I can't find the secret to surviveFeverish, exhausted and still I get up at dawn and shrug into one of his favorite dresses, a plum-colored raw silk halter dress that makes my skin look like marble and my hair like hard rain. I frown at my face in the mirror, and sit down to put on the shoes with the ankle bows. Jesus. What a stupid getup for a Saturday morning.
To grow old safe and sound
Life is sifting through like the sands in the hourglass
There's not a moment to relive my time and space
There's not a moment to undo anything
A Saturday morning should be flannel pajamas and cartoons and coffee and Lucky Charms but it's not. It's my own personal Devil, looking to collect dividends on hos ownership of my soul. I square my emotions and decide against jewelry. Not like he ever leaves it on anyway and Ben, over the years, has eaten all of my favorite earrings. I don't care to replace them.
I walk quietly downstairs, through the kitchen and out the side door. There are a few lights on in the boathouse and when I reach the door I put my hand up to knock. Caleb is already at the door. He looks tired too. Maybe he's getting sick. He doesn't say anything, he just holds out his arms. I've never refused a hug in my entire life and I'm not about to start now. I run a deficit and I'm never discriminating. A hug is a hug is a hug.
It's a good one. He holds tightly but not too tightly. He puts his head down on mine. I rest my head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat slow to a relaxed cadence and then eventually I pull back, coughing, taking a step back to wait for instructions.
He frowns as he fetches a large white envelope from the counter, passing it to me with a look on his face I can't even describe. I open it. Inside is a small bottle of antibiotics with a handwritten label.
Caleb tells me to start with two and then take one each day until they're gone. That he went and picked them up after describing what everyone was suffering from in the main house, treated with the same pills I see in this bottle.
He takes the envelope back and withdraws something else. A piece of paper from his desk with his heading on it, addressing me, confirming that he is in receipt of full monies up to and including December.
So instead of worrying about the next few months we can breathe a little or maybe he'll find some other way to torture me to pay for this. I don't know. I kind of panic either way because I don't want this hanging over my head like it does. I'd rather just sell all my things and pay him cash because cash is easy.
He puts his hands on my face and forces me to look up, shut up and pay attention. I didn't write it off, it was paid for you. So go home and get better. That's your job right now.
Then he lets go and opens the door. I'm just about to leave when I remember to bring my medicine and my proof with me.
Who paid it?
Where did he-
I don't know, Bridget. We don't have normal conversations anymore. He brought me the money, I wrote you a receipt. I gave him a receipt as well but he's probably already set it on fire like he does with everything I touch. He's got a long way to go in learning people skills, you might want to help him with that. Or better yet, cut him loose. He weighs you down, if a few payments left you both willing to settle into old habits to pay your way.
Don't even start, you don't know-
I know you're a very sick little girl and you need to go lie down and get better. Call me if you need anything. Take the pills. Do you remember what I told you? Start with two.
Please stop saying that.