Through every forest, above the treesI am in my customary indoor thinking-place. It's four-ish in the morning or so, best time for conversation uninterrupted. Best time for truths otherwise obscured by manners and tact. I sit beside the bed on the floor, my head against the mattress, a goblet of red wine sipped so slowly I've been at it for an hour and the glass is still over-full.
Within my stomach, scraped off my knees
I drink the honey inside your hive
You are the reason I stay alive
He is flat on his back on his bed staring at the ceiling, an icepack wedged against his jaw from where one of those carnival rat punches hit home. He mostly doesn't care about it and was toughing it out when I noticed the swelling and the bruise coming out. He has meetings he can't go into looking like a fucking prizefighter and so I went and made a makeshift coldpack for him, wrapping it in a towel.
He held his arm out as if I would then cuddle with him, having let my guard down already in demonstrating tenderness. I sat on the floor instead and his arm dropped down to rest on my shoulder. I shrug it off and we wait in silence for common ground.
He speaks first, clearing his throat gently after an unsuccessful first try. We have grown so close that this is difficult and it shouldn't be. We owe each other nothing at the end of the day. He bought his proximity to me and I decide the rest.
I- I need a few days, Bridget. Then I'll share everything with you. I just want to unwind right now. No worries, doll. It isn't that bad.
Are you dying?
Most definitely not.
Then just tell me.
It will be shared in conjunction with some other business we need to discuss but I don't feel like talking business right now.
Do I need to do anything?
No. It's on auto-pilot (In-joke. The board runs everything.) You just need to be here.
I can't be 'here'.
I mean stick around.
Where else would I go?
Half the time I think Lochlan's going to smuggle you out in the middle of the night and I'll track you across the country and find you in a camper in Shediac and you'll be welded to something so you'd never have to leave.
He would totally do that. Heh.
And Ben would never know where to look.
But Ben is Now. Loch is Then.
What am I?
I don't know yet.
That makes me profoundly sad. You don't have a place for me. Or maybe it means I'm the Future.
You're not the Future.
You don't know that.
Hell, yes, I do. I gulp down the entire glass of red and brace for the instant headache. He rolls onto his side and frowns at me.
Now why did you do that?
To anesthetize because you cause me pain.
Pain I can also fix. Does this mean you're going to stay for a while?
No, I'm going home. You can call me when you want to talk about your test results.
Bridget, don't be nervous. I just want to have everything together to make the best use of your time.
That's the only thing I have now. Time. I just wait for things. Things happen. I wait for the fallout and then the resolution and then I wait some more. I wait to stop worrying. I wait to be happy. Time is definitely the enemy.
Then what am I? If I'm not past, present or future. What am I?
You? You're the devil. We established this in 1983, remember?