Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Butters.


I spend a lot of time talking to the dog lately.

It's twosday, kids.


I have a whole town at my disposal, I think. I had eight offers just today of help in the form of picking the kids up at school and feeding them lunch, afterschool playdates and anything else I might need for them. While it makes my skin crawl to see the pity on people's faces it warms me that so many people have put themselves out to help.

Really, I think the kids are doing the best of any of us. I have mostly turned down offers to take them, partially because I was advised not to restrict their access to me, not to shunt them away from me when I am what is left but also because I'm selfish. They are all I have and I need to keep them close. I need to watch them and make sure they keep doing well. I need to keep them safe from a life that has so far seen a little too much sadness. I don't want them to ever pay for my choices ever again.

They are doing amazing in spite of me. They're not harbouring any false pretenses with regards to death. They know Jacob isn't coming back, no one is in denial. They aren't afraid that I will die next. They're okay to cry when they feel like it or talk about Jacob often. Okay, twenty-four hours a day which kills me but I do it too. We do it at home and we do it in counseling. Nothing is off limits.

They had perfect report cards this quarter. They haven't acted out or up. There's no sleepless nights now, no residual behavior that's out of character. They've been talking on the phone to all of their grandparents and enjoying the guys being around a lot. They are good, good kids and I am blessed. Like I said, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't get up in the mornings, I would just let myself drown.

The routine is key. Nothing changes. They went back to school the Monday after, while I went away to the hospital and PJ ran the show and did an awesome job. The guys have drawn up a schedule so that they don't step on each other's toes, and so that someone is always here with us for meals and just because. The kids are enjoying having them here, they are like second, better ears they can talk off.

The kids come first. Bridget is simply watched closely. In case you weren't aware, that's how life has always gone here.

If you have more questions or feel the need to berate my parenting skills right now, right at this time, please feel free to email me directly and not talk about me behind my back. I don't like rumors and assumptions are worse, as are judgements culled from being half-informed. I would much prefer you just put it out there and if I think it's off limits I'll tell you so.

On the subject of email condolences, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm not responding to anything yet and I don't know when I will but I did open a few and was so moved by you. So, so moved.

Empty head.


Today would have been a perfect day to stick my head out from under the blankets, turn off the alarm, wrap Jacob's shirt just a little tighter around my bones and go back to sleep for the rest of the day. I could have dreamed about him, or just slept a dreamless sleep on drugs like I mostly do now.

Oh, and the mail. I have to change a whole bunch of stuff. I didn't do it before. I thought he would come back for me.

On second thought, I just need to cancel today. No, the week. The whole rest of it. All of it.

If it wasn't for Ruth and Henry I would most certainly be dead by now.

Shh. Fuck. I didn't say it. I just think it alot.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Life. Changing.


I'm so far away inside my head. I went from everything to nothing in the blink of an eye.

I'm going to take a deep breathe now and try to explain this and then I don't know how I'll write again here. I really don't at this point. I'd really like to, I just don't know if I can.

People started arriving around nine, the night of Jacob's birthday. First Christian, Joel and then PJ and Ben. Then Mark, Jason (in his police uniform which should have been a tip-off) Sam and Elisabeth arrived in a group. Then Duncan. August appeared from nowhere. Robin, Chris and Andrew. When everyone was there, Ben put his arms around me and asked me to sit down. Everyone had their hands on me, touching me. Steadying me.

I thought they were here for an intervention. I had two drinks that week. I was so fucking weak. I didn't get scared until Lisabeth went upstairs to check the kids. Yes, it appears they were here to make sure I was sober.

But they were here for a different reason. They had something to tell me.

The night before his thirty-seventh birthday, Jacob learned to fly. He walked out onto the balcony or the roof (we're not sure which) of his high-up hotel room in a city I have never been to and he unfurled his breathtaking (and not imaginary in the slightest) wings and he flew and I bet it was the biggest rush in the world. He has base-jumped, he would know.

He is in heaven now and now I know he was most definitely an angel, here on loan from God. For me.

I will never run into him on the street by chance. I'll never have a second chance to fall in love with him. I never fell out of love with him in the first place.

Jacob's parents came out to be with us, looking after us, taking care of their son's family, though he tried valiantly to make things easy for me legally by extricating himself from our lives, he pulled it off in name only. They were here because they want to hang on to Jacob, through us. They said I made him so much happier than any other time in his life and they were happy we finally got together.

I thought they would hate me. I hate me.

The night of the sixth I woke up in the grip of a panic attack, the likes of which I've never had before. Not even when Jacob was with me. It took forever to calm down again, and I never went back to sleep. It happened the night that Jacob died. Somehow, I knew.

A million lifetimes ago he extracted a promise from me that I would stay on earth until God decided it was time for me to go and no sooner. I'll be keeping that promise and I know now why I made it. Because he would never have made it and he needed to be sure that the children wouldn't lose both of us. He was sent to show me the beauty of life and when I finally saw it his work here was complete and he took himself home. He protected me from certain death and once the danger had passed it took his usefulness with it. That was how he explained it to me in part of the letter. He said a million times I did not cause this, I only prolonged his plans to die, but I will never believe that and will blame myself into eternity. Not til I die, for I am already cold. He stuck around long enough to get me away from Cole and he never expected to fall so hard.

His persistence for me to be with him was his last chance at life.

And why the hell didn't he just stay?

We were happy. He didn't have to do this.

I like to hope that now I have Jacob watching over me. That deep down he did want me to succeed and go on to have some kind of life after Cole and things were never as easy for Jacob as he claimed them to be.

Part of me has died with him, I won't lie. Briefly I was well-prepared to break every promise and join him but I doubt we'll end up in the same afterlife and he is right. I need to be here for Ruth and Henry and I will remain here for them forever. I was never sure how but it's surprisingly easy to walk around with a gaping hole in your soul. I hope you never have to try it. And we'll be okay. I'm going to be okay. He did that for me, he made sure I was surrounded by people who care, people he forced to care in the right way, and he gave me the tools to deal with this. He isn't coming back for me but he's with me forever.

I took off when I found out. I ran. I left Sam and Lisabeth in charge of the kids and I went to Caleb's hotel, an explanation which I again will save for another day. Ben took me out of there two days later and I went far far away to a place where they gave me shots full of wonderful dreams to keep me from screaming because for a very long time, I couldn't seem to stop. When I stopped screaming they talked very gently and eventually I talked back. Eventually they figured I was okay to go home, with help. I did not want to be there. I don't want to be here.

Jacob had no life insurance, no valuables, no legacy except for his impact on the people he touched. A week after his birthday a box from him was delivered to the house. It held all of his journals, all of his thoughts, everything. On the top was another letter to me and this is now my heart, his priceless words to me explaining to me that he wanted me to read all of it, that he didn't leave it here before for fear I would destroy it all unread when he left, and pure assurances that this wasn't my fault. Some journals I had never seen, the ones he hid from me.

I have some pictures and his letter and his ring and what's inside my now-destroyed heart. And when I said it was harder than him being dead to know he was out there in the world without me, I was wrong. At least when he was alive, I had hope.

Reading his thoughts in his own writing has been the best medicine I ever took. Some of it is so difficult but all of it so beautiful. He really did love me. I was his world, with the kids but he just couldn't stay. Mentors were not mentors but long-term therapists and analysts, meetings were sessions, and long trips away that he took during our entire relationship were never of the tourist variety. At least not for as long as he said they were. If I wasn't well on the inside, he was sicker. His struggles were so quiet. No one could have ever known.

I didn't know. I was too busy trying to fix my own goddamned head to see how bad off he was.

I was the strong one after all. I have finally touched what happens to the people you leave behind and it is worse than I imagined it to be. But don't worry about me, I can't stress it enough. I know what's going on but I don't feel it. This is for the best, being like this.

Memories of him are all I breathe now.

I love you, Pooh.

I always will

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Why didn't you just stop coming here?


Zombies rule. So do moments of the utmost clarity when all my hairs stand on end and I feel every last iota of pain. Then zombie comes back. In other words, I'm trying to outrun myself.

The kids are in bed, it's 8 pm. The house is quiet. I took all my pills and changed the bandages on my hand. I spoke with Joel already. PJ called at halftime. Christian took the phone from him and yelled at me gently. Ben offered to come over (again) and I told him to take a break already. He swore softly at me and hung up. Bailey called to tell me her woes and then halfway through stopped abruptly, apologizing. Apparently it's Bridget for the win, for her tragedies trump all.

And it's getting hard not to talk about things here of all places so maybe I will just get on with it and then I can think better.

My hand? I stuck Joel's pen right through it. A self-crucifixion but really an attempt to transfer pain. It was the second time in four days I was too fast for Joel, the first being when they told me Jacob was dead and I took off for Caleb's hotel and now yes, I'm being blackmailed. He won't even give me back my stupid hearing aids and it doesn't matter, because in case you missed it the first time around 38 words ago, Jake is dead.

My fairytale. It's over now. If someone would have ever told my future and told me I'd be a technical widow twice in two years I would have thought what a mean thing to say. And yet here I am.

I appear to not be dead, unfortunately, and nothing should have ended up like this. I wish I were. Truly I do. I'm done writing for the night, maybe tomorrow or the next day I can fill in some of the blanks but for now be assured that this time around nothing has been left to chance with my care and feeding. I can't feel it. I don't feel it. Logically I'm fucking up on purpose in an attempt to feel it. I've gone stir-fucking crazy. Which is better than letting any of it sink in.

And if I do say so myself, I'm succeeding where I have failed.

I warned you. I tried to protect you. I tried to protect me, but none of that really matters anymore.

The best part is they're all so aware of my deafness now that I keep hearing people say I can't believe she's still standing after everything that has happened to her.
Me neither. Though if you look really fucking closely, I'm being held up on strings. And the puppetmaster is my brother in law.

Logic doesn't even enter into it.


Understand that
I will keep you safe from every scar that bleeds,
I will keep you free from all that's hurting me,
This I promise

I promise
One more time, this I swear
Trust in me, my faith is sincere
Love is stronger when the end is near
Then there will be nothing more to fear
I promise
Trust in these, love, life, hands
You need me to help you stand
Somewhere on a snowy stretch of highway between here and the tiny town that lies to the east of us rests my Transgression CD, which I frisbeed out the truck window when this song came on. Henry asked if he could fling one. Ben told him no way, that it was littering and wasteful because in two weeks Mommy will be asking Ben to borrow his copy.

I highly doubt it.

I am done with distractions and would like to stay home more. No one seems to hear that. My freezer is full, I am capable of making breakfast or any other meal that comes along so that the kids get the same good meals they have always gotten. It saves having to bundle up to brave the snow and wind too.

But no. They don't listen to me.

And so I get to keep doing immature, petulant things like pitting Ben and Joel against each other and tossing my entire CD library, one by one. And they keep letting me get away with it. Christ. Joel doesn't know me at all, you know that?

Boy, these drugs are great. I care about nothing. And I can't write worth a damn either.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Risk.


I felt as if coming here and having an angry rant would help but I'm smart enough to know better. I'm smart enough not to fight back and smart enough to give up when I can't do anymore. I'm smart enough to hang up, to walk away and close up tight when I've had enough and I'm so wholly conscious of how exposed I am here.

The numbness is starting to leave and being here trying to coordinate friends and not tell them to take a flying leap because I need them here and trying to not feel alone is starting to turn zombiegirl into an angry angry person who is...prone to moments of total and utter helplessness.

I'm not looking forward to this part. This part's going to hurt.

I think it's called a walking coma.


If I were a single man on my way to Toronto with my friends for a weekened of total debauchery, the very last thing I would have done before getting on the plane would be to pull up my friend's miserable online journal to read.

but, yes, that's what he did.

And so Ben turned around and came back and despite threats against his life from the boys because they don't like the guilt implied if he stays and they still go but they had all agreed that they would go in spite of things, because they needed a weekend to be boys and remember why they are all friends.

But no, idiot-boy is here.

I threatened to have him tied up and sent along as cargo but I didn't know who to call to pull that off.

I have had 4 doors slammed in my face since then, mostly due to anger. I didn't tell him she wasn't coming. I am still in it for the win with 6 doors because Ben is not my keeper and he should have gone..and I'm tired of people wanting to know what's going on.

And so, I'll just say nothing. I'll especially not answer the latest round of emails from people who definitely don't know what's going on and are attempting to pass judgement nevertheless. Why? Because they can. Because the internet is like that. You write, people will feel different ways about it. Oh if you only knew.

I'm going to try and make thirty pancakes now. Three for each of us and 21 for Ben who eats more than PJ sometimes.

It keeps me awake. It keeps me busy.

Secretly I'm happy he stayed behind because I...well, nevermind. You won't understand it anyway and I'm too foggy today to explain it properly.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Fire in the hole.


John and Andrew are coming over shortly to teach me the fine art of building a fire, a more extensive version since Jacob showed me the basics of the woodstove but I never paid close enough attention to feel comfortable doing it.

And I didn't tell PJ, Chris and Ben that Bailey isn't coming. They're headed to Toronto this weekend to take in the grey cup with Loch and I know if they knew they wouldn't go so I'm just going to keep a low profile. Joel will be around, and Andrew, and Jason I think. Mark is messed up so I won't be spending much time with him and Robin is home with family so yeah, quiet weekend ahead.

Edit: I doubt I could have stuck more names than I did in one single entry. Suffice it to say it's easier to talk about them than it is to talk about me.

No.


Bailey isn't coming out.

I'll be fine though.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

With feeling.


Jacob's parents left early this afternoon, back to Newfoundland, back to life as they know it. They've aged since they've been here and the cold didn't help. It was -26 this morning and Jacob's dad gave a colorful curse litany that sounded the same way Jake's used to and I've had a lump in my throat ever since.

They don't blame me. No one blames me and yet I blame myself.

Bailey is coming tomorrow to help with me.

How awful does that sound? I can sit here twenty four hours a day, I don't say much or eat much or take up much room. I go where I'm told and do what I'm told to do and otherwise I mostly sit and think and read and sometimes cry and get mad at myself.

I don't even answer the door, everyone knows where the key is.

Every forty eight hours or less Joel appears and hands me my coat and my bag and drives me downtown to my appointments and then comes back and counts pills and checks the pantry and the fridge and the phone messages and runs interference with Sam. PJ comes and cooks a bit and plays with the kids and walks Butterfield and tries to make me laugh. Christian comes with CDs and tickets and movies for us to watch to keep the inanity in our heads. Ben comes and tries to draw me out, taking me for long walks, lunches, talks, albeit one-sided, and an open invitation for any sort of affection I may wish for or need, whenever I'm ready.

That last part has struck a chord that's pissing everyone off and yet it's possibly the greatest gift anyone could have ever given me. Ben knows me so well and sometimes life is a jostling, snarling ball of testosterone in which everyone tries to outmaneuver each other in order to be closer to me. Sometimes I wish they would stop fighting with each other and just be here. Just be with me. That's what he's offering.

I haven't taken him up on it much. He's too busy being angry at me for how I act, for things I have done recently, for choices I have made in moments where I should have given up my power. I could tell him I was sorry but I'm not sure if I am.

They're growing through their own feelings too, here and for the first time they have finally touched first hand what I went through before and now go through once more. They didn't reel, there was no shock, it was more of a moment when they collectively saw that something was indeed too good to be true, too good to last and now they emerge older, smarter, softer and a little less prepared to stand back and watch things happen. It took a lot to get to this point.

When I talk again I'm going to tell them how proud I am of each and every one of them and how much I love them. In the meantime I'll just quietly sit with them and sometimes freak out just a little when the conversations degenerate and they wind up throwing punches at each other in the living room.

Because some things never change.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The black and white night.


It's dark out now. All the heavy drapes are closed against the night and against the snowy cold. There are two lights on in the whole house, I believe. The one on the nightstand beside me, and one in the guest room downstairs where Jacob's parents are probably still reading and talking quietly, maybe looking at pictures or listening to the radio too.

The furnace just ticked seven times and came on, sending hot air into every room. I can hear that and my own quiet breathing and the ever-present keyboard clicks as I write and delete and write some more. My phone keeps buzzing across the dresser. I know it's Chris or maybe Ben, sometimes August or Tam wanting to say hello and ask me if I need anything. My boys are so sweet.

An hour ago I was a bit of a quiet lunatic. But instead of caving in to the panic I bit hard on the inside of my cheek and splashed some cold water on my face, took my pills and counted my breathing until I could force my mind off the path to ruin and find a distraction, maybe a bit of a story to start or a few lines of poetry toward a holiday card that I can use later this year.

When a full inhale took ten seconds I checked my head again and found that I had outsmarted it thoroughly. Not only was I no longer panicking but I forgot the great story I had thought of only seconds before.

These pills do that, I think. My short term memory has dissolved to the point where I forget the toothpaste on my brush, I put on one mitten and get outside and wonder where the other went, and Butterfield and I got halfway down the drive this evening before I realized he didn't even have his leash on.

There goes the phone again. That was Christian letting me know he has tickets for a concert in the spring. I am noncommittal, spring is eons away. Winter has just begun. He laughs and tells me to look forward to it. As we are hanging up another call comes through on the house phone and for a moment I am juggling receivers and voices and words with a world-weariness suggesting I am used to the cacophony of keeping tabs. I suppose I am.

I am still counting, still at ten seconds. I have to keep my head busy or the slide begins. I refuse to slide. I refuse to be destroyed and I refuse to be fragile anymore.

The furnace has stopped breathing on us and the house once again settles into discomfortable quietudes. Empty houses are curses on the landscape. A blight signifying a failed family, an abandoned life or the end of a dream.

This house will never be empty because I'm not going to fail, I am not cursed and I don't live in a dreamworld. No illusions mark my ideals, no false pretenses color my intentions any longer.

One of the things Jacob always found amazing about me was when push came to shove and he wasn't around I would stand up for myself and fiercely defend my right to a fair and simple existence free from drama and heartache and bullshit. Like I hid away a magic set of girl-armor under my dress and was as brittle as glass until I was the last one fighting for myself and then I became a tiny force to be reckoned with. He said he never wanted to be on the other end of my sheer force of will, that it was something. That it was devastating.

He was right. It is.

I am.

Think I have my tenses wrong.

No, still going, dammit. No slide, Bridget, no slide.

Out and a doubt.


I expected today to give me something, but I don't understand what I wanted from it. I expected some composure and I let myself down. My hand isn't healing, my heart isn't present, and yet...

I have no questions, really. Maybe that's a good thing. Do I trust that feeling or not?

No idea.

This morning Ben held my hand and watched me. Everyone watched me and I didn't react as much as they expected maybe? I don't. I never do the right thing. He and I still are not speaking but he is there for me. He's mad. He'll get over it.

Right now I feel like you do seconds before the ferris wheel goes back down after going up ever so slowly. I feel like you do in that brief moment of self-doubt before you skydive or spend a whole freaking pile of money you weren't sure you deserved. I feel as if I am poised at the edge of an unfamiliar cliff. I am afraid of heights.

No, maybe it's life. I am afraid of life.

I may be going back for a bit. I'm not all that confident in how together I was coming home in the first place. I mostly faked it, putting out the cold so I could hold my kids but really I'm transparent. They can all see right through me and it's uncomfortable.

Numbly so.

Oh, and Caleb is gone now. He wasn't present this morning, thank god. I was afraid he might but he appears to have figured out where his lines are drawn. I know where they're drawn now too and I never want to see them again.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

BTW.


Oh well fuck me then, Ben tells me this journal was never a safe, pretty or comfortable place to read, let alone happy.

That was an aside after a lovely screaming/phone throwing/hang-up-on-each-other-repeatedly conversation in which he finally had the guts to tell me he told me so.

Beware the princess with her head full of words.


Oh and while I think of it, because really, I've been parked here and told to take all the time that I need, which in reality means I can stare out the window all fucking day long if I want to, I'd like to remind readers that this is no longer going to be a safe or comfortable place to read. It's going to be ugly, sad, full of triggers and downright fucking miserable.

Eventually I might even tell you what happened.

But not right now.

Find a happy thing to read. This is not, nor will it ever be it.

I hope some day I will be proven wrong though. You just never know.

If wishes were horses.


I wish everyone would stop asking me questions. I wish everyone would stop gauging my moods by attempting to interpret my facial expressions. I wish I could brush my teeth without thinking through the steps out loud. I wish I could take all this bullshit far away from Ruth and Henry and I wish I could turn back the clock.

I wish everyone would leave. I wish I could write without judgement. I wish I could wake up from this medicated hell. I wish I could have a pair of scissors so I could cut my bangs out of mouth. I wish I could walk for a hundred years until I hit the ocean right now.

I wish I were a happy place but that is no longer the case and sometimes I wish everyone cared less. I was used to people caring less and I made this bed and Jacob burned it down and went away forever and he left me to pick up these pieces and they are too heavy for Bridget and I wished he had kept any of his promises. I can read and read and I don't see where he did.

I wish life was different.

I wish they would all just go. I'm so ungrateful

Monday, 19 November 2007

Wooden puppet.


That is me.

Ben is home now, well, here in the city for good, rather than on the road. That's nice. He stole me away for a late lunch at a hole in the wall Thai place we both like. Pad Thai makes everything better. I was surprised to be out and around like any other person on any other day. Bailey's coming at the end of the week. And Jake's parents are here. They'd like the kids and I to just come back and live with them and fill their house with noise but I think that would hurt too much or maybe it wouldn't hurt at all but how am I supposed to risk everything to find out either way?

I tried to respond to most of your emails but it comes out wooden because it is wooden because I can't feel a thing. That's why I'm responding now, before the feelings come back.

It's okay though. It's a safer place to be right now. Hiding.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Home.

Now I know why Cole bought such a big house. So that it could hold all these people that are here for us, to look after us. It's nice to be home.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Fixed signs.

My first instinct was to come in here and tear down yesterday's histrionics but instead I think I'm just going to leave them there, so I can try to keep a better handle on when the bad times are coming and somehow head them off. Suppertime alone with the kids is usually hard, but last night they chattered about their days and their new library books and we made plans to go to the big library this weekend and I managed to hold everything together pretty good considering.

I didn't want to get up today but my best chance is to just keep on going with routines and one heavy foot in front of the other with the effort of a mighty warrior. Ha. There's a vision. This five foot nothing wisp of blonde is anything but a warrior these days. Maybe someday though!

Birthdays are sacred moments in time to Jacob, I hope he has found a way to mark his 37th in a way that gives it meaning. I just wish I could have shared it too.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Show me how defenseless you really are.

I have no one to talk to.

Love by default.

    Looking for some hope
    Polished off the whiskey tonight
    You turned a man to stone
    For looking at you straight in the eyes

    So I'll drive away with all my things
    Though I've a faint belief in everything

    I wished your love away


I suppose that it would be too much to ask that the universe align tomorrow and send Jacob home for his birthday? I baked a cake this morning. If he doesn't come home I'll give it to the neighbors. If he does we can have a food fight because I'd probably throw it at him at this point.

Today is a day of petty frustrations. The zipper on my waterproof winter coat (the warm one) broke. My awesome new hikers? Worn copiously without breaking them in and lightweight, not so much. My feet hurt and I'm back to my oldest running shoes. Butterfield got the shortest walk in the world earlier as a result and I limped home from the school this morning. I won't be running for a couple of days but I don't feel like it anyway. The endorphins seem just out of my reach, I don't stretch enough, I don't get warm enough and Joel, my only running buddy now, is indulging in mutual annoyance with me. We don't get along. He overstepped and he doesn't get it and neither do I but I'm not the world's best limit-setter so I have to push him away.

Ben isn't faring much better.

He sat at the table last night singing along with Cary Brothers on the stereo after the kids went to bed while we sipped tea and didn't even talk, just sitting and listening. He put up all the storm windows in the piano windows on the south side of the house that I always forget about. He reminded me to eat a little more and to call him if I need anything, and that after next week he's back in town for good and on four-day weeks for the rest of the year so he can be handy. I didn't say much. Then he started getting his stuff together to go back to the hotel and finally he asked if I wanted him to stay.

I told him no, that I was fine, that it was a bad idea and for the sake of my sanity never to offer something like that again.

He left and once again we weren't on speaking terms but he called this morning from the airport and told me to call him, that he'd be back for a day at the end of the week and again, he loves me. I told him I loved him too. We always say that. We're close enough to say it and not have it bear the kind of weight that it should.

Sometimes that's half the problem. By default I dilute my love and spread it around, trying to give everyone attention and a place in my life and sometimes lines that seem so clear to me are not to everyone else. Sometimes I get caught up and distracted, sometimes I get thrown off my position and can't figure out where the lines are anymore. And Jacob left because I didn't erase all those lines for his benefit.

Oh, and sometimes too I just pick the most temperamental/flightiest/biggest longshots in the world to fall in love with. Which means Jacob left because he always planned to and he held on long enough to make sure we were okay. Sometimes I pick the sweet ones who don't have a clue the kind of hurt they can cause.

I need to not do that anymore. Both things.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Songs that aren't safe to hear.

    Look for the girl with the broken smile
    Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
    And she will be loved

The beauty of the small moments, stolen a few at a time or rarely, as an unexpected delight do and will outnumber the long stretches of misery. The joy on Henry's face as he ventures out into the First Official Snowstorm of the season, Ruth's thrill of having her friends call out her name and run to the fence as we arrive at school. The feeling of my dead heart lurching when Ben turned and smiled at me on the doorstep with the promise of a day of company, a surprise I wasn't expecting until Thursday. The tentative long term plans for Bridget, talked about for the first time in terms of reality, no longer pipe dreams, for I need to make decisions now.

I have a forced freedom now. I'm responsible for me and not beholden to anyone's good graces. I'm in charge of the direction I run in, I'm spinning the compass with abandon. I'm coming to terms incredibly slowly with the fact that Jacob doesn't want me anymore. I have ideas, all of which I have to turn over in my head and savor for a while before acting on, all of which have the potential to make life worth living again someday, or at the very least, endurable.

When thrust into the position I am in now, I don't think about checking out, I only think about building strength. I think about living in survival-mode until it becomes easier, helped along the way by these tiny moments, and choking off the air to negative thoughts when my brain begins to wonder if Jacob is seeing snow today too, or if he thinks about me. There isn't any point to destructive thoughts anymore, the worst happened and I wound up alone.

Alone and yet I'm not alone, navigating my day just fine, with my head pounding and my eyes burning, dark circles and a growling belly from ignoring two thirds of every meal, hands shaking from ten cups of coffee so far today and a mosaic heart. I wrapped my long scarf four times around my neck and headed down the road paved with broken promises. I know it leads somewhere. Every road has to.

It doesn't seem to have a Dead End sign. I looked.

Ben and his dumb jokes aside.

Therapy this morning. The hardcore stuff. Good. I didn't wake up in a good place, I woke up on the other side of hell and if the shock is going to wear off now, I'm not in any condition to deal with anything.

And Butterfield has done nothing but sit by the back door twenty-four hours a day on high alert waiting for his master to come home. I know how he feels.

I can't do this.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

You thought I was impossible

I don't doubt you can make it on your own, nor am I being noble.

Oh really? What would you call it then?

I'm an opportunist and a predictable pervert, that's all.

And honest to a fault, I see.

Hey, why hide it? I'd love to take you for a spin around my bed.

It's a little soon to be laying it on this thick, Benjamin.

People have called me that too, princess.

In what context?

Any context you can think of, schweetheart.

My God, you're hilarious.

And hopefully first in line this time.

Oh, Benny, that is so not funny right now.

I know. Can I make it up to you?

I think you did already. I love the Rover.

Oh, I meant to let you know, I can still give cash rebates if you put out.

Okay, I have to go now and you have to stop it.

Is that a no?

Goodnight, Ben.

Goodnight, Bridge. I'm really sorry. I just can't help it.

Yeah, I see that. It's okay, really. You make me laugh.

I knew I was good for something.

No, you're good for nothing.

No, I'm just good.

Goodbye, Ben.

Bye, princess.

Hang up now.

Okay, okay.

Leafs trump Habs 3-2

We didn't go to church today. I'm just not ready to go back. I don't know if I'll ever be ready to go back, for the social as well as the spiritual aspects. I might consider scoping out the United church a few streets over, they have a good-sounding Sunday school program and it would remove the gossip angels from at least one aspect of my life.

Joel is not impressed with me and I missed the winning shot in the game last night while I argued with him on the phone. He doesn't believe that it's fair to relay his actions online, especially when I didn't give up the identities of the other two men who made similar offers. I pointed out he should not be ashamed of his generosity or courageousness in offering, and besides, I don't hold anyone to that sort of impulsiveness anyway. I have let him off the hook for what was a sweet but reactive gesture.

Oh and it was Ben (no surprise) and Christian (huge surprise).

I've had four hang-ups on my cellphone in the past six days. I really don't know if it was Jake or a random error. He didn't take all kinds of things. He took his hockey bag with some warm clothes and all of his journals and really everything else is here. He left his corduroy jacket. I have slept in it every night. He left his running clothes and his climbing gear. For all intents and purposes it appears as if he is coming back but I know he isn't. I can't explain it any more than to tell you the letter spells it out quite clearly, so as not to raise my hopes that he might.

We're going to have a quiet, warm day at home. I did laundry, I finished all the mending, and I put all the lawn tools in the basement and brought up all the shovels. I want to do a few chores and then maybe spin a little wool and watch a movie with the kids and go to bed early again. Sleeping kills the time just beautifully.

Jacob's 37th birthday is this week. And this is fucking hard.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Strange days.

    Good morning
    Don't cop out
    You crawled from the cancer to land on your feet


Today has been a rather strange day. Some good things, some bad things, and new boots. I'm about to begin to make dinner, which involves hot chicken sandwiches and peas and gravy. The hockey game starts in a little under two hours, and did I mention I have new boots?

Hard parts of the day included therapy (finding out who the kids truly trust and distrust was difficult), talking to Loch (for the first time since the end of August, boy was that fun) to find out about Keira (who has three weeks to go and is on bedrest), talking to Erin to find out about Jacob (who has Officially Left The Country, even less fun than talking to Loch), talking to Ben (who is fun! and who is coming home at the end of the week for a day and wants to be with us), talking to my father (who doesn't seem to care much as long as I don't embarrass him by going back to the private hospital), talking to Joel (who proposed) and talking to myself a lot to keep from crying.

Did I mention I also bought new boots? Waterproof city hiking boots. Lightweight boots for 'lightweight' hikers, we used to call them, perfect boots for running back and forth to the school when it's -40 because Sorels are lovely and all and durable but they suck to walk in, day in and day out. I'll spend the next eight months in winter boots, I may as well be comfortable. To offset the utilitarian appearance of the hikers (a boy's size 4, no less) I also bought a pair of black knee-high suede platforms with little pompoms that are exactly as impractical as you would imagine. They're cute though. Cute seems to work for me.

Which brings me back to Joel, who didn't surprise me at all, especially since he was the third male friend to propose this week. They have no faith in me being able to handle life all on my own. God love them, it isn't their choice to make. And aside from being rash and impulsive, it's rash and impulsive, so no. Bridget goes it alone.

With her awesome new boots and a tight grip on the virtues she has left. No, not virtues, brain cells, sanity, positive thoughts, whatever. I still have it.

Friday, 2 November 2007

To my dear friends who read and love and worry: I'm sorry. Every day you come and almost every day I come in here and dump out my negative emotions, leaving you with a bad taste but at this point you feel some sort of kinship or obligation even to stick with it to see it through. Or maybe you can appreciate your blessings at my expense, and feel sorry for me. Either way I won't be posting sadness and bitterness forever and I appreciate you hanging in there. It means the world to have company in the dark. No one likes to be alone and I also look forward to the day when happiness outweighs the misery and I hope you're still around to celebrate it with me.

All my positive strengths right now are being funneled into the kids. They will get all of it before anyone else and that's why I'm struggling here and with the boys so. Overall, I honestly can't believe how well I'm doing. Whenever I thought of not being married to Jacob before, my knees would crumble. Maybe I was strong after all. In any case it's a real lovely distraction from my mental problems. Perhaps Jacob was right.

And one final aside, to those emailing me to tell me men suck? They don't suck. People suck, I'm not going to single out half the population. I have a son who will someday be a man and all my friends are male and I've fallen in love enough to know that men can be wonderful. If you're going to comment on someone's behavior, leave it at their behavior and don't lump everyone else in. I believe in people and sometimes even the best people will let you down spectacularly.

Have a nice weekend. I will be posting, as usual.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Cold hard light.

It's Thursday and I can't work so I'm stalling. I can't think. I can't play music and so I can't write.

I've been on the phone all afternoon apologizing to the boys, one by one, for the screaming, the silence, the stubbornness, and the snot and tears I have oozed into their collars and their arms. I apologized for being such a fucking bitch and for driving yet another of their friends out of our lives.

Bless their hearts, they refused to accept my offers on the basis that I am to react however the hell I please and they can take it. Because no one else could and I keep picking the ones who snap.

Most were gruff and offered me whatever I need, whenever I need it even though they know they'll get stuck with middle of the night phone calls and weird requests to do things like come and clean the drain gutter over the kitchen window so it doesn't pour out the middle from that glut of leaves stuck up there.

Joel told me that sometimes when under extreme stress people break, and that Jacob must be confused and overwhelmed and his soothing talk read like a page from the letter Jacob left for me and I agreed before pointing out that what makes me so angry is that he dropped everything to help me, why wouldn't he let me help him? Why leave without a goodbye? Why not stay and fight for this?

Joel said simply that Jacob never looked at me as an equal but only as a precious gift that he no longer feels he deserves.

I asked Joel very slowly how Jacob was doing. Joel said he didn't know, that he got a letter from him asking for help with me and nothing about the future. Just a brief explanation with no answers.

He offered to show me but I don't need to see it. I have one just like it. Only it doesn't say take care of yourself, it says I will always love you.

He's not coming back for me. It's time to face reality.

Frost in the dark.

It's been a week and it feels like a year. I keep reading the letter he wrote to me, the finality of his thoughts on paper, the sureness with which he gave up everything. Insisting it wasn't me that drove him away but something deep within himself.

Do I believe that?

Sometimes.

I wish he'd come back so I could be with him and I wish he'd come back so that I can scream at him.

Instead, I opted this morning to leave Chris to his coffee and the internet while I took a run with Joel and we bickered all the way to the river and back. Joel doesn't like the safeguards I have in place, he doesn't approve of the network of friends expected to fill in and watch for leaks in the dam, he doesn't think it's fair for that pressure to be on them, or safe for me to be alone with the kids so much while waiting to panic when the rage runs dry.

He thinks I should have Bailey come and watch the kids while I check myself back into the little posh facility where they whisper and where famous people go to get their heads on straight. A place where people looked at me in the hall and tried to figure out exactly who I was, if I was anyone at all.

Obviously I am no one. With not even enough value to make Cole not want to share me or to make Jacob stick around for more than eighteen months.

I told Joel to go fuck himself and I turned and ran back in the dark through the city and refused to acknowledge that he ran thirty feet behind me the whole way back to my door.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Samhain snow.

    Hold me down
    Better in the end


Jacob left because Bridget is evil. Don't tell me to meditate, doctor. Your deep breaths won't help me. And thanks for the literature on not killing myself. I've read it all, been reading it since you were in high school. I found a better way to temporarily relieve the pain and I told you I cut my thigh and rendered you silent because you wanted to ask me to prove it. I'm better at this than you are and soon enough you'll transfer me on down the line because I make you uncomfortable.

Fuck you. He left because of me. Because he wanted cement and I am sand. He tried to mix and mix and his arms got too tired and I blew all over the place. Jacob is tired. Tired of gathering me up only to have me scatter again. I have a wager that says he'll move to Quebec, get his vasectomy reversed and remarry Sophie because she's concrete. Then he can be the flighty enigmatic hippie in her circles and work his magic and not have to compete on charm or cuteness like he did with me in our circles. Big always wins. They can have a few kids, he'll be a wonderful father and life will be awesome for Jacob. Jacob deserves awesome. Don't you think? Gosh, their kids will be so tall.

Moving on, equally awesome is my news.

Last night after I hummed and hawed on the phone one minute too long, Ben had the Land Rover I was looking at sent over for me.

Because honestly? Judging by how slowly I can move sometimes I probably never would have just gone and bought the thing, even though I was in love with this vehicle before my hand touched the door handle. And then I drove it and loved it more but quietly deferred because I don't want to make any hasty financial decisions. It's not a new one or anything spendy, this one is four years old. I love it.

Ben asked me if I was going to get the black one and I said yes, if I did decide to get it and poof. They drove up to my front door in the middle of dinner and rang the bell.

Wow.

In case you think Ben is trying to somehow win me over with expensive gifts he gave me the bill so I can transfer the money into his account sometime in the next few days. He did say he's give me a price break in exchange for sexual favors and I laughed until I cried.

And then I asked by how much?

He offered to pay me and we laughed some more.

Because this is ludicrous. Because he is crazy and because I am pathetic. But I'm pathetic on wheels now. It's a very cool truck. I won't get stuck in the snow with it, it's safe for the kids. It's all mine.

The only other giant expenditure I'm going to make is to have the house painted in the spring. I have chosen a dark charcoal black for the wood siding and pure white for the gingerbread, porch and trim. Then the outside will match the majesty of the inside of this big old gothic Victorian. I'm also considering a taller wrought iron fence for the front, but judging by the prices these fences must be filled with gold. Then I'll probably sell it. I don't know. The only thing I see in it is abject beauty, and stability for the kids. I'm giving Ruth the big summer bedroom with the 'bug lights' and I'm going to take her bedroom on the front of the house.

Christian is taking the kids trick or treating tonight on the three streets on this side of the church and I'll give out treats and then I promised him we could order a pizza late and watch scary movies from under a warm blanket. I asked him if he'd stay in the guest room overnight and he twitched before he said yes.

It's a old habit I can't fault him for. Cole's girl and all. Don't fucking touch her or bad things could happen to you. Maybe Jake got out just in time. Or maybe I'm just rambling.

Have a safe night.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

I wonder if 'Abandoned' will be my next tattoo?

Life has been divided into two camps here. Those who are angry and unwilling to think too hard past their clenched fists, and those who are mired in disbelief. Most of my friends fall into the angry camp while Jacob's closest and dearest are in the disbelief camp.

For the record, I have a foot in each camp and had no idea I could do the splits. Well, I did but I don't like to advertise it and I know, sad humor isn't it?

Sam is up to his eyeballs in shock and has phoned me no less than twenty three times in five days pointing out EVERY SINGLE TIME that God doesn't ask that His servants abandon their young families to show some sort of allegiance to Him. God doesn't not want to be put first at the expense of loved ones.

Sam is telling me things I already know. Life is so black and white for everyone and so many millions of shades of grey for Jacob right now I can't begin to try to reassure Sam that Jacob hasn't lost his mind because I'm nowhere near convinced that he didn't have some sort of mental break from reality based on all this stress. He's always been a strange one in that you think things have gotten better and he tries to process it as history and gets overwhelmed and takes the fuck off.

The difference here is that he gave up the kids. He wouldn't have done that on a temporary freak out. Even if he was going for three months he wouldn't have done that. That was the part that keeps me in this anger and it's the best place I could ever be because once I lose my grip on rage and slide down into hopelessness things will get worse and right now I just need to get through each day one foot in front of the other and as long as I can do that then everything's going to be okay.

It isn't but humor me again, please.

And if Sam says the word 'abandon' to my face one more time I'm going to make him regret it.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Run like hell.

I can't reply to emails yet, my heart is spread dangerously thin. I'm the thinnest ice at the edge of the lake in spring, the translucent kind that cracks if you walk on it, the kind that will drown you so please, just stay away from the edge.

I'm still alive. The second hand moves, time goes on, Bridget can exist forever in shock. As long as I stay here, I won't fall through the ice.

Jacob had asked me to meet him at church late last Wednesday evening, to get PJ to come over to the house to be there since the kids were sleeping and that it would be only for an hour or two. Sometimes he liked to talk there. Big long talks about life.

What's on your mind, Jake?

Self-preservation, Princess.


And then he told he was leaving me, leaving us, leaving everything behind.

That I was stronger than he was. That he had engineered just about every fall I took, organizing my setbacks and that Cole and Caleb's behavior fell into step perfectly. That he took me away from everything that was familiar on purpose. That he resented me for consuming his every breath for ten years.

That he was obsessed with me, that I was not God and I was not supposed to come first.

That I was killing him. Because he loved me too much. Because it made him sick to touch me knowing how badly I've been hurt before and he wanted to kill people who hurt me and that scared him. Because I'm too fragile for him to ever treat any differently. Because he couldn't stem his jealousy and he knew I could never choose between him and my friends and he worked so hard to try and make me completely dependent on him and he had failed and in the end he became completely dependent on me.

And now he had to go. Because I messed him up. Because he cannot breathe without me in his arms and I always felt the same way and I told him it didn't matter, that when you're in love you don't breathe normal air and he looked at me and shook his head and told me that I wasn't understanding him, that I was killing him, I was destroying him, because he loved me too much. Me. And because I do better when he isn't around. I function, I don't lean. I'm healthier.

How do you love someone too much?

He gave me a card that had a time written on it, an appointment already made with our lawyer and he told me not to miss it, that it was incredibly important that I go.

He said he would be gone the next day and oh, how he loved me, how he loved us and he always would but it was time for him to run now and he won't be coming back.

He wept. He put his arms around me and held me so tight and he wept for failing to succeed at the one thing he ever wanted because he told me he was a coward and a weakling and a failure.

Yeah. You fucking are. and I still love you. So, so much.

I walked out on him. I came back to the house and PJ asked me what was wrong and I lied to him and he went home and I sat in the corner all night, eyes wide open, letting panic wash over me like cold saltwater. I looked at my wedding ring and I realized that there would be no changing Jacob's mind because he was running from me for good, no do-overs and no chance to work this one out. That he had fooled me and ruined me too and that we would never see each other again. Right at that moment my heart stopped beating for good, I think. I won't ever live again like the way I did when I thought that Jacob loved me the way you're supposed to love the one you're with.

Early the next morning Jacob called and asked me with a broken voice just to leave long enough for him to get his things. That he couldn't see me. That he loved me. I didn't go back to the house at all that day. I took the kids and told PJ what happened and we stayed at PJ's mom's house overnight and then I went back to the house the next day alone after taking the kids to school and almost everything of Jacob's was gone except for a few books and clothing, his wedding ring and a letter for me. He took the truck.

He went to Sam and told him he was quitting, and he disappeared from our lives in one day.

He didn't say goodbye.

I kept the appointment and went to see the lawyers who gravely asked me to sit down and then began to pass papers across the table that spelled out the finality of my love and the destruction of dreams Jacob had painted for me. Some of the papers I had to sign. The adoptions have been revoked, our separation underway, the house is in my name alone suddenly, and all of the money transferred back to me. I went underwater while the voices droned on and on in a soothing hum, ending with a no worries tone that made me want to smash the pretty glass doors on that office until they understood that I don't care about the money. Fuck the money, I want my Jacob.

There is no waking up from this.

There will be no mending of this heart. There is no consoling of the children. At first I told them he had to take a long trip but he would be back. I lied to them because it seemed like the safest thing to do because they were asking questions and I couldn't wait for the counselor to return my calls. I waited until weekend family therapy and with help I told them what he had really done.

I wish he would just come home, but I know this time it's vastly different. He isn't coming back. This isn't fixable. I know how he gets when the world crowds in and he runs. Maybe we were doomed from the start. We both said we were, everyone else said we were and it was a marriage masquerading as a ticking time bomb, a spoiled carton of milk with an expiry date long passed and I thought I remembered asking for the kind that keeps forever.

How in the fuck can you love someone too much? He loved me, of that I've never been more sure. The one thing he left me with is the knowledge that I have experienced life on a higher level and lived a love deeper than I ever thought possible.

Chris told me to treat him like he's dead. They're all scared to death that I'm going to sit here and just wait out the rest of my life for Jacob to return. Bless their hearts, they have stepped in, kept the kids busy and been here, but I haven't broken down, I haven't done much of anything except sleep on borrowed medicine and hope that I'd wake up to find Jacob here where he belongs.

I would still take him back. I don't care if everyone hates him, I don't care if none of it works or if I struggle for the rest of my life, I wanted him in it. I fell in love with his heart first and then the rest of him, against the best advice and the biggest obstacles.

And he gave up on me because it got too hard. Because he had guilt. Because when it came down to choosing between Bridget and God, God must win. Don't you see that? If he picks Bridget he gives up everything he stands for and everything he is and he can't figure out how to exist peacefully loving both of us. Because God is not as tough a customer as Bridget. He rarely talks back and he's predictable and benign and all-forgiving.

And easier. God is easier. No one ever becomes obsessed with God, but everyone seems to be obsessed with Bridget. I am my own religion. The cult people run screaming from.

I'm doing okay. I find myself double-booked for therapy for the coming week, PJ is playing dispenser and has taken every last pill, all the climbing ropes and everything but the smallest paring knife out of the house and everyone is wonderful. Ben had to fly out tonight but he'll be home for good in a couple more weeks, and really as long as the shock holds out I can function, maybe because it still feels unreal. Kind of like when Cole died only this time I know Jacob's out there somewhere and just doesn't want to be with me. It's harder than death.

Nights are the worst but I've got my phone and I've got my boys who are a call away and I've got sleep that is broken but sometimes full of wonderful dreams and in each and everyone one of them Jacob is still here and that's what keeps me going. It's all I have left.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

The leafs won.

Joel was gone by 8:45 pm, just before the Rangers pulled their goalie in a fruitless effort to come back.

And God has forsaken me.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

I've written volumes since Wednesday.

I've posted nothing.

I'm still thinking. I'm still veering wildly between shock and rage. This is a good thing, trust me. I don't know what comes after this and I don't want to. I'm so not ready to talk about Jacob breaking promises that he should have kept. I will never be ready to be alone like this.

Luckily tonight I don't have to be alone. I just put the kids to bed (shesstillfunctioningwow) and put the Leafs game on TV and Joel is bringing over Portuguese deli and Jack Daniels. We're going to stuff our faces and watch the game and split the bottle and lament the effort people foolishly invest in love. With any luck I'll be asleep drunk by nine.

Oh, but we're not bitter.

(I think he might be bitter, I don't know what I am yet, it's entirely too soon.)

I wonder how many people get to share an evening like this with their former psychoanalyst.

Friday, 26 October 2007

There's a key under the ivy pot.

When I woke up this morning Ben was lying on my bed, fully clothed, watching me sleep.

I started to tell him to leave, that I didn't need him being here and instead I started sobbing. He pulled me into his arms and just hung on, so I wouldn't blow away in the storm I was making. So that I wouldn't slip any deeper into my rabbit hole. So that I wouldn't have to be in the dark alone.

He said nothing. He didn't point out he knew how this would unfold. He didn't tell me that I was better off, he just told me he was here for the day.

He waited me out until I decided I was done crying and then I apologized and he cut me off, telling me to get my morning stuff done, he'd go down and make some coffee. I got the kids up and off to school and when I came home he had made potato omelets for us for breakfast.

I pointed out I am poor company right now and Ben told me that wasn't important, that I've always been vaguely shitty company but since he is not complaining I should shut the fuck up and drink my coffee and then we'll go car shopping.

Because I don't have a car.

Numb.

Remember, princess, his first nickname wasn't Preacher, it was Freebird.

He had stopped doing that.

You never expected him to stay.

I thought he had changed. You don't get this deeply involved and then just walk away.

Yeah, some people do.

Well, then they should be crucified.

No, but you knew somehow. Deep down.

If I knew I wouldn't be this medicated now would I?

Go back to sleep. I'll get the kids off to school.

PJ?

Yeah, Bridge?

I don't blame him.

Well, you'll be alone with that statement.

Don't leave me alone, PJ.

I had no intentions of it, princess.

Make him come back.

I would if I could.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Melt.

Crazier seemed to be a temporary affliction today. I, okay, we lived through it with no less than a concentrated heroic effort on my part to let him in. Because I don't. Because I can be rather cold and more than a little uptight. Because I can pretend until those cows arrive and then pretend a little more.

Instead I did what I have learned to do, I asked him for help long before everything went too far gone to rescue me and I put aside my coldness and I told Jacob I was really unhappy and out of sorts and not at all well today or this week even and I didn't like it and what do I do?

He talked me out of it, talked me down, gently reassured me and soon I felt like me again, a little tired but not as bad as usual.

He's a shaman. He bent a spoon while he told me stories from when he and August shared a house in California. All three weeks of it before Jacob realized he couldn't stand another moment of it. He said none of it was real. He had a beer one day at a restaurant and Clint Eastwood was eating at the next table. He said it was weird and unnatural and contrived, all of it. August had soaked it up but agreed it was weird and he was going to embrace the weirdness of it.

He unbent the spoon by hand, because he promised me he wouldn't permanently alter the cutlery anymore and he held me forever. Letting me cop out on life for a little while until I felt stronger, letting me try and match his heartbeat with my own, allowing me the comforts that keep me warm so I don't grow cold and distant and uncomfortable with only myself to talk to.

It's one of the things I love most about Jacob. He has as much time as is needed for me to feel better. He has answers for questions that mystify me. He has time. He has built-in nurturing that he pulls off effortlessly. He keeps me close. He worries about me, telling me as long as I stay warm to him he can rest easy. It sounds so simply but I work at it tirelessly just to squeak through.

Tonight he's working from home for a bit but has a church meeting in an hour, I just brought him a cup of hot tea and he smiled and put down his pen and asked me if I wanted to come down to the church after his meeting for a bit to keep him company, and he would call PJ to come over to keep house since the kids are already in bed.

I might just do that.

    Hold your light, Eleven.
    Lead me through each gentle step by step
    By inch, by loaded memory
    'till one and one are one, eleven,
    So glow, child, glow.

Catch her on your tongue.

Every snowflake is different, so sayeth the experts on useless projects like seeing if any snowflakes out there are alike.

So, if we're living by default, people would be the same way. Everyone different, and you can typecast and pigeonhole and stereotype until the cows come home and you can only shove a person so far into a box/type/category and then there they exist for you, rather painfully, with an arm bent down at an unnatural angle, maybe their feet stick out the bottom. Maybe they can't breathe, or maybe they don't like small places. Maybe they don't like being marked as a specific kind of human. Maybe they'd like to burst your bubble but you won't give them a chance. Maybe you don't see it because you would do anything to fit in, blend in, and then rise above. Maybe because instead of living by default you are living in anticipation of the snow to fall.

Winter has arrived and that means little Bridget is a little crazier than usual.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Popsicle mom.

I woke up with a new song in my head, convinced it was Sunday, and sure it was spring. Getting out of bed proved it wasn't a new song, asking Jacob confirmed it was indeed Tuesday and the wind outside proved that fall is soon to abruptly abandon us when winter comes calling.

Despite the light wind, I agreed to go with Jacob to take the motorcycle to Nolan, who generously offered up heated garage space for the bikes this winter. This is Jacob's first winter storing his own bike and he's loathe to let it go, that's why he waited so long. Sam and Ben have already taken their bikes down.

Right. Let's go! Fun awaits!

It was freezing. Not just cold, but ohmygodinheavenwhyarewehere? cold. So cold my body was frozen stiff. Adding to the cold was the insane wind that picked up a few minutes outside of the city and threatened to blow us off the road. Jacob told me not to worry but I still stuck my head directly behind his back, locked my arms around his waist and shut my eyes and prayed the whole way there. Hard. All I could envision was everyone shaking their heads in disapproval when they met for my wake and talked about how goddamned wild I was, jumping on Jake's bike and taking off, when I should have been home baking cookies for my children.

However, we lived.

I didn't come home and bake cookies, though. We came home and Jacob ran right past me up the stairs, stripped off his clothes along the way and by the time I reached the top, stopping to pick up everything he dropped, he had a steaming hot shower waiting for me. Cute naked guy included.

It was a really kind of wonderful offer in the middle of a Tuesday, so I took it. Now I have four sweaters on and longjohns and lined jeans and I still can't get warm but we had fun and we'll see the bike in April, if Jake can hold out that long.

I'll bake cookies after dinner, I think. And sit on the top of the stove to stay warm while they bake.

Ha, Jacob just came through the kitchen to get coffee and saw me sitting here wrapped in all these sweaters and asked if I was that cold. I asked him why he wasn't and he said he was so afraid we were going to be blown off the highway, raw fear kept him warm.

Lovely.

Monday, 22 October 2007

This wolf won't bite.

Today was a muddling-through day, a day when all the leaves have exhausted their grip on icy tree branches and a morning that saw me leaving footprints in the grass as I ran through sunrise in the freezing-cold swearworthy frost-covered day. I cut my run short, that's how cold I was. And I run in -40 weather.

Therapy kind of sucked. Mostly because I went alone today. Mostly because they didn't like it that I didn't want to talk about me. Lunch was nice, Ben took me to a little Italian place and we ate minestrone and bread until we were stuffed. His approach is so totally casual sometimes but I had to admit I failed to let down my guard with him despite his assurances that he doesn't run in Caleb's circles anymore. A little too fast for him, I think, but I'm still not playing a full hand until I can trust him again. Well, as far as I could ever trust Ben, who insists he doesn't read my "diary" and then tells me it isn't fair that I called him a wolf a few days ago. Ben will never change. He mostly was happy to lather me up with compliments and then throw cold water on my concerns that Jacob is starting to show serious signs of wear.

Preacher is fine. He just had a big job issue, plus he's coming down off crisis-mode. Give him a break, Bee.

I realize all of that but I also know Jacob better than anyone else. He's seriously showing signs of depression. I know it's contagious. I know how prone he is to losing it just when I catch up. He can only go so far before his wings collapse around us, his halo shines full of scratches and his easy-going demeanor gets replaced by short and clipped and no-time-for-this-foolishness retorts.

I wish I had Ben's let 'er fly attitude some days.

We wrapped up lunch, Ben paid (!) and he walked me back to the truck, giving me a quick hug and telling me once again that everything would be fine, to keep moving ahead and that he was headed to the bench to say hello to Cole and then he was going to go check in with PJ and Chris tonight and then get all of his laundry done in preparations to go back out on the road on Thursday. In a month he'll be home for good, back to his cube-farm on the twelfth floor of an indiscriminate building downtown and probably comfortable enough to return to the dirty jokes and suggestive comments that make Ben who he is.

A wolf in stage clothing.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

In the woods.

   Come back home
    Come back for you
    Burn up the road


This morning my head is a quiet hot mess. Sort it out for yourself.

Mr. Intensity ratcheted life up seven or twelve notches. He keeps staring at me. As in, every time I move or catch his eye he is staring right into my soul. Even when he was making love to me he didn't take his eyes off mine. It was thrilling and disconcerting all at once. It's like he's trying to read me that deeply lately. I asked him what the heck he was doing and he said he just didn't want to miss a detail. Which is fine, except that I have a cold and I'm not that skilled at blowing my nose like a lady. Not that I was trying to blow my nose while he fucked me, because wow, would that ever be rude.

I need to learn to stop hitting people when I shove my arms into the sleeves of my coat. I almost clocked some poor woman yesterday.

I need to work through not taking it personally when Jacob has a bad day or is in a mood. I will shoulder it without questioning it. Submissive slides right into the front seat and drives it from bad to worse. Why? I don't know. I know it's the worry about all this stuff going on and I can't even talk about it but he isn't himself.

I need to find a way to work Ben into therapy without obsessing over how to be friends when I know and he knows and everyone knows he's no less...attached. It was easy with Jacob. I just fed it and fed off it and made no apologies or efforts to change it. But Ben isn't Jacob. Ben needs to figure it out and I resent him already for putting all of us in this position but he's gone again by Thursday and maybe just the simple fact of us being friends instead of not will fix it. Maybe time will fix it. That's a sarcastic observation, time seems to fix so little. But I wanted him in my life.

I have forgotten the sound of Cole's voice. I'm completely stunned by that. It's brought about a bit of an undercurrent of panic. What else will I lose of his? What would I miss? What do I need to keep or how do I retain good and lose bad? I didn't want to lose good first. This isn't right.

I'm doubtful today, riddled with insecurity and falling flat on my face when I thought I was off and running. They say it's clear progress, headway against my obstacles, learning how to cope and deal and circumnavigate, when in fact I think I'm really great at fooling people, distracting them with cute or sweet so that they don't see that it was only the princess riding a brief high which she will now promptly fall off of with a resounding thud.

Even Jacob doubts that this is what is happening but I'm not going to set myself up to be disappointed. I'm not out of the woods just yet.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

The lazy beekeepers.

This morning brings a changed appointment time for family therapy, one whiny dog, one very cranky husband, two newly-sniffling children who can't be getting colds again, and an empty honey jar, which means I have to go grocery shopping. That's fine, there's only one loaf of bread left in the freezer and I don't have enough energy to bake so the less of two evils is the grocery store today.

I hate having to go buy honey. You'd think coming from a family of apiculturists and Christmas tree farmers, someone could send me some supply to keep up with the demand. Okay, so having a tree sent out would be a little much, but honey travels nicely.

I think this afternoon we'll grab a showing of Arthur and the Invisibles on TV and eat popcorn until we explode while Jacob goes and does a funeral (which sort of explains his mood) and then later on I'll make some chili because it's crockpot weather. Ben called to invite me out for lunch after therapy on Monday. Boy, is he brave. And I'm leaving now to go and have some more ink done. Non-visible tattoos are my favorite and it's time to add more lyrics.

This time It's a little more esoteric. You'll recall I had my all-time favorite lyrics inked on my leg two summers ago. So it isn't my first lyric tattoo and it certainly won't be my last. I just need to keep these words. It's hard to explain. Just like it's hard to explain why they only send honey quarterly. Some things are better left as mysteries.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Took the high-dive into your brain.

Giving police reports and listening as they tick off their list of in-the-interim and for your safety, Mrs. Reilly measures is becoming an unwelcome part of my day. It would be nice to run alone. It would be nice to do anything alone. I'm not used to liking being by myself at all and suddenly I find myself coveting and relishing the few minutes I am gifted to myself each day now.And still I'm trying to pretend it's just the way life is, eventually whoever is bothering us will get bored and stop or leave or be caught or whatever.

For those of you wanting to know what was written on the door, forget it-I've been asked not to publicize it in case, well, in case they actually catch the person. For those of you playing internet detective and thinking it's Ben harassing me, forget it too, he has hundreds of witnesses as to his whereabouts at any given time and he's been away for almost all of this.

I don't want any more emails about Ben and your guesses. Please. Instead, let's all focus our positive energies on good things like cinnamon bread (baking in the oven right now) and great metal videos on the internet. Loud ones.

Sigh. I have a soft spot for drummers. Cole's drum kit is still down in the music room, intact. Jacob wanted to break it down and pack it away for when Henry is older and I can't do it. Not yet. Besides, Henry is old enough and loves to play.

To remind you of summer, Piglet.

For two evenings he would disappear down into the workshop, door closed, radio on, with express instructions to me not to come in. I thought maybe he was finally going to get started on the big dollhouse he has told me he'd like to make Ruthie for Christmas this year.

Finally after spending two evenings knitting and listening to music and talking on the phone and becoming bored out of my skull, Jacob raced past me up the stairs three times each time yelling,

Don't look! Shut your eyes!

Then he came waltzing down the steps with a satisfied grin and told me to come up and see his surprise for me.

He said it was in our bedroom. The old summer bedroom with windows on three sides that is nestled in the trees at the very top of our old Victorian house, a room accessible only by passing through the bathroom that has the sink and the clawfoot tub but no toilet, that's in the water closet room at the top of the stairs. Once you cross the bathroom you duck down, if you're Jacob, and pass through a 3/4 sized door in the wall and hunch down the tiny hallway that opens up in what can only be described as a conservatory for all the branches framing the windows and all the sunlight that room receives in a day.

For the record, I don't have to duck or hunch getting into our room, it's perfectly sized for 5-feet-tall me.

All the lights were off upstairs. I went through the bathroom and opened our door and stepped into a...midnight garden.

Along the windows were hanging mason jars with fireflies in them. Not real fireflies, he made 18 of these beautiful pretend-firefly lights after seeing them in the new Signals catalog. He strung them in front of the windows and they look magical. It really completes what is a very simple airy room with the trees outside and the white painted furniture and pale green walls.

It made me happy. I have a long standing love affair with strings of tiny lights inside and outside the house and these are so pretty. I tried and tried to get decent pictures but they just don't work sufficiently. Suffice it to say it was a wonderful and effortful surprise.

Another surprise was that he convinced Sam to seek approval for another minister, a return to the former community minister set-up Jacob had before in Carolyn, who has moved on to different pastures. Jacob doesn't want to risk getting spread thin again and has opted not to take on hospice (or even the separate chaplaincy gig) this time around. I doubt the church will go for yet another salary dip into the coffers for a third minister but Jacob is adamant about not doing it. Which is weird but logical. I find it weird anyway. He usually jumps in with both feet. Before looking. I guess I can just chalk it up to him having a balance at last.

Oh and I won't mention the vandalism! Consisting of awful words scrawled with a key or an icepick or something! On my side of the truck! Cannot shake my happy mood! Ruining Jacob's father's awesome paint job! Fuck!

I'm trying so hard here, give me credit.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

I think my luck is changing.

This morning was epic.

Just epic.

And I don't mean porn-epic, I mean therapy-epic. As in, all kinds of things fell into place and I was given confirmation that I did learn something after all and I'm using it unconsciously and it's working and damned if I'm not finally feeling like I'm getting somewhere.

I felt so good when I left today that by the time Butterfield and I ran down to the river to meet Joel for a run he laughed when he saw me, showing up all teeth and crinkled eyes in a huge smile. Had it been summer I would have had bugs in my teeth from all the wide grins. He laughed and congratulated me and said it's nice to see the corner turned and he's not cautious-these were huge advances, huge revelations, giant steps forward for this little bee. Things I hoped for but didn't expect I could pull off on my own.

I called Jake at work to tell him and I could hear his emotion through the phone. As if finally, goddammit, we're getting somewhere and not just dreaming that we are. Having that confirmation means the world to me today.

It's not a lightbulb moment though, I've just tried really hard to make headway without talking about it here. Sometimes good news needs to be shared and this morning my tears in the truck as I drove home alone were happy ones. Relief-ones.

Hopeful ones.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Hero worship.

Good morning Internet. I'm having my first cup of coffee and it's almost eleven. I've been running back and forth all morning fetching tools for Jacob, who is putting up the frames for the outdoor skating rink down on the field with the guys. It's a testosterone-fest as they all insist they can raise this section or carry this part by themselves. It's hilarious to watch them outdo each other and a little reminiscent of putting together anything from Ikea, only on a football field-sized scale.

The best way to handle both scenarios (building Ikea furniture and full-sized rink surfaces) is to profess your confidence that the men will have no problems, that they can build anything and go and get a coffee at Starbucks. Don't forget to bring back a couple of trayfuls for those strong and competent men, too and tell them they worked really hard.

Shhh. It works very well.

Ben did come over for dinner last night. I had to laugh. Ben made a crack about Zero the Hero finally granting him access to the princess and Jacob lobbed it right back by asking Ben what he wanted for a drink. Fearing a fistfight in my beautiful dining room I asked quietly for civility.

Oh, cool. I have their attention at last.

I asked Jacob to clarify for Ben why Ben was here. I pointed out to Ben that I had my reservations about dinner, about him being here, because I had wanted him out of my life for inflicting one round of pain too many and I wasn't going to put up with that from anybody. That he didn't have my best interests at heart. That he didn't want me to be happy, he wanted to be selfish. Ben's eyes went all glassy and then he got mad, pointing out that Jacob was just as selfish, that Jake was in this for Jake and not for me and then he just stopped.

Jacob probably kicked him under the table to shut him up.

Jacob cleared his throat and told us both that he knew I was miserable, foundering without my friends around me, drowning in life's new unfamiliarity and all the hard work that goes along with getting better. Ben rolled his eyes and Jacob pointed out that he was here under Jacob's good graces alone and to stuff it. Again, Ben listened to him.

This almost never happens.

Jacob continued. He wants all of us to put everything in the past away now. To continue to be friends without strings attached, to support each other and work with me to get me better.

Oh, I get it. He's using Ben.

To fix Bridget.

I didn't say a damned word. I just sat there trying to wrap my brain around it and I thought about how hard Cole would laugh right now to hear Jacob pontificating on the virtues of friendship and family. We all know Ben won't change any more than Jacob would ever change only Jacob's flaws are so much more virtuous and Ben is Tucker Max and here we go, back down that road.

I love Ben, I really do and I know he loves me (oh, don't I know exactly how much Ben loves me and he doesn't even bother to hide it anymore, reminding me of someone else.) but the difference is by being this way Ben still isn't being my friend. Try telling him that. I don't know if him being around in this capacity will help at all. Sure I miss him. I miss the way things used to be when I had no idea what deep roots his crush has formed.

Still, I was polite and more than accommodating. I took his apologies and his sincerity and his gratefulness at being with me and I swallowed all of it and waited to see what Jacob would say next.

But Jacob never said anything else, preferring to make light conversation about the upcoming hockey season and about what good pasta I make and how the kids are doing in school and by ten Ben made his way out with a promise to get together at least once more before he heads back out on the road next week.

Having won once again, Jacob shared cleanup duties with me and then took me to bed, where he indulged in the spoils of his one-man war. Me. He held his ego in one hand, heavy with pride and in the other hand he held me out generously, offering my fucked up friends one and only one final chance to get it right. Dangling me like a piece of meat over a pack of hungry wolves, if you ask me.

Let's hope this time everyone gets it right.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Since I don't like cliffhangers either, I'll just leave it at this. Jacob decided not to throw any fists and instead he threw a dinner invitation and I have about thirty minutes to decide whether or not I'm okay with that. I should cancel. Shouldn't I cancel? I don't want to cancel, oddly.

Throwing chairs.

I'm wondering right now how long I can hide out in here. Jacob asked me to come out and help him while he puts up the Christmas lights (not to turn on for a while but it's nice to get them up before it's too cold to do it properly) and when I looked out the window as I pulled my coat on I could see him standing on the sidewalk talking to Ben, who is here for a week before heading back out on the road again (I was pre-warned he was home). I really loathe the idea of going out there but they look amicable enough. Maybe Ben trying to crash Thanksgiving softened Jacob a little.

Then again, his hackles look raised. Kind of like when Butterfield spots a squirrel.

Should I liveblog the inevitable fistfight or do you think Jacob will be able to check his temper here on church property?

Let's wait and see.

I have three minutes to post.

I'm playing church secretary this afternoon, slacking off on the job, because really, typing and filing takes little time, I even called someone to fix the front gate that you have to be herculean to close (only Jacob can do it, naturally) and now I'm eating a pear and stealing some laptop time until the mail shows up.

Jacob is down the hall humming a happy tune in his office. Sam is sick today along with the usual secretary (Who is new, I call her Miss Moneypenny because of her unrequited adoration for my husband, despite her being almost old enough to be his grandmother), it's a quiet day here. This morning therapy sucked and you wouldn't know Jacob and I aren't really speaking but he has all the confidence in the world that we'll sort it out later and for now he's simply happy I am close by while he gets some work done. I keep sending him pornographic links and he keeps telling me to knock it off.

Best of both worlds, if you don't count the hairbrush I threw at him earlier. But that's how it goes, and here comes the postman. Which means I have invoices and distractions! Always good. Bye!


Monday, 15 October 2007

Bows and arrows.

    I think it's time you walked this lonely road
    All on your own
    It's your cold day in the sun
    Looks like your bleeding heart has already won
    I wish I could take it away
    And save you from yourself
    You get so lost inside your head
    Like no one else
    Are you looking for someone to blame?
    Did you blame me all along?


In the interest of being honest, of not sugarcoating life, Jacob ran. Let's call a spade a spade.

It'll be alright, baby girl.

Once I got past the shattering surprise and then the rage, complete with a mental plan to burn down his truck in the garage (no worries, I didn't, but I thought about it.) I realized it was going to be okay. He needs time sometimes. Living with me isn't easy, the grass isn't greener over here on Bridget's lawn. Plus it was a safe trip. Three nights, fully chaperoned thanks to Erin and Joel, who both attend the same conference and didn't leave Jacob alone for a second. No, Sophie wasn't there. And surprisingly Jacob cut it short, missing me, missing the kids, missing life as it is becoming a lot more stable and hoping he didn't fuck it up by going.

He didn't, but I did get an extra therapy session out of my abandonment issues and I had some trust issues with Jacob's timing. He wasn't planning to go, and hell, he held my hand for ten hours straight so tightly I woke up repeatedly the night he found out a whole new round of mindblowing Coleisms that I had somehow suppressed. So when he abruptly decided to attend and was packing the next morning I admit I was stung by it.

I shouldn't have been. He's legendary for just picking up and going and somehow still he managed to corral PJ and Andrew and August to trade off babysitting/support duties without telling me. Some would say he needs therapy to stay put when the going gets tough, even though his therapy is prayer and isolation and travel. A new latitude to see things in a new light. I knew this going into the marriage. And please remember the going is always tough here. There is no break from dealing with what we deal with. What I deal with. The progress is visible but sometimes bad times are simply that: bad times.

He came through the door in a whirlwind of blonde and navy blue backpack and his satchel full of books and notebooks and dumped it all on the kitchen floor and dropped to his knees with his arms out wide for me on Sunday afternoon and I flew into those arms laughing with relief, because he came home.

For some reason, I really never expected him to.