Monday, 31 March 2008

Don't panic, Bridget. We're here to help you.

I think...I think the part where it took four tries to punch in the correct numbers in the right order was the giveaway. Endless fluttering of a bird up against the plate-glass window, banging repeatedly, looking for her escape and frantic with efforts that go nowhere.

I'm going back to therapy, well, tomorrow. The biggest April fool of all.

He is coming with me. Not inside. He'll wait in the little room with two chairs outside of a soundproof door but removed slightly from reception for privacy. He'll wait and he'll wonder what words I'm using to try and tell them they were right.

I made it so much further this time and one stupid tiny unguarded sentence tore it all apart. I didn't mean I would hurt myself because I won't.

But why would they believe me now?

It's okay. It'll be fine. Right?

Marked for life.

Confessions for a rainy Monday.

    I was waiting for my hearse
    What came next was so much worse
    It took a funeral to make me feel alive

    Just open your eyes
    Just open your eyes
    And see that life is beautiful.
    Will you swear on your life,
    That no one will cry at my funeral?

Hallo, good morning. It's Monday. Momday. A day to myself without the well-meaningsers and the only-concern-eds. I have told you I love my friends and I friend my lovers even. And no, I'm not drunk, just somewhat weirdly content today. Full of plans, full of hope, full of hopefully almost the next to last of the awful, overly-sweet cappuccino bullshit that passes for coffee today. Everyone else planned to get it on the go and Andrew didn't read my mind and bring any. Ben offered to make some but I don't think a whole pot to myself is any point noted today.

Tomorrow is April Fools. Does that mean Jacob will come back? Maybe to tell me that I failed. That I didn't wait long enough or grieve hard enough and I'm ready for that. I can just tell him I didn't start yet and then everyone can step back with their sympathetic horror and avert their eyes a little further peripherally so they aren't blinded by my amazing circus talents here. Those that involve perpetual pain and denial. He would understand me, and forgive me and then he'd probably vanish in a puff of smoke once again, for this is the stuff of dreams.

Instead Ben will replace my coffee grounds with earth and I'll get a potful of fresh-brewed mud, or maybe he'll say he has to work but spend the day at home instead, distracting me with sweetness while he sweeps the ghosts out the back door as I look the other way. He's good like that.

And he's even better with badly-kept five-year-old never-confirmed-but-long-suspected secrets. Like the ones about our tattoos and what they mean, finally admitted this weekend, publicly. The first time we went and got matching ones, his was a lowercase letter b and mine an uppercase B, both tangled up in ivy. At the time, when pressed, we both claimed to like slightly different styles and we both have names that start with a b, so why the hell not?

Cole left it with a 'to each his own' comment, since he thought art was art and as long as I was happy nothing else was important (pfft). Jacob always thought I got a B for me and then Ben got a b possibly also for me and it was one more reason for them to not like each other all that much.

In reality the big B stands for Ben, and the little b is for Bridget. We got them expressly for each other to honor this strange super-glue connection we have that holds in spite of just about everything.

Funny how things turn out.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Loose inside my head.

Tomorrow is going to be interesting. Andrew will be here bright and early to help Erin move what little she brought back to her apartment, where she'll live until roughly the new year. She'll have her things shipped out further into April. She's looking forward to getting back into the swing of things closer to the city in the meantime.

The kids go back to school as well, which will mean a hazardous jolt back into routine, which will take most of the week to sort through but I'm looking forward to it anyway. They've become wild heathens that I have had to use exemplary amounts of patience to wrangle. As it is, it's difficult not to let them get away with things simply on the basis of everything they have had to deal with, but one thing counseling taught me was consistency, limits and a firm, loving hand are what's best for them. Those who don't even know me who call me a shitty parent? I'm doing the best that I can, and the kids are doing very well, all things considering.

Ben goes back to work tomorrow, to the bland and not-exciting-in-the-least day job, running numbers from his cubicle on whatever floor they've put him on now. It changes every time he goes away. He and the insurance company coexist solely for cheap health plans and fighting off boredom with steady paychecks, something to do while everyone else toils in their less fortunate universes. He puts on his Clark Kents and hunkers down over spreadsheets with a ground-down pencil between his teeth and then spends the rest of his evening complaining that his neck aches.

And me? I'll be content to write and drink coffee and rattle around, with the music up loud and the pets sleeping peaceful in the sunny spots on the floor if there are any to be found, and you will hear from me at least once and the phone will ring and eventually Andrew will come back and take me somewhere for more caffeine and a break from the walls of my mental prison and then suddenly it will be closer to dinner and everyone will be home where it's warm and we'll put on a few more lights and for a while it won't seem like such a prison in my head, but a refuge.

One in the same.

And in the less like Cole, more like Jake division of all things Bridget being love or death, Ben's adopted an old habit of Jake's that I don't think he really acknowledges as Jake's, probably because it's not like it was patented or copyrighted or exclusive by any means, but it's still disturbingly wonderful nonetheless.

He holds my hand. Tightly, constantly. To the point where, once again, I find myself repeatedly pointing out that I need to go to the bathroom or pick up a heavy pot or maybe I want to pin up my hair but my hand is tight in a vise of invisible protection and ownership.

And I like that.

I forgot how much.

Tickle me evo.

Earth hour in our household sort of almost was kind of a mini-disaster that turned out very well in the end.

We don't live in a city that sees a lot of power outages. Windstorms and blizzards are relatively rare overall and we've had exactly one brown-out and one blackout in almost six years. Our raging blizzard began as a glorious heavy downpour and changed gradually to snow and wind after dark. The boys night plans included switching to candles and guitars from 8 to 9 pm in honor of the planet and we were off.

Only the kids decided five minutes in that they didn't like it and didn't care and could I put the lights on ohpleasepleaseplease and they were oddly not fans of it at all. Which is strange considering their genetic love of horror movies, watched in the dark of the living room or a movie theatre, and I rarely have more than one light on in the whole upstairs at night and only a couple downstairs. They play spies in the dark basement.

I didn't get it.

Ben finally suggested we take a drive out to the edge of the city and look at some other neighborhoods and make sure everyone else had their lights out too. John and Andrew wanted to, so we piled into his truck and off we went.

They did. Neighborhoods were black, invisible against the driving snow. Companies had the barest of security lights highlighting only entrances of buildings that are closed on weekends. Apartment blocks were quiet, dark bricks, candles flickering through open blinds. The kids were impressed.

And then Earth Hour was swiftly shoved aside in favor of a new discovery. Because we had to pass the car dealership mall that lies outside the city. With the Mitsubishi place right on the front line. Ben pulled in so fast I thought he had lost his mind, swerving to avoid an imaginary car or something. Or a deer.

He just sat and stared.

I sat up and looked past him.

They had an Evo. A Lancer Evolution. Or as we call it, Ben's Emo. Because he laughs and said he would cry tears of joy as he quickly passes people on the highway.

His favorite car.

I thought he might cry. He's loved these cars for like seven years and you couldn't get them in Canada without making heavy modifications, if at all. Now they're selling them. A forty-five thousand dollar package of horsepower and Japanese muscle and an intercooler that could suck in small animals and children but strangely and wonderfully enough, a family sedan with good backseat and trunk space. Four wheel drive, for our brutal eight-month winters.

Yeah, I think the big white truck's days are numbered, and he's only been a truck convert for the past year, having given up his previous car (mustang) after seeing how much the other guys loved their trucks (read: Jake).

He came home and ran some numbers (pointlessly) and decided that he will buy the car, but not for a year or so, until they have a few more colors and he looks after some other stuff. He asked if I liked it and I didn't have to ask if that really mattered but he wanted to know. Really I think it's expensive for a car but in the end life is short and it's not like he just saw it and liked it. He's liked it forever and he was like Henry when I take him to Sugar Mountain-bouncing around not knowing what to look at first. That reaction alone tells me the answer to his question.

Twenty dollars says we'll be going back today to look at it again.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Greetings from the center of the earth.

    You're so cold
    Keep your hand in mine
    Wise men wonder while
    Strong men die

    Show me how it ends it's alright
    Show me how defenseless you really are
    satisfied and empty inside
    Well, that's alright, let's give this another try

It's Saturday. Another blizzard, another list of errands a mile long. I need some groceries and a new watch strap before I lose my mind. Butterfield wrapped me around a tree last winter, breaking my watch and I replaced my strap and have hated it ever since. Ben has a meeting. Erin is beginning to pull her things together for moving on Monday. Andrew is coming for dinner tonight as prepayment for helping with said move and John will be by tonight as well for a boy's night thing. I'm going to steal away to my room to read, since it's spring and once again I find my night table stacked to the rafters with books I haven't cracked yet.

And last but not least, Joel called this morning to say hello and I answered, from bed where I lay in Ben's arm, pulled tight around me. Joel seemed surprised that I picked up, probably having rehearsed the message he would have left and instead we had a good long talk about life without meds and positive changes and betrayals and it seemed that our justifications and accusations were mirror images, he having chosen the less productive route as well in favor of instant gratification with no thought to the fallout down the road, which is exactly what he accuses me of. I told him life could stand this way if he wanted, since we disapproved of each other and he asked me if I wouldn't have been happier with different choices. I knew what he meant but I ignored that and told him instead to send me his new address information and such so I can send him postcards from heaven. He laughed forever.

And then I forgot my promise and I warned him to be very, very careful with Caleb because he seems like he has your best interests at heart all the while he is taking what he wants from you. Joel said he knew, and he had watched what happened to me and to Ben and that he was immune to being influenced. I pointed out that he was there, wasn't he? He was silent for a moment and then he quietly promised me he would watch out for himself if I promised to call him if I needed him. I repeated that back to Joel and Ben laughed out loud. Joel heard him and said to say hello (graciously, considering) and I passed my phone up to Ben's ear, and he opted to be gracious too.

Hello, Dr. J. How are things in hell?...she's don't need to worry about her...worry about yourself now...yes.........just watch your back, man...k, will do. You too.
He passed me back the phone and I said my goodbyes to Joel and then hung up and I asked Ben if they might have actually made up in that brief exchange. He told me it wasn't important and that we needed to get up and get going if we were going to get everything done before the blizzard hit.

Then he went back to sleep. Because he's not worried about me, and he's not worried about Joel. It's interesting that the earthquakes hit, the shakiest walls are the ones that are still standing. In a million years I wouldn't have picked Ben as the one to stand fast and hold it together but he seems to have done a better job than the rest of us.

It brings a new sort of regret for me on this grey and snowy morning. I wish, over the years, that I had given Ben a little more credit. I didn't and I really wish I had.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Not safe.

    What did you say to me
    I'm not a novelty
    You're playing revelry
    But no one's listening

Emotionally things are different now.

I woke up at four-thirty this morning inside of a firework, explosions going off as synapses fired inside my little head, sleepily realizing that I was naked and sitting up, sitting in Ben's lap, my head lazing on his shoulder, his arms lifting me gently, over and over while he kissed up and down my collarbone. He has no qualms about touching me when I am sleeping, taking me out of whatever I'm sleeping in and doing whatever he wants to me. It doesn't surprise me anymore. I like it.

I didn't struggle. I dug in with my nails on his back instead. I sighed. He put his hand over my mouth, pushing me down onto my back again. In case I made a sound. I bit his hand and he grinned.

There are things about life now I haven't talked about. Things that are probably none of anyone's business. But things that keep drifting to the forefront of my mind and sticking there.

Ben is a lot like Cole. Way more like Cole than I let on.

Don't think I don't understand this. That Jacob was a wild tangent and I was meant to be not rushed and just admired and played with and appreciated for what I can achieve in Ben's arms and where I can get him. His best way of blowing off steam and being dark. His muse. Always his muse even though he denied it until last fall.

    Beautiful enemy,
    I'll fix your broken wings.
    I'll let you lie here till you
    fly away from me.

He's rather...dark overall. His passion just erupts in a rage of barely controlled strength and vulnerabilities of his own. He's gloriously cut and dried. I can work with this. He's predictable and beautifully depraved.

When it comes to sex, he is on. There is never off. He's never awkward or quiet like he is in regular Ben-mode. Ben is Ben all the time until the lights go out.

He is who I would pick to play off my predilections and I won't be made to feel sorry for saying that. He can match what I bring and then some. He leaves me hurting and physically ruined and breathless for more of the same. We match on a level I never expected to. Sexually he'll go anywhere I ask him to go and two past. We needed a safe word. He will pause and wait for me to invoke it, breathless, teeth gritted, hands shaking and I won't say a thing and he loves me to death. It took him all of three seconds for him to come to grips with my fragility inside his head versus my reality in his arms.

We traded fetishes. A match made in hell.

He evoked the word first, before I did.

And then we knew exactly where we lie.

He'll hold me down and force me out and not let me up. He'll match whatever I have inside my head and he'll find the dark and exploit it on my behalf. He is everything I ever wanted in that regard but I don't have to be afraid I might wind up dead in the process. He takes my goosebumps and my cries and forces me silent and still and then winds me out with his wants and then tells me he loves me more than he possibly thought he could ever love someone. We don't have to plan or ask or wish for anything. He knows of my issues and he'll indulge me in everything and anything. And I him.

Is it healthy? It depends who you ask. And when I am face-down with my hands behind my back I'm not your sweet princess and I'm not in a position to ask anyone anything. Half the time I'm not in a position to consent and that's just the way I want it.

The trust we broke there once before came back in mountains and eternities of faith in something I never looked for in Ben and found in spades after all.

Love, for love's sake. Love without fear, and love firmly grounded in reality. The perfect blend of Cole's fire and Jacob's romance, well-mixed and presented to me on a human form.

Had we not spent so many years learning each other from the ground up this would have gone a lot more slowly. Had we not had epic uncensored discussions on sex and fetishes and needs and wants and forbidden scenarios and half-assed invitations it might have been a less-spectacular coupling. Had we had any sense of common decency, I wouldn't have anything to share with you that makes my toes curl just like..that.

The echo of that is like music, isn't it? The promise of that warms my heart. That tiny fragment of twisted heart beating inside my chest in a cage made of bone and fight.

And it makes me so very happy.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Fighting for peanuts.

Okay I lied.

I have something for you.

This morning when I got out of the shower, I threw on a robe and ran down to Ben's closet hoping to snag the coveted Snoopy shirt. Long story but he has a t-shirt with snoopy playing guitar on the front. It's the dumbest, cutest shirt in the whole world and especially in the past year, if it's clean, he'll put it on. Which means we see it five days a week pretty much. Every now and then he lets me wear it but it's been a long time. He even said no when I asked if I could wear it home when I left him in New York after my visit. He wouldn't give it up.

So this morning he saw me coming a mile away and came around through the kitchen, down the other hallway and I flew into his room and grabbed for the knob and he actually lunged across the bed, grabbing me and pulling me down in the process, opening my robe (which was distracting!) and said he really really wanted to wear that shirt today and maybe I can wear it on the weekend.

I asked him why he never let me wear the shirt anymore and he finally told me. He said he didn't know how I do it, but even after I've washed a T-shirt I've borrowed from him, he still sees protrusions in the front of this shirt where my breasts stretched the fabric. Somehow stretching a Men's XL shirt. Right.

Nice, Ben.


I told him I'd never borrow his shirts again and he laughed and told me I look much better without a shirt on anyway, staring at all my exposed flesh, no longer covered by my robe.

Of course he's right.

(I didn't actually have to throw that in, did I?)


The only thing I have for the internet today is a hearty fuck you for the recent slew of hate mail.

That is all.

Maybe tomorrow things will be different.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Just a little tiny bit of something.

At the very last moment, we canceled. Everyone else will still go, nothing will fall apart, they can catch up and talk and maybe our ears will burn but maybe it will be more of a wishful thought that we could join them all but just for tonight we looked at each other and couldn't. Couldn't put on a coat and walk outside again, couldn't find the energy to put forth a social face and couldn't bear to let go of each other long enough to sit in a truck or in a restaurant and instead we're going to get the kids settled and then curl up early together and fall asleep and not talk or dream or move or be anyone other than ourselves.

I can count on one little hand the number of times I have ever not made good on plans made and it kind of feels alien at first, and then it feels forbidden and finally it feels liberating. That I could run upstairs before cooking dinner here and change into plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a long-sleeved t-shirt and make a huge platter of fruit and vegetables and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and we took them to the TV to eat while we watched an old movie and didn't talk so much at all, numb and mindless and comforted.

Ben's eyes are closing. The flash of brown where he rests, alert but sacrificed to fatigue is beginning to catch up with him, overtaking him at this point. He's on the verge of getting sick. He always gets sick at the end and earlier he laughed so incredulously and came to point out to me how, less than a year ago we had called it quits and he tried so valiantly to move on and failed and how dumb we were but how damned sure. And look where we are now.

And if I wanted to know something he has never told anyone before, then would I find it interesting to know that never once has he ever said I love You to anyone out loud in his entire life before saying it to me? He said it to me from the get-go as friends because it was true, only I used it as a greeting and as a goodbye and as a reminder and love for Bridget is sometimes everything and the kitchen sink but for Ben it is a sacred, beautiful declaration that is reserved only for the one you really do love that deeply and I had to think really hard because Christ, he's had a ton of girlfriends and some of them have been around in the past and I was convinced he had said it in front of us but he knew he hadn't and I couldn't come up with any examples at all.

I asked him if they had ever noticed or been bothered by that and he said all of them were, they had all noticed, and he didn't really care because he didn't love them so why would he say he did and now I knew why there were so many of them. No one would stay.


It was supposed to be a quiet night of going to bed early and doing little but it's hard to relax when you're covered in goosebumps. For a decidedly unromantic guy, he's really good at this stuff.

Citrus snow.

The best way to eat a grapefruit is outside on the front steps.

First you have to put a pinch of white sugar in a bowl. Then peel the grapefruit and separate into sections, breaking each section in half to remove any seeds. Discard the peel and the seeds and then toss the bowl a few times to land sugar on each piece. Eat voraciously while shivering and then lick the remaining juice off your fingers while smiling, because someone watched you from beginning to end with sleepy amusement.

Then if you feel so inclined you can wander down to the wrought iron gate and get the newspaper to take inside where you will be relieved of it before you can slip out of your boots. In exchange for the paper you're offered a steaming hot cup of coffee and a kiss and then an unexpected hour alone to jot down ideas and do a little bit of writing.

It would be perfect except you are checked on every ten minutes or so, which seems strange when the amount of time you have spent alone in the past two weeks is considered, but you opt to call it charming and give up on writing in favor of reading.

There is a big dinner planned for this evening, and not at home. Out at a place where we'll leave our shoes by the door and go inside and sit on the floor around a big low table and they'll close the rice paper doors and come inside in little groups to replenish things and it's a lot like the interruptions you have this morning but you don't mind those either.

Not today.

    Too alarming now to talk about
    Take your pictures down
    and shake it out
    Truth or consequence, say it aloud
    Use that evidence race it around

    There goes my hero
    Watch him as he goes
    There goes my hero
    He's ordinary