Monday, 21 October 2019

Not ungrateful, exactly, but impossible all the same.

This morning we were up and out early. A self-care day dictated by the Devil himself to nourish and appease the little freak from the high wire who still hasn't decided if she deserves this, or not.

I made the mistake of holding my breath early during the weekend over a new Dior bag. It's unique and beautiful and I wanted it, for a brief moment. Caleb asked me to wait in the car for a few moments as he disappeared inside a boutique, ostensibly to see the price or ask a few questions. I waited so long I got restless and began to write on the fog on the windows, random poetry seen by no one but there probably until he has the car detailed (soon).

Caleb comes back probably thirty minutes later with an armload of bags.

You do your Christmas shopping?


I'm a little annoyed as I could have come with him. I want to be home and yet my cabin fever keeps me flush with frustration. If only I could figure out how to have it both ways.

We have a very early lunch and drive back across the bridge and up the highway. Things never look familiar until the bitter end. I am relieved when we're back and happy with the amount of self-care I let him indulge me in. I had an eighth of an inch of hair trimmed (to keep it straight, some parts grow way faster than others but again it's on my shoulders now, bangs past my eyes and I'm not looking back now) and had a neck and shoulders massage at same which ended mercifully just before I wanted to shriek and run right out, as I don't like to be touched, oddly enough.

Not by people I don't know, I mean.

But he proclaimed it a successful morning out, as we dealt with the fever, dealt with the two points of hair a good inch ahead of the others and the tension keeping a low-tier headache going (I thought it was the rain) has been eradicated and also...his Christmas shopping.

When I got home he handed the bags to me in the front hall.

I'm not wrapping things for you. The boutique should have done that. 

They did. He smiles.

You want me to hide these for you?

He rolls his eyes. Open them. 

You didn't. 

Might have. You're supposed to do this four or five times a year, not once every four years. You're so stubborn. Let me have this. I saw your face. Let me do this for you. 

Not only was the bag I exclaimed over (silently, so I thought) there but so were two others in beautiful colors I didn't even know they made). Now I have three new ones and I don't know which one to use first. No, yes I do.

Do you think Jacob's urn will fit in this?

Absolutely not, Bridget. 

I mean, it might-

I didn't think you had access to it anymore.

I don't (Sam's hidden it) but I always future-proof myself. Someday I'll get it back. 

Not at this rate. 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Garlic and rosemary and cajun and sea salt.

It's been the most peaceful Sunday. After a restless sleep in which bears did battle with blankets, which turned out to be some sort of allegory for Sam's fitful sleep we gave up and took ourselves out for brunch, leaving him at church with some sort of halfhearted instruction to call Ben for a ride home if we don't reappear in time to take him home (we did). We milked our coffees while the rain poured down the windows outside. They forgot several things. Got things wrong. The restaurant got loud so we finished and left and came home to the blissful silence of more rain and dampening of everything.

I threw in some laundry and roasted pumpkin seeds from last night's carving party. I added Cajun spice this year, but not a lot and real butter, melted and mixed and then slow-burned over the woodstove until they were golden brown. Jacob came and thrust his hands into the hole I live in but Lochlan pushed him back away from the edge so I couldn't see him and took over everything and I don't have to worry about seeing him again for a bit. Usually when he has a lecture he disappears for a brief time and yet I know we're now doing this absurd march toward anniversaries I wish I could forget wholeheartedly.

Almost cried walking into a store the other day. All the Christmas decorations were up, Halloween now relegated to a side table marked clearance. If only I could rush my memories, or at the very least, sell them.

You wouldn't want to do that, Lochlan says. Someday they will be fond, when the bitterness fades. 

It's not even all that bitter, just a vague aftertaste, I tell him. It's physically painful and it shouldn't be. 

It's figurative, you me-

No, it's physical. 


Let's do something else, I ask him. I don't want to talk about this anymore. Sam did enough of that with us last night. Before and after he fought for the warmest blankets.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Polar Ids.

The house is casted in charcoal dust and fog today, woodsmoke and dried berries and pinecones stacked up artistically around the pumpkins as we slide into a quiet Saturday. Ruth is drawing in the alcove, using my easel because hers is in her room and charcoal is destructively chaotic. I have just finished my first coffee, plotting a second. Lochlan reads aloud from the internet to anyone who will listen, everything from Trump's most recent war crimes to the way Osmia Avosetta bees use flower petals lined with nectar and pollen to make solitary nests in the middle east and I wish we had them here. So beautiful.

I want pizza. 

Lochlan laughs. For breakfast?

Yes. We usually get pizza on Friday night with tons left over for the next day or two. But last night we went to a Greek place for gyros which was delicious and different but fails to provide the habitual rummaging through the fridge I am spoiled by. Oh well. I started a bagel instead and Lochlan finished it for me, melting cheese on it just right and bringing it over to me as he potificates, wholly unwelcomely about American politics and Canadian voting day. I'll be glad in a bit when all that is finished. I carried another sign up the road last evening and I'm ready for barbed wire and electric fencing to extend all the way to the bitter ends of this point if only to know that while I sleep someone isn't planting large blue signs in the gardens by the main gates.

Friday, 18 October 2019

If it doesn't glitter it's not exciting.

The glitter began to burn (as always) and so I took it off this morning. My fingers don't like color, my nails won't stand for being pretty and chemicals and I will never ever get along. Lochlan theorizes that I have long-range heavy metal poisoning, that so many years of heavy theatrical makeup, chaulk and diesel fumes turned my system inside out and now it's delicate and sensitive.

Then why aren't you the same? 

I am. That's why I don't paint my nails or wear makeup now. He laughs at his own joke and it's a beautiful sound.

There's a point. 

So why do you persist with your nails? 

I want to look pretty for you. Besides, I found a gentle mascara (Body Shop Happy Go Lash) and lipstick (anything by Bite, but specifically their Amuse Bouche lipstick in Jam, for those wanting beauty recs from me of all people, but that's also the only two makeup items I own now ) so why can't I find a safe nail polish?

Because it's paint and it has to last or people would be mad. Besides, you refuse to wear dish gloves so what do you expect? Your hands are dry and burning all the time. 

Truth. But it looks so nice and pulled together. 

Why don't you feel pulled together?

I don't know. I just feel like I'm slacking. 

The showgirls. 

Yeah, the showgirls. 

(I always wanted to be twenty-five years old and five-foot-eight and wear all the bronzer and lashes and feathers and slinky little outfits of the showgirls on the circuit but I wasn't tall enough, dark enough, glamorous enough and I never felt like I belonged, even as I took the stage alone and not a single one of them could have walked the wire with the charm that I did. Not a single one of them could have held the collective breaths of an entire crowd as I let fire travel down my limbs.

There are perks to being tiny. Being cute is one of its curses though.

Get the sticker nails. 

Those don't last five minutes though. 

Then move on from it and be resigned to plain nails. Most men have made their peace with it. 

Ben still paints his na-

Ben isn't really the typical male stereotype I was referencing here, Bridge. 

Well, THAT's good to know. 

Thursday, 17 October 2019

His are blue glitter and I said they looked nice so now we match.

Daniel is painting my nails to cheer me up. They are red glitter and I love them. We're not even going to discuss the part where I'm deathly allergic to nail polish and that half the boys hate my glitter tendencies anyways. Caleb called Daniel a glitard in passing so Daniel offered to do his too and Caleb didn't even respond. I made a note to address his rudeness privately later.

He should be happy that someone cares for my happiness the way Daniel does, in trying to teach me self-care, giving up and doing it for me.

We should cut your hair, Daniel suggests but I'm not ready for that. It's grown into long points that are long enough now to braid easily and I love it. Haven't cut it for a long time, don't intend to any time soon.

Maybe a bubble bath then?

For how many? 

One, girl. Jesus. 


Right? Okay maybe I'll leave that for someone else to handle. 

Story of my life.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Oh look, a hole.

Lay your heart into my perfect machine
I will use to protect you from me
I will never let you see what's beneath
So good for you and good for me
We told ourselves we're right where we ought to be
Pretty sure in his dreams last night Lochlan let go of the bar before he was anchored securely in a bid to grab me before I fell into the net, because he knew the net wasn't ready yet and we were in a hurry to get a single final practice in before showtime. It's when you rush that everything goes horribly, terribly wrong.

And he hollered my name as his hands grazed my fingertips but it was too late. We both fell but we weren't connected and so we died twisted, preventable deaths alone. I woke up in a cold sweat and practically clawed my way out of bed and down to the coffee maker to find a way to keep the dreams away forever, if they're going to be like that. Fuck that shit. I'm crazy enough without my brain betraying me even further. A mutiny multiplied by the numbers on the calendar.

Twelve years ago tomorrow Ben showed up, staked a claim and Jacob met him easily, tried to minister to Ben and we fed him dinner and he left without a struggle, without a fight but with some sort of harbinger that the army was right there, watching every move Jacob made. I guess they knew deep down he would leave. I guess none of us knew the extent to which he tried to manipulate me, tried to control access to everyone who knew me better than he did, who tried to show him using me as a project for his thesis would only serve to blow him to pieces. Maybe I didn't know then what I know now. It takes a village. A beautiful village tucked into the hills by the sea, wrapped around a massive hole that fills with water when the tide comes in but you can't see the bottom even when it's out.

And that's the way it is. Caleb is better at this than Jacob ever was but Lochlan is best of all and throw Ben into the mix and Jacob never had a chance. It was when he figured this out that he tested his wings and they worked and since he couldn't do enough here he decided to flex his wings in heaven. I guess it's working, as they rarely send him back.

Jesus FUCK, Peanut. It's not your fault he did this. Lochlan picked a bad time to look over my shoulder but I note he speaks in present tense as if this is an ongoing, present event.

It is, Lochlan snaps at me and now he's left the room and I can climb back down into the hole and pull the dark up over my head. Now you can't see me either but I'm here. It's an inky black vat of oxytocin and I only need it for a little while until the courage floods back into my veins to dilute everything else and then I'll come out.

I swear I will.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Mavericks and dreamers.

I'm excitedly wandering around telling anyone who will listen that the Montgolfier brothers not only invented the first hot air balloon but they did it using paper from their family's paper company, a company still run by the family today that we know as Canson Paper.

I only knew it was the Montgolfier brothers because of that scene in the Highlander movie. What I didn't realize is that there was a connection to one of my favorite sketchbook manufacturers.

Though, let's be honest. I have just as many Gumbacher, Strathmore, Legion and Moleskin books in my art cupboard because sketchbooks are my kryptonite. I get weak when confronted with a wall of them and I'll always buy four or five at a time.

I will never run out, at this rate.

In the meantime, Ben has finished his project, just slightly over the wire and has surfaced once again with apologies and late-movie-nights and even-later-Ben-and-Bridget nights and even accompanied me on a small grocery shop this morning to stock up on some of the stuff we ran out of too soon. We gassed up the jeep and got all our errands run because it's supposed to pour rain for the rest of the week and I don't want to be out in it, much. I'd rather be home.

The biggest news of the week is that after dinner was devoured and cleared away last night I went down to the storage room, found the bins of Halloween decorations and put them all up. Usually I don't put much effort into it, though we have morphed from very adult violent themes of dismemberment and serial killing, jumpscares and flashing lights everywhere to a softer sort of rustic Samhain vibe of grapevines and silver-painted skulls and soft LED pumpkin lights. It's kind of weird but also doesn't feel nearly as stressful. I feel like I'm outgrowing horror but I also don't feel like I've participated enough in Halloween proper for so many years now it's too early to make a statement like that and feel good about it.

The house looks much nicer though. Or maybe that's just because Ben has been in my sights all morning long.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Dinner dates.

I finally got to the point in life where I attended a beautiful wedding and didn't raise my glass in toasting the happy couple all while thinking 'Gosh, I hope he doesn't jump off a building some day to get away from your happy life you're pretending to have'.

I call it progress, Joel. 

I call it highly morbid. That's disturbing, Bridget. 

It's inevitable. It's just residual bitterness. I wasn't wishing them ill or assuming all marriages implode, it was more of 

A protection spell. Now you're a witch?

Sometimes, yes I am. 

This makes more sense than most things, oddly enough. Now tell me about the wedding. 

It was lovely. Very smoothly produced, though in my next life I think I'll be a decorator because the weddings I've done are breathtaking, while the ones I attend outside of the Collective seem a little more out of the box. 

So you're not still struggling with crippling self-doubt at all. 

Oh, I am. Don't get me wrong. But renting stock centerpieces are different. Most decorators are probably too busy to walk a beach for five months collecting a certain shade of driftwood. 


Stop labelling me! 

Just trying to get a barometer, here, Bridge-

Then ask for one. Don't take random thoughts from a conversation that's all over the place and try and diagnose me. 

He pauses for a moment in one of those Joel-clarity lightbulb moments that illuminates the entire planet. When Joel pulls a mea culpa you'll absolve him just because he does it so adorably. I'm not sure if it's manipulation or self-protection but it works perfectly. You're so right, Bridget. I'm sorry. I just try to get a feel for how you are when I visit in case you need extra support but you have so much in house and I think you're in good hands right now. 

I do too. 

Then I should probably go. 

You could stay for dinner. 

I'm sure you have a full table, but thank you. 

We always have room for you, Joel. 

I didn't bring anything. 

You brought you. That's enough of a gift. I don't need presents, I need your presence. 

You and your words. 

Yup. Do you want to set the table or get the cranberries underway?

Sunday, 13 October 2019


I alternately want to make another cup of coffee, build a bigger fire and go kayaking, if only to come home and have one of those blisteringly-hot showers you can barely feel because your skin is as cold as marble right until that moment that you stop shivering, wrapped in wool, finally warm. Then someone will bring in some Vietnamese takeout and you can cue up that horror movie (hopefully a good one, we're not going to talk about last night's choice Don't Breathe, which was honestly one of the worst pieces of absolute shit I've ever sat through.) and then go to bed at a still-decent hour, because it's smart to do so.

It's an echo of yesterday almost, though we did go and vote, we did go and see the Joker movie (absolutely fantastic with a side of WTF uncomfortableness) and we did eat our body weights in popcorn, which is always a bad idea but late last night I popped a huge cookie sheet full of hashbrown patties in the oven and distributed them to much appreciativeness, as nothing says I love you like the person who delivers a hot potato into your hands at eleven at night.

I think I'll skip the kayaking, as the rain is coming fast and steadily. It's definitely a typical October, though not for here, and I'm so incredibly grateful not to be living in the Prairies anymore, as I've heard Mother Nature finally shut the power off with her skills.

No thank you.

I'm glad I live here right now, in any case. I'm thankful for a lot of things today, not the least of which being the hole that sucks me in seems to be nowhere to be found right this moment.

Saturday, 12 October 2019


It's Saturday of the long weekend and we had our big turkey dinner a week ago due to houseguests (I know! I don't talk about my life at all) and so right now I want to have breakfast and then go find the advance polling station so I can cast my vote and get it over with and then I can feel released in tuning out the endless rhetoric online and in the neighborhood, though some well-meaning or malicious (not sure which) candidate has peppered our gate area twice in the past two weeks with signs and so I called their office each time to come and collect them because well, please. We're so obviously not Conservative, if you know what I mean, but I'm speaking literally, as you probably know by now. I wouldn't dream of talking politics because it's something I figure everyone needs to educate themselves about and avoid the rhetoric as much as possible. Your friends will be skewed, your newspapers heavily skewed and the internet as a whole? Completely misinformed/directed altogether.

So that said, today is a day where I'm skirting around the hole somewhat easily. I just have a lot on my plate.

Lochlan made us coffees at the Keurig (which weird! I have a drawer for it but then I bought these McDonald's coffee pod things that don't have bottoms and come in big foil packets so I can't even put them in the drawers and I guess they can live in the box but they're so good and he laid a big fire because it's freezing this morning and I'm enjoying this comfortable camping sort of foggy quiet morning.

We're finishing up the laundry. We're going to go vote. We're dropping Ruth at a friend's house for the night and then we may see the Joker movie. Lochlan needs to call his mother to fix something on her computer and I really really want my scary movie night (still pending). I was hoping to sleep in but one of the cats (and my body) won't let me, too much and so I'm trying to rest my body when I am awake (exceedingly difficult) and just get over this cold, get over being tired and somehow pull myself out from under the crushing weight of the calendar and everything I have conditioned myself to feel from it based on the dates on a square on the wall.

I'll try harder, I tell Lochlan and he kisses my forehead.

I know, Peanut. You're doing fine.