Sunday, 28 February 2010

Not jinxing, just saying.

(Firstly, Lochlan didn't come home. He meant to. Things happen.)

It's been a busy couple of days. A busy couple of months, really, and I know I haven't given much to this place but no worries, my head is full. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I haven't stopped. It's been eight weeks. I have not stopped.

Just know that my hard work is paying off, and the luck of the boys is holding.

The feedback on the house is promising. I need some luck this time around.

The castle has had thirty-one showings so far, and we have DAYS left. DAYS. This is unreal. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

We won the hockey game, the kids and I crashing through doors and collapsing on the living room couch in time to see the final period and all of the overtime. We cried when they played the anthem, just like the rest of the country.

Go Canada, indeed. We've set records in what we do best, conquering winter.

I have been here chipping ice away from my garage door, cleaning up vomit from a puppy that is surprisingly carsick and vomit from a child who just had enough yesterday and couldn't do anymore. I've been mopping floors and dusting like mad almost around the clock and have been living out of a tiny sportscar that I really don't like driving at all, let alone in winter. I don't even know how to drive through whole large sections of this city, you know that? It's not my thing.

And now we're going to make a pizza and eat on the couch and see if we can see the boys on the television, because they are at the closing ceremonies tonight (!) and they have snowglobes to bring home for us and funny things because when you go there is an audience participation kit that you are given. I am excited for them, and they feel guilty because of me.

And it's okay. Because you know what? I'm excited for me. I am trying to think positive and I'm getting really close to getting out of here for good. This week will tell me more and in the meantime, I will keep cleaning and hoping.

And maybe even writing a bit. If I am lucky.

Which...well, things can change, right?

Pretty-boy Floyd to the rescue.

Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working, good.
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on it's time to go.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Find a penny...and realize it's the one from your pocket from yesterday, came through the wash.

Jesus Christ.

Hi.

Remember me? I'm Bridget. And I could come in here and wipe my wet boots on the doormat and weave you a wonderfully funny stupid story about how five minutes into the very first showing of my first house I realized I couldn't do this repeatedly and so I signed the two cats up for a weekend sleepover with the vet.

On the way there the puppy barfed all over the front seat of the car.

On the upside? One down, and quite a few more to go.

The dog is going to hate my guts by the end of the weekend. I will hate his too. We'll be even!

(I still love him but he is way more work than a child so next time someone tells you that, know that they lie.)

Meh, and we're off again. But my house looks DAMN good and I'm even sick. So there! This is that moment where you stare into the face of adversity and scream,

IS THAT ALL YOU'VE GOT?

Indeed. It's enough. Fuck off now, bad luck.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

It's that time again.

Dance, internet! (here, PJ, one for you!)

And little ones, sleepytime now.

Goodnight.

A beard and a macbook pro.

Ben has gone again, and my brief vacation from the anxiety of being without him has returned with a jolt of electricity so prolific I heard the snap when the doors closed behind him at Departures.

Fuck all of this.

Someone buy this house so we can leave.

I know I'm jumping the gun. Everything is ticking along nicely and such and it's far too early to worry but if you know Bridget you know she'll pick and choose her worries until they are gone and then move on to the next ones. So right now the worries are "sell house" and "ohmyfuck, you've gotten sick", since Ben brought a west-coast cold with him and left it for me to enjoy. I couldn't speak this morning and still I managed to dissolve into the helpless cries that probably make him feel like the biggest jerk in the universe for leaving and yet we are both fully aware that there isn't any better way we could have done this and now we just have to be patient. With any luck at all the longest stretch is past and now comes the rush. Soon, anyway. Eventually.

I have no date for the next trip home. I don't like that one bit. Again, there is no point in booking him home again until we see how the next week or two plays out.

The silver lining in this is perhaps I don't have to work so hard anymore. I can keep chipping away at cleaning, and buy healthy groceries and easy meals for the kids and I and continue to chase after the Himalayan cat with the scissors because she will be less work with less fur and walk the dog more because it will be warmer and hope and pray and fret and miss and cry and fear everything and okay...yeah, it will be like the last three times he was away.

On a hilarious and not even uniquely surprising note, he inspected my little sports car and found that my sort-of functioning block heater WASN'T WORKING AT ALL. There's character building for you. I spent the winter here in Extremecoldville plugging my car in dutifully and it wasn't doing a damned thing. Oh my FUCK!

It works now.

What a difference, too.

That will become part of the big story years from now when this is funny instead of a huge fucking tragedy of biblical proportions. I'm sorry, I call them as I see them and this blows from coast to coast. And I was a total shrew. I told Ben I would be spoiled when I get to the coast. That I'm never shoveling or painting again. That I'm going to sleep in on the weekends and have my nails painted by someone else and I won't lift things or put myself out for any reason at all.

He laughed and said yeah right, princess.

Because I was never the kind of girl to be able to understand how people can pay forty dollars to have someone else file their nails or how they could simply refuse to do things they can damn well do themselves and if they just would put out a little effort they could accomplish so much and now I see it's so much easier and lazier just to say no and for some reason they aren't judged for that.

I just do it. I get it done and then I am sort of amazed that I pulled it off and looking for a break that when it comes, I probably won't take it, although I am finding a lovely gift in reaching out with one finger and stopping the world every single day at three-thirty or four o'clock and pouring myself a cup of coffee to enjoy. Then I lift my finger off the world and it spools up to resume the previous speed of ohmyfuckgetonwiththings.

And yet, Ben promised me that I will be spoiled. He is keeping a list of places he will take us when we get out there. First sights and first meals, first evenings out, first day trips and first overnight trips away from the city. This from a man who can't remember to buy shampoo. It touches me that he wants us there so badly and it gives me hope that he misses me just as terribly and heartbreakingly as I miss him.

I've white-knuckled life through the better part of the last two months without him, and it's the one thing that I never wanted to experience. I've had enough. There's been enough misery and worry and stress and difficulties. There's been enough sad. I want to be excited about moving but currently I am held prisoner by the real estate market and until a shining angel of mercy signs on an offer I will wait, not all that patiently, for things to change. I will wait for him to come back and I will daydream and night-dream about him until that time.

Had I known how this would feel I wouldn't have entered into it at all but since I'm here what else can I do? Make lemonade. Whatever. I hate lemonade in the wintertime.

I miss him already. You really won't ever understand how much.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Waking up bitten.

He's gone again. Thank God.

No, not Ben. Ben is still here. I mean Caleb.

He thought it fine to fly in and ruin all the fun of the toxic twins, casting his customary cold grey edge to everything that was formerly warm and/or safe. He thought I seemed to be descending back towards the low end of the metronome and I was. The ticking stopped. I rested with no beat and I think it's more like a mild undercurrent of white-knuckle hysteria and he thinks it meant it was time for a lesson from Satan, reminders of how the behavior of tiny blonde wisps of panic should play out.

Or else.

Ben and I would have been perfectly fine not to have hell recreated in the night but when do I ever get a say? I will never be given a chance to refund iniquity and vice as they pay dividends that allow us to live like kings and princesses and paupers in gold-lined paper houses. The light is artificial, the warmth contrived.

What Satan doesn't know is there's an army forming to the south of my future love paradise and it's as heavily-subsidized as his reprobation against Bridget. Because people who actually love me without conditions are running out of patience for his extravagant display of obsession for me. Once again I'll just put my head down and they can all fight it out above me. Eventually someone with a cooler head (Lochlan) will step in and ensure that the children and I are returned to the collective focus but not before everyone has re-staked their constantly shifting property lines in what seems to be a fairly fluid neighborhood.

Who am I kidding? I'm sure he knows. I'm sure he feels the pressure. Maybe time is running out and that's why he felt he had to interrupt our reunion with the ugly reminders of the way things are. Maybe he did indeed want to spend a day with the children and Bridget is just a lovely x-rated side benefit who struggles just enough to be fun but still flinches enough to make things difficult.

I won't change and I doubt he will either. All signs point to the army being both a blessing and a whole new kind of curse. A kind of curse where you go from eyes wide shut to eyes wide open and you jump and hope for the best.

Ben won't let me fall. If there is one thing he has always done, it's hang on, no matter what. This story isn't over yet. Not by a long shot. Paper houses don't hold up and eventually all luck has to change.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Struggling just to get enough words to arrange at all.

Somewhere around my bony shoulders and tired soul, anticipation is singeing the edges of the fear-paper that coats the walls of my life presently. It's such a tiny surge I'm not even sure I'm ready to acknowledge it just in case my mind is playing tricks on me. I will wait patiently for it to bloom and continue my slow pace, one foot in front of the other, out of this place. Slowly and with a heavy heart because I am so conflicted.

Spring is coming. Right?

Right? Please?

I love having Ben home. The past two days he declared to be no-work days. Tomorrow we'll finish off the little things I couldn't manage on my own but otherwise driving, eating, working, sleeping, all of it so much easier with him here at home. Even though it's less home right now. Keeping the children calm and reassured and informed and healthy. Keeping everything running smoothly in the face of chaos.

I have two days of him left and then he's gone again and I will fall down the darker well and stay there and contemplate horrible thoughts in my usual horrifyingly bemused fashion. However, I have found a comfort looking up toward daylight, scratching the days into the cement walls in the part where the water doesn't drip down and I know rescue is eventual (ha, prove it). Sometimes panic supersedes logic and sometimes it doesn't. I'm working on it but really I'm not having any luck writing, relaxing or being reasonable anymore.

I just wish Ben could stay because I really don't think I can do this much longer. The well is cold and it's dark and it's just not a happy place for Bridget. Ben's arms are my happy. He is my breath.

Bridget is not a happy girl otherwise.

Cross your fingers and say a prayer if you will. Sure there are worse things in the world and oh, dear, the problems of the rich. I'm not rich and I've never been rich. I know people who are and I talk about them too much. What I do know is that I have never sold a house before and I really really need this to go well. Smooth and quick, gone on the first try, don't let the sale fall through. That much, please, and in return I will pray for you.

Because sometimes I do.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Post two, because I don't have enough to do.

Every now and then I see you dreaming
Every now and then I see you cry
Every now and then I see you reaching,
Reaching for the other side
What are you waiting for?
Six and a half hours left until Ben-time and my brain just wants to continue to sabotage me and as usual my luck isn't holding at all.

On the upside, the house is presentable at last. Or as much as I can do anyway, if you could have witnessed the immense frustration this afternoon as the dirt-sucker thing I can't spell EXPLODED on the staircase. Right, the one I had just spent three hours polishing because it has three feet of wood trim on the walls around it.

Exactly.

I don't know what happened but I got the mess cleaned up and then I drug out the ladder once again and tried valiantly to do a couple of up-high things I'm afraid I'll forget to ask Ben to do because when I see him (this will be the third time since Christmas) everything kind of goes right out the piano window anyway. I couldn't do them so I wrote it down. We'll be up early anyway, so we'll get it done in the morning. Tonight I just have to put away the laundry, make dinner and then wait. I could also be doing some touch up things but really, I know how loverly my old OCD issues can flare up and thankfully I can override them now.

If only I could do that with all the other bad feelings that ricochet around inside my head. Ah well, I suppose it's nice to keep some dreams on hand, isn't it?

Light bright.

Every time the radio plays Pour some sugar on me I envision the pole dance I would perform if...my beautiful house had come equipped with a pole.

(Well, I had the strobe light..)

Ben comes home IN! TEN! HOURS!

Yay!

Sunday? Don't phone, I plan to barricade myself in his arms and sleep all damn day long. Why not tomorrow? Tomorrow sucks. They're coming to take the pictures for the listing. No, I will not be posting the link. Seriously you people.

Go think about Bridget pole dancing instead. You know you want to.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Dreams of gold.

Certain members of Team Canada (GO, boys!) at the 2010 winter games have some interesting names, don't they?

Let's see, there is Duncan, Drew, Chris, Dan, Patrick, John, Corey, Mark and Ben in addition to the other boys....

And since I pointed out that all of my boys made their way to Vancouver in the weeks after Christmas, part of a new collective endeavor that will see them all work together for a while, my readership has been positively rife with speculation.

Stop that. Stop it right now.

I don't do that anymore. I wasn't going to say anything at all but it's reached ridiculous proportions in my inbox and I really felt like I had to....be vague and uninformative. So there you have it. Don't expect replies and remember you have no right repeatedly emailing me for a response when it's an invasion of my privacy. Come and enjoy the words or the misery and then go away again, okay?

I like you in the dark. Better you than me.

(Besides, the guesses are forever entertaining. My favorites are always going to be the ones where you think I am the 'cutie' in Death Cab.)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

And sometimes one gets desperate.

Down down down to the tunnels under the hill, the cold wind following me as I run, prepared this time in my gear that breathes but keeps me warm until I am warm enough to relax a little. Counting strides, counting breaths I focus on the numbers until I realize I have run right past the door and I have to turn and go back. I grab the wheel and turn it hard and pull and slowly it creaks open.

Inside the dust motes float in the air and that single beam of light from somewhere high above highlights the center of the room.

Jacob turns around and folds his wings casually behind his back. He smiles, his big white chiclet teeth competing with the radiance all around him.

I've missed you, princess.

I open my mouth to respond in kind and instead all this....noise comes out. An unholy cry that won't end and then when it finally does stop the tears are rolling and I can't catch my breath. I'm shaking, covered in goosebumps and completely shattered and he takes a step toward me and then stops abruptly. I hold my arms up like a child. He won't move though.

Please, Jake.

I can't, Bridget.

This time when I open my mouth the rage comes out. Loud and long, all the pent-up frustration and anxiety and pure fear that I run on these days, finding the energy in emotions instead of in sleep or food or habit. That's a bad kind of energy but I can't seem to turn it around. I know what I need and it isn't there.

It just isn't here.

Ben comes home in fifty hours. I really hope I don't self-destruct before then.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Night forty.

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the spaces between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
~ Maya Angelou

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Good Sport.

I am:
  • exhausted.
  • covered with paint.
  • aching and in pain.
  • missing Ben so badly I burst into tears every ten minutes.
  • sick of planning life around dog walks.
  • starting to clean rooms, windows and light fixtures.
  • jealous that other people aren't going through this.
  • worried about how long it will take the house to sell.
  • frustrated with phone calls that I don't have time to answer.
  • forgetful as always.
  • afraid of the dark.
  • unshowered today, and I don't know how that happened.
I won't:
  • give up.
  • stop moving.
  • pretend everything is okay when it isn't.
  • stop worrying until it's over.
  • be okay.
  • quit.
  • stay up all night, just very very late until it's safe to go to sleep.
  • let tomorrow go by without getting that shower.
  • let everybody down.
That last one, that seems to be key. I don't know if I'm succeeding or not but I'm still trying. I'm just really sore, incredibly discouraged, and completely overwhelmed. So if you want to put aside your derision and just have a little ounce of understanding, I am going to put my head down for just a little while and cry.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sweethearts.


Look what just came! I have the most amazing husband in the whole wide world.

He is in Vancouver right now, and I am not. Gorgeous flowers make it a little easier. So does chocolate. Like the pink sparkly rockstar heart? I sure do.

Thank you, baby. I love you.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Where's Bridget?

I'm in this video. Have fun looking, it's like Where's Waldo? but with Bridget.

Painting is going swimmingly (sarcasm abounds). I can't feel my arms anymore. Blissful numb, I call it. I hope it goes away soon.

Back to work. More when I have time. Currently I am fresh out.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Paint the seconds.

We stopped time
To chase these truths

Tell it to move
Feel like climbing the walls
Useless messengers haste
Rushing to arrive
Balanced at the very top of a rickety wooden ladder she paints, holding the can in one hand (half-full, so heavy) and the old tired brush in the other. It's precarious, you see and she yells along with Chevelle on the stereo while she contemplates quitting altogether, or maybe doing it all after dark so she will at least have the gleeful ambiance of night to keep her company.

Whoops, a significant wobble and her eyes get wide for a split-second. She braces bruised knees covered in black tights against the wall, sensible black shoes for horizontal travel strapped tightly to her feet. Plaster dust on her plain black dress and a black tie in her hair to keep it off her neck while she works.
See these streams of color
They threatened it's too magical
That you still need to grow

The sooner we enter
The sooner we'll blend
Ease into another endless abyss
Every second she worked. I quit I quit I quit I quit. But she never slowed down, never stopped, never managed to put down the brush until the work was actually done and then she climbed slowly down the ladder again, the splinter from the day before cutting further under her skin, her knuckles white against the Pollack-splatters of previously chosen colors and she cursed the air until she was returned safely to the ground.

Her shoulders and knees ache and she is tired now. But it's finished and that's all she wanted for today.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Break a finger on the upper hand.

Today was spent chipping away at the list and now the perseverance is wearing thin and the list grows long like the light left in today, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead and have a cup of coffee now and breathe for a few minutes before I dive into the dinner/dogwalk/kid-bath minirush of early evening. Four to about eight is a whirlwind in which the minutes tick by at a dizzying pace. I can't keep up, hell, I can't even keep track and suddenly the house is plunged into dark and quiet again and I am alone with my thoughts once more. That should not be allowed to happen, because my thoughts are like a bad date, they barge right in and then I can't get them to leave and I feel threatened and helpless. It's better just to keep moving and then drop. Get up and do it all over again.

Dear radio, please stop playing New Fang. I'm pleading on aching knees here. Please, vultures, release a new single.

I am sticking to this list because if I stray from it everything becomes so overwhelming I start to sink into the ground when I walk, stiletto heels first, though these days I live in my old pink camouflage converse all-stars. High tops, yes. A ridiculous small size of course because I have little feet. A wonderful feature when you have to tip-toe over five-hour-old varathane on a ninety-seven year old floor because you left a bunch of things in your bedroom, which is on the other side of that freshly-painted floor. Sigh.

So far so good. I am running a list for Ben too, because in nine days he is home again. The big white bird will spit him back into my arms for more time and it's already sorely needed but I'm beginning to have some hope that I am not stuck here forever. Sometimes it seems like it, especially when it's dark and cold.

On that note, we're up to three minutes, twenty-five seconds of extra daylight each day. It's now light out from about seven-thirty to well after six each night which is an absolute godsend of a different sort. I'm not unaware of the five weeks remaining in the winter but five weeks isn't insurmountable now, is it?

Depends on who you ask.

Speaking of others, Ben is doing well. I like it that he tells me of the harder parts and what he does to counteract them. Then I can try the same tricks and fail but at least I come away with knowing what makes him tick a little better. You would think after this long that I would know everything but I don't. Do we ever? Does he know everything about how I am? Well, of course he does. Sigh.

So much for that argument. In any case, absences do get easier and time heals all whatever. I'm numb, more likely. Numb and better within that numb to the point where the keening panic became a wooden ambivalence that leaves splinters behind when you try to run your hand across it. Self-preservation is an amazing mechanism and I am lucky to have it an any form at this point. A gift horse with a rather large and endless mouth, but I'm not looking into it, I just take what I am given and say thank you.

I read a quote yesterday about the school of hard knocks and I can't remember what it was. It might have been on Travis Barker's twitter. No, shoot. It was on someone's twitter. Twitter moves fast but it's like company you don't have to sit up straight for. I will keep looking for it, it was a great quote and I laughed and then I agreed with it. Twitter is always open on a tab now. The entertainment value is limitless.

And my mom made cookies and sent them to us, which just about sent Henry into spasms, he loves his Nana's chocolate-chip cookies and I always like the letters and stories and pictures she puts into them. Those boxes are my mom's version of Twitter, I think. Pretty cool. Thank you, mom.

I must go. I need match a paint color before I lose the light. Tomorrow's Thursday and there will be eight sleeps left and Vampire girl can sleep again, for a short while.

Vampire boy will be here keeping watch, and that is what I'm living for these days.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

10 minutes to spare.

I have nothing for you except for sixty-odd messy sneezes and a very sore shoulder.

But the last floor is finished. Okay, not finished but good enough, which is the new motto around here lately.

Hideously tired and uninspired. Come back tomorrow, okay?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Homing angel.

This is the part where Ben gets eaten by the big white bird again.

He's gone already. The plane has taken off and with any luck his guitar and assorted musical amplifications will meet him at the baggage claim upon landing. If not he will use the insurance cash to buy something louder. He is not concerned in the least and only had the coffee-soaked blip of nerves this morning once settled in at the gate for the endless wait to board.

It was an amazing weekend. We did no work. Well, we did some, but mostly we organized the next visit, which is only eleven sleeps from now, because this weekend that just passed was the most exciting surprise, the best one, I think, and I am so happy he was here. We mostly spent the weekend in each others arms, staying up late, cuddling, snuggling, having family time and generally since it was not the first time he's come back, somehow it was easier to handle overall, though I still have moments this morning where it feels like the end of the world. We watched It Might Get Loud, which easily slid into my top ten movies of all time. Easily.

Over the course of Ben's next trip home the house officially hits the market and I'm now going to organize getting everything ready, cleaning, packing some of the valuables and things people don't need to be distracted by and I have to slap a coat of paint in the back porch and finish one floor upstairs. I'm not doing anything else. I will be content to let the rest go.

Upon first inspection the realtor told me flowers and a tablecloth would be nice, and wash windows and light fixtures too.

That's it?

That's it, she said.

Gosh, aside from the daunting task of washing the windows I hope someone buys it. I'm tempted to bury St. Joseph out there in the snow to help things along. I may not be catholic but I love relics and this house is a big one. Cross your fingers for me, I could use some luck for a change.

Ben is still in the air, his St. Christopher medal anchored around his neck for a safe flight, his hands full with the memories of holding us to keep him comforted for this next round of days apart, soon to be spilled onto the strings of his favorite strat, turning tactile memory into musical notes, turning pain into something good.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Say anything.

Late last night after a fruitless evening of trying to contact him, I finally got a message from Ben on my phone.

I got a picture for you, just a sec.

I waited. Waited and waited and waited a little more.

Finally a picture came through.

Of the back door.

I bet that was a funny sight, for him to watch as the lights progressed through the house, flip flip flip through two doors flip flip flip down the steps flip flip flip flip flip through three doors and then a cursory glance through the window because I wasn't sure if maybe he had someone else take a picture for a bad joke and there he was, larger than life, standing on the other side of the door.

I almost took a steel door off the hinges to get to him.

And now he is home. But only until Monday. Shhh. We won't think about bad things. Just for now.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Pitch-dark and dead quiet (teach me how to do this).

Once again the week is over, children and pets are tucked in safely and the lights burn low downstairs. I still have to make one more trip down there in an hour or two to let Bonham out for his final tour of the yard. Hopefully I will stay up late enough to take him out so that he might let me sleep in a little bit tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

I have been remiss lately in writing. It's been difficult to find time in which my brain isn't fused in panic and my heart doesn't thud with the long slow beat of homesickness and quiet. It's also incredibly painful right now. That Nexcare skin crack liquid I picked up never had a chance. When I'm not scrubbing plaster dust off my hands, I'm scrubbing paint or varathane off them. I also managed to tear them up quite nicely with sandpaper too, so perhaps I'll just use it to maintain the current state of affairs and not hope for miracle cures until the minor constructions are complete. I can't wait to live in a place where this doesn't happen anymore. It hurts. A lot. And that's saying something, coming from the girl with the pain threshold so high you can't even see it while standing on your tiptoes.

Did I mention the real estate agent is coming this weekend? Ergo, finish the house and finish it fast, Bridget.

She's going to cringe anyway. And I'm not satisfied though with a cursory look-through it will be wonderful. Nit-pickers need to go seek new construction, for you won't find perfection in a house built in 1914. No sir.

But I am running out of energy, time, money and heart. I loved this house but it's no longer mine. I called it Winter House, for a time and that was quickly discarded because every mention of winter was followed by my sweetest habit ever, cursing hard and long like a sailor on a yearlong cruise.

Never said I was a lady, now, did I?

The past few nights have seen the return of a very old habit I haven't indulged in since I was eighteen years old. Music to fall asleep by. By the time I was twelve I would go to sleep wit headphones on every single night. It was relaxing. It put me out. I went through thousands of dollars worth of batteries and headphones each year, since I would wake up in the morning with said headphones crushed underneath my shoulders and the player still on, but dead. My parents indulged me, it was maybe one of the very few ways I ever relax, music is.

(I'm not a self-soother. Don't know if you noticed.)

Once I moved in with Cole, the music stopped somewhat, because tuning him out was rude, and we were indulging in our favorite pastime most nights anyhow (shhhhhhhhhhh) and also because we could barely afford to eat, let alone buy batteries for Bridget's walkman.

And you know what? He bought them anyway because did you know? She's not a self-soother. There were always enough double-As when I went to replenish my ears (Oh yes, I'm one of those terrible tuned-out people, don't you know it). I never did go back to putting on music while I fell asleep. Never had to. I could just curl up in his arms, or someone else's and be out like a light.

Once the children were born I learned to sleep with one eye and both defective ears open, listening for cries or needs in the night, ready to jump out of bed and slay imaginary monsters or fetch tissues, inhalers, extra blankets, cats, dropped stuffed bunnies and random assorted socks (which magically fall off Ruth's feet at night and must be excavated from her bed in the morning. Every morning).

So bye-bye forever, night music.

And then two nights ago I hammered the sleep button on the radio, ostensibly to get the weather report for the next day, because the cold is up and down and another stupid snowstorm is coming our way (Fucking prairie. I've had it with you. So long. I won't miss you.) and after the report Snuff came on (love that song) so I left it on to listen for a minute. A minute because twelve minutes and I could feel the homesick/ache-pain of Ben's absence ebbing just a little tiny bit in favor of letting the music wash over me in a way that I always have and most people don't.

(WAIT A SECOND. SOOTHING.)

I don't remember ever turning off the radio that night, I just remember waking up knowing that I didn't spend four hours tossing and turning like I usually do, getting up a million times to see why the security lights have come on in the backyard (owls) and to check the children because my bedroom is a little bit removed from their rooms and I can't hear them anyway so I peek in a lot.

Fluke?

Last night I hit the button again, and the very last things I recall thinking before falling asleep were Oh, good, at least they're not playing Green Day and Josh Homme's voice really does nothing for me.

It's positively magical again to drift off to some metal-light, since I have to acquiesce and listen to bands and songs that aren't really up my alley, although the more I think about it, the more I see the alley of my future revealing some sort of CD-playing clock radio instead of this hilarious twenty-year parade of substandard Sony Dream Cubes. Imagine picking my own music to drift off to, much like the rest of the planet has probably done for at least the past decade or more. I wouldn't know. Unless Research in Motion puts it out I try not to pay attention.

I could fall asleep listening to music on my BlackBerry but killing bluetooth headphones is expensive, the phone would have to be in close proximity to tiny white dog who would love to eat it and also it would have to be charging and in case you snoozed through the first half of my post, my house was built in 1914. I don't believe the one plug and questionable power circuitry (or whatever the hell that flicky-switch in the basement that's always turning off is called) can handle the power.

Who am I kidding? It definitely can't.

Some moments I am stunned and surprised that the house was retrofitted with a toilet. Though at other times, what with the extensive woodwork and stained glass gracing the halls and various rooms, I can't ever understand why there aren't two toilets, or even three. Let's just be decadent all the way around, shall we? (Go big or go homing angel, as August likes to tell me)

In any case, I don't get to pick my music while I sleep so God help the first programmer who plays 21 Guns while I'm trying to fall asleep and tomorrow hopefully my bloody fingertips and aching soul will be up for another day of sanding/scrubbing/painting/cleaning.

Don't feel sorry for me though. Jesus, please. All of this work and effort and endurance and fortitude and lessons in self-soothing bring me one step closer to not needing music to help me fall asleep.

It brings me that much closer to Ben.

Goodnight. My fingers hurt now.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Maddening. Nothing.

It's not enough.
I need more.
Nothing seems to satisfy.
I said,
I don't want it.
I just need it.
To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Today was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it flash of sunlight and teeth. A care taken in dressing to depress, a step taken in learning the difference between people telling the truth and people telling Bridget what they think she wants to hear.

It's okay, I understand perfectly and so the only thing I can do is bring the storm clouds in rather close and let you be absorbed by the black of my dress and if you're really lucky I'll distract you with my own wicked humor, borne in exhaustion and habitual solitude.

It's alright, really. Ben has gone and is doing his customary thing in which he drops off the face of the earth because he is used to this and still it gets no easier for me but I was never so independent and that's okay, I'm going to give up trying to change that and will go to my grave reaching out for arms within which to find my safety. Never mind that I'll be dead. It really won't impact that action because I already do it in my sleep and have the aching limbs to prove it.

Caleb left this morning, content in obtaining proof that I'll reach for him too and I will because in the dark he is Cole, a memory of love now dead and cold but of love nonetheless, and nothing more than that. In the dark it's everything I need. In the light it is shameful, the weight of a thousand secrets pressing down on my bony shoulders, pounding me into the frozen earth.

It's the hidden disapproval in the otherwise stone expression of Caleb's driver/our bodyguard, Mike, who has been privy to more of my life in the past three years than anyone else I know and still he makes promises to me that are coerced out with threat of fire on the other side. I don't blame him but I can't trust him and I was foolish to think I could, but really, all secrets are open secrets in Bridget's house. She does not discriminate and for that the punishment was compliance, same as it ever is.

Luckily I can't feel anything anymore. But could I ever?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Devil may care.

The most interesting part of all of this is that Jacob fought tooth and nail to keep me, to keep (almost) all of us away from Caleb. No information, no access, no weak points in the keep through which the devil might wind.

Save for Ben. Ben would not listen. Ben went against everyone's better advice and most fervent wishes and struck up a close friendship with Caleb, maybe in an effort to hold on to Cole, because Ben and Cole were so close.

And now the devil runs the entire circus, and his right hand man got the girl. The devil controls the girl and the devil is responsible for and personally involved in every last nuance of our lives.

Which is why he is now downstairs in the dining room reading the local paper with a disapproving frown on his handsome face, shooting his cuffs like they are weapons to deploy charm and sophistication and remarking that I really need to get a grip, he could have sent some of the boys overseas, where the action is, instead of keeping them in the country.

All of these random, composed points softened from threats while he evaluates whether my dress is to his taste, if I am too thin and how tired I look after a night with Daniel because he's as close to Ben as I can be right now

After Jake flew I sold the circus to Caleb.

I got tired of fighting, tired of running and I have one hell of a self-destructive streak that lets me spend time with him without even caring if he sets me on fire or locks me in my own head for days. Jacob had been losing the fight anyway and in the end the devil pushed him off the sky. I'm not dumb, I know he did it, I know Caleb was the straw that broke the preacher's back.

They say to keep your enemies closer and I'm trying to do that now and the weirdest part of today was not the oddly extreme meltdown as Daniel was going through the gate or the fact that not thirty seconds after I got home Caleb was on his way because Mike took one look at me and called him, but it was the exchange Caleb and I had when he arrived. Civilized, appropriate and normal and downright weird by our standards, which are completely out to lunch.

Did you get the things you needed?

Yes, he's good for the next few months, maybe into summer.

What size is Henry? I can have some things sent.

It's not necessary. He's in 14/16s now, the next step is the men's department.

Are you serious?

Yes.

What size do most eight year olds wear?

7/8, though Ruthie was in 5/6s then. It depends on the child, really.

But fourteen? Jesus.

You've seen him. He's a big kid.

Is there something in the water here, princess?

If there was, I would drink more of it, don't you think?

I'm wondering how long he's going to sit down there and pretend everything is fine. Wait, nevermind. I don't think I care.

Jacob, I wish you would fix this. I think I screwed up big time here.

Whirlwind Dan.

If you blinked late last night, Daniel showed up on my doorstep and he was back at the airport before it started to get dark, just a little while ago. He came to give me a hug, my variation of it, anyway, and then he was gone again, a victim of Caleb's easily enforceable timetable. He who has plane makes rules, a lesson I tested early this morning when I tried to go over his head and get Ben a flight home for Friday and couldn't because everything is booked and Ben has a schedule besides.

And right this second I'm walking the tightrope between horrifically discouraged and somewhat heartened. Things are slowly falling into place. Time heralds the adventure on the horizon, blah, blah, blah. It's going to happen whether I sleepwalk or fret the whole way through it. I'm trying for small victories and mindful of big challenges. I'm trying to stick the methods I have always used. A lot of tears and one step in front of the other and verbal smorgasbords of words designed to convey to others precisely how poorly I deal with stress and only serving to reduce me to idiot in their eyes, I'm sure.

For one very brief cool-skinned hug nothing was so bad.

Then he let go and I slid back down, all the way to the bottom and landed with a hard thump and got grass stains all over my starched pinafore and insult to my injuries besides.

I choose sleepwalk, but I'm not allowed.

I would pick Ben to come back, but that seems unreachable, invisible, out of the question, fragile miss Bridget.

The cold and the quiet settle in again like a blanket that seems warm until you realize you can no longer breathe or move or find any peace at all. That's where I am tonight anyways.