Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Special effects.

Sam is here this morning keeping the coffee and the Baudelaire in full swing. I have nothing if I didn't choose one hell of a group of educated men who can quote with confidence and creativity. He brought his guitar. Hopefully he also brought a pocketful of nails with which to finish sealing my fate because if I have to listen to singing preachers today I may as well just stop breathing now and prevent the inevitable stabs of remembrance. Not that I could tell Sam that it hurts. He knows it hurts but really I would no sooner wish them to stop with the music than I would ever want to stifle a good memory.

For the first time in the history of Henry, something else also happened today. I ran out of cookies. On purpose. Henry is very surprised because Mommy is usually better prepared than this and what the heck, mommy?

No worries, there's fruit, granola bars, fruit bars, bran bars, popcorn and crackers. He won't starve, I just want to see if he can get through a day without cookies. Yes, I realize I may be scarring him for life, I don't care. He needs to break the cookie cycle. He's soon to be as tall as me, if he outweighs me by the time he's ten what the heck am I going to do then?

In other news, Sam's quiet confidence inspired me to get the ball rolling and make an appointment to get my tires fixed. Fucking car. Drives me nuts but at the same time, I don't take it for granted. I even cleaned it last week, including the steering wheel and the shifter knob, which meant Ben almost lost control just starting it up and called for a soapy cloth and a towel to clean the shininess off both. I try. Did I mention I try?

You all think I'm some sort of spoiled playboy centerfold who sits in her turret eating grapes and reading Nietzsche while my knights fight over me...

Okay, well that's besides the point.

I have nails in my tires. Know why? I'm magnetic. We've been over this before. The same freakish power that enables me to kill car key fobs, Xbox 360s, and laptop computers just by virtue of my very presence also enables small, pointy metal objects to skitter across the road and fling themselves into the treads of my tires in their bid to be close to the source of all melancholy.

Whatever, go with it now, okay?

Melancholy is a superhero and she has long blonde-white hair and a black tutu dress, black garters and high-high black stiletto boots on. It's always windy and raining outside when she's around. Her hair whips around so fiercely you can hardly see her eyes, but you feel them on you. The room feels heavy when she's there but you can't take your eyes off her. She has dust from the cemetery caked under her nails and her lipstick is smeared from being kissed and left. She never smiles, she just stares, and her power isn't so much the magnetic anomalies but the power to absorb all of the sadness around her.

She's a giant grief sponge.

Yes.

Marvel will never hire me. That's okay. I'm not looking. I'm busy trying to morph, so I don't have to listen to Sam.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I don't think I'll write about the pictures so here.

(Pictures. Yesterday I did another photo shoot for a band that Caleb has interests in. That is all.)

I am here.

Just unimaginably tired as of late. Trying to keep the running around to the minimum. Trying to engage the children in helping and having fun when I'm dealing from a deck missing so many cards we're down to faces and twos of clubs. The children started summer vacation today, too soon on the heels of a six-week spring vacation for the move and I am sort of out of sorts for the time being while I figure out what to do. I'm in bureaucratic heck for a bit trying to organize our city membership for the pool. I was hoping to jump the children right into daily swimming lessons.

Honestly, I'm at a loss to know where to begin entertaining them in this fresh new environment, but thankfully they are a bit older as to not need constant entertainment and I was never the kind of mother to fill their dance cards. Instead I always allowed for a lot of imaginative, free time in which to just play. They're going to take turns again each night helping me make dinner. They're going to continue with their chores which are augmented when they are not in school. They're going to unwind and be kids, make God's eyes out of sticks, poke at slugs and pick berries.

They're going to do math, too. A textbook came home from school. Math is not our strong suit. We can draw you anything or write you into a corner but we can't divide fractions and Roman numerals are a fun pastime when confronted with graphics from the Super Bowl only. We'll get there. Every child has something to work on, every grownup too. I'm just eternally grateful they are happy and healthy and adaptable and they are grateful mommy buys them cookies and video games and can pump up a bike tire and start a food fight because some parents don't.

They're going to be kids. There's not enough of that these days.

I want to be a kid. I want to stay up too late, outside in the heat after dark and eat sour gummy bears until I feel sick and read with a flashlight in the tent and turn brown from the sun. I want to count the stars again. I want to grab a hot dog at the beach and call it dinner. I want to rejoice in the fact that I have enough change for the salt & vinegar chips AND the new Archie comic.

That kind of kid. The kind I was when I was Henry's age. He's going to be nine in two weeks and it wasn't until I saw his 'promotion' to senior elementary that I realized my youngest child isn't even in a primary grade anymore, and how strange it feels that they are racing past me on the way to their own lives and I am still stuck here so awkwardly between doing what Satan and Lochlan tell me to do because I will forever be a child to them, and thinking outside the box as a mother, because there are things I want my children to experience, and things I hope they never go through.

I can't live my life through them, and I can't live their lives for them. It's not an easy dance but I will learn the steps I'm sure.

Maybe I'll do some math too. You know, just in case I ever need it. It will come in handy when I gamble. I hear you get further by counting your cards anyway.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Bumblebee.

Remember how Bumblebee used songs because he no longer had a voice? Yes, that.
It's evening, you're tired
You sleep walk, a robot out to the street
Are you crazy to want this even for a while?
you're driving, it's rush hour
The cars on the freeway are moving backwards
Into a wall of fire
Backwards
Into a wall of fire

We're done lying for a living
The strange days have come and you're gone
You're gone
Either dead or dying
Either dead or trying to go

Good morning
Don't cop out

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Spinning unrefined sugar.

(Filling in the holes for you, I tend to leave out a lot of things sometimes.)
Fumbling through your dresser drawer forgot what I was looking for
Try to guide me in the right direction
Making use of all this time
Keeping everything inside
Close my eyes and listen to you cry

I'm lifting you up
I'm letting you down
I'm dancing til dawn
I'm fooling around
I'm not giving up
The hottest nights were the ones I looked forward to the most.

The smell of burnt fireworks and sweet corn, fresh hay and cows filled my nostrils and was chased with Lochlan's sweat as he paced slowly in front of me, smoking, smiling.

Good show tonight, hey?

Late summer is always best, I think.

Yeah.

He stopped and leaned against the back of the wagon where I sat with my brown legs and bare feet dangling over the dry baked dirt road. Dirty feet. Tired girl. My braids were all apart, my hair was filthy. I was down to three t-shirts and two skirts for free time and I figured the tan would cover most of the dirt. Some towns allowed for open fires and on those nights Lochlan would heat some water and pour it over me. That was as clean as we got most summers. I would come home on the final day in rags, voice hoarse from calling to the crowd, the sweet that offset the harsh from Lochlan playing the man. He wasn't a man yet, he wasn't even twenty years old. It was a joke but we played off each other well. I could predict his dares. He played up my sweetness to the crowd. They ate it up and we made hundreds of dollars. Enough for a carton of cigarettes for Lochlan and a new bikini for me, maybe there would be a beach within walking distance at the next town. Maybe we could eat for a whole week straight. Maybe not. He had to buy parts for the truck. Tires. Gas.

Nights we slept curled together on the single cot in the camper we borrowed for free. We had a box of cookies on the floor and a six-pack of warm beer underneath the truck. Sometimes I would sleep in the cab of the truck at the drive-in, flushed against his shoulder, my head absorbing his heartbeat. Lochlan would act out the movies for me later on, with his own interpretations. To this day Ladyhawke remains a favorite just for the fact that I laughed so hard at his dialogue I wound up on my knees in a field of strawberries throwing up blue cotton candy from the effort to stop.

I never said Lochlan wasn't a romantic. He pulled it off before there was money, and group dynamics and children. Before there were portfolios and educations and careers and debt. Before we had fifty dollars to spend without having to worry about more than a week in advance. Back then the future involved counting towns and bottles of beer and sneaking into other people's trailers to borrow marmalade and bread that we wouldn't return and picking nickles off the sidewalk in town and charming the older people into buying me two ice creams which I would then take and walk back to give one to Lochlan who would be fixing trucks and trailers all day when he wasn't posting signs ahead of the shows.

Eat fast, baby. It's melting.

My favorite nights were the too-hot ones we spent sleeping in the truck bed so that I could look up and see the shooting stars. We could claim them if we said we saw it first. He let me win. He taught me the constellations and how the weather worked. He showed me how to fix a two-stroke engine and how to steer an ox. I learned how to make a barbecue out of a tin bucket and some charcoal and I can open a beer bottle with my teeth.

But mostly he worked with teaching me how to use my pretty looks to get things from people. How to charm them into doing what I asked and how to keep them from realizing they'd been had through until we were long gone.

And it worked, for a time. Time, it turns out, was our enemy.

Only the most hardcore, hardened people can make a life out of that circumstance and we were neither. We were two dumb kids along for the ride, killing our beach country summers, loving each other, letting history write itself while we held each other in the heat and promised each other the stars above.

Time was pushing us along, pulling us out of the present and into the future. Lochlan needed to go to university. I needed to start high school. He had to get a steady job and have a shower more than once every four days. I had to be domesticated and learn to stop stealing things for his approval.

We needed to take our secrets and bury them in the center of a cornfield and then we needed to forget that location forever and leave them there to become part of the land. We needed to get along better and stop fighting.

We couldn't manage it.

I walked away from him and he turned the tables on me, deciding that he would be the one to end it first because of my stubbornness. Telling Cole that we were no longer together was his ace. Cole was still in high school and suddenly I had a ride every day in his car. Suddenly I wasn't a child anymore to him either but an equal and we spent our time listening to more music and working on the boys' cars. It was stable. It was good. On purpose, the implicit opposite of life with Lochlan, who wound up being the most stable person I will ever know, ironically.

Lochlan engineered Cole's interest so that I would still be close by and still looked after.

Cole asked me questions sometimes about Lochlan and I would lie easily. That was part of the deal Lochlan and I made in the fading sun and the dirt, in the coming darkness. I could hardly see but I could follow as Lochlan explained why some things were wrong and why we shouldn't tell and I knew he was right and it was easy for me to agree because I took half the blame. Cole died not knowing. He died and Lochlan was not his best friend by a long shot and Jake didn't get all of the history and neither has anyone else. What they understand is that Lochlan wins, every time and he keeps a sure confidence in that knowledge because of history and really when Caleb gives me a hard time it's NOTHING compared to when Lochlan and I are at odds because there are so many years and so many memories to feel my way through before I can hit on some socially acceptable and presentable way to respond.

It's the only thing I can do.

I told you when I admitted that Henry belonged to Caleb that I still had secrets. I told you I would never share them and I keep that promise because it's important to me, it's important to Lochlan and no matter how far he goes and no matter how many people I marry he is my own personal albatross and I feed and pet him daily because I don't mind having a permanent anchor to earth in him. I need him because he makes up part of who I am. We joke that he raised me, because he was trustworthy enough to be entrusted with my supervision as a child and then suddenly I wasn't that child anymore but I see him in the mirror when I look at myself. We have the same visceral reactions to things and the same habits collecting shiny things and things of value and then needing nothing but air to actually exist on. We still pour water in almost-empty shampoo bottles to make them last and we both prefer food cooked outside to anything else ever. We both drink our beer warm and pick our colors for cotton candy (blue, always blue) when everyone else says they don't care what color they get, and we both dream of those nights asleep in a field at the end of the dirt road that leads to the ocean, the road littered with ticket stubs and pieces from the first time I ever had my heart broken. Don't you ever question my loyalty ever again. You don't have that right.

What are you looking forward to most this summer, Lochlan?

The fair. Late summer. The usual. You?

Same.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The gardener suggested black mourning bride flowers and I laughed, quite inappropriately.

My apologies for not posting sooner, apparently there was some concern.

I'm fine, mom.

The bite looks awful. It's like a puncture in a red hive surrounded with a bruise that fades into veins. I'm rather translucent anyway, one of those pure white alabaster-fleshed humans with the visible roadmap of veins all over. Add in a few bruises and really, I may as well be inside-out. We've decided this was a zombie spider and sometime tomorrow my arm will turn completely grey and then the whole transformation into the undead will occur sometime early Sunday morning.

So with what little time I have left I went down to goth up the local nursery because what is an undead without black flowers in her garden? My quest for shade perennials led me to these things called bowles black violas, which seem to be a type of tiny pansy-poppy and are very pretty! I got some bleeding hearts too (bleeding! hearts!), and really, so much for my modern ski-chalet mansion. I should just paint it black and be done with it.

I'm not dumb. This house cost a lot more than the last one. If anything, the next color scheme will be darkest blue with very very pale yellow or white trim and maybe some highlights in pale slate blue. Why? Beach colors, the natural choice after Everything Black.

Don't you think?

Okay, maybe that's just how I operate.

(I think I'm delirious. Damned zombie spiders.)

Gave up lunch for coffee. Staring down the last two days of school and then I'll be forced to switch gears a little and run the kids around town a lot more than I do now. I need to get them registered for swimming. Henry needs another haircut. So does the dog. Henry also has a birthday approaching. Ruth is going through a truckload of paper drawing lately and I'm at the office supply store almost once a week because, like her father, using the other side is a horrific suggestion obviously made by someone who doesn't understand her art. (Cole girlchild.)

Pfft. Hi. This is your mother. USE THE OTHER SIDE OR NO MORE PAPER.

And then I buy more anyway, because certain things I won't use as punishment. Namely, anything remotely creative. I will never care if she passes math, I will care how she harnessed her imagination today, thank you very much.

(I will be soon requiring her to do extra chores for paper money. No worries. I like limits. Limits make for happy-everybody.)

And I wish Ben was home right now. I miss him alot lately. Not sure how much time I have left before he can say that his bride is the undead princess over there, limping along the street dragging her swollen, punctured arm behind her, searching for delicious human rockstars on which to feeeeeeeeeeed.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ben has, not surprisingly, offered to suck the venom out of the spider bite, should it be of the poisonous variety.

Did I mention our new provincial health cards came this morning? Fitting, ain't it?

They don't have ears either.

Oh dear.

I was poking around in the garden shed late this afternoon and I've been bitten by a spider. We are waiting now to see if my arm falls off or if I grow some extra limbs or maybe later I could stand up high and see if I can spin a web and swing down to the beach.

For now it's very red and bruised and tender and a bit warm and not unlike a bee sting. I think I'll live. Well, I hope I will anyway. Not the blaze of glory I would hope to go out in, anyway. A bug bite? Come on.

In brief.

We don't grow complacent for one another. Ben and I understand that in the blink of an eye or the turn of a heart or at the root of a bad decision life can change, and just like that everything is suddenly unbearable. We don't take each other for granted and we don't lie. We don't let each other hang, toes touching the breeze, without a net below.

We just remember to breathe and we do our best and when I wake up in the dark, in the quiet hours he is there and he is half asleep but still he pulls me over him and I am warm and I sit up and he holds my hands palm to palm and keeps me centered and I take what I need and when I am barely finished he slides me off and down underneath him now and his hands slide against my skin and his lips land on the top of my head and the bruises are set in stone from his hold. When we return to sleep we know it's for minutes only and then suddenly I can hear the alarm. Ben turns it off and returns to me and I am gathered into his arms and he squeezes me tight against him. I am waking up one goosebump at a time, incoherent, sleepy, feverish. He kisses my cheek and he is gone for the day and once again I am left to my own devices which are those that you kick-start and then proceed to use for trouble only.

He smiles when he leaves, and we begin the countdown to his return. Rocketman. Workaholic. Lover.

Yesterday after he sampled all of the baking I did (pie excluded, I will make that today), he offered me a motorcycle ride. A thinly-veiled attempt for some much-needed time alone together, something that once again seems to be in such short supply and it pains me. He drove up into the mountains, far away from everything and I clung to his back as he drove fast, too fast, and so very Ben-like. He leans and I am afraid, he races down the highway when there is no traffic, chasing the thrill that brought him to me in the first place. The attitude he wears like a cheap t-shirt slogan that has brought him everything he has and taken away everything he thought he knew:

Fuck it. Going for it.

Ben's a survivalist, a quiet man, a psychopath. He doesn't say much to very many people, he's busy saving all of his words for me. I cherish them, you know. I roll them over in my hands, feel their smooth letters and sharp edges and I keep them all, filed away alphabetically in big manila envelopes right beside my work. We both need to work on saying more, more often.

I would have started with Slow down, motherfucker, but frankly I was too afraid to open my mouth and maybe change our wind resistance or something and kill us both.

I told him this and he laughed.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Four and twenty poison blackbirds.

Don't carry me under
You're the devil in disguise
God sing for the hopeless
I'm the one you left behind

So I'll find what lies beneath
Your sick twisted smile
As I lie underneath
Your cold jaded eyes
Now you turn the tide on me
'Cause you're so unkind
I will always be here
For the rest of my life
Ben is home today and so the baking will be as follows: apple pie, banana bread and blueberry muffins. If time permits I will do mini pies, otherwise one big one will suffice. He eats, holy, does this man eat. I am so happy to have him home today.

He has given up on the fool's errand of trying to keep me contained and has progressed to talking about putting a rope swing out in the orchard, far enough from the cliff but close enough that when I swing out I would have that thrill.

Thrill. Not the right word by a long shot. Welcome terror might be closer.

I was driven in town yesterday to get my lunch by the water, promised the breeze and white linens by Satan but it turned into a working lunch and didn't involve any food. Eventually I called for the car and came home of my own accord because Caleb wasn't getting the message that these are not papers I need to see and why does he continue to waste everyone's time with this? He always said time is precious and time is money and any other stupid quote millionaires throw around when they want to confirm that you're aware of how much money you have and I guess that's the crux of the issue, isn't it?

He wants to know how high I'll go.

How much it will cost him to get me to leave Ben and just give in. We already played this game and Batman even got involved (which he only does when things get really out of hand) and Caleb had gracefully bowed out but really he didn't, he just switched gears and came back with a larger, sweeter offer and I'm still forced to politely decline but there it sits and I don't want this pressure, frankly because in his family hearts are defective and unpredictable and...

I don't love him.

Caleb doesn't seem to care about that part but it's my bottom line, something he should understand. I just keep refusing and he keeps offering more and it's reached the point where I'm even tired of the sweetness because behind it stands that elephant and I try not to encourage the whole zoo-thing. I told Ben what it was and his response was to offer a trip next month. Back overseas, check out Wacken, perhaps go back to Venice for a few days. That's his knees jerking in response and I said no more suitcases, no more reactions. This is where Satan is, and here in Ben's arms is where Bridget is and where Bridget promised to stay.

We slept easily. Soundly. I'm not giving in to the living and I'm not giving in to the ghosts. I just want to bake some things for the boys and keep the children entertained and safe and maybe have that swing put up. I think that would be nice.

And on the upside, I was forgiven for throwing the bracelet in the water. Chastised but forgiven all the same. Which leads me to believe that I could get away with murder.

We won't go there.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The voice of irrationality.

I ran. Fast. I'm quick for such a little thing.

Lightning flash and she's gone. Out of your sight. It brings up the familiar bile, rising in your throat but you choke it down and take off after her, screaming her name.

He caught up with me halfway across the field and threw his arms out around me and we went down, crashing to the grass, his head smashing into mine and suddenly it was night and the whole meadow was stars and fireflies and then it was day again and I'm sitting up but he won't let go. I start to twist away and he squeezes me. Squeals escape and it hurts and I kick him repeatedly and in a blink I am pinned to the ground, the morning dew soaking into my dress and my hair and I spit curses at him and snarl.

He laughs.

Calm the fuck down, Bridget.

I manage to turn my entire body over but my arms are still facing him. Oh the pain. He turns it up another notch.

Jake! Let go!

Are you going to stop fighting?

No.

He rolls his eyes and puts his head down against my shoulder. Our breaths are hitching, caught. I'm crying and he doesn't care. I keep fighting but he's like stone and after a minute I just give up. I can't get away from him. He won't let me.

My breathing slows. My chest stops thumping like a jackhammer. I'm quiet. He turns me back over but I just stare at the sky, watching the clouds move quickly. My green eyes mix with the reflections and turn gold. Precious resources, the sense I will need most when I can't hear anything anymore.

What will they do, piglet?

Lock me in the library.

Sounds familiar. You pick the locks yet?

Yes. And I think they take their cues from you.

Why would they do that? I'm dead.

No, you're not.

Maybe it's time to let go.

You say that like it's my choice to make.

I shove hard and he backs off. And with that I am up and running again, across the wide open field toward the cliffs, toward the water. Maybe the roar will block out Jacob's bad ideas. That's why I put him down there. So that I couldn't hear him when he tells me what to do. Everyone does enough of that, I don't want to hear it from him too. I don't want to hear them screaming my name. Not anymore. I only listen to Bridget anyway. She knows exactly what she's doing.

Okay, so not exactly. Thankfully if I stand right at the edge, when it's very very windy I can't even hear the voices in my own head.

I'll be spending a lot of time out there. I have an endless supply of bobby pins with which to pick the simple locks on the doors they secure in front of me and I've already figured out how to disable the stupid alarm. I'm not afraid that I am giving away all my secrets by talking about that here, this is as fruitless as their efforts to break the silence, and as useless as my efforts at change.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Folding blind.

So nice to see your face again
Tell me how long has it been
Since you've been here
(since you've been here)
You look so different than before
But still the person I adore
Frozen with fear
I'm out of love but I'll take it from the past
I'll let out words cause I'm sure It'll never last

And I've been saving
These last words for one last miracle
But now I'm not sure
I can't save you if
You don't let me
You just get me like I never
Been gotten before

Maybe it's the bitter wind
A chill from the Pacific rim
That brought you this way
(that brought you my way)
Do not make me think of him
The way he touch your fragile skin
That hunts me everyday
I'm out of love but I can't forget the past
I'm out of words but I'm sure it'll never last

And I've been saving
These last words for one last miracle
But now I'm not sure
I can't save you if
You don't let me
You just get me like I never
Been gotten before
I think it surprised me so badly that the roses bloomed a second time that I figured other miracles were likely and I took off toward the cliffs.

After all, the only one home watching me was Daniel, and he had been asleep for hours. I ran out of things to do and so I went down to the garden to pull some weeds and on the other side of the fence...all these new roses! Then as I looked more closely I could see the entire wall of bushes was full of new blooms.

Dark ones this time, but maybe I'll be gifted with another single baby-pink flower.

It must have been wonderful to wake up to the perimeter alarm blaring all through the house. Did I tell you they set one up? Yes, precisely for today or whatever day it would be that I would scramble down the path and stop just short of throwing myself into the sea but I sat down this time and hooked my hands over the edge against the wet stone outcropping that may or may not support all of my hundred and four pounds.

I looked down and to my delight, far below, affixed to the rocks just under the surface I could see them, in between breaking waves. My ghosts looking up at me. Jacob, most likely furious that I would put him somewhere so dumb and Cole probably trying to mentally connect with me to convince me to jump and spread the pain around just a little more, like a bad rash. He would do that.

That was as much of a thought as I could get out before I was grabbed from behind and lifted away from the edge, briefly, delightfully flying out over it, feet swinging in thin air, Daniel's arms locked around me because the one thing he never wants to be responsible for in his whole life will be sleeping while I die.

They've all come home now and have been yelling at me off and on now for over an hour and I'm getting tired. I want to change my clothes and put on something warm and dry. I want to swim out to the rocks and see the boys but I'm such a poor swimmer and PJ was right, this was the worst idea ever and I'm stuck wanting to get to them to the point where I don't think about much else other than the fact that suddenly, just now, I realized that everyone dies before forty and I'm going to be forty on my next birthday which means I'm already older and Jacob is frozen in time at thirty-six but he's supposed to be older than me and smarter than I am and why the hell has he done this and left me here? Why can't he be the one who has a little too much to drink and laugh and sing me a song?

Why is Ben in this place in my heart because I swore never ever and how the hell did I allow Caleb such prolific access into all of our lives in some sort of knee-jerk fashion to undo the years of restraining orders and forbidden contact that left him hating me and torturing me every chance he got and now we've reached some sort of wonderful, actual relationship, which everyone hates but I'm still testing the waters to see if they are warm enough and I'll make up what's left of my own mind, thank you.

No one loves me enough to stay.

They won't listen anyway. Just like they didn't when I pointed out I wasn't going to jump off the cliff and I was with Jake and he wouldn't have let me jump off the cliff anyway because he wouldn't want my light to go out. He always said Don't let your light go out, princess. Don't let the demons win. Don't let your head overtake your plans, pigalet.

I don't have any plans save for wanting to sit there in the rain, surrounded by roses with my Jacob and just listen to him tell me things because I'm happy he came but they wouldn't let me. They never let me do what I want to do. They never listen.
Oh I've done it now.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Portrait (She knew).

You know it's going to be a good day when Caleb walks into the room and instantly remarks on the lack of baubles on his favorite pastime.

Who are you, Howard Hughes?

He just winked and squared himself with his invisible courage for today. It's Father's Day, an awkward, difficult day for us where the boys jockey for position and are equally touched and left ruined by the gestures of the children to honor an entire room full of real and surrogate fathers, each one bringing something incredibly specific and necessary to their lives. Collectively the boys represent separate and equal parts of love and care to the children, and the children themselves have never failed to acknowledge that to the men who love them so much. They are like me in that regard. Instant forgiveness, instant affection.

However.

There are certain levels of affection and attention that the kids bestow on the boys. They have their own hierarchy, and they have their own preferences. PJ, Daniel and Benjamin are instant comfort, always available, patient to a fault, permissive and loving. Lochlan is their ready-steady rock. As long as he is around all is right with the world. He looks out for them in a strange, appreciative way. They understand his logic comes from a slightly different place. Caleb is Daddy Warbucks. As long as they behave properly and display their fine manners and intelligence they have learned they can have the moon from him. They also know that he is quick to anger and unforgiving. Like Cole. They do not ask for things, but they are drawn to that the same way I am.

Maybe because it's as close as we can get. Maybe it's because it's an authority that brings a small measure of comfort in the familiarity. It's what they know when everything isn't water fights and movies and stargazing and making ice cream. They know fathers are not fairy tales that are only fun. They know fathers will enforce the rules and be the final judge and jury. They know fathers will set limits and work to raise them up properly as well as happily.

Caleb arrived this morning, dashing and unhurried in his little silver sportscar and a crisp pair of jeans with a button-down dress shirt, looking like a forties movie star, acting like he had everything in the world, when in fact the only thing he has is now tied up in knots, tangled in the welfare of his brother's widow and her knights, because he decided to take a risk and place it all on black, betting everything he had on the only thing he believes in.

Me.

Baudelaire would call him out for this one.
Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.
I am supposed to be making an effort to ensure that he is properly recognized as the living blood of my children, but all I can do is stand in the shadow by the window and watch with morbid curiosity to see how they react to him. A relief follows, and it's as if Cole had never left them, they simply replaced their memories with that of the uncle who managed to miss the first six years of their lives mostly and now suddenly we can't seem to take a deep breath without him making a note of it and rotating the world accordingly in case we miss something.

I broke his brother's heart so badly he died and for that I was given everything, including the gift I could not return, the confirmation that Satan owns my youngest child. I was forced to replace my memories of Cole with Caleb's face. And I have. I've been good. I have listened, like a child, as the rules were spoken to me slowly and repeated until there was no ambiguity left. I am now the most vulnerable, requiring the most direction, supervision and care. The children grow and mature and Bridget never changes.

It isn't a turret that the knights guard anymore, it's the nursery and so the jostling for position remains. The need for approval rusts into the metal on their armor and coats their shields in desperation.

An equal fool, I extended the lunch invitation because I always choked back this overwhelming, oxygen-sucking need to please Cole so that he wouldn't become angry. And then like a princess, I cast my coldest look around the room, reproach on ice, a challenge to question my final rule on behalf of my children. He stays. No fists.

Lady of the flies, the immature leader who fuels her needs with her wants and couldn't raise a glass half the time, let alone these two beautiful creatures born of rage and fear and then molded into something wonderful. That is thanks to the boys.

And that's just a sliver of today. A small taste, a single drop of the blood I spill to quench his thirst for more of me because I don't know what to do with these feelings and so I pretend. I pretend I'm alright and the kids are alright and everyone gets along and we give cards and drawings and I pretend, like everybody else, not to see how he stares at me across the table as he exclaims over the menu the children chose for lunch, so at ease with them with so much tension beneath the surface it hums a steady drone in my head, between my ears that I'm forced to excuse myself and leave the room, fearing my brain might start to leak out from my ears and my heart might follow that lead. I'll pay for this later. Ben will look for my hierarchy. Everything costs me something and I am emotionally unemployed.

It hurts. I don't know why. Some days are hard. The kids are doing a fine job though. They always do when they have everyone's attention. Just like their mother. And they know that in a short while he will drive away from the house in his silver sports car and we can go back to breathing full breaths and not watching what we say around him, just in case it is the wrong thing.

On the way out he cups my face and smiles ruefully, reading my unfocused eyes.

Considering Baudelaire?

Yes.

'I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy. '

'I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.'

Very good one, Bridget. See you on Tuesday for a drive and some lunch?

No, I have nothing to wear.

Perfect. Just wear the bracelet I gave you. That's all you need.

I frowned as he kissed my cheek and walked out the door. I threw that bracelet into the ocean the day he gave it to me. And I hate the fact that he is Henry's father. I pay the price for their hierarchy. I pay dearly. As I look around the room and feel the eyes on me, I see that we all do.
It makes me sad.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
I'm filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go
And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.
See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don't get in my door.
I'm painting the room in a colorful way
And when my mind is wandering
There I will go.
And it really doesn't matter if
I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.
Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don't get past my door.
I'm taking the time for a number of things
That weren't important yesterday
And I still go.

A new lip gloss collection for Ben to plunder.

I never did make it to very late last night. I believe I crashed about five minutes after I posted and was asleep in five seconds, another headache threatening to undermine the night. Another inability to sleep for any length of time save for a few precious hours in Ben's arms.

Today was a fast day that became slow. The kids and I looked after house things and gardening this morning, then made some lunch and declared it to be kid-time. We went to a new coffee shop and treated overselves to chocolate biscotti (the kids) and iced coffee (Bridget) and then went back and loaded up on popsicles to go. When we arrived back home, Ruth gave me a makeover. I'm still sporting the white lipstick, green and blue eyeshadow, copious cheek glitter and headband she chose for me, plus the tiny fabric butterflies she clipped all through my hair.

After my big makeover, we went back outside and drew hearts and flowers and music notes all over the front walkway with Henry who freaked if we walked on any of the lines and then he decided it was too hot to be outside anymore and Ruth took her drawings to the shade of the veranda, and I still have an inch of my coffee left and my brain is finally at cruising altitude for the day. I haven't heard from Ben for over an hour so I'm hoping against hope that that means he's on the way home and we might be able to have a dinner that starts before eight at night or more than ten minutes to talk about the day.

I hope Ben is on the way. He really needs to see this eyeshadow. And the butterflies. I have a feeling I'll be picking them out of my hair for the rest of the summer. And twenty bucks says he'll happily be Ruth's next customer. He looks awfully cute with butterflies too.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Day Tripper (and God bless Peter).

Please excuse the mess. Just pointing out I'm not touching the absinthe. No way in hell, no. Also, someone managed to dig out all the mashups (covers? homages?) of the Beatles, Cheap Trick and Type-O Neg.

It's going to be a long, loud and awesome night.
And I know I sound hideously ungrateful. I'm not. There's a million things to be so thankful for and I have noted every last one. I promise. If you knew me outside of this page, you would understand that. If you don't, then I'm sorry. I'm really a nice person underneath the princess part.

I promise.

Man in a box.

Won't you come and save me.
I wish tonight for a white linen-covered table overlooking the water, a damned good bottle of wine and even better coffee, and a meal of pasta with greens and exotic cheese, and a basket of very freshly baked bread. I'll let the server place the napkin on my lap for me and I'll sit and contemplate the waves and the breeze while I savor every delicious bite. Then a long walk to look at boats and then I'd like to watch a movie that makes me laugh and be glad I saw it.

Reality (which I have come to resent) dictates that instead I'll cook a quick dinner for the children and then a second dinner for Benjamin when he comes home and then in the blink of an eye we'll eat and go to bed and be asleep before the sun goes down.

I. hate. this. schedule. It's been three days (a lie. It's been six months.).

Hate is too mild of a word but I know. I understand the point of the work and the way it flows and I am so incredibly grateful that he is appreciated, in demand and still loves it but after the way this year started I just have this overwhelming urge to grab him by the front of his shirt and push, pull and stuff him into a box and wrap the box in chains and padlock it shut and maybe learn a little bit of welding too, and then I would hold it carefully behind my back in both hands and shake my head innocently, ignorantly while people walked all around me wondering where he could be.

Yes, that's what I would like to do.

And in a perfect world, I would.

Thankfully nothing is perfect. Ben wouldn't like it. He needs to be tinkering if he is awake, there is simply no other way. He likes to be busy, he likes to just put his head down and ride out the difficult parts and he likes to focus on the present.

He likes burgers and fries and napkins with well-known brands printed on them. Quick and easy. He doesn't drink wine. He doesn't know what the hell to do with the side of me that hates reality except to say that it doesn't matter if I don't like it, I'm stuck with it.

Begrudged acceptance isn't quite what I had in mind this evening. The move is finished, we're just about through the last of the paperwork concerning address changes and becoming full-fledged west-coasters, we have new furniture and everything is put away and hung up and cleaned six times over and I have sought out every last amenity we need, where the best place is to buy guitar strings and lactose-free milk and good bread and the skincare I like to use. I have found neat places to take the children and we've explored the woods and the creeks and the rivers and the pacific and the road and the parks.

What I need, badly, is a vacation.

But I don't want to see my suitcase ever again and I'm still weirdly thrilled that I can leave my hairbrush, my perfume, seventeen lip glosses and my jar of cocoa butter just sitting out all over the place across the giant counter in the bathroom and all of it is still there next time I walk into the bathroom. I still haven't decided if I want the window in the walk-in closet to have the blinds open or closed. Am I going to flip the light on and walk in naked and someone outside might see? And really, who is going to be right outside my window at that hour? (Shhh, we know that answer haha).

So I need a home-cation or a stay-cation or whatever the hell it's called when you just take time off and have fun instead of just working your way through list after list and hoping to nurture and fulfill everyone while scrubbing toilets, shopping and cooking and maybe spending three minutes a day writing a journal entry or downloading a new theme for the ever humming BlackBerry.

I need a fucking white-linen table and a good dinner. Really that's it. Not the moon tonight, not a flight overseas or thousands of dollars worth of luxuries, just some pasta and wine.

And Ben in my hands, chained inside a box. Just so I could enjoy him for once instead of continuing to say goodbye all the time.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Small world.

The rain has closed off the world to me today. I haven't seen the water or the mountains yet. It sort of feels as if this is an island and I am alone forever and no one will ever know who I am. The fog brought with it a steady downpour and fresh air that I have opened every window wide to collect inside and get rid of the stale overnight warmth.

I have rainboots now. They are black (of course) with pastel polkadots and they look cute with my long black coat and my Edward Gorey umbrella, or so I call it. It's very tall with a spiral handle and it opens in a bell-shape with a little lace fringe and it looks as if it belongs to one of Gorey's Tinies.

Oh, wait. It does.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Garden tools can't be fenced. Can they?

Humanity and I are having a difference of opinion today as my faith has been tested this morning and the week has grown long with overtime, illness, theft and exhaustion. Add in all of the drama and PJ alternately being fed up with me and sad that I have faced such derision over my memorials. I'm done. Is it Saturday yet? Is it Sunday? Can I go back to bed? Can I just cry now?

No, I think I'll laugh. We've reached those levels of ridiculousness here.

Some guard dog Bonham is too, by the way. Snoring away on the floor at the foot of our bed, failing to alert us to the two stupid teenage boys breaking into my yard. Well, guess what, boys? That expensive jacket you dropped as you took off with my stuff? I have it and fuck you, hell no, you can't ever have it back. And it's worth more than the things you took so perhaps the joke is on you.

And when you grow up and some kid steals your stuff, consider it full circle. And it will happen. Ask me how I know. Good luck to you.

In other news, half a bottle of Advil and a pot of coffee and I'm almost human again. The ice pack helped, as did a mini-neck massage and a magnificent, concentrated effort to distract from the pain in my head. My headache that started on Sunday is almost gone. Finally. I can uncurl my toes and roll my flesh back down over the tips of my fingers where I slid the tips along the rack of knives so that something besides my head would hurt for a change.

I didn't actually do that, but I considered it very seriously for quite a while.

If I could paint a picture for you today it would be in shades of grey, moving away from what began as total blackness, hopeful that when we reach the other side of the canvas the world will be colored in a hint of turquoise and blush and the work will evoke a sense of peace instead of one of dread and foreboding. I don't know though, we're not there yet.

All in a day's work. There's nothing remarkable about my day. The children are home sick from school getting over their colds, I am attempting to run completely out of groceries because I haven't found time to shop yet and Caleb is still singing. All week long which is new and not all that bad really. As long as he isn't picking fights he isn't horrible.

Ben is wonderful but invisible. Head down, ears closed, focused as he works his magic because that's what he does and I may wind up horribly depleted in Ben-stores for the next several weeks but I will see him at bedtime and for toast in the mornings and otherwise thank God for cell phones and dreams. At least this time he doesn't have to go to work on an airplane and only get home every month or so. He'll be home every night, but distracted and consumed and oh I really hate these parts but after twelve years or so I'm getting used to deadlines and clients with changes and how things look when you don't have any breathing room. All of the boys have shown me that side of life and I believe I could write a book on it, if I wanted to write one but maybe instead I'll just write some other things instead. I'm sending some things out early next week, it's been a long time since I even felt like dealing with submissions but I am because life is about moving forward in some strange meandering road of self-improvement and then self-reliance.

Somewhere I became lost and some days I don't think this is my road, but someone else's and they must know the turns and the landmarks to watch for while nothing looks familiar to me but I'm hoping eventually to come to an exit and I can get off and circle back and find the right road. Or doze my own. I don't even think I have a road, proper. I think my path is dirt, softened grass and mud baked into a marked footpath, wide enough for two and then one and then two and then one and it goes along like that and every now and then the bottom drops out and you fall down a steep embankment and then you climb up the next hill, scratched and dirty and look out over the valley, the sunrise blinding you until you exclaim out loud and promptly trip over a rock and land on your ass.

Oh yeah. That's Bridget's path right there.

(If you own a MEC Tango Belay, come and get your coat, you stupid punk. And bring my things back with you.)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Part two: Proof of identity.

All you are
I have made
All that I wanted
I gave to you
I have no sympathy
I show no mercy
All that I hated
I placed in you
Sunday afternoon in the rain I stood at the very edge of my cliff and I looked out over the sea, sand and grit and bits of concrete stuck to the bottoms of my bare feet, wet hair tangled from the wind, wrapped in one of Ben's big hoodies for warmth but I couldn't get warm.

Low tide.

I stepped closer and that was all it took for the house behind me to explode, doors opening, voices eaten by the roar of the wind in my ears.

The fastest runner reached me first. I could tell by the pattern of his feet and the lack of heavy breath. Caleb.

Princess.

I'm not going to jump, if that's what you think. I need to see them. This is as low as the tide is ever going to be.

Ben's voice next.

Bridget. Sweetheart. We really need to move those so you can see them safely. It's okay to make a mistake.

I've made so many, Benjamin.

No, you're doing pretty good, actually. But we can change them so it's easier.

This is fine.

Not for me.

These were for me and for the children.

And what do they have? They aren't allowed here.

I have ordered smaller plaques and a tree for each.

Isn't that good enough for you?

No.

What can I do, Bridget?

Let me come here without everyone freaking out.

I'm sorry, Bridget, I can't do that.

Traitor. You all want to forget about them.

Never, princess.

He took my hands and bent them up behind my back and held on a little too firmly and I knew that if I stepped away from him I wouldn't die. It's sad that I can't ever give these men that same kind of comfort. I have tried. I can't pull it off for stupid stunts like these.

He came around and stood beside me, still with the painful grip on both of my hands, and he leaned out over the edge.

I know why you did it.

Tell them.

I thought PJ would at least ask you not to come here alone.

He did.

So why are you here?

Because I don't listen.

Ben laughed. A short, sad laugh and he squeezed my hand.

I want to make it better. I thought this might help you, princess. Maybe I screwed up.

I could have installed her downtown in a safe location.

Caleb's voice broke in, a jarring reminder that there were eight other people watching our exchange.

Ben dropped my hands and turned to face Caleb. Caleb's face changed from contempt back into fear. I'm still standing right on the edge. One big gust of wind or rock slide and I'm at the bottom of the cliff where PJ installed the bronzed plaques engraved with the names of my dead husbands, their birth and death dates and one line I chose for each, which I won't share right now. He used concrete screws, and drove them in when the rocks were almost dry, the words facing the cliff so technically you can read them with binoculars from here but you can only see them at low tide and they are not accessible on foot, only by boat. He said it was a fool's errand and cursed me the entire time, and Chris held the ropes and didn't say a word. We don't have a boat. PJ rappelled down.

Ben-

She's not yours, asshole. Stop acting like him. You aren't Cole. She can't get Cole back. You're fucking with her head so bad. Just stop it.

I didn't have to turn around. Thanks to history, I was well aware that Ben would charge Caleb and probably knock him down onto the wet grass and then he'd let him get up just to hit him again. Then the others would intervene because it's not a fair fight. Ben only ever had a fair fight against Jacob. They were the same size. Everyone else is just dumb to pick a fight with someone who can't control their emotions.

With someone like me.

A different voice now. Sweet Daniel.

Bridget, come here.

I turned and wavered slightly and Lochlan closed his eyes. Praying. What the fuck.

Please, Bridget.

I shook my head.

Stop fighting. All of you. Just stop it. This isn't what I wanted. Go away.

We know, baby.

Ben stopped and helped Caleb up, and then came back toward me and I put my hand up.

It isn't PJ's fault, and it's not Chris'. Cole and Jacob belong there. I put them there and I want the, to stay there. Please. Please don't take them away.

What am I supposed to do Bridget? I can't put a safety net around this place. I can't watch you twenty-four hours a day.

That's why you have help. You're all my safety net.

When the trees come, and the other plaques, will you go there instead?

Unless someone comes with me here, then yes.

Oh, Jesus, Bridge, you're killing me. Come here.

He put his arms out and I left the edge and went into them, my customary face plant into the buttons on his flannel shirt a welcome shell-dotted warmth, the percussion of his heartbeat proof that he would keep his word and leave the plaques alone. He kissed the top of my head and I wrapped my arms around his back and looked up at him. Tired in the harsh light, sober and anxious, quietly smug in the display of affection that comes so easily for him while the rest wait for me to make the first move.

Lochlan turned and walked back up to the house, shaking the rain out of his hair. Caleb examined his clothing to see if he would be forced to drive back to the city to change before doing anything else and the others just watched. Quietly. Respectfully pretending to stare out to sea but honed in peripherally, ever mindful that Ben and I are the collective instabilities and when mixed together tend toward impulsive, dangerous pursuits. Mindful that we whisper and they usually miss it.

Who speaks the words you'll listen to, Bridget?

I don't know, Ben.

He just holds on tighter. I still have no answers and he's the only one alive who understands what this feels like.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Crypt tick.

Tomorrow's baking includes banana bread, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and peach cobbler. If I bake the fruit into things it tends to get eaten a lot faster.

I'll keep the pears to carry. They come in handy.

Now here's a picture of a volcano. In a different country even. This is Mount Baker in Washington state. Coy, I know.

Tomorrow I'll finish what I started on Saturday. I promise.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

You know one of the strangest things about Caleb? If he's angry and he walks into the room, the temperature instantly drops by about ten degrees.

I find that freaking weird. But really, his emotions aren't my concern. I have enough of my own.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Part one of one of the hard parts.

I had my head on PJ's shoulder, face against his neck. I wasn't going to move because if I saw what was in his eyes, I might let him off the hook and I didn't intend to do that. No, I intended to make him risk his life to fulfill some strange idea I had that I would probably regret later but for right now it needed to be done this way.

Chris stood in front of us, waiting. I could see his boots but I didn't look at his face either. Just in case.

Are you sure, Bridget? Because once it's done we can't undo it. You can't touch it. You aren't allowed to get to it. You have to understand that.

I know.

So what happens when you need to see it?

I can call someone to come and help me look at it.

And maybe if we get a boat..

Yes, but only those ways.

Are you sure?

I think it will be okay like this, PJ.

Chris shook his head.

Chris. it will work. It makes sense.

None of this makes sense, princess. Put a bench in the garden. Screw the plaques on it. Done. This isn't an idea that ever should have been taken seriously.

Don't condescend to me, Chris.

I'm not, Bridge. I'm trying to keep you safe.

His eyes flashed and I was treated to the perfect vision of Chris in full armor, holding his sword. Glorious red beard flaming his moods into fruition.

I know. But please.

The plea brought PJ's arm a little tighter around my head.

Let's get this show on the road guys.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Going now to fix the plaques from the benches to their new locations. May die in the process, cross your fingers. It's pouring, and slippery and I picked a hard-to-access place.

More later, if I survive.

Oh, stop worrying. PJ is coming too. And Chris. He's the expert climber after all, well, since Jake isn't here anymore. Jake would have had NO trouble with this task. But if Jake was here I wouldn't have this heavy piece of bronze with his name on it, now, would I?

Boy, am I grumpy! PJ is in for such a treat.

Happy Endings.

She's okay!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

There are no right opinions on this, trust me.

I read the news.

And the hardest job I know of is being a parent.

Last night I had tears come up when Ruth came bursting out of school with her sign up sheet for band next year. Is she that old already? I thought.

Tears again, mixed with laughter when Henry attempted to pour himself into his summer pajamas and said they were fine, when they were suddenly three sizes too small. Is he this big already? I thought.

I struggle daily with the small decisions and big ones too. Trying to strike a balance for their lives between fun and nurturing. Limits within which they are free spirits. Caged birds or butterflies in a net. I try not to be a helicopter or an armchair or whatever the parental behavior tagline du jour is from the New York Times but really, everything is a judgment call, including our interpretations of how other people parent.

Do I let them have french fries on the side? I know they'll eat more that way but are they getting enough vegetables?

Do I let them stay up until ten to play Rock Band or should I insist they take their books and go to bed at eight-thirty so they have energy for the weekend, when they can stay up later?

Do I insist on the rain boots in the downpour or let them wear sneakers and have wet feet all day so their friends don't say they are babies?

Do I let my sixteen year old child sail around the world alone or do I forbid it and risk her blistering resentment for the rest of her life for not allowing her to achieve this goal? Goal, defined loosely here. Item on bucket list? Fool's mission? Incredible achievement? Once again, everyone's going to have an opinion. But raising a child involves having to be the bad guy sometimes too. It's far easier to give in to your child's whims than to stand your ground and resist, keeping the limits you have set because they work for you and they work for your child. You know your child best. Your child's awareness of self develops so slowly, it's like summer pajamas you don't realize you have grown out of until it's too late and suddenly you are self aware. But oh how they nag and mope and become impossible.

But it isn't too late. Self-awareness continues to develop every moment for the rest of your life and things you thought were so important and so necessary fail to be so and having the freedom to try and fail and try and succeed or maybe just think about trying are just as important as common sense and rules of thumb. You'll never be as smart as you think you are when you're sixteen.

Maybe teenagers don't need to be sailing around the world or climbing Mount Everest or breaking records, getting sponsors and writing books. Where do they go from there? Is the pursuit of a early-life goal worth not getting the chance to live the rest of your life because you squandered your years on a foolish teenage idea? Or is it so incredibly intuitive to have such a thirst for a goal at that age that all attempts should be made to achieve it because that is what you were put on earth to do?

I don't know quite what I'll do if and when Ruth comes to me at sixteen and tells me she wants to break some difficult, dangerous record that few adults, let alone children, would attempt. And I doubt I'll have any better answers for you when she's twenty-six, or thirty-six, or twelve for that matter.

I just remember yesterday I was envious of her logic, because she said she chose the clarinet to play in band because it's small and easy to carry up the hill.

When I was eleven, I picked the french horn. I also grew up on the side of a hill.

Maybe she is meant for great things. I hope against hope they don't include winding up lost at sea. Keep your fingers crossed that Abby's parents don't live to regret the choices they have made in allowing their children to carry out their dreams, I can't imagine what they feel right now. And above all, keep your fingers crossed for Abby. She has her whole life ahead of her.

I wonder what type of parent she'll be?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Some days I do better than anyone else, oddly enough.

We don't talk about these things, normally.
All wet hey you might need a raincoat
Shakedown dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hundred sixty five degrees
Burning down the house
It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself
Gone come in first place
People on their way to work baby what did you expect
Gonna burst into flame

My house is out of the ordinary
That's right don't want to hurt nobody
Something sure can sweep me off my feet
Burning down the house
PJ met me at the door this morning, rain dripping off his beard, leaving a pool on the tiles. He nodded. Voraciously.

You got it right, Bridget, except for one thing. We would have stopped him. You know? I can be as selfish as the rest of 'em and some days I would have loved to throw preacher off a cliff myself because he locked you down so badly but at the end of the day the hurt he brought upon you is something I never would have let him get away with and ask any of us, we would all say that to you. At any hour of any day. He didn't have the right to do this and I still don't know how you get out of bed in the morning sometimes.

For this, PJ.


And I went and took my morning hug from him, fourth in the day so far. They average twelve minutes apiece, you know.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Chivalry under pressure.

You told me you loved me
That I'd never die alone
Hand over your heart
Let's go home
Everyone noticed
Everyone has seen the signs
I've always been known to cross lines
I'm sure I have the perfect vision of how it went.
His face was drawn and tired, dark circles underneath his pale blue eyes. He stood in the clearing and waited, the forest quiet and dark around him, no sun or sounds able to penetrate the trees this deep.

He didn't have to wait long. Suddenly they were close at hand, some approaching on foot, others dismounting and leaving their horses without a word, just the customary pat on the flank that means stay here, I'll be back soon. They approached him with reverence, awe and courage and he nodded and met their eyes easily, despite being the only unarmed man present for hundreds of miles. They approached him with heart, and that's why they were chosen in the first instance. That is all that ever mattered. Not life, not death.

He raised his hands to welcome them and his face was joyful. Loyal until the end. Some of them were spattered with blood, some had dented armor, one was recently stitched, one still clutched two swords, one in each hand, fresh from the battlefield, still breathing heavily, eyes wild.

The right choices. He exhaled.

Give her everything you have. Do not mourn the changes of her mind. Lift her up and encourage her. Be near when she calls your name. Do not despair when she fails to acknowledge you in favor of another. Provide for her. Protect her. Fight for her. Love her with all of your being. Failure will not be accepted. Make your pledge now before your brothers and before God and honor it for rest of your lives.

I will, said out loud, a chorus of deep voices, himself included and he nodded, satisfied that these were good men, men of their word.

I have done all I can do now, my brothers. It's up to you now.

Brief looks of confusion flickered across their eyes and one by one they stepped forward to embrace him, exchanging hard knocks against backs to confirm their pledge and devotion to each other, to their cause. Deep within their hardened souls they knew he would no longer be with them.

He shook a final extended hand and brought his fingertips to his lips and then extended his hands to the collective once more as his eyes filled with tears. He turned around and jumped off the cliff. No one made a move to prevent his actions, they were busy making their way out of the clearing to fulfill their covenant. No one saw what became of him. Their only focus now was her.
Yes, I bet that's exactly how this happened.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Circle once and come back.

In the distance
Light years from tomorrow
But far beyond yesterday
She is watching
Heart aching with sorrow
She is broken, as she waits
Hoping that when all is said and done, we learn to love and be as one

Oh Starlight
Don’t you cry we’re gonna make it right before tomorrow
Oh Starlight
Don’t you cry we’re going to find a place where we belong
And so you know you’ll never shine alone
I came home late last night.

One last chance to show you the kind of man I can be
, he said as we boarded the plane.

One last chance to show you I mean you no harm, he said, as he took my hand and kissed it and a shiver went down my spine.

One last chance to show you I have always loved you, he said as he lifted his cupped hand and poured hot water down my shoulders and over my back. I closed my eyes and leaned against his chest, my forehead against his clavicle. I let his arms draw me in and I let go of everything I was holding. My worries. My fear. His request for this moment. I let the heat of the water overcome me and my mind was blank, gloriously parked in a wooded glade, not racing down the asphalt at two hundred kilometres an hour. Picking flowers would have taken too much effort, I just stared into the sun through the trees.

Princess.

Italic
I jolted and my nose bumped his ear as I raised my head. Caleb passed me my wine, against my better judgement of things made of glass in the bathtub. I took it but he held it for an extra beat in case I wasn't actually coherent.

You fell asleep.

Almost.

He smiled his millionaire smile and I took a sip from the glass and when the steam cleared from my eyes I made a note that he wasn't Cole and that was okay because he was Caleb, like Cole 2.0, new and improved, richer and longer lasting and I laughed out loud and I swear to God that man doesn't count his worth in terms of dollars anymore but that's what men are like when I am around.

It was a good weekend, an uproariously fun weekend, full of airplanes and crowds and wine and kind Russians and kind Czechs (?) too and singing and sleeping and holding our breath that first day during qualifying when I thought I was about to see a plane crash with my own eyes but thankfully it didn't and I'm glad for the health of the pilot and for the fact that last night I had to board the teeny-tiny private jet to come back home. I'm glad for Ben because he had an absolute blast and came away with a new effort to get and keep his newfound sobriety in order to regain his wings which could someday make him the oldest pilot in the air race (but don't tell him that part) and he was content to share his stake in Bridget with no strings attached like the ones that tie me to Lochlan because I don't need-need Caleb. I just want him in my life and I'm done making apologies to the one-love folks and to the boys. I'm just done making apologies period. I'm finally at a place in my life where I can choose what I want and maybe that's mixed with a tiny streak of recklessness for the simple fact that I can't bring the dead back to life. But only for color and flavour. I like my recklessness light.

Suffice it to say there's a huge comfort to be gained from standing in between the Dark Lords. I never once felt like a ghost could sneak up on me, never felt the need for Lochlan's comfort, the kind I have sought out religiously since 1979. I just wanted to have fun and I did, so everyone should be happy for me. My face hurt from smiling. That doesn't happen. Caleb and Ben? Both romantic and that doesn't happen all the time either but when it does it's like Christmas mixed with fireworks and cotton candy and God. Like holy sticky exploding things.

NICE.

Snort.

Ben even bought me flowers, which I brought home with us. Gerbera daisies in the colors of the planes I liked best because I mentioned in passing that I wanted to have so many flowers in the house it would be positively stupid. Because he hears everything and misses nothing and tries so hard to accommodate my every whim, even the really stupid/bad idea ones, and because he's so incredibly generous with me I think all the boys should get down on their knees and worship him if we rolled like that but we don't.

And Lochlan didn't much like the fact that I went away with Ben and with Satan but when I came back he was quick to be cajoled into a long hold and then he could see how he has an addiction of a different sort and in his heart he lives on his knees for me, and that's ironic because in our spare time late at night he would spend hours standing in the middle of the dirt road behind the tent, long after the crowds had filtered away, teaching me how to juggle. Patiently. Tirelessly.

One last chance to make you the star of the show, Bridgie.

And now I am.

And oh, I think I finally having the juggling part down. At last. This is awesome.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Waiting for Ben and Caleb to stop talking already. Lying down in the back of the car playing with Ben's iphone. Seriously buzzy like a little tiny well dressed well loved well drunked bumblebee. Haha. This is awesome. I had so much fun then ont lu thing I left missed was my lochlan but he wasn't hrer.boo.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

This is what being a Bond girl is really like.

Every rogue pilot in Canada seems to be here. This is candy. Ben and Caleb are getting along smashingly, and it's sunny and twenty-five degrees. I'm just enjoying the men and my pretty dresses and the excitement. I am the excitement in some circles. So there.

But since you can here hoping for something exciting on my journal, here, lookie at what PJ sent me earlier. Hypnotic and amazing. I am stunned. Music by Archive. Enjoy.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The space in between.

I found perfection last night in a hot bathtub, my knees hooked over Ben's thighs, my head on his chest. We sat like that, in the dark, in the steam, without talking, without thinking. Then we reluctantly climbed out of the giant bathtub, which from now on will be referred to as Gulliver's lap pool, and went to sleep.

I found perfection at dinner tonight in pork chops simmered in mushrooms, salted baby potatoes, green beans and the garlic buttered rolls I have mastered. It tasted delicious. Like summer, only when you don't barbecue and fire up the whole kitchen instead.

I found perfection in that fleeting thought again that this is it. Roll the windows down, turn the music up, send a happy text message and enjoy that moment. Dig into the soil with both hands and sift through the cool damp earth as you put the roses where you want them and the lilac where it will be visible to everyone coming to visit. Let the sun warm your skin and relish the quiet of the woods. Consider a day at the beach while crossing off another day of work from the big list of how to move a whole household to the other end of the country again.

Breathe, Bridget.

I've had a little reprieve from Satan, who is away right now, a little relief that I didn't miss something I dearly wanted to see which will never happen now but that's a lot better than missing it while it takes place without me, and some incredibly tense moments with Ben recently. I've had to let some things go and stand my ground on others. I've had to roll with the punches and stand up and fight back.

Maybe it's all in a day's work. Maybe this is life. Maybe this is what Dalton calls the meat of your day, and we are all carnivores fighting over the same carcass. Maybe life is a cruel joke but I'm laughing. Maybe pigs fly and only Lochlan can see them because he's the crazy one. Maybe I'm not the worst flutterer in the bunch and maybe it does take a village to satisfy a Bridget.

You'll never know until you own one of course. Unfortunately there is only one and she isn't yours.

She belongs to them (points over to the table full of viking rock stars and laughs).

So don't touch, unless you are expressly invited. Stick around and you might be.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Not metal.

Drive out with the sun in your eyes
You wasted my time
It's true, it's true

My god, don't you hold out your hand
I called off my plans
I counted on you, on you

Got lost in the places I've been
I should go out with my friends
I'd go tonight but I know you'll be there too, there too

For me, this bottle of wine
Is to slow down my mind
And forget the things that I knew, I knew

And if you're ever left with any doubt
What you live with and what you'll do without
I'm only sorry that it took so long to figure out
I can totally picture Jacob singing songs by Band of Horses.

Not sure if that makes me very happy or really very sad.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

So nice to see your face again
Tell me how long has it been
Since you've been here
(Since you've been here)
You look so different than before
You're still the person I adore
Frozen with fear
All out of love but I take it from the past
All out of words cause I'm sure it'll never last

I've been saving these last words for one last miracle
But now I'm not sure
I can't save you if you don't let me
You just get me like I've never been gotten before

Maybe it's a bitter wind
That chilled from the pacific rim
That brought you this way
(Brought you my way)
Do not make me think of him
The way he touched your fragile skin
That haunts me every day
I'm out of love but I can't forget the past
I'm out of words but I'm sure it'll never last
Rarely do I manage to be listening to music that holds the theme for my week. Usually they're completely unrelated but I bend them to my will. Usually my shortage of words results in an overabundance of emotions and actions that speak for me but this time we've hit the wall and god, did it ever hurt. Smashed into it face-first, lost a few teeth and came away with a bloodied nose and a bruised brow.

So if you need me I'll be in the corner nursing my wounds and my busted ego.