Sunday, 31 May 2009

Too much time and then too little.

(Alternately titled Goldilocks and the 3 Husbands because it's funny.)

Someone sent me an email recently asking me what my deal is. That was it. One line. What's your deal?

If that wasn't a rude demand for something for nothing I don't know what is.

And then it occurred to me that I've removed all of the archives that would have led readers back to oh, 2004. Even though nothing much happened until 2006. That was the year I think the world as I know it exploded.

Here's a really truncated look back because I can barely do this but it's been demanded of me and who am I to ignore a direct command, ever? To match, it's staccato, and just as rude. There will be no poetry today.

In April of 2006, I left my husband, Cole. We had been married for 12 years. We had two small kids, Ruth, who was 6 at the time, and Henry, who was 4. Cole was sexually abusive. I was submissive and already incredibly fragile.

I left Cole for Jacob, one of Cole's best friends, one of mine, too. Jacob and I had fought our feelings for years. Maybe I was never one to play very fairly. I tried hard to be a good wife, though. The separation began amicably enough but stopped the night Cole broke into the house when I was there alone and hurt me. He broke a lot of bones, I'm five feet tall and 95 pounds, fighting back was a fool's game. Jacob saved my life that night like he had several times before and Cole went to jail. Two months later Cole suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 37. We were not yet divorced.

That was when something in my head broke and I was never the same again.

This was also when I learned to stop waiting.

In August, Jacob took me for a hot air balloon ride. He proposed. I said yes. We were married two days later in his church. He was a Unitarian Christian minister. Someone else performed the ceremony. In September we got pregnant and in October we learned that the pregnancy was ectopic. My head got a lot worse after that, but so did Jacob's and we struggled mightily through the next full year trying to stay afloat. He was trying to fix everything and I kept trying to break it, too busy to notice things that were going on around me. Trying to keep normal going when normal had packed up and moved away.

We tried to embark on the romance of the century and you got to go along for that ride and that's one of the reasons I have taken off those entries. It hurts, you will never understand how much it hurts.

In October of 2007, Jacob left me. Left us. Just up and said he was already gone. That he wasn't a good person, that he needed to leave. I broke a little more. The resiliency of this one little human must be positively outstanding. I foundered around numb for a week and then on Jacob's birthday, my friends came and told me that he was dead, having taken his own life the night before, leaving behind some incredibly detailed instructions, provided to ensure that I would understand exactly what had happened to him and to us. Sometimes, to this day, I do understand and sometimes I don't get it at all.

This was when my head went on vacation completely. I did a lot of very self-destructive things and then I went away to a lovely place where they fix heads like mine. I came home weeks later, too soon, incapable of being any better off but loathe to abandon my children the way that Jacob had abandoned us. I continued to be self-destructive for a long time after coming home. Honestly I still am sometimes.

The winter I came home when Ben began to show me who he really was. I liked that person. And Bridget doesn't wait anymore. There is no point.

Honestly, I knew what he felt for me. Those of you who have read here for years have witnessed almost first hand our comment wars online and real-life difficulties we've both written about extensively but we've never had a dealbreaker, he's my boomerang boy. He always came back. Ben has an unconventional job that I don't talk about much and he may or may not be on the road or in the studio for a good three-quarters of most years but if you ask me I will tell you he's a door-to-door tattoo machine salesman. Hell, we have enough tattoos between us to make a stab at the truth with that one. He is none of your business in that respect so don't ask me what our last name is or if he's famous because that is the only time you will ever catch me in a lie anymore. I'm fine with that.

So I stopped playing and started looking at him a lot different in January of 2008 and by April we were married and oh, here she goes just like Elizabeth Taylor but really, Ben and I bicker just enough to pass for normal, married people and so far so good. He went to rehab this past winter and is currently celebrating seventy-nine days sober. He's been through more than I have, but that's for another day, again. I'm just trying to get through this.

When I'm not sharing too much information with the readers who wander in and out and number in the thousands now (thank you for the daily collection of outraged emails) I write short stories and novels too and I look after my friends and my two not-so-little kids (Ruth will be 10 this summer, Henry will be 8 and yes, they were named for candy bars but it could have been worse if I liked Kit-Kats and 3 Musketeers) and I cook dinner for a crowd every night. Friends that I write about include Lochlan, PJ, Christian, August, Joel, Sam, Duncan, Andrew, Daniel, Schuyler, Dalton, Dylan, Corey, Robin, Mark, Caleb and Chris. Some are awesome, some are evil. Who is which depends on the day. Some are very reluctant to be written about. Others, not so much. Some come and go. Others never budge. I am lucky to have them and lucky they love us so much.

I like to snowboard and climb rocks (very low rocks because I'm afraid of heights) and slow-dance and lap-dance and eat cake and cotton candy and draw cartoons and make up words and listen to music and play music on my violin and my piano.

I read music lyrics like other people read the newspaper because I have a degenerative hearing loss that someday not so far off in my future will leave me with only the music in my head and I'll be damned if I'm going to forget the words when the time comes.

That's my deal, in a nutshell. What's yours?

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Manufactured by Westeel Stelco.

I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine
I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find
In my grandparent's old house the furnace was on pull-chains and the stove ate big split-wood logs by the hour to cook all-day weekend dinners like pot roast with fresh peas and boiled potatoes. Here things aren't much different except that my twenty-year old furnace swallows natural gas and my oven plugs into the wall. I still cook all-day dinners sometimes.

Today was a cool and breezy day. Managed to get the groceries this morning. Bringing home string-tied celery, baskets of vegetables, paper-wrapped meats and a big jar of honey always makes me feel kitschy, vintage. Fifties, early sixties maybe. Makes me want to put on my apron and hum aloud while I scrub floss away from fresh ears of corn, the radio on the counter belting out Donovan or The Shangri-las. Ben would come in, muck dirt all over my freshly-mopped kitchen floor, one single lock of black hair falling onto his forehead, his clean-shaven, hungry grin huge and wide for me and kiss me with one hand while he changed the radio with the other to the talk-station for the news and weather. The kids would be upstairs, playing quietly in the sun on the upstairs porch floor, Lego bricks spread all over the place in their bid to recreate the diner we like to stop at for milkshakes and french fries on hot summer evenings after a cruise around town to see the magnolia trees in bloom.

But not tonight, because tonight we're having the roast I've had simmering in the oven all day, and even though my grandmother's radio would have been tuned to the hymns, I think she might approve of my efforts to pick and chose what I need and want to keep from the memories I have inside my head. I hope so anyway.

There are more memories to sort through. I just can't quite reach those yet. Some idiot built a wall in front of them and it looks like I'm going to have to tear it down. I'll do that, as soon as I find myself a vintage sledgehammer. Stay tuned.

Friday, 29 May 2009

You don't need to know these things.

Weeping shades of indigo
Shed without a reason
It's Friday. A sunny, cool day, perfect for swinging in the hammock in the front porch with the windows closed, curtains opened to allow the sun to warm the room. I've got my laptop and a big bowl of pistachios, iced tea and plans to drag everyone grocery shopping after dinner this evening so that I can go back to dreaming about being Gilda Texter in Vanishing Point instead of Jennifer Aniston in Rock Star, as well as lying on the grass in the sun at the park and finishing the book, which is so good it's a travesty that I've only been picking it up very late at night if I can't sleep.

Sometimes I am both characters in both films. Yesterday Ben took me up to the lake, the farthest I have been from home on a motorcycle in forever, and he found a quiet network of dirt roads between fields far away from prying eyes, slid me out of my jeans and boots and wrapped me in his leather jacket and then we christened the Harley, because there's no better way to spend a sunny Thursday morning than perched on the back of a parked motorcycle with your husband defiling you to the delight of whatever prairie wildlife, and that one trucker might happen to witness. (I'm sorry, mister, thank you for not stopping). The legend of Tucker Max lives on.

Besides, if I am to drive around the back yard naked on a motorcycle we're going to have to get one that's my size. (First one to make a scooter joke will be punished severely.)

Had my first waxing of the season. Will not be going back anytime soon. It was successful, I believe all my hair was ripped out at soul-level and I'm left with smooth legs for the first part of the summer. I don't grow regular hair, I have a nice white downy baby-duckling coat that probably wouldn't even have to be removed until I'm in very bright light and I emit a fuzzy all-over glow and that just isn't cool to me. In addition to the soul-baring I discovered my skin doesn't like whatever wax was used and I'm also covered in a rash again. Apparently it will go away in a few days. Gee, thanks. Just what I need, to itch my way through another season. (Again, please refrain from jokes, none of you are brave enough to do it.)

And lastly, I have new summer dresses. And they make me feel pretty good. Or maybe that's good and pretty? Whatever. It all works. Though I won't need them if I get a little motorcycle for the yard, now, will I?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

I am trying to break your heart.

I'd always thought that if I held you tightly
You'd always love me like you did back then
Then I fell asleep and the city kept blinking
What was I thinking when I let you back in?
This morning is all about loud music, running fast and hard for over an hour, which made me feel somewhat human and less flighty this morning, and a scalding hot shower followed by a hotter cup of coffee. Dark roast, thanks. I have no use for weakling beans.

Post-shower I put on my skinny jeans, black skims and cardigan and my favorite dark grey t-shirt and I came downstairs to pronounce myself human again (out loud) after almost fifteen hours of resembling the little monster who lives in the pantry again.

Yesterday I heard something that made me think and I'm still racing towards it, wedged between Ben's back and the sissy bar, my wrists clenched around his chest for dear life, face smushed against helmet smushed against his leather jacket.

The difference between the way you are and the way everyone else is, Bridget, is that they are content until otherwise stirred to sadness or anxiety and you are the complete opposite of that.

Granted, it was an offhand comment made somewhere mired in a whole big session on What's Wrong with Bridget's Head, Part 78328173457598821-F but it stuck out to me because it explains precisely why I get so frustrated.

(I'm falling. Ohshitohshitohshit hard landing.)

I felt myself sliding down the hill. By four in the afternoon my legs were dangling freely over the edge of the day and I had two tufts of grass clenched tightly in my fists, unwilling to lose any more ground. The guitar cords swelled around me and leached into my brain and I was screaming and it just wound up lost and distorted in the noise and it got so bad I almost let go so that I could put my hands up over my ears but I didn't because if I checked out of the day right then it would have been a longer climb back and I'm worn out. I don't want to make that climb.

So I kept holding on.

Eventually a head appeared over the guardrail, Ben's face smiling down at me. He yelled down that I should grab his hand.

Fuck you, I yelled, It was your driving that flung me off the motorcycle in the first place and put me here. Don't think for a second you can risk my life and then turn around and save it too.

He shrugged and took a bite of his sandwich, chewing thoughtfully and looking up at the sky.

Fine, do it yourself then. And he settled in to watch.

I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone fling me off any of these cliffs. I can jump off just fine. But I won't because the contentment is worth this stupid climb. So I let go with one hand, swung as hard as I could and grabbed at a patch of vines and grass a little higher up, giving me a better purchase.

He nodded and hollered an encouragement. I missed it when the wind blew softly in my ears.

I forced my arms to pull up my body and dug the toes of my boots in to the soft earth. Another foot. Another dozen inches closer to safety.

A good half hour later, my hand landed an inch from Ben's avengers and he reached down and took my hands and lifted me onto my feet, on the safe-side of the guardrail. He spun me around to brush away errant grass and leaves and then held me out at arm's length, staring at me like he's never seen me before.

Tougher than you look, bumblebee.

I shook my head, because I really don't think I am.

You wouldn't have been able to pull that off a year ago.

Sure I would! The inside of my head screamed at him. I'm a pro.

Outwardly, I just burst into tears, because sometimes not a damned thing inside my head matches what happens outside of it. He knows. And he pulled me in against his chest until I couldn't breathe anymore. Until my legs were no longer rubber and my soul was wedged back in place. My own voice echoed through my head, drowning out the bike rumbling, Ben talking, everything around me. It kept saying You're okay. You're okay. You're okay.

I've never heard that voice before. Not in here, anyway.

Contentment. It might be within my reach after all. I just seem to have incredibly short arms.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


CBC's Falcon cam is back up. It was called to my attention last year simply because the mom falcon is Princess and the dad falcon is Trey. Ruth and Henry have been enjoying watching the progress, since the babies just hatched.

If you'll notice the bucket they're sleeping in, hopefully it will prevent a repeat of last year.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

My talents extend far beyond lap dances and now I have proof.

I am a busy girl this morning.

Sent Ben off for his appointments with a smile on his face. Had a long run. Planted the rest of the Clematis and the Osteospermums (terracotta), hosed down the cobblestones and hanging baskets. Cleaned and put away the tools, started laundry, and then, I got to work.

The funniest part of planning an afternoon of baking (banana bread, apple crisp, blueberry-apple muffins and cinnamon bread)? Precisely how many of the guys show up to just 'hang around'.

You would think I never feed them or something.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Breathe on my head and I'll love you for the rest of my days.

Sometimes life is just that simple.
I am the crisis
I am the bitter end
I'm gonna gun this down
I am divided
I am the razor edge
there is no easy now
This morning I woke up in the hammock, in the front porch, Ben holding me against his cool skin and the sound of heavy spring rain flooding my head. Sensory overload of the best kind, and a fitting end to a week that was long, arduous even. He whispered, his lips against the top of my head, a far away sound competing with the glorious rain.

Shhhhhhh. Everything's alright.

It is, oddly. And instead of making wrong choices we seem to be making right ones. Asking for help, time, hugs, clarification, space, less space, patience.

Maybe it's a novelty, maybe it's easier than reading minds and making assumptions and wishing and hoping. Maybe it works because many times over this week we've been surprised to ask for and get what we wanted, or what we needed, rather.

Maybe there is hope in small comforts and big love in broken hearts. Maybe no one cares if I have quiet meltdowns or silent melodramas playing out in my head or in my world. What matters to me is he cares, and that he's here. There's less saying things are better or fine, and more moments that we just know, and we take them. Ones when the house is still quiet and he can move me so I wake up to sounds I usually never hear. Ones where he holds my hand and for the moment I'm not pulling away to run, physically or emotionally. Ones that are steeped in new routines that are too new to remember they are routine, and so we hold them that much harder.

Life is never going to be perfect or much different than it is now. We'll struggle. I know that much now. But oddly, admitting's not a disappointment.

It's a relief.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Life without an OFF button.

I'm officially volunteering to be the world's first brain transplant.

And we are home. Sometimes when you bite off more than you can chew, it helps to remember you can discreetly spit it into your napkin. Apparently Bridget is still not ready for solid food.

Or normal life, it seems, as boundless fear takes over every last good and wonderful thing. As I lay on my back in the twilight sky, the room with the skylights, Ben moving above me, my whole body sliding up with every thrust he made until he remembered to put one hand on top of my head to keep me down and that's when I always cross that line into painful pleasure, pinned to the floor. Instead my head went the other way and just decided to randomly begin to doubt that we could hold each other through the next day alone and I lost it and I was ashamed because this time there was no reasonable explanation for it. My head just went off and did it in spite of protests. In spite of the huge effort Ben had put into making a safe place for us, reassuring me I was so loved by him, holding me tight enough that physically I knew I was okay.

If only he could take my brain and put it in that fierce, loving embrace of his, I would be set for life.

Instead he listened to my shaky request for escape from the escape. Against his own wants, he brought me home a day early. I was not ready, that's all.

I wonder when I will be but no one has that answer. Fuck all of you then.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I can give you this.

He said that one sentence and that was it. And then he gave me his shadowed-face quiet grin that melts all the ice inside me into puddles of mush and he took my hand.

I could just buy it if you want.

I shook my head. Part of the appeal is that we have no responsibilities for this other than to enjoy it and leave it in good order when we go home.

Where did life turn to this? But I didn't say it out loud, I just crossed to the windows and looked out over the rainy ocean. He brought the ocean to me. All I had to do was take my seat and fasten the belt and then take a little ride up over the clouds and abra-cabridget, I am here in this glorious place where the grass on the dunes is so sharp you bleed just looking at it and the ocean churns up homesickness and comfort in one heaping spoonful. Just for you, princess.

Just for me, princess.

I don't deserve to be here.

But I am and I should enjoy it.

I turned around. He was going for a walk. The deal is we have forty-eight hours here. Ben deals in time because time is what we measure life against. Forty-eight is the magic one now, twenty-four to sleep and make love, twenty to write. The other four hours remaining are for searching for shells in the rain.

Sorry the weather isn't better.

The weather is perfect, Benjamin. Just perfect.

Better get started.

Yeah, I know.

I'll go get us some coffee and groceries.


And Bridget?


I love you.

I turned around to smile at him when I answered him, but he had already left.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Postcards from Haaay-Zeus.

It said only:

Thanks for getting things organized with my place. Now turn off the tunes and go do something, Bridget.

PS The girls here are easy. You could take lessons.



I wrote back:

Dear Dalton,

You're welcome. Stuff it.

Love, Bridget.

We're rolling down the highway
I'm rolling down my window
Then I stick my hand out and drive with it as it flows
If I started thinking, instead of looking back
You wouldn't see me sinking, before they covered up the tracks

This is what it feels like, coming down
We're all in the movie, can't turn it off or shut it down
This is what it feels like, if that's so
Then where is the director to tell us where the hell to go?

I've got this film in my head
They've scripted all that I've said
Let's make it real before we're dead,
because we're close enough, diamonds in the rough
Today's the day we finally say can't turn this movie off
And if we're not, we might as well just blow this all to hell
It's not a film or a fantasy we're not just make believe

So this is what it feels like, running through my lines
I never need to ad lib; I find it's just a waste of time
This is what it feels like, when the hero dies
On to the next one, funny how time flies

I've got this film in my head
They've scripted all that I've said
Let's make it of real before we're dead,
because we're close enough, diamonds in the rough
Today's the day we finally say can't turn this movie off
And if we're not, we might as well just blow this all to hell
It's not a film or a fantasy we're not just make believe

As long as I play me, and as long as you play you
God I love this scene, I gotta thank the cast and crew
Don't let the credits roll, don't let the credits roll