Because you feed me fables from your handHis chin is pressed against my head. He shakes his head and mine spins in response. Ow. I try to pull away but he doesn't let me go.
With violent words and empty threats
And it's sick that all these battles
Are what keeps me satisfied
If I can't have certain things, then neither can Ben.
You don't get to do that, Lochlan.
Sure I do. Last time I checked I was the adult in this relationship.
Then act like it.
As soon as you stop finding room for him in your mental circus. Or in our history.
My history is complicated.
I know, I was there.
The abrupt shock of his comment turns my skull into ice. I'm sure had he pressed down with his chin just right my head would have shattered and melted into the floor. Instead he finally loosens his hold enough to pull back and look at me. I meet his gaze. It's easy for me to push Lochlan out of my past and be alone there, tapping on the glass, watching events unfold like some sort of ignorant bystander. It's more difficult to push him out of my present but there he is like a persistent itch or a beeping reminder. One missed call. Voice mail awaits.
This voicemail is an endless repetition. I should have left the decisions to the grownup and then we wouldn't have gone hungry, and we would have been safe. Everything would have been different. But I am impulsive and impossible. The i-words. I hate them. I can't help them.
Lochlan thinks with his dedicated vigilance he can turn back time and change things, fix things so that his little girl can grow up and stop fantasizing about the circus.
Only he doesn't, so why would she?
When he stood up at the birthday dinner to level his toast at Benjamin, he described in no uncertain terms exactly where he stands. In life, with me, with us. Words that were found by Benjamin and tucked away for safekeeping. Words that Ben took seriously, while I swung my legs and chewed on my hair and wished for a stronger drink than cranberry juice, knowing I would never get it. I wished for a magic carpet ride that would take me away from Lochlan and I wished for a clone so I could give him one hundred percent. I wished for clarity and for strength. I wished for peace of mind and an end to the concrete room if that's what Jacob wants. I wished for comfort for Cole and for Caleb too. I wished for a million huge wishes and then Ben blew out the candles on his cake and vetoed every last one of mine with one single wish of his own.