Monday, 12 November 2018

Stubborn is my middle name.

I think the last straw today was when Lochlan pulled into the parking lot at the restaurant only to find me sweeping up cigarette butts and straw wrappers from the pavement, my jacket wrapped around me, apron sticking out the bottom. It wasn't busy thanks to the observed Remembrance Day and so I was sent to do a lot of random chores today in lieu of waiting tables.

(I also spent forty-five minutes making sure all the forks faced the same way in the bin but no one seems upset about that.)

Alright, that's enough. I'm not going to watch you do that. 

Then go home and wait for me?

I think Caleb's right, Bridget. 

About what? 

You don't need to do this. 

I'm making twenty-two dollars an hour doing 'this'. 

Go inside, give them your apron, tell them that's your notice. 

Go home, Lochlan. I say it gently as the wind whips the hair into my eyes, hands covered in ashes, dignity locked securely in the trunk of my car. I have work to finish.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

We are the dead (loved and were loved).

Where do you want to go for lunch, Neamhchiontach? 

For Ramen, actually. Is that okay? 

Of course. 

But we checked and nothing was open that we liked and so we came home and I'll make grilled cheese. It's a frosty cold Remembrance Day today, with little traffic and few people to interact with. Church was empty, so empty in fact that Sam culled in all of the folks who tried to sit unnoticed in the furthest rows, who then ended up right up front and he stood in the aisle, hands on the backs of the benches, and spoke as if he was leading a small meeting and then opted to give a very short sermon, releasing the tiny congregation. It felt a little like it did when the teacher would say we could leave ten minutes early, an unexpected freedom suddenly thrust into our universes to hold in both hands.

Sam went and helped all of the older folks find and put on their coats, and Caleb held out his hand for me, because I didn't take my coat off. I'm cold all the time lately, still stuffed up and coughing some and never ever rested. Ever.

Lochlan slept in. I tried to wake him but he said to pray for him and turned away. He made a sound like a kiss and trusts that I'll find what I need, that someone will bring me, that Sam will keep watch over me once I'm there and that I'll return and he'll be up and dressed, sipping coffee lefthanded the way he does, all but ignoring the world around him in a way that only someone who's lived with a multitude of distractions can pull off. He can fall asleep under a ride full of screaming teens and in a field with fireworks being set off directly overhead with a ridiculous ease that makes me so envious I'm always tinged a shade of green and yet he gets tired so easily now. Life has worn us down. God didn't have any answers for that, he only wanted to take stock of our gratitude for those who fought in the war. My poppy fell off somewhere between the front hall and returning to the front hall today. Not sure why but I usually spend fifty dollars on them because I forget to figure out a way to affix them until I want to take them off my coat but then again this time of year I'm numb and going through the motions.

Remembrance indeed. By the skin of my teeth.

Grilled cheese is ready, Diabhal. 

It looks delicious. Thank you.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Spoilers, spoilers.

I would talk about Caleb's new level of affection since he's come to reside in the main house, as he calls it (not what I call it, oddly) but instead a lot of people emailed me to ask what I thought of Sabrina. 

I don't think I'll finish it. The boys weren't all that impressed, as they are not the target demographic so that's okay, they were far more impressed with that scene in the Delta-V episode of The Expanse when dude hits the shield in the ring at 80000 km/h and his face torques out and liquifies in the COOLEST WAY EVER.

But Sabrina? I was so happy they were portraying witchcraft as an everyday normal activity until they mentioned Satan. And then I was like HUH? and then they kept doing it and mixing up Witchcraft and Satanism and I was like Oh, hell, no. Pick one, they aren't the same, they have nothing to do with each other. Then there was a little Voodoo and I rolled my eyes and decided the show just doesn't get it and I think I'm done.

But it did have promise and all of the actors were amazing.

But damn, someone in the writer's room or at the first read through should have quashed the Satan aspect so hard. Seriously, folks. What the fuck.

In other news, did I mention my Devil is being stupidly sweet? Cause he is.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Think I have this 'self care' thing down now.

I've spent this rainy Friday lying in bed with Daniel, Schuyler, Lochlan and Ben eating brownies and watching Sabrina on Netflix. Does it count?

(I hope it does.)

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Warily warily warily warily, life is but a dream.

(I misheard those lyrics once. Lochlan said if I didn't want cavities I should sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat in my mind while I brush my teeth but I didn't know the song, his accent and my ears further messed it up, and it's been a cautionary tale ever since.)

This morning I feel better. I feel victorious and renewed. I feel like I conquered a ghost or a feeling or a day just by avoiding it completely, which seems a trickstery, underhanded, rather shady way of dealing with things, forcing one to shove their true feeling down to the bottom of their very selves where those feelings fester and infect the owner. For ever.

Sam laughs at my descriptions. It's early. Far too early for this and my legs hurt. Not quite, Bridget. More of a coping mechanism using distractions. You still need to deal with the feelings. 

I ask him with my mouth full of toast with honey. Oh yeah? How do I do that? 

As if we've never had this conversation a hundred thousand times before and he just grins softly because he's relieved, sharing in my victory, glad to be over the worst of it. I don't speak too soon, I don't need to knock wood as the beginning of the week was tough and careless, difficult, dark and sharp and yet eventually all good things must come to an end. Today the sun is shining, there's a million and twelve new red leaves on the ground and I need to make the rounds, get my hugs and reassure the boys that I am okay even as everything I do and say tells them something completely different lately.

Lochlan is the most relieved and yet still the most guarded of all. Every time he walks into a room he points at me and snaps You good?

I'm almost afraid to say anything other than Yes.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

I did it.

I held my breath and I worked a surprise, unscheduled fourteen hour shift at the diner, the last four hours of which I did with tears in my eyes and nary a word to the whopping five people who came in long after the dinner rush. The manager tried to send me home, then the cook, then the cleaners but it was better if I stayed. Ben showed up and sat in a booth for what seemed like hours. I waited on him silently, refilling his coffee five or six time and he finally got tired of watching me suffer and left only to be replaced by Lochlan who sat in his truck in the parking lot until the restaurant finally closed and I was forced back outside into reality, my apron still on because I forgot to hand it in.

Let's go home. Lochlan says nothing else on the entire drive. When we get home I take a long hot bath, get checked on so many times I give up entirely and put on warm pajamas and Cole's grey sweater. I take a brand new bottle of Lagavulin and a glass and I walk out to the pool. It's empty so I walk down to the deep end and sit down and pour a glass for Jacob for his birthday. I pour it out, down the drain and call him a few choice names, taking a good fiery burning swallow from the bottle for good measure. I do this for a few moments while my legs seize up from running all day and then when I go to stand I find I can hardly do it, limping to the shallow end to climb the stairs.

They're all sitting there. All of them. Lochlan comes down to take the bottle, putting his arm around me.

Time for bed, Bridget.

I nod.

Sam kisses my cheek and tells me I did the best thing I could have done today, throwing myself into something to get through the day without dwelling on it. That it was a healthy alternative to previous years. That he's proud of me.

That they all are proud of me.

Usually that makes me feel so good, so...worthy but tonight I just feel tired.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Eleventh year gift: the lobotomy I wished for and never got (until today).

I woke up abruptly this morning, or rather, something (someone) woke me. I white-knuckle-gripped the banister on the way downstairs into the cold light. It's so quiet. I can hear my heart hammer in my chest as I keep going down, down, down until the floor gives way to stained wet concrete and errant leaves in the most beautiful shades of blood and ochre dot the path on the way to the big door with the rusted dog lever that I can't turn from the outside, meaning someone must turn it from the inside.

I climb over the sill into the concrete room. I haven't been here in a while. I thought they closed it for good. Blew it up. Sealed it off from my life, a memory I can't keep because it drowns me alive but Jacob showed me a different way to get to it, down a hallway in my mind.

And I followed because I need him. I need to see him. I need to check in on a regular basis in order to feel alive because he isn't and sometimes I wonder if I actually am.

The lights come on, one at a time, from the farthest, darkest corner to where I am and when they're all on, I shiver because the room is still empty.


I startle, choking on my breath and twirl around. He's behind me. Standing less than twelve inches from my heels (now toes), smiling down at me. My heart breaks into a million shards and my brain follows it without question. Tomorrow he would have been forty-eight but he'll never see that, just like he never saw thirty-seven because instead of celebrating his birthday he was busy losing to himself.

And I wake up screaming because it hurts. Everything hurts. The parts inside my head that are loose. My heart. My chest is hammering, tears are streaming down my face and my vision is blurred and yet I can't stop screaming. I don't want to be alone down here. I don't want to be with someone who isn't breathing. Don't want to stand here in the cold. Don't want to feel like this. Don't want to be like this anymore. Don't want to hurt. Don't want to hurt. Don't want to hurt.

Monday, 5 November 2018


When I left work today, Ben was waiting outside.

You're going to follow me home? I ask. I'm too tired to see what's in front of me. It was very busy for a Monday. Steady and I did a lot of random tasks that I usually don't do like mopping and scrubbing shelves.

I'm going to drive you home. PJ already took your car. Do you have everything? You won't be back until next week. 

I work tomorrow and Wednesday. 

Not anymore. 

I take what he says at face value. If there's a plan falling into place here on the eve of...of Tuesday, then I don't want to be in the way when it hits the ground.

I have everything. I don't leave anything there. Well, the apron, if I remember to take it off, since they wash those nightly. 

Good. He opens the door for me, helps me into his truck and buckles the seatbelt around me. Shades of Lochlan, 1982. I'm almost relieved, as the hectic highway at three in the afternoon is always the last thing I need.

Ben is the first thing I need and after being virtually absent all weekend he is more than present finally. Just when I need him the most.

Need to stop anywhere?

No. Let's just go home. 

The whole way he holds my hand and I look out the window at the trees. No radio. No music. No jokes. No conversation at all. Just a comfortable, familiar silence, as is typical in the calm before the storm.

Sunday, 4 November 2018


I love it when someone engineers an early evening, picking up the corners of the night and knotting it into a tight bundle containing all of the dirty dishes and lingering partygoers and walks out the front door with it.

Honestly, now I understand the premium people pay for that sort of stress-free experience and I'm grateful for it, even as I had one too many sazeracs and stumbled just enough on the bottom step of our staircase just long enough for the Devil to catch up with me.

Wait for me, Bridget. I just have a call to make. 

Take your time. I have plans. I swing around and sit down on the steps. I'm going to have to call Lochlan to come downstairs and get me. It's just too far.

Fuck the call. Come with me. He takes my hand, arm around my waist.

No. I give him a shove and get nowhere. I have to go.

Coming with you, Neamhchiontach. I'll see you to your room. He leads me up the stairs though I attempt to hang back. I can't feel my tongue or my legs. I can't feel my brain or my ghosts either. Maybe the sazeracs win where the other pills don't. Maybe therapy is overrated and I just need to be drun-

I bring him right inside, through the landing and the little den and into our room. There's a few lights on, and Lochlan's suit jacket (that he hates) is draped over the back of the couch. I can hear water running in the bathroom so I drop Caleb's hand, leaving him by the door and go across to the bathroom, knocking softly.

The door opens and Lochlan's eyes meet mine, warm until they see Caleb is with me, then slightly guarded. Lochlan is stone-cold straight. No sazeracs for him. He's being the grownup as always while I will forever be the child.

Just for a bit. Not for the whole night. I plead with him, biting my lip, wavering on my feet, flushed from the alcohol and the anticipation and the tension in the room.

He nods, briefly and leans down for a kiss. I'll be out in a minute. 

But it wasn't for just a bit and when I woke up this morning I was tucked in tightly between them, sleeping one of the best sleeps I've ever had, no hangover, no regrets and no resistance. Nothing left to clean up and no one that I have to answer to. Take that, ghosts. Take that, Bridget.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

I hate parties and other non-revelations.

I somewhat reluctantly handed over my menu late last night to Caleb, who made some calls and today starting at eight this morning the house was seemingly full of strangers, albeit silver-service strangers, who began to set up the dining room in anticipation of tonight. The food will be brought in shortly before dinner, set up and served and whisked away at the end.

He had a team of house cleaners sent as well who had the entire point scrubbed and mirror-shining in a little under three hours (that's seven buildings, if you're counting) and he had groceries delivered too.

He delegated the dog walking/laundry-folding/time-machine emptying and he sent out msgs to everyone to see if there was any want for an on-site barber. He tried to have a person come who did massages and one who does nails but I asked him to ask the boys if they wanted that. At their house. No one touches me that doesn't love me unconditinally. That's the rule. That's why Daniel cuts my hair. Jesus. This hasn't changed in years.

He shook his head in disappointment at me because I won't let him spoil me.

I think I just did. 

This is not for your benefit, this is for theirs. I wanted something just for you. 

This is for me. My house is clean. I don't need to grocery shop and I don't need to cook tonight. 

Sigh. I hear it though he tries to cover it with a cough. He's being magnanimous benefactor today, benevolent, relaxed millionaire in jeans and a seriously overpriced long-sleeved t-shirt. He's being the way I always hope he'll be before he destroys all of my illusions eventually.

Thank you, Diabhal. 

No more of that. I have a name, he says and I'm surprised.

Then no more Neamhchiontach either. 

But you always will be. And it's written on your back. 

Ditto. And I turn and leave before he realizes I ruined the moment, before he recognizes that the chance he took failed spectaculary and before he talks me into being spoiled in a way that doesn't suit me at all and only serves to make me feel more like his property than anything else in the world. And that thought makes me cry and I don't want him to see that either.

I'll reappear when people start arriving. Maybe.