Saturday, 25 February 2017

No in-between.

The dead reign in the Godless dark
He wants the pedestal and he's lucky if he gets one night instead. I don't know what he gave me but I like it. I like trying to worry and not being able to. I like not being afraid. I like the sharp clarity of my daydreams and I like that I slept for seven hours straight, here and then woke up without feeling like I needed a running start just to open my eyes. There is noise I can hear save for light rain on the skylights and his quiet, even breathing.

He left a fire burning so I'm not cold this time. No more slip-ups. No more pink pajamas and helpless child-Bridget. No more abject disapproval from the rest. Mild distrust remains and now the only argument fought is over time. It seems as if there is too much. I get into trouble. I can work myself up. I think too hard. I can't distract myself from within boredom. I have too many hours to fill and then suddenly I blink and it's Saturday and there are civilized negotiations (She isn't going to August. I'll burn the loft down and you can take the blame for it but she isn't going. Not today.) and not a moment to breathe.

My tension awakens him and he moves closer without opening his eyes.

You never sleep, he says.

(Observation is the purest form of obsession, I guess.)

No, I say simply.


Death frightens me. 

What else? 

I shouldn't be here. 

Where should you be? 

Looking after Lochlan. 

He's sleeping too. He needs more sleep to heal. This is a good thing. 

His logic is unarguable. I close my eyes again and he pulls me in tighter. His skin is warm. He tucks his face down against my cheek and my cheek reddens from the razor stubble on his face.


So fragile, he says in almost-sleep.

Grow a beard! I complain and he laughs.

Maybe I will. But then I have meetings and I feel like a savage. 

Savage in a three-piece suit. It's a look, you know-

Aaaaaannnd she's awake. 

Inevitable, Diabhal. 

Like the tides, Neamhchiontach. Run along home and nurse your Dóiteáne back to health. I'll come visit later and bring him some treats. 

French fries? 

What? No. What is with your McDonalds love?

I don't even get fries any more. They have breakfast ALL DAY now, did you know that? 

Yes, you've told me eighteen or forty times. 

Because it's AWESOME.

Friday, 24 February 2017

In the woods by the sea.

(Nothing here is new.)

I'm trying to deep-breath it, trying to find the way back when my mind takes off running down any road that leads to Jake. Trying to separate the man who is here (August) from the man who is not (Jacob) and the extent of what pretending has done for my mental health thus far.

I've been absolved of what they thought was some sort of attempt to drown myself. I just wanted to feel the cold, feel the rain, be near the sea but there's in or out and I screwed up.

And no, Andrew and Christian's little surface love affair (or so they make it out to be) didn't set me off. Something else did. And that's okay. That's going to happen sometimes. I'm going to reel and yaw from things I can't control, things I find, things people say and do. It's how I react that makes the difference.

And I'm a runner.

Flight. I turn and take off. That's the plan. That's been the plan since I was young and it was drilled into my head:

If you get caught, Peanut, break free and run. 

If you feel scared, run and find me. 

If you need me, run and fetch me. 

And then later:

If you feel overwhelmed, running is good to clear your mind. 

And on and on. Now there's only so many places to run, and I am housebound and mostly feverish with cabins and claustrophobia and the general weirdness of being packed into the side of this hill with the parking lot out front and the houses peppered across the hills like afterthoughts and most of the time the beach, the ocean is the only release from that but it's not enough here. I can go down when I need to and survey my flat watery kingdom for miles and then I turn and everything catches up with me.

I made August into a clone of Jacob. I put him up on a pedestal and I demanded things of him he shouldn't have had to deal with and yet he keeps me in check. He pushes me away. He leaves in perfectly healthy intervals and it somehow destroys me, dredging up all of the heavy weight I'm always trying to shrug off so I can just keep running.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Charm and timing too.

On the upside, it wasn't a bone sticking out of Lochlan's sleeve, but the shredded sleeve of the white thermal long-sleeved shirt he was wearing underneath his flannel shirt. His sleeves were mangled as his arm hit the overcropping rock on the way in.

On the downside, he sliced his forearm open quite significantly. The doctor is more worried about infection, concerned as Lochlan holds at 103 degrees and I tried to tell them that's his resting temperature, that he's fire and the doctor just looked at me strange and upped his meds again. Lochlan refuses to get xrays and says his arm is just sore. It's probably broken again so we'll just wait him out.

 I'm being observed as it is because I lost consciousness under water (new personal best). Also I have eleven stitches in my shoulder and three at my hairline because of the same rock.

No one gave me any drugs though. PJ gave me a shot of vodka in the kitchen and then poured one over each wound as he stitched them himself. He asked me twenty questions and decided I didn't have a head injury but in any case I'll be watched closely. PJ should have been a crack ER doctor. Or maybe he is. Really good under pressure. I offered up duct tape and then the staple gun as alternatives to his sewing skills (my skills are better in flesh and in fabric) but he told me to shut the fuck up and take it like a man.


The beach from the driftwood house to the breakwater is off limits to me for life, Sam has been deemed completely compromised (I'll fight this later. It was Dalton who absently told me Cool when I told him I was going to the beach with Ben, who wasn't even home at the time or he would have gone with me whether I wanted him to or didn't) and August says he should have stayed on the East coast longer, as it's so much calmer than this.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


(Blame was laid thickly yesterday. The shouting carried across the water, fists flew, opinions were shoved to the floor and trampled on, kicked and beaten down. When the breaths came more ragged and the limbs were sore from the fight reason prevailed.

I am the only one at fault. Earn enough trust and become the only word necessary when I tell one that another will join me in my explorations, that everything is fine, that I have my world under control when in truth I'm clinging to the edge with whitened fingertips, feeling pure terror as it speeds up.)

I just wanted some time to myself. Maybe I still had my pride wounded by Christian's stinging words, maybe it's worth more to be able to think for five minutes without someone asking how I am. Maybe time isn't up, maybe there is no measure of time and there doesn't have to be improvement. Maybe I can wallow. Maybe I can just look out at the water and miss Jake without anyone trying to fix it.

I climbed up the rocks to the top and looked out over a roiling grey surface. It's raining. I wobble once and then before the alarm can even register I'm in the sea. On the wrong side of the breakwater where it's deep. I hit my head on the rocks beneath the surface, never even having time to register that I would never be able to defend myself against this. That they would think I did it on purpose. That I probably would have, save for the fact that I can't.

Lochlan hit the water at a thousand miles an hour, they say, drowning his flames, landing directly on me, knocking out whatever breath I had left, lifting me up out of the water with his bad arm before realizing he broke it again on the way in, smashing it hard on the same place I smashed my little head. August took me from Lochlan and then PJ pulled Lochlan out. That was the cold damp flannel. The voice I heard. It was August bringing me back to life while I continued to fight to swim to wherever Jake was, except he isn't there anyway and it was a wasted rescue. Lochlan finally can't take it anymore and shoves in to cradle my head. My eyes are cloudy and red. My throat aches so bad. My limbs feel like concrete. He clutches his arm against his side. There's a bone sticking out of his arm, right through his sleeve. He's bleeding everywhere. PJ swears. Lochlan laughs and swears back. Then he looks down at me again. He isn't laughing.

Where were you going?

I shake my head. It doesn't matter what I say. There's no right answer. Nothing I can say that will save his heart from breaking. Nothing we can do to prevent this inevitable return to form in spite of best efforts. No amount of time is fixing this. Everything is a distraction. Eventually the glare returns and I squint at reality. I can make this Utopia virtually bulletproof and Jacob still kills me every single day.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Life among the dead.

It was the smell that triggered a fresh wave of heartbreak, a nostalgic ache that brought me to the ground where I remained on my knees, wet earth soaking into my skin, no desire to keep moving, no light to do it in.

I sank down into the water as it rose, rushing across the crumbling concrete, bringing with it waterlogged leaves and matchstick branches, washing over the moss in a torrent of spring.

I hear Sam's reminders in my head but they don't mean a thing. These are my tears. I'm going to drown. I can't control this. I can't catch my breath. Can't move. Can't recover. Can't talk myself out of it. Can't wait to die. Can't cope with him not being here. Ashamed of myself. Desperate. Ruined.

I squeeze my eyes closed. It's raining so hard now. Everything is blackened and dim, muted by the storm I made as I lay down with my cheek against the hard surface. My blood pounds against my broken heart in a bid to run but it's rejected out of hand. Water rushes over my mouth and nose. I close my eyes and give in. It's not so cold when you stop fighting. Air is relative if you can't breathe on a perfectly sunny, warm day so what difference does it make if you can't breathe here either. The torrent of water is welcoming, blocking out the rest of the sound and then the light too. Maybe if I wait here long enough I can see Jacob. Just for a minute or two.

I am lifted out of the water violently. I gasp and start to cough and hands pound hard against my back. Jacob is shouting my name. Eventually I stop coughing and all of the water leaves my body just as the shivering kicks in. I am turned back against Jacob's chest, resting my head against icy cold, damp flannel as he asks in his accent thicker than this water, thicker than my blood, why I didn't call someone for help.

Because I wanted you. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Can't charm them all.

I've known Andrew since I was three years old, and Christian since I was almost as small (since I met Lochlan, Caleb and Christian all on the same night at the street party when I got dinged in the head and ruined someone's street hockey power play.)

The two of them caught up with me last evening. These days I'm probably closer to Christian than to Andrew overall. Andrew exists on the fringe and never says a thing about his love life. I've often worried that he might be turning monkish. Christian has always made a point that his love life was off limits. He said decades ago he wasn't going to mess with me because I'm too much trouble and that he would always and forever function as a big brother, nothing more. He's gotten in trouble for pranking me and he never lets up. He's hard on me because no one else is and silly me, I thought last night might be an exception.

This is none of your business, Bridget. 

Two of my best friends in the world are in love and it's not? We should be celebrating. Also how am I the last one to know.

I just told you. It's none of your business what I do outside of time with you. I live here. I pay rent. That doesn't give you a free window into everything I do.

So we're not friends. I'm just the landlady. 

I didn't say that. But you don't need a front row seat to my private life. 

If you don't tell me you're dating another good friend but the rest of the point knows, then it's withholding on purpose, just from me.  Why? 

Because you romanticize everything. 

Because it's romantic! 

What if it isn't? 

You're going to stand here next to one another and tell me you're casually hooking up. You're going to dismiss all of the attraction, the emotion that put you together in the first place. 

Sometimes it is what it looks like. 

It looks to me like you're falling in lo-

Bridget, stop it! Accept that people just do things. Like you and Duncan. Are you in love with him? 

Of course I am. 

Then you're different than every other person on this earth.

He tried to soften the whole thing with a hug but I was a stiff as a board and in tears. I don't know what's wrong with me but apparently it's wrong. If it is, I don't ever want to be right. Also it really really sucks to be on the outside.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Closet Jesus.

Must be Sunday, and I'm still somewhat surprised.

At Sam as he's gone from an emotional riptide sort of person to centered and together. Calm. Methodical. relaxed. Oddly fine. Gone is the vunerability, the shakiness, the heart on his sleeve. He's just Sam again. Like he was in the beginning. A mystery. A kind one, mind you but somewhere after Jake he let me in, let me see everything, even right through him sometimes and now he's the voice of reason after being a liability for years. Interesting. He gave a rip-roar of a sermon this morning but I was looking out the window at the rain and thinking very hard and missed the message for you.

Lochlan made a few great guesses about things like sexual orientation, second puberty and midlife crises, maybe it was a combination of all three but as much as I love blown-apart Sam for his honesty, I adore in-charge Sam because I have a thing for authority in God form.

I guess that's what you'd call it. I don't know. I tune out sometimes when I should probably pay attention to things going on around me.

After we got home from early church I went over to give Andrew a game that he wanted to borrow from Henry's playstation. Bloodborne or something I think and as per tradition, I neither knocked nor rang a bell. I let myself in with the key they gave me, announced myself a few times as the house was quiet and went upstairs. I knocked on Andrew's door twice softly. He never answered so I opened it, intending to wake him up (it's after eleven and he is not a sleeper) and leave the game on his nightstand. I've known Andrew my entire life, from diapers but apparently I didn't know him at all.

He wasn't there so I left the game on his perfectly-made bed and came back out, closing the door again behind me, just as Christian's door opened and Andrew came out in his robe.

AH. Hey, Bridget. (Too bright.)

Morning. I left the game for you. It's on your bed. Sorry, I thought you'd be up by now. 

Oh. Yes, I am. I'm up, I mean.

Then Christian comes out behind Andrew in his robe too. He won't look me in the eye for a long minute before he says good morning. He doesn't need to. I think I understand.

Okay then. Holy shit.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

On the phone with the Devil on a Saturday morning.

Had a brain skip this morning, attributing a piece by Blake to Burroughs. Lochlan snorted (he taught me all these words that I love so) and then apologized because I was still under the influence. I told all this to Caleb on the phone, as I slept in and was loathe to move.

Of whom? 


Who's influence were you under? Lochlan's or maybe Sam's? 

Drugs. It was the drugs. 

I believe your drugs are men. 

You aren't wrong but I can't take a man to get a good night's...oh, wait. You're right. I can totally do that. 

Why is Sam taking up space meant for me? 

There's enough space to go around. I mean just look up. So much of it is empty. I mean, when you think about it, the stars are fairly small so it's Empty space. No air, right 

Bridget, what is wrong with you? 

Well, if I had taken a man or two last night instead of those stupid pills I would be able to think properly. 

Where on earth is your husband?


He does that a lot. What about Ben? 

He was working downstairs. 


He's not here every night, you know. 

I wish I had known. I could have entertained you. 

I told you, I was drugged. Or rather, I took something to sleep. Well, PJ gave it to me. I had to ask. Then it went to a committee vote. 

What a waste of a night. 

Oh, no it wasn't. We need more sleep. 

You could have come over before it took effect. 

No, because Lochlan sleeps with his arms..well, I mean, I'm..I can't get away from him in his sleep. He holds on very tightly. I love it, actually. 

Being trapped and drugged by your husband? 

You make it sound so awful. Someone giving you a sleep aid and holding you close while you both sleep is the most romantic thing in the world. 

Until I do it. 

Yes, until you do it. Then it's a sinister kidnapping adventure. 

I'm sorry, what did you call it? 

Nothing. I said I should go now, I have to call my sister.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Lightyears and longhauls.

Sam put a Jesus fish sticker on my Porsche.

(Caleb was unimpressed.)

I woke up with a fourth today as the horizontal parade renews itself with some sort of merit-based system that finds the baby preacher in the big bed upstairs..more often than not. His huge wing is sort of upstairs anyway (well, halfway between the top floor and the main floor) but you have to go all the way to the other side of the top floor, through a set of french doors, down some steps and around a corner. Our room has it's own wing with closets outside the door and inside the room too and then past ours the children share a wing with yet another bathroom between their rooms.

Sam has been a security blanket since the day Jacob left and now with August away too I'm holding on so tightly he wasn't allowed to do anything but come with me. We have room. They love him too.

He mentioned something about Grace in the dark. Grace is an excuse. I keep thinking it means to act up now and make up later with no recourse because God still loves you even if you're a big jerk. He keeps telling me it means God loves you in spite of your bad choices and you should work to earn that love. To be worthy

What does that make this? I ask and he asks if we can not have this conversation right now. Instead he kisses my shoulder and puts his head down against mine. Lochlan stirs in his sleep and Sam reaches across me to rest his hand against Lochlan's shoulder. Not so much a romantic gesture, more of a spiritual one, blessing him so that Lochlan will be as open with his faith as he is with his wife and his bed.

(I'm not the prize here, I'm a means to an end. Or maybe I'm the end of his rope. I was hoping I would be the apple of his eye and then God would notice me.)

Sam's going to save everyone. I know it. It's why Jacob left him for me. It's why I can't make him leave and instead he's becoming such a huge part of my life it's hard to see past him. It's hard to separate the message from the messenger. I don't think this is a bad thing. He holds back sometimes because he thinks it is. It causes arguments and ruffles feathers and turns freaks into ascetics and vice versa but at the same time at the bottom of this hole, at the end of the long dark night it's necessary, but it's not evil in nature. It's a foundation we were looking for, one we destroyed and one we're trying to learn how to rebuild together. Even Ben likes having him here but Ben likes having everyone here as long as it makes me feel better.

Maybe he should put the Jesus fish on my forehead. It's shiny and I'd get noticed for sure and maybe even get a little Grace for myself.

You have it already, Sam says sleepily. Twenty bucks says under those lids his eyes are rolling.

Liar! I whisper.

Lochlan stirs in the new day. Shhh, Fidget. Sleep s'more. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Maudlin baby bright.

The running joke around the house these days is that English is my second language. Fun fact: it actually is, in written/read form. Who knew?

Well, everyone here did but you didn't. I learned to read and write in French before English. I pronounce many words rather creatively as a result and can't spell a lot of words that I should have no problem with save for they're in English and needlessly complicated. I also have good working use of several other completely useless but crushingly romantic languages from which to choose though most of the time I'm a mumbling, silent and mostly completely oblivious little shit.

(That last part is Dalton's depiction of me. It's not wrong so in it stays.)

The joke came from the fact that something's happened at Apple and we can no longer text each other with ease. I think it's from the last update but I used to be able to mash the keyboard and it would spit out exactly what I needed to say without me having to spell or fix a thing. Now it just sends gibberish. It's so awful it's become funny. Caleb implores me to go back to the Blackberry but the iphone is still more fun overall, even in spite of the virtually unusable keyboard. And I have tiny fingertips. Imagine the boys with their big paws.

This isn't even the main part of my post and I'm already rambling. Christ.


This is how I know he's not going to work with them. He's going to hold his own instead. 'His own' being me.

He slides a small box across the table after our plates have been cleared.


Neamhchiontach, this is how it works. If we are in a sanctioned, public relationship, I'm permitted to give you gifts. 

Yes, but-

And just because he doesn't have the means I do doesn't mean I need to procure anything less than what I would chose for you any other time. I'm not going to bring down my levels to his simply because that's where he is. That doesn't make any sense. 

Well, you also can't leapfrog over-

Just open it, Babydoll. Please. 

I follow every direction he gives me. Always have (Hands behind your back, Neamhchiontach).  Inside is a beautiful necklace. Gold with a tiny heart-shaped frame filled with a pale green faceted stone attached to the chain on both sides of the tiny heart rather than from a single apex at the top. It's very delicate and beautiful. The nicest shade of pale emerald. Almost sage.

It is an emerald, he confirms. Probably worthless now that I've had it cut but it suits you. 

Oh. This is- Wow. 

Do you think it's too much, and Lochlan is going to pitch a fit? 

He will. 

Then send him my way and I'll explain. I want you to wear it, Neamhchiontach. Wear it because it's your heart instead of someone else's. Wear it in the garden, in the sea, in his arms and in mine. Keep it on. 

He stood up and came around the table, taking the necklace from me, attaching the clasp behind my neck.

It brings out the colors in your butterflies.

I look down and I see tattoos but I can't see the necklace and that's funny.

I like seeing you happy. 

You're behaving. 

It shouldn't be contingent on me. 

My face falls. But it is. This is by your design, Diabhal. 

Then we'll rework it for today and tomorrow. This can be the first day. 

That was in August.

That wasn't me.