My emotions are doing their high-wire act this morning and the boys are my net. I can hear the crowd but I can't see anything with the lights. I step out and pitch over the rope without even trying. Lochlan climbs up into the net to pull me out and gives me a shove toward the ladder.
Do it again. Practice makes perfect, Peanut.
I climb the ladder again and cross to the other side without hesitation. It wasn't that I couldn't do it, I just didn't want to and I was making a point. Like a child. Since I was one the entire time and might still be, truth me told. Disappointment still stings. Euphoria still overwhelms. Contentment is still the goal. Moments that get strung together to bring me all of it feel like flashing Christmas lights in every color of the rainbow when I wanted plain blue static. Always on.
But the sensory overload will continue sometimes and sometimes it will be oh-so-quiet and he is right. On the way to the ladder today to do it all again each of them were standing there, in a path that leads straight to the base. Each one had a crushing endless hug for me. Each one a kiss for the top of my head and at the very end in the dark with the roar of the crowd spooling up again was Jake.
Onward and upward, Princess.
I nod and grab the rung just about my head. I know, Preacher.
When I wake up all of the hugs disappear into forgotten dreams and Lochlan and Ben are both still dozing deeply. Things are different this morning. The Devil and I are going to take another extended break though he isn't going anywhere. PJ is back in charge. Lochlan holds all the legal cards and Ben is back to being the wall of a guy that I needed most, as I ran headfirst into him all week long and he would gently put out his hands and catch and deflect my head so it didn't crack open like an egg each time. He's fine. He's tough. He's doing great, like he said, and had he left his program early we'd probably not be so great right now, even though the timing was terrible.
Isn't the timing always terrible? Life never runs like the show, choreographed within an inch of its life, planned out to within a fragment of a moment to keep momentum, or suspense, or excitement.
On second thought, that's exactly what it is. I'm going to let the boys sleep. I've got a pool date with Duncan so we can facetime with Dalton. I get up, take a quick shower and put on my bikini and a really pretty new kimono. I'm ridiculously pale. Add a little lip gloss. Dry my hair and then when I come out Lochlan is up on his elbows, staring sleepily at me. He's out of it.
I'll be at the pool, I remind him.
Just have your call and bring Duncan back here so we can keep sleeping, he mutters and lies back down, turning away toward the window. Ben hasn't budged. I don't think Lochlan knows what he's saying, or maybe he does and he's anxious to make me happy.
Maybe I'll stop in and see August afterward, I remind him. So I doubt it.
But he's already asleep.