Thursday, 20 September 2018

But. Pajamas. Yeah. Those pajamas.

I woke up in my traditional, habitual position. Holding on to Lochlan for dear life, arms tight around his neck, foreheads pressed together, breathless from the lack of oxygen as he runs hot in perpetuity, such as he is, the fire eater, thrower, juggler, maker.

The moment I breathe weird he is awake, jolted out of his dream-filled sleep into whatever moment he thinks he needs to save.

Hey. Hey. It's okay. He's calming me down, I'm just trying to catch up on air here so I don't say much and then he decides I'm hyperventilating and we're sitting up now, waking up Ben, being overly concerned about nothing. It takes a few minutes, I've been sick, after all, and then I'm good.

You'd be gasping for air too if you had your face in someone's mouth all night. Ben doesn't like to be woken up by Lochlan's wolf cries. Ben has had probably two hours sleep.

I didn't-aw, for fucks sake. Lochlan doesn't argue. We've been told this before. We sleep like sea otters. Hamsters. Kittens. We curl up together as close as we can get and we don't move. At all. Ever. It comes from summers sleeping in the camper in the tiny cot, without heat, without any sort of comforts at all save for each other and the radio.

We head downstairs for breakfast, Loch in his old pajama pants that now border on indecent but also I can't look away, and me in yesterday's leggings and Ben's super-huge Goatwhore (heh) hoodie because it's roughly in the same condition of worn-ness as Lochlan's pants. Softer is better when it comes to clothes. And who doesn't like comfort?

Ah yes, here he comes now.

Caleb whisks into the kitchen, looking at us with mild disdain as though we're supposed to be ready or something. It's six in the morning. Why the hell is he up and bright? Did I forget something?

I just came to borrow some eggs until I can get out and replace them.

Just put them on the list-

And give you more to do? Speaking of which, we need to have a discussion.

Lochlan rolls his eyes. His voice is scratchy. Can I please have my coffee first?

It doesn't include you so sure, go ahead. Caleb has little patience for Lochlan's little patience. They'll forever be posturing greasers. He turns back to me. We need to talk about a little break for you.

I just got home and I don't want to go anywhere.

Yes and you also didn't have the rest and relaxation you desperately needed before and now you're so far overdue for it you've given up on it and I'm here to fix that.

Not going to hap-

SHUT UP LOCH. Caleb turns on him finally, going from annoyed to angry.

Loch puts his mug down and steps in front of me. Oh shit. She's staying put.

She decides.

She wants me to decide.

Caleb looks around Lochlan at me. You want him to decide you can suffer here for all eternity or do you want to get on a plane and go rest somewhere warm?

 I am warm. And I've had rest.

You're waking up holding your breath again. That's not the trait of someone who is relaxed. Bridget-

Not now, Diabhal. Please.

Good job, Dóiteáin. Make her suffer for your rules. Good job. Bridget, I want you at the boathouse at eight sharp tonight. If he isn't going to spoil you, I will look after it. 

He does! You just can't-

That's the point. I can.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

I always loved my shadow (it was bigger than me).

Joel came over tonight. We fed him McDonalds (fries and Big Macs for everyone because Bridget is fucking tired, okay?) and then he and I settled in to watch the Leafs trounce the Sens 4-1. I don't care if it's preseason, I'm ready with my bets and I'm already winning along with my team.

After the game we took our tea outside in the back yard, settling into the big hammock, our feet in each other's faces, side by side but heads at opposite ends, tea mugs set on the stones below. The sun set a little while ago. Half the lights on the point are on. It's beautiful tonight. The calm before the storm.

Think they'll keep Nylander? Joel asks. I note the exhaustion in his voice.

Yes, I nod. I'm sure of it. He's a jewel in the NHL. The Leaf crown needs a full set this year and Ennis is a wildcard. 

(Wait. Do you even care what I think about hockey? Well, too bad.)

True. Joel settles back and tucks his hands under his arms, closing his eyes.

You should go. 

Talk a little first. 


You and your work situation. 

What about it?

It's great. 

Oh, is it? 

Yes. It wears you out, keeps your brain busy. You don't have to time to slide into a depressive episode-

You mean I don't have time to think about Jake and then later I'm too tired to think about him.


How healthy is it to not address my emotions? Or allow myself to feel these things? 

That's not what I- 

I know what you mean. Everyone's so happy now. It's been almost six months since I got the job and look how fucking functional.  It's a house of cards, Joely. 

What if it's not?

Explain it to me. But fast. It's time to go. We climb out of the hammock awkwardly but without embarrassment and pick up our teacups, bringing them in through the patio into the kitchen and then I walk Joel to the front hall to collect his things. I walk him out to his car. He turns after opening the door, bends in to kiss my temple like that's normal for him (Jesus, it's not) and then smiled in the dark.

What if it's a sea change of sorts? 

Oh it isn't. Jacob is larger than this life. He casts a shadow on the sun. 

How do you know it's his? 

What do you mean?

Did you ever stop to consider the fact that maybe you're seeing your shadow and not his? Maybe Bridget is larger than life. Maybe you're investing in the wrong central character here, of your story. Think about it. He smiles kindly, sweetly. The Joel I remember before things went to hell and he closes the door and drives away. I stand there for so long staring at the point where the driveway is swallowed by the woods thinking about his words that I don't notice PJ come out and when he speaks I jump out of my skin.

I thought you left with him. 

I turn and stare at him. Why would I do that?

You okay? You look like you've seen a ghost. 

I did. It looked just like me. 

And I turn and head inside, leaving PJ wondering what I meant, looking up toward the woods curiously. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

One foot in the past, and one in the now.

What do you want to do today, Princess?

Drink hot chocolate. Build a fire. Maybe go for a long walk. Have a nap. 

I meant after I finish up my work. 

How much time we talkin', here, Jake?

Maybe enough for building the fire after dinner. 

If you have to work all day why did you ask me what I wanted to do?

I'm curious. 

But we can't make plans. 

Sure we can. I won't be all day. 

See, I think you will. 


You hole up in the study with your bible and your books and forget the time. 

Can you blame me? I'm just trying to come up with things that people-

-People haven't heard before. Sam and I repeat the same sentence as he explains why he won't be present for supper tonight.

I understand, I tell him. I'll leave a plate in the fridge for you. 

You're patient. 

I did this before. Knock them over with a feather on Sunday, Sam. 

I plan to try, anyway. 

Monday, 17 September 2018

If only kevlar were see-through, I'd be almost there.

I'm having a hard time keeping my chin up today but I'm doing it anyway. Lochlan always said I need to learn toughness, need to work harder to control my environment, not let things get to me and not let it show that it has, if it does anyway.

So I didn't cry at work today.

Though, I wanted to.

And I didn't cry at home (yet).

Though, I'd like to.

But we're making a chicken and potato casserole and running the washer endless and trying to keep up because it's Monday and that's what one does, right?

On the bright side (is there one today? On a Monday? Truly?), my paycheck seems to be straightening out, it isn't pouring rain and did I mention? There's a chicken and potato casserole in the oven right now which means no one can complain about being hungry for the next twelve hours or so.

Also? Be nice to the people who pour your coffee. Seriously. Motherfuckers.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Pink & Blue.

When you don't give me love (You gave me pale shelter)
You don't give me love (you give me cold hands)
And I can't operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command
Lochlan looks at me quizzically. What's that you're singing?

A new Tears for Fears song that just came out on the radio.

Oh. Sounds sad.

Oh, it is!

Do you understand it? He asks me that a lot. As if a twelve year old can't grasp life, or the simple concept of an anti-love song.

Yes. I get it. It's an accusatory song about someone who doesn't support someone else enough for their liking.

I'll have to hear it.

You just did.

I mean the recording. On the radio.

Next time it comes on I'll point it out. It sounds different from when I was just singing it. More clashy... more guitars.

He laughs. Time to get ready.


Dinner. Wash up and lets go. 

Over dinner Lochlan stares at me while I eat my fries with gravy on the side. The gravy is a special treat. It costs extra at thirty cents but he's gotten a raise just for coming back to the Midway for the second year. So I get gravy and he gets pickles and sauerkraut on his sandwich as we are celebrating. Usually we have just malt vinegar, just cheese. Those are free.

So it's a special night.

On the way home in the truck that song comes on the radio.
I asked for more and more
How can I be sure
I've been here before
There is no why, no need to try
I thought you had it all
I'm calling you, I'm calling you
I ask for more and more
How can I be sure
Lochlan looks at me. It's not accusatory. 

It's not?

No, he feels helpless watching his own relationship slip through his fingers. 

Oh it's even sadder than I thought. 

He nods. That's what radio is based on though. 

What do you mean? 

Songwriters are fueled by heartbreak. 

I wouldn't want to be one then. 

Bridget, heartbreak is a fact of life. 

I hope it never happens to me. 

It will. 

I just stare at him with wide eyes. Not by me. I mean if you don't get a job you want someday or your dog dies. 

My dog died last year. 

Right so that's heartbreak too. 

Oh, I thought you just meant romantic heartbreak. 

It comes in degrees, so romantic is the worst, most painful kind. 

That's the kind I hope I never have. 

Me, too. 

Well then if either one of us feels like the other has cold hands we have to speak up and stop it. 

I don't think it works like that. 

Well then how do we prevent it?

We stick together. Like we do now. I told you I wouldn't leave you behind and so you're on your second tour too now. Here's your raise.
He pulls an envelope out of his pocket heavy with change.

Oh YES! 

What are you going to spend it on. 

Cotton candy every single day.

You already have that. 

Yes but now I can have it in both colors!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Also Pallbearer covered Run like Hell and Lochlan squealed when I played it for him. LOL

A checkup this morning (gotta love surprise house calls on a Saturday morning, thank you Caleb for setting that up) leaves me with the all-clear. My lungs sound good finally. My post-nasal drip is gone and the lingering shortness of breath is easily remedied for a few hours at a time with my inhaler.

So....yay me, I think. Progress is good. Healing is wonderful.

Not a plug or a sponsored anything, I hate that shit but I lay in bed this morning playing on the #selfcare app. It's soothing visually and audibly but in a weird way it distracts me from my emotions because it's glitchy. Like I end up picking up the clothes over and over again and have to restart multiple times and then stop touching the clothes for it to work but I like it.

And I'm not into apps as means to fix what ails my broken head and heart. I rely on talking, drugs and mindless repetitive forced rethinking. Joel had a name for it. Changing how I deal with things. I don't remember what it was called but I still do it because if I can grab something out of the ether I can do okay. When I stop moving and turn inward I fall in those holes. Life is a minefield already tripped and I twist my ankles as I go.

For my reward Caleb took me out for eggs Benedict and hash browns and then asked if he could stick around for the day. He worries something fierce but not as much as Lochlan, who collected me on the way back into the house and said no. We have plans. We're taking Ruth to finish getting her supplies and textbooks for her school year and then we're hopefully going to finish Ozark because I'm anxious to see how it ends before it gets spoiled for me somehow. We started American Horror Story: Apocalypse last night and it's SO GOOD. So I could happily spend the rest of this rainy Saturday watching TV and continuing to get better. I'll never finish picking up my laundry in #selfcare though. Please email me if you've tried it and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Friday, 14 September 2018

(A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night.)

Good morning, Peanut.

He's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, wide-awake and ready to roll. Coffee is on a tray in front of him. Two cups. I smell Baileys. Also on the tray are two of the cinnamon rolls I made a couple of days ago. I thought they were all gone.

They are, I hid these ones beforehand.

You've been planning breakfast in bed?

I don't know. I've been doing something though. While you've been slinging mud, half-asleep.

I'm sorry, Locket.

If I don't give you something that helps you sleep you won't sleep at all and then it's like you're a tennis ball, bouncing all over the place, smacking into the hard walls all around you and you wind up bruised and demoralized and I'm just trying to stop that beforehard. Trying to get you better from this stupid infection that I practically gave you myself taking you to a place you never should have be-

Ping-pong ball.

How's that?

The description is always a ping-pong ball.

Right. Does it matter, Bridge?


Eat. He points at my plate. You could use something decent.

My own baking?

Better than what PJ said you were eating yesterday while you were out in the yard.

I was just feeling lazy. He's making it into a big deal. 

You sitting in the dark barely interacting with life or even the basics is a big deal and you know it. 

I'm okay.

I'd like you to be more than that. He smiles.

Then move this tray. 

His smile went away and then came back bigger than ever as he understood what I meant.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

I was wrong. PJ is my spirit animal.

I was eating when PJ came home from his appointment and he found me sitting on the couch (we're not allowed to eat on the couch) in the great room off the kitchen by a cold woodstove. Alone.

What are those? He looks horrified.

Chicken strips.

How did you cook them?


Bridget, what the fuck? You're supposed to bake those.

I didn't want to wait.

This is like the good old days when you lived on Special K and packaged ramen. 

(What do you know? I still do. Now I just put truffle oil on it and wash it all down with champagne.)

(No, I don't.

I don't know what truffle oil tastes like if I've had it and we ran out of champagne so I added water to a half gatorade I found in the fridge. I'm calling it 'electrolytes with a hint of orange'.)

So? I'm in a Seroquel haze and every mere mention or hint of autumn has me thinking of Jake. I'm cranky and fragile and not in the mood for anyone to critique my delicious, if a wee bit soggy chicken fingers.

He smiles gently. Kind of obvious I'm not having an in-charge kind of day. It's one-thirty and I'm still in my pajamas too. Want me to make you something?

This is fine. I'm almost done. 

Where's Lochlan? 

Probably went to visit his dealer. I'm a little angry. I guess he figured I'd sleep all day. Nope. I just have the mild shakes. He keeps giving me sleeping pills. 

You've been a zomb-

I'm fine. 

It's melatonin. 


He goes to the cupboard and gets out a bottle I've never seen before. Melatonin. Harmless here and there. Works a little bit but definitely not to the sinister level you're picturing. And he didn't skip out hoping you'd sleep all day. He's out in the garden with Ben helping to winterize your plants and put in the pathway markers. 


Oh? Geez, Bridge. Maybe you should go back to bed. Or look out the window or something.

I don't want to. The leaves are changing and it's windy and dark and all the Halloween shit is coming out and I just-

Want to sit in the dark in your pajamas eating crap food and staring off into space?


Okay. You can have today. But tomorrow you're going to do something else. Clear?

You sound like Loch.

I'll take that as a compliment.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Guess I'm getting a new phone. Maybe a 512GB model so I can stop curating my music.

Compromise. We all (Ben, Lochlan, Caleb and I) had some chowder. Then Caleb sent them packing and we watched a movie. I drank too much wine and woke up to credits and Lochlan standing in the doorway saying my name softly. Caleb is dozy-light beside me but startles when Lochlan speaks. He sits up and looks down at me.

Let her sleep, Dóiteán.

I was planning on it. In her own bed though.

Caleb nods, defeated but politely-so and I sleepily stand and sway.

G'night, Diabhal. Thank you.

He kisses my forehead. No, thank you. It was nice to just relax for a bit. Then he kisses my lips. Sleep well, Neamhchiontach.

I nod and Lochlan pulls me out the door. I trip and stumble, half-awake, across to our house and then we are home and the lights are dim and the house is quiet.

I wasn't-

Just keeping the peace, he says.

Your peace of mind, I remind him.

I didn't specify.


Common sense, Bridge!

I know. I smile at him and my eyes close.


Yes. That's what it can be!

Sleep, Peanut.

Been trying to.

(But it comes out Buntrwintoo! and this morning there was one simple message on my phone. I love you. Lochlan picks up my phone and whips it at the door where it hits and then lands on the floor.

I stare at him.

Whoops, he says. It must have slipped out of my hand. Sorry.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Forever's going to start...another day, I guess.

I was having a blast, singing along with Bonnie Tyler. Alone with sixty-seven minutes with which to do a load of laundry (work clothes), print out everything Henry needs for his new job, organize the house, make some lunches and wonder where the heck everyone is and how my chores became compressed into a puck the size of an hour when he appeared behind me and my heart stopped.
(Turn around)
But every now and then
I know you'll always be the only boy
Who wanted me the way that I am

(Turn around)
Every now and then
I know there's no one in the universe
As magical and wondrous as yo-FUCK!
Have I interrupted something?

My song, for one. Now I have to start it over!

Don't let me stop you.

What do you need, Diabhal?

I was wondering if I could have you for dinner.

They said I'd be all gristle and sugar-



You know what I mean.

Whatcha making?

Maybe some clam chowder and fresh bread?

Oh, hellllll yes. Lochlan loves chowder-

He's...not invited this time.

Oh. You should tell him that.

I figured he wouldn't mind. So nothing has truly changed here, has it?

Depends on who you ask.