Saturday, 30 April 2011

Picking up Hemingway.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
~Ernest Hemingway.
Last night, Ben again went for the big coat, but I was ready for him this time, dressed differently, prepared to plead for warmth in leaving everything on this time, dreading the cold but certainly not the thrill.

Only once again, he chose surprise.

When we got down to the beach Ben encouraged me to sit against the logs and then he walked to the water's edge, turning to face me, his back to the sea. He pulled out a book and began to read from it, watching me somewhat nervously. I knew the style before I knew the name of the book.


To Have and Have Not.

Across the River and into the Trees and The Snows of Kilimanjaro were the two other tattered, dog-eared books found among Jacob's belongings in the hotel room that were returned to me in a Fedex global shipping box. The remainder of our Hemingway collection is on the bookshelf in my bedroom. It's been a really long time since I looked at any of it. Years, which in Ben-terms is a very long time indeed.

I suppose there are people who have never seen the archives here. I took them away. Jacob used to read to me. Out loud, every night on the porch after the children were asleep. I loved it so, and now Ben is doing it.


Ben who has positively zero desire to walk in anyone else's footsteps because he is busy walking through broken glass and lightning strikes for fun. Ben does not require conventionalities, he defies logic. He throws up his middle fingers and flips off rationality and he rips the head off predictable romance and flushes it. He'll do things his way, he tells me and I believe him. He's weird and wonderful like that.

He's going to take up this torch because he knows I won't scream in agony, twisting out of his arms when the words sink in but the voice is different. He knows I will sit and strain to hear over the roar of the midnight surf while the wind follows the labyrinth of ruin into my ears until it can cool my brain into a satisfied stasis, until I have absorbed enough of the story for one night, told in such a way that eclipses a night spent rocking on a porch swing with a hot of cup of tea listening to the crickets in the tall Prairie grass in spades. Ben lives viscerally and everything will be loud and dark and violent and felt until you just can't feel it anymore and then, and only then are you living, thank you very fucking much.

Only Ben could make a Hemingway novel into a full-on metal experience, with the waves crashing and the moon blazing on through the night. Only Ben would dare to bring this particular pastime back to life. Had anyone else done it I would still be screaming. Instead I feel like I have a little more of myself back.

Jacob can listen in, probably reciting the passages word for word. Probably impressed with the delivery and maybe even our progress too.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Yeah, that guy. (Hi Mom, you can skip today.)

Last evening after the hockey game ended Ben shrugged into his big coat, the winter one that kept him warm in the Prairies. The children were long asleep, the boys drifting off to their favorite corners of the house to listen to music or watch movies or work late into the night. Ben and I don't often get time alone, it is a gift that we look for and take with gratitude.

He took my hand in his and led me outside, across the yard and down the treacherous cliff path in the dark. It's borderline dangerous but at least the skies were clear enough to have the moon and a few stars to provide some ambient light, and the rocks were dry. Once safely on the beach we walked until we reached the bigger rocks at the end of the property line. The boys have laid out huge logs facing the beach and it's become a good place to sit and draw or just to watch the waves, on finer days.

He took off the coat and sat down on the sand, leaning back against the waterlogged wood. I was about to protest when he pulled me down onto his lap, wrapping the coat around me, hitching up my dress up, pulling my tights down. Fighting everything I had on until the only thing left was his coat pulled tight around my shoulders and held against my knees by his arms. He pulled himself free and bit into my lip as he grasped my hips and guided himself in. I didn't know it was possible to be so cold and so warm at the same time. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and held on as he rocked against me violently, unending. Numb took me over and I put my head down against his ear, begging him not to stop. I cried out when he did and he brought his hand up to press my head against his shoulder and pulled me hard against his flesh with his other arm wrapped around my hips.

We remained like that until the blood in our veins took on a fresh painful chill, and he managed to pull the coat away long enough to slip me back into my dress, stuffing my tights into one of his coat pockets, rescuing my boots from high tide. He took my hand once again, kissing it firmly, pulling me back up the path and into the house where we let the heat wash over us like waves, sending our nerves endings screaming with effort.

He smiled at me but he never ever said a single word.
This made my day.

Actual post to follow whenever my brain decides to join me. It's still off watching the sunrise, I believe. Or the aftermath of the Royal wedding.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ben is working late tonight and so I am hanging out in the overly-bright kitchen waiting for him (who keeps leaving all the damn lights on anyway?) with Lochlan and Dalton. Lochlan has been showing me how to use his new tablet. It's an Asus e-slate or something. A whole bunch of the boys got them but so far I haven't had a lot of chance to play on them so tonight was my chance. The topic was suggested by you-know-who. 1984. So I drew 1984. When I was thirteen* and Loch was just about twenty.
He is mad because I didn't draw us happy. I'm not sure why he's taking cartoons literally, you'll have to ask him yourself.

Tomorrow maybe I'll draw Ben.

Oh lord. Hahaha.

*(Note: Clearly I am standing on a box in the picture. The top of my head falls just under Lochlan's chin, and for some reason I always draw myself tall. Wishful thinking.)
What are you doing, princess?

Holding my own. Just don't judge me.

I'm not judging, I am asking questions.

Evaluating your own reactions, Jake.

Maybe. To be honest, this surprises me.

Like those ex -cons. 'They do what they know', you said.

You are so far from what I meant.

I'm doing what I know.

You are playing with fire and you're going to get burned again. He doesn't love you. He wants to win.

Oh but that's where you're wrong. No one keeps a game going this long if they don't really want the prize.

It becomes something else after a while. It has taken on a life of its own and you're not being careful.

He won't hurt me.

But he does. They all do in their own ways.

I didn't come here to talk about this.

What did you come for then, princess?

It's Easter. It's spring.


I just needed to see you. It's been a while.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The synergist.

(Oh, look. I'm going to add to what I started with this post. Don't say I never finish anything.)

When Lochlan returned, it was dark. He walked through the door of his apartment, letting it crash against the wall. He threw his keys on the table and walked straight to the couch where he sat down with a loud sigh and took another drink from the open bottle in his hand.

When is it?

He knew I would still be right where he left me. Spinning in the dark in his desk chair.

This summer. Labour day weekend.

Christ, my birthday? Come on, Bridge.

Everyone will be home.

He stared at me for a moment and then realized, glassy-eyed, that I was right.

Don't do this, peanut.

I'm not your problem anymore.

I only needed a break. Three years is long enough. You're going to be related to that monster.

Cole won't let anything bad happen to me.

Come back to me. We'll get it right.

It's too late to be right, Loch. I stand up, turning on the lamp and begin to walk slow laps around the room. He finally gets up and pushes me back down into the chair. He hates it when I pace. I hate trying to have a battle of wits with a twenty-five year old with freshly impaired judgment.

It's not. We start over. Just you and me.

It's too late, I repeat. What are you going to do with your life, Lochlan?

I don't know. He says it quietly and looks away. I know I'll be watching him.

I'm not going to report to you.

I didn't ask you to. Everyone else will. He smiled. He's halfway to drunk.


Just hear me out okay? I'm going to win you back, even if it takes the rest of my life.

It might.

I have nothing better to do, peanut. His head is pressed against mine. I am pinned in the chair, he has his hands on the arm rests, and short of slithering out underneath his arms, I'm trapped.

So I kissed him.

I'd like to say I was young and stupid, or that I didn't know what I was doing, or hell, maybe it just happened, but I did it on purpose, because I wanted to know if it would still feel like it used to before we broke up. (Lochlan, against all odds, is the most affection person, after me that is, on the planet. He doesn't seem like he would be but he is and he keeps it all for me so maybe that means he isn't. I don't know. Let's just keep going, shall we?)

He kissed me back and turned the light off again. I had orange polka dots dancing in front of my eyes and the taste of secondhand whiskey on my tongue. I took the bottle from him and swallowed a long drink, the burning fire spreading down into my fingertips and toes. Yep. Still feels the same. Really, really good.

I have to go. Cole's going to be off soon. Cole worked nights at the same restaurant as Lochlan to pay for film. He said he was going to be a chef because he could afford a good knife but not a good camera. It was a travesty no one planned to put up with for very long.

backed off and I got up and walked to the door, grabbing my bag off the table.

I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

Gee, thanks.

No, he's about to marry someone who doesn't love him. And I'm sure he knows.

I walked back over and slapped him. Hard.

You don't get to tell me how I feel!

But I'm right, aren't I? He picked up the bottle and took another drink in the darkness. I didn't stay around to answer. I heard the bottle hit the door and smash to bits after I closed it as I walked down the hallway. An uncharacteristic response from him. He doesn't usually allow himself to lose control.

I should have put more stock in that realization but I didn't. I was too busy trying to figure out how I was going to marry Cole without getting any closer to Caleb, of whom I was deathly afraid by this point.

I had waited for Lochlan long enough. I couldn't wait anymore.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cancelled noise.

One long experiment is over, and I have gracefully disengaged myself from the weight of conventional expectations to keep to my own path. Not a popular choice, sometimes not a pleasant one, but you have not walked in these shoes, and you do not know what it's like.

I'm going to leave my hearing aids in the drawer. Maybe I will pull them out again when I'm very old and frail and tiny, testing to see if I can still discern the chickadees from the general wind, maybe I will hear the train whistle too. But for now, they're going to go back into their case and become neglected, on purpose.

I don't want to flinch away from your voice. I don't want to be so distracted by a muffler or a passerby that I miss the horse braying softly from the fence. I don't want to catch the inflections in your voice when you censure my longings and I don't need to hear snow falling so quietly, ominously.

I don't know what an echo sounds like. I don't think I have ever heard a real one. Only in a movie, I suppose, and that's okay too. Really.

Take me to the ocean, standing right beside the tide and I can hear the waves crash into the planet with a ferocious comfort that engulfs me in bright and utter darkness. Send me for a walk in the early hours of the morning and I will hear the robins waking up their neighbors obnoxiously, efficiently. Leave me be with the big headphones and I will hear Ben breathe as he sings. I will hear nails on the strings and I will finally, once and for all, hear the rhythm guitar in any of the songs at all, because that is the most difficult part.

I will persist with my whimsical, apocryphal stories for when the children press upon me new epic tales while facing the other direction. I parrot back what I think I hear, to their utter delight and boundless frustration. We will take these new stories and expound on them until we are breathless, in fits of laughter, because I missed another somber bit of information, thrown haphazardly over their shoulders for me to catch.

I missed. Maybe I'll get it right the next time.

I can hear the rain. It's so heavy and lush, it pours all around me and I know it well, like the roar of a waterfall but so much deeper. Give me a voice and I will catch all of the emotion within it when it speaks. Give me a note and I will recite the lyrics from beginning to end. Audible gold. A richness beyond mere treasure.

Keep the sounds selective, and don't dilute them with the pedestrian bedlam of every day. I don't commit to hear what everyone else does. I am saving my sound allowance for the extraordinary now.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

We are out in the orchard, dressed in our Sunday best.

The children are playing bunny-tag with some of the boys. It's a game we invented when they were very small. They're given baskets and they must find and collect all the eggs before the bunny catches them. The bunny is one of the boys, wearing a suit and a giant creepy bunny-head from an old video shoot. He runs in a nightmarish gait, almost in slow-motion, otherwise the kids don't have a chance. I know that this must look like a dream from the water side, a scene muted in pastel colors and nervous glee, soft-focused with lots of noise added for grain. I'm not really paying attention. My eyes are closed.

Ben has my hand, held tightly in his. We are standing closer to the water, so I can hear the surf crashing upon the names of the dead, so I can enjoy one of my favorite places in the reality safety of his hold. I am not allowed here otherwise. This is such a gift this morning in the hazy sunlight before the rainclouds rolls down the mountain again to soak us in sin.

I open my eyes and look at him.

He looks at the ground, considering his words and then he looks out to sea, squinting in the brightness. I am struck by the unforeseen congruities with which I focus on their gestures in order to soften their impending words. We agreed on honesty, and boy, is it ever painful.

Lochlan is where your head is, but I know where your heart is. That's all that matters, and it's something that little red-headed fucker likes to forget. I'm not worried. Besides, what's he going to do to win you over? Stick you in the middle of the tightrope and expect you to make back his investment? Fuck that, fuck him. I can't fix anything, I can just keep on doing what I know is right. And that includes building you up while they take turns trying to tear you down.

I'm nodding. Tears are now dripping off my chin, staining my dress with dark spots.

See, everyone thinks I'm the one who is fucked up and indecisive and destructive but that's all just part of my plan, Bridget.

Uncontrollable laughter begins to squeeze off my tears and my whole body is shaking now. He takes off his suit-jacket and wraps me in it and then puts his arms around me.

You don't belong to him. He's a habit, that's all. You don't need to define your loyalties to me. If he needs that then he is insecure and afraid and that's his problem, not yours. I won't do that. I've drawn my lines and I keep things clear. I wish he would do the same instead of pulling himself up on your memories.

Our conversation is interrupted by the children, who run over to show us their baskets, overflowing with tiny foil-wrapped eggs. Ben scoops a handful from each and eats them without unwrapping them, making the children scream with delight and disgust. They run back into the gardens laughing and Ben watches them go with such a huge grin on his face.

Ben is regularly dismissed for being so impulsive and unreliable, based on his behavior in his own circus of a past. A mistake for sure, for he should not be underestimated.

A blur of white fills my vision and the anonymous bunny-man tackles Ben to the ground and then jumps back up, pelting him with eggs, running off again. Everyone is laughing. Ben sits up, collects the eggs from the ground and eats another handful of foil, this time mixed with a bit of moss.

When the bunny reaches the other side of the yard, he removes the head, his red curls reflecting the retreating sun.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

If she wanted you she wouldn't keep choosing men to put in front of you. Don't be so hopeful.

I heard his words even from inside, carried through the window and into my ears. I wanted to unhear it. Caleb still screwing Lochlan to the wall, making sure to grind it in good so it would hurt the most, going on almost thirty years now. Lochlan doesn't need to be told things he already knows.

* * *

They gave a seventeen-year-old guardianship rights for a twelve-year-old-girl?

Eighteen. I'm eighteen now.

Whatever, kid. I hope you know what you're getting yourself into.

Lochlan turned away from the gruff but kindly house manager and smiled at me with his teenage bravado. It's okay, peanut. Just paperwork. Here, take this change and go get some juice for us.

* * *

We took off for a late bike ride. It was warm and bright out. I held on tight against his back as he raced down the highway, my eyes closed. I can be young again that way, before everything became so complicated. Maybe he does that too. We are putting a lot of miles on this bike together, it seems. We've put a lot of miles on the planet already and far too many on each other.

He is putting gas in the bike while I play with the buttons on the pump.

He's right, you know. You just keep doing it.

I say nothing. I'm not going to have the same argument we always have here. I don't want to be left behind. I shake my head and he turns the key to start the bike. Conversation ends. I can't hear him anyway.

* * *

What do people do when they don't travel anymore?

With the show, you mean?

Yes. I am finishing the salty bits in the bottom of a cup of french fries.

He sits up and stares out to see, squinting slightly. He always looks like he's about to find the flaw in my logic when he has this expression.

I don't know, Bridge. I guess they pick a place they like best and live out the end of their days. We can find a little house we like and we can sit on the back porch watching the sea and trading our favorite memories. When the midway comes to town we'll go and ride the rides and eat cotton candy and have a wonderful day.

I smile into the sun, shaking my head to get my hair out of my eyes.

I need to trim your bangs again, he says and the moment of warmth is over. He is parental again. Worrying too much. We fight. I don't want bangs anymore and it's my hair.

* * *

Why didn't you just stay with me.

I don't answer, since it is less of a question and more of an accusation, a regret. I could point out that he was the one who freaked out and left me, so coldly so he wouldn't have to feel it, knowing I had a place to land, foolishly thinking he was doing the right thing.

You keep doing this. Just out of reach and I can't hold on to you.

It's been a long day. I dump my wine into the grass and set the glass down on the table. I'm going to head inside.

Just stay here for a few minutes, please, peanut.

I don't want to fight with you, Lochlan.

We won't. Okay? We won't fight. I just like having you to myself.

I look at the moon. He has gone back into subconscious territory, where everything he thinks about comes rushing out to poke at and burn our hearts, turning tingles into stabbing agony and inklings into paroxysms.

Don't listen to Caleb when he talks to you. It serves no purpose.

I could say the same for you. You have to stay away from him.

I can't. I have Henry.

He swears under his breath and settles low into the chair, taking a long drink from his beer. I wish he would put down the beer. I wish he would put down the past.

We got our retirement, didn't we? He chuckles to himself. The expression on his face is the furthest thing from humor that I have ever seen.


Remember when we talked about what we would do when we were too old to travel with the show anymore and I said we would live by the sea and sit in our chairs watching the waves? Well, here we fucking are, peanut. I should have been the fortune teller. This is to the letter. Maybe we made it after all.

Yeah. I can't think anymore. My eyes filled up and drowned out the thoughts in my head.

Only you're bound to someone else. Someone who doesn't even fucking deserve you.

Lochlan, don't. (My mouth moved but no sound came out.)

You belong to me.

I stand up so fast, I knock over my chair.

I know. It wasn't what I meant to say, though and I clapped my hands over my mouth, horrified.

* * *

I hand him a coffee, automatically. I have set out nine different cups out this morning. His is blue. I always pour his first and I don't know why. Oh yeah, he is always closest.

Thank you, gorgeous.

He's in such a good mood. I almost drop the cup on the floor between us.


Don't, Bridget. Just leave it. Whether it's true or not, just leave it. Please. It's all I have now. I wanted things to turn out differently, I take too much from you now but please, whatever you do, don't take that sentence back.

What sentence? Ben is behind Lochlan suddenly and I startle and then I do drop my full mug of coffee on the floor.

You need a keeper, little bee.

She has one, Lochlan says, to no one in particular.

Friday, 22 April 2011

I want to tell you my wedding ring is still way too big and crawls off my finger every chance it gets. I have a rough bump where my ring finger meets my palm because of always clenching my fingers to keep it in place. It's a full time job. I should get the ring re-sized but I don't want to leave it anywhere anymore.

If I tell you that, in addition to telling you I refuse to eat prawns with their armor still on and that I can be a skeptic but still miss a nuance a mile wide, then I won't have to tell you that everyone is here today.

Literally, everyone.

Well, except for Cole and for Jacob because they're dead but everyone else is within reach presently and it's not been easy, but maybe that's because Joel is watching me because he can read my face in spite of my ability to charm him into ruin and absent servitude, Nolan is watching me because he cares about us and really he wants to do everything he can to make our lives easier if he can, and Caleb is watching me just because...well, because he covets, and there is no way of sugarcoating that to make it sound like anything else anymore.

Be careful what you wish for was an early tattoo, a reminder that I failed to heed. His favorite quote, not mine, and when I read it my brain says it in his voice and that makes me want to snatch up a dull spoon and scoop out the contents of my mind like pumpkin guts on Halloween Eve. Carve a scary face on the front, light a candle and let's get this night underway.

We took the costumes off. After a while things become so uncomfortable you no longer care to remain in character. We have stopped playing nice. So many years and it feels like yesterday and he left and made a go at life in the hot potato and I got married and got a job at the bank and every chance I got I would take leaves of absence to join the closest show and warm my freak blood under the big top and everyone complained and lowed against that but I did it anyway. I dropped out of university at the age of twenty-one because I don't know what people wanted from me and at the show I knew for certain. Sometimes Lochlan would join me but more often than not I was alone just because once the worst passes you begin at the bottom and you don't have to worry so much about things. They have already happened, the only direction is up.

And I was in harm's way because I don't know how to be anywhere else, clearly. And I'm not anymore but it still feels the same. The sun is warm on my face, the promise of summer is just within reach and I want to pack light and hit the tents now, because I can make a spare few dollars and escape into unreality, where I fit in best.

I suck at real life, Lochie.

You just think you do, Bridge.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Fair traffic control

Ok, this phone just rules everything. Not only for the epic little camera (I have not shared the good pictures with you), but for the easy to personalize interface and all the apps! Just like an iPhone, only I can have all the pink icons and heart-dotted fonts and crazy looking weather skins that I want. There are two things that bother me and they aren't deal-breakers anymore. One is the keyboard. I know it's been just two weeks or less but I'm finding it a slow process to type.

The other is battery life. I did not expect the five, six days I could get out of a Blackberry without batting an eye, but really I think this needs to be plugged in once, preferably twice a day. I can see a solar charger pod in my future for just-in-case.

And yes, I can't get past level four in Angry Birds Easter. The boys are all eye-rollie about that, saying the thrill has passed, but hey, I'm a noob. Let me haz mah flyin' birdies. There were no games like this on my Blackberries.

They think I am funny, because I'm in their faces every ten seconds with HEY! Look, I made my app drawer into a bunny (I want to say bunneh but I'm a grown woman). Or, OMG. MACRO FOR THE WIN.

This is a weird day, or possibly I might be a tiny bit excited. A three-day weekend for everyone looms on today's horizon and I will be there to meet it, waving my arms over my head, showing it where to land.

Nolan is coming up. Joel will be stopping in, since he's in town but for business. Caleb is home from la belle province and in fine form so I may purchase and register a taser and keep it in my pocket and if he gets too close to me I can just erase his memory or knock him down if I'm really lucky.

Codex fell into a permanent place in The Songs That Make Bridget Who She Is (whoever that is) and I added glassblowing to my horrible little private, inadequate, insufficient, reluctant bucket list.

I finished all the alcohol in the house and I gave myself a fucking french manicure with a ten-dollar kit and I swear I can't see the difference between my nails and my neighbor's, though hers have fake length-extensions glued on or something and mine don't. PJ says that means I can wipe my own ass. Har. Perspective AND mean. And questions! We have them.

Here beside the bunneh. Hoppity-hop.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Victory. It's mine. Okay a little one only, but that's enough.

As a six-year veteran of gardening in less than ideal conditions, today is a momentous day for me. Behold, I bring you...microlilacs.

Or maybe they are macro-lilacs, since I had to ratchet the camera down to get anything at all and I almost missed them in my travels around the garden, having dismissed this sort of generic looking perennial that I had forgotten the name of over the winter.

I never said I was a conscientious gardener, just a persistent one. I've wanted my own scratch-grown lilacs since forever. Now I got 'em.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

This is so wholly inadequate as a post, but I don't have time for more.

Three years. That's 1095 days married to Tucker, since we are on a nickname tangent again. Three years of watching perfectly good lip glosses disappear into his giant mouth that could wake the dead (but won't, even by request) with yelling, singing, or a mix of the two (or snoring or laughing, when he really gets going). Ben is only quiet when things aren't good. Boy, is he ever loud these days.

Three years of defiance in the face of relentless pressure. Three years of awesomely destructive food fights and ridiculous laughter that doesn't cease until someone wets their pants (usually me, fine, okay). Three years of doubts and arguments and enough tears to lift a large vessel and carry it to a far-away land and an effort to build a life that is so fucking normal that castles have been replaced with chalets and fairytales with a gritty, perfect reality swept off the sidewalk that leads to nowhere. He took the crown. He put it up somewhere high. I can't have it back, I am told.

(It's the journey, stupid. Stop waiting).

Three years of growing pains and butting heads. Three years of desperate, legendary love. We're doing just fine if you call living in the garden of good and evil acceptable accommodations. We slay people in our day to day lives with our devotion and our loyalties and we worry them with our mutual infatuation. The need to shelter each other is larger than life and it doesn't erode into the sea because we put in a breakwater and everything is going to be okay. We keep testing but these bonds are holding and we are wrapped up in love, held tight by our friends and our promises to each other. They call them vows, we call them promises and promises are things you don't break.

Three years, and we are no longer newlyweds but we still have a long way to go before we qualify as long-haulers. That's okay, time seems to move quickly when it comes to happy things. We'll be there soon enough.

Ben pointed out, while he was in the shower and I was brushing my teeth, that the third year modern anniversary gift category is glass. I asked him what we should do about that. He said he knew, and he pressed himself, fully naked, up against the glass shower door. He actually put too much pressure on the door and it flew open and the bathroom got soaked. I got soaked. Ben didn't care. He pulled me against his chest and hung on until we almost broke our necks on the slippery floor. After that other things may have happened, and I'll leave those up to your imagination for now, I have a date to get ready for.

Happy Anniversary, big Ben. I love you. Still. Always.

Hot damn.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Ex-Nomads and little mysteries.

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache-grey
Don't wake me with so much.
The ocean machine is set to nine
I'll squeeze into heaven and valentine
My bed is pulling me, gravity
Duncan is the picture of Kerouac-cool today. He's the only one that didn't venture into the depths of retail hell yesterday in search of jeans that weren't shredded and on life support. Every five to seven years I can get the boys to buy some new goods but it's a tough sell until their wallets, phones and cash start to disappear as they're out and about, thanks to the holes holding up their pockets and revealing all their secrets (no, not those secrets. We don't let it come to that.)

Not Duncan though. He travels light and holds his ground. A pack of Belmonts, an ancient moleskin notebook with the stub of a pencil stuck in the middle and his scratched-up but spotless aviator sunglasses. Matches from restaurants he doesn't look like he can afford but can over most people I have met. Two keys. One for the front door of our house and one for his truck. A black elastic looped around one wrist to tie back his hair when it's necessary to do so. His phone. That's it. I've never seen him with anything else, ever.

I have Carte Blanche to read his notebook whenever I want, since we always seem to be sharing the same page in life anyway. He is a poet by definition and a tech by necessity only he is far more seasoned and useful than Dalton, if we are comparing. Dalton is much more pie-in-the-sky and in awe of the world and doesn't get a lot accomplished, though he tries. To his credit he will drop everything and hit the road just like his big brother and so that's how I wound up playing his unofficial real estate agent for so long and why it made so much sense for him to move into the house when August decided to play musical addresses over the winter.

They are firmly on Team Jacob, if we are keeping score, but we aren't so that's okay too. I met Dalton (we call him TJ, if you want to read more) through Jacob and then later on when they met Ben they defected quickly and wound up on Team Benjamin. But Ben doesn't actually have a team because he's an independent door to door salesman, okay?

And Duncan didn't technically need a job because he's paid his dues and got a little lucky too and he and Andrew discovered they could go around the world with backpacks and knowledge and they did it for a long time and now they have settled down a little more. I think age does that, though Duncan said he has seen the world three times over and now he just wants to be home with us and that makes me really warm when he says it like that and I really enjoy having TJ living here now, it's like yet another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place and at some point here we are finally going to see the Big Picture.

Because I still have no idea what it is.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Hardly interested in your definition of how well-adjusted we are.

This is a silly day. We are having slow wake-ups and long coffees. The dishwasher is droning in my ears, the dryer one floor below thumping along with a quiet hum. I'm a huge fan of dumb things like putting the laundry in at five in the morning and then it's done and away by eight.

Ben is assaulting my ears with the latest Solid Steel podcast. I can't figure this part of him out, after all this time. He is all METALMETALMETAL and then throws in a hint of Techno or whatever it is. He says this is akin to my need to infuse classical music into my metal crushes like sprinkles on a chocolate cupcake. Quirks, we got 'em. We don't have chocolate cupcakes, however. Maybe that can be rectified soon.

We snuggled in last night and watched Hereafter. A fantastic-directed movie, and I have a huge crush on Matt Damon anyway. I thought it would be like What Dreams May Come but it wasn't. It wasn't sad or difficult to watch either, even though I have a preoccupation with death and with sad, too. A good way to spend two hours. I only feel asleep very briefly once. A coup, if you will. Because this morning I saw the trailer for 2012, I was like what's with the spaceship? And the boys were all like slept through it. It's an ark. Don't ask.

And I am not going to draw out the issue of whether or not Lochlan will be permitted to decide Ruth's future so you can stop emailing me about that. I'm sure we'll butt heads on that subject and a zillion others over the next decade.

Ruth will be twelve this summer, a positively bittersweet number and don't think it doesn't bring up a lot of reluctant nostalgia in everyone. Well, three of us, to be sure. And I bet it is frustrating for you to come and read and not understand the gravity of this and not have all the facts and wonder what in the hell transpired but really it's very complicated and I have always tried to structure my writing around my relationships and some total fluff too and leave out pertinent facts because it's my choice to do so.

Just like Lochlan has made his choice to return to my life under less-ideal circumstances because, like my readers seem to feel, some Bridget is better than no Bridget at all.

And now if you'll excuse me, there is a conference call to be navigated and a dishwasher to be unloaded and then the day will be fully underway and free to indulge in anything we want.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The hard way.

The circus is the only ageless delight you can buy for money.
Ernest Hemingway.
Over lunch Ruth was extolling the virtues of her gymnastics class, bragging rights sewn down when she demonstrated some serious contortionist moves for us in the middle of the kitchen floor.

I pointed out that soon she'd be able to earn her keep with her natural talents, and maybe she should consider joining the circus.

How old do you have to be?


I have a little time left to prepare, then.


A lot has changed in the days since our run. Now there are age minimums, insurance mandates, regular health care, and on-site education. There are cross-country auditions and the Internet, and a whole faction of people who oppose all circuses based on a few bad apples who spoiled what should be a magical event no matter what age you claim as your own (the ones who used wild animals and kept them in tiny cages on the road for endless months straight, to be clear).

And still Lochlan shook his head violently, meeting my eyes over the tops of their heads, accusing me of being impulsive to willingly encourage my daughter to venture in to the land of freakshow-calibre darkness and depravity.

Only it's not an impulse. It's right there, within her blood as it was in mine and I could think of nothing better than to live by one's wits, skipping over formal education and predictable paths, running straight up the centre of foolish, making a left at ridiculous, and then coming to a full stop at impetuous and calling it home.

I'm not going to fight about it now. He can spend the next six years trying to talk her out of it, if he wants. If Ruth is anything like me, she won't listen anyway.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Rhymes with glitch (it's okay, I know the way to hell).

Play it like a cameo, and watch her overflow
She’ll find a way to go down
Run like a candidate, like any minute made
You’ll find a way to go down

I’m sick of the faces, the scene and the light
We’ll be fine when the faces connect with the spine
Sophie called just as I tackled Daniel, ripping the very last gummy tarantula out of his hand and stuffing it in my mouth. My reward is to be flipped onto my back and held down while he lets a long string of spit descend from his mouth until it almost touches my nose and then he sucks it back in. I break into a laughing scream, because Ew! Dancooties! He has the worst ones. Just like his brother, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with sneezing on people or cornering someone to pass gas in their face. Did I mention they throw food as well?

Finally he lets me up and I feign throwing up and take the phone. Yes, my very sophisticated, pulled-together nemesis should be made to feel that much more superior by virtue of my ridiculous immaturity. I live in a frat house. Such is life here and I wouldn't change it for anything.


Bridget, hi. Is this a difficult time to talk?

No, why?

I heard lots of...noises.

It's nothing. Why are you calling? (My God, look how fucking smooth I am!)

I wanted to...well, I wanted to see if you needed anything.

I'm guessing Caleb is there and you're discussing the state of my brain.

Well, actually-

Well, actually, Sophie, Caleb is the one who told me Jacob was still alive, and then he back-tracked just enough to make me seem crazy and then he made sure I am aware of what he is capable of doing by having some other very important documents altered. So there is no question in my mind what's wrong in my life. Clearly it's his presence. You might want to think about how knowing him might impact your own life. I would anyway, if I were you. Thankfully, I'm not.


It felt so fucking good to hang up on her. Almost as good as not getting spit on by Danny.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Not often I indulge in this sort of total nonsense so here.

I am experimenting with the front-facing camera on my Nexus. I think it works well. What do you think? It was about time I got rid of the photo in my profile in which I am hiding behind a Blackberry. A curve 8300, no less. That was like three phones ago! Now I have FIVE mega-pixies! FIVE! I love me some pixies. Please bring me a crowd.


Not often you get to glimpse a real princess, hey?

(Oh, kiss my little arse, PJ.)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


I am your satisfaction
I am your memory
I am your suffocation
I am your sanity
I was hurrying past him to get the pitcher of lemonade and he grabbed me, holding my arms. I stopped struggling instantly (in through the nose, out through the mouth.) He was in one of those moods and I had to watch myself. A little too enthusiastic. A little too loud. Fast and loose with the praise and the condemnations again. I spent the better part of twenty minutes watching him butt heads with Lochlan before I saw an escape window. Lemonade refills. I can make fresh.

Who's your monster, Bridget?


Who's your monster? What keeps you awake in the dark?

There is but one answer, and it's right and wrong. I smile at him and ask for a kiss instead. I have discovered Bravery in my apron pocket. It has a best-before time stamped on it and I gobble it down, choking on gristle.

Cole grins and gives me a long hard kiss. Silence falls around the table. His intensity is a force to be reckoned with and I know there are unspoken questions as to whether or not I am managing it at all or maybe I'm just hiding his flaws behind my back so that his friends see his good side and continue to worship him. Maybe I am deluded and submerged, over my head. Maybe I am in danger. I drowned years ago, when no one was watching. Drowning is silent and pitiful. It's permanent, too.

When he pulls away the fleeting lust and complimentary tenderness in his eyes buries all of that for precious few seconds before the temperamental clouds roll in again. Jacob, ever watchful, asks if I need help with the drinks.

I shake my head, not taking my eyes away from Cole's. Right now, help would not be a good idea. Later on it will mean the difference between life and death and Jacob will be nowhere to be seen. Time's up. I hasten into the kitchen. Maybe there is another little bundle of Courage in a different pocket somewhere. I have time to search around a little if I hurry. Jacob drops his offer upon registering my expression. He will grill me later, for he carries a small bundle of Truth.

Not sure it's enough to outweigh Obedient, but whatever.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I stood in the shadows near the door, breathing quietly. Waiting. Finally the sounds fell away from the room in front of me, and all was silent again. I stepped from the darkness, my pupils dilating. Huge black holes broadcasting my intentions to the night.

I walked carefully. These shoes are killer, the straps from my stockings digging into my skin. Biting my lip, I pause and reach down to unfasten the clips at my thighs. I need the extra focus, and no one's going to care when I am through. I slip out of my coat and let it fall in a puddle on the floor.

And then I raise the gun. I flip off the safety, squinting behind the sight. He is centered, one kill shot and everything is over. I straddle his lap. My chin begins to tremble and I shake my head once quickly, pulling my chin to the right and readjusting my balance. My chin starts again and my eyes begin to fill. I bite my lip harder and close my eyes, willing composure. It fails me but it's dark and he's not awake and I should hurry before they realize I am missing. I should hurry before I lose what's left of this nerve, this pretend courage.

I raise the gun once more, two little hands and a pocketful of determination this time, a far cry from how I look in tousled curls, lip gloss, long black eyelashes and his favorite outfit, the baby pink and black corset, worn as an unseen goodbye-kiss.

I squeeze my fingers around the trigger. I am aiming for right between his eyebrows, I don't want him to suffer any more than necessary. Tears fill my eyes to the brims and I resolve to shoot blindly, if need be.

He sighs and my heart screams out of my chest and runs off down the hall into utter black. My chin goes to the right again and I shake my head violently to clear my eyes. It isn't working. I have to get it right and I'm not going to. I admit a provisional defeat, stepping closer. I climb off his lap and stand beside his chair.

I run my hand lightly down his cool cheek and then pick up the cigar, still smoldering in the ashtray on the table next to him. I jam it between my teeth and turn away, putting the safety back on, jamming the regret home for coming here at all. I watch the rain slide down the windowpanes, blurring the city lights and I check the time. Time to go. I drop the cigar into the inch of warm whiskey left in his glass.

I turn to leave, my
goosebumps turning to icicles when he quietly thanks me for not killing him.

I don't say a word or turn around, I just keeping walking until I am far enough away from him to exhale and I drop the gun on the narrow table in the hallway and enter the elevator. The lights are harsh, unforgiving. The night has grown old and I break into shivers. Time is up, fragile Miss. Now tell me, what have you done?

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Caleb took the opportunity to disappear for the weekend, giving up his scheduled time with the children for once in favor of saving his own skin, even though if you want to be bitterly technical, I can't prove he is responsible for any of this. I should have known better but I am distracted in my nostalgia and still ridiculously under the weather with this endless sore throat and the full complement of habitual sleep deprivation that functions as my shadow.

Ben took us out and made sure we all did things. He bought me some watercolor paint supplies and fresh sharpies and a new phone (Nexus S! I am no longer a Blackberry girl and everyone is thrilled). He found Thai food and rainy-day drives. At night he closed and locked the door behind all three of us, keeping the nightmares at bay, holding the world, bathed in shades of red and gold, tightly in his arms and eventually Lochlan came around, the disappointment waning.

If there was one thing we would have known, it would be this. The timing was close enough but Ruth does not fit the mold of the circus man, she only consciously chooses to blend her logic with unexpected, impulsive silliness on rare occasions, just like he does. It's nurture, not nature that makes her this way and life will go on, like it always does. On the bumpiest, most-rutted, barely-passable, overgrown and fully trampled trail that passes for a road that I have ever seen. Caleb may not lose, but he's not going to win, either.

I am taking recommendations for new, uncorrupted lawyers, doctors, therapists, ex-brother-in-laws and grocers, as now everyone is regarded with a suspicion that should have been in place from the very beginning and instead I find myself trusting people who don't have a good grasp of precisely how evil evil can be. Bridget gets burned when she touches the fire and so she snatches her hands back and steps out of the heat and into the cool shade of doubt, where the surroundings are familiar and the hours go by so much more slowly.

At one point yesterday Ben reached out and put his hand on the back of Lochlan's neck and he told him that it would be okay, that nothing has changed, that everything is going to be fine. That we've been through worse and we will stick together. And I sank into a chair on the other side of the door, grateful for these two men in a way that leaves me breathless and determined. Lochlan nodded. He knows better than anyone else the difference between how nature can produce psychopathy the same way nurture can instill the will to survive it.

He knows.

Friday, 8 April 2011

(I jumped the gun. Caleb can win. Not even sure if I'll bother continuing to write. There is no point anymore, Lochlan is crushed and I have lost my orientation and no longer know which end is up.)

Time has run out. Ruth is due to be picked up shortly and you didn't do very well, princess. As entertaining as you all are, I won't risk the children to the extent that you seem to think I will.

What do you mean? I can hear the exhaustion creeping into my own voice.

Do you really think your little tests were independent? And do you really think that returning Lochlan's diaries absolves him of anything at all? And don't you think if your precious preacherman was still alive, he wouldn't move heaven and earth to be with you? I am so disappointed in you, Bridget. You take everything at face value all the while assuring the world that you trust no one. Lochlan has no claim to my brother's child. Oh, and the next time you try to best me in this little game of life remember this week. Remember the damage done to your better half, remember the risk you took in creating new upheaval with the children and remember one more thing.

I am nodding.

Are you listening, princess?


I don't lose.

Pinetree line.

Finding Lochlan's midway diaries proved to be the catalyst for a lot of things.

Lochlan logged meticulous proof in his neat loopy handwriting and without that proof in his possession, Caleb can no longer keep Lochlan under his thumb. Brief little victories unraveled in the shadow of something new.

Before PJ put Caleb to sleep (I never ever want to be a boy because they hit each other so hard) Caleb ripped the rug right out from underneath me. He said that maybe Jacob was still alive, because Jacob was always very good at disappearing for very long blocks of time, and then he gave me proof that I am easy to fool.

If you have read for a while, you'll remember my unsettled dismay at receiving one single cryptic piece of paper confirming Henry's paternity four years ago. Just one page. No information about Ruth, which meant that she was Cole's.

Except that there were two other pages, pages that Caleb intercepted and kept for himself. The cover letter, explaining the results, and the sheet detailing Ruth's results.

Because Ruth belongs to Lochlan, confirmed with new testing, because I didn't even want the old papers back. I don't trust anything past the end of my nose today.

And while we waited for those tests I went to Newfoundland with Ben to nail down the leads I was given regarding Jake. I found nothing but I will go back soon. The boys are not happy about this at all. I figure if Caleb can keep a secret like that for over four years running then he's probably hiding more. Hiding big things like whole men who are supposed to be dead but wouldn't be. Jacob wouldn't do what I was told he did. That much I always knew. I figured Caleb pushed him if he really was gone, but I always hoped I was wrong.

So go ahead and level your judgements, make your proclamations about therapy and trash. I'm too busy feeling to have any energy left to listen. Fuck this, fuck everything else too.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Kindling and lullabies.

It would've been hard to do something else, to as it were, run away from the circus and become an accountant.
~Samuel West
In the midst of this mess that the devil has made, there are very good things indeed. Because when God closes a door, Satan detonates another bomb and blows a hole in the wall, after all.

In spite of his efforts, good things. Maybe even better by tonight.

Ruth leaves for band camp this morning. I can hardly believe it when I look at her. She is all lip gloss and Hello Kitty and strange elaborate hair styles one day and still forgetting to even brush the next day. She is her mother in slightly (hardly) smaller form. Almost twelve. The witching age, by my definition, kept from her in order to allow her to practice flight without the weight of a history that doesn't need to be shared.

Last night Lochlan put on one hell of a show as a sendoff for her. Fire on the cliff. Any hint of rust on his talent has been rubbed away and he is the showman once again. Hardly an eighth as loud as Ben without a mic, a more visceral, touchable awe surrounds him. He encourages massive involvement, we have to clap, cheer and follow his instructions or it doesn't come off as well but it isn't hard, for he is very very good at this, and was doing it long before anyone else I know.

By the end he had taken off his shirt, his curls were wet with the effort even but his smile never faltered and his focus never wavered, locked on the task at hand. The batons flew higher and higher still as his stories kept up a pace that left me gloriously dizzy until I remembered to watch him and not the fire. Fire is hypnotic. Fire is warm. Just like Lochlan. The man who exists at one hundred and five degrees on paper and a thousand degrees in reality is wrapping up his show and my brain has gone off on another tangent and when I bring it back around the final baton has been caught and he is extinguishing them and cleaning up. He jams his t-shirt in his back pocket and tells the children that it's time to go inside and get ready for bed. There will be another show on the weekend, when Ruth returns. When everything changes once again.

I saw a hint of who Lochlan used to be right then and there. Before everything changed and then continued to change until we were slipping off the carousel horses with nothing to hold onto, as it spun faster and the music rushed in to fill the void. That's what life has been for us, an out of control merry-go-round where the horses with their wild painted faces loom large in our eyes and then rotate back into the endless parade. My hair is tangling around the pole and I will never reach the brass rings and on principle no one must ever do it for you or it won't count.

And there he is again.

A much older version of that perfect seventeen-year-old boy, who walked across the beach and stuck his face directly into the yellow cotton candy I was holding until he could grasp the paper cone with his teeth. I started laughing, not the least bit upset because the yellow candy was banana-flavored and I didn't like it at all but then I started to choke and he tried to get his face back out of the candy floss and couldn't and he resorted to pulling off huge strands and putting them in my hair and the harder I fought him the more he covered me until it was all over both of us and we peeled off our clothes and jumped, naked, into the sea and I picked the rest of the bits of floss out of his beard while he held me afloat in a wave, far out from shore.

You coming in?

I snapped out of my reverie and nodded up at him automatically. In the light his hair is the color of brass. The rings I tried so hard to reach once upon a time so that I could share one with him. The luck that never held for Lochlan. I have my fingers crossed that maybe there was simply an unusual and unforeseen twenty-eight year delay.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
Edgar Allan Poe
Jacob is sitting on the back steps of the church, beside the ramp. He has one leg on the step below where he sits and the other is stretched out straight almost down to the ground. He's in worn jeans and a flannel shirt that only has two buttons still fastened. He has his head back, eyes closed, elbows propping him up. He is soaking up the sun. It is three hours past the service and he is worn out but satisfied.

Sam doesn't think this should be so exhausting, he says without opening his eyes.

And what did you tell him? I pause, looking up from where I have been furiously scribbling in my journal, stuffing raspberries into my mouth every fourth word, unable to stop eating them because they are warm from the sun.

That if it doesn't wear him out he's doing it wrong.

Maybe he is confusing being worn out with being worn down.

Think there is really a difference?

I don't know, Jake. Maybe there isn't and he's right.

Then I'm in the wrong line of work.

What would you be if you gave up your post here?

A carpenter. No, wait. A mailman.


A mailman. Outside all day, petting puppies and chatting up the neighbors? It's be perfect.

What else?

Professional surfer, maybe.

I like that one, but it's so dangerous.

So says the queen of falling down the stairs.

The stairs are dumb.

Yes, they are, princess. He is laughing now. But you also don't pay attention. Ever.

I have it, then. You can be my keeper.

Oh, geez, Bridge, that's a helluva responsibility.

I know. But you would be perfect because you know me so well.

That right there would prove there is no difference between being worn out and being worn down.

Gee, thanks.

Anytime, beautiful.

Home sweet fucked-up home.

We're home. I am enervated and anesthetized. I chased a malevolent whim across the continent and returned an utter failure of the highest magnitude. I may have to go back. I couldn't breathe so I came home.

Ben talked me back. He is here too. In case the rumor mill is churning into overdrive, he's been really pretty amazing. I think a lesser man would have packed up and checked out of this circus a long time ago, which leads me to believe I was spot-on when I discerned him to be a freak from the get-go.

Thank God for big freaks. That's all I can say at present. I need some sleep and tomorrow hopefully I can talk without screaming. You know? I always thought Caleb was evil and then sometimes I doubt myself, maybe I've been so harsh. Maybe he doesn't deserve it.

Then he does things like this. No holds barred. Gloves are off. Apparently it's going to be a fight to the finish. I guess I knew that already. Denial is such a lovely place to be, though, isn't it?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Made it to St. John's. The explanations have gotten so long at this point I don't think I'll ever be able to sort the words out. I am running on adrenaline, panic and I don't even know what else. I just want to get to the bottom of this. I wanted to extract Lochlan from a mess and instead it blew up in my face and I don't know if I wished for this, after all. I really don't. Can't think. Gotta go.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Hold tight.

(this is going to be the hard part. How to continue to talk without giving things away.)
She is everything to me
The unrequited dream
A song that no one sings
The unattainable
She's a myth that I have to believe in
All I need to make it real is one more reason
The gate did not keep him out and neither did the line of knights standing in front of me grimly, distilled down to their singular purpose, shields up, swords drawn. But evil is not bound by the same constraints as man. Evil can dissolve and reassemble on the other side, evil can seep in through the cracks of your psyche and eat away at your brain until a putrid, rotting mass remains only evil stopped right in front of me, James Bond in his three-piece suit and his dumbed-down, kindly patience when he is very, very angry indeed.

Bridget, what have you done?

I resumed my role as moving target on the other side of the wall, my blonde crown invisible as I paced quickly behind their backs, coming to rest directly behind Benjamin, where I could curl my hands into the back of his shirt and hold on for dear life. He broke the line long enough to reach back and squeeze me against him, but only very briefly. He patted me and let go. He is concerned. My eardrum burst, I am still not feeling well, I'm down to scraping up the last of my reserves.

Time to go, Cale. We're not going to do this here. Ben said it quietly. You don't want Ben to be quiet-angry back at you, that's when he's at his most dangerous. I took the cue and let go of his shirt, not wanting to go for a ride if he lunged, even though he has been warned to leave it. We won't solve this with his brawn or his heart. Only with his attorneys.

This isn't over.

Ben nodded. Lochlan stared at the floor. I know him so well. He is biting his tongue so hard I'm sure his mouth is filled with the taste of iron. His arms are loose, elastic. We are struggling desperately to contain an effervescent, almost comical relief that wants to burst forth but that would be premature. Preliminary thoughts are that this will go well for Lochlan, how it goes for Caleb remain shrouded in uncertainty. I am still struggling with how much damage I want to do. I know I will toss and turn and fret and weigh and balance and maybe I will wait to be told my options so I don't jump the gun, slide off the end of the barrel and wind up getting shot in the process.

So I will leave it to fate as I have done all along, holding to building up my defenses instead of seeking retribution. I will wait and see. Maybe crossing our fingers and staying quiet and true all these years won't have been for nothing.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The grapes of wrath (a fear beyond every other).

This morning I rolled out of bed and into a nightmare of coughing that followed me all the way around the block with the dog in the pre-dawn darkness. I came in and dragged myself through the motions of making honey toast and sweetened coffee for Ben. I kissed him goodbye and rested my head against the front of his jacket for as long as he would allow.

When he was gone I locked up again and headed back upstairs where I spent a good thirty minutes in the steamy shower, breathing in the warm air, unclenching my lungs and clearing my head. When I felt my skin begin to protest I got out reluctantly, slipping into my jeans and a warm hoodie and I ran a comb through my hair, gently. I returned to the main floor, poured myself a cup of coffee and holed up in the corner reading until the rest of the house awakened, one room at a time.

Such a marked difference between one tiny light casting a quiet glow on the side of a cliff and a house with every light on, everyone talking at once, waiting for turns at the coffee maker, asking me how I am feeling while I try to focus on getting the children fed and organized and out the door in time for school. Maybe I will be April's perpetual fool, attempting to live at 33 rpm in a 78 rpm world, running in slow motion when fast-forward has become de rigueur.

I changed my clothes, jumping on the 78, skidding across the vinyl on my way to the loft to check on some business. I will stay on this song as long as I need to and no more.

Ben is back to his usual hours for the next little while and I grateful for that. When he works long hours I feel disconnected and lost. When he is home I feel whole. Lochlan will tell you that is wrong but for him it is simply sour grapes. I watched him watching me as PJ gave me a hug upon hearing that I am feeling slightly better this morning and he visibly winced when PJ's arms closed around me. As if he can't bear this existence. Well, he doesn't have to be like this. He could let go but he doesn't. He could relax but he won't. He could live but he prefers to exist in the past.

Sometimes I don't blame him. The simplicity of a hot shower or a good cup of coffee is something we don't take for granted. The luxury of being able to get better without doing it under a gun still feels like a gift from heaven. The nights when two weeks into a new set up, it had been raining for days and I was so sick I was ordered not to get out of bed unless the camper was on fire, and Lochlan was as sick as I was but he would do all of our work and then head into town for soup for me and by the time he came back I would be asleep and the soup would be tepid and he would throw it out. We both lost weight and gave up hope and then the sun would make a surprise appearance and the show would be bustling and suddenly everything was going to be okay again.

But that same bittersweet history holds all of the reasons why we are the way we are now, forever and life goes on, we are the fools, time heals nothing. Time serves to twist screws and force change. Time serves to corrupt and skew the facts and warp reality. Fuck time, time is a ticking bomb in the face of relative peace.

Time is the cadence of the devil breathing down my neck. I am outrunning time once again.

The night after Lochlan brought my things to the fair in his backpack after breaking up with me, the borrowed camper burned. I was relieved he was not inside when it went up in flames and then suspected he or Caleb burned it right up until the moment he told me his journals were gone, right up until the fire department confirmed that it was accidental. He never would have burned those books, they are his definitive soul.

Only they aren't gone. I found them this morning, here at Caleb's loft and like I promised back in 1981 when I first saw Lochlan with one, I won't look in them, Lochie and no, this isn't a fucking April Fool's joke and I just need to figure out the right way or the right time to tell him they are safe but fuck it, half the time the right time never takes place because time is wrong and I am just about to leave and bring them back to their rightful owner.*


*(I wrote that this morning while I was still at the loft looking after some paperwork and I chickened out of posting it, in the very real risk that Caleb might read it before I could be safely underway with property that, while incredibly value to Caleb, belongs to someone else. Lochlan has his books now, clutched into shaking hands, I am home safe and sound and for good measure I closed the front gate and changed the code again, which is very frustrating for everyone. It won't keep Caleb out but it might slow him down, and that's all I need for now. This was one piece of the puzzle that's been missing for a long time. I would like to see the whole picture now.)