Monday, 21 May 2018

Pride's a fickle bitch.

Worked a long shift today. So tired. Ben rubbed my legs for twenty-five minutes straight and now they're Jello but he's also the only one allowed to touch my feet. I have issues. No massages, no beauty treatments, I can barely stand to let Daniel cut my hair or Lochlan cut my bangs even. Doctors are difficult. Tattoos are alright, at least. (Side note here: my wings now look like they're part of the rest of my suit and I have had a lot of comments on them as the tips stick out the bottom of my work dress on the backs of my elbows.)

But yeah, for someone as habitually sex-addicted and affection-whoreish as I am, it's weird to hate to be touched. Or maybe it's a mark of those who belong to the Collective only. Maybe that's how you tell us from the rest of the world.

Also, I get paid this week! And as is tradition in this family, when you get your first paycheque you spend it selfishly and willfully on whatever the heck you want.

I don't know what to spend it on. I can't buy time, clearly (remember the fun of yesterday's moods). I don't buy jewelry for myself. I don't like clothes. I have enough art supplies to paint the point five times over. We got amazing pool floaties last year. I can't actually think of anything here.



It's not enough for a trip..unless it's a day trip. Maybe that's what we'll use it for. A trip into the interior maybe to a winery for lunch. Gas will be included in the cost because ow, it's so expensive right now. I'm going to keep dreaming on this until Friday when I see it show up in my bank account.

I can add five zeroes to what you anticipate and you could have your trip, Neamhchiontach. 

I don't reply. I like the idea of trying to plan it and not knowing if it can actually be a thing. And also now I remember why my legs hurt twice as much as they usually do today.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


Are you complaining?

Yes, but I know my place. 


Are you? 

I got admonished for having first world problems today. Instead of being endlessly grateful for my car, home, healthy boys and children, larder full of food, etc. etc, I had a little bit of a spoiled meltdown because the stress of not having any downtime to think for five minutes caught up and passed me, leaving me in a cloud of dust so thick I began to cough, choking on the potential of my squandered history of absorbing all the attention to be had within a twenty-mile radius. I'm not very good at balancing things, managing my free time or panicking over very normal things like flat tires, missed appointments or empty pantries. I've said that before though. I'm a planner, I'm organized and when I can't be in the way that I want, life goes nuclear for me for a bit and I have to hyperventilate myself to sleep and try again another day.

I'm not sure how people who have it all are supposed to be some sort of level, content, bland robots all the time but apparently that's how it works? Do they not worry or feel pressured or have bad fucking days, maybe? 

Of course they do. 

Well, then that's what I'm having and I don't need a lecture. 

He bit his lip. Maybe we should have gone to church. 

I laughed. Maybe. But then I'd have even less time than I do now and I just wish I could figure out the thinking part. To be able to think instead of being too tired. To be able to plan some projects or live past the end of the day ahead of me just a little. I went from living in the happily ever after to living in the moment and I need to switch it back and suddenly I can't. Maybe it's a bad time to write but I have to get something out or I won't have anything and the inside of my skull fills up with words and starts to ache and I don't know how to fix that but it usually ends up with my head exploding and the wrong words raining down on the wrong people, toxic clouds of letters rearranged with meanings they were never meant to represent, and then I don't have a face anymore and no one can see me and-

Leave her with me. She'll be fine tomorrow. Caleb's voice cuts through the chatter and my body goes into some sort of thankful, resigned flight mode. That's how it works.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Fairy tales and princesses, fires and princes.

Lochlan caught the nightmare after dark, adding weight to her limbs, slowing her down in the way that she responds best, and when she slept, she turned back into me. I harbour no guilt for my daydreams, as they were encouraged, cultivated and excused and you can't just waltz into someone's brain, cut the music and make sweeping changes unannounced.

Lochlan knows that but he has his own demons to fight and so the struggle endures.

I broached the subject of finishing the gardening this weekend and he laughed a soft laugh with a sinister edge that I promptly sawed off.

You can come too. 

Three's a crowd, he countered.

Never. We're inclusive here. Shots fired down.


Don't challenge my simple needs, Loch. 

Don't make me share my beautiful life with the overbearing legacy of the man that had it and threw it all away. 

He didn't, he just borrowed your life and it didn't fit him-

Oh, SEMANTICS, Peanut. I hate him for what's he's done. 

Oh, but you accept the Devil. 

I do not. 

Semantics, Dóiteáin. 

He pulls me in underneath his arms and plants a hard kiss right on the top of my head, shoving me away without a hug after. I frown and he says I'm impossible and I nod as if that's old information.

Are we going to plant the tomatoes or what?

Sure. And then we're going to do nothing but spend time together doing nothing. We could use a few hours of that. 

Can we rewatch Sense8? And maybe some of the royal wedding again?

Yes. We can do all that. And maybe make some pasta and have some wine. 

Ooh, fancy grownup dates. 

We could use some of that, too. 


Being grownups. 

I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you. 

Me neither. And he grins that tired grin, the one that's blurred around the edges, lined with time and space and still a thousand watts brighter than the lights on the Midway, just for me.

Friday, 18 May 2018

On growing a new moon (fifteen percent in).

Send us a blindfold, send us a blade
Tell the survivors help is on the way
I was a blind fool, never complained
All the survivors singing in the rain
I was the one with the world at my feet
Got us a battle, leave it up to me
The day is dim, dark and heavy with the promise of rain. I was outside for a little while doing a little gardening, planting nasturtiums for endless salads this summer, marveling at the lilac tree we planted that has grown out over the wooden retaining wall and is now far taller than even Ben. The soft grey of the wooden wall is the perfect compliment to the palest violet color of the blooms. I planted some lavender and some parsley, and some sweet peas. Maybe this weekend if it's not raining we'll plant the tomatoes, peas and peppers too. People would say I'm very late in planting but it doesn't get cold here in the fall until after Remembrance day and I like to plant from seed so I wait until the ground is warm and dry, rather than in years past when my kitchen was covered on all surfaces with seedlings. I don't want to pre-grow things, I don't want to cheat. I'm not chasing the warm weather here in the way it's done everywhere else.

I can take my time.

I look up as the sun pushes the clouds back for an instant. The sea is content today, her waves blunted and smooth, no whitecaps, no foam, no roil underneath the invisible wind. I don't want to be out in the bright sun so I gather up my tools into the big red bucket that I use for gardening and I head toward the house. Just before I top the hill I look back at the rope swing drifting lazily back and forth against the green of the orchard. I dreamed last night that I could swing high enough to touch the clouds but when I tried in my awake hours I had to settle for only reaching palest blue.

The swing slows to a stop and only then do I turn and make my way home, stopping by the stables to drop off my bucket of gardening supplies and then I spent a minute with the hose and stiff brush in the driveway to wash the soil and the dust off my bare feet before heading inside.

Lochlan meets me at the door.

Who were you talking to?

I was in the garden.

Yeah, I came out to see if you wanted some help and you were talking up a storm. At least you didn't wait for replies or I'd be even more worried than I already am. 

It's nothing. 

Is that where you put him? 


Is that where Jake lives now in your mind? Is that why you spend so much time out at the swing? Is that the shadow I'm going to have to rip off your heels for the rest of our lives?


I was kind of hoping he was taking a little break from your life, that you were focused and paying attention-

I am-

You are a dreamer, a magic fairy. A mythical beast. A nightmare. And you're never going to be mine, are you?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

I'll be in the sauna (favoring my knee).

I walked into his house, still in my work dress and thick black sturdy shoes, aching knee and everything and I dropped my bag on the floor. The apple I didn't have time to eat rolled out across the floor and we became an eighties movie when I specifically requested my life to be an eighties music video.


Goons? Seriously? You sent goons to threaten my boss.

He needed to know who he's dealing wi-

I'm a PART-TIME employee! That's who he's dealing with. This is none of your business. 

You are my bus-

NO I'M NOT! I'm not! I don't know why you insist that I am. I never asked for anything from you. Not a thing. 

And you won't. You don't have to. That means we're doing our job. 

This is some massive Fifty Shades bullshit-

Write down your goals and stick to making them your reality instead of doing these stunts where you make sweeping changes in your life to try and fix what Caleb broke-

Stop changing the subject and tell me why you sent goons after my boss! He only moved me because I work hard and he didn't know if you were just going to shut the whole thing down. He was making sure I could keep my job.

Doesn't he know who you are?

Apparently I don't know who I am. Please. Do share if you can tell me. Last time I checked I was nobody. 

Let me reframe this. Is your employer aware that you come home to this house, where you live with these people?

He knows how to mind his own business. Unlike you. Maybe he doesn't care. Maybe he doesn't have time to worry about people that doesn't know. But good luck with your restaurant. You seem like the type to buy something and just shut it down. There's a lot of people out of work now.

I'm not shutting it down. You can run it. 

I have a job, thanks. 

You can do both.

Not interested, sorry. 

Are you going to throw me a bone here? I'm trying to help you. 

Doubling the workload wouldn't be helping. Maybe tell me why my knee is swelling. 

Because you run yourself ragged from the early hours right through late afternoon and you had given up running because of your knees. 

This isn't that kind of runn-

Yes it is. I can call a fellow I know who practices sports medici-

No, I'm good. Stop calling people. Stop doing things. If I want your advice I'll come to you and ask for it. 

But you won't. 

Right. Now do you understand?

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Now I have time to play Zelda on the Switch they got me for my birthday.

Wow, just like that we went from spring to summer and back again, today being very fall-like. I woke up wrapped tight against Lochlan, in his arms, with the windows open, birds chirping so loudly I wasn't sure I even slept at all. Suddenly it's too cold for the pool again (I told you, said the Devil when I asked if he could put the heater on so that when I get off work it's bathtub-temperature). All of my older customers asked me to relay to the manager that the restaurant was very cold today and I nodded and said I would tell her and then I did nothing because it was blissfully ice-cold for once.

I got off work, forgetting I was going to bring home a pie, taking off my apron and rushing to the car so I could jump in, lock the doors and cry except that I have the next few days off so I'm celebrating instead.

I got my chores finished before five. I can paint my nails for the weekend! I have a Lochlan all to myself, a long weekend that suddenly isn't long, as I'll be working Monday's morning rush and a Ben that is changing his schedule around so that he will be with us too.

And maybe even Sam will be around, as it's not a huge church weekend, since last weekend was bonkers for him.

But GUESS who bought the restaurant?

No, not Caleb.


So the owner's moving me to his other one. It's closer to home, which is good, and newer, which is even better. And boy, is Batman pissed.

(Also, with this weekend being finished I've officially broken my record for days on my last restaurant job. It was four. Four whole days. This one I've already worked six! But back then I also only made two dollars an hour.)

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


I'm pretty sure they are taking turns, one by one, to see which one can talk me out of this. I want to stick it out. Honestly it's a crap job with shit pay, a polyester apron so thick I could use it as a pool cover and sure, I don't need the job but I'm not taking it away from anyone as they couldn't fill it for months. The owner was taking orders. The cook swept under the tables when it wasn't busy. And as I said before, pay isn't the only reason you take a job. This one is a challenge (The sandwiches are confusing. I never check the soup of the day until it's too late and someone puts me on the spot and the blender and A/C are both perpetually broken.) But it's a challenge that ends with that table. When you leave the diner you forget about it. I don't have to worry about working nights and weekends. I don't have to be in charge of anything. I just have to smile and greet each person as they sit down and make sure they have ketchup and fresh coffee and everyone's so happy it's dumb.

I'm looking forward to my first paycheque. And also any food I buy at work is half of what it costs everyone else so today I had a rootbeer slushie with the peanut butter and jam sandwich I brought with me and it was amazing. I was so hot. I have a heat rash on the back of my neck from the apron band. I'm happy I have four days off after tomorrow and I asked the owner if we could get organic cotton aprons instead.

He said no. He looked confused. I didn't press the issue. I'll wear the one I was given.

But today it was Ben's turn to ambush me when I got home.


Big Ben. Done work?

I am. Are you?

No, now I have to do my chores. 

I'll delegate. But only on one condition. 

What's that? (I thought he was going to say something that would make me blush but he didn't.)

Quit and let me cover your salary. I'll even throw in daily challenges. You don't need to do this.

I do, though. But I'm curious about your daily challenges. 

Oh, are you?

I am. 

If you quit you can find out what they are. 

Did Lochlan put you up to this?



No. Why?

You're the fifth or sixth person to offer to cover my pay if I leave the job. 

Was Lochlan one of them? 

No. He thinks it's a good thing. 

That's because he's the only one who cares that you grow a little. The rest of us want to permanently hobble you so that nothing ever changes. 

It won't. 

Don't make promises you can't keep, Bumblebee.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Understanding owners.

Emmett went to my house to settle up with Caleb this morning and then somehow ended up at my work, inviting me out for breakfast, lunch or dinner to apologize for the overrun and overtime and overbearing noise. The boys aren't allowed to come to where I work. If they do I'd take my apron off and walk out the door and go home with them so it's better if I don't see their faces while I miss them.

You want to take everyone out for dinner? Like all of us?

No, just you. 

Should I ask my husband? 

That mean you want to go? 

Honestly? No. But I think you don't understand I'm not single. 

From what I understand it's open?

Not in the slightest. 

Then I've misunderstood. 

It happens. 

Friendly work dinner? 

Not this time. 

Unfriendly brunch then? We can scowl at each other?


Explain it to me? 

I don't have to do that. 

But outsiders aren't welcome. You're a closed group. 

I tread so carefully. We have those who have joined late but...not for me, specifically. 

Now I understand. 

I hope so. 

Well, then, let me say good afternoon and it's been a pleasure to work on this project and even moreso a pleasure to meet you. 

Take care. 

You too. 

I let him see himself out while I took a peek into the envelope of invoices and receipts he left me with. Then I hear a familiar voice in front of me.

You did well, Neamhchiontach. 

Oh, was that a test? Next time let me know so I can study for it. 

I thought he reminded you of Ben. 

Well, he does. But that doesn't mean I'm going to invite him to stay. Now do you want a coffee to go or will you just leave so I can get back to work?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Irredeemable (and not sorry).

I've been up since six, on my day off, which still counts as sleeping in since my alarm is usually going off at five-twenty. Sam was already awake.


Happy Mother's Day, he whispers and Lochlan stirs almost telepathically, snaking his arm back around me and pulling me away from Sam. Sam gets up to go but leans down to kiss my forehead. See you in a bit, he says.

Busy day. Church will be packed. Every mom gets a beautiful flower and a package of seeds to grow more at home. Sam will talk of how mothers are spiritual in their own right, unselfish and nuturing and that today we celebrate motherhood. I roll my eyes and laugh to myself at the thought, as my own children will stay home sleeping in, in the sun on the point and haven't been to church for months, as they are allowed to choose whether or not they go and at this age it's a solid nah, but they will if Sam really wants them to. Sam lets them off the hook. He didn't go when he was their age either. They'll join us when they are ready again. He's fairly confident and so I let him lead.

Ben sleeps on. Lochlan sleeps on. I don't really want to go today. Too crowded. Parking sucks. Sam will be stuck there until two so I'd have to bring my own car. I text him at eight to let him know I'm sleeping in and he cuts and pastes an all-caps litany about eschewing Christ from some Fundamentalist website spanning some fifteen pages into my text messages. I laugh and put my phone down.

An actual day off.

I look around.


Not sure what to do first. Make another cup of coffee or bring some juice out to the pool, since we don't have the outdoor kitchen stocked yet. Stay in and read or go out to the hammock and nap? Sit on the front porch and draw or finish the laundry and get ahead for the week?

Laundry wins, as I head downstairs and throw in a load of towels. I can have coffee and draw while the washer does it's thing, killing two birds with one stone.

My plans are thwarted when I reach the laundry room downstairs, running into Dalton in his pajama pants, sorting t-shirts from jeans, sporting his customary Sunday brunch boner. He's a rager in the mornings. He's super-sexual. Worse than me sometimes but also...better. Ha.

Sorry. I can wait if you want to put a load in.We both burst out laughing because we're horrible people.

Go ahead, Dalt. You look like you're ready anyway. (I can hold my own with the boys. They raised me on this humor.)

Wait. Are we still talking about chores here? Also Happy Mother's Day. He leans down and gives me a kiss on the cheek.

Yes, we're talking about chores. 

Damn. Too bad. He says and he smiles, hits the button on the washer and heads back down the hall.

I would have followed but I'm trying to follow Sam's description from the sermon he practiced earlier in which I am supposed to be 'unselfish'.

Christ, indeed.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

He didn't die.

We brought Caleb home with us, inside the main house and we hung out in the great room so I could keep an eye on him for a bit. He went with us upstairs to sleep last night. He woke up with us when the sun poured through the blinds I forgot to close and he is indeed okay but I needed that time to see for myself.

Sometimes he's the worst monster and sometimes he's the best, as he wolfed down the eggs and bacon I made for the house and brought upstairs for him, proclaiming it to be the best breakfast he's ever had.

I'll return the favor tomorrow, Neamhchiontach. It's Mother's Day. 

I shake my head. You won't be here tonight. 

Sad to hear that, he says but he knows better.

Lochlan felt a little bad, but not too bad. Ben didn't feel bad at all but then I realized briefly that Ben could have also gotten hurt on the jump to the water and what would we have done then? With PJ too busy laughing and no one else handy. What if all three of them had gone in and gotten hurt?

Odds are small, Peanut. Lochlan doesn't want to talk about it anymore. He doesn't want me to write about it, think about it, dwell on it or worry about it any more. He says we should move on and enjoy our weekend together because then I'll go back to work on Monday and he's going to miss me.

This job of yours has really thrown the whole Collective for a loop. 


Why? Well, the thought of you busting your ass for a measly eleven dollars an hour-

Plus tips.

Plus tips, and the fact that you're out of arms reach all day and struggling to figure it out alone when we'd all prefer you to stick close and not have to fight so hard to get through the day is tough. It goes against everything I am. 

But you haven't said to stop. 

I'm letting you figure it out. I raised you well. If it's good for you, you'll be fine and if it's not you'll tell me. 

I will. I promise. 

Hard to let go of you, Peanut. 

You didn't. Jesus. I go to the diner, I put on an apron and serve breakfast and sometimes lunch and then I come home. To you. 

Thank God for that.