Tuesday, 10 February 2009


It's a dime for a tin whistle
And a cigarette
God damn if you listened
But what else do you give
Depending on who you are cheering for, it's day 943, day 462 or day 2 of Bridget on her own.

Only for the last one there, he'll be back. Just like the first 2 but slightly different because he isn't dead.

And it's okay, I'm not crazy either.

I've had a good day so far. Up at 5 for my phone call, 6 for my doorbell and 7 for my run. 8 marked the first fall of the day on the ice, on my own portion of the sidewalk because I didn't shovel and it actually rained. In February. Sorry, I was busy yesterday feeling sorry for myself.

Today, I'm not doing that.

9 meant going shopping with PJ. 10 ended long I lasted, listening to Untitled Lullaby in the truck and 11 was when the need for coffee superseded my barely-singed credit card and we called it a morning.

At 12 we headed for home for lunch with the kids, and 397 is the number of grams in this bag of chili lime pistachio nuts that I'm going to snack on all afternoon while I wait for 7, when the goodnight phone call comes for the children and then 10, when I get my very own.

14982 is the number of sheep I'll have to count before my dreams come and take me from this day, for that's how many it took last night.

And 1, as usual, is the loneliest number. But not for long. Because in 20 days, he'll be back.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Repeat after me.

(This is the part where Ben must travel for his much beloved secret night job and I sorta kinda almost mostly implode but not.)
Look at me, my depth perception must be off again
You got much closer than I thought you did
I'm in your reach
You held me in your hands
But could you find it in your heart?
To make this go away
and let me rest in pieces
Ben's plane finally got out and I'm almost sober again. With any luck someone will bring me just a little more because this hurts like hell and it really didn't help that we wound up in the airport lounge waiting for his first-class flight trying to pretend it wasn't going to hurt like hell.

It didn't help that he ordered me drink after drink at seven o'clock in the morning hoping he could dull the pain for me just long enough to make his getaway, laughing in his defeated way, telling me all I had to do was say the word and he would figure something else out.

It didn't help that my lingering kiss at the gate was the exclamation point on an argument we managed to craft before the announcement that his flight was rescheduled at long last. Never mind that that final kiss seemed to be more of an attempt by him to soak up whatever alcohol he could taste by proxy, and never mind that he slipped his lucky ring onto my finger before he left, even though it's supposed to be this very ring that gives the night job all of the magic, or so he claims, and when I tried to make sure he took it back he told me just to shut up and keep it for luck, because I need some,

He said that I would be in good hands. That I am always in good hands. As in fuck off and shut up. I'm gone and they can deal with you so I don't have to worry about you.

Okay. Yeah. I may be drunk but I know you, Benjamin and I know how exquisite your hatred can be when you shut yourself down in order to go work because otherwise you wouldn't go at all. So you don't need to be mean just to protect yourself.

Can I use that against you later?

Sure, whatever you need, Benny.

When did I ever say we were functional?

The good news is, it's all an act on his part because I saw his eyes before I turned to run back down the concourse, coat flying out behind me, heels clicking on the polished stone, heads turning as I passed, gasping for breath while the tears just fucking streamed.

This was right after I contemplated making a scene, yelling, I love you, you fucking asshole and he would have whispered it back because there is only one phrase in the whole entire world that I can lip-read and that would be it.

I hate the airport. I hate goodbyes and I hate waiting. I hate that everything echoes. I hate that I made it through the automatic doors while security walked about twenty feet behind me because really, a delicately-crying five-foot-tall woman in high heels who can barely walk upright isn't much of a threat and John caught me before I wiped out on the ice and he took one look at me and he said very slowly that everyone cries when someone they love leaves.

I know that, that part is easy. Excusable, almost.

But not everyone drinks at this hour on a Monday morning, princess. I'm really glad you called me.

I didn't say anything. He cajoled me the whole way home, stopping for coffee along the way and pointing out that in three weeks I will have Ben back.

Poor John. I'm sure there is nothing better in the whole world than a drunk friend with abandonment issues being your charge.

(Oh wait, I just described life with Ben before I married him.)

So, apparently there are worse things.

And for the record, I fully intend to keep my promises and get on with improving my outlook, curbing both my emotional outbursts and my flair for the dramatic while Ben is away, to give myself an unemcumbered shot at getting better without his influence, and oh, what an influence it can be, since I made no attempt to refuse four whiskey sours on the table when I hadn't even cracked a coffee yet.

And no one is allowed to give him a hard time, he was doing what he thought might work because, really, between you and me? No one knows what works or helps or makes anything better and so Ben fell back on the one thing that always used to make him feel better. I wouldn't have been surprised at all if he had called me from his destination three sheets to the wind, softly fumbling the words I love you and I'm sorry into the phone but instead he asked how I was doing as if he really and truly cared and it kind of surprised me because he doesn't do that when he's away. I confirmed that yes, I was pretty much sober the moment he was gone, because if there is ever a sobering moment it is always that one when they go out of sight.

I also confirmed that yes, I am making spaghetti for dinner for the boys tonight, because they're the ones holding the net, while Ben and I do our high wire act. Tickets are cheap but they go so fast. It's hard to believe your eyes.

It's so hard to perform perfectly with all these distractions. But I'm going to learn how.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The part where she lives.

I might be getter better. The cold seems to have loosened it's grip on me. My voice hasn't cut out today, my headache left after being chased off the premises by the mighty Advil Liquigel I took after waking up and the energy I can credit to a little fresh air and a big bottle of Mega C Vitamin water, something the dorky one swears by when he's on the road. All I need is a little extra sleep, which I should be able to pull off tonight, and I'm maybe home-free.

Until the next cold, that is. Henry still coughs a little at night. If he wakes up for whatever other reason, I pop out of bed, get his inhaler and a glass of water and bring them to him and then take them back and it usually takes him five or ten minutes to settle back down and fall asleep again. One of these days he'll be responsible enough to have the inhaler on his nightside table and maybe I won't have to get up at all but we're not there yet. Soon, just not quite yet.

In other news, I'm a mess. I looked at my reflection while we were out this morning and almost screamed. I had my hair twisted up into a little ponytail and my bangs are down to my chin again and the blonde is brassy and winterburned. I had no makeup on so my eyes were dark hollows. Pale lips. No jewelry. Jeans that are too loose again. Burgundy parka that washes me out. Mittens. I asked Ben if I was losing it and he said I only get this sick once or twice a year and not to worry. GEEZ, darling are you looking at me?

You know I must be feeling better when that actually bothers me. Remember Naomi Watts in Eastern Promises? No, no, after she would get off her bike. In the cold, with the red nose. Yes, that's exactly right.

We came home after getting all of our things done and I did not change my clothes or do much more than brush my hair, add jewelry and put on some mascara and some lipgloss but what a difference a little sparkle makes.

Maybe I'll just vomit glitter all over you. I feel like it actually, I think I had a little too much water and used up a little too much energy this morning.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Rotary girl.

It's a good day for double-toasted bagels and a few rounds of Exquisite Corpse (which is unfortunately named). A good day to play outside in the snow since it's a free day from school, and a good day finalize the grocery list for tomorrow as we batten down our hatches and attempt to ride out February as painlessly as possibly.

A good day to start packing because the extended winter break is over for Ben, a little earlier than scheduled and he has mustered his numbish enthusiasm to tell me it will be okay.

I know it will be okay, though.

Once it ends. Once I try and remember all the rules and mechanisms we put in to place to ensure that each trip out won't end in complete and utter disaster like last year. Once I remember that I married Ben and I married his other life too, since it's such a huge part of who he is and him going away to work is just something I am going to have to learn to get used to.

The whole thing gives me a goal for February. I don't really enjoy goals (or disappointment or pressure, for that matter). I don't enjoy living in this big house all alone either with some harried late night or early morning staticky phone calls to stand in for Ben's epic, irreplaceable hugs and presence. I don't enjoy living a life behind glass where everyone sets the charge and then retreats to the safety of the shelter to watch the explosion and subsequent shockwave from a safe distance and then runs back over to assess the destruction.

I don't want to be the damage.

(Change the things you can, princess).

Here's the thing, Jacob. I can't change Ben's vocation. This is his calling as much as yours was the church. It makes him who he is. What I can change is my reaction to it, how I deal with it or how I fuck it up for both of us, over and over again.

You're totally right, Jakey. I need to do this. I can do this. Everyone else seems to be able to manage it, and as a bonus, I get Ben back in the end. Safe and sound. One-piece man. No more puzzles, no more fragment-girl, left to founder at home.

No more fragile. No more spinning around the dial looking for a number to fall into. No more ancient, tested and true methods of riding out the fear unsuccessfully. All new for the new year. I do believe I have finally grown tired of myself and the way I think and it's time to make things better. I wasn't aware one could suffer that much grief and then proceed to lose several entire years but it can't go on.

It can't go on, Jake. You need to go. You need to let me go.

Oh, wait. I need to let you go.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


There is a video for that song. I knew that already, I just didn't bother linking it but here, since some of you wanted to know. Oh, and if your work does not approve of bikinis, save it til you get home, okay? (I'm talking to you, Duncan.)
It's not until you go to look at newly updated copyright notices and the like and you discover you've been putting the words down for just about five years now and there's no more trust in yourself than you had the day you started this stupid thing.

Yes, it's probably cabin fever, or maybe it's the fact that everytime I take a deep breath everything hurts like hell and I can't seem to stop coughing and I shouldn't have gone for a run and hell, I shouldn't have done a lot of things but really, the only gift I seem to have is the ability to write without stopping. It may not be good but it's goddamned plentiful. I daresay words are the one thing I never seem to run out of as long as they flow from my fingertips and not from my mouth.

I may just post all day. It's called being unsettled.

Short run.

...expressions are cast to confuse and impress, eroding the resilience that serves to be not quite good enough. I try to bring the words with honesty, instead of persisting in the shade of daydreams...

...inevitably, more tragedies wait in the wings while we linger under the hot lights, reluctant to take our bows and exit stage left to face the music of the pressing darkness. Pride and ego standing in for courage...

Beautiful, fragile. Beautiful, fragile. Beautiful, fragile.

Oh, I love this part!
visually you're stimulating to my eyes
your Cinderella syndrome's full of lies
your insecurities are concealed by your pride
pretty soon your ego will kill what's left inside

just as beautiful as you are
It's so pitiful what you are
you should have seen this coming all along
It's so pitiful what you are
as beautiful as you are
you should have seen this coming all along

you're everything that's so typical
maybe you're alone for a reason, you're the reason

it's so pitiful what you are, you should have seen this coming all along
God I love that song.

My time is up, where should I turn?

Maybe just one more block.

It would have been nice to run long enough to leave the uncategorized thoughts behind. Perhaps tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Peas, pod.

I was in my usual haunt being my usual self. Hair piled up behind my neck with a myriad of Victorian pins and a spare black pencil because I break my hairsticks so easily and have gone back to the old standard. Fingers laden down with rings rolling loose around my knuckles, bones shrugged into a thin black sweater over a dark dress, dark stockings and three-mile high platform shoes. Holding another black pencil with my thumb while I rattled off a pile of words on the keyboard, ones to be sorted later.

Humming along while the stereo roared in my ears , oblivious to every last potential nuclear holocaust that might or might not be occurring outside of my non-peripheral, complete and utter tunneled vision.

I surprised myself when I felt a presence, a perceived attention and I looked around and found Ben standing in the doorway, regarding me with a fascinated look, not daring to break the spell I can put myself under any old time.

I bit my lip, adding the snarly, toothy look of concentration that he positively adores.

There's a word for this.

For what?

You, with your hair up and the all-black dresses and shoes inside the house, the whole doll thing, the formal mourning clothes on bad days. It makes you who you are, right from the top of your beautiful head to those thin little spindle-ankles of yours.

Ah, so I should change?


Less scary clothes? Normal shoes? Jeans more often?

He came into the room and sat down in the spare chair and began to play with the contents of my bag, separating the Happy Meal toys out and testing out an errant sharpie pen, reading some scraps of paper, holding up a hearing aid that should have been in my ear but wasn't.

No. No, don't change a thing. This is who you are.

Maybe good people change for their loves.

When have you ever done that?


Exactly. No, they change for you. They want to become part of you.

No one has ever changed for me, if they did they would have become perfect. Instead of being perfectly flawed.

You think?

I know.

What about me?

You don't change, Ben.

That's encouraging.

No. You improve but you're not jumping through hoops to please me or to fit in.

I never needed to do that. You wanted to be like me. All hardcore and stuff.

Oh is that it?

Yes, that's exactly right.

I must be so transparent.

Admit it.

What happens if I admit it?


His face broke into a huge smile when I nodded, and then he bit the top off my chapstick for good measure. I've taken to buying the fruit-flavored organic lip balms just so the boy gets a nutrient or two.

You want to come to the rink with me?

Sure, just let me change.

You look beautiful, Bridget. Leave everything as it is.

I don't want to be cold.

I won't let you be cold, baby. You can wear my coat.

Sorry, it's not hardcore enough for me.

Hey, I can change.

Don't touch a thing, Benjamin. Just leave it all like this.

He's got the sweetest smile, you know. If I only had the words to share it with you.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Good grief (the Snoopy kind, not the Sam kind).

Choose your words
Choose them wise
Not surprisingly, I'm plotting extra tattoos this morning. I like words, okay? Give me the perfect combination and I will wear them for all eternity.

I'm still magnificently sick today but instead of throwing the proverbial kitchen sink of cold medicines at myself and hoping for the best, this morning I'm chewing aspirins and drinking green tea with honey, taking my vitamin C and my iron pills and just digging my fingers into this day so I don't get flung off like I did yesterday, hitting the couch facedown before six and then giving up on even that and going to bed at eight where I cried myself to sleep and raged in and out of an uneasy Nyquil coma uneasily until the alarm went off at five and I swore at Gord Downey once again.

I just have to make it through ten more hours and I can do it all again, even though in an effort to stay healthy so that he can continue to make the most delicious BLT sandwiches I have ever eaten and wash dishes with Henry and surpervise the children at circus (bed) time and all the other things I normally do plus his usual night-but-suddenly-day job for just a little while longer, Ben is reduced to giving me forehead kisses and oddly-removed squeezes from above with his face turned away as if I am a plague in pajamas. A cute little drippy blonde pariah. I hate that.

I can't blame him though. He has to be healthy right now.

I'd like to be healthy right now but I can't complain. By this time over each of the past three years we would have already weathered five or six major colds and rounds of antibiotics and dozens of days lost to the stupor of sickness and dismay.

So this is peaches and cream because it's the first bad one and really, there's only six weeks left of winter thanks to the groundhogs. I can make it, really, I can.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Oh, and God bless Ben too.

Song of the week for you, since I can't get the playlist-thingie to function in all of your browsers and the words must always come first. Lochlan took it off for me and we shall muddle through, alright?

That beautiful song woke me up this morning, for Ben sings and plays a mean acoustic version of it, and because I've been complaining about my favorite radio station waking me up with Tragically Hip eleven mornings out of twelve. So he woke me up instead. With that.

It was nice, because I went to bed last night nursing the end of a bad headache and woke up with a painfully sore throat and space-cadet head. And while it would be nice to spend the day in flannel, reading under the blankets in front of the fire, we had to get up, instead, wash every dish in the house because I think every last one of them was used for the Superbowl party last night and then do three loads of laundry, which I'm just about done, and then I'm going back to bed.

Before I fall asleep I promise I'll say my prayers though. God bless Advil Extra-strength Liquigels, God bless Dayquil and God bless Bounce dryer sheets for making everything I can't smell smell good anyway.

(P.S. Since Youtube seems to be on a video removal binge lately, the song is Flicker by Submersed.)