You can sing all you want, brother, but she's never going to be your soulmate.
That was all it took this morning for Ben to upend the whole breakfast table (which seats fourteen people) and send Lochlan to the floor. I'm not sure why Loch persists in digging his own grave every fucking goddamned day but I believe it might be deep enough by now.
I'm glad it was only the three of us who were present, since I feed the early boys early, then the kids with PJ and Danny and then the rest of them get their own, and then I can sit and enjoy my coffee and waffles with my two former favorite people, neither of whom is keeping any promises at all this morning. At least they managed to not break any dishes for once but it took a really long time to scrub the coffee off the walls.
He is the cat and I am the canary and I sought refuge in his company the moment I had the kitchen cleaned up, opting to practice defiance over obedience, the morning dramatics forcing a new sort of exasperated recklessness. I took my big basket of blackberries and off I went, ostensibly to use Caleb's kitchen and hide out for a bit.
True to form, the moment he comes to the door, he does two things:
1) He tells me I never have to knock. He knows I'm coming and never locks his door besides.
2) He invites me in and was just finishing something or other and has all the time in the world. This is new this year. He's definitely one of the few who reprioritizes when he says he's going to do so. No longer do I need to wait for conference calls to end, or a break between meetings if I appear. He just drops whatever he's doing and gives me all the attention I want or need until I have enough or have to go or walk out on him or whatever.
(He's actually working very hard on making our encounters positive so that I stop walking out on him so much but I imagine that will be a slow process that won't ever end.)
Caleb takes the basket and turns to go into the kitchen, setting it beside the sink.
What are we making? Pies?
Mmm. I've never done this before.
I did one batch already but I want to make more. You don't have to stay.
No, I think this will be great. You lead the way and I will take orders. He winks at me when I look up at him, startled, and quickly changes the subject. Up at the house this morning...was anyone hurt?
How did you know?
I heard a crash.
No, they're fine.
Doesn't sound like it to me.
I don't want to talk about it.
Me neither. I want to make this jam. Let's get to work.
Two hours later we had nine more jars sealed and cooling on the counter, in addition to the fourteen jars I already made last week. Caleb hangs the towel on the oven door handle and turns back to me, rolling his shirtsleeves back down. Does the timing mean I can invite you out for lunch?
No, I should go back. I want to talk to Lochlan.
He winces just barely but understands he is caught anyway. What do you say to that sort of behavior?
Not to do it?
Does that work? Does it work like it does when they tell you to stop doing things you do that upset them? He is smiling again. He's poking holes in the way I hold my life and all the good parts pour out through the tiny jabs like an hourglass and when my time is up I know everything's going to change again.
It doesn't matter, it's not your concern.
Sure it is. Put simply, Bridget, if Lochlan was your soulmate, you would easily be able to avoid spending so much time with the one person he despises more than anyone else on earth. But here you are anyway. Maybe you should question your choice of soulmate after all. A soulmate is usually the person who is your other half, your perfect match, and I daresay neither one of them live up to your character. Not by a long shot.
But I always go for the longshots.
You should look a little closer to home. We're cut from the same cloth, Bridget. There's a reason we can't leave each other alone.
Cue the walk-out. Thanks for helping with the jam, Caleb. It wasn't until I was halfway across the driveway that I realized he even knew exactly what Lochlan had said to set Ben awry. Lochlan spoke somewhat softly, just loud enough to be heard and no more.