Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Chastening.

Raised voices in the driveway this morning woke me up and I went out on the balcony to see what was going on.

Caleb's home. By himself. Unloading his carry-on and his briefcase from the front of his car. He and Lochlan are trading harsh words but I can't hear what they're saying so I head downstairs and out the front door in my bare feet, Hello Kitty pajama bottoms and Ben's Excelsior t-shirt no match for a frosty, sunny morning.

Go back and get him. How fucking irresponsible can you be? 

Ben is forty-three years old, Loch. I know you're used to babysitting but he made up his own mind and I had to get back.

When is he coming home? 

When he decides, I suppose. You'll have to ask him. 

Did you remind him that he has responsibilities here? 

What exactly? Playing second fiddle in the family band isn't exactly Ben's forte. 

He needs to be here for her! Lochlan points at me. I have made my way to the end of the walkway and I wait there. Lochlan didn't even turn around and he knew I was there.

Caleb puts his briefcase down and a little bit of evil leaks from his expression. He tilts his head. I would have thought you'd be thrilled he's staying longer than anticipated. It gives you more time to spend playing with your doll without the constant reminder of how badly you fucked everything up and how you'll never EVER have her the way you want.

My mouth falls open.

Stop it! I walk right past Loch and confront Caleb. Why didn't he come back with you? 

He didn't say. But he seems together, if that's what you are worried about. 

Together? That doesn't mean anything. Why would you come back without him?

Like I told Pyro. Ben is an adult. Plus he has all kinds of work he can do down there.

I need him here. 

Lochlan's talking on top of me. He should be here for Bridget.

BUT YOU'RE HERE! Caleb roars at Lochlan. It's really odd that you want him back here for Bridget. Makes me see exactly how difficult a time you have with being responsible for her. Maybe Ben is giving you a chance to show off your true colors once and for all. Then she'll understand for herself that you're completely incapable of doing much more than mindless entertaining. In this kingdom, you have defined yourself as the court jester. Dismissible. Forgettable. Temporary. 

Lochlan is stunned into total silence. So am I. We look at each other and then back at Caleb, who won't shut up suddenly. He hasn't said this much in one breath since forever.

Maybe Ben's giving you both a little tough love. He made a fatal mistake bringing you on board. He only did it because he thought it would make her happy but it's backfiring. And Bridget is as stubborn as she is beautiful and prefers to pretend that since she can't actually see our flaws that we must not have any. Maybe Ben's going to shine a light on all of that now and come out the victor. At least that's what I would be doing if I were him.

What if he bets wrong? Lochlan's eyes are smiling but his face isn't. What if I can pull this off and there's nothing for him to come back to? Lochlan's a betting man. Always was, always will be. He got that from the fair. I will bet on nothing of significance only, I got that from the fair too. It's not worth it. We lost too much.

Loch, in the forty years we have known each other, you haven't been able to sufficiently take care of anything, least of all Bridget. Not a career, not a home, not a pet and suddenly you find yourself with a wife and child and you are so ill-prepared I don't doubt for a second that you are the one being taken care of here, instead of them. You show your true colors every time, Brother. Every single fucking time.