped because yuck. I could never understand how people can- warmth flooded me right then and I understood perfectly.

What really happened?

I offered to lay low.

Did he ask you to?

No.

So why did you offer? Why did he lie?

Ben is terrified he's going to lose you to me.

So then why does he tolerate you at all anymore?

Because you want me here.

Oh.

By now every sentence has been punctuated with a gulp and my knees have begun to vibrate. Lochlan's eyes are permanently glassy (he is a beer drinker and even then, not a good one) and we're losing the train of conversation.

But do I?

You tell me, princess.

I'm using you.

Why's that?

Because I know it hurts you and I want you to feel like I felt when you broke up with me.

Jesus, Bridgie, that was in 1986. You going to hold that against me forever?

I loved you.

And now?

I still love you but I'm not leaving Ben for anybody. Not you, not Jake and not Batman either.

I think Batman's chance expired years ago.

I do love you, Loch.

I know, Bridget. I love you too.

So stop being a fuckhead, please. You guys are impossible.

I think that was the end of the discussion. I remember seeing Ben's face and I remember telling him I loved him more and holy the house was warm inside and I don't feel so hot and he got me undressed and into the sheets and bam. Lights out.

But I keep my appointments because precisely at five before the sun even thinks about coming up I woke Ben and left Lochlan sleeping. I stretched my aching legs and we dressed quietly in darkness and went to see Jake. Because Jacob had asked for Ben. Because I go no matter what.

Princess, you look tired.

I didn't sleep. I used the Jack Daniels equivalent.

Something moved to my left and I looked and Lochlan was sitting with his back to the wall just inside the door.

What are you doing here?

Bridget, I've known you your whole life. I know where you keep them.

How did you beat us here?

I don't walk as slowly.

Is this your concern?

Jacob nodded.

Lochlan needs to hear this too. You both need to let Bridget lead because she's drowning in the crap you guys are throwing around. Did you notice she doesn't sleep? You fight over her twenty four hours a day and then you both give up to punish yourselves and she's the one who pays. Meanwhile, Caleb has become a refuge and no one even sees that. It has to stop.

They all looked at me. I looked from one face to another. Faces I know. Faces I love so much it's unbelievable.

What do you want, princess?

Ben, asking kindly in the way that he does because he's not above pointing out that he's going to put me first, and he probably does more than anyone else. To the point of overbearing claustrophobia and then he'll vanish in a fit of self-doubt. He permissions himself so strictly with me instead of letting himself be free to love me without guilt or second-guesses or a sense of entitlement. I wish he could do that with everything else, and not with me, but this isn't how Ben is designed, and he has to be told sometimes.

Lochlan has to be told things too. Since he doesn't listen to me.

Lochlan, can you do this?

If you mean can I be there for Bridget when Ben is away, preacher, I can.

Without pressuring her, without expectations? She isn't going to have a magical change of heart.

I laughed. It was nerves, or maybe I was still drunk. You don't describe things as 'magical' to Lochlan or you'll lose him completely. He deals in black and white.

Sorry.

I know, preacher. I've come to realize that things are different now. Bridget and Ben, well, they just work together. I'm not going to fuck with that. I love them both too much.

Ben reached over and squeezed my hand.

Then keep her safe and happy. Because she's come to me in tears every day for a long time now and I'm tired of being blamed for it.

And I woke up with a start.

Ben was flat on his back and I was wedged against him, my forehead against his elbow. Lochlan's arm wrapped around my shoulder. Unbelievable heat and I'm about to vomit and I didn't understand how Jacob could stand there with his wings and have a long parental conversation with the three of us so pedestrian-like. It was a sour-mash dream probably brought on by the stress and the fear and the fever and the arguments and it was odd to frame the resolution to a long-running upset in that light at all but I did it for a reason.

I was sick and while I was sick Ben woke up and he came and stood just outside the doorway. He would not hold my hair or he would probably throw up all over me because he's skittish about things like barf and cat poo and it's okay because he's fine with blood and he's great with zombies. Choosers can't be beggars and I can deal with the former if he can handle the latter.

I ignored him and went straight for the toothpaste and aspirin and then when I felt human again I asked him why he was up.

In case you needed me.

I do.

I know.

He put his arms out and I went straight into them. Because we work together. And we do not work apart.

Watching you lay into Lochlan at dinner last night was the best entertainment I've had in a long time, princess.

Careful or you'll be next, Benny.

No, see, I was smart. I gave you all my shit up front so any behavior I exhibit is an improvement over what you're used to. Lochlan isn't as bright as he looks, I guess.

I laughed. In spite of myself I laughed and then I went and threw up again. Oh my God, hungover. This time, Ben held my hair.

For brownie points, he said.

I awarded him seven million and twelve.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Points made.

  • Am not drunk but here's hoping.
  • Switchfoot is coming back to town. Happy New year! Holy gosh.
  • Lochlan is being nice. Too nice too many drinks. Goodnight

Postalunchalyptic update.

I'm home. Caleb made sure I ate by taking me out for lunch at the diner and then for a little drive. When I came home August called to make sure I keep talking because when I stop it's a bad thing, and Ben is going to be in charge of making sure I get some sleep tonight because I'm headed for cases of baskets like it's nobody's business. Nevermind cases, warehouses full of the things. Baskets everywhere. Wholesale. Discount. Bulk.

I can't wait to sleep.

Run on.

That was a completely surreal experience, seeing Stone Temple Pilots. Completely surreal. The audience was freaky and small, we were tired and still it was a easy and fun experience and I'm so glad I went. Glad I didn't cry, because I was once married to the worlds biggest STP fan, who even sang in a cover band at certain deplorable bars and church (!) events and glad I knew all the words to everything save for Crackerman. The only thing that would have made it any better would have been a mashup encore featuring Still Remains and Gravedancer (from the Velvet Revolver side of things) but I'm the only person who would have liked that, I bet.

PS These guys? OH MY GOD. They ruled. We bought like seven copies of their CD.

The boys were sort of surprised that I didn't cry, because I do that sometimes at shows, right out of the blue and it's embarrassing. I did it with Dare you to Move at the Switchfoot concert, and when John Frusciante went to his knees for the first lead of the show for the Chili Peppers, and I did it for The Unforgiven at Metallica, and I did when I heard Your Love is a Song on the new Switchfoot record too...and I think I'll stop there because I could go on for a few paragraphs listing examples and it's a well-known fact I'm a crier. It's just what I do. If it moves me the tears will be your first and only clue.

When Ben sings anything that isn't screaming I cry. Case in point. He needs to give up metal.

And my heart doesn't even live on my sleeve anymore. Ben holds it for me because I can't be trusted with it anymore and he wanted the shards of it that I laced together because it's fascinating and disgusting all at once and he would totally go for that sort of thing.

And no way in hell will he give up the metal. Ben is metal. Metal and paper mache and muscle and rage and unfairness and grief.

So THIS is why I didn't go see Jake. Some days I can't get my head on straight and some days I know better.

Instead I ran with August in dead cold and silence and then I came into the office (har, I love calling this place 'the office') for a little harassment, coffee and to get rolling on the paperwork from our trip last week even though I'm falling down tired and always on the verge of tears today and when I walked in Caleb asked me how I felt and I told him to fuck off and he told me to leave at lunch for the day in the most disappointed voice I have ever heard from him. You would have thought he maybe was looking forward to spending most of the day with me, maybe taking a drive in the 350 because it's still bare in the streets and they're having a contest to see who can spoil me the most except the one who is going to matter a whole bunch shortly here (Loch) won't even play along and instead kissed the top of my head and gave me a huge hug and told me to take it easy when I left the house while he paints in the backyard because it's glorious out now that the chill is burning off so I can open the windows in the living room and play music really loud so I don't have to talk with Satan, who by now is on the phone pointing out to Ben maybe or maybe Duncan that I. haven't. talked. today and August will concur with that and Ben will come and stand in the doorway when I get home and ask me just to talk to him and why the hell should I?

Why should I talk to him? He wants to think it's all going to get better and I broke a promise to tell the truth when I agreed with him. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking but if he's going to climb to the top of his mountain he should let go because I'm dead weight.

He'll say he's not letting go. Ever. Everything will be fine. We'll deal with it just like we've dealt with all the other crap that has ever happened to us. I don't want to deal with it. I want it to just stop happening all the time. I want to be happy with no conditions, no limits. I want to soar through my life a foot off the ground, marveling at the beauty that is everything and humanity in all of it's glorious stupidity and I want to buy cute clothes and go out to movies and ice skate on the river and finish a book in less than a week and not be cold and I want to be able to talk with crying and live without fear and make progress without frustration and dammit.

It isn't going to happen, is it?

And yet I keep hoping.

My faith is not the same. He tried but it's just not the same and tomorrow I'll go, and tomorrow I'll take Ben and maybe we'll learn something we don't know since he didn't tell me why he needs Ben there. Maybe Jake will give me the answers I want. Maybe I've earned them at last.

Personally I'm beginning to think he just likes to see how Ben reacts to me when I look at Jacob. Maybe Jake wants to be cruel too. Who doesn't?

I'm going home now. I just can't do much good today. Will try again tomorrow after I see Jake. After we see Jake.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

And some mysteries remain.

(This is downright maddening.)

What happened, princess?


I just sat there on the dirty floor with my hands picking at my dress, lifting and letting it drop in tiny pintucks of frustration. I shook my head. Nothing like that feeling of acting five years old in front of the only person I'll ever strive to impress.

It's not important.

Yes, it is or you wouldn't have come down here on what seems to be such an ordinary day.

I'm afraid.

Of?

Everything.

I know, baby.

Nobody KNOWS, Jacob. I'm well aware that none of you ever have any words of comfort or any promises you can keep when it comes to this issue. But it doesn't go away just because you want it to.

Then how do we fix it?

Oh, turn back time, keep the big promises, you know, the usual.

Life isn't so easy, is it?

Not on your life, obviously.

Did you come down to take it out on me?

Yes.

What can I do?

I got one promise fulfilled finally from you, and now I'd like another.

Ah. You think I had a hand in this?

Yes.

Bridg-

I'll keep my faith, you keep yours.

What's the promise?

If he can't stay because he never seems to be able to stay, can..

Can I make him?

No, can you stay instead?

Not in the way you need, Bridget. Where is Lochlan in all this?

He hates me.

He loves you.

No, he just wants me because then he can be better than everyone. It gives his platform credibility. He's the corrupt politician of Bridgetville.

Do you really think you and Ben are the only ones who struggle?

Sure seems like it sometimes. And I'm not interested in trying to further divide any loyalties or cause any more pain to Ben, which is why you're the answer, not Lochlan.

Because you're asking this your loyalties are already divided, princess. Pain happens because they all love you, they want to possess your heart. You're well aware of this.

I hurt them.

No, you live and you're not responsible for their feelings. You weren't responsible for mine.

Don't lie to me, Jacob.

It serves no purpose to hurt you now, Bridget.

Then you need to promise to be here when I come. Because I feel so alone. All the time.

You're not.

BUT I AM. The things I need I can't articulate. What I want is unreasonable and impossible and unfair. Life doesn't work this way, you all keep saying it but maybe it should and then things would be easier for me.

Aren't things getting easier?

Yes.

Are you happy?

Only when he's here.

And when he isn't?

I'm afraid.

Then go and be with Lochlan and spend time with the boys and try and have some fun and Ben will be back when he can be back.

So it was a waste of time to come here.

Was it?

Actually never. You won't come to me anymore.

Bridget. You built this with your mind. You put me here and I can't leave.

I built it with my heart. And good. Because you should be here. You should be here and we should be happy and none of this should be so hard.

Circles, princess.

Circles indeed. Fuck you, Jacob. See you tomorrow.

I love you, beautiful.

Prove it.

I did. I stayed for two years longer than I planned, and now I'm in this place. I gave up heaven for your purgatory. I gave up hell for you. I had heaven in you and the punishment for that is this and we're stuck here and I fear for you, Bridget. I really do.

But you can't help me.

No. Only you can help you.

But I love you, Jacob. And I can't do this.

You already are. We're going to have this conversation a million times until you see it for yourself. You're living. You're doing things, even the things that scare you. Things are getting better, and the doubt doesn't preclude the fact that you're incredibly capable. You just can't see it. Everything comes from within.

Is it okay if I don't ever believe you and continue to do this?

I don't have a choice, princess. I'm bound to you.

That's right. I call the shots now, preacher.

Does it help with the fear?

Sometimes.

Then go with that.

Cole made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob far above me from the dark. Jake didn't acknowledge it. Neither did I.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Bring Benjamin with you.

Why?

I need to talk with him.

Jake-

Just bring him, okay?

I stood up and wobbled. My legs were asleep and my dress was ruined but I smoothed it out anyway and then wiped my black hands on it for good measure. He laughed and I frowned. There's nothing funny about being here. Nothing cute about the extraordinary measures I have to take to get here, and nothing remotely safe about spending time this far away from PJ and August, who tend to take turns being my bodyguard when I leave the house.

Jacob isn't in the house, in case you thought he was.

He stopped smiling and gave me that concerned look, the tender one and my knees buckled a little more because he still has the most beautiful face I have ever seen and I'm so grateful it wasn't damaged. I choked on my own breathlessness and the tears started, not because I wanted to hurt him but because that look will always be the one that stops everything while I take my time climbing back on the earth after being flung off repeatedly. I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm the ultimate masochist.

I love you too, Jake.

No, go love Ben.

I'M TRYING.

Then try harder. Bring him tomorrow and don't be afraid of life.

That won't-

Try. Bridget. Just try.

I am. You guys make it impossible. Just give me what I want and we'll all be happy.

He laughed and I was on the other side of the door again. I don't know how he does that, but I wish he would use it for my trip down there instead of just as a party trick because he doesn't feel like holding the door for me.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Because I hate mysteries.

Pull in here, Benny.

Okay, need something?

I want to put air in the tire.

Okay.

No, I want to do it.

Go do it, princess.

Come help me.

Fine. Okay, take the cap off.

It's off.

Press the button on the machine, Bridget.

Okay.

Grab the hose.

Now what?

Put your purse down.

No. Ew! It's dirty here.

Give me your purse. Now stick the hose on and hold it there.

For how long?

Just a minute.

Ben, what if it blows up? Ben, hello? Where are you going?

Here.

What is that?

Take the hose off.

But the air will come out.

Take the hose off and put this on.

Okay but I can hear air.

What does it say?

I have no idea. It's not digital. Where does it read?

Look at the bottom.

Too small.

Okay, 30 psi.

They said 32 on the page.

So put some more air in.

I'm going to fill it until it looks less flat.

Check it again.

42 psi.

Okay, let some out.

It still looks flat.

I'll let some out. Okay, there. 34 psi. That's good. The rest are good. Put the cap back on. You ready?

It still looks flat, Ben.

It's fine, Bridget. And you just filled your first tire.

Yay! So what if I had screwed up and flattened the whole thing by mistake?

Then you would fill it back up again.

Oh. Gotcha. Can I have my purse back now? Yay me!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday night lights

Just a moment of gratitude I need to park here. A whole heaping pile of prayers were answered, and to add compliment to favor, the car dealership fixed my key fob for my little Mazda while I drooled over the newest model. They said it was the battery, but since it's the second time in a year, if it happens again I get a new one. Yay for sweet end-of-week blessings and the end of a very long day. We are all stuffed full of Thai food and Ben is making a fire in the woodstove so I'm going to go curl up in his arms now and most likely sleep through a movie or two.

I can't presently think about the move or anything else right this second. Maybe tomorrow or the day after. I just need a little rest right now.

Have a good one.

The Strip.

Home. For those of you who think I stumbled off a private jet severely hungover and missing my dignity and my shoes, having spent the night in some luxury suite in Las Vegas after drinking a whole what in the hell was it again? Five glasses of champagne?

Well, you'll be pleased to know I have my shoes.

Caleb does his business on handshakes and bubbly and the paperwork will be done by Monday. There is money for the new company. So much money I stopped trying to place zeros and started drinking and dancing and really the rest is so not important, the important part is I bring the charm, he brings the power and Ben brings the talent. Then we switched and I brought the talent and Ben brought the power and Caleb brought the evil. I'm glad I brought something, because apparently I left my inhibitions at home. I'm a big girl. I understand that this is my fault and yet the only one blaming me is..me.

So really I'm just going to go now and find a little more aspirin and the ice pack for my head and take a long hot bath and pretend I'm still as naive as I was before I got on the plane yesterday. I really thought we were going to go to a few meetings and then a show in seedy LA and hey, wasn't I cutting edge and world-experienced?

I do know I think having a butler is totally the way to live. As is whatever it is Satan does when he picks up a phone and shit just magically happens. That part rules. He says all I need to do is smile and I can exact the same results, but I only tried it twice. He was right. I think it's more power than I would like and it frightens me, but just a little.

Ben did not lose his head until the bitter end and then not in a bad way either. Supposedly at one point I asked Caleb if he would just buy me and then I could live like this all the time. I was positive he said he already had, something he now denies. So in the spirit of saying what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, I'll give him a pass for it and hope I heard wrong.

I tend to do that sometimes.

Life is safer that way.

Whoops, found my inhibitions, and on that note, I must go. My bath is ready.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A reproduction of life.

This is the weirdest thing ever. I woke up in LA and tonight we're going to see Great Big Sea.

Ironic because they are from home, and I am so far from home right now.

I heard myself sing again. After much magic, the final result is umm..well, remember the beginning of Astrocreep? That's pretty much what my part boiled down to. Hot but distant and totally forgettable. Unless you're into that sort of thing. PJ, I'm looking at you. Or Ben, but Ben is here nodding like everyone already knows how freaking depraved he is.

Home overnight. Busy day tomorrow. Sleeping on airplanes is really awesomely weird and decadent. Okay, Caleb's plane is decadent maybe. Commercial flight is not.

I promise I'm not a snob. I'm simply following the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt. She said to do one thing every day that scares you. I bet people could wind up dead following advice like that, and I'll be happy to get back home. I'm not all that much of a big-city girl, contrary to popular belief.

Like everything else here in the city of angels, it's an act.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Read you like a true surprise.

I love waking up in the mornings aching and raw. My philtrum is razorburned to within an inch of it's life, I will spend much of the day applying and re-applying a soothing beeswax lip gloss to try and quiet the sting. My arms and legs are quivery-weak today from being forced down under Ben, his jawline against my nose and mouth, his mouth against my ear. He doesn't let up. Not an inch, not for a moment and I have developed a kind of fortitude of my own to match his effortless endurance. Always the gentle brute, a study in opposites with his corrupted and selfish love for me. He wants to wind me out because that's what he likes, having developed his mercenary appetite over the years before I became part of his picture. Now together we're untangling that beautiful mess, in favor of a worse one. It's glorious. It scares people.

People like Lochlan.

Who automatically assumes that I'm most comfortable in the shadow of Cole's legacy. Or maybe Caleb's. He would be correct but the difference is Ben's end goal is not to cause pain, that's just a hazard of the job. It seems so simple to us and so incredibly complicated to Lochlan, and I'm left in the cloying darkness trying to make him take back words he doesn't need to say to keep me safe. I am safe. Deliciously, dangerously safe.

And I think sometimes...well, I think he gets off on fear too.

The red on my skin leaves me with no outward credibility and his looks could kill. But they don't because behind the recalcitrance lies his ardent devotion and the fact that some of these marks are from him and that, my friends, is what allows me to continue to walk my tightrope. Lochlan holds the safety net. For my life. Ben holds the scissors.

For the thrill.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Come set me free.

There’s a hole in the neighborhood
Where the shadows fall
There’s a hole in my heart
But my hope is not in me at all
Today was a nice departure from the usual melee, the emotional carnival that never seems to pack up and move to the next town, most likely because we are the carnies and who in the heck would operate the rides and the cotton candy booth if we were left behind?

I had a superlong run this morning to say goodbye to my old shoes, and let PJ run a commentary through my skull for a bit about nothing in particular, mostly about all of the future snowboarding to enter back into my life shortly, and then I walked the dog and spent a long time organizing the house and putting things away. I cleared out most everything except for the desk and the sofabed in the den, because Lochlan's house already sold and he's going to move back in to my house until we travel west still. He's lived here before. The house is large. I would have given him the guest wing but Daniel and Schuyler already live there so what's a girl to do? At least the den is semi-private, he has almost the whole back of the house this way. Like I said, I'm organized.

After lunch Ben went to meet Caleb for some meetings and Lochlan took me shopping. Which is always fun because he's really efficient too. I got my keys fixed (the ones I had made didn't work, now they do), bought new running shoes and a copy of Hello Hurricane (which came out today and I have been practically salivating waiting for) and then poked around. Loch bought me a Noel Nog, which is the yummiest coffee/egg nog concoction ever because we're trying to reacquaint ourselves with Second Cup now that the novelty of having Starbucks in Canada is finally wearing thin for our group. We opted not to stay out for lunch and so of course now I'm home and positively starving.

But I don't really care because I still have a little coffee left to enjoy and music has filled my ears, taking some of the stress and all of the pangs of hunger and homesickness with it.

I needed this. Even if it's very temporary.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Aspotogan gets a reprieve for just a little longer.

(Pay me no mind, I'm just talking to myself).

I've figured one thing out. When it comes to Big Scary Decisions (like the one to move the rest of the 2300 kilometres to the Pacific ocean) I have a tendency to deal a lot better when Ben isn't handy.

Like today. I went to work this morning, for Satan, which consisted of him verifying that I was wearing the new watch, carrying the white Blackberry, and then complimenting me on my shoes, which I'm enjoying as we have some unseasonably warm temperatures. He had me confirming hotel reservations. For Benjamin. In December. Which Ben was supposed to be off the hook for but not surprisingly, he isn't.

This is probably Caleb's fault. Caleb promised to have his lawyers fix that obligation and instead Caleb found a way to make it work to his advantage. Yeah, in more ways than one. So Ben will be traveling through most of December and will almost miss the move to the coast.

What does this remind you of?

I have exacted voluntary promises that this will not happen to me twice, that I've built all the character I can handle and there will be no more required but somehow I don't see how that can't happen, all I can remember is every long day has a coffee break right in the middle, and if I do sort-of okay with all of this chaos when he isn't here then maybe that will carry me through.

Yesterday the advice given to me was to not worry about the things I can't change because it's a waste of energy. I'm trying desperately to remember that.

On the big mental list was a clothesline, an acoustic guitar, a hell of a lot of wind, an SUV for heading into town, and a white-painted house facing due south on the south shore of the most beautiful province in the world.

Which is probably why lately every day when Ben comes through the back door and leaves his shrapnel of skull rings/watch/wallet/coat and shoes everywhere, I have this new habit of bursting into tears. Not because I don't want to go (hello, warmest city in Canada) but because it's overwhelming and scary and that much farther away from Fox Point Road, where I've pictured my life since I was a little girl.

There. I said it. But I won't worry about it because it's fast becoming one of those things I can't change. Kind of like Ben having to keep traveling.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Slow falling.

If chaos drives, let suffering hold the reins.

Hmm, here's something of a Sunday evening audit.

Firstly, I never told you about the Metallica concert. Supported by Lamb of God and Gojira, it was a pure metalfest from beginning to end. I never sat down. I put up my horns and rocked out as if I were on stage and I thanked my lucky stars I wasn't in the mosh pit down below us because damn, teenagers are rough.

I'm so much more delicate and besides, I'm not dumb. I like having a chair to sit and wait for the show to begin and then a place to put my coat while I'm busy hanging off the back of Ben's shirt. Man, people must hate sitting behind Ben because he stands up the whole show and you'd have to be three rows back to see over his shoulders.

It rocked and I'm totally plotting a trip to Wacken. Seriously. These are fun times we live in.

Secondly, Jacob's birthday party was a hit. My big plan was to get shitfaced and go sit in the pantry and Lochlan could wash dishes and then maybe Ben would sit outside the door and sing me into blackness but instead everyone presented a token and a story in honor of the birthday boy. I drank water and then coffee and I laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed and John and Dalton washed all the dishes while I sat and talked and then mercifully everyone was gone before nine, and we got the children to bed, I scrubbed my face raw and put on pajamas and Ben stoked up a light fire and we settled in to watch a movie.

Which brings me to review number three.

Gerard Butler. In P.S. I love you.

Wow. Probably shouldn't have watched it, but I did. Just like I watched Catch and Release. I have yet to see The Time Traveler's Wife but I read the book (and never reviewed it. Hmm, I should maybe do that. Another day, okay?).

We both cried through the whole damned thing. And we laughed. And we cried some more. We made some sentimental, foolish and profound promises to each other and then I began to notice the main character had a gorgeous wardrobe of coats and boots, and this was before some of the big life-changing revelations she made in the story. Shallow-deep, shallow-deep.

I was sort of glad I watched it and even more glad that Ben was the first one to tear up so many times. I'm not into girly movies all that much overall. I like documentaries and all things scary and precious little in-between.

Maybe that says things about me that I don't feel like acknowledging tonight. Maybe I would prefer to stick with talking about coats and how interestingly Lisa Kudrow's face is now that she's aging a little and frankly how the metal god of the universe will happily sit through two hours of fluff without batting an eye.

Maybe it's all good. Maybe everything will be okay. Just like in the movies.

P.S. Ben and the kids are playing Warcraft again. I would like a noggin-fogger elixir too. It sounds divine.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Hallo pooh. Happy birthday.

In the stack of books beside my pillow where I sleep in the loft of feathers and dreams that won't be kind, are photographs of people who will no longer show up on thermal imaging, hidden in the pages so I will find them unexpectedly. The only way to keep their places are through memories that seem to be always stuck behind faded, fogged up and scratched glass. Not even glass. That see-through plexiglass plastic that becomes muddled far too soon.

Every now and then the wind brings me one as clear as day, up and over the barrier and it hits me in the face, making my eyes sting, blowing my hair straight back from my forehead like water. That happened last week when I took Bonham up to the tracks to walk hard, and I could see Jacob throwing the frisbee for Butterfield and then trying to wrestle it away from him again. He was wearing his faded blue jeans and a blue plaid work jacket, steel-toed boots and he hadn't combed his hair yet, it looked like a nest of wheat on his head, straggled into his eyes. He grinned and waved when he saw me and I started to cry again and I only knew that that was a new memory presented to me from over the glass and I knew it was because I had to work harder to remember this place where I would run along the tracks and every single time the train came I was afraid because the noise was so loud and at the same time I had comfort in knowing I could just cross too closely and end my own misery. Because of that I'm not generally allowed up here alone anymore.

And so I took a picture of them playing, just so I could keep it. Only I got home and looked at it and Jacob and Butterfield are missing and I knew they would be, it's okay. A blurry little picture as a reminder of absolutely nothing of consequence to anyone but me.

See? Blackberries suck at photos, for the record. Shaky princesses suck even more at taking pictures.

It gets a little easier as time goes on but at the same time it's really fucking selfish that he gave up and left us behind to figure out the hard parts. At least there is someone there now to take care of my dog.

I'm having a party tonight. A quiet, solemn and important one. I'm gathering everyone to mark what would have been Jacob's thirty-ninth birthday with a dinner and a few words and then I'm going to pack his memories away so that my mind is clear to focus on the move. To focus on the living. To focus on the good. We're going to eat whatever, most likely roast beef and gravy and roasted vegetables and cake because Jacob never really had a favorite dinner, he just liked large quantities of whatever I would cook because he was a bottomless pit, energy expended from a guy that only sat down to read and counsel or sometimes play guitar. Jacob was not a metal guy. He liked acoustic songs, deep songs, save for the famous Across the Universe warbling that made me laugh so hard I thought I would explode. I hurt for days after that incident and he was banned from playing it ever again. It's too bad, really. I would love to hear it now.

Jacob would have found my blackberry confusing. He had an old Motorola flip phone, the silver paint worn off the plastic long before the phone was toast, and it was always warm because he hardly ever stopped talking on it. Talking to Sam, talking to August, talking to Ben about me. Making sure I was okay when I had taped up ribs and a sling and a bruised ear. Ben would lie and say I was doing fine, because Jacob couldn't handle the alternative answer and so he would rush through his hospice and the chaplaincy shift and come home and find lilacs on every table and me with a little color in my face from a short walk and Ben making an oddly-efficient nursemaid, having scheduled pizza delivery and figured out who belongs to what laundry now sort-of folded and sitting on our beds to be put away.

Ben. Who is long past thirty-nine and approaching forty-two very soon and thinks this dinner is a very good way indeed to bookend the memories of Jacob so that I can bring them with me. Ben, who always drops his entire life and steps in when things go wrong because he doesn't care about himself and maybe if he did a little more he would be in better condition, instead of so rough and torn around the edges and in need to so much reinforcement these days. And Ben isn't so much an acoustic guy, he likes metal. Hardcore heavy metal that draws out all the pain and leaves you refreshed and exhilarated. Only he isn't allowed to play Across the Universe anymore either because frankly he mangled it and that was a travesty because the Beatles deserved to be done well and he demanded to know what Jai Guru Deva Om meant and I couldn't tell him, because I have no idea.

I bet Jacob knows what it means. That and a host of other mysteries have probably been solved. I hear that's one of the rewards you're given when you're sent to heaven. He told me so himself.

Out by the tracks.

Before I took his picture and printed it to tuck into a book, to find some other day.
Nothing's gonna change my world.
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Crunchy-frosty (lounge fly mix).

That was my description, relayed to Ben with breathless amusement, of the leaves this morning as PJ and I ran down the sidewalk in the blazing morning sun. The cold overnight weather curled and hardened all of the elm leaves quite deliciously, I think. Ben laughed and went back to his appropriated song, Master of Puppies. The dog was entranced.

It was a pretty good version, you know.

It's been so beautiful the past few mornings. Kind of a final fall ironic kick in the pants, actually and it's not lost on me that usually by now we're in full winter gear. Here I figured I would be so late getting my snow tires on, I'd be the menace of the neighborhood. I guess I got my Indian Summer after all.

There are some other amazing things going on in this universe of mine, complete with the black filigreed edges and amperaged-up emotions. There just isn't time to share them with you right this minute. Perhaps later on.

Enjoy the sun.
I can't live this way
please refill my soul

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

One fast move or I'm gone.

Jacob would have adored this.

Pretty cool, I think.

This is cool too. Like REALLY cool.

Princess out. Places to go, lunch to eat.

Volume One: Warming up.

Here I lie forever
Sorrow still remains
Will the water pull me down
And wash it all away?

Come and take me over
Welcome to the game
Will the current drag me down
And carry me away?
We're moving. Yes, all of us. Save for Nolan and Sam, for now. At least that's the plan. Nolan will never leave his farm and I want to come visit anyway. Sam is Sam. Good luck with that. He loves his congregation and his church (notice I said his church) and isn't going to budge anytime soon.

PJ was a waffler to the bitter end. Time to leave the nest, Padraig. We all said it. It didn't take him long to come around.

The new umbrella company will be based in Vancouver. Caleb and the others want to get their show on the road, so to speak and so it's time to head west. It's time to shutter up this beautiful house and drop the keys into a stranger's cold, dry hand and blow a final kiss.

This house found me. I needed it and I got it and for a time it was my safety until I realized that I'm my safety and adventure isn't the end of the world and really remaining here has become nothing more than a huge test of endurance.

And so now we go.

We go where there is wicked snowboarding and mountains and the Pacific ocean and the Aquarium and holy, the Olympics too and this is going to be one hell of a complicated adventure this time, but thankfully the last time I cut my teeth on a cross-country move I did it with a three year old, a fifteen-month old and a husband who had already flown on ahead to work so really it can only get better from here.

Off we go. I will bring my memories packed carefully between sheets of vellum and newsprint, wrapped in blankets for extra security. I may or may not open that box when I get there, I may be too busy doing new things.

May never have a hundred year old Victorian house with stained glass and secret passageways ever again but it's okay. Maybe we'll have a crazy-modern open concept place jacked into the side of a mountain. Just think of the natural light. Just think of the warmer temperatures. No more square tires and frostbite in seventeen seconds flat. No more feeling cold and demanding pure wool socks and scarves because nothing else is good enough.

No more middle of the road. I'm picking a side. With a little shove, mind you, but it's happening. Ben and I need a fresh start without all these layers of memories and waffle-knit cotton between us.

Did I mention winters are cold here? The coldest city in the world, by some reports.

I'm not going to miss that part.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Not for you.

Raked leaves, baked banana bread and blueberry muffins and then the bottom fell out. Hanging on my my fingertips and someone I don't even know is standing on them. What the fuck. Turn it off, Bridget.

Look on the brightside. You knew it was there, the shadow of inevitability lurking in the corner like a stranger with a streak of familiarity. You know the high points and you know the low ones and nothing was ever gained by crawling under a blanket and pulling it up over your head.

Those people don't go forward and you're not supposed to envy them.

The fortunate turns aren't for the faint of heart and yet the hard parts are all you see.

There is nothing to be gained by standing here hoping they can't see you. The fear isn't going to get you moving this time. It could be worse.

IT'S BEEN WORSE.

Open your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now let go.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Still no new cupcakes.

Still no cupcake replenishment but I believe I'll do some baking tomorrow. Banana bread and some brownies to get us through the rest of the week. I had a little luck in shopping, thanks to Sears holding their 50% off children's snowsuits today, like right now. It was kind of like yelling Bingo only without the smoky hall and rows of bluehairs. Not that I mind bluehairs. I've totally had blue hair before. And pink. And green.

I realized I got the biggest sizes so next year the kids will be shopping in the adult department.

Wow.

That always stuns me.

I had some keys made, which didn't fit the lock when I came home, the dog is determined to shred the ottoman where Ben keeps his xbox games and I am finishing a cup of coffee alone while I wait for the kids to get home from school and check out their new gear and I started Christmas shopping even, which totally never happens. Ever.

So there.

Day accomplished. Bring dinner and broad shoulders and a movie and I'm done like toast.

Small individual cakes for your consideration.

Go fuck with someone else, and drag them down
I see nothing wrong, in my perfect life
Take me as I am
Take it while you can
What a day. Listening to old Demiricous and Mindfeed. Why? It's Monday and I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open and I've got a list a mile long of all the things I have to go get but it's cold and I don't want to go outside, honestly. I'd rather crawl in the dryer and go for a tumble and become so warm my watch melts and my hair peels away but ew, okay, nevermind. Metal wakes me up, anyhow.

Ben ate my last lip gloss. I was putting it on in the truck yesterday as we drove home from lunch and he made the funny kissy face that he makes when he wants a kiss and afterward he smacked his lips together and I laughed and then he ate the rest. Seriously. I think he has a chemical deficiency or something. A shortage of Revlon.

In other news the toques and newsboys have come out on the boys, as have the heavier flannel jackets and leather. Yum. The temperature dropped overnight again and the leaves are crispy and the dog was very efficient this morning. As in too efficient, too cold to stay outdoors for long. I'm looking at him thinking Oh you just wait until January if you think it's cold now and trying to embrace the fact that it's still sixty degrees warmer now than it will be then.

So aside from needing lipgloss, all of which I plan to hide and not brandish about recklessly when Ben is nearby, I need jackets for both children. Because #&@%!*%& fucking zippers don't work for very long. What a lovely quiet scam that is, for Henry has probably had fifteen coats in the eight winters he has lived and I have bought expensive, cheap and in-between. And they aren't worth having repaired. I've tried that.

And we're out of cupcakes. I wish I had more. They're like cake only totally PORTABLE! Who knew?! Well, I knew, but frankly I really enjoy the fancier cake on a plate with a silver fork, okay? Princesses do that shit.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Without a king.

It's one of those hazy-lazy Sunday afternoons, pre-winter. Pre-Christmas. Pre-the next thing. Just a moment to exhale fully and enjoy this moment because there might be a few more like it as we go on.

The woodstove is on low today, it's not particularly cold, just damp-cold, like home. Post-Halloween cold. Lights are on. The pumpkins are in the composter, the skeletons have been taken down, the candy has been inspected and Ben is probably right now finishing the very last of the orange-chocolate cupcakes we picked up at the bakery in a fit of it's-not-cake, or as we like to call it, being in the spirit of the holiday.

It's not even a holiday, really, but we embraced it anyway. At 6:30 sharp the children appeared on the sidewalks out of nowhere, and after one hundred and thirty-two releases of a handful of mini-chocolate bars into pillowcases, green bags and plastic pumpkin pails, we turned off the lights and called it a night. The kids had hot showers and one treat each and then they were tucked into bed and Ben, Christian, PJ, Lochlan, Daniel and I made some food and settled in to watch Practical Magic. Scary-lite. Then when the movie and the food were over they found Iron Man on the television and I was asleep before I could point out we've seen it half a million times at least.

I was tired. In my defense, I slept little Friday night. Friday night was Caleb's costume party and Ben and I rolled into the house around ten on Saturday morning. Which was fine, the kids were at sleepovers and instead of an open alcohol bar the party featured a specialty coffee and dessert bar and I drank coffees all night long and chattered and danced a little and entertained a whole lot of cheek kisses and warm hugs and it was the usual assortment of characters that Caleb bumps elbows with in his world which I exist on the fringe (in the center) of. At my advanced age with narcoleptic tendencies I couldn't believe it when two rolled around and even PJ had packed it in and I was still wide awake so finally the last people had bid us a good evening and we were three.

Hm. Oh, stop it.

We divided the rest of the cheesecake into three large slabs, poured some tea and retired to the projection room and spent the rest of the night watching movies and talking lightly.

No one believes me, but that's fine. Honestly if Caleb had pinned me down and made me cry, I would simply say that. But he didn't. He's only evil when he needs to be, and he didn't need to be Friday night. We had a blast. We'll do it again sometime.

Exhale, inhale. A little break from the rigmarole. A little work, a few days a week, a chance to look after the interests of my boys. A little shopping toward Christmas. Getting my car serviced before winter. Continuing, doggedly, to make the house warmer as the cold temperatures crowd in. Looking after teaching the puppy good habits and getting the children to do their chores with some regularity save for the threat of allowance withholding. Writing, writing and more writing and hopefully a little more feedback and a lot less waiting. Raking the leaves that never stop falling. Pushing away the dark just a little more.

Just for a few more minutes. Then I will turn back into the high-strung, clenched-fist over-scheduled little blonde worrywart you all know and love. Jacob's birthday is this coming Saturday and he isn't here to enjoy it. I'm trying to work on not being shattered by that. None of it comes any more naturally than sitting here doing nothing. But I am working on it.

I'd also like to be working on one of those cupcakes but Ben really did eat them all. Greedy.
Pft.