Monday, 31 July 2006

It IS Monday, after all.

The best way to begin a new week, a day off, a hope for progress and peace is not to walk in on your significant other counting your pills to make sure you're taking them.

I would do the same thing.

I saw that and turned and walked back out and Jake chased after me. He spun me around and told me he just wants this to go smoothly. I nodded. Sort of miffed about the whole trust issue. I think I trust him with absolutely everything except walking out and he trusts me with everything except getting better. So we're even.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

Sunday night wrapup.

Sunday nights are interestingly quiet now. Jake is working. Oh I know he's only three blocks away, seconds by cellphone, and I'm perfectly safe. What's hard is the homesickness, the unfamiliarity that creeps back in around the edges.

It's 8 pm, the kids are in bed, the cat is asleep, the dishes are put away, laundry is in the dryer and I even managed to finally file my nails because they were ragged. I have new printer ink. I made cinnamon rolls again and chucked my nine-year-old breadmaker out because it wouldn't heat up enough to make the bread rise anymore. I hemmed some of Henry's pants. I fixed a torn sleeve on Jake's workshirt. I painted a chip on the bathroom baseboard. I printed a bunch of pictures out for Cole's parents to have. I went through his tools in the workshop and organized them. He never put anything away. I used to ask him why he never hung the hammer up again and he said if I fucked up he wanted it handy to bash my head in.

I hung it up. Probably should have thrown it away out of spite. But instead I came upstairs and locked the door and took my pills and ate an apple. That is progress.
Things Bridget cannot live without

   1. Love
   2. Touch
   3. Cake
   4. Bobby pins
   5. love songs
   6. the atlantic ocean
   7. Light
   8. A soft place to rest her head
   9. security
  10. Jacob, Ruth and Henry

Ta-da. Therapy homework. Check.

The bobby pins wouldn't have ended up there. Jake suggested that. So technically I cheated and got help with my answers. I always have a couple of bobby pins stuck in my hair. To keep the whispies at bay fruitlessly, in case I have to pick a lock, or just because it's very retro. No idea. I wrote a blog entry once about one of my favorite memories of my mom being looking at her little Japanese lacquered box full of bobby pins and equating that with being a woman, with being beautiful. The entry is no longer on the web, when I started fresh in April, wiping off all the entries about daily life with Cole and the kids. I didn't want to see that anymore. Now it feels like none of it ever happened. I don't regret erasing him. I just don't. But alas, I am still heavily in the denial phase of grief. I hesitate to call it grief. I'm being honest. I sound like a monster.

I have so many bobby pins. hundreds maybe. I buy them by the sheet. I lose them everywhere. They have a tendency to slide out of my hair and down Jacob's collars and at the end of each day he finds them and returns them to the little metal box on my dresser.

There has to be a metaphor in there somewhere but I can't find it. Something about using pins to hold myself together or at least give that appearance but usually it fails to work and we're picking up the pieces every day.

Sometimes we do.
Sometimes we don't.

On less than confident days like today I'm just hoping the pins will hold. Because I want this. Jacob is confident they will and he says when they fall out we just put them back in. He says there is a metaphor. You can put the pins in, and eventually they loosen on their own, through movement, gravity, whathaveyou and periodically you push them back in tight. A metaphor for life. Keeping it tight, keeping it together, weaving in loose ends and restoring the pinned back order. Keeping watch for the parts that will eventually work their way loose once more, because it happens.

Oh he's so smart. I have lots of pins. This will work.

Must go get ready for church. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Maybe God IS listening.

I've got nothing today for you except an empty coffeepot and a plate of crumbs because I just ate two chocolate chip muffins. I never even eat a whole one and I had two. Love these pills. Soon I'll be posting as the elephant princess. I haven't stopped eating all week.

No seriously. I have nothing to say. Why? Oh I dunno. Life is good. Life is very sweet and very wonderfully mediocre today and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm going out to do some gardening and then we'll go pick strawberries and maybe drive up to the lake. The light of my life is sitting here rubbing the back of my neck and reading a book and the kids are playing games on the floor and the cat is playing in the sun and seriously, if you pinch me right now I'll knock you flat.


This is what I wished for.

Friday, 28 July 2006

How are you feeling?

Fine, Dr. Reverend.

Very funny. You're so quiet today.

I know. I miss myself even. Don't you?

Of course. I miss the lap dances.

Jake, all you have to do is ask.

Naw, I'm afraid you'll fall asleep on me.

That's okay. You can finish without me. Just lie me down backwards.

Oh god. That's so bad.

Or fun. Go for it.


I know. And yes, everything has to be perverted. I thought we covered this already?

Oh there you are. Welcome back.

Angels losing sleep.

(Welcome to Bridget's brain 2.0. Now with footnotes! Because I love to spoil you.)

I am now the proud co-owner of a california king-sized bed. Possibly the Biggest Bed in the World.

Oh, the luxury. Say it with me folks, ooooooh.

Well, maybe save it until next week, when it's actually delivered and Jake takes his life into his hands trying to get that giant bed up the 100 year old staircase. If I knew when king sized beds were invented, well, the house was most likely built before then.

But it's wonderful to know most of our sleeping issues will soon be over.* We're not doing so hot in that department. The queen-sized bed is too small. It was okay for him by himself but not both of us. Everytime Jacob moves he wakes himself up and then I wake up and well, it takes hours to get back to sleep because sometimes when we wake up we're lucid enough to remember that we're together. In bed. The only clothing between us consisting of my pink camisole. Kids are asleep. And Christmas never ends in this house anymore. Or something.

He's a free climber in his sleep. I half expect him to show up to bedtime with his nalgene bottle and a chaulk bag. Spiderman. Tormented. Something. Not like I had a lot of experience in this area but do people really move around this much while they're asleep? I don't move at all. Well, sometimes I have one of those giant just-about-asleep twitches in which you feel like you're falling off something, but otherwise I don't move. Not an inch. A statue.

Jake? Never. stops. moving. He throws himself around like he's scaling rock faces. He takes me with him. I think God maybe put us together so we could touch each other all the time and leave everyone else the hell alone. Because when he moves, he moves me.

We start off with Jake flat on his back, his arms pulling me close. I usually lie on my side and attempt to put my head somewhere besides his armpit. He lies on the diagonal. I squish my arms in between us. Within about an hour he turns on his side to face me. An hour later he shoves me up toward the corner of the bed and kicks his legs out across the middle. Then he wakes up and kisses me like he hasn't seen me in weeks. Oh lord. Okay now skip forward an hour (shhhh) he still has his arms around me and he's got the entire bed to himself and I'm hanging off the edge, the only thing keeping me off the floor is his embrace and his hand is tangled in my hair and oh shit if I fall this is going to hurt like hell. Eventually I get pulled back in close and he does a timed choreography in which he shifts from breathing on my head to facing the other way to face down in the mattress with his legs splayed out scaling that imaginary building, me tucked under him in his arms like he's running away with the treasure of a lifetime.

I'm surprised we haven't had a horrific Bridget-squishing incident yet.

In his dreams he is taking me away from the monsters. God bless him. Jacob may be the most laid-back person you will ever meet but he is not relaxed, even in his sleep. He insists it's been going on for years and he does sleep through most of it, not a big deal.


Wait a minute. In his dreams he's been saving me for years? Oh my dear god someone bronze this man.

The reality is that no one is sleeping. I wake up while he's in the middle of rearranging where I was sleeping just fine and it's very disconcerting.

I'm moving! Fuck! What the hell is going on?! And then I realize I'm in the bedroom and the quilt is the same and the clock says whatever time is more than an hour ago and I look and Co...I mean Jake, phew okay yes it's Jake and I can relax and I am safe and great now I feel weird and I need to snuggle in closer because his strong tanned arms represent my life and ahh now I can get back to sleep no wait he's awake and we're just going to reaffirm everything and taste possibly every happiness we can make right here in the dark long hours of this night. Every night.

So the plan is to hope and pray that the extra 48-square-inches of real estate on the new bed will fix all this. No, not the sex part you idiot. The being able to sleep at all.

*Now that I've written it out I have my doubts.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

The crunchy ones, not the wet ones.

Henry came running this morning to tell me that there was a goldfish cracker fairy too. I would say he lives on goldfish crackers but he eats everything. Everything and asks for more. He outweighs Ruth by almost 10 pounds. And he loves to carry around a snack cup full of goldfish crackers that must be regularly refilled so that he can continue to play and snack his way through the day.

Goldfish crackers are the crack of the snack world. You're hooked from the first one. The other night we were watching music videos and I grabbed a handful of them, Henry had abandoned the bowl at last, and they were so yummy I went and got the box and ate the rest.


Jake told Henry the fairy was yellow and she was tired from squeezing her big goldfish cracker-padded butt through the screen to get to more fishies.

Nice. He picked up more when he got the cake. Not sure if they're for me (oops I mean the goldfish cracker fairy) or for Henry. Since I do not have a big butt. I have no butt at all.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

I'll be out of here around four, after I pick you up I want to stop in at the furniture store.

How come?

To look for a bed.

What's wrong with our bed?

It doesn't fit us.

It's your bed. What do you mean?

It's not long enough for both of us. I think we need a bigger mattress. Maybe one of the long kings.

For the long king?

Does everything have to be perverted, Bridge?

Yes, Jacob. It really does.

When you're happy and you know it.

The world's prettiest zombie. Night of the living Bridget. A pissed-off little baby bumblebee. A totally buzzing, vibrating, half-dead, almost perpetually asleep stinging ball of total mellow. Ahahaha. Mellow peeps. New for Easter. They only come in blonde.

These are all the descriptions of me that man is flinging across the room. I'm glad someone's laughing. I'm squinting one eye shut and just trying not to plant my face in the laptop while I write. At least he made some coffee. Maybe I'll actually be awake after I finish it. Oh and the cake. He went and got a black forest cake and warmed up a piece for me. Because cake for breakfast isn't just in the movies. It's for the liquid Bridget-type aliens who took over my house. I looked in the mirror this morning and I laughed. Like a fucking maniac. The very first side effect of all these pills is the deep dark circles under my eyes. So fucking beautiful now.

My god, he really should run far far away. And take the kids with him so they get half a chance. I'm kidding. They went off with their little lunchpacks to playgroup today like they do every Wednesday. Clean, neat, color-coordinated and fiercely loved by both of us. I've got my shit together enough so that I can parent well and just fall apart on the side. It's a gift.

I'm just rattling around the house today amazed that life goes on, as it always does while I bounce from one round of knockouts to the next. There are few sure things in this life and for me we've gone well past death and taxes. The things that keep cropping up to keep us going: cake, hugs, laughter, coffee, normalcy, oxygen, love that we live on. New memories. Blessed new ones. Quick, fill me up and then the old ones will fade away forever.

Memories like cake for breakfast. Cake for the bee. Peep peep.

This is your brain on drugs. I could get used to this. oh and get this: up to six WEEKS to build up a tolerance with this. Lord. And I'm going to just let it all out so be prepared to be entertained. Or something.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Bridget the wayback machine.

I was going to write another big post but I got a link instead and I can't tear myself away.

So this post is brought to you by Nik Kershaw. Apparently I liked guys with big hair when I was 12. What's your favorite?

    near a tree by a river
    there's a hole in the ground
    where an old man of aran
    goes around and around
    and his mind is a beacon
    in the veil of the night
    for a strange kind of fashion
    there's a wrong and a right


I'm back, we're back, with some partial updates. As much as I can recall, my head is so full I may just write all goddamned day. And the internet always seems so gleefully happy when I'm at my lowest.

He came back before midnight sometime on Sunday night. I had fallen asleep on the porch swing and I woke up and Jacob was there with his head on the swing, staring at me, sitting on the floor. Watching me sleep. Stroking my hair, whispering things I never heard, again. His solace.

We didn't even say anything out loud, just kissed a long kiss good night and went to bed. Blessed sweet relief. Jake was back, we were back. Spoons. Still together, still working on getting through each hour. No promises were broken that night. He let his frustration get the better of him. It's okay. I forget he is human because he's super-human to me. A lot of people have told me when I write about him it comes out that he sounds critical and impatient. He's not. He's so loving you wouldn't believe it. He's got a very dry delivery with his offhand comments that just doesn't translate to this page.

Yesterday morning I squeezed in an emergency session with Claus (doctor/therapist who looks like Santa, remember?). We're going to start the very scary immersion/exposure therapy methods. Not for the physical fears because those Cole mostly took with him when he died. This is for the brainwashing, because I'm still pushing Jake away when the doubts creep in, I have this bizarre allegiance to Cole that isn't going away. I'm not sure why one fear would go away without the other but Claus was quick to point out that a 5-minute uncharacteristic attack is far removed from years of subliminal or forced compliance. So, no, I don't love Cole anymore. That is proof enough to me that I'm not crazy. And it's proof to Jake that we're not fighting a losing battle and that we haven't gotten this far for naught. Proof that it's also not just about us and he has to have just a little, okay a lot more patience. Cole really fucked me up and I had no idea. I got another label too, to add to my bouquet: depression. Oh joy. I expected that one first.

The concessions come in here. The medications are upped again and this time I actually have to take them. Not once in a while but every day. Three times a day. No alcohol, None. No driving. No operating stoves and power tools.

I'm going back to zombie-world, my friends.

Claus insists that half my problem is that I'm completely unmedicated and using alcohol and the fear and the unreasonableness just take over. If I can quash it with meds eventually the good feelings will stay on top and that's when I make the most progress. Suppressing the demons will suffocate them while I get a whopping dose of constant overlapping psychotherapy. Unreal. I would like to resurrect Cole and kill him again. Oh good, Bridget, use your anger! Right now I've been mostly running around completely unsupported drug-wise because I never gave the pills a chance to build up and start working. I'm so sorry. Claus thinks it's remarkable that I haven't launched myself off a high bridge. Yeah, you're not alone there. But doesn't this mean I'm doing alright? No, he said.

I'm quashing the pregnancy rumors permanently here because birth control is an absolute must with this level of medication. Not to mention I have no business trying to have a baby right now because I can barely look after Ruth and Henry, I can't look after myself at all and life is on hold and no matter how hard I try I can't ignore the fact that this really is going to take a long time to undo and fix and strengthen. It's a long long road back to healthy, says Claus, and he is right.

This morning we had our first extended couples' therapy session since our big fight in the office late last week. Which mostly feeds off the individual sessions because we're trying to work on finding patience and acceptance in all this. Continuing to hold each other up, most importantly during the hard parts, when we need each other the most. Love seems to be the easiest part of this and we're going to lean heavily on it to help strengthen the rest-the other facets of a relationship people often forget or ignore. The foundation, goddamit.

So to summarize. Jacob is not going to push me and be impatient, if he can help it. I'm going to take my pills when I'm supposed to and give up the temporary sporadic euphoria for the permanent contentment, because I want it more. We're not going to fail each other. And no more bourbon-soaked sad love song fests for Bridget. I might really miss those.

   Tell me you're not alright
    And you needed to come home
    To tell me you're not okay
    And you needed me all along
    Since you've been gone
    I need to hear from you
    Since you've been gone

Sunday, 23 July 2006

He took what was left.

I can't even believe this.

After about the fourth "Are you pregnant?" call I received Sunday afternoon I finally turned off the phone. I was content to play outside with the kids in the shade and not talk to anyone else. I get so tired of talking to everyone all the time, sometimes I just need a break.

Not a good excuse. Jake came home early. He was concerned because my phone was off. I explained that I needed a break and he pushed me. He said he was trying to make life easier and what did I need? I said I needed time. Because this was a rough trip to hell and back and I really need to catch my breath. I said I needed to figure out that Cole was dead in my heart, or I wouldn't get past this moment.

Oh, that was not the right thing to say.

Jake asked me what I meant, and where my confidence went. I spat back that maybe I still loved Cole, and life was vastly different than it ever was in April when I thought Cole and I had settled into an acceptable level of closeness. We were doing sort of almost okay. Not healthy by any means, but okay.I know it was my denial but it was livable. And Cole worked every day, all day, far into most nights, I had all the time in the world to charm Jacob and hang out and be the centre of attention, the life of the party. My ego was the size of Jacob's beautiful heart.

What the hell am I now, huh, Jake?

The preacher's girlfriend, the poor widow. She got her hand slapped hard. She sold her soul to the devil and paid a price so high she's still not fully one hundred percent sure she can cover that bill. There is no ego left to be had here. Sorry but once I finish reeling from the blows then maybe I can find the girl who used to live here. She's around here somewhere.

I got all this fucking baggage out there and I think he heard one thing.

I. still. love. Cole.

Oh, ouch. Jake slammed his fist down on the table and scowled. I jumped a thousand feet into the air and screamed at him to never do that again. He got up and came around the table and he put his hand down to my face and ran his fingers down my cheek and then he got on his knees and put his head in my lap. He held my knees and didn't move but I could feel him shaking so hard. Finally he looked up and his eyes were so red. He shook his head and told me I might be thinking this is all a big mistake or a dream or hell (he choked on that word, I think that's what he said) but for him it's worth every difficult moment and if we've gone through all this and we're not closer and I'm still clinging to the wrong guy then he doesn't know where to go from here.

Then he told me when I had an answer to let him know. And that he was going to step away now and let me stand on my own two feet so that I could make this decision on my own.

I shook my head. I think I was in a full-blown panic but all I remember is trying to keep a death grip on his hand so he wouldn't go. I remember yelling at him that he made me a promise and he couldn't walk out now. Oh, he did. He walked out backwards, tears and bitterness staining his face and he told me that his promise stands, and when I'm done loving the monster then maybe I would give the good guy a real chance at last.

He did it knowing full well I still had to get through the rest of the afternoon and evening alone with the kids. So even though I wanted to cave into newfound grief and fall apart I couldn't and he knew that and he used it.

I want to hate him and I can't.

Now it's 10 pm and I'm stubborn and so afraid all at the same time. He left 8 hours ago. I don't want to call him but I don't know where he is. What if his phone is off? What if he was just tired of all this and changed his mind? What if he doesn't come back?

What if I am pregnant?

No, I can't be, I felt so much better today. Well, I did. Now I just feel sick. And I'm stuck like this. I can't drink, I can't fall apart because there's no one here to take over. I don't want to call any friends after blowing most of them off today already. I'm humiliated and I'm scared and I'm sick to death with worry. There was one person in this entire world that I could open my soul to, tell every last secret to, and depend on to catch me when I fell, one person that I love without question or hesitation and I don't know what to do right this minute because I don't think I've ever been in this position before.

I don't want to be alone.

Heatstroke barbie, or, I was wrong.

Jacob read my post from last night and would prefer me to clarify his doll comment because he says it makes him look like a jerk. I thought it made him sound like a jerk at the time he said it last night, frankly, but my mood issues were explained later.

What he meant when he said I looked like a doll was that I looked perfect. I wasn't withered from the oppressive heat, like everyone else. He thought that was strange. I wasn't sweating. I was uncharacteristically cranky too.

I didn't sweat at all, well not enough to cool off. Which meant our evening out was cut short because he again noticed that my skin was far too cool for last night's heat and suggested we duck out for water. We went outside and I was so weak I couldn't open the cap on the water bottle so we quickly drove home.

Where I promptly threw up.

So much for that perfect doll image.

Dolls do not vomit. And they don't get heat exhaustion.

And no, for crying out loud I am not pregnant. Half the wedding guests think I could be. Isn't that fun? Yes, I think so too.

I'm sufficiently better this morning. Jacob wants me to stay home and rest instead of going with him to church but that will most likely just add fuel to the blazing rumors so I think I'm going to go. With lots of water to sip.

Then I will spend the rest of the day indoors. Where it's cool.

I really thought he didn't like my dress.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Wedding barbie.


I'm killing time waiting for the kids to eat and for Jacob to get ready since we leave in an hour for a wedding. I curled my hair and pinned it back and used my new Maybelline XXL mascara (which is insane, I can't say enough) and my candy pink lipgloss, and I have a cute pink fluffy little dress on, and my pink fuck-me shoes (that would be the 4 inch stilettos), because otherwise Jake gets a crick in his neck if we dance at all.

I was feeling pretty cute until Jacob walked past me and did a double take and said Christ, Bridge, you look like a doll.

I briefly debated switching to black high heels and a black dress but then I figured he might tell me I looked like a whore.

Yeah, it's really hot tonight and we're getting along smashingly.

Sweet to taste.

So I don't forget it for Tuesday:

To our therapist, who thinks I shouldn't try to draw power from my sexuality: Say nothing until you have witnessed the most erotic lap dance/striptease ever performed. Because someone (name starts with J) left the Hysteria album on, and Pour Some Sugar on Me came on, and I couldn't resist. The only thing missing was strobe lights.

He remained inarticulate for the next few hours. It's okay though, we weren't doing much talking. And he has a new healthy respect for me. And my strange and wonderful talents. I burned the chicken but I give a nice lap dance. Hey, the perfect girlfriend.

Friday, 21 July 2006

The human rubber band.

Friday always brings a second post, if you didn't know that then welcome and enjoy. Friday is a giant mood ring for me. I start off black and by sometime around three o'clock my mood ring displays the most beautiful shade of blue you will ever witness with your bare naked eyeballs.

I wonder how many hits 'Naked Saltwater Princess' will bring to this doorstep via Google over the coming weekend.

Jake says if every day was as bad as I painted it here we'd all be sipping belladonna and navigating a slow death a hundred times over. Do I do that? I don't mean to do that, but this is how it plays out in my head. I'm not an effortless optimistic, by any stretch of your imagination.

So here's a very upbeat! new! development! because there is nowhere to go but up. Right?

Jacob has cancelled my birthday trip.

And it's okay. Well, we were going to cancel it anyway. I have no intentions of taking my kids overseas while Israel and Pakistan Lebanon (Thank you Potor) are at war. And then Cole finalized our plans by not changing his will. Which means I need to take his ashes home to Nova Scotia. To top it off there are only so many vacation days you can take as a minister each year, so while we're home we'll spend time with both families-Jacob's parents live in Newfoundland, and call it the summer vacation.

I'm looking forward to it. Neither one of us have been home in years. Hopefully it will all go smoothly. Optimistically speaking.

Wait. I make him laugh, dammit!

This morning I exchanged the intoxicating freedom of the open highway where I swear I was seventeen all over again for the crushing personal roadblocks and congestion of couple's therapy, from which I emerged into the blinding sunlight choking back sobs and trying to uselessly force my way out of Jacob's strong arms, having just been yanked back weeks progress-wise. Our time even ran over and yet we weren't on speaking terms with each other when we left, despite the desperate measures we (okay, they) took to try to sort it out while we were still there. Because Jacob is fed up and because I am in pain.

I am 'emotionally immature' (I want to write 'duh' here but that would just confirm it). And when I was pointedly called upon to define myself under that label I straightaway looked to Jake to FIX IT BECAUSE THAT ISN'T FAIR. And the counselor pounces again and asks me what Jake is going to be able to do for that, since he is part of the problem.

Jake? Well, he studied the floor like it was going to magically scroll the answers across the tiles beneath his shoes.

In trying to help me develop tools to stand on my own two feet in this relationship (translation; grow the fuck up) instead of being so goddamned submissive when it comes to men, specifically the ones I love, all of my flaws are exposed to the light, then they have verbal acid thrown on them and then they're kicked to the curb to be repeatedly run over.

Jake is asked to list some of the things he brings to our relationship. Easy. He DOES THIS FOR A LIVING, people. He rattles off so many concrete examples. Flawless. Bravo. I am lucky. A million times over. I love how he never has to point out his fears like I do in these sessions.

What do I bring?

Ha. Um. The kids, okay, yeah, Ruth and Henry. Um. Ah. Optimism that the future will be better than the past. Oh and I can totally get my way with sexual favors.

Bridget do you feel that your power comes through sex?

Aw geez, you people are harsh. Inside my head the wild girl is screaming with laughter. Of course it does, watch as I seduce any man I want without having to speak a single word. Idiots!


Well, no, it shouldn't, but..

Do you think this is healthy?

Oh now here comes the belligerence. Such a fucking brat.

Yes, actually I think a healthy sex life is very important in a relationship.

Healthy if you're using it as a means to an end instead of just as recreational intimacy?

Well, that's why we're here now, isn't it? Because I don't have any other obvious bargaining chips.

Jake laughed. At the very worst time ever. Which turned out to be good, because the therapist got to witness us argue briefly, to see both Jacob's total faultlessness and my purposeless, misunderstood, automatic compliance, as I deferred to him. As usual.

Bridget, why do you do that?


Drop the argument and yield to Jacob?

I didn't even hear myself whisper it. So he doesn't leave me.

Therapy was stopped then, and it was decided that we were going to step up the frequency of the sessions because when they tell me I'm doing well they lie. It's a verbal pat on the head because I didn't fire anyone that session, or something. When they say I'm doing well I take it to mean that I'm almost normal again. Which colors me as an optimist, because when they say I'm doing well, what they really mean is that I'm progressing normally for a totally fucked up girl. Textbook.

And because pressing myself against the inside of the truck door isn't very comfortable I sit like a robot beside Jake on the drive home. Wait for it, wait for we go.

Why can't you believe that I'm not leaving you?

Because trust takes time.

Oh, and you can't trust me? After all this time?

I can't trust anyone, Jake.

Then why did you say you could before? What changed?

Nothing, I just decided telling you what you want to hear isn't going to make this feeling go away.

What feeling?

The fear that this is all a dream and you're not real. That you'll leave. People say things they don't mean every single day, Jacob.

Well, I don't. I'm real. You are not sometimes. Bridget, when I touch you I feel like I'm in heaven and it's not real. You're too good to be true. When I go to sleep at night I pray that I won't wake up in the morning and find you've changed your mind. That you don't really want me, because you're too beautiful and I'm just a servant. That you'll find some great new guy who will take you out of this godforsaken place for good and give you everything, with none of the bad memories we have in our past.

I'm never leaving you. Ever.

Okay then I need another promise. Promise me you'll never stop making me laugh like you did today. Because I knew exactly what was going through your pretty little head even as you said something completely different. You're impossible. I couldn't help laughing out loud.

My purse bounced harmlessless off his head and we almost went off the road laughing. He is better therapy than the professionals that cost us money.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

This just in: I'm one hundred percent not cool.

In response to the emailer who asked me how I could post so flippantly less than two days after my husband's funeral. I only have this to say:

You deal with things your way, and I'll deal with things my way, with help from my family, friends, two therapists and my writing. Maybe even with help from my boyfriend.

And for the record, I've been grieving for Cole since April when I actually went back to him briefly and then again in May when he tried to kill me. He's been dead longer than just a week in my world.

I need a thicker skin. Tomorrow I'm going to talk more about comparisons and new couple dynamics and the effects of that on said family and friends. It's been...interesting, to say the least.

And now, I'm hitting the road with the sunroof open in my little sportscar and I'm taking my Def Leppard Hysteria CD with me. Because 1987 was a good year for music, a full ten years before Savage Garden ever made it to my stereo. And because Jake refuses to listen to the lead-in to the chorus for Love Bites because he says it's painful so he wouldn't let me play it in his truck. I don't get it but he won't explain. Pfft.

    I don't wanna touch you too much baby
    cause making love to you might drive me crazy
    I know you think that love is the way you make it
    So I don't wanna be there when you decide to break it

Oh, on second thought I totally get it now.

Blackmail for two.



What is taking so long?

I'm putting on mascara.



(Finally I make it to the back porch.)

Why are you putting that on? Your eyelashes are long.

They're white. Like yours. Read: invisible.


And I want to look pretty for you.

You look pretty asleep. Sweaty. I'm not picky really. Besides, you didn't even brush your hair. You're secretly a high maintenance scatter-brained tomboy.

Yes I did brush it.

It's vaguely messy.

It's controlled 'just rolled out of bed' you like it?

Very much now put that way.

Are we ready?

Do you have the CDs?


Which ones?

Um, Black Sabbath and the soundtrack for Heavy Metal.

Oh Lord.

What did you want?

Savage Garden.

No, seriously Jake. If the guys find this out they're going to make fun of you.

I like that moon song.

Yeah me too. Back in a minute.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

The way a fool would do, madly.

Today will be long again. I have therapy and then meetings all morning and in the afternoon we're playing airport taxi again. Jacob just left for work because he has to actually do some. I guess I can't hide behind his capable shoulders today. I'd like to. And him going to work involves him strolling the three blocks down to the church with his coffee and stopping fifteen times along the way to charm all the elderly ladies who seem to conveniently have to go out on their porches just as he passes by. It's adorable.

It goes well with the kids right now. Who haven't stopped playing Heart & Soul on the piano, since we went to see Superman Returns.

But I feel like I'm living in an episode of The Truman Show today.

Except taped to the front of my refrigerator is a sign that says


More than fine.

Late this afternoon the kids and I decided to brave the warm summer sun and walked the 4 blocks to the row of shops that border our leafy neighborhood-there's a bakery, a chiropractor, a dollar store and a deli. We were stalked by our member of local government who as usual pounced on me to see how the kids were doing, were they excited about starting school, and they had a quiz to name a statue that he had pins of. They got the pins even though they answered wrong.

He asked how we were doing, I said fine.

The funniest thing in the world to me right now. I suppose I could have entertained him with a litany of news. My husband died a week ago but it's okay because we separated in April and then again in May and the minister is now living with us because I half had an affair with him for the past ten years and I just recovered from the beating I received at the hands of my ex and I'm currently attempting to rebuild my happy go lucky/wild/enthusiastic self without resorting to any more alcohol and my kids had DNA tests even. Like Holy #$%^&*!

But sometimes 'fine' is the better choice.

It really is.

God love me. I'm a Jerry Springer show.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006


Still going. I'm the energizer bunny. Thankfully I'm just not angry like I was this morning. Instead I am tired. Just very tired. Worn out. Possibly coming down with the flu.

The memorial is over. Thank God. They did a great job, Cole's..OUR friends all put aside their judgements that they had leveled against each other and against me and created an unforgettable tribute to him. A fitting one. Lots of funny stories. Tons of pictures passed around. A nod to his talent, constant reassurance that he would live on forever through his much-admired work and through our children. The magnificent effort of so many to tell those stories without touching too heavily on me, as I have been there beside him since he was nineteen years old. Some of his genius borne out of various overwhelming moments of joy or pain with me. The temperamental artist and his faithful muse.

I pegged this as the hardest day but it isn't and for that I'm grateful. I'm grateful also for the random hugs from friends, the offers of help, hell the offers of continued friendship from a group of guys who have put up with me and my wildness for so long they are family. And I'm grateful for the comments, emails and the real live snail mail cards from reader friends who have no idea how much they really mean to me. Thank you.

I want to write that I'm not going to talk about Cole here anymore but on second thought I don't want to make a promise I can't keep. Some days I don't know where my entry is going until it's there.
Guess where I'm going now?

Never ever ask someone how they're doing an hour before. Never. Trust me.

Maybe I should write a handbook for ungracious widows.

Seriously. There is no place to put the uncivilized, disrespectful thoughts. The ones going through my head as I prepare to leave for the memorial *ahem* retrospective. The thoughts that say I had the last laugh after all of Cole's bullshit over the years. All the tears I shed for that man, the pain and humiliation and the doormat that I was to him. So where do you go to acknowledge being glad he is gone and positively disgusted to realize that you miss him? That you still love him?

Ack! I know. I know. I'm horrible.

Where do I put the euphorical ohmygodthemortgagewillbepaidoff thoughts with the ''who the hell is going to upgrade the wiring now and who will reassure me that the house will not burn down if we don't get to it right away" thoughts?

Where do I go to point out how hard I tried to love that man?

Where do I get the rights to make decisions on his behalf when I was so afraid of him I couldn't control the shaking? How does anyone expect me to do any of this according to his wishes? What about my wishes?

Oh , Bridge. Hello, you WISHED HE WAS DEAD.

I did, didn't I?

I'm not sorry I did that and I won't apologize for it. He'll get a last heaping dose of my petulance. He loved the lower lip sticking out, the refusal to talk to him when he was being awful. Here you go, Cole. He was human. I ruined something in him and I don't know what it was. I think I built up his badness and he had such big shoes to fill he became what I thought he was. And he used it to tear me down.

God help me if I do that again.


I don't think I will.

For one thing, and oh yes, let's compare notes, shall we? Today of all days let's just stand them up side by side and share the details. No, just one.

Jacob has confidence in himself that Cole never ever had. No one believes me. It's true. So possibly he might emerge intact from falling down this rabbit hole into my world. Possibly. It's hard to tell. This morning Jacob told me if he could he would shield me from all of this and I would never have a sad, or scared thought in this world ever again.

Well, we all know what happens when you try to put Bridget in a box. To keep her safe. To keep her to yourself.

She bolts. She lets her heart wander away even though she's standing right next to you still.

Oddly this time there is exactly no place to go. The escape is here. Fantasy has collided with reality and I wound up with everything.

Take that to the afterlife you fucking asshole.

    Cross my heart hope to die
    Never meant to make you cry

Monday, 17 July 2006

Taking inventory (more foolish daydreaming).

Because Jacob makes very good coffee while I talk to myself. He's happy I'm talking at all. Prattling even.

Fragile Miss Bridget's 96-hour bender appears to be officially over. Not willingly, mind you. In all honesty I would have forgone reality altogether but again, Jake took away all the liquid escapism and even the pills again and left me with this rawness that hurts when the wind touches it.

If you cover it up it will never heal, you beautiful mess, you.

Why does he do this? Oh yes, to push me forward. Onward, you idiot. Get moving. Get better. Get a grip on yourself and be a proper mother because you are all those kids have. And you are all he wants.

Right, okay. Faces are washed, breakfast is made. I am scrubbed and shining and wearing jeans and a shirt. Buttons again! Braids. Jacob came in with coffee and nodded his approval because when you're drunk, dresses half fall off sometimes which is lovely, and he gave me aspirin. I swore at him because I am such a bitch sometimes.

Instead of laughing at me he asks if he can have the ten year designation a bit early. He wants to claim ownership. I know, feminists cringe. Oh shut up. He's tired of everyone knowing me as Cole's wife.

What the fuck?

Oh hell. The most confident man I have ever met in my entire life is asking me for validation? For reassurance? Kind of like looking for shelter within a house of cards. Did he think I had taken the easy way out by leaving Cole to be with him? I point out the uncharacteristic lack of confidence in that statement from Jacob.

He just shrugged. Shaken again because of me. I should be so lucky as to not ruin everyone I love somehow. Seriously. The 'It's not you, it's me.' statement people use? Well, it's me. By far.

Of course he can. He has it. I told him it was only after the requisite decade did I ever allow myself to claim ownership of a feeling, obviously. It's funny how this long a time afterwards we both still remember our first real conversation, word for word. How naively I hung on to that decade with Cole that I had just accomplished like some sort of endurance marathon, and I held that up as the standard by which all relationships should be compared.

Hell, not like our relationship is really any less dysfunctional, most of it so far spent in total lust and complete denial, and yet if you ever saw us make dinner together or argue efficiently, you would guess we had been married for a hundred years.

It will be so perfect if only we are now given half a chance to enjoy it for what it is and what it should be. I can't even imagine life without Cole's presence looming over me. I can't. More denial which Jacob ripped the lid off because he's in a hurry. And after tomorrow is over with we can begin. The hundred year storybook marriage in complete love that I wished for so badly my whole life and I can't imagine it with anyone else, ever. I can't breathe at the thought of all that happiness within reach once and for all. He is holding his breath too. I'm touched beyond belief that he even still wants me, us, at all.

I just need strength to get through tomorrow first. I didn't want the grieving widow designation. So I won't claim it. Honestly I had wished Cole would just die so many times over I am exceeding careful of what I wish now. The memorial is not for me. It's not for Jake. It's for Ruth, Henry and all of Cole's extended family and friends. The ones who knew him as the loving father, helpful son, talented artist, the crazy musician, the passionate guy who boasted so loudly of his beautiful wife to total strangers even, the guy with the work ethic that never ever quit. They can have it. I won't argue. I'll sit passively and not openly cringe while they ignore the Cole I knew and instead exalt the virtues of the Cole they knew. That Cole was a very cool guy. I wished I could have known him. He was quite the superstar of our little universe.

But since I didn't, I will join Jacob and just pray to get through the day. Hurry hurry.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Jacob didnt conduct the service. At the last minute I think he decided I was to trashed to sit upright and so he sat with us and let me lean against him and enjoyed the heck out of Carolyn's sermon instead.

Afterward. I got a zagillion hugs. So nice. I would pay for those. Wonderful.

The feelings are going. It's not reverse homesickness or whatever. It's fear. The fear is going. Still drunk though. But just durnka nd not scared. I have to stop that. I can't be drunk this week. Too much to do. Memorial on Tuesady. It grew before my eyes. Cole has so many friends. None of whom can blame him for his craziness because of me. And they love me too. The kids, jake. Weird.
His office. God I can;t do this.

I asked Jake if he still wanted to marry me. He laughed and said no. Not until I'm sober again. He said he's going to out a limit on my foolishenss and I cant blame him. So I'm going to go dance on a table now and finish out the night and then tomkorrow I'm not touching anything. So hoepfully by Tues morning things will have evened iout.
Oh and hell yes have a few more highballs before church. There's a good idea you stupid girl.
Note to self. Always keep appropriate memorial service outfits ready to wear so you don't get caught with nothing. I can't borrow anything. The smallest size offered was an 8. I'm a zero. Ha. Yes I am. A big fat jittery zero.

Oh and if someone gives you a letter that they write in the darkest hour of their life? Don't rip it up in case they die later on. You never know.


Saturday, 15 July 2006

Down like a ton of bricks.

An easy-to-manage ton. The sun came up. I went to the door of the den, opened it and couldn't seem to go anywhere. So I called for help.


Jacob met me with a cup of coffee and a fierce hug. I pressed my left ear to his left ear and I could feel his heart beating. He ran his hands through my hair and told me everything would be okay.

It was permission to fall apart. His, mine, ours.

I lost whatever frayed string of sanity I was swinging from all week long.

Oh lovely. Brutal. Ugly. I swayed and was held up. Jacob didn't let go, he held me tighter and I dissolved into nothing. He got both of us rather gracefully down to the floor and sat and held me so tightly and I held on right back. We missed calls, doorbells, appointments and just held each other. My legs were asleep and I didn't care. We both cried. It's done. Over. No more court dates, no waiting to be divorced. No worries about what Cole will do down the road. Done. He took it all with him.

I'll take it as a gift, among other things that have happened since he died. Many surprises.


Yeah, Bridge?

I really expected to throw things.

Yeah, I expected you to throw things too. maybe break stuff.

I'm glad I didn't.

The day is young, Bridge, the day is young. And I love you.

I love you too.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Oh oh oh the sun is going down, the birds are chirping their goodnights. I called the kids to say goodnight, they love an adventure. There's no need for them to be here to see me incapacitated by their father's death. Nope. Happier times to be had someday.

My day is drawing to a close. It took forever yet again. I heard them placing wagers as to when the alcohol will hit again, I have found some weird plateau in a forty of Absolut. I can't bring myself to have anymore yet I have had enough to bring down a large man. Interesting. Of course, I'm not standing up anytime soon.

The best thing about today is the plateful of pad kee mao that was just slid under my nose. I see Jake is bringing out the heavy artillery. Thai food.

My goal for overnight is to attempt to sleep and not make an ass out of myself on the internet or in my house. Oh and the Vicodin is back. God bless whoever makes this shit and no please don't say a word about washing it down with vodka. I know.
I'm still here. Thank you for the kind comments. They mean more than the platitudes making the rounds in my living room.

The cognac ran out after midnight and I was made to suffer miserably, loudly, indignantly, until Jacob finally gave up the location of the vodka. I listened to nothing else. I see I'm going to have to ration it. We'll see. I don't think he'll give me anymore. So much for the pain-free drunken stupor I had planned. A four day bender? For one, please. Just don't touch me, for I will shatter. Don't worry, he's watching from a safe distance, right outside the door. Ready to catch me when I fall so spectacularly. Wait for it.

But for now, even half-drunk I have responsibilities. I have to sign papers and make plans. I have to be steered everywhere because I don't know the protocol here. Not familiar. I have to return a dozen phone calls and I'm too broken to talk out loud. Good to have a minister in the house because sadly Jacob knows exactly what to do and who to call. Is this my karma?

I'm lucid though. I managed to have a shower. I could button buttons. Stupid things. I managed to hug my kids as they left for a sleepover at PJ's mom's house. I don't feel like eating. Or speaking. Or moving, really. I'm still alive and really if you had placed your bets knowing what you know about Cole he should be the one still breathing and I should be the one who died.

I managed to not rip Jacob's face off when he came back last night for being away too long. I need help. Jake's helping. He was off making so many of the immediate arrangements so I don't have to. So that he could be here today for when the shit hits the fan and Bridget falls apart. Everyone thinks I'm so fucking strong. I'm not strong. Oh my God I'm like paper in the fucking wind. The kind that blows into a tree and the tree doesn't budge an inch. Not even in a tornado. Jake is the tree. And I'm almost plastered again, blissfully. And Cole, Cole is still dead. When will it be real? I know when-when that weird homesick feeling stops. The one that has been there since April. When will it stop and what the hell is it?

I can kill whole freaking WEEKS in here. I'm going to finish the vodka and read the internet. The worst thing is that I can't shut off the noise. Inside my head I'm screaming and I can't shut it off.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

I feel nothing. They're all letting me drink. No idea who is watching my kids. My kids, not ours. Cole is dead. Dead. Do you not see how permanent that word is? I see it now. It's flat. One sound. Kind of like the sound of my head hitting something hard. When I come out of my fog it's going to hurt so I'm going to stay in it and then it won't be so bad. But you know what? I'll have to be the first one to say the selfish things, answer the loaded questions and figure out which end is up. Hell, I'm in charge. I sign everything. All questions will be asked of me. Who has all the power now? Thanks for passing it on. It might be enough to match the blame. No more prayers required. I'm up to my eyeballs. Jake is nowhere to be found. Well I know where he is but he should be here. He's tired of looking at the closed door. There is no comfort here. There is so much to do and I'm still stuck in one spot. Unreal. It feels unreal. I can't shut up my head. So I might possibly drink a little more and make it stop. Or maybe a lot more and finish it off. Shut the bitch up for good. Almost wrote for god there. How ironic. God isn't in today. My phone is ringing. Probably Jake. Who should be here because we need him. I don't think I could stand up if I tried. Let it ring.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Today brings so little in the way of updates. Every time we think we'll go in Cole suffers something else and they whisk him off to surgery again. It was a severe attack and they think he must have had several smaller ones before now. The complications are keeping us home because they can't keep him stabilized. The damage might possibly be too severe. But he is alive. For today, they said. He's only 39 years old. He's been in tremendous pain now since the early hours of Monday morning.

We're going in when hours start at 2 pm, if he's stable enough. They said he won't be able to talk, he might not even be awake. I can't bring the kids, they're under seven but Jacob promised to talk with someone to have that changed in case, well, in case something happens.

Thank you for the prayers, they're much appreciated. Please continue if you can.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

I'm sitting tight waiting for the call to let us know when the protection order is lifted so we can go to the hospital. Cole had a heart attack yesterday and didn't even have the meeting with Jake as he requested so no one knows what he wanted to discuss. I can't get any details on his condition and the wait is torture. To top it off no one called until late yesterday afternoon which makes me angry.

Nothing to write, I'm frozen.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Injection of fluff and puffs of cuteness.

Or something.

I had four phone calls wanting to know what was wrong now. Please, I'm emptying my head. If you've hung around all summer you know that already, don't pay me any mind. How often do you get an uncensored look directly into the brain of someone else?


You want fluff? I'm FINE. Fine. I went to the Aveda salon and had lowlights put in. To combat the straw appearance. And bangs were trimmed. And now I can get some laundry done and the kids are sacked out watching Madagascar. It wasn't a typical Monday by any means. Jake is in meetings all day, one of which involves Cole, isn't that just grand?

Yes, I thought so too.

But the bangs, the bangs rock. And I'm making muffins too.

Is that more normal? Oh and yes, I'm about to go clean the toilet. Well, once the muffins are out of the oven.


On not being very good at self-assurance.

The album playing now is Tool's 10, 000 days, or as I like to call it, the aphrodisiac album.

    You believe me don't you
    Please believe what I just said
    See they're telling the truth
    And this wasn't all in my head
    See they took me by the hand
    And invited me right in
    Then they showed me something
    I don't even know where to begin

It doesn't give me nightmares, the music. What it does is make me mad, in a way. In turn that gives me back the control I desire so ferverently. I feel like I can bat my eyelashes and slay a thousand demons with my charms when I get mad. Some of the only power I have ever felt in my life. Figures it would be based on sex. Self-vilified by my own perceptions of myself. Is there not any other way I can feel confident? No, I just turn it up so I don't fall apart. I feel the strongest when his desire for me is conspicuous.

Enlightening. Hard to explain. Fuck, Bridget is hard to explain. You have no idea.

Pushing. Shoving. Fighting. It hardly breaks for the moments of overwhelming comfort and you know what? Some days aren't so fucking good and I don't feel like I'm going to get through it at all. Some days I don't feel like we're going to make it. There. Out loud and everything. To him. Knowing he wouldn't want to hear those words because they're pessimistic.

He didn't want to hear it. Me, shoving at his heart and testing the limits. He has no limits.

But the simple solution of me being committed and him going off to find a nice normal girl, well we tried that route already and it didn't even work at all. All it did was delay the inevitable. Which was the certainty that we would be together. Someday.

Someday is now and the price is so goddamned high from Cole's...brainwashing. We're not having any luck at all with the intensity. It's staggering. I only have to open my eyes and see him first and my heart is in my throat. The nerves, butterflies, the anticipation will knock you flat. It hurts. It hurts like trying not to hyperventilate.

We both still feel like we're doing something so wrong here. Something verboten. Every time I touch him I can't take ownership. Inside my head I'm trying to justify it. Still.

How dumb. Because failure is not an option. I will. not. fail. Jacob.

    Overwhelmed as one would be placed in my position
    Such a heavy burden now to be the one
    Born to bear and read to all the details of our ending
    To write it down for all the world to see
    But I forgot my pen

And as much as everyone waits for more admissions, further confessions from me, there aren't any. The night of the hayride constitutes the one time we lost control. That's it. Which is remarkable and I am fucking proud of that fact because no one, well okay everyone knows how often Jacob and I were alone together. We could have carried on the longest most intense affair of all time but it wasn't right to do so, and we are good people, in spite of our debiliatating flaws. Such damned good people, except when it comes to wanting each other. Oh my dear God, when it comes to each other we're a fucking trainwreck. Careening down a mountain pass with no brakes because. we. can.

We are.

And it shouldn't be so hard anymore but the temptation to continue at arms' length is so prevalent. Like snatching your hand back out of the fire so that you don't get burned. Only the fire, well, it's been out for ages. There's no danger anymore.

Bridget, enough with the analogies. Why can't you just write what you want to say?


It's reverse-homesickness. Fucked-up. Bridget, you're SCREWED, girl. I'm so terribly sorry but I'm in a hurry to find out how it feels to be happily in love without twenty years of Cole's twisted definition of what a relationship should be hanging over my head. I want it undone. Faster. Now. I have no patience. I waited long enough and now it's my turn to express disappointment with having to wait for the gratification. For the simple profound love that Jacob offers me.

When I take it it's not mine. I have no ownership of this and I don't get it.

Hell, I can't even explain it.

I want the fluttering to stop.

I want to see him and be happy. Not see him and for a heartbreaking 10 seconds a million thoughts go through my head, starting with "Where is Cole?" and "Why am I not with this man?" and by the time I reconcile the past inside my head the moment is gone.

Lobotomy for one, please.

And he lies when he says he feels relief and overwhelming euphoria when he sees me. He lies because the first thing that he thinks is usually a wonderment of how fragile Miss Bridget is going to be today, or 10 seconds to reconcile that this is not a dream.

And so I bring out the demons. Put on the most angry music. Play it loud. Get out the acrimony and hold steady with a smoldering atttitude that is a total put-on. Give myself the only control I know I have, because some is better than nothing at all, in my eyes. At least I know how that works.

Because some days aren't great. But it's normal. No worries. It's getting better. Getting it out helps. Good girl. Good job Bridget! Yes, please, everyone pat me on the head for dragging out every last dreadful thought out of my head and terrifying myself with the endless parade of nightmarish outcomes from this. And foolishly Jacob promised me that he isn't leaving and he was so angry because he hates repeating himself even though he'll do it as many times as I need him to without showing an ounce of the frustration he must feel.

I would love it if he could share that patience with me, it's the patience that he has for my fear that he doesn't even have for anything else. How many times can you tell someone who has barely a idea of what sanctuary feels like that they have it at last. They can't see it but they feel it sometimes but they don't believe it's real, they're in perpetual shock and it's going to take time. Well, you do it when you love them, of course.

I will not fail him. Even on days like today when the optimism is an excruciating reach for me, I will not fail him. Because I love him.

Of course.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Tying down the butterfly.

Hmm...I think I like that phrase even better than Nose Butter. If you don't know what Nose butter means, you're not a snowboarder. If you don't know what it means to tie down a butterfly then you don't have to live with me.

Always fluttering. From one leaf to another, one of my absolute worst personality flaws is that I can't shut anything off at will. Especially my mind. It flutters and churns and click clacks away and I can't sleep, I can't run, I can't get any peace from it.

Friday night was no exception. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't even relax, I couldn't stay down. It was hot, so muggy and miserable in the house. Jake slept restlessly. Every time he tossed his giant frame I would snap wide awake. Finally I got up and opted to read in the porch. I think it was 2 a.m.

No sooner did I settle in when Jake appeared at the door with a tray. The tray held two plates of blueberry buckle with ice cream and two snifters of cognac. The cognac was Jacob's very adult bottle that he keeps locked in the desk in the study for Very Hard Times because he's very old-fashioned in that way, really very proper despite my repeated attempts to unravel his fabric with my total foolishness.

For example-my snifter contained about a quarter of the cognac that his held. Just because I'm really not supposed to drink and I asked him if he was looking for the wild Bridget and he laughed and said he figured since we were locked in the house and it was so late it was probably okay to have a little, just once. But that there wouldn't be any more for me.

He's feeling better. Good. I was glad because honestly I never really know what to do with him when he's upset over something that can't be changed. And to me that's very sad because he knows how to fix me. He knows how to make me feel better, when to leave me be, and how to make things bearable.

And boy that sounds stupid. One of the things that made me cringe about Cole is that if he was happy, everything was okay. Like everyone else's well-being hinged on whether or not he was in a good mood. And I'm smart enough to see that this is how my universe works as well. Cole used to say it wasn't him, it was I who made the planet rotate smoothly. Me with my legendary petulance and ineffectual, lethal gaze.

Right. What a crock.

When I test the theory to see if it holds, it does and boy that's scary. Almost as scary as Jake waking out of sound sleep because I was restless and he wanted to comfort me, while I couldn't sleep because I wanted to comfort him. So I get comfort in the form of warm food and warmer liquid solace and he feels better because I feel better and we all get a little sleep.

So the moral of this story is if a butterfly lands in cognac it will stop for a rest. Or something like that.

Friday, 7 July 2006

Bitter blessings.

Sorry to leave you hanging. There was no time earlier to come back. Why oh why didn't I keep the Vicodin? That would have helped today. Or something. A very stiff drink right now would be nice. No such luck. Jake gets one. He's not on antidepressants. Lucky guy.

Jacob is not Henry's biological father. 100% not. When the lawyer called to ask if we had the results she actually had the nerve to ask me if we were going to change Henry's middle name now. I promise I didn't swear at her out loud. I was a very good girl.

My relief was so fleeting. And then I realized that I was briefly given the bulletproof heart because someone had to hold us up. Because Jacob took his long overdue turn and fell apart. He went down in a spectacularly controlled measure of total anguish and it caught me by surprise because at no time did he reveal how much he wanted this because I wouldn't discuss it first. But Jake doesn't castigate me. He should, but he doesn't. I am unscathed. There is always the future. I'm done looking back now.

No, instead he got down on his knees beside the table and he asked God for comfort. And then he miserably looked at me like I was able to somehow channel it straight from heaven, as if it would come through me.

He says sometimes it does. And when the shock wears off, he'll be able to accept this as the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Jake is strong. A remarkable man. Just not a father yet. Not on this day.

Thanks for all the kind wishes. I'm off now to go breath very deeply and read some bedtime stories to the kids. The kids who are completely oblivious to all this. Oh to be five years old again.

Reasonable doubt.

I'm talking to myself this morning. A mile a minute. Ranting. Blubbering. You will fall behind. Sorry. Oh, and it's going to have to be a cliffhanger. I can't fucking do this. Somebody shut me up.

The first step would be to acquiesce and stop challenging the past, no, Bridget?

Jacob is at his office. The kids are playing up in the playroom and I just sat down to write for an hour and finish a pot of coffee and the doorbell rings and in the space of thirty seconds I am reeling again. And possibly more. Sitting in my lap is an envelope with our test results. Couriered over because we arranged to have them sent over rather than waiting and having to go to more appointments. I didn't expect it until Monday. I'm not opening this envelope. I want the cameras off. This is not reality TV, it's my fucking life.

Last week: A blow up an hour after we came back from the lab, in which Jacob lost his patience for my endless troubled chatter about how Henry couldn't possibly be his son brought it back around to reality.

Bridget. Stop.


It's not such a big secret. The people who need to know, know and we can't change any of it.

It shouldn't have to count.

But it does and you have to admit it to yourself.

Again, Can't.

What if he's mine?

Then we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

We can cross it now. We need to deal with this.

We need to wait. Otherwise we waste time talking and find out our fears are unfounded. Then what?

Then at least everything is out in the open and we go forward. We keep getting held back by loose ends and unresolved arguments.

No, we're not being held back or we wouldn't have gone and had those tests.

And around it goes in a vicious circle that will cease today. Jacob is half-paralyzed with anxiety over this. It's so hard for him you can't even imagine. After everything there is still so much hell to go through and it's awful. It feels so awful and yet I feel the same paralysis. I really wish I could hold someone's hand right now. I'm going to throw up.

What would you do if you suddenly discovered a child you knew was yours?

What have you missed?

Sure Jacob has been here, he's been around, he's changed diapers and rocked babies to sleep and comforted and walked for miles and hours with the little reflux king and he's bought things and been there for first steps and fun times, and been the best godfather ever.

He's been out of sight for months when we moved, when he travelled, when things were okay and Cole and I called a moratorium on hurting each other and tried to be a better family.

He hasn't been there for ultrasounds, for frightening emergency c-sections, or well baby checkups and for the neverending dead-of-night feedings. He hasn't been able to stand there and look at Henry and say "That is my son." and feel the pride that only a father feels. He hasn't been able to claim that role. No one can give that time back to him if we find out he is Henry's father. Regrets I wish to bury forever and I can't.

Oh, but Bridge, you were so convinced that he couldn't possibly be Henry's father. (Just like I talked myself into being happily married to Cole. Wow, I'm that good. Guileful. Huh.)

No, sorry, I'm only convinced he cannot be Ruth's father.

Henry? Oh, there's a very tiny small possibility. A loss of control. We lost our fucking minds for around five minutes that resulted in nothing except for, well, admitting we lost control. A moment where we couldn't step away from each other so we stepped in closer until we fit together like a puzzle that was finally complete. Fireworks all the way around. Too close. Too hot. Too much. So right. So fucking right.

What in the hell are we doing?

We stopped before we had barely started and we never acknowledged it out loud to each other ever again until earlier this week. Jake took the high road and I walked the low alone.

That alone is where the outside chance comes from and why I can never let myself off the hook for being a bad wife. Rolling over in bed and finding Jacob there because he fell asleep sitting up watching me sleep because I was so damned tired. This was the morning after the hayride and that kiss because when I composed myself and finally drove back to the cottage and sent the neighbor home and got Ruth tucked in that night, Jake showed up, full of apologies for forcing himself on me. He wasn't to be blamed-I didn't stop him, did I?

He asked me if I really did love him.

Of course I did. What a stupid question and I'm in so far over my head I may as well fall apart, which I did. I cried so hard and he held me. When I woke up he was still there. I started to ask him if he was okay and he kissed me instead. Again.

We're just full of great ideas, you know.

It felt so good to be in his arms. From that moment on there would never be another place I ever want to be more than right there. The kissing led to shirts being pulled up and jeans being pulled off, and oh my god what the hell are we doing? But it was five minutes of heaven before we remembered that I was married and not to him and we stopped cold. Reluctantly. Hesitantly. Nothing was completed, if you know what I mean. Bittersweet? That doesn't come close to describing those minutes.

But technically, it counts on all fronts. I cheated. I cheated but was cheated out of my cheating by our collective conscience and so I allowed myself to pretend it never happened. But it counts as the outside chance that Henry could be Jacob's son. I took sex education. Withdrawal? Doesn't make you safe. It only makes it easier to sleep at night because you can say you never did the deed, my friend. Bridget, you're a liar.

Cole knew. Because I had to tell him. I didn't tell him about the kiss because I didn't want him to know about it for some crazy reason I still don't understand but I did tell him I slept with Jake. I didn't want to tell him, Jake wanted to and he said if I didn't, he would have to. Jake was never afraid of Cole, Jake is only afraid of himself. So I did, verbally tripping and visibly shaking. Cole was not surprised, only angry, everything you would expect. But he forgave me after he forgave Jacob first. Because he could use this. Against me.

Where do you think Cole got the fodder for all his sexual fantasy stories?

He knew I liked it. He knew I wished he was Jake and he knew I wanted more. One bite, one taste of Jake-cake wasn't nearly enough. I wanted the whole plateful. Cole forgives too fucking easily.

I wasn't even looking for payback. I'm impossible to contain, and hard to love. Because I'm easily distracted by beauty just as much as everyone around me. And while they're all watching every move I make I am prone to huge life-altering mistakes. It's a history. It's a mess.

The timing. The timing is what destroys all hopes of redemption because it was perfect.

And as much as we both crave having a child that is part of us and what we have, in this case it would be better if Henry is Cole's biological son because it will prevent a fresh helping of pain. We learned our lesson. These admissions, both so publically now and privately become a tangible proof to us that we didn't go through all of this for nothing. We're taking our knocks for not being good people when we were supposed to be. I will take being judged because oh my god, he is so worth it. No one will ever possibly come close to understanding these feelings I hold for Jacob. That deflects the harsh judgement of those around me. For once in my life my heart is kevlar. I am impervious to your derision. You can't hurt me with your supposition anymore.

No, it wasn't a crush.

No, it wasn't boredom.

No, it wasn't even opportunity.

It was love. I didn't expect it and neither did he but it happened in spite of everything I did to try and keep him away from me. I couldn't. I didn't want to. I never even made a half-assed attempt to be proper.

And I won't apologize for that any longer. Nope. Done. Letting it go. I don't believe there are any more secrets aside from whatever is contained within this envelope.

Now if nobody minds I'm going to go squeeze my eyes tightly closed and ball up my little fists and steady myself for the outcome here. Can't stop it now, we're on a roll here. With magnificent fallout. Magnificent.

Oh Christ, listen to what's on the stereo:

    Heaven bent to take my hand
    And lead me through the fire
    Be the long awaited answer
    To a long and painful fight

    Truth be told I've tried my best
    But somewhere along the way
    I got caught up in all there was to offer
    And the cost was so much more than I could bear

Jacob will be home for lunch and we'll open it then. No, I'm going to call him now because I can't breathe anymore and maybe I shouldn't have posted.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Coleridge over coffee, the Renaissance man part II.

Did you think I would leave you hanging with a snippet about chocolate for the whole day?

Don't be so silly.

It's course night. Jacob is teaching a course at the university this summer. I mentioned here that he was a little nervous about it. He has no fears of public speaking so what has him tense is the subject matter.

Romantic Poetry.

You have know it hits close to home when he didn't even have to look very hard to come up with poems for the course material. He had his favorites all picked out. He's been quoting them to me for years. He can stand up on the church roof with his hammer all summer and recite dozens of Shakespeare's sonnets and drive everyone crazy, in between the neverending singing, of course. He uses the poems in weddings and usually has a selection at hand if couples want one printed on their service bulletins or used within their ceremony. He always knows the perfect one for any particular couple.

He's nervous because he has to incorporate the history in with it-the broader scope on how society and politics enters into the dialogues created by the poets of those centuries in which their best works were created. Or something. No small potatoes, that task.

However, he's going for history-lite because the poems themselves are to be the centerpiece. Here's a snippet of what I hear over coffee each morning, a willing assistant/victim in Jacob's master plan to single-handedly revive and rekindle romance in the universe. Romance as dispensed by gruff, serious men with hearts of pure gold (or jello possibly). He's doing this for fun.

These four are my favorites:

At Last

At last, when all the summer shine
That warmed life's early hours is past,
Your loving fingers seek for mine
And hold them close, at last, óat last!
Not oft the robin comes to build
Its nest upon the leafless bough
By autumn robbed, by winter chilled,
But you, dear heart, you love me now.

Though there are shadows on my brow
And furrows on my cheek, in truth,
The marks where Time's remorseless plough
Broke up the blooming sward of Youth,
Though fled is every girlish grace
Might win or hold a lover's vow,
Despite my sad and faded face,
And darkened heart, you love me now!

I count no more my wasted tears;
They left no echo of their fall;
I mourn no more my lonesome years;
This blessed hour atones for all.
I fear not all that Time or Fate
May bring to burden heart or brow,
Strong in the love that came so late,
Our souls shall keep it always now!

~ Elizabeth Akers Allen

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods or steepy mountains yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

~Christopher Marlowe

I loved her for that she was beautiful

I loved her for that she was beautiful;
And that to me she seem'd to be all Nature,
And all varieties of things in one:
Would set at night in clouds of tears, and rise
All light and laughter in the morning; fear
No petty customs nor appearances;
But think what others only dream'd about;
And say what others did but think; and do
What others dared not do: so pure withal
In soul; in heart and act such conscious yet
Such perfect innocence, she made round her
A halo of delight. 'Twas these which won me;ó
And that she never school'd within her breast
One thought or feeling, but gave holiday
To all; and that she made all even mine
In the communion of love: and we
Grew like each other, for we loved each other;
She, mild and generous as the air in spring;
And I, like earth all budding out with love.

~Philip James Bailey

Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou artó
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient sleepless eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors;
No, yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever, or else swoon to death.

~John Keats

He writes his own as well but I'm not permitted to share any of them. In any event, what a lucky bunch of students. I feel like I'm auditing it now and it's been really educational. In between the starry-eyed adulation of listening to him deliver the lines, that is. My god, it's better than sex.

Sweet tooth

Ruth has a memory like an elephant. If we bring home a box of cookies or a chocolate bar and put it in the cupboard she knows it's there and she'll ask about it until you tell her it isn't there anymore. The other day she was quite exasperated by the lack of chocolate snacks in the house. Jake offered her a granny smith apple. I suggested raisins or dried cranberries. Oh no. Not good enough for little Miss Ruth. Not good enough at all. The chocolate love appears to be genetic.

Who keeps taking all the chocolate then, Mommy?

Why, that would be the chocolate fairy, Ruth.

Who is the chocolate fairy?

She's a tiny brown fairy with wings and at night when we're asleep she pushes herself through the holes in the window screen and eats all the chocolate. She can't help herself, she loves chocolate so much.


Hmmm Ruthie?

Is Mommy the chocolate fairy?

Possibly, honey, possibly.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006


I've had so many requests for updates, I'll bring you up to speed on things.

First off, solo counseling is going well for me at last. Claus is a miracle worker and I get more out of my sessions with him than I ever thought possible. Onward and upward, Bridget. He thinks I'm doing well. I'm not bottling it up. In fact, I'm shaking it up and spraying it over the crowd like champagne at a boat launching. Well, that's my take on it, anyway. Would you believe I'm not nearly as fucked up as I thought I might be? I really thought I was a loose cannon, out of control emotionally but I have come to learn this is the best news ever. I'm a model patient. Take that, naysayers!

The kids go and see a children's counselor twice a month and are doing well. They play puppet shows and draw pictures and it's very light fare that will end when school starts. Ruth and Henry have a resiliency that I wish I posessed sometimes. We're parenting responsibly and the whole attack and changing teams (so to speak) has had a minimal impact. Thank GOD.

Jacob is doing well too. I didn't tell you he went for help too. His counselor tells me his progress is outstanding. Jake says he's learning how to deal with his residual feelings of helplessness and more importantly he's learning how to express anger efficiently and manage stress better. This man is a self-improvement machine. Maybe it helps that he is generally laid back as it is.

And oh yes, couples counseling. Because there's nothing like starting over from scratch when you have a decade of dysfunctional history under your belt and we're going to make sure we have everything we need and then some to make this work now, and in the future. Even couples who are head-over-heels in love have things they need to work through. Like not dropping arguments in the middle and other assorted leftover interactive bad habits we've acquired over the past ten years of holding each other at arms' length. Together we're profoundly beautiful and completely fucked up. But It's fixable. Very fixable. We'll make it right because we both want it so bad.

Momentum. Something you need when you're being dragged down on all other sides.

I can't really write updates about Cole. In part because I don't want to, and also because I was instructed not to because I might write something that makes me appear vindictive (! More. Swearing.) in the eyes of the court. Suffice it to say he's playing every card he has left. When we finally consented to the paternity testing earlier this week we were suprised to find out they actually wanted to test not only Henry but Ruth too. (Can you hear me swearing in my head? Because I am and it's loud.) So all four of us had cheek swabs taken and they had taken Cole's already and on Monday or Tuesday we'll get the results so stay tuned.

Physically I am a-okay. No more sling, no more wrapped torso. No visible bumps. My elbow gets sore after painting or sleeping on my arm but it's not so bad. I can move again and that's huge. I can pick Henry up without cringing or grinding. I healed very well and my doctor is very proud of me. Now I only have to fight the crushing fatigue, which overtakes me at the strangest times but that's the medication. They can only adjust it so much and then it does nothing. I have to live with it for now.

So there you go. The entire remainder of this year will be a whirlwind and we're living it one hour at a time. Momentum.

    I am just a worthless liar. I am just an imbecile.
    I will only complicate you. Trust in me and fall as well.
    I will find a center in you. I will chew it up and leave.
    I will work to elevate you, just enough to bring you down.

    Mother mary, won't you whisper? Something but the past is done.

    Why cant we not be sober? I just want to start this over.
    Why cant we sleep forever? I just want to start this over.


Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Ten places I'd rather be.

Speeding up life is impossible. I alternate between wanting to be somewhere else, daydreaming about being somewhere else, and actively plotting to be somewhere else. This is in between wanting to perpetually wallow in misery. You bet.

I'm counting down the days before I can enjoy a long break away from waiting out court dates, waiting out tests, and waiting out the end of my divorce. Which will take forever. God, give me strength to get through the rest of this month because I can't do much more than that. Then it will all be done. Well, the hardest parts anyway.

So here's a silly list of ten places I would teleport to right now, if I could.

   1. sea glass hunting on the south shore.
   2. the lobster restaurant in Shediac. I don't know if it's still there.
   3. Picking out fleeces somewhere in a field in New Zealand. Touring Ashford.
   4. snowboarding at Blackcomb. Yessss.
   5. frying my little lily-white ass on conrad's beach at Queensland.
   6. riding horses in Utah. Possibly seducing Robert Redford and showing him how Canadian girls rope the wild ones. (Shhhh!)
   7. On the garage roof replacing the shingles that blew off in the wind that most definitely was not a tornado. Right. Strangely tempting but unspokenly forbidden.
   8. Drinking overly sweet hungarian wine in Budapest with my ballerina friend.
   9. NOT listening to Jake figure out the Beatles' Across the Universe on guitar. If he starts singing the Jai guru deva om part I'm so out of here. Oh too late. DEAR GOD.
  10. In Wal-Mart loving up to the Tassimo. I would have sex with that coffee machine. But I hate Wal-mart. So the odds of me dropping trou in the small appliance aisle are pretty unlikely.

Instead I have some painting I want to do and then I'm going for a swim in the coffeepot.

And a big Happy Independence Day to all my American Friends! Hope your day is full of fun and sun and love and harmony. Enjoy!

Monday, 3 July 2006

For the moment.

So maybe letting go is what makes it better. If I'm not reigning in the wild personality glitches and emotional binges for some reason nothing...happens. All this post traumatic stress bullshit just ebbs and flows like the tide and I have no control and I thought that was what I needed. Control. I looked and there it was.

I can push and shove Jake so hard and he doesn't budge. Yet he'll stand there taking none of my bullshit and simultaneously saying he'll be here as many times as I need to hear it and I love him to death for it.

He said Let it go, Bridge.

And I did. I just said it and left it there. And we're all still vertical. No one's insulted, no one's had enough, no one went off the deep end or fell apart. And I took very deep breaths and he kissed my forehead and just held his lips there, against my skin. He matched my breathing. I closed my eyes and the neverending adrenaline rush and fear suddenly wasn't there anymore. Would it be asking too much to just pray that it holds?

And on a good note, we totally missed today's date. Jacob is officially divorced. A long road for him that started over a year ago when he made up his mind that he couldn't and wouldn't live without me any longer. I can hardly believe it.

Therapy homework.

 Shield your eyes while I quietly implode, okay?

Excuse me if I can't explain why I wake up wanting to hurt myself. Total despair and I don't know why. Sure you have the answers for everything. I don't and until I (I, do you hear me?) find them there isn't any point to validating me like some sort of mental patient. I see it. I see everything. I know how it appears. I realize it doesn't make sense and yet everyone around me continues to allow it. It will pass, things will get better. You won't feel out of control anymore, they say. And then someone changes the medicine again. New hours, new routines, new feelings and it overwhelms and Bridget loses it and gets to sleep for a whole day all over again.

Only this time she didn't sleep so well or so much and she woke up feeling dangerous.

And I'm over here hiding in a tiny corner of me and I don't like it. I can't see anything and I'm afraid. No, not afraid of the dark, afraid of myself, don't you see that? I can't shut it off.

I'm not going to hurt myself but it's right there, the feelings. The easy way out. The end to all this bullshit. All the pain, all the looking up to see you staring at me with that equal threshold of pain radiating from your own eyes because no, you can't fix this. You just can't and wanting it so badly makes absolutely no difference in the world.

And I'm sorry for this but here it is. You going off to call the doctor and ask for help or advice doesn't make a difference. They don't know me. They're going to get paid whether I feel better or not. There's no stakes for them. Things were better when you were calling the shots and frankly I don't care if you felt you had to give up control to save face, to prevent the comparisons. They weren't fair anyway and why you listened when you should have kept going is a mystery.

A mystery I solved. It was me. You were afraid I wouldn't get anywhere so you passed me off to the professionals and agreed to stay close to observe and assist and support and all the other things you do so well. You want me back. The happy girl. Not this. You doubted yourself.

Don't do it with me. I don't need the second guessing. I need everything you gave me before. Take off the gloves, throw away the psychobabble and the drugs and just take my goddamned hand and make sure I have distractions. The rest will fix itself.

I promise.

And even if I say I'm going to hurl myself off the top of a building, I'm not. Are you mad? Ruth and Henry only have us now. And I have you. And I wouldn't give any of you up willingly so don't be scared of my words. They're just stupid words. I have millions of them, and if I can ever find the wherewithall to sit down and sort them out and arrange them perfectly I will have all my answers and then I'll feel better. I know it.

In the meantime, can I exchange this? This pain? This unreal intangible pain in my heart that doesn't ever let up? The physical pain was so easy. Child's play that I could gauge and work with. I work hard, I did everything I was told and then I healed. I felt better. I can move again. I'm not wrapped up anymore. I'm not marked by his hands. I can let that go. So why won't this work? Why won't the intangible pain let up even for a moment? How do you presume to understand how your soul can flinch, a visible reaction to an invisible terror? It's crushing me.

Because I've been a wife, a compliment, a trophy, a toy for so long I don't know how not to be, that's how. Told how to dress, how to think, how to feel and what to do. The freedom of now is overwhelming. I am overwhelming now. A million miles a minute headlong into everything and I kick myself hard every time I want to ask for help or defer on a decision because I can't make it. I don't know which end is up.

You, you stand there with the patience of Job, and it's so fucking maddening. It makes me want to scream because it's taking too long and you don't really want this. You have no idea who is going to walk out the other side of this or even if there's a promise that anyone will ever walk out at all.

Yet still you stand there waiting, and helping, being steady and keeping the kids happy while Mommy goes to her room and cries herself to sleep without ever knowing why. Manning your post simply because you promised you would and you'll lift them up and be the only constant good thing in a world that sometimes seems to be filled with night-black snarling tangles of rage and they're coming straight at me. You can only hold them off for so long. And clutching me to your chest while you fight one-handed isn't going to make for any easy victories. Not this time around. That's right about how positively fucked up I am. The worst thing is you alternate between wanting to do this all for me, and shoving me forward and insisting I do it myself. Just when I get going and I feel like I'm getting somewhere something else happens and you step in and take over again. In the non-control way, of course. Letting me think I'm doing it all myself and I'm possibly as dumb as I look because I prefer it that way. Honestly. Heartbreakingly.

Please. Just fix me. Because I'm not having any luck.

So everyone wanted to know how Bridget feels today.

Aren't you sorry you asked?

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Softly, slowly (the hearing post).

(This post is going to be awfully esoteric for most. The revelation that Jacob deliberately whispers words to me that I never hear was at once profound and heartbreaking to discover. And it has been going on for years. YEARS. For the record, Cole never cared if I heard him or not. He helped me pretend I was perfect. On the outside.)

I have a theory: There are two kinds of people in this world-those who get songs stuck in their heads and subsequently play them for WEEKS until the urge wanes, and those who don't.

Jacob and I are both of the first persuasion. Which makes for some entertaining and frustrating moments because the one with the stuck song will play it so much it invariably winds up in the head of the one who was doing just fine thank you.

Enter Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Masterful songwriters. Hello, we're children of the early seventies. Because, well, Tiny Dancer. One of Jake's favorites.

That song that will go down in our history as changing my mind on my hearing. A tremendous feat this many years into a hearing loss, don't you think? Especially since I've been listening to this one song my entire life. On 8-track, vinyl, cassette, CD and finally iTunes. If that doesn't prove I love it I don't know what would. I just never knew most of the lyrics.

Which is funny and cute but really dumb all at once. We were slow dancing in the kitchen a few weeks ago with the CD Madman Across the Water playing.

I love to dance, what can I say?

Jacob was singing Tiny Dancer, right into my ear so I could hear the words clearly. He got to the bridge and sang "and you can't hear me...when I say softly... slowly..." and I just stopped and stared at him. He smiled and twirled me around and kept singing and finished the song and then he played it again. And sang it again. He explained the significance for him, how often he says things, talks to me knowing I don't have a clue. I don't even know.

That touched me right down to the bottom of my soul.

Right there it became Bridget's song. My song. (Without even tiny Bridget dancing references required. He is 6'4", I am 5'2" with heels. Tiny is an apt description.)

Jake said he's always thought of me when he plays that song, ever since he found out the hard way about my hearing loss. I try not to tell people until I'm in a difficult one-on-one situation, because it compounds the doll treatment thing, which I hate. Once he became a regular fixture in my life he picked a fight with me out of the blue one evening. I was in the kitchen and I asked him if he wanted a drink and then I came to the door and stared at him, waiting for his answer. He was short with me. For the first time.

Why do you do that Bridget?

Do what?

Ask me everything twice?

I didn't hear your answer, Jake.

You never hear my answers though.

I don't hear much of anything.


Are you making fun of me?

No, explain this to me. Please?

I lost most of my hearing. Put on those headphones and talk to me. That's what I hear, Jake.

Why don't you wear a hearing aid?

I don't want one. I don't need one.

But you do. Wouldn't it make it easier?

Make what easier?


No, life isn't hard.
(<---I actually said that. How ridiculous.)


Wow what?

Wow, I'm surprised. Actually I'm not. It makes perfect sense. I've been endeared to your head tilting for a while now. This explains a lot. The gesturing. The facial expressions that are so funny when you're trying to concentrate on listening. The writing. Constantly. Aw, Bridge. But Cole doesn't even....

(I cut him off here) Just don't make a big deal of it, okay?

It is a big deal. It makes you more adorable.

Jacob, not now.

Just saying.


So since I know, am I supposed to do anything differently?

Yes, answer my questions twice without complaining. No. Seriously, just make sure if you want to know if I heard you make eye contact or it's mostly useless. Oh and rescue me if it's a noisy place. I'll be lost otherwise.


Okay, stop it now.

It augments what I love about you.

Jake. Knock it off. Cole's outside.

Is it genetic?

No. Ruth has been tested and she's perfect.

So are you and I can't believe Cole. Does he acknowledge you at all?

Enough Jake.

That answers the question, Bridge.

He cultivated a long-running argument on the subject of my hearing after that because he wanted me to not have to work so damned hard to do something other people don't think about. He. just. fucking. cared. When no one else really did.

Now? Jacob has no shame, he tells everyone about it now. Absolutely everyone. The mailman. The grocery clerk. He's just trying to make things as easy as possible. Bless his heart.

And once I left Cole, Jacob instantly found a most beautiful way of getting my attention that I have mentioned before. He cradles my face in his hands, he looks into my eyes so that he knows I hear him. And frankly, as much as so many of my reasons against hearing aids were dismissed, that one thing, when he puts his hand on my face and while he's talking he absently rubs his thumb along my bottom lip. Well, that's not something I want to give up EVER and I fear that once I can hear him better he'll stop doing it. I don't want him to stop doing that. Ever. In a million years. Never ever ever.

So if Tiny Dancer wasn't stuck in my head before, it sure is now. And I know Jacob is still whispering things to me when he thinks I'm not paying attention.