Do you feel the chill,Sometime in the night, Ben finally appears. At some point he must have decided absence was easier than comfort and he lied and said he had a deadline. Schuyler hung up on him, I was told. He waited until another midnight hour had passed and then he sat down on the side of the bed and ran his fingers across my forehead. He leaned down and kissed my cheek and said he was sorry. That he should have kept a closer eye. That he gets caught up in his work. He slides his hand over my mouth so I can't respond. Like everyone in this house, Ben would prefer to live in the daydream of his choosing, and any deviation from that will burst his bubble. So I say nothing and eventually his hand leaves my mouth and I drift back into a dreamless, empty crash of a sleep. He's not there when I wake up.
Clawing at the back of your neck?
I start to spill.
Did you really think that you could fix me?
They'll sell your bones for another roll.
We'll sharpen your teeth.
Tell yourself that it's just business.
I'm still foggy today, exhausted and dehydrated. PJ has already driven the children to school in the pouring rain. I don't think I remember how to drive anyway.
Lochlan is still yelling. He shoved a bowl of Lucky Charms and milk under my chin this morning and asked me how I felt. When I started to answer he just blurts out,
He could have killed you. Mixing drugs and alcohol! Jesus CHRIST! What if you had overdosed! What if you died!
I pushed the bowl of cereal back. These aren't questions. He's yelling at the wrong person.
If he wants to kill me, he won't do it with drugs. I stare at Loch until he clues in slowly around the perimeters of his outrage. It takes the flames out of his fire. Fear shuts him down instead of waking him up.
I asked the Devil to kill me once before.
He came pretty close.
The men come with the new patio doors. They are custom-made, a rush order. I'm not willing to board up the wall waiting for something to be ordered from some other place. One of them sees a framed item on the wall and reads the plaque underneath it. He asks if Ben is home, could he get a picture maybe? I tell him I don't know. He proceeds to walk around the room pointing out what a fan he is, stopping at the desk where my writings are. I ask him not to touch anything, please. He reddens and returns to working on getting the doors installed. As I leave the room he apologizes, but for what I don't know. Curiosity doesn't require an apology from a stranger but I accept it anyway.
I watch the rain from the dock. Caleb holds an umbrella over me. He is still surprised at the uproar his actions made in resolving my abrupt freakout.
I turn to him. You can't understand why they're angry.
No, frankly. I can't.
Then next time skip the Ativan or whatever it was and just ask PJ or whoever's home to see that I am just...restrained appropriately.
I feel more comfortable watching over you myself. He smiles softly. And it wasn't Ativan.
That's why they're angry, Diabhal.
Because I can manage your needs? Because I love you?