Monday, 31 August 2009

Leaning over you here, cold and catatonic
I catch a brief reflection of what you could and might have been
It's your right and your ability
To become my perfect enemy

Wake up and face me, don’t play dead cause maybe
Someday I’ll walk away and say you disappoint me
Maybe you’re better off this way
I had breakfast with an old friend this morning. Remember Claus? He had all kinds of thoughts on Bridget nineteen months post-flight, on Ben in absentia, on Lochlan, on the children and on the upcoming winter.

All kinds.

I am still processing.

Instead I'll tell you that long after breakfast, I counted sixteen lily pads in the creek, the sixteenth one curled so that Henry was convinced it was actually a frog. Four blooms on the planter by the back patio and one lone raspberry intended to defy the coming frost. The strawberry plant seems to be finished, much to the dog's chagrin, and the grass seed is coming along nicely on the spots where we played dodge ball and ruined the lawn in the space of a single afternoon.

I picked up some hockey tape for someone. I can't remember who, I'll leave it on the table by the front door and someone will thank me for it eventually.

I made plans inside my head to go to the concrete room less, and hang on words said by boys less and put up with less, making my own plans, doing a little more of what I would like to do and maybe even worrying and waiting a little less.

Like right now. I had thirty minutes to spare so I brought out a forbidden cup of coffee and my laptop and I had planned to enjoy some solitude and fresh air in the backyard but it's been quickly quashed by my neighbor who has decided to mow his lawn with an enthusiastically loud lawnmower. I already smiled and waved and he grinned and probably mowed half of my front lawn, I can tell because it's taking him twice as long as usual.

I will reciprocate in the winter when the snow falls and I shovel the sidewalk in front of five houses because winters begin in exhilaration and end in despair for me as the novelty (HA.) of the snow wanes. By February I will have passed the shovel-torch (now there's an invention waiting to happen) to PJ or Chris and not care in the least if anyone can make it down the sidewalk but in the meantime we do neighborly things because it makes the world a little more comfortable for everyone and it helps bring me out of my shell.

Yes, the kevlar one.

Thank heavens I'm a turtle and not a frog.

I've kissed frogs though. Just in case. As per my suspicions, they don't always turn into princes. And that's okay too. Sometimes princesses are just turtles in dresses.

And no, I have not been drinking. Skateboard Jesus told me I looked as if I needed a drink. He was right, as usual, but I think I'll stick with coffee. I want to process today, not bury it.

Maybe I can slip today under a lily pad when no one's looking. I can tape it there with this handy tape.

Yeah, I think that's exactly what I should do.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Staring down the last full week of summer.

(Oh, regrets, would you just go hide in the closet and I'll pull you out in the spring again with the raincoats and squirtguns? Thank you. I'm not going to itemize, I'm too busy doing other personal inventory. Not going to itemize that either. Lord, we would be here all day, wouldn't we?)

Oddly I have found some sort of resigned positivity, namely because when I just step in and do it or step in and refuse, things seem better. So there you have it. It's a gorgeous day at the farm, starting out cold but now sunny and crisp and clear. Not a cloud in the sky. I woke up in the warmest arms on the planet, since surrogate husbands seem to be in ample supply these days while real ones are not. Out here I sleep in t-shirts and long johns so it was more like having a living blanket than anything else. Down the hall the delicious smell of woodsmoke and fresh coffee filled up my nose and my ears were gifted the quiet crackle of a fire in the fireplace.

I think I could move here, save for the fact that Nolan doesn't have music on much unless his sons are around or I spin the dial on the radio on the table from talk to rock. That and the fact that it's a difficult drive in the winter make me hesitate. Plus it's isolated. I'm so thoroughly spoiled, having all the boys close by but far enough to send home when they argue with each other. Besides, when I do move, and it will be sooner rather than later, I'm going to head further than this climate reaches, because after surviving seven winters here and staring down an eighth, I think I've had just about enough.

And I will miss the farm. We'll be back here soon, I hope. Long weekends are made for this place, I think.

I've got a semi-busy, semi-quiet week ahead, however. Finish painting the kitchen (yes, again). Celebrate Ruth's birthday (she will be ten years old. Two years until Junior high, mom! OH MY GOD STOP GROWING, CHILD.). Take the kids to the pool and the library and grocery shopping, again. Coddle PJ, because after an argument he turns in the sweetest man alive and I always enjoy him seventeen times as much as usual, when he's a metronomic pain in the ass. Ignore calls/texts/boxes from Caleb. Make the list of hockey gear required because the boys will miss things otherwise and hockey starts soon even though we seem to be down a goalie.

(Positive, remember, Bridge?)

Look for a new breadmaker because I'm sick of running out, sick of paying six bucks a loaf and sick of bread that tastes like cardboard, I'll go back to making my own.

Oh, and I need to make a CD of Metallica's setlist so I will be ready for the show this fall. I always do before a big concert, helps build momentum! Even though momentum comes from my platform skull shoes. I've already decided I'll be wearing those when I catch James' eye. Shameless, I know. Leave me be, that's one of those twenty-year crushes, transferred from Cliff Burton when he died.

Maybe it's me.

Speaking of crushes, and on a vacuous note besides, we tuned into a repeat of Saturday Night Live last night, the one with John McCain, who was campaigning for something or other, I don't know, I don't pay attention to politics, but the musical guest was some guy with a fledgling beard named David Cook. While he was a little light musically I thought he was adorable. I looked up his music this morning and as usual I am the last to find about new artists. He's everywhere, this guy.

So I think I'll just crawl back into my blue-velvet and muscle-lined world and stay there. And when I paint my kitchen I'll listen to Lamb of God. They open for Metallica, you know.

Oh, that's right. You already knew.

That's okay. I know other things. Things you'll find out a long ways from now, so we're even, I think. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. We are heading home.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

And for the record? Right now Caleb is actually the least of my worries so I don't care if I'm crossing him or not. Thanks for the concern though. We are here safe and sound.
Just like it's cold before it's warm
You'll get back here again
And I'll wait I'll wait I'll wait I'll wait
I'll wait I'll wait I'll wait I'll wait
I'll wait I'll wait till you fall from grace
It's the calm before the storm
It's there then it's gone
It's so early my brain isn't awake yet. Lochlan, PJ and I are taking the kids up to Nolan's farm for the weekend. It will be a good chance for them to play in the creek, ride the horses and enjoy a few cookouts, complete with marshmallows. We might even sleep outside under the stars if the nighttime temperatures hold.

We'll play games and make gnome houses out of sticks and talk and get tons of fresh non-city air. We'll muck stalls and cook for Nolan and sleep.

I'm not going to see Caleb tonight, in other words. I'm just not going to let him do this anymore. I haven't figured out how, exactly, but I'm working on it. We're working on it.

Friday, 28 August 2009


I wish I could fly.

Henry says this regularly and it's about as chilling as you would imagine. A child's unintentional dream interrupted by the weight of reality. That weight crushes my heart on a daily basis. Henry puts on his costume cape and will run around the house making airplane sounds for the rest of the afternoon.

Caleb thinks life would be easier for me if I would just consent to send them off to boarding school. Even a Waldorf school, he professes, as if I'm considering his suggestion. I'm not, for the record, and I won't. In the event that I can't make their decisions for them, PJ is in charge, and PJ isn't any more likely to ship them off than anyone else. I think Caleb would like a clear line of sight, frankly. He's growing tired of lurking in the shrubbery again.

Case in point, and for the future, a point that might change PJ's powers under the law, sadly enough:

Between arguing over whether or not Caleb even has a say over where the kids go to school, he let it slip that he was responsible for PJ's latest hook-up.

Remember that scene in The Devil's Advocate where Al Pacino is telling Keanu Reeves he can have anything his heart desires?

I imagine it went exactly like that. And PJ's had a rough go with online dating services and friends of friends and I bet he just said what the hell and jumped for the brass ring that the devil was holding. See, that's what Caleb does. He gives you whatever you want and then some.

Then he takes ownership of your soul.

By using PJ's vulnerabilities now he proves that he still has power I can only dream of, and he gets a new inroad into my life altogether. This is not cool.

It's cool with PJ at present. Who has been telling everyone within earshot that he's going to marry this girl. Yes, the one he met four days ago but only told me about on Wednesday night because he didn't know what to say, so he left out all the parts about meeting her through Satan. I'm sure he wouldn't have told me at all but he didn't have a choice. I had to drag it out of him one word at a time. I asked if I could meet her, and he refused.

His reason?

You've ruined too many potential relationships, princess. Let's just wait a little bit.

What the fuck, PJ.

He's the one who has ruined them by comparing everyone to me. I had nothing to do with it. Hell, I'm certainly no prize, so I highly doubt they weren't good enough for him. He wanted a clone. For a very long time.

But now his soul doesn't belong to him anymore and all the rules have changed.

I asked Caleb to call off the hooker or whatever she is. He told me I was brilliant but no. I told him if he messed with PJ's heart he should just go dig his own grave because I'm not going to let him ruin anything anymore. He asked if I would prefer that he shift his focus back to Ben. Then he said he thought Ben was happy to be out of focus while he medicates his pain away again. Then he smoothly changed the subject and reminded me he has recommendations on several schools that would be perfect for the kids. See what he does?

You've got them both, don't you?

The children? You don't know where they are?

No, PJ and Ben. You're pulling strings again, aren't you?

Bridget, I don't know how you see me, but I'm not as evil as you seem to want to label me.

Then stop.


Just like that?

Of course not. Remember our arrangement? For my silence and Henry's emotional wellbeing?

Yes. I don't need your silence anymore, remember?

We'll just shift the terms slightly. Protect your friends. Your children..our children...were never in harm's way. They're children, after all.

I don't understand.

Sure you do. So don't make any plans for the weekend. And I'll be sure that PJ is let down easy. Wear the black dress. Don't cry until I've made you cry. I'll have the car pick you up.

I'll tell everyone.

Go ahead. They can't save you or they would have by now.

What about Ben?

Ben will reach a point where he is too far gone to care anymore. You should know him well enough by now. Remember, he's thrilled to share you. It eases his guilt in being away so much.

I think you underestimate Benjamin. And me, for that matter.

Is that so?

Stay away from them.

Done. Your wish is my command, princess.


Bring some words with you. Good conversation is the perfect foreplay.

I still hate you.

No, you don't. See you tomorrow, princess.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


: a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel [syn:
wanderlust, itchy feet]
That's what's going on. I'm trying to run away before winter comes back. The whole thing feels unsatisfying. I feel caged in and useless and boring. Frustrated.

Quantify it, Bridge.

But that's just it. I can't. Travel the world and define yourself. I don't even know where to begin. Start over. I'm too tired. Jolt yourself out of the rut. How do you do that? I'm still the human dishwasher, still making breakfast. Still brushing the dog. Be grateful. Oh, but I am.

I have never taken a single thing in my life for granted. So don't you dare tell me I'm not fortunate for the life I have.

See what I mean? I have no answers. I slip so easy. Work is tough. The market got tight all of the sudden and no one wants the words and so I stop asking. Which is precisely what I shouldn't do. I stop looking after myself and begin to tread the misery waters. Waiting. Watching. Wondering.

What is the meaning of life?

You've got to be fucking kidding.

This is not my life. My life is flat on my back on the beach. Hot sand and a rough towel. Drops of saltwater drying on my pink-brown skin. Hair curled into ringlets from the swim. Squinty eyes with the sunglasses as a hairband. My super-white teeth exposed in the widest smile you've ever seen. The best book I have ever read, a bottle of Pop Shoppe pop in Lime Rickey and a bag of salt & vinegar chips. No distractions, no interruptions. Just the roar of the relentless ocean breeze in my ears and the sun baking me silly. Life will somehow punctuate those times because it always does, but that will be my grounding point.

I don't have a grounding point at present. Somewhere over the past few years, I went a little crazy, you see and now I'm trying to figure out the easiest way back but I was never very good with directions. I don't hear so well either so when you told me I probably never even realized it.

That's okay. The point is waiting for me. There will always be a beach towel I can grab and a good book to read and someday I'll get there and be calm because there won't be a before the beach history or an after the beach future. It will just become an endless moment. Time will stop, you see. When I tell it to.

I have a feeling it's going to be when I die.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

It's quiet tonight. I am sunburned and overtired and just a little bit hungry and trying not to gloss over the wrong things, trying to keep the focus on the right things, trying to get that feeling back of summer in my favorite jeans, shirt tails tied up just right, hair uncut for several years running blowing all over my face. Hot-sticky summer pouring in through the windows of the truck, radio on playing good music that I can't catch because the roar of the highway is too loud.

All I see are cornfields and I turn to Lochlan with his sunbleached curls and sunburned face.

Are we there yet?

He laughs and says nothing.

I asked him again tonight, and again he laughed and said nothing. It didn't have the same effect that it used to. I'm not sure if that's because of me, because of him, or because of time.

Probably a combination of all three.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Ben and the fit of the doubt.

I found him easily. Always in the same place late on Saturday evenings. Going over his notes for the service the next day. Tired eyes full of mischief. Hair curling and sticking out straight, in his eyes, over his ears. Rumpled white shirt rolled to the elbows. Board shorts. Bare feet, always. Jacob had the biggest feet. It was like tripping over loaves of bread left on the floor by mistake.

He was sitting in the big overstuffed parlour chair in the den, a single lamp lit beside him. Papers stacked high on the table, the floor, his lap. He had a book open and he was writing on a piece of paper balanced on the page, lifting it every few words to read something underneath.

Hey, princess. I need five more minutes and I think I'm good to go.

He smiled absently and went back to writing and I nodded, a habit I hate, especially when you know the person won't see it because they aren't looking, and I went to gaze out the wall of windows into the backyard, still resplendent with tiny white lights and wind chimes making the garden look like a fantasy world for fairies and small princesses alike.

Movement behind me. I turned to watch as Jacob packed up his papers and put everything in messy piles on the desk. He shook the hair out of his eyes and smiled and crossed the room to wrap his arms around me. He planted a huge kiss on my forehead.

How are you doing, princess?

Good. I miss Ben though.

He frowned.

Ben has issues you shouldn't have to see.

I'm not a child, Jake.

No but if he cared about you he would spare you the ugliest truths, Bridget.

What purpose would that serve? Honestly? I'd rather see flaws and all. It's liberating and touching. He doesn't care if he's vulnerable in front of me.

It's an albatross, a burden you shouldn't have to bear.

He's my friend, I can help him.

He's your friend, he shouldn't subject you to his demons.

That's a selfish thing for you to say. We're supposed to help the ones we love.

We'll help him. I want him to stay away from you, that's all.

I'm closer to him than anyone.

And he took advantage of that.

It's a cry for help, Jake.

It's a crime, Bridget.

So throw the book at him and then you can feel righteous in the face of misery. Isn't that what you want? To be better than everyone?

All people should strive to be better.

He was sure that was the end of the conversation, but I wasn't going to let it go and he never forgot it. It changed everything.

Closer, then.

What, Bridget?

You want to make sure that you're closer, Jake.

He sat there with the question on the tip of his tongue, one he couldn't ask because he was afraid the answer might turn out to be one he didn't want to hear. I didn't say anymore and I should have. I really should have said something.

I went down this evening and stood in front of my dead Jacob with my offering of the dead dragonfly and he looked pained, worn and drawn. He tried to shield the weariness from his eyes for me. I would only be there for a moment.

Oh, Bridget. I can't bring things back to life.

Sure you can. God has given you the gift of presence in my life, it must be a package deal. Resurrect this and then you and Cole can bring each other back to life for me. Then you can promise me no one ever dies ever again.

Time on earth is measured, princess. You can't change that.

Bullshit. You chose your departure when you flew.

Flew? Is that how you describe it? Beautiful.

Don't change the subject.

Fine. A question for you. If you had known we would only have eighteen months together would you still have spent them with me?

That isn't fair, Jake, and you know it.

Why don't you feel safe that he's here to stay, Bridget?

No one has ever given me a reason to.

Ben has.

How do you figure?

He wears his heart on the outside for you. He gives you everything. His frustration, his jealousy. His rage. His happiness. His misery. His bliss. There's no mistaking how he feels.

Why couldn't you do that?

I wanted to feel righteous, just like you guessed after I banned him from the house. I was petty and jealous and I wanted to be everything. Instead I was nothing.

You weren't. You were everything.

No. But I knew he could be. That's why I picked him.

Pick is a strong word. You asked me to consider him and it was a surprise after so much adversity between the two of you.

I was selfish in life. I didn't want to be selfish in death.

So bring back the bug. Make him fly. Make him hover. Prove to me that you're real.

He smiled, so gently. Just like that night from his chair while he was distracted, hurried.

It doesn't matter if I'm real. What matters is that you keep me in a place where you can work through the feelings you hold. That's very important. I never had that capacity, Bridget. It's one of the very things that keeps you so resilient.

I'm not resilient.

Take a deep breath.

I did and I waited for him to say more and he didn't.

Now what?

Go love, princess.

You didn't help me.

You helped yourself.


You figured out that Ben isn't in this for any reason other than because he loves you. Instead of trying to be perfect or pious or logical or better, he simply presents himself to you, full of flaws and mistakes and offers to be with you. That's something the rest of us couldn't manage. We couldn't let you see the weaknesses because we were afraid. Ben comes to you with the fear up front like a name tag. He doesn't try to prevent you from spending time with anyone or lay down rules, he just keeps going with the same dogged faith that since he gave you absolutely everything he has, that it will be enough, even as you turn to the others for comfort in his absence. And upon his return you'll be handed back. He trusts everyone he loves.

And you didn't have the same kind of faith.

I'm not half the man he is.

No one is, Jake.

You're right, princess.

And I'm safe.

Yeah, you are. At last.

Oh good, because I really need to let go of this dragonfly now.

He laughed and then he was gone, and I was standing alone in that room with the bare lightbulb swinging gently. I took another deep breath and I vanished too.

Monday, 24 August 2009


Isn't that what the antagonist creates?

Lochlan laughed and then he said he would come back and I should tell the internet at large, to cause much horrification and antagony. We all make up words. It's a hobby. We need each other. Not a hobby. You wouldn't understand, so don't even try.

It was Ben's idea. I thought the pizza delivered without a word spoken would rescue the night. He figures Lochlan can do it better and with less cholesterol. Generous to a fault. If only he would extend that much courtesy to himself.

The Net.

Back in 1995 or '96 I saw a movie about a woman who was completely introverted. Her entire life was online. The best and only memorable part of the movie to me (sorry Ms. Bullock) was that she could order pizza. Online. Without having to call.

I thought that was the cat's ass. The only thing greater would be a food replicator. Seriously. And a mere fourteen years later it has come to pass. I jumped online and ordered a pizza. It will be here in forty-five minutes.

This changes everything.

Point me toward a cake delivery joint and I will never leave the house again.

(Things are looking up this afternoon, by the way. Lochlan went home. The rain stopped. Ben called. All very good things.)
Yesterday morning Ben found a huge dragonfly in the garage. Dead and yet perfectly preserved. I screamed to the holy hills and then decided that since it was dead I should save my breath. I'm going to take it down to the angels later and maybe they can resurrect it. Maybe they could resurrect each other while they're at it and save me from myself. I'm sure there's all sorts of talents involved in becoming intermediaries between mortals and God. They probably don't tell me so that I don't ask for things I shouldn't have.

I'll let you know what they say later on.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Back into a pumpkin.

(Don't be alarmed, it's kind of a love-hate thing.)

Sunday evenings have become a rather comical dance. We should be so used to it by now but it's not getting easier. The call came. Mere hours remaining and Ben would be whisked away once more. Back to the states, back to his genius-grind. Back to working on the record so that they can go out on the road, learn to love it, learn to hate it and come home and do it all over again. Groundhog day in career-form, punctuated only by glorious moments on stage when everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs, around five seconds before the lights come on.


It's worth it, he says and he smiles that stupid shit-eating grin of his. The one that makes me smile in spite of whatever dastardly thing he has just done.

I'm not sure which part he meant was worth it, however, because it didn't seem like the part where he encouraged me to take a nap in his arms on the couch in the middle of the day, or the part where we got to the airport and my eyes drowned themselves in spite of my promises to teach them to swim and he turned me into Daniel's arms because he can't deal with it.

He was so calm in the midst of almost fifty thousand people. So calm surrounded by glasses of beer and smoke so thick you could eat it. So calm when we jumped up and down and sang along. So calm when I got nervous at the end, as we made our way back to the row of cars and the crowds were thick and hostile and security grew more lax the further we ventured from the stadium. So calm when we got home and realized we were baked, fried and broiled six ways from sundown.

This is his life, maybe. And maybe in a husband I have bit off more than I can chew, because this is not my life and this many people make me nervous and the levels take away the vocals and then hours of waiting and the staring as they wonder who we are and then a few moments of shallow familiarity and pressing hands and 'insert city here' seem too smooth and far too easy and possibly he is lowering himself to be here only because it's a sure thing when there are no sure things in life. Numbers and playing the game and lobbing percentages across a boardroom table and having someone else pick your clothes when you go on the big television show and the guilt of the wife with her drowned green eyes at home can't really be any fun, can it?

The knowledge that music is as much his escape as it is mine is confirmed hourly in this house, only he makes the escape he wants for himself and I'm mostly forced to find it by proxy. Watching his eyes last night as he watched the people, as he absorbed the energy from this side of a stage was fascinating to me, it's a side of Ben I am gifted a sidelong glance at only a few times a year. It's a side he hides. He isn't like the rest of us. Ben is Ben and you would have to know him to grasp the depth of that stupid, flippant phrase.

I don't think he's all that comfortable on this side, and yet we do what we can with the time we have to make it seem like he is, that he can be, that he will be, someday, maybe. Probably twenty-five years from now, if he manages to sustain the kind of energy that Brian Johnson still possesses. If he ever gets to that degree of famous. Sometimes it worries me. I've seen the inside of his head, he could pull it off, if he wanted to, but it's also the inside of his head that holds him back.

It's a sure thing from my vantage point, because I'm always on this side, and I see things about Ben that can't be deduced from the numbers the label throws around or from the wardrobe stylist who combs his hair.

I'm thinking I should become a rock star too. Then someone would comb my hair.

And I would be the one who gets to always leave.

Only I could never choose that kind of fame. The price is simply too high. Ironic, because it doesn't even come close to the premium on grace and humbleness. Not by a long shot.

He has both, thankfully. Paid for in full.
I've watched you change into a fly
I looked away
You were on fire
I watched a change in you
It's like you never had wings
Now you feel so alive

Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll.

I don't think there's going to be a post today. Bridget's still high, complete with ringing ears. Almost got run over by a limousine carrying the band. All in all, a great night.

PS. The drugs were not mine. The people in front of us seemed to have an endless supply, God bless them.

PSS. AC/DC? Awesome. Best show ever. Seriously.

But I can't think or hear so tomorrow. A post or something.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


I never smoked no cigarettes
I never drank much booze
But I'm only a man, don't you understand
And a man can sometimes lose
You gave me something I never had
Pulled me down with you
Pulled me up, think I'm in love
Hope you can pull me through
I didn't think Ben was going to make it home for the show but he's here and he's managed to empty his head significantly enough to remain in the present instead of being absent while standing right in front of me. He goes from people anticipating his every move and fetching whatever he needs/wants to having to get up at six in the morning, walk the puppy and then make breakfast to deliver to his lovely wife as she slumbers early on a Saturday morning.

And I love it.

I actually seem physically incapable of sleeping in and am the early morning dog walker. If I walk the dog first then the dog is happy and I can go back out running. It was nice not to get up. I lay there and listened and drifted and enjoyed.

So I'm not running. And Ben went downstairs and then came back up with his own coffee and breakfast, because he couldn't find the trays to bring it all up at once. He even dipped my strawberries in sugar because he said they were very sour compared to the bananas.

I think he likes this.

I like this. I like him being home and around and I like walking through rooms and finding him somewhere I didn't expect. I like that I can send him a text message and he'll answer in person or appear in the doorway instead of via the telltale vibration of the phone to respond.

I wish I could keep him here. I would build him a room (oh, wait, I did) and he would have everything he needs and we'd never have to say goodbye and I would never have that horrible empty feeling of missing him. I would put paper up against the glass to block out the world, a chair under the doorknob, maybe. We could change our names. No one would ever bother us again.

He does love his office. He's up there right now answering emails and reading things and whatever else rock stars do when confronted with strange phenomena like 'desks' and 'file cabinets'.

I'm kidding. He's had desk jobs before. He actually has a whole other life outside of amplifiers and microphones and tour dates. It just isn't nearly as much fun.

Well, the part about bringing your wife breakfast in bed is fun. When she pays you back like I did, it is. Only I got out of bed and followed him to his office to exact my appreciation, chair under the doorknob, just like I said. The desk has a purpose now in Ben's mind, let me tell you.

Actually, I don't think I will tell you. I think you can figure it out for yourselves.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Up in arms.

Summer might have passed us by. I have no use for the corn on the cob, honey, strawberries and things to barbecue because it's been raining and about seven to fifteen degrees endlessly. Give me a break, summer. How in the hell am I supposed to shore up for a long cold prairie winter if you give me nothing to recharge on?

On a good front, the weather for tomorrow night's outdoor AC/DC show looks to be sunny and 22 degrees. We have parking figured out and we have our tickets printed so it should be smooth. I'm not a fan of crowds and this will be something in the neighborhood of 42000 people. Should be interesting. Wish me luck, I will have a deathgrip on both children and my eyes on the stage.

I also heard a massive rumor that KISS will show up and play, but again it remains to be seen.

What else? We ran today. My toes are worlds better. A neighbor eyed the needle marks on my arm yesterday and I didn't tell her it was from blood tests to check my thyroid, etc. because I'm wicked like that. I bruise hideously. When I get the results I will be interested to see what's failing first. This whole middle-age full physical/workup/baseline health crap is for the birds, you know.

I ate the last bran muffin. Which is okay, we're getting groceries today and stopping at the library. Daniel has eaten everything. He and Henry are both growing, I think, as Henry went for his favorite jeans this morning and couldn't get them fastened anymore. We already call him Moose. Biggest eight year old I've ever seen. The good news is he's growing into several pairs of pants and if we run short I'll go get more.

PJ has a cold. I'm sure that's of interest. He's a noisy sufferer, too. I'm glad I don't live with him, sometimes. He sounds horrific on the phone. Imagine the snoring.

Oh and I suppose I should point out TUCKER'S HOME!!!!


See ya.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


I have two brothers-in-law. There is the evil one, who is technically not even my brother-in-law anymore.

And then there is Daniel.

Daniel is Ben's little brother. We say little because he's only around six feet tall. I don't know the exact number, he never stops moving long enough for me to check. He is thirty-eight, has brown eyes and caramel-colored hair that he wears long. Not hippie-long but hipster-long, so that he pretty much fits into any crowd. He's as angular as his big brother is but more muscled and less wiry, still rail-thin, still with the smile that appears to make his whole face widen and light up.

He is fun, personified. He's always up for anything. He'll do anything, listen to any band, watch any movie (including Mamma Mia! with Ruth yesterday in which he sang all the songs out loud and she was thrilled that he knew them) and eat everything. He'll spend hours wandering around the house. He can fall asleep on a roller coaster and he'll buy a t-shirt and wear it every third day for the next ten years. Never ever ever take him into the bulk food section at a grocery store because he'll try one of everything and then try and count up what he ate to pay for, leading to long lines at the checkout and an inevitable warning to buy first, sample later.

He's only ever eaten one lip gloss, and that was because he wanted to know what the fuss was about. He said it tasted like sticky, manufactured fruit gel. Which is exactly what lip gloss is.

He plays guitar but only two songs. He much prefers to admire Ben's playing.

He does odd jobs and mostly hangs out in the marketing department at advertising agencies who hire him for his quirky ideas that quickly become overshadowed by his lack of attention to detail. Which is interesting, I think, because his BlackBerry is well-organized and he's never failed to be punctual or memorable when it comes to us, just when it pertains to actual employment.

Daniel is delicate and we spoil him. You think they spoil me? You should see everyone look after Danny.

Especially Schuyler.

It's very sweet to watch them together. So sweet it makes you ache for simple things like love and sunsets and crackling fires. Schuyler will take off his fleece jacket and put it on Daniel. He'll always ask him if he's hungry. Daniel, in return, reaches for Schuyler's hand to hold pretty much any time they are in close proximity. They've had their issues and they can fight almost as well as Bridget and...anybody, but at the same time it's a deep, lasting love that I feel fortunate to bear witness to. Schuyler taught Daniel to cook. Patiently, thoroughly because both Ben and Daniel were convinced through most of their twenties and early thirties that "food" meant getting a case of beer and calling for a pizza to be delivered. Or having Bridget feed them.

Bridget does feed them. Fancy that.

Daniel is also the biggest male affection whore I have ever met.

Unapologetically so. Importantly so.

Thank God. And it's all for me. Schuyler, move over. Okay, thanks. That's better.

Daniel is awesome. The minute he walks into the house he hugs the children and then he is all mine to mack on for as long as I like. His arms are perpetually stuffed with Bridget. There is no tension. He doesn't like girls so there's no jealousy either. There is only arms that are sort of like Ben's but not quite and the classic kangaroo care that I have sought out from Daniel when all else has failed me in the world since Jake left it and Ben couldn't pull himself together to take care of it. He'll wrap us both in a blanket and just hold me, whether it's for hours or days, if need be. He just holds tight and rocks sometimes and sometimes he just sits.

And he loves his brother. So much it's hard to quantify. He idolizes Ben. He lives vicariously through Ben's adventures and he looks forward to the times when the two of them can just hang out. Get some food and just spend time when Ben is in town, because it's much more rare and precious than now it used to be when they were growing up. He listens to Ben's music and like the rest of us, has his speed dial programmed predictably: A for voicemail, B for Benjamin.

You all thought B would be for Bridget. Nope. (I'm usually filed under P for princess. Sad, I know).

Ben has a bigger place in our world than he might believe. I don't think half the time he has a sweet clue exactly how important he is to his little brother. Daniel doesn't believe in all that much. And maybe as a collective we have become jaded through the years. Death changes people and people who have no business being in charge wind up that way. And so Ben became Daniel's everything, while Daniel has always been Ben's everything. Like boys, they just don't say it until something happens.

I thought last year before Christmas when Schuyler rolled their car and walked away without a scratch while Daniel wound up with broken facial bones and the mother of all full-body bruising that Benjamin was gone for good. He lost it. Coming that close to losing the last immediate member of his family sent him into a sort of despair that left Daniel incredibly touched, because Ben could be cold sometimes. But Ben isn't cold anymore and they seem to appreciate each other more the older they get. Ben rebounded quickly and enlisted everyone to help look after Daniel until he was repaired enough to...uh...look for another job.

God love him. I gave him a hundred dollars for gas this morning and I daresay he'll show up with fast food for lunch, because, well...

That's what Ben would do. (And has done. Seriously!)

Daniel's going to stay here for the whole next week too. I will take the hit to my pantry (and my purse) in exchange for his endless hugs. He says I am his Sugar Mama.

Huh. He's Bridget in male form, isn't he?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Paris in forty words.

(I promise this post is not all porn. Or rather, I apologize that it isn't.)

It was long after midnight on Saturday night that we finally settled down into bed together. Ben smiled at me. Alone, after so much time spent watched by others, divided by space and time and partitioned off by emotions.

He held my hands up over my head and pushed against my chin with his head until I looked up at the wall behind the bed and he kissed my throat. Barely touching it. So slowly and softly my breath caught.

Beautiful, he whispered, and I laughed.

He shushed me. Thumb on my lips which still breaks my heart. He took my hands and guided them up around his neck and he wrapped his arms around my back as he remembered every last inch of my flesh as his.

It was all downhill after that.

Sunday we took the kids around to see as much of Paris as you could possibly see in a day and then we boarded the plane just as they would have been going to bed. I saw a Corot that blew my mind, and I saw it hungry. I saw all kinds of things. Hemingway would have been proud of his girl, I did everything right and still we just couldn't pull it off. Everyone who says we simply didn't have any time to do it proper and what the hell were we thinking, flying to Paris with less than forty hours to see it?

Well, they don't know Ben and they certainly don't know Bridget.

Touring galleries far from home while hungry is a delicate balance and I wavered once and was yelled at for not allowing Ben to take care of me. I had ammunition to fire back in his face with a trip that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Ben's ego and his weird control issues with Caleb and with Lochlan, who put up such a fuss before we left he had almost convinced me we should forget the whole thing.

In retrospect, Lochlan was right. He's ALWAYS RIGHT and it pisses me off.

We were asked to leave the gallery, if you must know, because they have no use for loud Americans. I'm not even American but it didn't matter, Ben was belligerent enough for both of us and twice as loud. He only has two volume levels. Unintelligible and Obnoxious.

I don't want to be in the middle of their weird boundary issues. I don't want to be the object of everyone's emotion all the time, and I definitely didn't want to be stranded on the other side of the ocean with the children staring down a long flight home on a plane that is too small for both of us when we're not arguing, let alone when we need to just get away from each other.

Anything but that. Just anything.

Ben solved that problem by pretending to drink on the plane. I watched as he opened it and poured it out. And when he was handed back to Seth in New York, Seth pointed out they were having trouble with him when we left, which Lochlan knew of and was trying to spare me from, without admitting that he knew what was going on. He thought I would figure it out in time, and I did. But I chose to fall for the charisma and the intense sweetness of our reunions, the sheer brutality of Ben's love for me that outweighs the stupid things his brain does when his broken heart is otherwise occupied.

Seth is going to stick with him and send him home again eventually. I have been told not to worry. Ben told me just to stick close to Lochlan, stay away from Caleb and work towards mending my own heart as I have been doing. I wasn't supposed to get in the middle of this but I did and the kids did and he was sorry. He's seeing the light at the end of the pressurized tunnel and didn't want me to bear witness to the stress. Though, he did better with his anger this time, possibly it was muted because he was so tired. A few minutes later he told me to stay away from Lochlan, and stick close to Daniel. He's back to the point where he is so focused on what he's doing work-wise, reality has fallen away and I'm never sure if I'm supposed to pretend he is simply a mirage or if I should demand equal footing with his career.

My anger wasn't muted, is what I mean.

I don't want Lochlan. Or Caleb, for that matter. I want you and I want you to come home. I don't need trips. I don't need songs. I just want you. Not to leave all the time. Not to be always away. Not to count days on the calendar. Not to stop everything when I hear you on the radio because it's as close as I'll get to you on any given day. Not to be given the constant outs at the expense of your character because you think it would be best if you pretend to be a total alcoholic asshole to make it easier for me to leave you. I'm not leaving you, you big fucking dork.

I stopped there because he came back into focus and had taken on the weary look of anguish that he wears throughout our miserable airport goodbyes, with glassy eyes and clenched fists. That looks scares me far more than being yelled at in the Louvre. Far more because he becomes vulnerable and I don't like that. Be capable. I plead with him in my head and he just checks out again attention-wise.

He shook his head as if he heard me, looking far out over my head at nothing. A bitter smile played on his lips.

I can't..I can't even think about having to be away from you all over again.

So come home with us.


Now, Benjamin. Please.


I know. I know what comes first. I'll always be less important than art, God and music. Like the holy triad of things Bridget will be thrown over for. I should be used to it by now.

Who said you were less important than God?

He misunderstood me and suddenly noticed I was comparing him to the angels again.

Is it easier with me or is it worse, Bridget?

You have to go, we don't have time for this.

Tell me.

It's worse because you die every time you leave.

Is that what it feels like?


Then you need to leave me.

On the 'you' part his voice broke in half and I picked up the pieces, launching right into his arms. I'm not sure who pried me off him, probably Seth. I had a plane to catch. Neither one of us wanted to let go. Like if we did that would be it. I was sure I could hold on but he extricated like a man heading to his death chamber. I shook my head. Violently. I figured it out. They didn't think he would be man enough to put me first. The trip was indeed a dare, a challenge. And it failed so he resorted to pleading with me to wait, then he second-guessed himself and tried to trick me into leaving and then he resorted to reasoning with me again. He got confused. They always do that, they get into his head and convince him that he's not good enough for me, that he's hurting me, that I'm not making any progress because I'm perpetually miserable and always waiting for him.

There's been a global knee-jerk when it comes to Bridget's happiness and he's a huge obstacle. But he's MY huge obstacle and I'll figure it out. We'll figure it out.

You can make my trips to Europe suck all you like, Tucker. I don't love you any less and you're stuck with me. So the next trip will be a good one or I'm going to start wondering about you. Now go finish your work because I want to hear the rest.

You've got eight songs now.

I know there's more.


There's always at least twelve. And you're not...present. You're here but your head isn't. Like you dropped everything and took the damned challenge and you should be telling them to go fuck themselves.

But then they turn to you and tell you they must be right, that you don't come first.

Those are just words, Tucker.

Words are all we have, princess. I don't want them telling you the ones that are lies.

Just go finish and come home to me, okay?

There was no more time. But I was smiling through tears when I got on the plane. He's right. He's totally right and I've been saying that my whole life and finally I found someone who agrees with me. Words are everything. We carry them in our heads and our hands and we use them as weapons and as comfort. Today we arranged them into a picture because we had space. At the airport you can spread them out all over the floor. We saw what they formed and we liked it and the last few words we had were blended into promises and reassurance.

A text message waiting when we got off the plane used words as hopeful instructions, a reminder that I should exist in the space between Daniel and Schuyler for the remainder of Ben's time away. I looked at Lochlan and he was asking the kids what they saw on the trip and suddenly it seemed so foolish that I could take my brokenness and pit it against these guys who could be so selfish as to try and force Ben and I apart. Lochlan bathed in an unattractive, unflattering light. Caleb firmly rooted back in place as enemy number one. All else suspect until further notice. Living among enemies only by virtue of their sins, holding them captive. They aren't monsters. But sometimes they're not very good for me either. How in the world am I supposed to keep my wits about me when I don't believe I have any left at all? My support network is made up of people who want to claim ownership of my heart and the tug of war is painful at best.

Lochlan wanted to continue the war once we came home so I engineered a pharmaceutical vacation from his voice under the guise that I was cracking. It wasn't working because I couldn't hold a hairbrush so I let it go. I forget that feeling until I have it. Always. Yesterday I asked for space and got it. Don't crowd me now, Lochlan. Not now. I'm tired and I don't want you here anymore.

This morning I called Daniel. Schuyler's headed out on a trip of his own and Daniel was happy to bring a bag and come crash for the week ahead here at the house. He loves the puppy, the children, the space and even the Bridget, mess that she is.

I'm watching him now. He's playing air guitar with the spatula while he waits for the omelets to cook. No running today because it's pouring but if it keeps up we'll go to the track. He's got pent-up energy. He looks just like his brother right now. A better substitute than most.

I'm trying to be gracious. I'm trying to give weight to their concerns. I'm also trying desperately to be happy.

Which is harder than it looks, sometimes.

The obstacle is not Ben. Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

We are home. Three-quarters of us anyway. The other quarter, or fully half if you go by size is still in New York...working. Because that's what he does. When he's not taking dares from bullies, that is. I'm not sure when things shifted to make that so, he always acted like he never cared to stoop to the level of anyone else off the ice. On the ice he's never been much of a pretty player but this time he took the bait on warm ground and we did not have a good trip. Not at all. Who the hell drops everything for forty hours overseas? That's an endurance race I couldn't afford to enter, let alone place in. Bad idea. Bad idea. Bad idea.

And contrary to popular belief they failed. And I'm still married. I've got this overwhelming urge to fling a neener neener neener out there but then I'd be stooping too.

(Says she who can barely stand. Oh, if I sober up maybe I'll have more to say but fuck it. This is fine just like it is. And so am I. Fine. Fucked up and totally FUCKING FINE, LOCHLAN.)

Monday, 17 August 2009

Just like that.

We're in New York.

Home later today. Flights are screwy. Doing my best.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Pick a painter.

Uh. Hassam.

American. Pick someone else.

What are you doing?

You'll see.

Van Gogh.


What do I win?

He's French, right?

No, he's from the Netherlands.

Damn. Keep going, princess.

You want me to name a French painter?



Where was he born?


Okay! Pack your shit and for the kids, we're doing a fly-by.

What the fuck, Benjamin?

You want to go to Paris, I'm taking you to Paris.

Are you okay?

Have I been drinking? No. Can I read? Yes. I'm taking my wife to Paris because she wants to go and if you think Creepface is going to laud that over any of us, you'd be wrong, bee.

You don't have to take me to Paris.

Maybe I want to. Besides, you travel better without warning. And I have four days so let's get a move on.


Seriously. It will be worse than one of those 14 countries in 14 days things, I'll tell you that now.

No it won't.

Why not?

I get to see you.


And Paris!

Jesus, it's about time you showed some enthusiasm.

We don't have to do this.

We don't have to do anything. Instead, let's do what we want. Let's go see a fucking Gauguin painting.

Why, Ben? If it's only to get back at Caleb-

No, bee. Life is short. And everytime you empty your head, I remember that fact.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

In disposition. In decisive.

Show me where forever dies.
Somehow preferring to letting the children do all the talking on our trip up to the lake with Caleb parlayed the day into an extended engagement and I wound up tucking them into his guest room just past eight, when they caved in and almost fell asleep over slices of pizza outside on the tiny balcony at my favorite table, watching the traffic and the lights across the river, still mired in their delicious sand and sunscreen smell.

Once they were asleep three servers appeared with our dinner, just after ten with a perfect view of the approaching thunderstorm. Wine. Salads. Tenderloin. Cake. Water, after I asked twice and then shot Caleb a look because unless he says it they don't hear it. On cue they vanished out the door and he cleared the table, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, humming songs I only learned yesterday, packing the dishes back into the box that would be collected tomorrow by yet another series of paid-for help. Oh, if life were only like that box, and we could pack up all the dirty memories and distasteful items and have them taken away.

Aside from asking for water, because I was dying of thirst and refusing to touch my wine, I didn't say much. I watched him because he spent the day watching me without seeming to and I let him ask questions I didn't answer and he called me a brat because I wasn't playing nice and I didn't care because sometimes he's not going to get everything he wants. And I don't plan to either.

I sat there in a chair that costs as much as my car, still in my stilettos while someone brought me dinner that I didn't have to cook. I don't have to lift a finger there. I could admire a French painting and be on a flight to Paris the next morning. I could wish for the beach and be given one. I could ask for escape from the hell inside my head and get it and never come back. Though I don't think he would take a mother away from her children, I'm not a hundred percent sure. I would hope he wouldn't. I'm sure he'll now tell me he won't.

Unless I fail to play the game, which rages painfully on. The only thing he gained from all this is the honor of fatherhood that all of them crave so privately. Oh, because according to Lochlan, fathering a child with Bridget is pretty much the brass ring in their lives and since there were only two rings, the game is over. But maybe it's not and they hold out for that ultimate connection. Caleb has been playing with them, teasing them with horror by hinting that perhaps he is Ruth's father as well. He isn't but why would they believe me at this point? There's no one left to back me up but I was never defended in my life until Jacob fell into it and then kept falling, right through my fingers because they fluttered so badly I couldn't hold on to him.

I pointed out we could have testing done and then what would change? I'm still forced to endure Caleb's dangerous presence and everyone else is forced to watch me founder around for purchase on life. I've got the moments down, I think. Overall I'm doing spectacularly poor. I can talk your talk. Optimism. Hope. Faith. Looking toward the future, living in the moment. Working hard. Making improvements. Making headway.

It's bullshit.

All of it.

I'm sorry.

Ben being perpetually absent leaves me falling hard into old habits and comfortable fears. I'm terrified of Caleb and attracted to him at the same time. It's an easy place for me to be within his reach, scared for my life and aware of the mind-breaking sexual tension there. His Coleisms that burn into me because I keep my hands in the fire.

It only got worse as I got older.

Just thinking about him makes me outwardly flinch. The goosebumps flare up and my brain goes into hiding and Cole's little survivor-girl kicks right in to high gear, because he taught me how to slay a man with a look or a touch and then he regretted it only in the moment where I found my voice and ripped his life away from him.

There is only so much one person can take and I'm at the uppermost limits of that. You sit there and throw money at it and it doesn't make it any damned different, okay? What has she got to worry about, anyway? They fight over her. Yeah, well, I worry that when I'm gone they'll still be fighting over my corpse and my children will get ignored. Because I'm a distraction, I can't remove myself from the picture. I won't try. I'm so fucked up. I worry that they'll kill each other without me around as living example of the hurt they can evoke in each other. When there is nothing left to fight over, these boys will still fight on principle.

Caleb wants that loyalty, he wants the lap dances and the fatherhood and he wants to make me his. Hell, they all do. I'm not dumb and all of it with different plans and different wants and different futures. It doesn't matter.

(I stepped outside the lines I drew. What good is a line you can't cross, anyway? And I stood on the wrong side of the lines and I put my hands up over my eyes without prompting and I began to count. I counted until the sounds fell away and the numbers became hypnosis and I knew for sure everyone would have a hiding place by now. Especially Ben. Ben needs a little extra time because he's so big, he can't fit in the places I can, like the pantry under the shelves or the cookie cupboard or the bench in the hall or the dumbwaiter or the little space under the attic stairs. In spite of his size, I found him first and we stopped playing the game altogether.)

They think it's a phase. They think I've lost my mind and I have. Cole took it and hid it somewhere and I looked for a while but then I stopped because it was more fun playing hide and seek with people than with the contents of my own skull.

I'm hurt by that.

It's not, he's not a phase. I know my actions maybe speak for me because I don't say enough but everyone's waiting for Ben and I to stop playing and be serious. To give up on being married because my God, she picked him out of everyone? The freak. The one who's never around. The one who lives in his own little world as much as she does? It won't last. Besides, look what happens when she's with Caleb?

Yeah, well, fuck you too, and thanks for your support (rhetorical, as always, Bridget, for you are self-soothing again).

The night I met Ben, we went skinny dipping and then Cole called me in from the water was the first night Ben ever went camping in his entire life and forgot to bring the tent part of the deal. He brought his guitar and a Gameboy and lots of food and beer and cigarettes and extra strings even, but he expected a cabin because he drifts along like that and doesn't actually ask. The girls he knows would expect a cabin so he figured there was a girl going, there must be a cabin. Cole offered him space in our tent and it became a tradition after that, he would forget his tent forever in order to spoon with me as soon as I fell asleep. His security blanket, he said.

We forged an easy friendship, to great surprise. The other guys were slow to warm to Ben. He marches to his own drummer, keeps time with the metronome in his head that never quits and serves as his heartbeat and he sticks out like a sore thumb. He looks scary. Handsomely frightening, instead of frighteningly handsome. Very good looking but hulking, scowling. His angel voice is hidden in layers of surging screams. Most stations skip playing all but his softest creations and he doesn't say much. Just like I don't so much, not anymore. We have stuck together like long-distance glue for a while now and eventually the guys saw that we did connect well. For all the nights we closed down bars and sang in taxis and collapsed on couches, meeting up the next morning to agree on greasy food, even when he would take some girl home, he would still appear at the table within 20 minutes of a phone call from me. He's looked after me when we've been out in sketchy situations and he had the really hard job of standing between two friends and being the deciding factor on a lot of issues between Cole and I. When I left Cole for Jacob, Ben took it personally and picked a side. Cole's side.

Then he lost his mom, his best friend and his father in the space of eighteen months and he checked out on me, becoming someone I didn't recognize anymore. Someone I was afraid of, suddenly. Someone just like Cole only scarier. He came to me once, when he got the call about his dad, and I held him while he cried, sitting on the floor of the apartment he had been kicked out of the day before for nonpayment of rent because he couldn't remember to leave post-dated cheques when he'd go on the road. I sat there surrounded by beer bottle caps and pizza boxes and I hung on so tight while he ranted and rolled at all the bad things I had ever done to him, in lieu of saying he would miss his father. That was the only time he's ever shown any emotion concerning his parents and then he asked me to look after Daniel because he said he couldn't.

Ben started spending more time away, and when he was here he was adversarial and spending too much time with Caleb. He started doing things that he shouldn't have been doing.

I had to let him go. I tried to help him and he took his rage out on me and I finally came to the conclusion that I was more of a problem to him than any help at all and so I cut him loose in spite of loving him, and kept his brother close because Daniel founders something awful. I know Ben was grateful after a fashion for that. He would call me maybe once a month to tell me that he loved me and I make the wrong decisions, always, and I told him I would be here but that I wasn't going to make any effort to be his friend anymore if this was how he had changed. We made a few stabs at repairing our friendship over the next two years but it was pointless. He had started drinking, started using, would be due back from tour one day and not show up for weeks, with no account of where he had been.

I waited for the call every minute telling me that he had died somewhere on the road from a drug overdose and apathy combined.

A call did eventually come but it wasn't for his death, now, was it?

Fuck. I don't know where I'm going with this.

Yes, I do.

we're so much alike, it's fucking stupid. He says I make him laugh. He gives me free reign to go fuck up and then come back to him and I do the same for him. Trusting in boomerangs. I don't trust that he'll ever come home from his trips and he doesn't trust that I won't change my mind and fall in love with someone else while he's away and yet outwardly we will tell you we trust each other because we don't have much choice. We won't allow for that choice.

He's always going to come home. He always has come back to me even when there was nothing of me here to come back to. When I hated him. When I was barred from even speaking to him. And I have no interesting in falling in love with anyone else because I've had the offers of money and trips and that easy life and someone who would always be here and I could be content in arms that would never vanish from my life.


Because even with Ben's disappearing act and his angry, beautiful face and his weird ability to live on pizza and guitar picks and wool scarves and my lip gloss, even with his history of not being able to ride on the wagon because he is too big and keeps falling into the road, even with his history of pain and misery and self-gratification and immaturity and uncontrollable emotions?

He is still MY Ben. My capital-B. My Tucker. And I am his.

For the record, I left my children at the loft with Caleb last night, kissing them good night and coming home to an empty house that featured John sitting on the front porch, since he lives at the end of the street, to make sure I did get home safely and he walked back down the sidewalk after I came inside and locked the front door.

The children were treated to a lovely car ride home this morning at eight. Same servers as last night, but with pancakes and fruit for breakfast with Uncle Cale. He let them eat in bed while watching cartoons. Which is lovely, I know he'll just box up the dirty linens and have them sent away. Just like everything else.

No accountability. None whatsoever.

Ever think that I'm the one using him for time with Cole? Atoning for the sins of the past so that I can clear a path to the future? Allowing Caleb access to the children, playing nice instead of playing hardball and putting up with him licking me with his eyes all damned day and night is a means to an end and nothing more.

Ben knows that. And I love him for it. Even when I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. He seems to know the method to my madness, even when I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Just like he instinctively knows that he won't fit in the corners of my head when we're playing hide and seek. That, and he makes me laugh.

I don't care if you get it. I'm just emptying my head.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

For a song (St. Cecelia, please move over).

Now the dark begins to rise
Save your breath, it's far from over
Leave the lost and dead behind
Now's your chance to run for cover

I don't wanna change the world
I just wanna leave it colder
Light the fuse and burn it up
Take the path that leads to nowhere
When I die, please make me Patron Saint of Music. Does it matter if I'm not Catholic? I suppose I could go charm the pope. Ben's been talking about taking me back to Venice, we could arrange for a short side venture and I could arrange all my favors like gondolas along the canals.

Don't laugh, I've done bigger things.

Here's the joy of new music. Any new music, doesn't have to be things I have mentioned recently, but it does have to be something I love. I have high standards for music (stop laughing, Lochlan). I have difficulty understanding how subjective it is, but I remember that fact, and the joy of new songs comes with the promise that the melodies and words will attach themselves to happy memories, or remain neutral.

A lofty expectation, I know.

Heading out now, the kids and I are going to the beach with Caleb (who reads my posts. Arrrrrrrgh.) and he decided to take a day off. I'm trying to be gracious. Are headphones ungracious? Do I care? I have a feeling the bikini with the ruffles will pretty distract him from whatever evil he plans to cast over us anyway. I'll just play song lyrics in my head and pretend he's not staring at me.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Three years was really long to wait.


There's just nothing better than new Breaking Benjamin music. Run, I heard it's only going to be up for a day.

Worth the wait. OM NOM.

Ah, sorry. Music makes me giddy. Especially the good stuff.

Pinching berries and dreams.

Angels on the sideline again.
Benched along with patience and reason.
Angels on the sideline again
Wondering when this tug of war will end.
My apologies, for I have been remiss in writing.

This house turned ninety-five years old exactly this month. I'm guessing it's this month because it would have taken a few months to build, they wouldn't have started until the ground thawed out twelve feet down and they would have had to be done before the cold weather came.

Therefore, August.

I say it's a hundred years old because I'm not a nit-picker on details like that.

Looking at the calendar I see that in exactly four weeks from today, Ruth and Henry will start school, grade 5-6 split for Ruth and a solid grade 3 class for Henry, and also the first time Henry will have the same teacher Ruth had for that grade. We have our supplies and gym bags and will head out hopefully on Friday to get new backpacks and shoes and a few sundry outfits. Both children seem to wait forever, wearing the same clothes for what seems like forever before they explode in sizes. Henry's into the 12-14 sizes and Ruth is in 10, mostly for height. Henry's a brute, Ruth a tiny ballerina. They've had a rather quiet summer, thanks to most of their friends being off at day camps. These two prefer to stay home and hang out, read, play outside, walk the dog and have a little computer time. We watch movies and bake when it's not too warm and explore the city and enjoy each other, mostly.

It's been kind of nice, though I have some bizarre reverse guilt that I didn't insist that they get up every day at seven to go off to camp all day. All the mothers working outside the home are wishing for this and I'm wondering if it's okay for their development if I just let them have fun. Unstructured, total fun, the kind you can only have when you're a child in elementary school, the kind you never forget.

On the other hand, I do have some actual guilt going on because in between Ben-visits, we're been doing hardcore renovating. Painting rooms that had been left the same for years because the colors weren't too bad, adding ventilation where before there was none. Putting up a new fence that I can't see over because the old one was falling apart. I opted not to go with the wrought iron in the back. Not private enough. I chose wood instead with copper accents and we did it ourselves.

The most recent spate of improvements leave me walking around the house with a smile on my face. I took the sheers down. I had washed them all and hung them up and then decided they ruined the airflow and were ugly besides. Down they came. All my work hemming them. Instead we'll enjoy the view and when winter comes I'll reconsider. I threw all the windows wide open and was thrilled to breathe in the elm-leaf filtered neighborhood vibe, those hot summer afternoon quiets when everyone disappears to cooler places and slower activities. I picked the strawberries off the hanging basket by the back door and I felt like it might be summer, finally, after a long six weeks of waiting, hoping, starting false.

Ben did go back yesterday, in time to start work today and I figured he would go back Sunday so I agreed to work for Sam most of yesterday, bringing the kids with me so they could play outdoors and run around the sanctuary squealing. I might not have agreed to do that had I know Ben wouldn't be leaving but no less than twenty minutes after we arrived at the church Ben showed up, and Christian and Duncan too, to help Sam with some painting and odd jobs.

It was kind of nice. Like a group effort. Something I haven't seen there since Jacob finished the addition and the roof. Ben and the boys even kept working right through lunch when Sam stopped to take the kids and I out for a bite, because that was my payment for helping in the office.

And yes, I cried when Ben left last night. Like a baby, to the point where I was turned into Lochlan's arms and I could blubber into his shirt and no one said a word about it being dramatic or silly or pointless, it's come to be expected and thankfully I'm allowed to keep it. The immediate reactions seem to soften the long term effects somehow. Today is better. Tomorrow and the next day will be busy and then Thursday quiet and Friday busyish as we go into another weekend where I won't know if he'll be home or not because he doesn't tell me, just in case I look forward to it and then he can't make it. He would really prefer me to stay away from the Keebler elves and I would too.

And so for now, things are good. We have cool breezes and fresh berries and this beautiful house to live in. That and unlimited long distance. Weird the things you wind up grateful for. Or maybe it's not so weird.

Ha! Normal! As if.

Monday, 10 August 2009

It's a beautiful day and I am stuck in the church office.

Do I get extra points for this?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Functional freaks.

I only wanted to try
To find my way back inside
My imitation of life
The longer I live, the more carnival stereotypes I see and the closer I feel to my own kind. Living within the boundaries of normal, but not normal by a long shot. Outside chance, they call from the red and white striped booth with the spinning wheel. Are you the betting type? A question dripping with dare and courage, an unmistakable challenge.

Would you pass that up?

Me neither. I smile as I dig with one grimy hand into my back pocket for one solitary final coin. Luck be a lady tonight, he calls and he gives the wheel a spin.

Suddenly the sounds close in, and the lights blink faster and faster, harsh against the dark. The noise and the calliope, that fucking evil calliope overwhelms me and I stumble, scraping my knees in the gravel and the dust of the road upon which the fair was constructed.

The coin rolls out of my hand across the dirt. I reach for it blindly and then suddenly a hand closes around me, pulling me back to my feet, practically wrenching my arm out of the socket. I cry out and then I am in arms that are cool and tight. I open my eyes to see Ben smiling at me, dressed in his carnival best.

He hands me back the coin, and I play on.

He spins the wheel fastest, and I always win.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Holier than thou.

First order of business today? We're going to ready the office. Ben is moving his desk into the room, stealing one of the comfortable dining room chairs because the office chair bites and generally is thrilled with the room that I made him. We're both a little hesitant because this means when he works at home he'll be on a different floor and away from the family. He's already away from the family too much but at the same time, it's imperative that he have a place to zone out quietly at home. Privacy at home. A luxury in this house. I think it will take no time at all for it to become his favorite place in the universe.

Second order of business? Go see G.I. Joe. What a fun movie. Non-stop action and adventure. A little romance. A lot of muscle and tech. A few moments of breath-holding and a great creepy medieval tie-in that ran smoothly through the entire film. A surprise or two. Worth the price of admission and honestly? Better than Transformers 2 because Transformers had more cheesecakeryfake and G.I. Joe has a quiet confidence that makes it easier to digest. You couldn't always tell when something wasn't real and that is a huge plus, in my book.

Quality plus heart, for the win.

Not so impressive was the terrific trailer for Shutter Island. I want to see it, of course, but it's wise to note that G.I. Joe is rated 14A, so the trailers will be questionable for kids. Henry covered his eyes, bless his heart. I do that when Leonardo DiCaprio is onscreen as well.

I jest. He's perfectly wonderful as an actor.


Sometimes he's holier than thou, like my title today.

I have issues with people who learn of a topic and then foist it upon everyone else like their way is THE way instead of learning to apply it to their own lives. I don't need to be preached at. I don't need to have my face rubbed in your knowledge or Life As You See It. And I don't mean just any topic, but big life events that change one forever.

Don't you think when it comes to big life events, everyone has their own way of managing? They, after all, are living their own lives, all around you.

I've encountered it everywhere. In dating. In getting married. In motherhood. In religion. In widowhood. In mental illness. In sobriety (not my own). And I never ask for advice, except rhetorically (and that's only because when I start talking I rarely shut up).

I never give advice, unless it's with a massive, obnoxious disclaimer to remember who the advice is coming from. I've quietly done the things I wanted to do as a mother with young babies (cloth diapering, sling versus strollers, homeschooling) without the need to bully others into my choices or wax loudly about how my way is better and I know more than you do so you must listen to me. I played the role of a minister's wife and still swore through a couple of church meetings like a sailor on shore leave instead of projecting my intended stereotype like a free movie in Market Square, never once expecting others to watch themselves like they would in a service.

I've become a widow twice over without accepting the paid engagements to speak or write on how to overcome adversity and pain and continue to move forward when the person you put all your love into and hung your heart on is dead and cold. Without accepting the wellmeaningsers who think I am their project and they can fix me if I'd just listen. Ditto mental illness. You've read extensively about a topic and think I fit? Great. Now keep it to yourself.

I do.

I write here, I hope, with my own personal story and you can read it and walk away knowing I wasn't trying to shove anything down your throat. I write about MY feelings and MY experience and I'm sure it's frustrating if you come looking for help and I offer none. That's not my place. Go build your own damn character. I seem wrong? Right. Because I'm not you, I'm me.

And don't ever, EVER tell me you know exactly how I feel.

In fact, just strike that sentence from your vocabulary forever, because it's possibly the worst thing you could ever say to another human being as long as you live.

There, advice. Take it. It's what's for breakfast.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Patience fails.

Today is a day for a fresh cup of rich dark black coffee and a tiny rickety corner table in a cafe downtown. I have an unlined notebook and my fountain pen and while I wait, I write. I don't carry my laptop very many places, I prefer to travel a little more lightly, though you'd never know it, I carry giant bags, a holdover from the days of sippy cups and extra books/jackets/wipes/toys. Everyone hands me their stuff to hold when we're out. Me, I'm always holding someone's hand and my phone, so there's no extra arms for more things.

The pen glides smoothly over the clean paper and I smile at the page, because it's tightly packed with my unique block-printing that runs slightly uphill, the sign of an optimist. A lie I no longer believe.

The rain hits the window with force and puddles between the bricks of the sidewalk outside. I see blurry people rushing to and fro. I become mesmerized by the sheets of water pouring down over the glass and fail to notice August has joined me at the table until it bumps when he pulls his chair in and I startle back to reality, back to the warmth and dimly lit room and he shakes his hair back from his face and pulls his sweater off the boy-way, which is to reach up behind his head with both hands and pull. I love watching that. It looks neat. If I do it, I'd have earrings and hearing aids flying everywhere so I just watch instead.

I catch Michael Buble playing across the sound system, just for a microsecond. It's a strange choice of music for a Friday morning in a coffee shop but I imagine they are tuned into one of the CBC light stations that cranks out steady music that guarantees not to offend. The thought makes me smile again because I gravitate to oversexed, chaotic alternative metal that offends everyone who doesn't love it and I've never cared that I look like I'm cold, like I don't even listen to music at all, let alone immerse myself in it constantly, banging back and forth painfully between classical and that metal and sometimes mixing them together. I love noise and heart. Both kinds of music hold both absolutes, for me, at least.

August orders a coffee and a muffin with fruit from the server and then smiles at me. He is a variation on Jesus himself. A beautiful man with long hair and a no bullshit attitude mixed thoroughly with mellow. It's now been almost four years since I first met him, standing behind Jacob while I stood outside and tried to channel up the ocean and turn it into the sky somehow. He was watchful and carried a confidence that was overshadowed mightily by Jake and his movie-handsomeness. Everything paled under Jacob's halo.

Oh crap. I hear Shawn Mullins playing. One of those songs that I focus right in on and then become sad, almost unconsciously and I ask August how his day looks, if he can make it for dinner tonight, if he thinks the rain will stop and if maybe he's talked to Ben, or Seth at the very least, to get the barometer on how the building excitement might be affecting Ben's resolve. August gives me a perplexed look before disguising it with his news. He knows.

I reach up in frustration and pull the other pen out of my hair and the knot untangles itself, curls resting against my back. I let the wall come down because I feel like I'm about to cry and I have warning again, whole minutes with which to prepare and to either hide my face or find somewhere private to go. Before the tears would just come, suddenly, like a water main break on a busy street and they would stream down my face and I wouldn't feel a thing because I don't feel anything anymore and yet I feel everything sometimes, at a higher level than most. It's the tightrope. I thought I had it mastered but then I wobbled and the crowd gasped, because..she does this stunt without a net, stupid girl. One false move and the show will close forever.

August grabs for my hand and misses as I pull up my bag, coat and notebook in one shaky move, I stand and tell him I'm sorry and then I head out into the rain and run across the sidewalk to my car, fumbling for my keys, which are in my bag, buried at the bottom under the GI Joe toys from a trip to Burger King last week and all of Ben's notes from writing he was doing when he was last home and with despair I see that the ink has run because they are sodden now and I find my keys and feel a river of water running over my toes because high heels in the rain are a guaranteed disaster and I finally get the door open and jump in and slam it against the weather and suddenly the city noise is gone and then the other door flies open and August gets in and closes his door and he just stares at me.

The music.

I know, Bridget.

I'll be happy when I can't hear it anymore.

No, you won't.

Then I'm never leaving my house.

We both know that's not reasonable.

Neither is this all the time, August.

It's getting better.

Oh, don't bullshit me.

I don't.

I look up at him and he's staring back. Convicted. Reassuring.

Better, huh?

Yes. Every month I see improvements in you.

I'm getting over them? What if I don't want to?

This isn't a bad thing-

Oh, stop right there. I've heard all that.

Then you tell me.

Tell you what?

Why getting over them would be wrong?

I don't want logic right now, August. I don't want a session with you. I wanted a cup of coffee but I don't think I'm up to it. I'm sorry.

I'll call Loch to come get you and take you home.

I DON'T WANT HIM HERE! (Fuck, I kinda went off there. I didn't mean to.)

August waited for me to self-correct and I did because he doesn't need that. Composurecomposurecomposure.

I'll drop you at work and go home. I'm fine. Really.

I know, Bridget.

I drove him the two blocks to his office and he sat looking out the window at the blurry people on the sidewalk and then he turned to me. I was studying the lights up ahead. He was studying me. Green yellow red. Green yellow red. Green yellow red. Stop, Bridget. Slow down, Bridget. Go, Bridget.

The guilt is normal, you know.

He leaned over and kissed my cheek and got out of the car, slamming the door and running through the rain until he was safely inside the front door of his building. He waved once and then went up the steps and down the hall until I couldn't see him anymore.

There's nothing normal about this, August.

I said it to thin air as I checked my mirrors, and then looked over my shoulder before pulling away from the curb.

Nothing normal at all.

I came home, opened the back door and all the lights were blazing. There's only one person who turns lights on and never turns them off as he leaves a room.

Ben is home. I didn't expect him this weekend. What a tremendous and much-needed surprise.

Funny how I have no guilt when it comes to him. He's like the antidote or something. Something wonderful.

Everything okay?

It is now.