This morning I rolled out of bed and into a nightmare of coughing that followed me all the way around the block with the dog in the pre-dawn darkness. I came in and dragged myself through the motions of making honey toast and sweetened coffee for Ben. I kissed him goodbye and rested my head against the front of his jacket for as long as he would allow.
When he was gone I locked up again and headed back upstairs where I spent a good thirty minutes in the steamy shower, breathing in the warm air, unclenching my lungs and clearing my head. When I felt my skin begin to protest I got out reluctantly, slipping into my jeans and a warm hoodie and I ran a comb through my hair, gently. I returned to the main floor, poured myself a cup of coffee and holed up in the corner reading until the rest of the house awakened, one room at a time.
Such a marked difference between one tiny light casting a quiet glow on the side of a cliff and a house with every light on, everyone talking at once, waiting for turns at the coffee maker, asking me how I am feeling while I try to focus on getting the children fed and organized and out the door in time for school. Maybe I will be April's perpetual fool, attempting to live at 33 rpm in a 78 rpm world, running in slow motion when fast-forward has become de rigueur.
I changed my clothes, jumping on the 78, skidding across the vinyl on my way to the loft to check on some business. I will stay on this song as long as I need to and no more.
Ben is back to his usual hours for the next little while and I grateful for that. When he works long hours I feel disconnected and lost. When he is home I feel whole. Lochlan will tell you that is wrong but for him it is simply sour grapes. I watched him watching me as PJ gave me a hug upon hearing that I am feeling slightly better this morning and he visibly winced when PJ's arms closed around me. As if he can't bear this existence. Well, he doesn't have to be like this. He could let go but he doesn't. He could relax but he won't. He could live but he prefers to exist in the past.
Sometimes I don't blame him. The simplicity of a hot shower or a good cup of coffee is something we don't take for granted. The luxury of being able to get better without doing it under a gun still feels like a gift from heaven. The nights when two weeks into a new set up, it had been raining for days and I was so sick I was ordered not to get out of bed unless the camper was on fire, and Lochlan was as sick as I was but he would do all of our work and then head into town for soup for me and by the time he came back I would be asleep and the soup would be tepid and he would throw it out. We both lost weight and gave up hope and then the sun would make a surprise appearance and the show would be bustling and suddenly everything was going to be okay again.
But that same bittersweet history holds all of the reasons why we are the way we are now, forever and life goes on, we are the fools, time heals nothing. Time serves to twist screws and force change. Time serves to corrupt and skew the facts and warp reality. Fuck time, time is a ticking bomb in the face of relative peace.
Time is the cadence of the devil breathing down my neck. I am outrunning time once again.
The night after Lochlan brought my things to the fair in his backpack after breaking up with me, the borrowed camper burned. I was relieved he was not inside when it went up in flames and then suspected he or Caleb burned it right up until the moment he told me his journals were gone, right up until the fire department confirmed that it was accidental. He never would have burned those books, they are his definitive soul.
Only they aren't gone. I found them this morning, here at Caleb's loft and like I promised back in 1981 when I first saw Lochlan with one, I won't look in them, Lochie and no, this isn't a fucking April Fool's joke and I just need to figure out the right way or the right time to tell him they are safe but fuck it, half the time the right time never takes place because time is wrong and I am just about to leave and bring them back to their rightful owner.*
*(I wrote that this morning while I was still at the loft looking after some paperwork and I chickened out of posting it, in the very real risk that Caleb might read it before I could be safely underway with property that, while incredibly value to Caleb, belongs to someone else. Lochlan has his books now, clutched into shaking hands, I am home safe and sound and for good measure I closed the front gate and changed the code again, which is very frustrating for everyone. It won't keep Caleb out but it might slow him down, and that's all I need for now. This was one piece of the puzzle that's been missing for a long time. I would like to see the whole picture now.)