Monday, 31 May 2010

When I can't breathe, I make lists.

  • Finding sea glass.
  • watching the tide come in.
  • cotton candy. Blue. Always blue.
  • butterflies landing on the hood of my jacket.
  • having a ring to twirl.
  • chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • sunset.
  • lilacs and fresh cut grass.
  • bubbles.
  • the burn of saltwater on superficial wounds.
  • Edward Gorey.
  • music. Never turn it off or down.
  • licking your fingers after ribs or corn on the cob.
  • lobster and scallops, eaten with a silver fork, outdoors in the wind.
  • new earrings.
  • a book so good you can't put it down.
  • rainstorms and sun showers.
  • a light breeze.
  • stacks of new fun mail.
  • a hot cup of very good coffee.
  • playing card games in wet bathing suits.
  • Someone else making dinner.
  • Holding a baby/helping the littles.
  • A clean quilt on a freshly-made bed.
  • driving down the highway with all the windows open.
  • broken stained glass.
  • a roaring fire on a cool night.
  • frog songs.
  • snoring dogs.
  • sleepy men.
  • bad pictures, taken in excitement.
  • the audible cue of a key in the front door lock or roar of an approaching motorcycle/truck/boat.
  • long uninvited hugs.
  • peace.
  • a deep breath.
  • seedy carnivals.
  • light tans.
  • braids.
  • a crossed-off list.
  • I love you, said with a smile.

Stalemates. (Ha, NOT A PUN but should have been.)

I'm working up a sweat today. It's Monday, tomorrow will be four weeks since we moved in so I thought I would change all the beds, scrub all the bathrooms and generally scour the house once again from top to bottom. I think I bit off more than I can chew living here. It's a very very big house. Three times the size of the last one, I think. Add to that the five loads of laundry from skipping two days doing it and I've hardly had a moment. I'm upbeat, I'm busy and productive, I am healthy today. Or for now anyway.

Which is good, the boys are outside standing around in the rain arguing about exactly how much of a polyamoric, indulgent nightmare I have become and who is going to walk away from that first. I don't expect that they'll get anywhere and frankly, just to piss EVERYONE off I'm going to throw in here that an angry, passionate guy in soaking wet clothes is just about the best thing ever, and there's three of them out there.

Yes I said three.

Nevermind the ghosts, I don't think they count. Ghosts aren't affected by rain.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Morning glory.

I am the crisis
I am the bitter end
I'm gonna gun this down
I am divided
I am the razor edge
there is no easy now
The final birthday party was a smashing success and I'm done for a little bit. Until July, when Henry turns nine and we go to the fair and then have a cake and spaghetti fest here at home. That will be fun. Even with the wine. I had just enough wine for a light buzz and a complete eradication of any sort of anxiety or judgements leveled. Just enough wine to make sure everyone knew exactly what I think of their opinions and their feelings. Which is pure and total acceptance. It's a dance, you see, we have cards and it's very well-choreographed and the music never stops but thankfully it's only music I like so I feel at home. Music keeps Bridget's brain quiet, you see, and the strong arms that are always available keep the fluttering fingers to a minimum.

Everyone went home at a decent hour, and I cleaned up the kitchen while Ben tackled the rest of the house and then we emptied the time machine together, settled in to watch a movie with Lochlan and then went to bed late after spooking ourselves out with the total absolute stillness of the woods in front of the house, standing very still, listening to the creatures that were out there while we stood exposed in the light of the verandah, relative safety in the form of constructed dwellings versus the wild.


Wine puts me out cold when I pass the buzz and work my way back to vaguely tired and dehydrated and so I was asleep in seconds after wondering who left the nightlight on in the big bathroom down the hall from our room. I woke up at five, pressed against the heat and covered in sweat and I turned onto my other side to press against the cold, dropping my body temperature back down to comfortable, pulling the quilts up over my shoulders, finding that perfect place for my head against Ben's chest and remaining there dozing hard until eight, when the dog pawed the bottom of the bed wanting his walk, and Bridget does the bright early morning walks while Ben does the scary dark night ones.

I climbed down to the bottom of the bed and found my clothes from the previous night and put them on, made a face, and the dog followed me all the way down to the front door where his leash hangs and we stepped out into a pretty nice day. Cool, and cloudy, quiet and still, save for the rolling of the gentle ocean waves under the fog.

Today the plans are for a day hike to another new waterfall and most likely a whole lot of fallout from the boys for writing about the things I do here because confirmations about certain aspects of my life within the collective are off limits, except after wine.

There is no wine today, however, and so the secrets once again go into my handbag to be carried around with my giant Toki Doki keyring and my blackberry. Have a good one.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The holy triad and I'm drunk.

Nice. They're sitting here making jokes about drunk princesses what she will do and I don't even care. I do care about good punctuation, however, so I'm making sure that I'm not spelling things wrong. What I don't care about also would be what people think of the fact that I sleepw ith who I want to. Whatever, fuck off. I'm not your problem. And aren't you lucky for that.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Not here for the ability to make good conversation.

I stood on the balcony this morning overlooking the grounds and the ocean beyond. The water was the most beautiful shade of teal black I have ever seen. The fog was tight and invasive and it was freezing but I stood there anyway and let the rain ruin me. My scarlet slip was glued to my skin, my hair was pressed to my scalp and stuck to my back and I shivered so hard I wondered if I would fall over but I didn't move. Not an inch. Not a deep breath. I just let it take me in and I fell asleep with my eyes open, dreaming of shipwrecks and sea monsters and hard lives carried out along the edge of the unforgiving waters.

Jesus Christ.

Oh, that's a Jacob-remark if ever there was one but it came from Lochlan and I rolled my eyes. He came out with a blanket and put it around my shoulders but I didn't reach for it and so it slid to the floor. I shook my head once and he didn't catch it. Don't interrupt me, I'm escaping right now and I don't want you here but instead he continued to gently berate me only I couldn't hear a word for the competing roar of the surf against the steady downpour of the rain. Drowning in his words. Too small to touch bottom, too paralyzed to do anything about it. I swallow all of the water until the lights go out and everything is black.

This is how I die.

They don't like that and Lochlan could read the words in my eyes because I'm a billboard, everything I think is always clearly visible, just without context or timestamps and so he panicked and took me by the shoulders, turning me away from the water, waiting for my eyes to focus from nothing to his strawberry curls and soft blue eyes. Again with the gentle smiles, the oh my God she is so fucked up why are we persisting in letting her have this independence when she doesn't even know enough to stay out of the rain? look that leaves me happy he is as unsure and anxious and uncomfortable as I am because misery loves company. She adores it and invites it to dance. She bathes in it and kisses it and sleeps with it and dreams about it.

I shook my head again. Blue lips. Wild thoughts. Behave, princess, or they'll take you away from this.

Sorry, what?

What in the hell are you doing?


Can't you think where it's warm?


Bridget, stop it.

Stop what?


If you don't love me, go away. This is what I do.

No, it isn't.

Then you tell me my profession.

You write.


Oh fuck off.

I haven't written anything worth reading in forever.

You've been under stress.

A low grade, slow-moving stress. I should be able to outwrite it.

Not when everything is new.

Wait, you're not supposed to be on my side, Lochlan.

I'm not used to being the rescuer.

Just the ruiner.



Is it safe to leave you alone?



I'm fine. Really. I'm going to have a shower and get dressed and make coffee. Seriously. I'm fine.

You sure?


I love you.

I love you too.



What were you really doing?

Just enjoying the view. I missed the water.

Okay, but stay warm and dry to do it. You're going to worry Ben.


It's okay. See you in a bit.


He stood there for a few more minutes. Not an awkward silence, just staring openly. I know what I looked like because once he was gone and had closed the door behind him, I went straight into my bathroom to run a hot shower and I met my reflection in the mirror halfway into the room.




I wasn't the only one enjoying the view.

Caleb was sitting in his car in the driveway, with a perfect line of sight to my balcony.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Dying Tree.

They cover the grass out here, a carpet of dried ivory paper cut out to resemble oak and sometimes maple leaves. Faded from the sun and curled by rain they scatter and come to rest again, sometimes face up so that you can discern different words or phrases, still, if you are very lucky. Otherwise you are forced to decipher what is carved into the bark, descriptions so breathtaking you fall to your knees, sermons and thought transcribed with emotion so thick your eyes water and you make excuses for the lump in your throat, maybe a cough, perhaps just clearing it. It wouldn't be noted, everyone has the same reaction to Jacob's reading tree.

Only Jacob's tree is dying and I didn't expect to come to the clearing and find it exposed to the sun, bare branches with all of the words stripped away so brutally but so naturally too. Because that's what death is, just one more part of life, one more thing we find so different and so sudden. Surprising. Final.

If you need me, I've gone home to get a basket so I can collect all of his leaves. I don't want them to blow away. The wind off the water can be fierce.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


The earth is MOVING.

Henry comes home from school now and eats five cookies and then goes downstairs and pounds away on the drums for forty minutes every day.

He does not have a light touch. Granted, he is the tallest, heaviest eight-year-old I have ever met so maybe that was to be expected. It's pretty cool actually. He asked me last night if he could live at home for a while after college so he and his band can 'get off the ground without starving to death.'

Next week I'm expecting him to grow a beard sometime between recess and his 8:30 pm bedtime.

Cole would have been so proud, like we all are. My kids are awesome.

Princess crossing.

Another province, another driver's license, and this time my height clocks in at a staggering 1.6 metres.

Meters? I still haven't memorized the centimetres one from the last province. Or inches for that matter.

And for the record, they still got it wrong. Right across the country now. She ASKED me how tall I was and I told her and once again I think my shoes got factored in..oh well.

I'll take it. I didn't think they were going to give me any licence here for a moment or two. I got a little road safety quiz (which they didn't give to Ben, since I think they were just totally intimidated by him and decided to punish me, since before they would even put my changes through I was sent home for my marriage license.) and I completely blew one question, but they passed me anyway because it would be the right answer for everything east of here.

I left with my yellow temporary papers, so there. And I'm going to hold them up and wave them in the air and you might even see them this time! That's how tall I am now, folks.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Snow in summer.

Cerastium tomentosum.

Invasive flowers, gorgeous perennials in the form of tiny white flowers with frosted foliage, and every time I see them I stop and take a picture. I took the picture to the ladies at the garden nursery and followed them all the way to the back where I was introduced to some tiny little boxes full of dirt with yellowy-green bits of moss in them.

They've been cut back. No worries, they grow quickly.

Ironic. We move to the rainforest and I find the neatest flowering shrubs that remind me of the beach because there used to be a half-barrel by the steps just full of this stuff and it was always windblown and beautiful and to this day reminds me of weathered boards and eyelet lace, two requirements for Bridget's beach, along with that famous pale turquoise string bikini that I still have somewhere because it remains Jacob's Favorite Outfit.

He had these flowers, by the driveway just off the road, we just never knew they had a name. Pretty wildflowers. That was it.

Snow in Summer, they're called. Snort. What the fuck. I came here to get away from the snow and now I'm going to plant it all over the place! A carpet of white to cover the green. I don't care if it's invasive either until it chokes off the roses. I have more roses, by the way. These ones are a vintage pink, the shade of the Avon lipstick my mom wore in the early seventies, that coral-pink that looks good with a tan. The lilacs are lilac-colored, of course and really, Ben doesn't seem to mind if all the flowers are pink and purple and white. He chose a cherry tree (for more pink, I guess) and an orange tree (with actual oranges!) and some begonias because he said they remind him of me, and they're an ivory with pale pink inside. Oh please. That isn't what he meant. He said they were breathtakingly, so maybe I get it though they could still die because I'll be so slow to turn this ground but oh, I do love flowers so much and this is the perfect place for endless wild gardens made impossible by the wind.

There's your common thread.

The wind brings everything and then whips it away again. It breathes through my hair and causes you to turn back. It carries the seeds of these flowers and dreams of Jacob who is gone but who resorted to cut flowers because things that are forgotten can't grow, princess and so just enjoy these and let someone else worry about all of that. And Ben took me for so many long walks to see the ones down the street that I carried lilacs the day we got married, even though there was no church, no aisle and no formalities and everyone was horrified because they were ruined the moment they were cut, and dripped their strange little petals everywhere, in our drinks, in my hair, ground into the carpet and yet they are all I want to smell forever and ever because I don't want to smell the roses, I just want to see them. Because roses smell like funerals and Bridget doesn't like those, oh no. Not one little bit and that's sad but they've been ruined that way.

Perhaps someday someone will make me a hybrid of sorts, a rose-lilac combination that looks beautiful, like a rose, but smells of the lilacs. We can call it a Lilose or a Rilac. I don't really care. I just hope it all works out. I'll plant them everywhere, instead of all this snow.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Strange and usual.

Sunday afternoon saw me ducking through the dusty second levels of an antique store in Chinatown. Yes, I found many things and I didn't buy anything, but I know exactly where to go when I'm ready to buy an oversized, hand-carved armoire. I just need to figure out where to put it first. I had one of those What am I doing here? moments when I realized my phone was still muted from the night before and none of the boys knew where I was.

I'm just here, I thought. In a strange city, in a strange neighborhood, upstairs in a strange little cramped store full of red lanterns and golden candles. Surrounded by people who don't speak English and without a dollar in my handbag, just my mastercard and my silent Blackberry.

I returned downstairs swiftly, making my way to the front of the shop, to the street outside where I ran into Ben before I noticed I wasn't actually outside yet. He had followed me and was waiting patiently at the bottom of the stairs, because going up is for small people, and he is like a bull in a china shop in most of these places, a huge beast of a man trying to navigate aisles full of delicate imports piled floor to ceiling, with signs everywhere saying if you break it, you buy it.

Familiarity in a face I have studied for years and in it I see the mirrored expression of wonderment at how we ended up here where everything is strange and new and we have to adjust and change and bend and adapt, almost like a miniature geographical evolution in gentle surroundings, as change hopefully should be but isn't.

Usually it's quick and painful and dark and sudden, like a rollercoaster that dips into a tunnel before shooting out into the sunlight and you swear you'll never ever ever go on it again. Then someone forces you to ride it until you vomit into the grass behind the lineup and they admit they pushed you too hard.

Yes, usually it's like that.

Today we went up into the mountains again. We're trying to fit in tiny afternoons of exploring so we can get to know the area, get to know what there is to do and to find fun and a break from unpacking and putting things away and because we are used to embracing t-shirt weather because we spent too long on the prairies and we're used to having a few weeks only to be outdoors in the sun without seventeen layers of wool and thinsulate between our flesh and certain death.

Habitual, ridiculous.

That doesn't happen here but we were out anyway, in spite of the cool cloudy weather. I have a bit of color in my face. The children are turning brown. Ben even got a little pink to make him less pale and he won't be rocking his vampire completion into this summer and is going to have to plan for something different, perhaps rockstar farmer or tan-pire. I'm not sure which but it makes me laugh.

The boys have gold fever suddenly, a thirst for vacation and a yearning for a huge block of time off just to keep going, keep exploring what's around the next corner or the next bend in the road. Maybe it's a symptom of wanderlust or the hallmark of true nomadism. Maybe it's just to make the strange familiar now.

Maybe I'm crazy and nothing will ever be familiar again.

Maybe I'm just good at playing along and finding neat things in dark places.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday morning and Bridget's brain is still asleep.

Moody boy has his baseball cap on pulled down low over his eyes. Glasses on to read. Band hoodie. Band t-shirt. Jeans from yesterday because he was up first to walk the pup because once Bridget finally went to bed with her sugar-fueled dreams, it was pitch-black-lights-out, didn't move until I heard Ben talking softly to the dog on his way out this morning.

Then he was walking quietly through the room in his bare feet to check me a half hour later. I could hear Henry crashing plates around making toast and watching cartoons and I figured I may as well get up since really, the laundry has to be caught up and I could use coffee and I wanted another wonderful doughnut before the boys manage to eat them all. Though Ben has good restraint. These doughnuts don't provoke the excitement they do for me, since once he was American.

A kiss on mouth brought me fully awake and so I pulled on my robe and ventured downstairs to life.

Okay, here I am. Now what?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A list, a dare and a half-assed plan, or, Days that End in Y.

I have Alice in Chains tickets. And Deftones. And Tool. And Mastodon. My musical bucket list is being crossed off so quickly I get paper cuts trying to hang on to the page while life flings me from one show to the next. Quick, hand me that pen so I can cross these bands off, oh, and this one, and these guys too, okay? Right there, third from the top.

I'm grateful for the pace, frankly. My list revolves around my ever-worsening hearing. I'm playing beat the clock against permanent silence which scares me more than you will ever now. In the meantime, I'm going to continue in my role as the world's greatest music fan. I can claim that, you know. If not, I'll simply go with world's cutest music fan.

That's what brings all these talented boys and their instruments to my neck of the woods anyway, I won't deny it.


Not to say I won't travel to finish off my list. Wacken is coming up soon, is it not? I can see myself now, in a field somewhere in Germany in a sea of mosh.

Probably not a good idea, Lochlan says.

Whenever someone says that I have a tendency to go do it, just to be difficult. I mean, think about it, all the speed metal one princess can handle and a trip to Europe besides. See some old friends, make some new ones.

It gets no better than that.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Posted before and you probably missed it like I did. And I posted it.

I know. Progressive metal, alternative rock, blah blah blah, as long as the lyrics are poignant I don't care if it's music made blowing across the top of a bottle of soda. Granted I tend toward the heavier because it's mad and Bridget needs music that feels for her. But every now and then something out of left field just gets jammed in my head and I'm stuck on it for months. Remember REM? Right. Like that but not annoying.


(this band has a Ben involved and also (formerly) a Chris and a Rob. Assume nothing. But beards! Assume beards, they have good beards. Snort.)

Notes for a long weekend.

Close your eyes, so many days go by
Easy to find what's wrong, harder to find what's right
I believe in you, I can show you that
I can see right through all your empty lies
I won't stay long in this world so wrong
Say goodbye, as we dance with the devil tonight
Don't you dare look at him in the eye
As we dance with the devil tonight
We had a family meeting last night and Ben is going to have the support he needs just like he always has. He calls his own shots, and we will back him no matter what they are. We're family, all of us and that means something you don't even need to understand.

He's sitting outside on the patio, watching the ocean, smoking cigarette after cigarette after cigarette. He's been out there since five-something this morning.

When I ask him if he wants to make a round-trip Krispy Kreme-fetching excursion on the weekend, he smiles briefly and nods once and then his eyes go back to the water.

I didn't expect him to drop first. I'm supposed to be the crazy one and yet I'm still running on adrenaline and I can't seem to get off this. I'm still doing everything, not a wobble, not an inability to leave the house or a attempt to give it to anything, I've found a way to keep choking the panic back and it seems to keep staying down. Not sure if that will fail or fade any time soon but for now we are still steamrolling along, Bridget having spread out her blanket, straight at all corners, and into the middle I have heaped my favorite books, toys and boys and I gathered it all up and I'm dragging it along like a six-year-old who has decided to run away from home, only this is home now and I still don't recognize anything save for my old pink camouflage converse all-stars, because they are sitting inside the back door because I wear them to walk the dog because that's all they are good for.

This blanket is heavy. Boys keep falling out of the folds in the blanket when I lose my vigilance and I'm wondering if I grew up a little or if, like Ben, I'm a ticking time bomb doomed to go off sooner or later.

It's so tiring going back to load them back in again. But I'm still doing it. If you ask me, I'll tell you I don't have a choice. But honestly?

I haven't checked in a while.

(if you are keeping score, Batman leads Satan by a huge margin. Huge. I'm sure Satan was considering going to the Russians for backing and I don't even want to think about that.)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Hiding keys and secret words.

I'm not making any more drama. Ben finally came down off his high horse to have an entire conversation with me with no one else present for once and I understand him a whole lot better when he isn't engulfed in the Jesus beams that shoot out of his guitar or marinated in the forgetful juice. Sometimes he can be so completely normal and charming it's difficult to remember why I'm angry with him in the first place.

Difficult but not impossible. He has work to do. Again, always.

It doesn't mean I'm not still entertaining counter-offers, if only for their amusement value, because no one likes amusement like the circus girl. I have been forwarding the emails from batman and Satan to each other, so they're well aware they are upbidding each other and they can continue to do so until they get bored and leave the game. At which point I'll do what I planned to do in the first place.


Except maybe have another ride on the back of someone's motorcycle. It takes the world away and replaces it with wind and speed and I like that. I like it a lot.

The bridge is always the best part of a song.

The next tattoo:
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?
from Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane. That's my album. Mine.

Gravity is overrated.

I think it was Gore Vidal who said "It's not enough for me to win, you have to lose.

That's just stellar, isn't it? I would laugh but it's just so mean. Twenty bucks says Caleb has it engraved into his bathroom mirror, repeating it every day while he shaves. It wouldn't surprise me one bit.

He offered me the moon and I have forwarded it along for counter-offers. The moon is not something I would want, I'm much more partial to Pluto anyway. Highest bidder wins and I will strap on a big tank of oxygen, pull a mask down over my nose and mouth and breath in earth-air in my new outer space home. Someone will have to come and build me a closet for my dresses and put in a plug somewhere for my curling iron so I will be astro-cute and then from there I'll detonate this planet remotely and blow you all to kingdom come.

But aha! Please. I already took a bunch of the cutest earthlings, specifically the ones with beards and flannel shirts and carpentry skills and musician hands and I stuffed them into the backs of the rockets so they could tag along.

Because I don't want to ever be lonely.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A lie come true.

Fine, everything is just fine. Seriously. He'll be okay. Apparently people who know a lot more than I do are working behind the scenes and everything is perfectly normal and this is to be expected.

Well, thank you for clearing that up, once again.

Look. I'm not good at this. Hell, I'm not good at the whole 'wife' thing anyway. My track record is that by being a wife I managed to kill two other men, and now I seem to be hellbent on going for a hat trick. Apparently I kill via stress. Because like Lochlan always tells me, I'm impossible.

They just keep trying anyway. Most people would run screaming the other way. Ben will hold me out to the wolves with one hand and the other hand is wrapped around the neck of a bottle and every now and then he laughs and takes a long drink and staggers where he stands and then he drops the bottle to the ground and it smashes and he rakes his hand through his dark hair in frustration and shakes me, feet off the ground.

Why do you do this to me?

I close my eyes. If I go somewhere else, maybe to the roses with Jake, maybe to the empty tunnel to wait for Cole, I'll disappear and Ben won't see me. But then he won't see me, you see? And there is that small matter of the promise I made once upon a late winter night on a farm far removed from civilization in that place where the land is flat but the sky is forever. The promise was that even when he couldn't control things he ought to be able to, even when everything is broken and we can't get anything to go back or stay together that we would. Stay together.

No matter what.

I'll take my place in front of him while he rages. Fay Wray protection King Kong from those who want to parade him around for show, to live off his talents and his marketability and I'll keep them back as long as I can, and somewhere in the darkness of his mind he understands that I am on his side and maybe that's what the promise meant to him.

Only he wasn't supposed to just give up like this again. That's the part I don't really understand and so I'm just going to hold onto my promise while I hold onto him, and maybe it will be enough. I'll wrap my arms around his neck and press myself into his flannel shirt and hold on as tight as I can, standing in a pool of broken glass.

I'm not going to be the poster child for people who are married to people in recovery. I don't know a damned thing about it. I just give you the words I have in my heart and hope you don't misunderstand them too badly.

No filler.

It's a beautiful day, actually. A nice light breeze, sunshine, clear and seventeen, which is my favorite weather-you can wear a sweater or not, pinned around your shoulders and otherwise it's good for strappy blue-green embroidered dresses and pretty sage green ballet flats. They talked about thunderstorms earlier but you'll never get the kind you see in the prairies so I'm not concerned yet. I've been to the bank to change addresses and collect some spending cash and to the farmer's market for fresh fruit and some more tomatoes. I went for coffee with Duncan, Daniel and Joel and I've come home now to fold the mountain of laundry that's waiting for me and do a few things around the house before I run up the hill to get the children for the afternoon. They'll be pleased, I also picked up cheese and strawberries. They love those for afternoon snacks.

Ben is home, headphones on, writing, madly. He kind of looks like me when I am very wobbly in a different way and he kind of looks like he always has, save for the glass beside him, that isn't orange juice lately but whiskey and water because he wants to burn, because he wants to float and be creative and forget and just be without that weight that never truly lifts. This is the magic hour when he is quiet. God help the first one of you who breaks that today.

I might join him if I had that sort of personality that allows for letting go but I do not, I have to be forced, and lately there has been enough of that.

Going to go sit outside in the sun, as soon as my chores are finished.
I don't want your concern.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Dreams in color.

Talking to herself
there's no one else who needs to know
She tells herself
Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along
Swears she knew it, now she swears he's gone

She lies and says she's in love with him, can't find a better man
She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can't find a better man
I heard the lyrics to that song today. Actually heard-heard them since the stereo was loud enough and all of the windows on the main level were closed against the ceaseless rain.

And then I cried because I always assumed the song was one lauding the hero of her heart, not lamenting the lack of courage to leave someone. How horrible. I cried not because it's a sad subject but because I can no longer enjoy the song. What's the point? It's sad. I don't like sad things. Like myself.

Ben fell off the wagon and he fell hard and I'm not good at this and nothing works and it just breaks when I touch it. It breaks. Into a million little pieces and I can never find them all so the light shines through the holes, blinding everyone. That's sort of where we are now. Standing around in the aftermath with one hand raised to shield our eyes so we can see where we're going.

Except for Ben, Ben is sitting on the floor and I can't get him to move at all. Not even to play a song.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Oddly appreciative.

Today was punctuated by the early morning slug army and the discovery of the grove, spiced with wasps and bookended with a new-sticky-summer-tires drive up the mountain to a lake fed by a glacier and none of it was salted but it was bigger than Bridget's heart and so I could appreciate it and otherwise between the cardboard and the branches and the sand my hands are very sore tonight and I still can't manage a full deep breath which is cutting into my quality of life at this point and I realized how incredibly capable we are in spite of the fact that we never feel like we know what we're doing.

So there you go.

Goodnight. Hurts to type. Or maybe I just don't feel like reporting to the vultures sometimes. I like it here though. Even the scary remote parts and the expensive parts are adventure and learning what's essential versus blind foolishness and I like that I can pull over on the side of the road and for a five dollar bill and a smile come away with a jar of honey, a flat of strawberries and three pounds of green beans to snap, already salted by the ocean air.

That's strangely comforting.

Friday, 14 May 2010

The wire walker and the twenty-four-hour man.

The circus is in full swing again and we haven't had time to even restock the concessions or sweep out the smaller tents. One elephant is loose and Bridget's braids unraveled the better part of four hours ago. There's a tear in her costume and a smudge of dirt on her forehead but pay her no mind, she's just but one part of the big show and there is so much here to see tonight.

My tightrope is woven with disquietude now, my balancing pole cast in fear. This part of the act seems blindly simple and yet it's the hardest part of all. You don't know until you're up here. You don't know so don't presume, just hold your breath and try not to audibly gasp when I wobble. If enough of you make the same sound it might carry to my ears and then I'll become distracted and make a mistake and then it will be the biggest Tragedy On Earth. Ringling Brothers. Death becomes Us. The Circus of Ghosts and Best Laid Plans. Don't miss it. You'll be sorry if you did.

I used to get a lump in my throat when I saw the tents going up. I would scratch out the lines in the dust from the games we were playing and I would grab my stickers and my candy and walk right up to the tent and duck underneath before they had time to secure the pegs. Sticker on my leg, cotton candy on my breath, I would watch with admiration as Lochlan worked to fulfill his duties. Usually by the time the tent went up he was packing up the leftover signs to head off early to the next town to post the next round of roadside arrows and gritty signs pointing the way. He used to say it was no life. He would shake his head at me as I drew lines in the dirt and balanced all the way down, arms out gracefully, hair still stuck in my mouth if it wasn't stuck in my ponytail. Smiling professionally, because I would become the youngest, prettiest Jill ever to charm the farmers and the townspeople too.

Oh, just you wait, Lochie.

Bridge, this is no life for you.

There's more love under this tent than in the ten thousand homes in this town.

Says you. These people are rough. You're too young to run with this crowd.

You're here.

I'm only on for five towns, remember?

We could go from coast to coast, think about how much fun it would be!

Go home, Bridgie. Go play with your Barbies.

I'll show you.

Have Barbie Circus even. You could do that.

Cole would take me.

Cole doesn't work here.

He would if I asked.

Don't you dare, Bridget.

What do you care?

Cole can't bring you into this.

Then what's your worry?

That Caleb would instead.

Caleb? Why would he care?

He would do anything you asked.

He's twenty-one, he's much too old for the circus.

It's not the circus that would keep his interest, bee.

Gross. I'm thirteen.

It's true, though.

That's creepy.

Bridget, don't kid yourself.

Can we talk about something else then?

Sure, what?

What costume I'm going to wear when I walk the high wire.

No. Because you're going to go home now.

I'm never going to marry you, you know that?

Oh, and why not?

You're not fun. There's no dreaming with you. Only logic. You're boring.

I could be worse.


I could be impossible, like you.

Yeah well, at least I know that when I grow up I'm going to live an exciting life. What are you going to do?

I don't know yet, but I hope it doesn't involve scraping you off the floor of the big top.

But would you if it did?

Of course I would. I love you, Bridgie, and I'll take the bag of your blood and guts and hair home to your mother and tell her you were very brave.

Good. Because someone will have to.

Yeah, somehow I don't see Cole sticking around for that part.

What about Caleb?

He would probably engineer your death just for the publicity.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Go round.

your love is a symphony
all around me
running through me
your love is a melody
underneath me
running to me
your love is a song

the dawn is fire bright
against the city lights
the clouds are glowing now
the moon is blacking out

I've been keeping my mind wide open
I've had numerous requests for a picture of the gate and of the rosebush. Not sure if you're going to examine the photos for the spectre of the preacher man or if you simply want a better idea of exactly where we bought.

I may concede on the rosebush later this week but not the gate, for the gate is an incredibly distinctive piece of architecture visible from the road (the roses are not, mercifully) and if you think I'm going to turn this journal into a map of the stars, I will marinate gleefully in your disappointment for the remainder of this day.

This time, things will be different.

I don't know, actually. I still get huge gaping pangs of fear and moments of extreme loneliness and it's been a week in the house. I still have moments of wow-I-could-walk-right-into-this-train-and-poof but it's tempered by hope and quieted by surprise.

Maybe it's so astounding that we're not forced to live at such a visceral level against the elements. Maybe that is the secret. (Oh joy. I can't wait until we get the three months of straight black clouds and constant rain that people talk about.) I'm obviously a fair-weather nightmare, in spite of my attempts to always pin that label to Lochlan's flannel shirt.

It is pretty here, and yes, the mountains are beautiful.

I hope they never erupt.

I hope I never see a bear in my front yard either.

I'm almost done with the boxes, and I've even summoned the moving company back to pick up the four-foot-wide stack of empty, flattened ones, and I'm thrilled to bits at the fact that we're chipping away at this quite nicely and finding a little room for things after all. It's becoming our house. Lochlan has his space, Daniel and Schuyler have a whole floor to themselves and are obviously honeymooning since we haven't seen them much at all, and Ben and I have our own entire wing with windows and space fitting for the giant rockstar that he is. Space for guests as well. It's really nice. It's very new and modern and the culture shock of that alone keeps me in permanent wonder.

I hope that never gets old, that feeling right there.

And the children are thriving, a mere three days into their new school. And aside from the neverending stream of jokes about Stepford and Children of the Corn (because damn. The parts here that aren't rugged forsaken coastline are pure country) they have made dozens of new friends, Ruth is teaching her friends to draw and Henry is being taught soccer by his friends. The teachers hand out fresh fruit for rewards in class and they have movie days outside and gym outside and free time outside and they're both so pink and healthy looking I have added sunscreen to our morning routine. Appetites. Good sleeps. Infinite smiles.

They have a good long walk to get there and home and I refuse to let the boys ferry them back and forth. They have lunch at school. The school has spirit and active parents and a principal who does band-aid duty and a lot of Bridget-handholding already as we learned the ropes in a school with a budget that allows for wonderful things and fulfilled, well-rounded children.

That's why we're here, after all. It wasn't a fresh start just for me. It was a risky grab for a rusted brass ring, the only one I saw out of the corner of my eye and when I turned my head I lost sight of it. I jumped anyway and I felt myself falling and then suddenly I had it and I closed both tiny dirty fists around it and I'll never let go.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

To the sea.

When I first saw you
I was deep in clean blue water
The sun was shining
Calling me to come and see you
I touched your soft skin
And you jumped in
With your eyes closed
And a smile upon your face
No one told me Jack Johnson grew a beard. Maybe save for Switchfoot, I've spent a lot of time away from quiet music recently because I didn't deserve quiet music and instead I immersed myself in screaming anger and incessant power.

I have forgotten where I'm going with this. I'm distracted tonight. My hands hurt from the dish soap. It's so harsh and I still found myself hurriedly scrubbing the few things that don't fit in the time machine, the rush to return to the comfort of the living room causing me to forget to put on gloves. Then suddenly it's eight and there are lunches to make and showers to supervise and dogs to walk and the evening disappears in a flurry of sundaes promised but never fetched and now the thought is in my head of a peanut-sprinkled hot fudge vanilla ice cream bowl and I can't remove it so instead I spent a few minutes on the top floor, all to myself, admiring the wall to wall white carpets and the walk-in closets because I'm used to hardwood, no storage, if you please and so I hung my new dresses with room to spare and then I came out and turned off the light and closed the door.

The closet has a window, you know, that's how big it is.

Oh and the anger is in my head. Unquiet as always. Quiet on the outside, mayhem on the in.

Do I deserve some quiet or should I go force more angry music into my head? Is it time to enjoy things or am I too busy holding on to fear and remembering to be grateful so that I don't become complacent. I never want to appear to take anything for granted ever, to the point that I would hang a sign around my neck just in case there was even an inkling that someone might think otherwise.

When I let my guard down, things go wrong and I'll be strung up high until the moment comes when everything goes black in a single blink without enough time to feel regret.

Trust me, I've proven it over and over. I won't tempt fate ever again. I love Ben and he's here and we're together and I'm not going to risk his love on trying to fulfill your ridiculous perception of what optimism means so just, please, let it go. I know life. I've lived life. While you were in your bubble, mine had already smashed upon the rocks and I've been loose for years, wandering alone. Sometimes alone. Sometimes now I have company in my alone and that's him.

When I saw Ben this afternoon I noticed the lurch is still there. The one where my heart snaps gently against my ribcage from the inside and almost knocks me over. Plaid. Flannel. Beard. Smile. Love. All the wonderful things I missed all day and then I am rewarded with my kiss for being good and still being present and productive and then we come home and family time settles in and there's a new routine forming. We lost the bath one, we lost some of the late night talks because we've shifted so that we're up with the sun and asleep with the sun which is healthier anyway. Routines will be molded and fine-tuned as we go.

Maybe some quiet music in my head to sleep by. I will do my best.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Gothic rose windows.

That's what they fight most over now, the fact that my happy place or the place that I go to when I need emergency mental escape is not merely the pantry but instead it's a memory that I keep that they were never present for. That's the argument now. And none of this is to be confused with the concrete room underground where I keep my ghosts in captivity. That's the very sad place. Are we straight now? Good.

Also never mind the wine. Things happen. I took the numb because the angry, bitter and terrified is exhausting. You would do the same. I had Ben's blessing to have a drink and then three, four and five more because terrified Bridget is just completely unreasonable and numb Bridget is just unsteady and pretty damned quiet. She wants whispered reassurance and a chest on which to rest her head. No more than that is ever required from Miss Numb. The only fallout is it could be days before I regain my full expanded vocabulary and my mental reflexes. It will also be days before I permit myself to do it again, lest anyone assume I am headed down Ben's road to find him and maybe pull him off the wagon or something.

The happy place is Jacob's beach house.

Maybe you knew that or remembered it from early posts. Maybe I just haven't talked about it for a while. It was a place I would go when I wanted to catch a break, unwind, or just hang out with Jake. I never seemed out of place there, there was always a spot in the driveway for my car, something good to eat or Jacob would be just magically preparing to cook as I arrived, there was always a quiet airy chair in front of the big windows that overlooked the Atlantic and wine in the fridge so I could be micro-numb, or marginally numb or whatever Jacob would permit without saying a damned thing. I never seemed to interrupt him when I would show up at all hours of the day or night. Weekdays, weekends, holidays and even twice in a day sometimes, he was always glad to see me and would drop everything to spend time talking with me or not talking and just being with me.

I would drive up, and grab my bag out of the passenger seat and run up the stairs and across the porch and the door would be open but I would knock as I came in and he would put down whatever he was doing and come and greet me, always in his casual uniform of a pale blue dress shirt, frayed slim jeans, bare feet and his University ring. I would get a hug (since it's sort of a mandatory Bridget-greeting and has been for my friends for thirty years at least because emotionally I am still eight years old, sometimes seventeen if it's a very good day.) He would check me over without acknowledging that he was doing so and then we would pour wine and talk. Sometimes he would fire up some water for pasta and I would make a salad for two, sometimes we'd just take the wine and sit in front of the window and pick each other's brains.

We only walked the beach when the wind was very low because if it was up I couldn't hear him well enough and he didn't find that fair to me.

Sometimes if I didn't feel like talking I would go for a swim, and he would meet me at the door with a towel afterward and then I would borrow one of his shirts and hang out in a wet bikini for the remainder of the day in his living room which wasn't a living room at all but a white painted floor, white beadboard walls, and two chairs. Nothing else. One chair rocked, one did not.

Jacob always blushed when he would hand me the towel and sometimes he would ask if I was cold, but then he would frown because he was afraid I might check myself and agree and cover myself up and I know he wanted to see me. I know he wanted to touch me but we hardly ever touched save for the welcoming hugs. I always felt that if I touched him I would snap, crackle and explode somehow and it might be painful and he might vanish.

Mostly though I talked and he listened and sometimes when I wouldn't talk he would tell me stories from his travels and they were always somehow appropriate for what ever was going on at the moment. I could take something away from the conversation or find another angle from which to view a situation. He was good at listening and counseling too and he still shows up when I need him. He is the happy place, and finally I've managed to get him back into the sunlight so that the reflection on his beautiful hair blinds even those who can't see him and I've bought a place that's not all that different from the place he used to have except that instead of a lawn made of sand I have actual grass and a medieval wooden gate and a rosebush that's losing petals in the most glorious way, into the wind, coated with salt and sun. I'm so happy he's here now and I don't have to run down the concrete tunnels anymore. Those weren't Jake. The room wasn't Jake, it was cold and frightening and there was hardly any sun save for what Jacob could make in wishes.

Cole is still there, as far as I know. Almost went to see him last night. Glad I didn't or I never would have known that Jake was waiting for me by the gate.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The myth of Echo and Narcissus.

I can feel you falling away
No longer the lost
No longer the same
And I can see you starting to break
I'll keep you alive if you show me the way
Forever and ever the scars will remain
I'm falling apart
Leave me here forever in the dark
I'm supposed to be making dessert but instead of putting ice cream on pie I'm breathing into a paper bag. The devil came for dinner and tonight he's talking over and around me and I am pickled in evil now. It's in my hair, the fumes are in my clothes, it's caked under my nails and even my teeth are coated in Caleb's malevolence tonight. He isn't happy and I am too insolent to give a fuck.

Bridget's busy running around the countryside, buying big clean jars of honey and fresh new potatoes and driving with all the windows down and the stereo up, and price-comparing colored pencils for school and folding towels to put away and unpacking even more boxes and...

..completely ignoring him.


Tonight he bent Ben's arms back to grab the olive branch that he surreptitiously wedged into Ben's hands and he pretty much invited himself out to the rugged, less-densely populated cliffs to give me the lovely mental picture of pushing him off one of them. So I made spaghetti because Caleb hates spaghetti but Henry adores it so what was he going to do other than take a few bites and then attempt to continue to top up my glass of wine while he spoke with the children about their first day at their new school, managing to mask his disdain for all things publicly funded and therefore uncontrollable by him (see example: BRIDGET).

After the first two glasses I suddenly realized what he was doing and stopped drinking. Fool me twice, shame on all of us. For fuck's sake. Nothing ever changes. I wish he would go home. Instead he asks Ben how he thinks I'm doing and then he watches me while I sit there and scowl at him, smoothing ruffles, fluttering fingers that give me away. Nervous. Anticipatory. Exhausted and impressionable. Worn down. Suggestible. Defeated. Helpless. Ben will eventually create the rescue inside my head with a carefully logical set of phrases that Lochlan gifted to him ages ago and I will go to Bridgetworld where everything is lilacs and Mozart and beach glass and chocolate-chip cookie dough and beards and hearts and arms that don't want to hurt me except in only the good ways and not the ways in which I need to trade more pain for less pain with demonstrative fear.

As usual, I say too much. As usual, it's out of a desperation that only a clean white page can possibly understand because the depth isn't visible to anyone save for the princess and the devil. The knights turn a blind eye and the night a heavy hand.

Stupid ice cream is melting.

Audio Secrecy.

Found my stereo this morning.

Everything's going to be okay.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Cosmopolitan backwoods and impossible to describe.

When she's near
The new years here
And there is not a resolution that I can't do
I see things clearly when she's near me
When she's near me all the world is new

I'm waiting for the day
When i am on her mind (she's all mine)
I'm waiting for the day
When loves no longer blind, blind
Remember all of those boxes I packed so carefully throughout March? Yes, well, they're here and the adventure part of the move is just about finished, aside from exploring our new surroundings thoroughly.

It's a tough adjustment when nothing at all is familiar. Learning the mechanisms of fledgling cities poised on the brink of cool. Figuring out recycling methods and schools. Did I tell you? The children begin school tomorrow. They have no supplies. I have not opened their clothes yet. Nothing is ready. It's full-day school here, they will not come home for lunch and with Ben returning to work tomorrow too I'm a little unsure how I will feel rattling around in my new ski-chalet type modern castle all by myself.

The kitchen is unpacked, as is the living room, or most of it. I sold my giant armoire with my old house and now I'm wondering where the heck I'm going to put things, even though this house is twice as large, and where the old house had a whopping three tiny closets, this one has eight, plus I have gone from four decent sized kitchen cabinets to fourteen.

No worries. Seriously. I will find space, though we will probably purchase more shelves. Because IKEA, you know. Do I need to say more?

Oh and the teeny tiny little robin's egg blue table? It's mine again! I have reclaimed it and I'm not budging this time.

The beard will go again today. I unpacked Ben's shaving kit so he will go from extreme wildman to civilized ken doll in a few swipes and some carefully navigated sideburns and then grow it out all over again. I wish he would leave it but I believe I can understand how it must feel to have hair on your face when it's twenty-three degrees in the sun.

And today is Mother's Day and I'm hoping to do two loads of laundry, make three lunches, unpack at least twenty more boxes and maybe slip out to see Iron Man. My own mom is in New York this week and I won't speak with her until she comes back and so I'm foundering a little bit but we don't make a huge show of these days anyway, so I would much rather call it a nice Sunday with full sunshine and a wide open schedule than anything else. I hope there are a lot more of these in our future, because the fridge is full, the lawn is mowed and I have candles around the bathtub and finally enough dishes to run the time machine without feeling guilty.

Did I tell you how much I love this house? Everything is digital. I push buttons and things come on. I can turn on more than one light per floor without blowing a fuse and the furnace was born after my children so I don't have to worry about being cold. Ever again.

Oh and yesterday my neighbor informed us that bears wander over sometimes. Right into my yard.

If you've been a reader since the beginning you have heard how much I love bears (I do not, that's pure sarcasm) based on one of the final camping trips Cole and I took to Keji before we moved to the wild west. I won't tell the story again, I need to go wake up the children. I'm not going to think about it again until one appears with a picnic basket and a jar of honey.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Good on purpose.

Tomorrow if all goes well we'll be plunged back into a sea of cardboard, but we'll have our things back at last. This is especially poignant for Ben, who has been living out of a hockey bag since New Year's, and is ready to stop now.

I tried to make today good on purpose. It began at five in a flurry of sheets and toothbrushes and then once Ben was off to work at 6:30, I opted to make the kids breakfast and then I ran a hot bubble bath. The big soaker tub is my favorite thing about this house and I plan to use it more often than not. Coffee, in a borrowed pot, strong and black. Then some laundry and playtime with kids and pup and then we opted for a long walk to check out the route to school and a park along the way. Met another mom and her children and then we set out for the mailbox and home. Lunch and then some more serious cleaning. Washed all the floors, washed down the walls, did the window panes (again) and tracks.

I kept finding bumblebee carcasses jammed between the locks and the sills. So not happy having to pluck out the crunchy little bodies with my fingernails but now everything is clean. Brought in the recycling bins. Drove down to the farmer's market and found there was no parking, they're setting up tents for a plank salmon supper tonight, oh and if we are around Sunday there's a fair with free gifts to the first fifty moms. And welcome, we are happy to have you here.

I have gone backwards in time.

Made another pot of coffee and put my hair up in a low twist, tonight we have a party to go to and then tomorrow the truck arrives. I haven't decided how they are going to fit an eighteen-wheeler up this hill yet but they insist I shouldn't fret about that sort of thing.


Then I'll be down to organizing bagged lunches and changing our address, fiddling with the neverending budget and finding my way around. That and looking forward to late nights with Ben. Once the kids have put out their lights and gone to sleep we go and fill the soaker tub to the brim with bubbles and we light candles and have a nice long bath together before bed. It's rather glorious, thank you for asking, and though sleep is still short, it's been deeper. Maybe that routine will change eventually but for this week I cherish it.

And Henry and I came to an impasse at the store. He wants spaghetti every meal. And cookies, but that's another story. The spaghetti request never ends. Should you ask him twenty minutes after eating spaghetti what he wants for his next dinner he'll say spaghetti. Lunch? Spaghetti. Breakfast? Spaghetti. Snack? Spaghetti please. But I persist, and cook it once a week but no more. We all like spaghetti but every six or seven days is lots. So today I see the canned Chef-Boy-is-Mommy-Lazy spaghetti and I point it out to Henry, thinking he will want to buy twenty cans and proclaim me to be the best mom on the planet.

He wrinkled up his nose and said he didn't want to buy it. Not even one can to try.

When we came home I asked him why he didn't want it.

It's in a can, mommy.

So? that means it's like two weeks old.

Good point, little man. Gross.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Thirty-nine is a freshwater lake in the mountains and it seems beautiful but it's cold and unfamiliar so I am sticking my toes in and then retreating. I'm going to take my time easing into it. I will get used to it eventually. I will define it and own it. I'll be able to say it without the accompanying facial expression that leaves people incredibly amused.

What the fuck? Thirty-nine? But I don't look OH MY GOD THAT MEANS FORTY IS NEXT.

It is but we'll cover that next year, okay? Please. It's been a long year. One step at a time.

I'll just spread my towel here by the water's edge and consider the breeze for a few moments.

On Tuesday night Ben built us a bed. It's low and large and more solid than anything I've ever seen. We choose a very good proper adult mattress for it and new king-sized pillows. This followed a trip to buy beds for the children. It doesn't seem like the moving truck is ever going to arrive, though I am receiving daily updates, presently it is in the prairies but working slowly toward the coast and should be here on the weekend but really at this point I have come to expect nothing and will keep you posted.

Last night was presents and cake and song and paintings of a girl with yellow hair and it was wonderful and touching and overwhelming and I am exhausted. I had such a wonderful day. Ben chose the most wonderful gifts for me and I'm rather stunned by the expense and afraid to touch anything because I'm sure it's too much and we should send them back but at the same time I really really love what he's chosen and the fact that he wanted me to have such nice things. He's thrilled to be in the house. Thrilled with his bed. Thrilled with everything about the neighborhood we chose and the decisions we have made. Content would be a better word. He's got his commute down to a science and he loves the distance due to the ability to decompress on his return trip. Leave the bright lights behind, rockstar, and come home to the woods.

I'm not sure I enjoy the added time away from him but I will adjust.

I'm up to my ankles in the water now but you haven't been paying attention, have you?

And today I realized that I have caught some stomach bug that has left me with painful cramps and a blistering headache and crushing fatigue. I chalked it up to stress. To being Miss Rigid-Can't-Relax but then it grew to epic proportions and Ben began to complain as well. We've caught something somewhere. It will pass. I'm going to run errands shortly and then come home and rest. Nothing else is necessary. I'm waiting and doing little things. I'm not used to errands that require a car. We are far from certain things. Though there is enough within reach that we don't NEED to drive, it will be a necessary evil most of the time. Like birthdays and waiting for moving trucks and weathering illnesses, learning how to manage stress and sitting on the floor because you don't have a chair. Like ice cold glacier-fed lakes, volcanoes, giant slugs and black widow spiders.

Like turning thirty-nine.

Going for a quick swim, I'll be back later.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Threes and Nines.

I wiped my hands on my cheeks, leaving streaks of dust and dirt. I'm sure there's some poetic name for the color of centuries of dust mixed in with tears. If so, I don't know what it is.

You look even more tired. I didn't think it was possible.

Italic I'm doing my best.

You keep telling people that. Is anyone listening, princess?

Ask them.

I'm asking you.

I ignored him. I always come up with these questions late at night, and I wasn't about to let him steamroll me with his Jacob Knows Better routine. I've seen it before. I lived it for a while.

Not long enough.

What does it feel like to know that I'm two years older today than you will ever be? What happens when I'm old? Will you still be the same?

Am I the same?


Bridget, why do you ask me questions you already know the answers to? Don't you trust your own answers?


Why not?

Everything that can go wrong does, Jake.

Last night didn't go wrong.

You have a terrible way of showing up for events you're not invited to, mister.

That aside. Ben built you a bed. Then he drew a bath. Last night was nice for you. Right through to leaving the house.
Yes. And today is your birthday. Happy Birthday Princess. What did you ask for?

Sleep. Karma. Escape.

Any luck?


Ask for something money can buy, then.

Money is evil.

Everything is evil, princess. Pick and choose. We've talked about this before.

It isn't fair, Jacob.

I know, baby. You're doing great thought.

Yes, please mollify me. I'm loving that.

Don't be ungrateful.

I'm telling you that's the last thing I am.

Then let it go.


Evil finds you then, princess.

So let it come.

You disappoint me, Bridget. I thought you were so tough.

I was but that's over now. Now I'm just me again.

The girl who doesn't like birthdays?

Yes. That's the one.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Extremes in coastal living: the early days.

Did you see the Krispy Kremes? I know. Those things are crack. I've had four doughnuts today plus birthday cake (again)(not mine) and I'll be rolling into the new house tomorrow at any rate. Thank heavens it's downhill all the way.

That's what it's been so far, hasn't it? We actually left the condominium a few days earlier than planned due to a mixup and came out into the countryside to hang out with Lochlan's family. We're surrounded by horses here. It's a lot like Nolan's only more lush and far larger than the the little grove on the prairie where Ben and I fell in love. It's downright picture-perfect, like a postcard only without a hint of familiarity so far and Ben keeps patiently driving me around my new neighborhood and we practice left-right-left so I can memorize the way home and the way to the grocery store because for the first time in oh, thirty-eight years or so I'm going to enter car culture, where everyone drives everywhere because there is nothing within walking distance and the hills are so steep I fear for my life sometimes.

The house is still remote but I'm finally beginning to get flutters of excitement here and there like fireflies you can see just after the sun goes down.

The very first thing I took notice of today were the outlets on the outside of the house. For my tiny white lights. The expanse of verandah that will hold my favorite all-weather chairs and the windchimes I hear best. I didn't catch them the first time, just like I failed to notice there's a blooming lilac and a dogwood tree in my yard and both are flowering presently.

Last evening we stood outside and listened to the frogs and peepers and crickets and holy, it was LOUD. I heard them before Ben had the door open all the way and it was glorious. It was just like Greenfield, actually, only without the Medway river muffling everything save for the sound of the occasional car traveling swiftly through on the way to lonely nowhere.

(I only spent a few weeks there each summer (for fifteen years, mind you) growing up and oddly that is the first thing this reminds me of.)

The farmer's market here is packed, the strawberries run cheap and there are honey bees and horses and waterfalls and festivals around every bend. Like a movie only not, once again because it's real life. Except that I have to drive to my mailbox. I don't know where it is yet.

We've decided to stay on here until our moving truck arrives, rather than try and rough it in the house. A relief and a setback, because if I can go in the house tomorrow I know I won't want to leave, but really we can't sleep on the floor and we don't have dishes and pots and pans and blankets and anything. It's all on the truck and it would just be more comfortable to stay on a few more days than risk getting out of sorts any more than we are.

And we are. Ben's going into month five living out of a suitcase and the children have run out of patience for change. Different foods, different schedules and the total lack of familiarity take a toll on everyone. We need to just hold out a few more days. That's all.

Just a few more. We can manage. Character building, they call it. Sigh.

No more cross-country moves ever. Stick a fork in me, I'm so done I'm burnt and completely inedible, looks like you'll have to get take out after all.

Adapt or die, princess.

Indeed, Jacob. I am doing my best.