Sunday, 30 January 2011

Million dollar baby (Go on, take the money and run).

So this is what it feels like to be deliberately, bitterly drunk. Glorious.

Here goes.


Four beers in and Cole is the life of the party, the nucleus around which the rest of us revolve. He is jovial and psychotically thrilled to be here, home with his wife and tiny children and his friends. He's playing a song on his guitar. Phish, nothing else hardly ever, maybe some Rush sometimes. A lot of Zeppelin. But after a lot of beer he'll stick with Phish. Always.

Strings would be breaking, he'd play faster and faster. Knock over a beer with the neck of the guitar as he played. Loud and long. Some people would sing, most would just listen. He would shake his head and drop it down over the strings as if he were possessed and he'd smile that smile.

That smile that to me always said Come here, Bridget. Right now.

I would and he would kiss me and smile once more.

His dark brown curls would toss and he would flash those dark blue eyes at me. I never strayed far. I had a route. I was allowed to go to Lochlan and the kitchen and otherwise I would stick close. Very close. He would always watch me. Every move. Every glance I gave, every word I said. He loved me so. He admired me from the way the light touched my skin to the freakish grey-blonde shade of my hair.

Finally he put the guitar down and grabbed me, pulling me into his lap, kissing my cheek, squeezing me gently and laughing.

Are you having fun, Bridget?

I am.

Wait five minutes.
I'm going to shut it down. Tomorrow's a busy day. Besides, we're just starting the party.

He pulled my face into his and kissed my mouth. Thoroughly. A brief cheer erupted and he grinned and pulled back.

The most beautiful woman in the world, he yells and swats me on the ass.

Lochlan nods. Jacob ignores Cole and watches me. Ben laughs. Chris applauds awkwardly, his hands full with two beers, one more for Cole, one for himself. Cole takes it and stands, reminding the boys that the week ahead will be long. They're helping him get ready for a show. A big one that he is anchoring alone. He is vaguely nervous about the process but completely secure in his talent, as usual. I am proud. His work is the one thing we ever agree on and besides, I am his muse. This show is like a catalogue of me. Frighteningly so. I am veering wildly between letting it all go to my head and wishing I could hear what people say when they see that I am the only subject and that Cole had good reasons for mounting such a niche exhibition in these times.

It doesn't seem to matter. The people come. He knows everyone. I am treated to a reception line of his well-wishers. I don't know any of them unless I have seen them on television. I am fed names through his beautiful smile and they are instantly forgotten. Cole keeps appearances but he knows I hear nothing and he chooses to believe in the perfection of his work instead. In the images he produces, I am not deaf. Maybe I am not deceitful either.

I am not the traumatized, stray rain-soaked creature that he brought in from the cold after being left outside by his friend.

Once the boys begin to leave I am at the door chatting with Chris when Cole comes up behind me and nuzzles his face into the back of my neck. Chris takes the cue and turns away, heading into the night and Cole closes the door.

You have made me famous.

He is smiling again and I begin to make the rounds, picking up bottles, noting where the dishes are, though most of the boys are well-trained and bring their dishes to the sink when they are through. Cole follows me into the kitchen.

Did you have fun, honestly, Bridget?

Sure I did. These are my favorite nights.

Oh, really? He waits until I put the bottles back in a box and then pulls me into his arms. He's buzzing high along the ceiling but otherwise perfectly lucid.

My brother is stopping by in a little while.


I haven't seen him in three months, Bridge. You could be a little more gracious.
He leans over me, bending me back against the table, soaking my kiss in beer.

I think I'll go to bed and you two can catch up, perhaps.

No, you need to stay up and say hello. He likes to see you. You know that.

I'm very tired though. I am near tears and he understands precisely what he is doing.

It won't be for long. You'll be fine. He kisses my forehead and almost as if on cue, the doorbell rings. Cole frowns at me and leaves the kitchen to greet Caleb and I am left to compose myself.

In a moment I hear their jovial voices and Caleb is in the kitchen. He crosses and gives me a long hug and then a kiss on the cheek and flowers, he brought flowers. Orchids. They'll die here in the freezing kitchen with the north-facing window. I fake excitement anyway. Practice for later.

* * *
Four hours later I am kissed on the forehead once again. Probably because there is no other part of me that is safe to kiss anymore, I am a living, breathing biohazard and I want to die. Caleb is leaving. It is four in the morning and I am mutely aware that I need sleep or I'm going to vomit. Maybe dying would be better. It was not as bad as some nights but far worse than others. My head hurts from trying to wrap my brain around why I still have any loyalty to Cole at all and then I am reminded with a jolt.

Ruth and Henry. Only I think Henry might be Jake's and wouldn't that be amazing if I could cut my ties to this family by half. That and I like it, or so they tell me. Endless praise. Encouragement as I can take so much, they are astounded. I am rewarded for my efforts in affection and in promises with false bottoms holding hidden lies.

I play the game because the alternative isn't nearly as pretty as they tell me I am.

When Caleb leaves he presses a wad of bills into my fist, when Cole isn't paying attention. He's done this every time. When Cole leaves for the gallery early tomorrow I'll count the bills and then stop at the bank on my way to meet him at his show. It's always the same amount. Technically I make more than Cole ever will but I've never spent a dime of that money. It just goes into an account and it sits and it makes all kinds of interest and I just got a call from my former accountant letting me know that I could roll it into some seriously high-yield products and live off the return but I told him I wasn't interested in living and hung up the phone while I downed the last of a glass of merlot and wondered if it was time I tell the boys precisely how much money their boss has given me over the years for services rendered because I've always chosen to keep a conservative number on hand in fear of all hell breaking loose once more but fuck it, it's a quiet night, and those are the best nights for telling the truth, aren't they?

I drop my empty wine glass on the carpet beside my high-heeled shoes and go to find the boys. I'm tired of secrets. I'm done with protecting people who don't deserve it and I'm done protecting people who are dead.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sharing the parts that aren't rated NC17. Snort.

Last evening I watched a dog owner share an ice cream with her giant Saint Bernard. Ben and I were sitting in a Dairy Queen, sharing a peanut buster parfait.

Last night in my dreams Jeffrey Dean Morgan saved me from the Resident Evil dogs by shooting them as they leapt toward us, taking the kill shot that others were trained for but he took because I was in danger.

No more peanut buster parfaits for Bridget (but more for Benjamin because sugar after six p.m. gives him all KINDS of energy).

Friday, 28 January 2011

Fame (What you like is in the limo).

I had a photo shoot this morning, the one I was supposed to do yesterday and flaked out on, and then after lunch I took Ruth and Henry to buy shoes, because we walk a lot and they wore out the ones we bought at the beginning of the school year, or so I thought until we got there.

Everything I asked for was too small and that was the problem. The clerk suggested bigger sizes. Ruth's feet are the same size as mine now! And Henry's feet are bigger than mine now. Which means that not only is it nurture over nature, but I am completely doomed.

Totally and utterly doomed for all eternity, left to fester on German metalcore album covers, looking ten feet tall instead of five in the pouring rain in my tattoos-that-aren't-mine because they covered mine up and drew new ones over that, and a dress made of dead roses. Which is totally me, don't you think?

Don't worry, I'm really hoping the list of Ben's friends in bands who are too cheap to pay for a real model gracious enough to ask me to model for their album artwork is dwindling now. Doesn't anyone ever retire anymore?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Darker curls.

I could slide down, my shirt soaked to my skin, back pressed against the rough weathered grey boards that separate safety from danger. But Danger is my middle name. If I sit down they can't see me, only if I sit down my legs will be dangling free over the cliff, nothing between my striped tights and the white water below, crashing against the rocks at the bottom of the hill that holds my house tightly hugged against the tree line further up, past the yard that exists only due to a sympathetic gravity and time.


Ha, I laugh to myself and smile in the rain, drops hitting my teeth and splashing against my skin. Time is a prank that pulls us along, getting our hopes up, making us crazy, no happy medium between rushing and waiting.

I hear my name. They're calling me. They know exactly where I am and they're rushing to get here, sure that I would be bright enough to respond and to follow their instructions because I always follow instructions.

Except for when I don't and sometimes there are too many words, too much time and only these two tiny hands and I can't hold all of it and sometimes I let it fall, spilling over my shoes, onto the floor, burying my little heart like an avalanche no one saw coming and then I wait. I trigger rescue and I wait. My absence is the key, if I'm not clinging to the front of your shirt or tucking myself under one of your arms, if you're not warm and I'm talking your ear off and checking your pockets and playing with your hair and setting your watch to a different time zone then something is very wrong indeed.

I settle for a crouch, hunched over, sitting on my heels, shoes sinking into the mud, knees under my chin, clutching the copper box against my heart as if maybe it could be healed or I could take back my promises to let him go from his purgatory in my mind. Another mistake. So many mistakes. Run me through the rest intact. That's all I want. That's all I ask.

The gate flies wide open and bangs against the fence. The wind picks up. I'm so afraid that maybe God's just going to slide his invisible hand down my back and give me one simple push and I will either catch up with Jacob after all or cement my place beside the unintentional, unwelcome protector.

Cole. I wrote about him yesterday. Or has everyone forgotten him already?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

For warning (safe/not safe).

Slip to the void
To the dark
To the fall
Crawl to the life you should have known
You should never come this way
To test the hands of fate
You don't belong here

Peel back the skin
Close your eyes
Hell is born
To the abyss, but be warned
You fear what you've become
My God what have you done?
You don't belong here

But it's all in the way
You touch and you obey
His hand came up against my cheek, hesitant, tracing it to my collarbone, pressing me into his chest. Undaunted, he lifted me up and stepped to the wall, my protest left ignored as he fought with his belt, one hand unable to deal with it sufficiently. He lowered me to the floor and I tried to get away from him. A smile plays against the corners of his mouth. For my efforts I am thrown to the bed and his belt hits the floor almost at the same moment. I turn over, trying to crawl away but he grabs my thigh, pulling me back down under him, fingers forcing their way inside, the blissful agony making me cry out involuntarily because I never expect him to be like this and then he is and I remember. He pulls my hip, twisting me onto my back, the searing pain of his other hand rendering me to a silence that sends you somewhere above yourself to observe from a distance.

He stopped, an abrupt switch of gears once again. I was pulled down until I was pinned to him as he forced himself into me, tearing my legs apart, pain no longer necessitating closed eyes as they opened again, watery, unfocused. His hand clawed at the top of my head, pulling it up against his shoulder, bumping against my forehead over and over, his shoulders flexing in the dim light, a monster dredged through muscle and determination. His fingers were tangled in my hair, his bicep biting off my air, his hips a machine at full capacity grinding a steady onslaught against me as I shuddered, fighting to meet his strokes, pulling myself up at the hips to match him.

He tucked his head down against mine, pushing tight. Teeth cutting my ear, breath in my hair, want melting my brain. I don't fucking want it like this. I don't get anything like this. He is selfish and I push him away and he responds by turning me over and railing me from behind and I'm fighting but he has my wrists pinned in one hand, the other forcing my hips up against him. Making it hurt on purpose, the way I like it. Ramping me up until I am angry. I fight back, getting up, pushing against him and he is overjoyed, dangerous now, letting go. We are left on our knees, face to face. Out of breath and patience and time and energy too.

He moves in close to me and grabs my hair again, pulling me down and this time he is slow, agonizingly delicate in his touch and I cry out in frustration instead of surprise, taking his head in both hands, pushing him down hard. So hard. Away from me and to me. I am begging, thrashing against him but he won't bend. He's like stone. A carving. A monster. A living mausoleum holding everything in my heart and offering me exactly what I want, which is nothing and everything all at once. Then he gives in just an inch. True to form I take a mile.

Reality breaks over the horizon and the night is over. I am bruised and burning all over, grateful, conflicted, unchanged. Fragile and filthy dirty.

I don't change. I don't. I won't.

I can't.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Tuesdays aren't supposed to be bad. They're so BENIGN and usual and pedestrian and blue. They fade to purple with the sun and then tomorrow is Wednesday, the halfway point to the weekend and thank God they aren't Mondays, after all. So when they play out all rickety-bumpy and vaguely unsettled and quick to anger and forgive you almost have to wonder if you perhaps stumbled into a Thursday or maybe it was Monday after all.

Maybe Lochlan spending the day listening to me, closing in, helping out and being sweet rubbed Benjamin the wrong way because any attempt to comfort me brings no trust on Ben's part. All hypocrite, the only one who is flawed is Bridget and Lochlan by default because when he's not your right-hand man, he's your sworn enemy and on a dark night you would kill him as soon as greet him from afar to confirm his identity.

So when Ben walked into the room with our helmets and told me to go get ready for a ride, he was fully expecting the outrage he received. You could have set your watch by it. I would have set mine but when given direct orders...

I obey.

I went and pulled on my lined jeans, a shirt, sweater, boots and then came back down for my jacket and gloves. Lochlan blocked my path.

It's dark and raining. Not a night for stupid stunts, princess. Go back upstairs.

Last night ride I had in the rain was with you and he said nothing. Please move, Loch.

Sorry princess.

So you both want me to trust you but no one trusts me and you don't trust each other.

They both nodded.

This is getting really lame, guys. I whispered it and waited. They both held their ground.

I looked at Ben and then at Lochlan and then I weighed my options and the fallout. And then I came back upstairs, took off my gear and sat down on the bed to wait. I'm still waiting. I'm pretty sure Ben is still standing in the front hall seething and wondering where in the hell my loyalties lie?

It's not my loyalties he has to worry about.
I held the letter up into the wind and lit the corner with the lighter I stole from Ben last year when he still smoked and I tried to get to catch but the wind kept putting the lighter out and my thumb was going numb and burning too and the wind kept changing and really it just wasn't happening and I finally thrust the whole thing against Lochlan's chest. He caught all of it in a jumble, leaving smudges of black soot against his green t-shirt, a questioning look on his face.

What do you want me to do with it?

Make it burn because I can't!

He laughed.

You should just use it for toilet paper and then send it back to him.


Nothing but the finest, babe.

I shot him a look and marched back up the path. I have bigger fish to fry than dealing with my emotions about Caleb's latest summons-on-white. We need groceries. Badly. I literally cooked the last meal in the house last evening, and it's getting late.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
He is passing me things to put in the cart and I am taking forever, fidgeting, fussing and dropping things and telling him to slow down.

What's the matter?

My ring keeps falling off.

You know, that's probably an omen.

Don't even say that, Lochlan.

Well, it is.

No it isn't.

Sure it is. Your whole being is trying to unmarry you to the point of your ring forcing itself off.

No, the band is too big and my fingers are cold.

And you're losing weight again.

Good. I gained a lot last fall when we settled in.


Can we drop it? There, go get me some haddock, okay?

Want me to keep your ring for you until we get home?

So you can lose it and say the cosmos reclaimed it? I don't think so.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I wrap my hoodie around myself, chilly but not cold, exactly. It's going to be ten degrees this afternoon and we have abandoned coats again in favor of sweaters or at the most, a light jacket.

What would it be?

Right now? A hot cup of butter rum coffee instead of this regular stuff and a dark chocolate bar filled with blackberry preserves.

Sweet tooth in overdrive?


Oh, right.


A chickenburger from the Chickenburger. Definitely. Fries from Queensland.

Oh, man, that would be so good right now. And a milkshake.

Yeah. Have to have all three.

Great. Now I'm starving.

Just think! Your ring will fit again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

August walks into the front hall and sees the blackened mess of paper on the tray.

What's this?

Nothing. Just exorcising demons again.

It work?

No comment. Want to stay for lunch?

Sure, what are we having?

Nothing worth mentioning, sadly. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?

Lochlan bursts out laughing from two rooms away and I frown.

Pervert! Shut up! Just answer the question, August.

Tell me what's for lunch and that's what I feel like having.

You're the last gentleman I know, aren't you?


Monday, 24 January 2011

Yesterday (Lefts only).

Just a little over twenty-four hours of total silence and sheer panic and I am back safe and sound to spend the next several days within the confines of a circle of protection that bends but won't break. Flexible. Like a Bridget with a wail of dismay when she learned she had to fly down and sign a whole sheaf of papers that transferred future controls to her from Caleb because he conveniently leaves things out that are important in order to leverage them later, only Ben put his finger on my lips and reminded me of that new word we're trying out.


And so despite the protests of everyone who lives in this house and beyond, I talked to my lawyer, I asked the others to do what I was doing and just trust Ben already and then I climbed into the big black car with both of them, where Caleb proceeded to do just about every thing he could think of to undermine Benjamin and unnerve me and I COMPLETELY IGNORED him for the entire trip, short of those incredibly uncomfortable moments when he would ask me a company-related question in front of important people and I would answer with confidence and then resume the weird jittery shaky-fear on the inside.

I brushed off the advances of yet another round of horrific entitled millionaires who regularly buy people for a living who seemed rather put off when they couldn't buy us, but we were relaxed and cohesive with our responses to it all and left intact, though not unscathed.

I'm always one hundred percent sure I will pay for betraying Caleb and I've yet to be proven wrong but like everything else I'll add it to the growing pile of single shoes, since I never cease to wait for the other ones to drop.

In other news, I think the boys have made up. Boys being Benjamin and Lochlan, who have been bickering back and forth, mostly because Lochlan was afraid and didn't want me to go and also because Benjamin suspects he is engaging in a form of, proselytization with me. The camper sat in the driveway for weeks. WEEKS. Until Ben finally asked what Lochlan intended to do with it.

Lochlan said Go camping.


Ben didn't punch then. Strangely enough. Instead he told Lochlan maybe he should go live in his Dream Camper because he takes up a lot of room in the house. (Lochlan does, actually. He spreads out everywhere. He parents everyone. His moods sometimes rule EVERYTHING.)

Maybe my analogies should be about waiting for the other fists to fly.

Then we left for California. I had no idea punches can be postponed but they can. They actually get more powerful the longer you leave them tightly coiled. Because the Barbie's Dream Camper comment begat one about Frankenbenjamin and BOOM!

Ben doesn't like that particular nickname and Lochlan really wanted to get under his skin.

I dropped my carpet bag on the floor where I stood and went upstairs. Fuck it. I'm not dealing with it. I'm not choosing sides because they keep telling me I don't have to. I'm tired, I missed my kids and Ben and Lochlan are never going to get along for more than ten days at a stretch so whatever. Work it out and I'll see you both at dinner.

They did and I did. Magical.

Til the next time, that is. Probably later today. Ben is talking about having the camper painted pink and Lochlan asked if Ben needed his bolts tightened.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Help me if you can
It's just that this, this is not the way I'm wired
So could you please,

Help me understand why
You've given in to all these
Reckless dark desires

You're lying to yourself again
Suicidal imbecile
Think about it, put it on the faultline
What'll it take to get it through to you precious
Over this. Why do you wanna throw it away like this
Such a mess. I don't want to watch you.

Disconnect and self destruct one bullet at a time
What's your rush now, everyone will have his day to die

Medicated, drama queen, picture perfect, numb belligerence
Narcissistic, drama queen, craving fame and all its decadence

Saturday, 22 January 2011



Posting will be light/nonexistent for the weekend, due to the fact that I am currently downtown, waiting for the car to take us to the plane to fly to beautiful California for the night and then tomorrow we will get back on the plane and fly home.

I will call it a micro-mini vacation, even though everyone else calls it 'business'.

(This trip will only feature Caleb, Ben and myself. Sadly the logical one is staying behind. To hang out in Lochlan's Dream Camper, as Ben not-so-lovingly called the camper van this morning on the way out the door. Talk about going to bed angry. I guess they can make up tomorrow.)

Sometimes I really think Caleb is the devil, because it's almost like he manages to pick the Most Vulnerable Times to spring things like this on us. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Oh, the places you'll go.

That is all.

(PJ thinks it would be prudent of me to point out that I have spent time in person with more than one of these men. PJ, please tell me why I had to include that information and I'll make you some supper.)


Thursday, 20 January 2011

Poison deliveries.

Caleb sent over a get-well basket since he doesn't dare set foot in this house when I'm sick (so he doesn't get sick, apparently it makes Hell run very unsmoothly and frankly because I'm a very cranky person when I don't feel well) and I have pretty much worked my way through it. Pretty flowers. Cookies that Christian and Dalt pretty much divided and ate before I could unwrap my tea, complaining loudly that they could put down their fucking cookies and help me get the tea out of the package but the crunching pretty much overpowered my pointless whispers and then I started coughing and Dalton tells me hey Bridget why don't you make some tea?

I resisted the urge to wrestle him into the kitchen sink. fill him with hot water and place him on the piping hot burner but not by much.

Included was a handwritten note on Caleb's very neutral white paper (the color of SURRENDER, I might add) that he hopes I am feeling better quickly and we'll talk soon, probably on Saturday when he has his next round of sanctioned fatherhood. Also, enjoy the tea, since he is thrilled that everyone has given up sour mash and hops and distilled things in favor of steeped tea leaves.

As if he can talk.

Well he can't because I'm still presently suspicious and not speaking to him and every now and then something comes to me and I forget an answer to a question and so I dash off an email to the lawyers and my lawyers call his lawyers and his lawyers call him and usually within the hour I have the answers and half the time I TOTALLY remember what it was anyway and wow, if only I could get paid so much to do so little.

Oh, wait a minute.

But I don't CARE about that right now. I'm sick and I care about the fact that every time I swallow I want to punch a brick wall just to make something besides my throat hurt and my eyes are burning, my head is pounding but really, why aren't we travelling more and how in the HELL did we amass so much stuff after I swear I didn't pack all this stuff when we moved here and suddenly all my fucking shirts have tiny HOLES in them again and how is that happening and what the FUCK will make everyone happy for dinner even though I won't get home until 5:30 and that's only if I remember how to get home from the high school! which! is too close to the mountains! I have the water side of the highway down pat (but not at all) and maybe we'll just skip it and my fucking HAIR is driving me nuts because it's at the in-between stage just below my shoulders but never long enough now and my forehead is so hot I am burning from the inside and I wish Ben could stay home but he really can't anymore and I can look after myself but I miss him terribly and really who's bright fucking idea was it to make him the genius now when I think I liked him simpler and then this tea, this pretentious Tazo whatever stuff in Vanilla Rooibos (which I call ROOB-EE-OSE every single time) is far too sweet but decent quality and is this day over with so I can just go to sleep?

Keep the cookies, the sweet tea, the fever and the crankies. Just let me close my eyes.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Hey BEN (busy bee, let me distract him, just for a minute).

When I feel (a lot) better soon, the lap dance song for this year is going to be this.

Because it's awesome.

Just like me.
I am burning up, literally on fire with a fever from the inside out which means I am once again quarantined to the house and I am not happy about it at all but too sick to care, honestly. I have resorted to listening to the chickadees outside the window and Army of Anyone on the stereo, and reading Self-immolations through Time.

I reheated some chicken noodle soup of a questionable vintage that I found in the back of the fridge and I'm poking myself with watercolor pencils every fifteen minutes to stay awake.

Worst day ever.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Loco (motive).

Hey everyone,
I got nowhere to go
The grave is lazy
He takes our bodies slowly

And I said please
Don't talk about the end
Don't talk about how every little thing goes away

She said, friend, all along
Thought I was learning how to take
How to bend not how to break
How to live not how to cry
But really
I've been learning how to die
One of the biggest positive changes since the move has been the daily dog-walks.

You'll remember the old walks. Every day I contemplated the incredible proximity and danger provided by the train yard at the end of my street. I could reach out and touch the trains as they roared past. I flattened millions of pennies on the tracks. I could have stepped in front of every last one of those trains. I jumped out of my skin dozens of times a day as they sounded their whistles. I lamented the location of the castle in the dark winter mornings when the night train would screech through the west end of the city at a walking pace.

It was possibly the loneliest place in the world and I hated it though I went every single day, sometimes twice.

When there were no trains, the fields were desolate and spartan, deserted and dangerous. What used to be the perfect place for Jacob to let Butterfield off his leash to run circles around us was no place for a small blonde girl alone with her laughable fifteen-pound puppy.

There are no freight trains here.

We walk on a lovingly swept and power-washed sidewalk when we are not on a landscaped evergreen path into the woods. We pass big beautiful new houses, admiring the gardens and outdoor decorations. The expansive front porches and custom-built fences, the slate walkways. The neighbors are mostly around, and they say hello. Other people walking their dogs say hello. Children smile. Sometimes people come out and begin conversations. I almost feel as if I'm in a pageant every time I leave the house. Smile and wave. In the prairies I could shrug into my big heavy but not warm jacket and my not-quite-warm-enough boots and wouldn't see another person for miles in the minus thirty degree average winter day. The trains were my company and they never had anything to say.

This is much better. The boys are so happy there are no trains. And I kept one very flat smooth penny, for luck. Or maybe so I don't forget how lucky I am.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The hand went up, his thumb smoothing my bangs across my forehead, revealing my eyes, smoothing my hair back behind one ear and then leaving his hand there while I fell asleep, my cheek against his warm palm. One of the few ways I could ever fall asleep in the camper, with the strange noises that seemed as if they were right on the other side of the wall and the way it would bounce gently in the wind, no shocks left, bald wheels and a rusty hitch lending it all the credibility it was ever going to have.

Cole called it the have-not years. Bridget's hedonism. Ironic because Cole and I never had two nickels to rub together until Batman saw one of Cole's photographs of me and introduced him to people who made a sport out of art, and Cole was exposed to enough high-profile, wealthy people that suddenly his work was in such demand he couldn't keep up and he became an overnight success in such an incredibly strange and esoteric niche that life flew by in an instant and suddenly we were moving and then we were drowning in Cole's madness and the pressure was too much for him and for every dollar they gave him he broke off a piece of his soul and handed it, crumbling, back to them.

Batman had opened the floodgates but he had no idea that blessings are curses too. He was too busy, anyway. When he wasn't flying in and out of town, he was pretending he didn't need to check up on me more than once a year by having Caleb do it on his behalf, only Caleb fed him a steady stream of lies and Batman finally cut him out of the picture and they became adversaries, both siding with Cole, both jockeying for credit for Cole's success.

Cole's success belonged to Cole and Cole alone because whatever Cole saw through his viewfinder he could transfer to print and it stunned me to a fault. It's why I laugh when I look at the Ferris wheel picture Lochlan took and cry when I see the candids that Sam took of me at the first Mother's Day brunch that Jacob held at the church. They can't do with a camera what Cole could do and that's okay because they have other equally significant gifts.

My hedonism was an invention. I was simply a girl afraid of the dark and I knew where to go to feel safer.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Feet on the ground.

An awareness of standing on concrete. Pavement. Grass. Mud. Hard-packed well-traveled dirt even. I would become consciously aware that I was standing. That I was living. It always seems to hit out of the blue in the two seconds of silence before the next song begins.

Maybe that was how I decided I hated snow. I wanted to be on the ground.

In any case, the feverish disdain for blacker days here that I was warned of a thousand times over has not hit, and I am still cautiously inclined to point out it's the snow and the cold that I can't stand, and really having grown up on a rainy damp coast I'm well-suited to life as a duckling. My feet might be webbed. Water might bead on my hair. I imprint easily, if you have a beard and a smile for me.

My fingers have not split. My hair has not dried out to hay-status. My body has not degenerated into a battleground of hives and eczema and extreme crackled dryness. My mind has not shut down in the cold, bereft for lack of music on the worst days because my phone (any phone) ceases to operate at those temperatures. Instead I can pick out pretty shirts that will show (AKA without sweaters!) and run around the house and porch in bare feet for the entire day if I want and I won't feel a chill. The heat in this house has not made it over 57 and we haven't noticed if it's even on, half the time.

When the dark closes in I light candles and reading lamps and sometimes have a fire in the fireplace. When the rain pours I make sure we have a few backup umbrellas and the other day I laughed out loud when I went to shrug into my winter coat only to realize how warm it was and I went out in jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie instead. The hoodie wasn't even zipped up. Everyone I met was treated to a whole enthusiastic depiction of the fact that It's January! We don't need coats! Can you believe it! And they shrug and laugh at my excitement and tell me I will get used to it. I practically skip down the road now. You would laugh.

I have mastered driving in night-rain. I have solved most of the problems with wet feet. Instead of extra gloves and sweaters, the children carry extra socks in their daypacks and we buy very good rain boots and umbrellas to keep the rain an arm's length away. I have all but dimissed worries involving freezing to death and I'm almost grateful for the damp air to breath when we aren't well, because dry air has a tendency to bring the colds and keep them in our lungs.

With Ben still very sick it is easy for me to head out in search of juice and soup and cough drops and nyquil without him worrying about me driving on ice and I've already forgotten the description they used to use for when the snow packed down hard and glossy and they would have to bring in the big cats and dumptrucks and carve down to the road level again so that people could actually enjoy brakes when they drove instead of drifting right through stop signs, despite that top speed of five kilometres an hour. Was it gloss? No, I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that.

I believe the snow was weighing me down, frankly. It looks so innocent and beautiful. Special, individually. No two are alike. But then it forms a gang and chokes off the flowers and the life visible for miles and you wear it on your being in the form of layers of wool and silk and gortex and thinsulate and you curse your feet as they slip out from under you and you breath out fog that contains epithets of misery and everyone pretends they are all in this together when really you have been standing on the fringe trying desperately to escape into your head for so long now you can only tell the difference between the place inside your head and the one outside by the presence of snow.

I'm putting snow into its place in my life now. It dusts the tops of the majestic mountains that surround me with a pure white coat of icing sugar. It beckons to come play and then leave it behind again. It's a Bob Ross touch painted with a number five brush dipped in a swatch of titanium white, left to dry on a canvas of fantasy and that's where I'm leaving it today. The lowest low through the end of January is slated to be three degrees and I am jumping for joy.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


He pulled the hoodie down over my head roughly, still vaguely angry that I failed to remember to bring a sweater. I was in a rush. He made no move to pull my hair out from underneath it. I never did if I knew I would be on the rides. I couldn't stand ponytails and if I braided it it just became kinked-up later and so instead I left it tucked into my shirts and jackets virtually all of the time.


Yes. Thank you.


Lochlan kissed my forehead and then grabbed my hand, pulling me up the ramp and then stopping and waiting for me to climb into the basket first. I did and he paused, pulling out his little camera and telling me to say cheese. He snapped the picture and then he piled in against me, putting his arm around my shoulders and pulling me in close to him as the bar was secured in front of us. A little thrill ran through me. This was one of my rewards at the end of every evening. The wheel was kept open an extra twenty minutes so that I could have one private ride. So I could enjoy the stars and the weightless drop without being surrounded by crowds. I always had an hour to spare before Cole picked me up.

The wheel creaked forward. Three times backwards, five times forwards and then three times backwards again. I never counted anymore so that I wouldn't have the looming disappointment of knowing it was coming to an end. I never closed my eyes until at least the third trip around the wheel and I never let go of the front of Lochlan's shirt, holding on for dear life as I had every year for five years running because the very top of the wheel never ceased to scare me just a little even though I watched them put it together. I watched the inspections every morning and I trusted these boys with my life.

It stopped when we were right at the top. I knew I had about one minute to take in the stars before it would start up again.

Make a wish, Bridget.


Did you? In time? Want me to ask for another stop?

I got it. I'm good.

What did you wish for?

If I tell you it will never happen.

Sure it will, once the wish is loose it comes true.

I wish I could do this every night for the rest of my life.

He squeezed me. Me too.

When we got to the bottom again I asked Lochlan if I could have the picture he took. He shook his head and laughed.

Maybe I can have a copy made for you. Besides, why would you want a picture of yourself?

So I can remember this.

I'll make sure to frame it and always keep it where you can see it whenever you want.


I promise.

Cole was waiting in the parking lot when we got off. I walked through the gates, got into his car and we drove away. Lochlan went back to the camper. I would see him tomorrow morning again, so I hardly ever said goodnight. Years later he would tell me that really bothered him, that I never said it.

It still bothers him now, if I forget.

It bothers me that I was right about my wishes.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Prince of hotness.

The bento boxes are actually real.

My plan is to learn to get very good at doing designs and critters and characters out of every day foods since three or more members of my family take lunches with them when they leave in the morning.

Yes, even the big one, who would just be so impressed to unpack his meal at lunch time and find hard-boiled egg bunnies or carrot flowers.

Right? Right? I know! The look on his face. I would pay for it. I'll have to settle for the awkward suggestion when he gets home that I stick to sandwiches cut in half and no Sanrio please, we have no sense of humor after all.


Lunches were lacking this week anyway since he didn't work, choosing to suck in all the germs within an eleventy-zillion mile radius and come down with pneumonia and at this point he's relegated to a few delirious hours a day where he proclaims to have obsolete pop songs stuck in his head and lists wildly to the right as he walks across the room. And also? Lochlan's crown as (literally) Hottest Man Alive has been stolen, Ben smashing it down over his own skull as his fevers ranged from 102 to 105 and back again all damned week long.

I have two and a half days to make more tea and soup, fetch more juice, encourage more sleep and generally police the bottle of penicillin that sits by the sink waiting to be opened every eight hours in case Ben forgets, in his delirium. Then he goes back to work. Back to his office where he churns out projects and impresses people so jaded they arrive in shades of green and the cycle will continue again. Back to routine.

Back with tomato roses and cucumber sprigs curled into filigree!


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bento boxes. He said I forgot those too.

Now don't believe she'll never leave again,
I can't forget the words she said back when.
(Daniel wants me to remind you to not forget to store your pens together. This is critical. Especially if you need a year to motivate yourself to do it.)

Today I bought myself a new pair of army pants, found out my favorite bakery has a whole! big! bin! by the door of lovely things they made yesterday that didn't sell that will fit in my freezer just fine, and then drove all the freaking way downtown on a moment's notice to pick up a still-sick Benjamin.

And then for Benjamin, and ONLY for Benjamin, I did not resist when he suggested a picnic in the car, since we stopped at a drive-through on the way home because it takes forever to get downtown and home again and we had fifteen minutes to spare before the kids were finished school. If you know me you'll know that I don't eat in my car! Seriously. I threw a fit at Cole in 1999 after we seemed to spend more time in the parking lot of most fast food restaurants than we did in the tiny kitchen of our rental flat and I said I would never do it again. Ben promised it wouldn't become a habit.

This evening I took Ruth up to the high school for her first honour band practice, because she was asked to join. I am very, very proud. I tend not to talk about my children much online, simply because some day they will take a serious interest in reading my archives and I don't want them to think that I mined their lives for blog-fodder (the boys on the other hand, well, they're grownups. It's different.)

My legs fell asleep sitting on the steps by the gym waiting for her and I got to see an incredibly entertaining cross-section of high school drama and I sat there biting my tongue, desperate to tell the two involved that in twenty years so much will have happened that it doesn't matter.

I didn't say anything, if that's what you're wondering.

So it was sort of a long day, in that my knees were asleep for most of it and all of it involved looking after everybody else, which is a nice change from everybody looking after me.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

We got the patina thing from Apartment Therapy too.


It's rowing out. Which is snow mixed with rain, in this house. Making for eleven-hundred pound shovelfuls, and Bridget's little turbo parked in the driveway isn't going anywhere until the snow is gone. Mostly because life is all uphill and downhill here (HA, I made a funny) and frankly hills + snow sort of terrify me and I will scream out loud as I'm driving. I can drown out Pete Steele on my stereo and he's parked posthumously on volume number forty-two, in Bose car-stereo speak. That's VERY LOUD to you without my car stereo, amps under the seats so Bridget gets her full-body sensory musical experience, every time.

Bonham leapt through the snow this morning like a small, furry gazelle with no legs, and wore himself to bits sixty feet down the sidewalk (his legs are six inches long, we got eight inches of snow, so he body-surfed with no one to carry him along, you see), and is now resting comfortably at Ben's feet on the couch. Ben has been sleeping on said couch since six this morning. We woke up at four, realized the power was off (again, what is it with you, Vancouver?) and checked our phones, snoozed until they actually went off, and then he got ready for work, I took the gazelle up the road and then Ben told me over one hell of a barking cough that there was no way in hell he could manage the day and that was that. Third day in a row and that's when I start to worry and so when/if he gets up he's going to go to the doctor because he's been too miserable too long.

I am faring much better. Possibly because I refuse to let it get me but I've got a very raw throat and some seriously exciting and questionable things coming out of my nose that *almost* make me want to show the boys but otherwise I am still holding steady. The massive aches and pains don't seem to kick in until late evening.

Being sick 'adds patina' to the house, I guess. Otherwise we're just glaring perfection in the face of flawed humanity.

Oh, shut the fuck up. I'm kidding. I'm delirious from lack of sleep and the knowledge that this spring, an Anthropologie store is going in on Granville Street and I swear to God you're never going to see me again.

Also I heard Michael Kors is coming. I have a Michael Kors bag but empty it is too heavy to carry because of the latch so if I have to use it I make the boys carry it for me and that looks a little awkward and also it comes back sans lip glosses. That pisses me off.

I'm starving which always makes me weird. Three pieces of (sprouted) grain bread with jam (the closest thing I can find to the Goodhearty bread from Wolfville that my mom discovered and smuggled out of the Annapolis valley for me) and I'm eyeing the clock. I should just eat the damned pretzels in spite of the salt. Fuck the salt when I'm hungry. Feed the Bridget.

She's a monster.

PS I haven't heard from Caleb. I did hear from the court. Everything is duly noted and I could hear audible eye-rolling going on as I was warned to get our acts together because we use up a lot of resources with this whole love-hate-parenting arrangement. Lochlan is cautiously optimistic and terrified and nostalgic and remorseful all at once and secrets loom large. Caleb could respond antagonistically or he could be uncharacteristic. He is not usually unpredictable but I never know.

So I am instructed to hold tight, and I will for the moment. I'm going to go back to my new favorite hobby with Daniel, which is snarking on Apartment Therapy posts. Where they discuss riveting topics like the revelation of using coat hooks for...a coat rack! And microwave 'hacks' like cooking eggs. And my favorite, how to manage your laundry! If those don't make you wonder, these same people extol the virtues of choosing throw pillows, all under $100! (Who buys a $100 throw pillow? Someone who can't figure out how to make an egg in a microwave, apparently.)

This is the apocalypse, my friends, only it's very slow-moving and well-coordinated, with designer fabrics and the word 'hack' sprinkled on everything liberally, like a bad cough.

With that I am out. Places to go, people to molest. Possibly antibiotics to buy. Drive safe.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A place that might surprise you, and a Ferris wheel made of cheese.

(For the moment, I will try to bring closure to one damn thing on this journal.)

I'm pretty sure that Jacob would be rolling over in his grave today, if he was in one, but he isn't, he's in a big copper urn in a little white house in Newfoundland and some of him is in a tiny copper box here on the mantle with Butterfield in one as well. I seem to be collecting boxes with dead things. Oh joy, I've finally become one of those really creepy-

Wait a minute.

I always was vaguely creepy and weird so maybe nevermind.

What I meant to say is that Jacob backed up Ben and forgave him time and time again, when there was positively nothing redeemable about Ben whatsoever. Jacob gave me his blessing to rely on Ben in the letters left for me and Jacob believed that deep down Ben was a good person, when everyone else threw up their hands, blocked Ben's phone number and told him when he finally smartened up they would be happy to be friends again.

Maybe Ben is just coming full circle after an incredibly difficult five years. Maybe Jacob was just better at reading people. Maybe Ben is a trickster, a shaman, a fraud. Maybe Ben and Lochlan are working together on a slow and non-suspicious snail-paced abduction and brainwashing and I am too stupid to understand the difference.

Maybe none of them will ever get along sufficiently to last a week without a punch thrown or a few hours of silent treatment, or a silent mark kept on a lifetime board that holds so many strikes-you're-out that the game has become one of endurance, played through decades and styles and mindsets and plans.

Maybe I am the last of us to turn forty this year (shut UP) and it's simply time things change, because things were out of control.

So far out of control that it has come to this and this is something I can endorse because I tend to agree with Jacob. Ben was never much good at keeping up the charm for long. At worst he's an unruly five-year-old with a truck in one hand and a sunflower in the other and he had big plans to rule the world with his music someday only at best he's one hell of a wild, unruly type with little self-control and no plans for the future past riding out the day. Throw in a case of incurable stage fright, an inability to get along with others in close quarters and hold to big decisions for very long and a heavy hand that belies his incredibly fragile heart and you have a force to be reckoned with. The Dark Side.

Ben needs time apart from people. Down time. Time to unwind. He needs space to spread out and please, don't touch his stuff. Advise him of the best way to proceed and then trick him into confirming the most beneficial choice with you and call it a decision. Don't try to contain him, for there isn't a room that can. Get him off the stage and let him rule the world in a different way, in which his name will become synonymous with great things without him having to sell his soul every night under the hot lights to get it.

Jacob gave me permission to love Ben when all signs pointed to that being a recklessness of the highest degree.

But Jacob didn't make me fall in love with Ben, Ben did. And when no one's looking (better yet, when no one is talking about the last thing Ben ate that wasn't exactly edible like truck tires, ipods or Bridget's watermelon all-chemical lip gloss), Ben does things that continue to surprise.

Like spend years culling favors and keeping friends in order to help another friend and save my life at the same time, in a way I can't tell you about because the Internet remains a stranger sometimes, not a friend.

And now Ben holds the upper hand, in everything. And even Caleb with his threats and history and potential for total ruin can't touch us anymore. None of us. Lochlan is safe. I am safe. The memories are safe, tucked in tightly with the secrets and the grief and I was taken this morning to close another chapter of life that I left open a little too long, page turned down repeatedly, threadbare fibers waging tears between the words, spine cracked on a book that is too hard for most people to read. One I now know by heart, word for word.

I stepped through the threshold into the concrete room and Jacob was standing in the light. Ben entered behind me. Jacob nodded. Tucker, he said softly. Zero, Ben replied. Jacob broke into a gentle grin and my heart strained against the stitches. It's funny how things that shouldn't be are intertwined in a way that everything happens at once or nothing ever happens at all. I would like more of the latter, I think.

Are you sure I have to do this?

I need to go, princess.

Just so you know, I'd like to keep you here forever, but I know I can't.

I think things will be easier for you now. You don't need to come here to spend time with me.

What if things don't get better?

Then you have a willing cavalry to help you.

I love you, Jakey.

I love you, princess. You know where to find me.(Thankfully he did not point straight up. I might have died from cheesiness and a proliferation of flashbacks to watching Highway to Heaven.)

I closed my eyes together tightly. I squished my whole face up in an effort not to cry. When I opened them he was gone. No goodbye. No drawn-out departure. No last chance. I was aware I was holding Ben's hand so tightly my fingers ached. I let go and shook them to bring back the feeling. Ironic. Usually I want to make the feelings go away.

Hey Bridge.


Can we use the garage again now? It's going to snow tonight.


Oh, fuck. I'm going to go move the truck before you change your mind.

Monday, 10 January 2011

With the best of intentions and his invisible cape.

Trying something new, because it's been a while.


When I hit publish yesterday morning, Ben walked into Caleb's office, holding the key card that gives access to the elevator. The card was still attached to the doorman, who didn't look very happy at all.

Ben let him go and he beat a hasty retreat. He knows Ben. I'm sure the moment he returned to the ground floor he would have called Caleb on his cellphone to warn him there was an angry giant waiting in his office but Ben didn't give him that chance. Ben looked at me and then went barging through the condo, walking right into the bathroom where Caleb was and telling him we were leaving and just stay where he was.

Caleb was too surprised to say anything, I bet.

Ben returned to the study, took my hand and asked me if I had anything else with me. I said no and he pulled me back to the elevator and outside to the waiting truck, still running. He buckled me in, locked the doors and then called Lochlan to let him know we were on the way.

He called Caleb again and told him to have my car brought home too.

We came home and he made no move to go inside. I am sitting quietly. Tears rolling.

You gotta give me some of it.


This part. The hard part. Stop running to him when you feel angry about Jake. This is part of being together, Bridget. You're supposed to come to me.

You have enough to deal with.

And I would rather deal with you and help you than worry about you twenty-four hours a day. That just adds to my problems. Let me help you. Stop putting yourself in the path of a freight train.

Caleb's a train now?

When it comes to you, yes. I think it's time some things change.

That's what he said.



Ben stared at me without a word for so long I started to squirm shamefully under his attention. His face started out positively furious and then I watched as it softened. As he went from monster to lover in the space of two minutes, which was an eternity and then he finally asked.

What did Zero say, exactly?

That I have to let him go now, and that I should stay away from Caleb.

And how do you feel about that?

Well, fuck. I hate that question. That question sent me out of the truck, doors slamming, jaw clenched. Marching back to the house where I stopped, patiently waiting for Ben to catch up and unlock the front door and then once inside, I went straight for the library where I threw myself face down into the pillows on the chair.


I know. He's right, you're right, everybody's right.

I don't want you near Caleb anymore.

Is this an ultimatum? My Ben doesn't do ultimatums.

Yes it is and yes he does. He's just been a lot more perverted and more patient than most Bens.

My Ben isn't patient at all.

Sure he is. Your life up until now is an example of that.

So I've gotten it all wrong.

No. Not at all.

What about Lochlan?

Let me deal with everyone from now on.

You can't deal with them, Ben. If you shut them out Caleb will crush Lochlan and me, by default. Is it worth it?

I have aces in my hand too. Maybe you haven't paid attention to the game.

Why didn't you use them already? Christ, Ben, we've been to hell and back a hundred times now.

I was waiting for you, but, really, Bridget, you're taking a while and sometimes I think you take advantage and really I have had it up to here with everyone else taking their piece of you and leaving me with crumbs. They need to go find their own lives. Caleb needs a new hobby that doesn't involve terrorizing my wife and playing on her weaknesses.

You're going to take Lochlan away from me, too? I have already forgotten about Caleb. I don't need Caleb. I need Lochlan though. This is one dealbreaker I won't indulge in.

No. Just Caleb.

Good luck. If this were possible it would have already happened.

Let me fix this. Once. Just this one thing.

No, sorry. I can't risk Lochlan. And you shouldn't risk me, by default.

And you shouldn't doubt me, Bridget.

What do you mean?

Maybe I've spent the last three years planning. To be sure. Do you trust me?

I had to think about this. For a long moment. Holy fuck. I actually DO trust him.

More than anyone.

Then let me deal with Caleb. The only time you'll see him is when he picks Henry up or drops him off. Okay? I have spent so long saying nothing. I'm done, Bridge. No more.


Can you do this, little bee?


No more Caleb, no more Cole.

No more Caleb, Cole.

No more Jacob either, princess.


Package deal.

You can't put restrictions on Jacob. I didn't sign up for this.

Yeah, well, princess, I didn't sign up to watch you hammer yourself into the ground squarely between them either.

Caleb will kill all of us. Did you warn Lochlan? Does he know?

I want you to let me handle him. If Caleb contacts you, I want you to direct him back to me. Okay?


Nothing else, Bridge. The company will be run by the board. You don't have to touch it.

Okay, Ben.

I love you.

I love you too. What if-

There are no what ifs here. It's okay. Everything's going to be okay, bee. I've been planning this since the day I fell in love with you.

Eight years?

Three, goofy. Okay, maybe longer. And I've had it with him. It's time to move on this.

What if-

Trust me. I love you. And I love

Do you really, Ben?

Sadly, yes. He's pretty hot actually. (Ben grins briefly and I start choking on tears. Laughing and crying at the same time. So pretty.)

It's going to blow up in our fac-

Or it might just all end happily ever after.

You know we won't know that for forty or fifty years.

I can wait, Bridget. I've waited through worse.

What's worse than Caleb?

Jake was. Believe it or not.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Condemning the already-condemned (AKA The Devil is real).

It was pitch black and cooler than I remember the temperature of the room being when I fell asleep. I slipped down to the bottom of the bed from between my guards as they slept on and shrugged into yesterday's clothes. Buttoning my jeans I saw one guard turn over and then he pulled the quilts up over his head and the soft growl of his snore resumed. Not so much of a snore, actually, more like someone getting a cold. I frowned but kept moving.

I gingerly pulled on my warmest zippered hoodie and took off, down steps, down hallways, lighter than our room by virtue of the lack of window coverings. Down, down, deeper until I hit the stairs that turn to the right and then I was home free. At the bottom of the steps is a frozen sheet of water, once a perpetual rain puddle in the place where I land after hundreds of trips, turned to treacherous ice by the overnight drop in degrees. I keep my hand on the railing until I'm sure I'm not going to wipe out.

I made it. I turn and walk slowly down the hallway today. The ice-puddles are everywhere. I'm surprised it is so cold. My hands are numb and shaking already but I need to keep them out for balance. It's a tightrope without the fall, a line drawn between wrong and wrong.

The door is open again. I either keep a messy grief or he has been waiting hard for me. The iced dead leaves remain curled around themselves along the walls. A light wind whistles down the corridor, echoing off concrete. I feel lonely. None of the boys are here at this hour. No one can convince me this isn't real. Nobody understands why the sadness ever goes away and I never wanted to have to make this trip on a regular basis but it is expected, and the obligations to the dead outweigh the ones to the living every time. All I ever wanted was to bring him back to life and until I figure that out, everything else will have to go away.

Jacob is still sitting on the floor where I left him last. When I step through the door and look around I instinctively know he's still going to be right there, even after six weeks of not coming here.

He has his knees up with his head buried in his arms, resting on top of them. He doesn't look up.

You're hurt.

It's nothing.

He breaks out in a roar and I shrink away from him, back toward the door. He looks up finally and stands. I am small in front of him, the top of my head level with his chest. He grabs my arms and I shriek involuntarily and he drops them and meets my eyes. His are sunken, faded blue ringed in black. Betrayal floats in his irises alongside sadness and rage, each one struggling to be on top, drowning the others, taking turns pushing each other under the surface.

I am surprised at his rage.

It isn't rage. He's read my mind.

Like hell, Jacob.

I'm helpless here, princess.

There isn't anything you need to help with!

Was it Caleb because I can get to him.

He gets to you, you mean. And no, it wasn't and no it didn't happen on purpose. It was an accident.

They can't afford accidents.

They watch each other.

That only raises the stakes and puts you in danger. You can't be in that place anymore. You had enough from HIM!
Jacob raises one hand to the sky and points at the darkest corner of the room where Cole lurks in frustrated silence. He isn't allowed to talk unless I give him permission.

It isn't like that.

Oh, man, you're just going in circles now. Let me go. I can't help you stuck in here.

I can't do that.

YOU HAVE TO. Keeping me here compounds all of this. You shouldn't be here. I can't do anything from here. This is insanity. Bridget, make something different. It's okay. You can visit the memories but this..this room isn't real and it's not right and it's enough already. Enough.

You don't know anything.

I know your heart, Bridget.

If you knew my heart we wouldn't be here, Jake.

I was really hoping they were strong enough. You have to try something else.
Jesus, this can't be happening again.

Get off it! It isn't like that. Just STOP. I can't do this today. I have to go back.

When will you come back?

When I think I need you.

What about when I need you? Six weeks since the last time, princess.

The rage transfers from his eyes to mine and I taste the bitter thrill of victory and his helplessness surrounds me and takes all the air out of the room but I have enough left to let a little bit of the rage out.

Yeah, well, what about when I needed you, Jacob? Where in the hell were you then?

I shocked myself and stumbled backwards, away from him, away from the sudden realization that I'm not magical and keeping him here isn't doing anything for me but reminding me that I am ordinary and useless, that I can't bring him back to life but I can't keep him here.

This isn't working only instead of being sad, I am so angry. Angry at everyone. Angry at myself. Angry at Jacob, who was elevated to angel-status up until this moment. Sainted. An innocent. A victim of my emotional tides and my insatiable need for things no single human being can fulfill and no group of human beings can surmount peacefully.

Hence the injury, as I was pulled violently between them like a rag doll, the threat of my arms ripping away and my stuffing coming out a sure eventuality until the breathless, silent terror on my face halted a moment that never should have happened. They both let go and I careened off one, colliding with the other at a hundred miles an hour. Their arms came back up to catch me but it was too late, their expressions admitting how startled they were at how incredibly out of control we have all become.

My tears and pain did nothing to dilute the treachery and I realized we never place a limit on their selfishness, allowing their predatory instincts to continue unabated, until I became their victim instead of their prize.

Jacob's voice cuts back in, gently now.

Bridget, stay and we can figure this out.

I need to go. They're waiting.

I can help you if you let me out.

I'll think about it, I lie.

I turn and run, stupid fucking door almost tripping me again. Instead of heading back to the stairs, I run in the other direction, toward the endless dark. Toward hell.

The doorman lets me in, aware that I am not dressed properly for visiting, aware that my hair is not combed and I have car keys and nothing else. Aware that I am shaking like a leaf and he reaches in close and presses the elevator buttons for me to give the code that will spit me out on Caleb's floor and then he looks at me questioningly as I shrink away from him, a silent inquiry as to whether or not I am okay.

I dismiss it without responding and close my eyes as doors close and the elevator rises.

When the doors open again, the Devil is waiting, pulling my hands into his fire. They are still ice-cold. He is smart enough not to touch more than just my hands. He tells me he has to get ready for the day and I should wait in the safety of his office, that I could read on his laptop or whatever I wanted to do, really.

That he won't be long.

All of this is a mistake.

Saturday, 8 January 2011


This is what we come up lying in bed being goofy on a Saturday morning. Today is going to be an everything BEN day.


We'll have eggs BENedict for breakfast.
Maybe sit on a BENch.
We'll be BENevolent.
We'll say hello to our BENefactors,
Let's do things for our own BENefit.
We'll BENd over backwards to have some fun,
and not get eaten by BENgal tigers.

I'm sure there will be more.

Friday, 7 January 2011

He requested one particular song and I couldn't do it for him. The piano is situated in the glass corner. All windows, the rain just pouring down the glass and I wondered why he was twisting screws this morning and then I saw why. Earrings on the kitchen counter.

Someone I know?



I stopped trying to play altogether, getting up abruptly. I thought I saw a flash of amusement cross Caleb's face but it was gone as quickly as it arrived and replaced with what I could only place as guilt or maybe sadness, even. He maintained convention even as I managed to knock over the bench but John jumped a thousand feet from his place at the island reading the paper, having been asked to stick around for an hour in order to take me home. John reacted. Further proof that Caleb isn't human, though he can be prone to devastating emotion. Maybe he just learned that from me along the way.

He asked if I needed anything, a question so loaded with innuendo I broke into a sweat.

I was tempted to ask him for juice in a glass bottle so I could break it off at the neck and jab it into Caleb's wretched, inhuman soul, putting it out of misery for good, but I resisted and said nothing, hands beginning to flutter. I shoved them behind my back.

Would you like to talk about why you're so unsettled today, princess?

No. (There's no way he doesn't understand how I feel about her.)

Good then, because we have quite a bit to accomplish today.

I don't want to be here when she comes back.


I just told you. I don't want to see Sophie.

You won't. I sent her home this morning. I'll courier the earrings out later.

So why did she come here?

She had a meeting and so we went for dinner. Bridget, what is wrong with you?


Is she a rival?

What? No? She can have you if that's what you mean.

Something isn't right with you.

She just..

What is it, doll?

We really need to get some work done. The children will be out soon.

He paused and smiled gently at me, leaving the smile in thin air, bending his head over the stack of invoices between us. Subject closed. A molecule of grace and a reprieve, in spite of his attempt to feign polite ignorance. My feelings about Sophie are none of anyone's business, Caleb included. Hell, BEN included. I can't explain it and so I just don't.

I just don't want Jacob's ex-wife to enter into my life in any way, shape or form, in person or in passing mention. Is that too much to ask? I came to that conclusion last time I saw her and I'm fine with my decision. And you all know how forgiving and permissive I am, so this didn't come easily. Don't make it any harder than it has to be.

I can't write with him breathing down my neck. Wait til I get home again.

They never tell you truth is subjective
They only tell you not to lie
They never tell you there's strength in vulnerability
They only tell you not to cry

But I've been living underground
Sleeping on the way
And finding something else to say
Is like walking on the freeway

They never tell you you don't need to be ashamed
They only tell you to deny
So is it true that only good girls go to heaven?
They only sell you what you buy

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Elephants with strawberry blonde curls.

Oh fuck me. Lochlan got my head stuck on Journey again. It's going to be years before I shake this. Just like last time.

He's a very simple guy. He requires blue jeans, t-shirts, a handful of bands: Pink Floyd, Journey, Kansas, Allman Brothers and a couple others, coffee, smokes, a Wacom tablet for painting, his camera, his small but beloved princess and his motorcycles too.

I think that's all he needs. We're on the fence with the beer. Long story maybe not for today.

But I found out this morning his phone alarm is that Journey song and maybe I didn't find out this morning because it's been stuck in my head for a few weeks so I must have heard it in my sleep.

They always played it on the Ferris wheel.

You could curse Lochlan forever for being stuck in the past. You could tell me I'm the ticking time bomb and that he could be the soulmate based on what you've read and you could condemn him for the near-evil that he brings oh so quietly and you could revile him for his bottomless cold logic which isn't nearly as cold or as logical as it seems when you realize it comes from a place of total insecurity and you could fear for his perpetual fever dream state which always leads me to wonder if spontaneous combustion will be his fate some day.

Or you could just let it go, like we do. Leave it alone. Pretend it isn't there because you can't do anything about it anyway. Neither can we.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A thirst for potassium chlorate.

(One of the few requests I can actually grant. Thanks to those of you who asked for this story.)

I met Lochlan three weeks after moving to the neighborhood my parents still live in to this day. I was newly eight years old and we had moved around the Maritimes three or four times by then, summering in Shediac and Cape Cod equally, breathing in sand, exhaling salt air. Settling near Halifax because my father worked there and it was close to my grandparents, who lived down along the south shore of Nova Scotia.

(If I didn't spend my early childhood on the beach, I have spent it in the car, or rather standing beside it on the shoulder of every Eastern coastal highway you can name, dry-heaving because I can't sit in the backseat of a car. I still can't, to this day and Gravol is Bridget's very own roofie cocktail.

Out like a light for days.

Is that a tangent? I'm sorry.)

Anyway, the night I met Lochlan was the night he made his best-ever shot on goal (for a thirteen-year-old boy), knocking me down with the practice ball they were using for street hockey. They were playing a quick pick-up game, sons versus fathers in the waning light of a hot July night during the neighborhood block party. The bonfire licked at the sky at the end of the street just off the pavement where the road turned to forest and the path to the ball field began.

Up until I hit the ground I had been on the sort of high only an Elementary-school student jacked up on ice cream and excitement can manage and I never heard him yell a warning, though afterward I am told his thirteen-year-old voice broke spectacularly and he was teased for the rest of the summer, until that other kid showed up for Junior High with high-water pants on and Lochlan was left mercifully alone, having enjoyed a complete deepening of his voice at that point in late puberty that meant he was well and truly ensconced in teenagehood now and had little use for some kid in grade three.

But for reasons that remain a mystery to me, we were instant friends. He picked me up off the pavement and felt my head gingerly and apologized profusely. By then all of the dads were present, and all the other boys too. He told them he would take me to his kitchen to get an ice pack and they could continue the game without him. He put his arm around my shoulders and pointed out his house and we walked slowly in the dark as kids ran by with sparklers (oh, how I wanted one!) and bubbles and frosted cans of rootbeer and Dr. Pepper and hotdogs with grubby, blackened buns and the last dregs of relish from the jar.

Once in his kitchen, Lochlan promptly forgot about the ice, instead telling me I had cool hair. I was sitting on my long hair, perched on the bar stool by the counter. He poured a couple of glasses of cream soda for us and asked me if I had eaten at the barbecue. I had a hamburger, I told him and he nodded. Good.

After a few minutes I asked if we could go back to the party. I was hoping there would be some sparklers left and I had precious minutes remaining in my wild night of summer freedom. I wasn't about to waste those opportunities. Besides. All boys were always nice to me to show Bailey how awesome they were. I was sure he would be no different.

Lochlan nodded and we left, leaving his house unlocked as people did back in 1979 and he walked me back down to the end of the street and the bonfire, where most of the adults and children had gathered to watch the flames and roast marshmallows. He said goodbye and repeated his apology for hitting me with the ball and then he stuck his hands in the front pockets of his jeans and walked away back toward the boys, who were still enjoying their pick-up game even though it was too dark to find their sticks, let alone the nets.

I burned four marshmallows beyond recognition, ate seven raw ones, and then started to become hypnotized by the flames when Lochlan returned and called me away from the log where I had been perched. I went to him and he produced a lighter and a single sparkler, which he lit and handed to me.

Didn't want you to miss anything, he said.

He lit a sparkler for me every night for the remainder of that summer. Every now and then we'll buy a package for no reason at all and light them and the nostalgia hits all at once, just like a hockey ball to the back of one's head. If you aren't careful it will knock you right over.