It's difficult to focus on the conversation at hand this morning with thoughts of last night still so fresh, leaning back hard against Ben, who had one hand around my forehead and the other around my ribcage while I marvelled at Lochlan's wide shoulders, wedged between my knees. Had I been able to see his face I would have told him that's an angle I could surely appreciate but alas, he was very busy.
When I got too loud with my cries Ben's hand moved to my mouth and he laid me out facedown on the quilt and I don't even remember how many turns they took or how many times I was turned over but I remember waking up with hurting cheeks from smiling in my sleep. I remember waking up blissfully cool, as we left the balcony doors open wide and it dropped to twelve degrees overnight and I rolled back an inch and was pressed up against Ben, Lochlan high above me on the other side, my face against his chest, one hand over my head against Ben's shoulder, the other around my chin.
Caleb is trying to talk to me and has realized I'm not listening. He moves closer, tilting my head to one side, checking for the hearing aids I never wear.
You're staring straight at me and you can't hear me? He looks devastated.
I'm sorry. My mind is somewhere else. Then I crack up because like I said, I have no poker face at all and it's terribly inconvenient that I don't sometimes.
You think it's funny that I'm leaving.
No. I think it's awful that you can't just live here and be happy without always turning the screws, frankly.
I told you what I want.
Then I feel badly for you. It isn't mutual.
Sometimes it is and those are the times I want to exploit because I think we could grow it into something incredible.
Something incredible, alright. Caleb, I-
I'm not going to fight this because I don't believe anything is going to change so there's no risk in going right now. Ben will cave in and need rescue. I'll be gone, your ghosts will be gone. Soon your team will be gone and Lochlan will prove himself as useless once again in taking care of you. When that happens, call me and I'll be on a plane. Otherwise I'll see you at the end of August. He gives me a hard kiss on the mouth and I almost fall over but he steadies me and then stares hard for a moment while I stare back. Then he bends down to pick up his travel case and squints up at the sun for a moment.
Bridget, I've never known you to push away love. Don't start now.
And he's gone.
I waited many heartbeats to see if I would have a panic flutter set in but I didn't. I waited many more to let the realization that the exodus of this week includes three very central characters in my story sink in but nothing changed. Caleb will be back. The memory thief didn't take everything. I'll be okay. I've got my boys. There's lots of them left. No shortage, anyway. The touchable ones remain. The loveable and loved ones remain, the alive ones remain. Life remains. I hitch up my cashmere underpants, vowing to do so well while the Devil is gone that he doesn't recognize me upon his return.
Then I realize I have a cashmere wedgie and I'm incredibly predictable to boot so I dial it back a notch, readjust my outfit and go back inside for breakfast.