Friday, 7 March 2008

Blinded by what I hear.

    Something that I felt today, something that I heard
    Swinging from the chandeliers, hanging on your word
    I remember watching you once upon a time
    Dancing from across the room in another life

I finished Ben's new scarf. Black and grey stripes like the little guy at the beginning of the Horton Hears a Who trailer. He can layer it over his headphones and ignore the world as he walks in his own, hands strumming to whatever plays on his iPod, eyes seemingly unfocused but missing nothing, an instinctive peripheral vision that borders on spooky.

When I put on my headphones, also threaded under and up over a handknit scarf, fuzzy pink mohair that I usually wind up picking off my tongue for hours afterward, I launch myself onto another planet where I am blind but my hearing is perfect, one where oxygen comes in the form of musical notes and I walk a rhythm on bars and tabs. The one where a freight train could sneak up on me and I would chose to ignore the blaring horn in favor of a great lead from a long-dead musician, or beauty in a lyric I'd concentrate hard to remember, to bring the words back home while that engine leaves streaks of paint on my skin and tears my clothes to ribbons, leaving me a memory for someone else to keep or shove away.

He worries about me. I have been glued to headphones of one size or another, one quality or better for most of my days, and I still haven't learned how to watch where I'm going or how to avoid a train.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I'm going to run out of wood (please, no jokes).

What do you get when you add a blowtorch and then ice water to a bowl of vintage marbles?

You get crackley marbles. Which look very pretty.

It's so cold here we have resorted to fire games to have fun (and to think I picked on my neighbor for a similar stunt a while back). Because seriously, the windchill was so low this afternoon that when I walked over to get the kids from school I had to unclench everything from the full-body kegel I was doing.

I bribed John this evening to bring in as much wood as I could make space for. I don't plan to let the stove go out until this latest gale is over. I suppose I should bribe him to stick around and keep me warm but Butterfield has that covered. As long as I sleep in Ben's bed instead of mine, that is.

Ten more whole days.

And I am still doing very well. The emails have been very sweet and supportive. You guys seriously rock. I'm not the easiest girl to come and read, I know. It means the world that you do anyway.


    When are you gonna come down
    When are you going to land
    I should have stayed on the farm
    I should have listened to my old man

    You know you can't hold me forever
    I didn't sign up with you
    I'm not a present for your friends to open
    This boy's too young to be singing the blues

It's a good day for a long overdue barometer, isn't it? The sparrows are back, the chickadees are outside shivering on a blindingly sunny morning. The kids are (somewhat) healthy, I fell asleep on PJ late last night while I waited for him to pass me back my phone, Ben again checking in before bedtime. I woke up on the couch this morning, fully clothed, PJ had locked up and gone home and set my phone to go off at six. He is all sorts of awesome. At 6:02, Ben called and told me his revised coming home date. March 17. Eleven days!

Speaking of dates:

February 12 was the last time I went to therapy.

February 24 was the last day I swallowed a pill.

Just thought you should know.

How am I doing? Fucking great. As in, really fucking great. The fog is starting to lift. I'm not dizzy or hungry or shaky or quite as foggy. I'm not spending my moments mired in working my brain and my heart as if they were ever supposed to be some sort of cohesive mechanism. I'm not missing Jacob because I just don't think about it. I pretend he never happened. I just glom onto PJ and wait for Ben to come home and cook and clean and write and shop and life is quietly like it's supposed to be.

I couldn't do it anymore. They kept forcing me to confront things I would rather forget. I'm going to do this my own way, or rather, no way at all. I'm just going to mash the gas and watch the scenery race by until where I am looks new and unfamiliar and like a place that I could spend a while. My mental Veyron, she is gunning for me to hurry up.

I don't want to think about Jacob . I can't. I can't. I can't.

It's one thing for life to be a circus. It's quite another to be strangled by one's own safety nets. I just couldn't do it anymore.

I'll be okay. I am always okay. I always come out somewhere in the middle. I will keep writing.

Don't yell at me, internet. Say your peace if you must but do it in lowercase, please.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Pressed for time.

The highlight of this evening would have been knocking over a whole row of Ben's books and discovering a lovely collection of pressed lilacs between the pages of the heaviest hardcover he owns (a Poe collection, I have the duplicate). When I asked him about them he asked me if I remembered the first day I was able to go for a walk after Cole lost it all over me and Ben picked enough lilacs to fill three vases because I love them?

Same ones.

You're flooring me with this, Benjamin.


Were you going to give them to me or something?



No, I was just keeping them because it was a good day for us, we had a nice afternoon that day.

Yeah we did, didn't we?

Please. You were so high on Vicodin you had no idea.

I knew I was loved by you. And I loved you too.

Yeah? That's good. That makes me glad.

He had to go then, before I got a chance to tell him that it makes me glad too.

Mmmm, carbs.

Three posts a day. Hi, I don't have enough to do this week. No, actually I've gotten way better at time management. I'll tell you about that later though.

In case anyone thought I was moping or somehow ruined you should guess again. August is here, we're making baked eggs in bologna cups (recipe here) and watching episodes of Metalocalypse on youtube.

Place your bets on whether or not August plans to eat any of this stuff.

And I'm FINE. Really. I'm totally fine. Whatever. I'm used to losing people I love now.

Bye bye, Dr. Perfect.

Well, that was interesting, anyway. It might have been nicer to duct-tape me to a bed and play Freebird on a loop.

Remember a while back I mentioned Joel was having some career issues? There was an internal review, and among other things, he had blurred some lines between being my psychoanalyst and my friend. We had pretty much picked up the latter before dropping the former and it wasn't exactly cool to do so. The lines remained blurred for the last ten months as he dispensed free therapy and pills and offered to marry me to keep me away from demons.

Needless to say, he was offered a lateral move to keep his job, working on the courts side of things so that he has less chance to fall for young widows and mess up on the job.

Joel declined the forensic position and destroyed our friendship in one go. Want to know how? By accepting an offer to go and work for Caleb's firm doing in-house counseling and resolving management disputes. A lovely high-paying white-collar gig that is about as redundant as the last seven inches of my hair. Good, go. Have fun in hot potato town.

In all opinions, this is for the best. Only with a ten-month old friendship I see no need and have no impetus to try and salvage anything. We have no history to soften this betrayal.

Ben says good, Dr. Perfect needed to go, baby.

Let's just countdown to the first time Caleb pulls out his happy pack and Joel gives up every last nugget of Bridget-lore that he keeps inside, shall we? Sure, I'm 'legally' protected, and if you believe that I have a Bridget I can sell you. Because this is nothing but another attempt by my brother in law to hit me where it hurts while he soothingly tells me we're even. I'm sad that Joel chose this. He used to sit with me, always hunched down into his shirt collars and slid-down in his seat and tell me that some people were incredibly skilled in manipulation and now he's been manipulated too.

The downside of Caleb checkmating me is that in order to use what I have against him I'll be subjected to the mother of all premiere screenings and I'd really like to avoid that so I wind up squished once again between the brick wall and concrete one, because over the past while I've decided I do care if my friends see that movie. I'd really rather they didn't.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Casualties of war.

This had less to do with you than you think it did, Bridget.

How dumb do I look?

Dumber than I first imagined. I simply saw a need and filled it. I pick from a pool of people I know I can work with.

No, you exploited a weakness and you're going to chew him up and spit him out.

He is an adult. He could have said no.

Your money, your power makes that too hard for most.

It worked for you and your new boyfriend.

We learned the hard way.

Yes, precisely. Anyway, I only called to tell you there's no reason preventing him from remaining your friend.

It isn't possible anymore. Not if he's working for you.

Joel is a professional, Bridget.

He never was with me, that's how he wound up in this situation.

And that is a gift you should be exploiting, princess.

What makes you think I'm not?

See, we could have teamed up and the whole world would have been our oyster.

Last time I had oysters I got food poisoning, Caleb.
I hung up to the sound of his laughter.

Cosmic jokes aside.

Every lament is a lovesong.
If I could do it all again would I? The answer is still yes.

I must be a goddamned trampoline. Or a masochist. Okay, yes. We all know the answer to that one. Give her a little pain and she's so alive.

Give her a little more and watch her try and fight back.

God has his hand on my forehead and I'm swinging and kicking with every ounce of my strength and he just laughs and laughs. Or so it feels, sometimes.

The fine print.

If you've read here for a while, you'll know I am slow to warm up, hesitant to reveal, reluctant to let you in on things.

A lot of people want to know what Ben is really like, what he looks like, more about him in general. I didn't say much previously because I didn't want you to get swayed by his looks. People do that. Ben's a very striking, good-looking man.

Don't get me wrong, Handsomeness is sort of a shallow prerequisite in my world. Somehow it happened that I am surrounded by guys who turn more heads than I do. I wouldn't have it any other way. Maybe I just gravitate towards cute guys. Ben is no exception, though he is just about the polar opposite of any golden-haired viking preachers.

He is the perfect result of what would happen if someone mashed up Keanu Reeves and the young Jimmy Stewart in a blender, but bigger, throwing in a little Rivers Cuomo with his glasses on. More than 6'3", more than 180 lbs, maybe that's off a bit, weight-wise. Again, I fit under his arm. Physically intimidatingly large but somehow he pulls it off with an uncoordinated gangly appeal. Knees, elbows and an adam's apple so sharp they are of the unintentional wounding sort. Short dark brown (he says black) hair that I secretly think he spends hours messing up just right. Sometimes when he's in the mood we all get treated to a fauxhawk which looks ridiculous and suits him well.

The shape of his face is an angular heart. His eyes are a warm brown. Tiger-eye stones lodged furiously into his head, almost against their will. He has the cutest nose, it turns up just perfectly, his jaw is hard but not obvious and he has perfect skin and eyebrows. As in flawless. I am jealous.

He rarely wears flannel and instead leans toward a metal uniform of t-shirts puporting bands he likes. Lots of Nirvana, Tool, Zeppelin, pretty much a duplicate to the black jeans and band shirts Cole lived in. Giant hoodies. He doesn't give a shit about clothes. If they're clean, he puts them on and doesn't think about it any more than that. Well, sometimes he wears...skirts..there was this whole punk phase that just...well, nevermind. Then a goth phase that followed..oh geez.

He wears nailpolish. Black only. Pink if Ruthie gets to him. Fine, you know what? It's a thing, just let it go.

If he isn't smiling, he is possibly the scariest looking man in the universe, leaving you to resort to guessing if he is in a good mood or not. I've learned over the years that his 'concentrating' face would be everyone else's incredibly pissed-off face, leaving me to wonder how one person managed to get his facial expressions so incredibly messed up. His mad face? Frightening.

We have several matching tattoos and piercings. We recently found out Isabellas and Reverse Prince Alberts brought together are accidents waiting to happen. As are both parties in a kiss with pierced tongues. Possibly we can keep all our coordinating tattoos, though. Big B, little b, the kites, the snowflakes. Meanings that lie deeper than we'll share with the world. They are our connections, our bond.

His hands are always ice cold. Always. Never, ever warm.

He brings bagpipes and guitars on camping trips but will forget food and a tent. We've all learned to allow for this. He can charm anyone out of just about anything, but do it without you knowing exactly what just happened.

He shaves, sometimes twice a day. No sideburns, no chest hair, nothing. He has quizzed me extensively about permanent hair removal but the subsequent fear of pain keeps him from going through with any of it, though he let me wax his chest once. That was funny. He did my legs.

I know, this isn't a good picture is it? Boundaries are something we rarely seemed to have. Picture your favorite girlfriend. Now give her a penis. No, give her a big one! Okay, that's Ben.

He is awesome and he's good with a guitar and better with his voice though he rests it mostly, singing very little as he walks around.

He is Henry's idol, proving that of course even with a job and responsibilities one is capable of playing video games for hours each day.

Ben is forever stuck at eighteen, or maybe that's 25 for boys. Managing to have boatloads of fun, working not because he has to any more but because it keeps him out of trouble.

He was Cole's very best friend. He has a responsibility to me that he wore on behalf of Cole until Jacob was gone and now it continues. A protective one that simply watches out for us, instead of trying to suffocate us in emotional bubblewrap.

He is an alcoholic, just recently down from a meeting every day to once or twice a week now. He used to drink and heavily so. He did all his best writing with liquid creativity but will be an even better writer now that his head is clearing. He's cleaned up his act to prove a point and because he was in a slow spiral to ruin. He made a magnificent stab at running with Caleb's crowd, chasing hard drugs and enjoying the fuck out of it but not having an ounce of self-restraint coupled with an incredible fear of death brought him running back this way.

As did his incredibly tiny and afraid friend (me, haha) pointing out that he was a very scary drunk.

I am so proud of him, always proud to be his friend. Oh my God, over the years we have fought to the bitter death with tears and ultimatums and pleas to just smarten the fuck up, him over alcohol and girls and me over love and being tougher and not molding myself into the perfect image of the man I am with.

He has been with so many girls he lost track years ago. Literally names or not, memories of them or not. His phone used to ring constantly (sometimes it still does). He could line up three or four in a single night and did. Thankfully via his fears of all things that might harm him he always used protection and to this day is disease- and child-free. There were bets. He proved everyone wrong. Thank God.

Of course I worried about him. I'm happy he is smarter than he looks.

He's a happy, moody fellow. Every conversations ends in all manner of perversions, he is absolutely rated X just about all the time. He is the master of turning innocence into depravity but he is surprisingly kid-oriented as well. The children love Ben and always miss him when he isn't around. He wears that like a badge of honor. It keeps him going, to be loved unconditionally by them.

He suffers from depression, and now keeps himself up with a mild pill or two and private therapy also.

He keeps a day job just to keep from getting bored and plays hockey to keep from feeling old. His on-ice nickname is Bunny. Henry thought Ben's name was Bunny when he was a toddler, so they wound up sharing the nickname for a long time.

He lives for his night job.

He whines during yoga and refuses to run, instead cementing himself to the weight bench when he feels the urge. Ben seems to like nothing better in this world than jamming me into the crook of his armpit with his arm around me and falling asleep that way. He doesn't move when he sleeps, not an inch, and he hardly ever talks after around eleven at night.

He's an introvert, just like me. This is how he is able to come and just be, just spend time with me when I won't or don't talk. He has all kinds of places to go inside his head and never minds or finds it uncomfortable, those long silences. When he is ready to interact he'll start going through my pockets or my bag or drawers in the room. He is curious.

I always wished I could be like Ben. He is life personified in black and white, has a loose list of low-slung morals that won't budge, but somehow putting happiness and safety over everything else. He plays music all the time and smiles a lot now and wears the scars of character won gradually and in hard lessons. There is a character-chip in his front tooth from an accident. He has a big motorcycle and a bigger truck, the bike is black and the truck is white. He picked the white horse out at Nolan's too, which this time around brought forth jokes at our expense, Bridget's knight riding up on a white horse.

Yup. With his nail polish on.

He has a weakness for Big Macs and prime rib but will live on raisin bread if he must.

So there you go. You asked for it, that's about all I can tell you for now. The only other truly intriguing points are that he's an orphan, he and his brother forming a tight long distance circle most of the time. Maybe that gives him more insight into me than I give him credit for. We are so much alike it causes problems sometimes. Didn't I tell you once he was Bridget in male form? An enigma of swirling emotions, contradictions and beauty, too? Fucked up but tolerable?

Yes, I believe I did.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Wretched success.

We are home. We actually got in late last evening and frankly there's been a lot to catch up on, namely swimming lesson registration, prying Butterfield out of PJ's capable, spoiling hands and school. When is spring break already?

The bourgeois princess and the blue-collar guy from the eastern seaboard quietly and simultaneously vetoed the lovely five-room marble suite with the three fireplaces, grand piano and built-in butler. We had great plans to run off to the Holiday Inn at the edge of town but resources were scrambled instead and we were given a three-room suite a few floors below the one that was built for the queen or Mick Jagger or Lindsay Lohan or whoever would be so bold and famous as to need a room such as that one.

For just having stood in the grand entranceway I feel like I somehow crossed off a milestone or six. The funniest part was they let us keep the butler anyway. The hardest part was that he wouldn't let me tip him, he just gave me the party line, saying everything has been looked after. It's a phrase Ben used a lot too. Fancy that.

We all slept late and the kids and I shopped a little and explored and Ben would meet us for long dinners but otherwise he got in so late we didn't see much of him. He would throw himself in bed with me as I was just about ready to wake up and it was a perfect time for some warm, epic sweet sex that we both have missed. Even stealing two nights like that will help get us both through the next few weeks until he is home for a while again but the weekend was difficult in that we knew it would be a working weekend for him and we tried to squeeze some time in anyway.

I called Ben to let him know we were home safe and he asked if it was that bad, if it was a mistake or if I was disappointed. I told him I wasn't, that it was fine. A little difficult and the kids predictably didn't enjoy it (much past the spoiling they got) thanks to the mostly waiting and being schlepped but for the momentary breather it afforded me to get through the next bit of life, it served a purpose.

Ben asked if I wanted to do it once more before the end of the month and I said I doubted it but that if he wanted to bring a butler home with him when he returns I am totally up for it. He said he would be the butler when he gets home.

I am holding him to that. Because the butler part was really, really awesome.