Wednesday, 30 November 2011


(You've forgotten who the prodigal son is, in this case. Think hard, he's difficult to miss, at six-foot-four).

Caleb's putting his fortune to good use. Today we've had a parade of municipal inspectors, engineers and contractors down to see about putting in a removable floating dock. They have to pour concrete pilings and everything. I just can't wait.

I figured I would just be banned from going down to the water ever again. They came close to that until Caleb took one look at my face and offered a solution. One I can't afford so the look came back, elastic panic, we may as well move if I can't get to the sea ever again but the solution was followed by the means. This is nothing five figures won't solve. Pennies to Caleb. More debt to me, mortgaged once again with my soul.

I tell him this and he shakes his head sadly. Safety is a premium, it doesn't matter what it costs.

I should have stayed on the beach.

You shouldn't have to. No worries, it'll be done by spring as long as it doesn't get too cold. Until then, though, I'm not sure what they will want for your margins in the meantime. Don't expect the moon for a bit, okay?

I don't. But I do think they're blowing it out of proportion. Had Lochlan not seen me slip off the rocks I would have continued to work my way back until I could climb up. I'm not a good swimmer but I could use the rocks to stay against the shore and there are several places one can get out. Even with the coat. Even with the surprise and shock of the cold water, I would have been out in another five or ten minutes. I didn't ask to be rescued but maybe I'm in denial.

Ben pointed out that one of my lifelong wishes to see Lochlan step in and cover comfort and safety during or after a major incident is now fulfilled. And his offhand, reluctantly generous comment has set me on my ear.

It was mostly the only flaw Lochlan ever had, ducking and running whenever things went wrong.

He comes by it honestly. If you grew up in the midway and transitioned to the circus you'd be fucked up and have one foot out the door every time something went down too. I just didn't think it would extend to me. Up until two months ago, his method of operation would have been to fish me out of the drink, fling me up to dry land and then take off before anyone saw him.

Instead he stuck around and sorted everything out. He organized some changes and hashed out new rules, he found understanding, he absolved those he found to be in the wrong and he kept everyone calm, even in the face of accusations and outrage and shock. He didn't let go of me for the better part of the past twenty hours or so. This is so new I'm still admiring the shiny wrapper. I don't even know what to do with this.

He said we give him purpose. He can't run anymore. This isn't a roadshow, he can't be the nameless wanderer anymore, he has a legacy. Purpose. People who count on him, and need him to be there.

I have always needed him. It burns me that it took something so fucking stupid to make him see that. The relief that he finally sees it is worth more than that dock is going to cost.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gratitude and Longitude.


I fell into the ocean this afternoon and if it weren't for all this brandy and the fact that I'm waiting for Lochlan to stop fighting with everything that breathes I wouldn't have even told you.

Considering she said I was too small to keep she did her best, as I was in jeans, boots and a heavy wool coat. The boulders piled up where the drop off is, where the boats can moor in sailing season, proved to be more slippery than they looked today and I chose the water over the alternative of landing directly on the rocks. I didn't want any broken bones, but I've also never been so cold in my life.

Before I could work my way back around to the smaller rocks to climb up, Lochlan grabbed the hood of my coat and lifted me out of the water. Yes, with his left arm. Yes, that unhealed spiral fracture of his ulna? Radial? I can't remember is still there and he's in a brand new cast tonight because they already knew it never healed. They were slated to call him but Ben took him in.

License to hurt, Ben said later as we stood and watched while Lochlan took out his fears and frustrations on everyone in the room, beginning with me and ending with PJ and Duncan, who were supposed to be on duty and did not slip, I was merely given a little bit of leeway to extend my rigid, narrow horizons.

It took him the better part of five or six hours but I think he is running out of steam at last. The painkillers are kicking in, Sam's endless words are sinking in, the adrenaline is wearing off and the fear is wearing through. All's well that ends well. I am still alive. I was not, contrary to in-house belief, purposefully sacrificing myself to the Pacific and I was also not trying to prove a point.

My fingers and toes have warmed up at last and I know that tonight, through my dreams tangled hopelessly with my nightmares, they will be there and they won't be letting go. Maybe the only slip today wasn't on the icy rocks. Maybe we all got too cocky and too comfortable and maybe that's when I need to be the most careful.

Maybe next time Lochlan won't come home halfway through the day and come looking for me even before he disappears into his room to put his things away.

Maybe next time she won't throw me back.

Too small to keep isn't any sort of guarantee. It's more like a warning, subject to change.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Twisted, crooked, broken laces.

Come pull the sheet over my eyes so I can sleep tonight
Despite what I've seen today
I found you guilty of a crime of sleeping at a time
When you should have been wide awake
Too small to keep, he says and smiles. I like that she says that about you. It means I can have you back. Ben is sacked out on the couch. I have thrown myself into his arms and I'm never ever leaving this spot. You can't make me, I won't go.

He laughs and pulls his arms over me. I like being home. You like it when I'm home, little bee?

What a silly question, Benjamin.

It's a valid question, bee. Tell me.

I love it when you're home.


I couldn't say it out loud so I turned around and climbed up onto his legs and whispered it in his ear. He blushed and said he knew he married me for a reason.

Right. For love.

He smiled. For love. And for what you just said into my ear. You look so sweet and straight-laced and you're the dirtiest one of all.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chemical Oceanography.

High tide: 7:08 am, 4:56 pm
Low tide: 12:27 pm

His face is soft from three weeks worth of beard growth, his hair uncut since the spring. I am blocked in against the granite of the island. The lights are off and the kitchen is grey, lit only by the skylights above as the rain pours in sheets down the glass. I can't hear it, I feel the rumble, a quavery-light undercurrent to the air, thick and heavy with a post-storm stillness.

He bends his head down until our eyes are even. Blue and green make the color of the sea. Together we are high tide, the dangerous part of the day where you cannot walk on the sand because it's been swallowed by the waves, which now lick against the rocks, seeking further nourishment. I would heave myself into the surf only she keeps throwing me back.

Too small to keep, she says.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Now I know he reads a fortnight behind.

I am the crisis
I am the bitter end
I'm gonna gun this down
I am divided
I am the razor edge
there is no easy now
Sam walked in through the front door and got busy shaking the rain off of his things and carefully hanging his coat on a free hook. I waited patiently in the archway for him to get organized. He straightened his hair and then his tie, ending with his collar and then he bent down and picked up his messenger bag and his travel mug and started to walk toward me. Maybe he wasn't expecting me to be right there but he stopped about three feet away and just smiled that sort of smile reserved for greeting the very truly insane when you don't know what to expect.

Hi, Bridget. His eyes are looking for something. Heartbreak? Backslides? Seasonal Affective Disorder? Deception?

Hi, Sam. Do you want me to switch your mug to tea?

That would be good, thank you. But he didn't give me the cup, he just kept staring. I assisted by waiting with my expressions mostly blank until he was satisfied that I wasn't rejecting the living in favor of hanging out with the dead and the mug was pressed into my hand. I turned and made my way back to the kitchen while Sam started to tell me his afternoon was a little quiet so he thought he would drop in and he kept prattling on in this weird formal manner and when I finally reached the counter by the window I whirled around and asked him to just get on with it.

On with?

Whatever's wrong, Samuel.

I'm just- well, they wanted me to talk to you again.

I'm not backsliding.

I got the distinct impression you might be, and the picture of the road-

Lochlan sprayed me with perfix and I had brain damage, that's all that was.

Bridget, I-

You should talk to new Jake. He's the weirdo around here.

Jake is not my concern! You are! And why in God's name is Loch spraying you with toxic substances?

I had charcoal on my nose and he thought it was so cute he threatened to make it stay forever. And you have a whole flock of sheep to deal with, I'll be fine. I don't know if you guys noticed but certain calendar dates are kind of rough and I imploded a little late, that's all.

Bridget, you know you can come and talk to me any time.

I do come and talk to you. But for emergency's sake, how about right in the middle of your next sermon?

Okay, not during a service, but-


Does Lochlan need to come and talk to me?

Oh, probably, but he doesn't believe in God.

He believes in the werewolf boy and the bearded lady but not in....Jesus Christ.

Exactly. I smile and turn to wash the mug. Sam crosses around behind the island and looks out over the water.

Caleb and Daniel trading places in your daily routine isn't all that healthy, is it, Bridget?

I don't want to talk about it, Sam.

You haven't tripped back into such tangible writing about Jacob in a while.

Sure I have. Maybe you don't have time to read enough blogs.

I put the kettle on the stove to boil and then I turn back with my Everything's Eventual smile just for him and he looks right through me to see the thin spots where I am pinned and sewn back together.

Okay, how about I just leave the door open? If you want to come and talk, just find me. Or call and I'll come get you.

My smile changes from fixed to real. Warm. Genuine. I will, Samwise. I promise.

His face morphs into reluctant joy. Okay good. How is the tea coming? I still can't feel my legs.

Stupidly cold, isn't it?

For where I'm from, you wouldn't think it would be so bad but it is. Sam's face is so young and elastic. It changes once more into a pained sort of frustration and I start to laugh. I laugh so hard I start to cry and then I can't stop. I can remember years ago hanging around the door of the study while Jacob mentored him, he was so young. He always had a pencil behind his ear and a bad haircut that left curls and waves sticking out over his ears and he was so eager and green.

Sam is weary now and older too, having buried our dead, officiated our weddings, and taken over the faith of the entire collective while his own life fell apart with equal destruction. Still he clings to his faith blindly with his eyes open wide, toothpicks shoved in them to stay wakeful, stay alert, stay above and he fights a losing battle every damn day until we admit that life is too big and we need help.

And then he gives it with a quietly outrageous, enthusiastic joy that becomes contagious and all-encompassing.

He sips his tea slowly. He watches my expressions, reading them like bestsellers, hot off the presses while I struggle to prove that the poker-face theory holds, as does the theory of time and faith.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Easily reheated, in the microwave of evil!

My soul is painted
like the wings of butterflies
Fairy tales of yesterday
will grow but never die
I can fly, my friends!
I'm not sure if my throat hurts from an entire morning singing along with Freddy Mercury while incense burned and I cleaned the entire house or if I've managed to finally catch the cold that's been knocking down everyone in this house, one after another. When one of them stands back up the cold does a quick u-turn and knocks them down again. It's terrible and I don't want it. Apparently the hourly bleach-dippings aren't going to protect me anymore. Good, because my skin was beginning to disintegrate off my bones.

Daniel is here today. Batman is American so weirdly he gave everyone a holiday. Which is good because Lochlan is just about falling down and keeps calling in sick anyway. Did I tell you I spent most of my morning with him back in the hospital while he had some more x-rays on his arm? Idiot got his camper wheel unstuck, using his recently broken hand. Because Brains: You can't win them at the circus, or so I hear. I'm not sure why he had to posture like that and hurt himself again but they tell me if I was a guy I would understand. They also said if I were a guy they would cry all the damned time which made me laugh and laugh.

I have always wanted to write my name in the snow while peeing standing up.

That will be one of those unfulfilled wishes I take to my grave, I think, along with base jumping and swimming naked in a teacup full of cookie batter. Oh, and watching Paranormal Activity 2, because I can't get ANYONE to watch it with me.

I used to be the queen of horror movies and instead I've spent the last year quoting Megamind:

All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, heroism, and nobility. Evil... well, it's just cooler.

The doctor is going to call with the results later on (I hope) and in the meantime, Lochlan's no longer allowed outdoors. I like making rules too, and if I can't go outside, he can't either. He shouldn't be out there in the freezing rain with this stupid cold anyway, instead he can curl up with me and Daniel on the couch and we can watch extravagant travel shows and they can both cough on the top of my head and then Ben will get sick and start doing that thing where he spikes a high fever and becomes downright silly, talking nonsense around the clock.

I am ready with my quotes.
Yes, a very wickedly bad idea for the greater good of bad!
But I'm saying it's the kind of bad that... Okay, you might think is good from your bad perception, but from a good perception... It's just plain bad.
Oh, you don't know what's good for bad!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

To the ends of the world.

(Who's the juggler now?)

I'm sitting on the quilt. It's some sort of designer Egyptian affair and cost more than my car. I love the embroidery, it should be scratchy and too beautiful to touch but instead it's soft, it's like being enveloped in a cloud. I don't know what it's filled with. He said something about Icelandic eiderdown, but I'm pretty sure this devil reached down the throats of every cherub for a thousand miles and pulled heaven out of them and used that instead. Still, I never want to move. Not even a muscle.

He brings me a tiny silver toy dart and tells me to throw it.

I laugh and my stomach growls. Time to go.

I close my eyes and throw it at the map on the opposite wall. When I open my eyes he is pulling the dart out. It landed somewhere in the vicinity of the Clyclades. Greece. He's been. Twice.

Want to go?


A vacation. Maybe right after Christmas.


Why not?

I have..commitments.

Remember what you told me when you were younger?

I'm thinking. Oh, right, it was 'Can't wait until you're in jail'?


Why don't you just tell me what I said, then? He's ruining what was a fairly successful, although truncated visit. It's lunchtime and I have things to do.

You said you were excited to travel the world when Lochlan joined the show and invited you along. You had such wanderlust. I don't think it's ever really gone away, has it?

I have to go. Thanks for the visit.

Anytime, princess. Generously, he drops the subject. He is devastatingly Cole-like today. Flannel, jeans, beard. Retired now, Caleb has no need for expensive suits here in the house on the verge of the sea. The lines around his eyes and the few silver hairs in his beard only serve to make him more appealing than he was once upon a time and I need to go now.

So I leave. I don't invite him up to the house for lunch.

When I come down the outside stairs and hit the pavement, movement stops me. Lochlan comes around the side of the camper. He's home again. Still so sick with this stupid cold that makes him cough all night long but he won't stop tinkering. He has a wrench in one hand. He's been trying to fix the seized wheel. He stops when he sees me, smilling slightly. He's glad to see me but he's mad because I am coming from the boathouse. Thankfully, curiosity trumps outrage.

Hey, peanut.

Hey, Lochlan. Do you need some help?

What? Ha, no. I'll get it. Not like I want to take it out. I like having a place to hang my hat. I can take my time and fix it properly, you know?

I smile but it tastes bad. My adventurous spirit, my potential for wayfaring was all but swallowed by his need to make something permanent for us in the midst of such a nomadic, tumultuous life. To find home on the road, to have familiarity when nothing was ever the same. A foundation that could be dragged along behind us, freaks that we were, one that we could set up house on in every new seaside town we emptied of gold and laughter before moving on to the next.

I've been busy resenting Lochlan while he's been busy trying to make things feel like home. For himself, for me too.

When he turned his back to give the tire another go I pushed up my sleeves, reached down and picked up the lifeless crow that rested at my feet. I took a huge bite, gristle, feathers and all. And I chewed and chewed until I almost choked to death while the tears streamed down my face and seasoned the meat nicely.

Without looking up, Lochlan proclaims that he will have it fixed shortly. I smile and say that he shouldn't worry, I'll go find find Duncan and send him out to help. Together they'll have it finished before dinner. I'll cook but I won't be eating.

I am too full.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mad world.

I've never had a lecture while I was getting laid before. Ever. This is a first.

Ben's hands wrap around my hips as he drives his points home. I am crushed underneath him, locked against him and I am desperately trying not to pay attention. He's forcing me to with exquisitely sharp twinges of pain exacted as he pleases to maintain my focus.

He's incorrigible.

He's delicious.

He's maddeningly right, and I never saw it coming.

(Oh, there's a joke in there, a filthy pun. I'm not telling it).

Life isn't a fairytale, bee. It's a difficult climb up a steep hill and we're dirty and tired and demoralized but every now and then we get look at true beauty and a taste of the faith that makes us keep going.

More than once I have braved the red hot razor-burn of his three-week beard to look up into his eyes to confirm that he has not been replaced with a poet or a reverend. Maybe this is a dream. Ben's words are never so prophetic or reassuring or...logical. He writes angry music for a living. I would have been less surprised had he talked about how the devil would consume my soul as it burned on through the night, stoking the fires of hell or something.

(Oh, wait. Perhaps he is the prophetic one. After all, my soul was consumed and then spit out and returned to me. Currently it sits on a shelf behind Duncan's unworn, overpriced Oakley sunglasses and the rice cooker I bought that has to be returned because the capacity is nowhere sufficient for my kitchen.)

I wish Ben would shut the fuck up and save it for daylight. He pulls me back down and turns me over. Oh good, my ears are covered and I can't hear him.

But I can't breathe either.

(That's sometimes a fun game in itself, but only if the one in control is aware of the problem and timing a fix, otherwise you're just gunning for dead princesses and a whole lot of explaining to do.)

He pulls my head back up and I take a deep breath and I realize he's still talking. I start to laugh out loud. I don't know what else to do. Ben asks what's so funny. I point out I'm getting an attitude adjustment at the worst time ever.

He tells me he is multitasking, that while he's adjusting my internal organs into their new locations, he is also adjusting my outward attitude. Then he starts to laugh because he's got a very big ego when it comes to this department.

(Big like everything else.)

I roll back over and smile. Ben is taking this well. I mean me, he's taking me well. He stops talking at last and lets the dark take us both under. This is not the time for words. Words can wait for the sun.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Part Two: Killing fairytales.

(Picking up from here.)

Once all of the doors to his rooms were locked and we were in the bedroom by the window, Lochlan held the envelope in front of him in shaking hands.

There would have been no fanfare if I wasn't, peanut.

Just open it.

I can't. He's a leaf in the wind, shaking, pale, serious. I'm not doing any better. My mind is racing, my heart is reeling. The house is so quiet. I am trying to plan for whatever happens next but I can't because I didn't expect to be in this place.


He lets out a long quavering breath and rips the end off. He pulls out the papers. He's skimming and passing me pages as he reads. I throw them down, I only want the last one. Paper cuts and tension are making this unbearable.

Oh Jesus Christ. Bridget, she's mine.

The black pushed around my consciousness and then the light blew it all away as I fell apart. Finally. Something good.

There is no moment more bittersweet in life than when you go digging back through years of memories to understand how you missed experiencing things in the way that you were meant to, instead of from afar. I watched all of that play across his face but all I could think of is now everything makes sense to me.

Lochlan's not a religious man. Not by a long shot. He won't pray, he won't go to church unless it's Christmas, he doesn't believe in God anymore than you believe in the bearded lady (she is real, by the way) but for the second time in my life he got down on his knees and prayed for help. The last time he did that was in a ransacked, smashed-up camper on the outskirts of a carnival parking lot, holding me in his arms. This time I just stood quietly and watched. I'm trying to decide how I feel before his input skews it, like it does for everything.

(How's your pizza?

Yummy. What about you?

A little dry, isn't it, Bridgie?

Yeah, it is, actually. Now that you mention it.)

He stands up and picks up the papers again and sits down on the bed to read through everything again. There are no questions left save for the one on everyone's mind.


A month later and still the same question remains hanging in the air above me like a cloud with a pull-chain for a light to come on.

How do I feel?

Part of me is cartwheeling-happy, swinging from a rope, shouting from the rooftops ecstatic, and the other part of me is terrified of the thought of a little more of Cole slipping away from my psyche. I'm not ready for that. I might sell my soul to hang on to what I have left of him (I just got my soul back from Satan in an even trade and once I boil off the blackened outer shell I'm sure it will be as good as new). I know that's unforgivable and incomprehensible, but you didn't choose Cole.

I did, once upon a time.

Sometimes the death of a fairy tale is the most difficult death of all and here it is before me in glorious finality and I need to kiss it goodbye.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Aw for fucks sakes.

Eleah died. Amyrn's mother. The giraffe. Now only Jafari (dad) remains. They say she may have died of heartbreak.

I am so sad.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Part One: This still doesn't tell you how I feel but OH WELL.

About that envelope.

(Bear with me. Some things are safer coming in bits and pieces.)

On this day I learned something interesting. (I find it weird that the link doesn't point to the title of the post, but says 'Lochlan'. That's bizarre.)

And on this day, we learned something once again. (See? The link has the title of the post in it, if FATE ISN'T PLAYING A HUGE JOKE ON ME NOW THEN PLEASE FILL ME IN.)

And that was a month ago and I wasn't even going to share it. I wasn't, for once. I don't know why other than I was trying to follow his wishes and I screwed that up too. Like I screw up everything. Like I really was pretty sure maybe Jacob might be Henry's father once upon a time but Ruth's was definitely Cole's and boy, I guess I'M CLEARLY IN DENIAL even though I daresay I've never denied a damned thing.

I was wrong on both counts.

Please excuse me while I find a bag to put over my head.

Ruth belongs to Lochlan. She is his daughter. To make a long story short, if you can understand the sort of power that Caleb has, you can understand how easy it was for him to wish to keep that power on his side. There is more to this, but I can't get into right now. To make a long story even shorter, heads have rolled, beginning with his. He has liquidated everything and signed it over to me and gotten the fuck out of the people-as-pawns game. He owned up to almost every last wrong. You don't mess with a child's sense of security. He destroyed mine, I wasn't going to stand by and watch him do it to Ruth's too.

He owes me everything, and I've decided to collect.

The collateral damage turned out to be quite different from what I expected. We are all closer. Except for Cole. He is even further away from me now. I have no ties to him anymore. He was no one's father. He rocked and raised two beautiful little humans who did not belong to him. Then he left them essentially fatherless at the ages of almost-seven and soon-to-be-five and all of his friends stepped in and took over and they've done so much for us I can't begin to express my gratitude. They've given up their lives for us.

Only Ruth was always slightly to the side with a chip on her shoulder, and I thought to myself, Oh, she has Cole's temper. His legendary silent treatment punishment that is him turning inward only it wasn't that at all. It was Lochlan and his Stoic Forbearance. Head down, picking battles, waiting until he has some breathing space and then filing it away, keeping it, balancing on it while he throws his fire.

That's what Lochlan does. He files everything away. Tomorrow's a new day, a new show, new crowd, a new chance, and a change in the weather, maybe a change in our fortune too. That's his take on just about everything. That's how he takes hardship, lighting it up and swallowing it whole while we all explode outwardly. That's how he drove me to the brink of despair when I realized he would not comfort me anymore, he just wanted to get through to the new day.

And that has changed again.

With this new addition to his universe Lochlan has resumed his role as the Gypsy King, fixing everything through magic and affection and attention. He is coming around. Finally. We reinforced some bridges and burned some to the ground. We have made amends and made decisions. We have resolved to do better, try harder and be so much less selfish.

We are getting help.

And Ruth is doing really well. She's happy. She grew up with Lochlan close by, a doting uncle, as it were. Always in her life, always trusted, always easier to talk to than most. When I look at her, acknowledging the parts that are so obviously Lochlan I must have been deluding myself to ever think otherwise, I see her smile and I don't doubt for a moment that this is better late than never. I know how to deal with that temper, now that I know for sure which one it is.

And when I see them standing side by side on the patio, both in their saggy-assed corduroy pants, long lank curls hanging down their backs, thin t-shirts, bony elbows and easy smiles it doesn't seem as if it was ever any other way. This is what happens when you take two beautiful, filthy circus runaways in danger of losing each other forever and make something better.

This made it all worthwhile.

This came just in time.

(Part two tomorrow. Possibly detailing everything I didn't say today.)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Show me a house with a window
One with a garage and five bedrooms
Form me a line so I can judge you
Call me a name if you want to

Show me a way to the exit
Look at my hands, see them shaking
Tell me apart from my shadow
Find me a life for this shadow
All of the fire has fallen and we have returned to the deepest greens of the ocean against the blues and greys of the sky. I missed color. I missed pine needles. I missed water and I missed maple leaves. Weirdly how grateful the familiar sights can make me feel, as if it makes up for everything being strange all the time, every waking moment and every sleeping one too.

This morning I am not paying attention as someone asks me about the circus as I am trying to make sure Henry has his lunch bag inside his backpack. I'm responding automatically and Lochlan abruptly points out to them that there's no difference between a sideshow and a freakshow. I stop and stare at him, because usually he's completely oblivious and today he is downright rude about it. I smooth it over and then on the way home I ask him why the outburst. Why then. Why just as people are beginning to see that I'm not such a freak and maybe we can start to fit in.

He doesn't respond until later, when he abruptly breaks out once more that he doesn't like the way that Caleb greets me every morning by putting the hood up on my coat and surreptitiously checking for my hearing aids, something almost everyone's been doing lately so they can talk as I walk in front of them or maybe not repeat everything four times.

Which part bothers you? The hood or the checking, Lochlan?

The hood. Both. Why does he have to try and pull that shit? You're an adult.

You have always put my hood up when it's windy.

You were eight fucking years old.

You never stopped.

You were mine.

Oh, Jesus, here we go.

Yeah. Oh, Jesus. Let's go, Bridget.

I don't know how much more I can give you. Is there anything left?

Sure there is. You never wrote about the envelope. I feel like I'm throwing blind here.

You hate it when I write about you.

I don't know how you feel anymore otherwise, Bridget! You never open your goddamned mouth! He gets to own everything until you put it down. Put it down. Let the world see. Tell me how you feel about it. The suspense is killing me.

It was sacred, I wasn't going to write about it.

You got pretty close.

Yeah and then I changed my mind.

Change it back.

You'd like that wouldn't you?

He stares out over my head at the bare trees and the goddamned leaves everywhere. Up to our knees. Huge sweeping drifts of them coating the walkway in fire. Yellow and red and everything in between and he frowns and he looks so annoyed and serious and handsome and direct I would agree to almost anything. He looks back at me and nods, gently at first, then more vigorously and he smiles.

Yeah. I would.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Top tens.

Sam lets me drink coffee all damn day and play the music as loud as I want to in the sanctuary.

(Same as Jake always did.)

I will be here if anyone needs me. Playing secretary for ten bucks an hour, only the phone never rings and Sam has already done everything else.

Update: Awesome news. If you've never been, you should go. It's second to none, and certainly shouldn't be seventh, but I might be more than a little biased.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Amyrn (on the right) 12/20/2007-11/14/2011

I was writing some stupid entry about nothing in particular when I stopped and looked at the news for a few minutes.

Oh, sadness.

I took this picture of Amyrn and his mother, Eleah in July and wrote about it here. Amyrn came right over to the fence when I stuck my head over the top of it. He stayed there staring at me forever and I stared right back. The first giraffe I ever saw with my own eyes and he was very gracious and patient while I took pictures and talked to him as if any second he might pick up the conversation and run with it.

I hope he had a good life, and I hope he didn't suffer.

I'm not going to debate anyone on the merits of animals living in relative captivity so stuff that for now and just enjoy the photo. There are more on the original post linked above.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Stay where you're to.

(Wait here for me, princess.)

I found him sitting on the bench on the darker side, just out of reach of the single fixture of light that swayed gently in the wind. The snow was falling steadily and still he seemed unprepared in jeans and his green corduroy jacket with the pale blue flannel shirt, white undershirt visible under his open collar, workboots unlaced and wide open. His hair is so long he's getting the seventies rockstar jokes and the admiration alike. He is beautiful inside and out, snow or sunshine, night or day.

He looks up when I walk over, snow falling against his eyelashes but he doesn't blink or shake his head. I wonder if it's actually snowing where he is or if the weather is a controlled non-issue, a parallel universe of seasonless, weatherless banality disguised as a mirror image when it is nothing of the kind. Imagine never being too warm or too cold. Imagine never seeing the leaves turn from a lush green to a crackly, frozen red overnight. Imagine a world where snow doesn't dictate how far you run and doesn't risk you running off the road for your foolishness besides.

Just imagine. That is heaven. Sometimes you are given a special pass to visit with someone on earth but not for long because then you are tethered and you are supposed to be free. Snow is a fond memory instead of a present curse and you can wear your favorite outfit every single day. It never gets dirty and the elbows and collar never wear out.

I sit down beside him and he smiles and stuffs his hands in his jacket pockets, hunching his shoulders with glee. He loved the snow. He thought it was hilarious. I always wanted to throttle him. I find it inconveniencing and dangerous and cold. Sinister snow, I called it and he would say, No, pig-a-let, it's silly snow. Just like string except you can't spray it from a-oh, wait yes you can, nevermind. And he would laugh and laugh and I got so frustrated.

It'll stop soon, princess. And it'll be gone by tomorrow.

Will you be?

Naw, I'm always around when you need me.

Tethered, I whisper under my breath.

Yes, for now, Bridget. But it's okay. When you stop needing me, I'll be gone. I'll watch you walk away down that road and never look back.

I made a sound halfway between an incredulous snort and a sob. What road?

That road, they say. I guess we'll know it when the time comes.

Am I on a time limit again?

No, no. Nothing of the sort. Just making conversation while it snows. I know you don't like to listen to it fall.

I smiled in the dark. He's right. I don't want to hear it, I just want to hear it stop.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Tonight when the clouds came down to touch the earth, I was there.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The bondage opera gloves.

(For the record, they were too large and therefore never used.)

He's standing on the patio having another cigar. Slay me with a feather, for I still love the smell so much it hurts. But I can feel the spectre of Cole eroding a little more each day and I have to work so hard to remember dumb things. His voice. The mannerisms I only witness now through Caleb, and the memories I fight my way out of without the need for padlocks and straps, though he'll use them anyway. A figurative landscape of denial is painted and framed and people will file past it, quiet murmurs of appreciation filling the airwaves and still we deny that the only way I will go to him now is under duress.

Duress, well it weighs a ton but I skid into the room and stand accounted for, all the same. Bad habits don't die. Not like people do. It should be the other way around but it isn't.

And forced compliance is sometimes good for everyone. It teaches us our limitations and it teaches us our thresholds for danger and for pain. It teaches us how to be humble and how to endure. We learn the true meaning of love and gratitude.

We learn all kinds of things.

Right now I am teaching THEM something, and they are very good students. The first thing is you don't need to lock Bridget into your fantasies, she'll just show up anyway, and the second thing is that forgiveness goes a really really really really long way.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Angel of the Odd.

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
These random late-night vodka-fueled discourses usually put me in hot water anyway, what difference does it make?

Every afternoon I see Caleb and automatically invite him to the main house for dinner. Desperate for a normal family existence (HAR), he accepts. Every evening Lochlan appears to count the places set at the table, mentally assigning each one until he sees the leftover one. He swears under his breath and tells me he'll eat in his (former? present?) wing, maybe while he works. Every night I steadfastly refuse to allow him to take his plate anywhere but straight to the table and Ben cracks a joke about oil and water, without fail.

I wonder if Caleb is the oil or the water? I wonder if they''ll ever get along? I wonder when Ben's going to stop baiting the pair of them because he is thrilled not to be the one on the outside. He wasn't there through the worst of it. He has no concept of the degree to which we discovered hell. He's the odd man out and he doesn't like that any more than Lochlan likes eating his dinner with the devil. Still we shield Ben because he would break for the weight of our memories, combined.

I hope he never does. Sometimes he asks about them. Lochlan defers and I refuse. What a pair indeed. We sit and draw in the evenings sometimes while Ben and Henry and Andrew and PJ shoot things and we talk in staccato bursts, making sure in our shorthand, telepathic way that we are still centered, still moving forward, a slow pilgrimage to reality in which sometimes you're carrying on a conversation and you stop and wonder abruptly why you haven't had a reply and you look back and see your companion face-down on the dirt road.

Yes, it's like that. (Maybe next time don't ask.)

I draw figures. He draws mountains and the faces of people we met on the road, people with fistfuls of money and the love of temporary, artificial danger.

We trade and critique. I protest, he defuses, in favor of making me better at what I want to do. And I will forever be eight years old under his critical thirteen-year-old know-it-all eye. And Ben will forever watch these exchanges from the safety of his peripheral vision and wonder how to wedge himself more effectively between us.

But if he asked Lochlan, Lochlan could assure him he already has, and that the only one face down in the dust these days from a lack of information or acceptance is Satan himself, hellbent for redemption even if it means trading it for his own worth readily, pretension gone, humility raw and new.

It's a strange place to be, alright.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


I'll keep it short and mean. (Typically, you say). There never was anything sweet about our mutual blame game.

Note to self: Never piss off the one who controls the internet.

Because he can see that it's down and 'not have time' to fix it until he gets home, long after supper, long after Bridget's spent her online time sporadically squinting at the four-inch display on her phone, which retreated into an Edge connection in fright and really, that was the state of things for most of the day, sadly. I briefly, sweetly hijacked Duncan's iphone and then was discovered and suitably turned out for the sneak that I am. But when Lochlan returned he gave me back my wi-fi connection anyway, mostly because everyone sort of needed it.

In his defense, we switched plans at the house a month ago and it hasn't worked right since, so today's abrupt removal was to fix something major. It works now. So far so good anyway.

We are speaking again too. That's always nice. He got a little crazy when I finally pointed out his inability to comfort or console me VANISHED exactly at the same time that we had our world blown apart. So I had four years to soak up and fall in love with this guy who could soothe away the worst nightmares and fears, and make me feel safe always. After the explosions died down it was as if a door closed, and the subsequent twenty-eight years have been a sort of semi-hurtful, confused void where he does not seem to possess the capability for any comfort whatsoever.

I made a mistake and said it out loud, though. That was the problem.

He looked at me as if I couldn't possibly understand that bad things change people.

I don't know who understands that better of the two of us, or who had it harder, the one who endured such horror or the one who had to stand by and watch, and know he wasn't there when he promised he would be.

If we're still throwing poison-tipped arrows, that is. If not, then disregard all of the above. Water under the bridge and I'm still drowning in history to this day.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The girl at the edge of heaven.

This morning I was again outside in the rain, this time restricted to the patio, for PJ was busy and couldn't come out. I always listen when he tells me I'm not allowed to set foot on the grass. I'm considering having a trapeze erected so that I can make my way to the cliff and still heed his instructions. Each time I threaten that he counters with the suggestion of charging people money to come and see the little freak again.

I point out money was easy to extract in exchange for my attention. He replies harshly that this house is not going to be my circus.

Oh, baby, it already is. Don't you see it?

This morning I slid down into the Adirondack chair, my legs dangling over the hump and I poured myself five fingers of the best Irish whiskey Caleb can import.

I sipped two and poured the other three into the dirt. Jacob always had three, even though he couldn't hold his liquor any better than I ever could, and would begin to add words to his conversations to the point where I would wonder if I were drunker than I realized, when I could no longer understand a word he said.

And he would just keep on talking. It was priceless and it was cherished too and now I am reduced to swinging my legs from a wet lawn chair on a patio in Lotusland, not allowed to touch the sea today because I am not in charge of my own life anymore because I haven't treated it with the respect it deserves.


But I am not cold! That's one good thing about the drink. Or it could be the fact that I am still in three of yesterday's four dresses, mascara smudged below my eyes, hair damp, wavy straw, mind cracked in half and heart not far behind.

Happy birthday, Jacob. I whisper it to no one in particular, and as expected, no one replies.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Four years of figuring out how I'm supposed to be doing this. Still no luck.

Aw, Jakey. Why did you do it?

I'll stand out on the cliff as long as they allow it. I have black four dresses on. Two cotton, two wool. Thick black wool tights wrinkle around my knees and ankles and I've chosen my doc boots simply because the tights don't work with much else. My black shawl rounds out this fantastic ensemble and I have pinned up my hair but the wind had other plans so I'll just pull the ends of the shawl tightly around my shoulders and allow the locks of palest blond to escape until it all falls out and the pins crash into the sea below. I will stand here until I am frozen solid and then I'll take a step back.

Ben stands five feet behind me, hands jammed in his pockets, a look of utter misery and borderline panic on his face. He hasn't taken his eyes off me, I know. I can feel them, they weigh a ton. But he is determined to allow me to do this however I need to and if I can't be in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia to be surrounded by memories then I will stand on the highest point and show myself to heaven. I may still wear my mourning clothes and surprise people with how damaging, how fierce my sadness can be but I am here trying. I close my eyes and lift my face up to the night. The wind caresses my face. Rain begins to lick at my hair.

PJ yells something from the doorway. The house is warm, I know. Inviting. Comfortable. Dry. Softly-lit and welcoming. He repeats himself and I turn my head to look at him, curious now. He abruptly goes back inside and closes the door and I look at Benjamin. He is still staring at me but his left arm is out straight to one side, index finger raised.

Wait, PJ, is what that means.

Wait for my Bridget to sort through her dark little brain and toss memories around and kick things, denting them in and when she's made enough of a fuss and a big enough mess inside her head I'll take over. No worries, brother. That's the expanded, translated version of that one finger. I know because he's put the words with the gesture before.

I wouldn't trade Ben for the world or for heaven. Think about that very hard. I know I have. It takes one hell of a man to stand up and allow for this. I have yet to meet anyone else who could pull it off and remain intact. Ben may have a few cracks of his own from the strain but he's holding.

He's holding me.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Saving daylight.

Our bed we live, our bed we sleep
Making love and I become you
Flesh is warm with naked feet
Stabbing thorns and you become me
Oh, I'd beg for you.
Oh, you know I'll beg for you.
I didn't run. Well, I tried but then Ben was there and he reverse-engineered my itinerary and paced with me at the airport until my knees gave out and my phone died and I asked him if we could just go home and for one of the first times home wasn't on the other coast.

Huh. What the fuck is THAT about?

We played Scrabble on his phone and watched bad conspiracy television and stayed up late and then slept late this morning.

This afternoon Ben took me to Jericho beach and we walked along the water's edge, freezing to bits and we talked and we compared panoramic photographs as we took them and we counted oil tankers in the bay and watched people have their wedding pictures taken. When we got too cold we ducked into a tiny ramen shop and I ate every last bite, something I can never manage. Gyoza too. We drove home in the pitch dark and proclaimed it a perfect day, which it was. In spades forever and ever and I want to do it next Saturday again except that I will return to my favorite beach of the city because none of the other ones we have explored have any glass at all and that just won't do.

I have already gone around to set the clocks back, and I'm soon to collect all of the whiskey and weapons and I'll retire to the library, where I will push the heavy table across the doors to keep the world away and then I will sprawl out on the couch and drink Jack Daniels and sing Stone Temple Pilots lyrics to myself while I load and reload, blowing daylight holes in the night, shooting dreams like skeet, busting caps into my nightmares, slurring out encouragement to myself while the boys crouch outside the door in defensive positions.

Ben will probably suggest Scrabble instead. I wonder if I can play with one hand while balancing the bottle in the other, guns cocked across my knees?

With any luck I will let you know tomorrow.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Can you hear me?
I was doing very well, you know.

I had ignored the calendar and I threw myself into watching a different history play out in front of my eyes as Caleb makes his home a stone-throw away and Lochlan rises to the challenge of everything before him with a determination I haven't seen from him in a while.

Ben. Ben's been around. He's been intuitive and funny and sweet as always. He puts up with an awful lot, I'm afraid. He knows I'm so on edge that when he holds me I leave cuts all over him for the sharpness of my moods.

So when the roses arrived this morning let's just say whatever house of cards I built for myself that I stood on in high wind was maybe doomed from the beginning. I couldn't do it. I couldn't read the card that told me how strong I was and how much you all love me and I couldn't see the pride on your faces for the fact that maybe we were out of the woods at last.

I don't want to say the flowers were the catalyst, though maybe it would have been better if they had come yesterday or maybe you simply counted your chickens before they were safely in the henhouse. Maybe going into this weekend and the fourth anniversary of Jacob flying (how can this be here already?) and his birthday on Monday and everything else finally caught me as I ran.

I run so fast, I don't understand how that's even possible, but then I tripped over the past because it's always in my way and I sprawled out on the road, rashed by the pavement, pride dented, hysteria still nipping at my heels.

Jacob leaned down and grabbed my good elbow, pulling me back to my feet. He leaned down and brushed the dust from my hair and he asked if I was okay.

What do you think? I blurted out. What a stupid question. I hope nobody asks it ever again. Even him. I turn to inspect the road in case I'm bleeding and I haven't noticed yet.

I think, Piglet, that you should probably tell someone where you're headed.

They'll know, Pooh. There's only so many places I can feel you anymore. I turned back around and looked up into the sun but he was gone.
Can you hear me?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Captive audience.

Have no fear for when I'm alone
I'll be better off than I was before

I've got this light
I'll be around to grow
Who I was before I cannot recall

Long nights allow me to feel I'm falling
I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel I'm falling
I am falling safely to the ground
He has moved on to singing Long Nights under his breath, and I'm left with the lyrics floating around in my mind, turning them over like shiny rocks in a stream, looking for feldspar or quartz or even pyrite among the muted greys and browns. Lochlan picks the strings too casually, almost aimlessly and I am annoyed, nose pressed against the glass, uncharacteristically trying to block out beautiful music.

Because I'm not allowed outside.

My driveway is full of activity and I am missing everything. Men in white shirts and jeans carrying Caleb's belongings into the boathouse. He is down further on the walkway, pacing just out of the way of the movers, gesturing angrily as he speaks on the phone.

I'm pretty sure he is speaking to Batman. There has been some overlap on projects that we thought we finished and sadly they're forced to work together for a few weeks and Ben even had to wade in and sort some things out and so today I am pinned to one place with strict instructions to listen to Lochlan, who is still sick and should be resting his voice instead of killing the next hour performing the soundtrack to Into the Wild. I hated that movie. Hated it with a special passion reserved for things like scorpions, ketchup chips and being stuck inside on a clear fall day when I could be out chasing leaves in the wind.

The lions at the zoo pacing back and forth behind the fence at feeding time, that's what I feel like. It doesn't help that Caleb keeps turning to stare at the house. He knows I am looking back at him. He knows who is home and who he must avoid but can't based on new extenuating circumstances that are clicking into place like the locks on the dial of a very heavy safe and here we are, together again at last only I am not a child anymore.

Or so I thought.

For fucks sakes. Stop singing. You're breaking my heart again and there isn't much of it left.
I'll take this soul that's inside me now
Like a brand new friend I'll forever know

I've got this light and the will to show
I will always be better than before

Long nights allow me to feel I'm falling
I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel I'm falling
I am falling safely to the ground

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Unicorns in the front yard again.

I'm not gonna lie
I want you for mine
My blushing bride
My lover, be my lover

Don't be afraid
I didn't mean to scare you
So help me, Jesus
Oh my fuck. Lochlan's Elmer Fudd-rendition of Possum Kingdom is slaying me. He is home early. Everyone has bad colds. Welcome to Fall, right? The seasons change and the temperatures fluctuate just enough to tilt all the germs back into the house and now we have to go back to evaluating who we'll kiss and who we'll avoid. I can just weed them out by counting who sneezes on the top of my head as they pass me with boxes and various bits of furniture.

Schuyler and Daniel are all moved in to their house. Or rather, their stuff is there. I invited them for dinner but they have great plans to have pizza over a candle or some other equally amazing moving cliche. I feel shafted and used. Hahaha. Maybe I'll start inviting myself over there for dinner. I'm not phoning first and I'm not bringing anything either. Also, my table manners will be deplorable and I will throw things. Judging by the vast number of food fights Daniel has started here it's only fair right?

PJ is moved in to the main house too. He loves the space and the fact that I can now harass him twenty-four hours a day without even having to go find my shoes first. I never thought of that but since he pointed it out I set some extra alarms overnight just for that purpose. I will put Ben's bagpipes in the hall so I can grab them on my way downstairs to say hello. I hope he's excited. I can do a mean four a.m. solo. He wouldn't know, he's been living on the other side of the driveway for eighteen months, after all.

Caleb has called the service and has moved up his own move into the boathouse to tomorrow. Agony bags indeed. Whatthefuckever, it's going to be hell on earth having all three of them in the same space all the time. My thousand dollar bet from the wedding has been transferred to a new bet amongst the rest of us to see who throws the first punch. My money's on Ben because...well, because Ben likes to punch things stuff people.

But I can't think about that right now. Because right now I'm so high on fumes from waterproofing all the boots and hiking shoes that I might burst into flames at the top of the atmosphere as I make my reentry. If I never post again, you'll know what happened. Why I leave posting until I'm in this sort of condition I will never know but it's probably still better than the after-wine entries, right?

It's not?

Oh, I see. Typical. Snort.

I have a headache. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I swear to God I am getting to that envelope. But first, an interlude.

Because Daniel and Schuyler are packing today to move to their house, because by Friday Satan will be residing here and because musical boys seem to be the order of the day, here: a fresh video for you by a band that I adore.

I know I seem very uptight and hard-edged and have this reputation as the tiny moody troll queen of heavy metal, I assure you that I'm not (okay, not all the time, anyway, and that makes Benjamin profoundly MOROSE, folks).

I really love this one, it's about time Switchfoot took us back to the beach.