Thursday, 30 August 2007

More dust.

I'm going to figure this all out if it kills me. Templates, I mean. Not relationships. That would be too hard.

Update 3:12 pm- going to give up. any. second. now.


I love the stacks of paper and abandoned pencils that lay scattered over Jacob's desk like autumn leaves on the grass. I love the way he sweeps the whole mess onto the floor in a blizzard of white when he pulls me down for love renewed in strange places, assuring me that my worth is of more than his scribblings, more than his thoughts on paper.

I love that the windchimes ring constantly in the colder mornings and that the morning ritual of a fire is a necessary chore now. The smell of the smoke and the crackling fill my nose and my ears separately and I shiver into some clothes and head down in search of a strong coffee and a long hug.

I love that he can now somehow anticipate how far downhill I have slid overnight by how tensely I sleep.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Star in the dust.

Even though I opted not to take the job at the church, I'm helping Sam out a little bit here and there while he looks for someone to fill the position. Today I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the steps in the foyer when I realized I was being watched.

The church has three gardeners, basically three of the more reliable men who frequent the shelter Jacob volunteers at. They hold odd jobs and pay for their rooms and stay out of trouble. Two of them were standing in the doorway watching me. Just curiously, like I was a bird who might fly away. That's when I realized the reverence they hold for Jacob, and the fact that we sometimes live in a movie.

A western, to be certain.

One of them said quietly to the other,

That's the Reverend Jake's Miss Bridget. Ain't she pretty?

Breathe water.

We stood in the cold saltwater, up to our ankles in foamy, freezing surf while seaweed in heliotrope-hued goosebump bubbles swirled around our feet, catching in our toes and caressing our heels.

We held hands. The soft rubbing of his thumb on my fingers, on the back of my hand. His hand, warm and strong and self-assured. The wind had forced his hair to whip into his eyes and he shook his head and turned to block the wind from my face.

Cole smiled softly.

I'm going to ruin you.

Instead of responding I turned to go back up the beach to our blanket. Only he wouldn't let me go.

I'm serious, Bridget. You shouldn't be with me. You used to be so happy.

I never answered anymore when he started to talk like this. He would get angry if I did and I learned a long time ago that the small moments of self-doubt that crept into his words were enough to help me remember that once, he loved me. Once, he wanted to be a better man. It was better to let him speak and let him get it out and then he would turn back into the Cole I knew now.

You should be with someone like Jake. Or maybe Ben.
He'd laugh.

And then he would be gone, just like that. And the Cole I didn't like would come back. And most of the time when that happened I would stand in the surf and wish the ocean would swallow me whole.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The luxury of falling apart.

Proceed at your own risk. You can always tell I'm tired when I tell you things you don't need to know and my punctuation leaves something to be desired. Or when I tell you about a quarter of what's on my mind and it makes little sense as a result.

Something to be desired. Yes. There's the theme for this post.

Sometimes funny songs make it into his repertoire. Constantly singing. Perhaps it's the peril of marrying the (casual) lead singer after having been married to the drummer for so long. Every song you hear that stands out winds up being played back to you, sometimes in the form of the strolling afternoon minstrel who has run out of things to do and is now following you around the house while you put away laundry, wielding his acoustic, and singing the theme from Snakes on a Plane.

I kid you not!

    So kiss me goodbye
    Honey, I'm gonna make it out alive

Some days are incredibly skewed from before. Our dynamics change and briefly we're given a taste of the partnership we cultivated as friends. Friends on equal footing.

He pointed out today feels alot like those times when we got comfortable enough to finish each other's sentences or to leave them be. To be comfortable together in spite of the albatross roosting between us. To be friends with all the expectations we heaped upon each other, swords drawn, dares stated and left to be fulfilled, if we had the guts.

Jacob sees his own doctor and has finally been given some medication to help relieve the pressure of being Jacob, married to Bridget. He is absolutely stunned by how much he managed to hold together and bottle up unwittingly over the past two years and the toll that has taken on him.

I'm dealing with all that fresh guilt, feeling responsible and he (and everyone) keeps trying to insist that it's not but really I'm not that dumb. In a way it's a huge relief because I've been worried. Jacob has crashed brutally just when things start smoothing out or when I feel strongest and then we both start over again. We're trying to prevent the crashes, the meltdowns, the lows or at the very least be decently equipped to deal with them when they occur.

I never want him to bottle his emotions and try and be strong for me when he doesn't feel strong. I don't want to wear him out or drag him down or put pressure on him anymore to fix things he has no control over. I want him to be happy. Happy in his own skin, happy with this life, happy with me and I want to be happy with him.

His own breakdowns served so many purposes. Reminders of our losses. Reminders of his humanity when I build him beyond his earthly capacity into someone who can fly. Reminders that it isn't just Bridget going through hard times and reminders that he can't hold things together forever and sometimes he fails. Sometimes he falls. Sometimes he doesn't want to be everything.

Sometimes he resents me.

One of the biggest, most shameful aspects of his feelings for me would be the resentment. How could I charm him into my life and then flaunt my other friendships, other relationships in front of him. How could I take his heart and then throw it away, repeatedly. How dare I not stick around and support him when he is angry or frustrated or overcome. How awful that I would close a chapter of my life he hasn't even read yet and refuse to have a baby with him, what he considered a knee-jerk reaction.

All of those are hypocritical. He approached me first with his emotions. He's thrown my heart away out of self-preservation needs. He has not supported me when I was overcome or frustrated. He closed the chapter first after losing the baby, he refused to comfort me, refused to talk about it.

He works so hard in some ways and closes off other avenues of communication with audible thuds. He's a walking contradiction.

What's good about it?

It's normal. Oh so normal. It can be changed, it can be encouraged and supported and turned into the right kinds of reactions. The right kind of openness. Without resentment. Without the need to bottle up. People like Jacob can only bottle up so long.

He has a great analogy? Metaphor? Story. Okay, no it's a sermon that details beginning a rocky, perilous journey on a road paved with broken glass and we're crawling on it with nothing to protect our flesh and as we learn to cope with the pain and the hardship we are granted shoes and soon the glass is sand and then it becomes quicksand but we conquer that too and then it's gravel and our shoes are worn so we get boots and pretty soon we'll be able to hail a cab. It's a very funny way he tells it. Not funny comical but funny touching. Every now and then in the story, he'll stop and take my hand or I'll distract him through a rough spot. It's hopeful.

Someday I'll get him to write it out.

He is human. A medicated broken human working to get better. To be better. To deal. So we can find the really good part of the road and stay on it. It's way easier for him to sing all these goofy songs on the smoother parts of the road.


Off-road beard riding with full stick control?

Yes, that's word-for-word the offer I got to cheer me up last night. Because he is as incorrigible as I am.

This is not my entry for today. I promise

Monday, 27 August 2007

Keep talking.

I thought today's ramblings were going to run the gamut of waffles and Pink Floyd. I guess not.

    Where were you when I was burned and broken
    While the days slipped by from my window watching
    Where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
    Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
    While you were hanging yourself on someone else's words
    Dying to believe in what you heard
    I was staring straight into the shining sun

I hope Loch never calls looking for his copy of The Division Bell. I'm going to wear it out. It's the theme for today's thoughts.

Somewhere there's a list of major stresses, by degree, starting with death at the top. A scale, with two last names I no longer recall. Claus showed me this list once and I saw it again this morning. Things that would usually send people off the brink no longer phase me. I've become numb to everything, having ticked off just about everything short of retirement and foreclosure.

So I am re-sensitizing what I have put aside.

My meds have been readjusted yet again. It's become a comfortable high-wire act in itself. I go for tests to monitor the levels in my blood. I haven't fought it.

I go to counseling twice a week now. One psychiatrist and one therapist who specializes in adult sexual abuse. Both are working miracles and I'm committed to not being a total freak forever. I also have Joel and August (casually) to help talk and disperse the stress on Jacob. I'll write about that part tomorrow.

If there's one underlying theme to your emails, it's that I am 'strong' to have withstood so much in such a short time. I think all of it was inevitable. Life's been rocky and tumultuous underneath a facade of fine forever. Things were accidents waiting to happen. It's just a pileup. All of it I could have predicted, thinking back. All of it eventual.

I'm not strong. Maybe I'm just patient. I will be strong.

Bulletproof glass, perhaps. Oxymoronic.

The only thing I didn't see coming were Cole's suicide attempt and his sudden death that wasn't even sudden, taking days. His suicide attempt was a farce. A half-assed show to pull me down. He took enough pills to scare everyone but not enough to do much more than make himself vomit. He was famously sarcastic and uncaring about the subject of my own attempts and had pointed out people who commit suicide have choices, but they're cowards who won't help themselves or drama queens. I can't sit here today and believe that he was reduced to despair over the loss of his family to another man. I really can't. Reading his letters to Loch, Ben and Jake, he tells me different and I'm not ready for that.

Just not.


I'm not ready for him to be dead yet. I keep dancing around it. I call his phone, disconnected long ago and I talk to the dead air after the automated message telling me the number you have dialed is not in service. I talk to him in my dreams, unconsciously, sharing secrets with him that I shouldn't. Telling him things that are none of his business.

I do that, you know. He's a huge part of me.

I'm trying to fix the memories. To keep the good ones and let the bad ones go. I want good things. I want a good life. I want to remember the good in him, for my sake as well as for Ruth and Henry.

It's coming. Things are falling into place.

This morning saw the arrival of a couriered package from Caleb's law firm. It contained a letter that outlines his promise not to sue my husband in civil court or contact us further. A promise, and a confirmation that he is going to fade away and become yet another memory for us. A professional, courteous send-off confirming what we hoped but never counted on. That he isn't going to continue, that I've been through enough. That as long as I don't contact him he won't bother us. A witnessed letter that is signed by several other partners, showing clearly that he came clean, admitted to his colleagues that he had developed designs on his dead brother's messed-up wife based on their previous relationship and he, for the sake of his career and his reputation, was going to put an end to our relationship. It's a very incredibly formal version of the send off that I gave to Loch and Ben. What goes around comes around. I can't blame Caleb for everything, I exploited him thoroughly and Jacob exacted a price for the return of my attentions. It's technically lip service that might be illegal thanks to the order of protection but the fact that he has done this has given us, given Jacob a relief beyond words today.

Long overdue relief that all of his real enemies have surrendered. Now if we can just get the imaginary ones to follow suit, maybe we'll be somewhere finally.

Onward and upward, Reilly family. Up you go.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Coming back to life.

In honor of today being a busy day, I'll leave you some crumbs from my breakfast. A tiny version of Things You Didn't Know About Bridget Volume 46537294. Or perhaps it's the first. I don't know, the dog barked all night. I'm tired.

-I have an unreasonable crush on the young David Gilmour. Like an extreme my-panties-are-on-fire-for-him type crush. Unfortunately when he was running around the planet wielding his guitar and looking like this, I was in diapers.

-I like dreadlocks. Seriously. Especially on guys. Jacob had them a long time ago. It was awesome. They felt very weird. I used to stick things in them to piss him off.

-I'm not taking the church job. It's a good thing, I've taken on more writing, I expect to be pretty busy this fall. Actually it's purely motivated by church politics since Jacob stepped down but they don't need to know that, do they?

-After listening to me complain forever, Jacob now makes my hair conditioner. He mixes three parts honey to one part olive oil and I use it after shampooing and then rinse out. It's seriously the best and easiest conditioner I have ever used. And he has some odd talents, don't you think?

-I'm learning things about myself at a frightening rate. And it's all good stuff. Not egotistical things, I mean things I do to sabotage myself and how I can work towards fixing that. I'm soaring, it's like I found the switch. Makes him positively beam. Makes me flood with relief.

Must go, church in fifteen minutes and Jacob has a wedding to officiate (!) this afternoon (he's still a minister, dear readers). Plus dog needs more walks than he's getting. That or I'm going to put sleeping pills in his bowl tonight because argh. Kids finally sleep through the night and then we buy a dog?

Sometimes I wonder.

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The legend of alcyone.

On the drive home last night he had his window rolled down. Looking at him in the streetlight glow, the wind ruffling his hair, one lightly tanned arm resting on the sill, the other firmly on the wheel, a smile on his face as he talked easily, I was struck by how much Jacob values me. Of how much worth I hold to him, as a person. Aside from the romantic obsessions. I have everything he wants. Someone to show off and be his companion, not his competition, someone he can appreciate and talk to openly, without fear of reprisal. Someone he trusts. Someone he wants. Someone he can be with and be himself.

Knowing how hard he's fought to hold back, to not want me to get better for him, but to first get better for me, and for the kids, and for us, and lastly for him. Most people would say, fix it for me, so that I can deal with it. So I can be comfortable.

He's never wanted that. He's so rarely selfish it's a shock when he is.

This morning I came downstairs wrapped in my robe and wool socks to be greeted with hot coffee and a small fire in the woodstove. Jacob was making fried potatoes and giving every second slice to Butterfield, and he smiled again.

A different kind of smile. That contented, peaceful smile I rarely see. I hope to see more of it. I think we've turned a new corner here.

It's a very cold fallish morning, freezing and crisp and perfect. A perfect day.

PJ called this morning too. He's fine. He really doesn't want to be lumped in, he's always tried to be a good friend, and he'd like to continue being a good friend, if we can do it without the weirdness and just get together every now and again for a meal or a trek or a short visit.

I said that would be wonderful. He laughed and said I was a big pain in the butt. I told him no, I'm not. I'm Bridget, and I'm a terrific person.

He paused and then he laughed,

Yeah, you are. You always have been though.

Today we're heading to the Farmer's market, and then we'll finish up the outside work for the winter. I need paint chips to match the trim and then we'll barbecue some burgers tonight and sit out late, drinking lemonade and listening to Jacob strum the guitar. Just the four of us. Very soon the kids return to school and routine and the craziness of the mornings and then the stark quiet of my new alone-time, since Henry will no longer be in half-days.

Maybe we've purged the rest of the pain. Maybe Loch was the key to unlocking what was holding up my recovery. Maybe finally being forced to cut ties with Ben helped spur us into a better place. Maybe not talking about therapy here and working really hard to find the right medications and the right counselors and getting my weight back on track has helped demonstrate that I mean business.

That I want this.

Maybe we won't have our Indian summer this year. Maybe we can look ahead to our halcyon days instead.

    How pleasant the salt anesthetic
    Of the air and the sand and the sun;
    Leave the earth to the strong and athletic,
    And the sea to adventure upon.

And to make up for the surprise of throwing a Nash poem at you before I'm fully awake, I'll tell you something funny. Last night, Jacob was repeatedly referred to the Viking. It made me laugh.

He likes it better than Preacher Boy, that's for sure.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Higher education.

I'm so not off the hook, am I? You'd like a real post too?

Christian comes in this afternoon and mutters something about yet another post about Jacob and his sweetness and his godawful inability to drink for a Newfie, let alone a giant and jesus on a stick, Bridge, we know he's affectionate. He's also completely whipped so don't even bother.

Nice, Chris. Lovely to see you too.

Christian is pretending to be all huffy so he won't have to acknowledge that half of his friends are now divided once again.

PJ was right behind him, they stopped in to borrow even more gear on their way to a climb. Only PJ wouldn't speak to me. I questioned him directly twice and Chris would cut in and distract.

How obvious. And stinging.

I let them take the gear and then as they left Chris told me not to worry about anything. PJ wouldn't even meet my eyes, though he did take a minute and scope out what the kids were doing. He didn't ask if Jake liked the job or if I was really doing okay or if he could have something to eat and based on the fact that they were in a rush (right.) I didn't push him. I haven't talked to him so I can imagine he feels weirded right out, maybe responsible, maybe he's blaming me, maybe he's blaming Jake, maybe himself. I won't speculate until he talks to me.

It's okay, PJ. Ben already ratted you out, sweetie. I just wish you had let me know first.

You see, PJ's been going to see Joel for months now. On a professional level. Because he knew all about the letters and was having a hard time dealing with the guilt. Which is funny because Jacob had decided he would just fight them off and not tell me and try to pretend it wasn't happening, PJ worked tirelessly to blend into the woodwork because he didn't want to wind up in the middle.

In PJ's position, not in Jacob's mind you, I would have ratted them all out.

PJ's crush on me serves only as a wish for a wife and a happy little home with children and has very little to do with me as a person. He's a safe friend. There are no strings attached to Padraig.

At least, there didn't used to be.

I can't worry about that now, I'm feeding the kids early and we have a new sitter from the neighborhood coming tonight so that Jacob and I can attend a cocktail reception at the university. Jacob doesn't really need any more cocktails tonight but it's a chance for me to meet the rest of his immediate colleagues, having met a dozen or so already yesterday.

I won't be having any cocktails at all. In case you were wondering.

But never mind that, it's an opportunity for me to put on my very sophisticated little black dress and my black stilettos and be smiling, scintillating arm-candy for Jacob while he shines in his new role as the youngest assistant prof they've ever had.

He's definitely the cutest.

By far.