Wednesday, 29 February 2012

He was sitting at the island this morning, eyes boring into a cup of black coffee. Not drinking, just staring. Didn't even look up when I walked in, didn't say good morning. I poured myself a cup of coffee from the pot and when I turned around he said,

I think you mixed up Ben and I in your post yesterday.

Then he stood up and walked out of the room.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Barometers and outros (complete with ocean view).

Early morning
The city breaks
I've been calling
For years and years and years and years
And you never left me no messages
Ya never send me no letters
You got some kind of nerve
Taking all I want

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Where were you? Where were you?
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why'd you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me
You will know my grave when you find it, someday. There will be no name and no dates, only song lyrics printed in uneven Traveling Typewriter, set quite small, but maybe not. There will be no flowers, for flowers are wasted on the dead. Hopefully from where you stand you will have your back to the ocean, so that I can see the water even though I won't actually be there, no. Hopefully I'll be in the garage wrapped within black and white wings, hiding in plain view. Hopefully I won't mind. Hopefully it happens faster and less painfully than life does, this thing called death. But for the meantime, as far as I have seen, it doesn't.

I shouldn't hold my breath, should I? Prime real estate on the water doesn't lend itself to keeping souls, only creating them out of sand and seaweed, pressed tightly between the waves and the stones beneath until they resemble something that looks curiously like fossilized melancholy, or a little girl with an fistful of blue cotton candy and a broken heart. The sight of her will break yours. You just think you're tough.

Whatshisface has turned the corner. He has graduated to cast number two and seems to have his emotional footing back underneath him. Instead of seeing him perpetually sprawled on the floor from a decided lack of logic and balance he stands on the fringe again. He is the last person you would expect to be the first to take a risk, but there you have it. Maybe that's how he gets away with so much, that charm and easy quiet that fails to warn your intuition until it is so late it's pitch black and everyone has left. Hypnotism by fire. Don't say I didn't warn you, okay?

In any event, we are just happy he has stopped lashing out at everything and everyone. For the moment I will continue to evade his demands that I fill him in on the rest of my life because I'm busy doing other things, like drawing pictures, listening to music and trying to figure out what the rest of my life is supposed to be.

My current state is flawed, charred and twisted, dented, and rescued. I'm not sure if happiness is a ten-minute ice cream cone eaten in the park or a week without lifting a finger in Ibiza. I don't know if life is about a quick telephone call to someone I haven't talked to in a while or needing everything perfectly in place, clean, folded, pressed, organized and color-coded. Is that when it's finished? You're given your time card to punch out and ordered to choose between Quill and Commercial script?

I don't like those, they look like something you see in a trophy park and oh, that's right that's exactly what they are and How much for a custom font? and Oh, yes, I understand but you see, these deaths are different from every other one you have handled even though everyone must say that and no, I don't want them to look like those trophies because no one has any imagination or any creativity.

I understand the bronze will be tough and durable, but how black can they make it? Will that come off over time, a patina to blind people when the sun comes out?

Okay, good.

Because death blinds me, frankly.

(But what have you learned, Bridget?)

Oh. Do we need to do this today? I'll just rattle them off. Tomorrow they might be different.

Caleb taught me that fear can disguise itself as something else and that I seek it for kicks, sometimes.

Cole taught me that I am stronger than any (or is that every?) man I know.

Andrew taught me that sometimes a cookie is all you have in a relationship and that's okay too.

PJ taught me that a hug can fix absolutely anything, so many hugs can fix everything.

Dalton taught me that it's okay to hate green tea and lie about it for fifteen years running.

Duncan taught me that I love beat poetry and art but that I have no respect for affectations.

Christian taught me to edit. Edit, edit, edit and then edit again.

Joel taught me that even perfectly normal people make huge mistakes too.

August taught me that if it walks like a corpse and talks like a corpse and flips his hair like a corpse, it's probably the corpse's best friend and you should leave well enough alone.

Sam taught me that friends are here to help, no matter what they think.

Daniel taught me that not all men have to be bulletproof, impact-resistant or tough. Some can be so sweet and gentle it's criminal.

Lochlan taught me how to live, how to lie, steal, balance on a tightrope and how I can find comfort in my imagination when there isn't any comfort to be found in reality. He said Life is an adventure, and sometimes adventure isn't warm or safe or even happy but it's adventure, nonetheless. He is right. He's always right. When he isn't losing his mind, that is.

Jacob taught me how to die. (Fucking bastard, I already knew that one.)

Ben taught me how to love. Without rules or history or anything more than love for our own sakes. For that I will be forever grateful, for I would not have known it otherwise. He is still teaching, I am still learning. You won't get rid of us this easily.

I taught myself that what doesn't kill me just goes into the bitter stew and I eat it every day and grow stronger, healthier, even more jaded and completely cracked, too.

I need a blender so I can put it all together and have all the good parts mixed together from all of us and leave out all the bad things like mood swings, electric bills, broken boot laces and arguments. Maybe bad songs, missed goals, abandoned plans and burned toast can go in there too, and cover up the smashed watch that came back in a padded envelope because I asked for it and the blood pressure cuff that I took off an arm and put in the pocket of my sweater before the doctors ran in to save a life that had already been spent.

Maybe these mementos are the worst forms of remembering death instead of life. But maybe I needed their last-touched things because I have the first-touched things already. Maybe I'm not nearly as morbid or ghastly as I seem, maybe it's just that I wasn't ready. I'm ready with dumb things and plans that will never see fruition but blindsided by surprise, always.

Maybe my grave will have my name, simply carved in Times New Roman. Maybe there won't be a grave at all.

Maybe I'll live forever, a fitting sentence for someone who goes to the garage to play truant with the angels when the living are here, ready with their lessons, ready with their songs.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Order of importance (conversations at 8 and 13).

I wanna hear your voice call me, call out loud
When you talk to me I'll hear you out
I wanna space it out too close, move on out
It's all around for you to see, yeah, it's all I want to see
But there's such a lot of baggage

You got us into this so get us out of this
Get us out of this,
Get us out of this

Lochlan? Where are you from?


Certain words. You say them wrong.

Not wrong, just differently. It's my accent. I was born in Vancouver and then we moved to Edinburgh when I was a baby. Both my parents are from there.

Where is that?


Where is that?

The other side of the Atlantic, Bridget.

Did you use a boat?



You have an accent too, you know. At least to me you do.

Mom says I talk like where I'm from. South Shore.

She's right. It's really New-Englandy.


Don't say sorry for something you can't help.

When did you move out here?

When I was eight.

Just like me.

Yes. Just like you.

I don't like moving.

No one does, Bridget. On the other hand, it makes you flexible and that's a good thing.

I'm double-jointed.

Not that kind of flexible.

Oh. Then what do you mean?

If you move alot it makes you less set in your ways. You make changes easier. Adventure is normal instead of out of the ordinary. You see things you might not see if you were always in the same place, doing the same things, going down the same road.

Are you moving again soon?

No? I'm just pointing out examples of how you are flexible now. And that will help you when you grow up.

I'm never growing up. It looks stupid.

Yeah. It does, doesn't it?

So...will you still have the accent when you're grown up?

I don't know. Maybe. A little at least. My parents still do so I might.

I like it.

You do, do you?

Yes. It's umm...erotic.

You mean exotic?

Yes! Exotic means exciting and from far away, right? What does erotic mean?

I thought you were the word girl.

I am.

Not so much, actually.

So what does erotic mean then?

Grow up first and then I'll tell you.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Resolute dawn.

Oh, did you ever believe that I could leave you,
Standing out in the cold
I know how it feels 'cause I have slipped through
To the very depths of my soul.
Baby, I just want to show you what a clear view it is
From every bend in the road.
Now listen to me
Oh, as I was and really would be for you, too, honey
As you would for me, I would share your load.
Let me share your load.
I woke up slowly this morning when Ben pushed my head down into the pillow. He presses his lips against my hair and then he lifts away and cold air rushes in against my back. He wrenches my knees apart and my wrists down and then he is close again and I am warm.

He threads his arm down around my shoulders, pulling me back up against him. His other hand come up under my jaw and he turns my head against his for a hard kiss. It's glorious.

Oh, I've got you now, he says. I try to nod but I can't move. I think I could wiggle my toes if I tried but then again maybe I can't.

He loosens his hold for a response and I nod and he kisses the top of my head again, his hand sliding over my mouth. Good girl, he whispers into my ear. Good girl, Bridget. Don't make a sound.

I am flattened facedown against the sheets again. I reach up and hold on tight to the pillows. If I'm going to get flung right out of heaven, it's not going to happen today.

Friday, 24 February 2012

New plan(et).

I need us undivided, I want this thing to stop
I've had the training to be overwhelmed but I'm not
Empty soul of hate but this isn't my war
Couldn't tell you how it started or where it is fought
It's nice to wake up and do some early reading and discover I qualify for my new dream job. You need a high school diploma, an ability to withstand isolation and reprovisioning only once a month, and mechanical/electrical repair skills. (No worries! I will just charm them and fake it and it'll all work out just fine.)

Lighthouse Keeper.

As long as I have whiskey and dry mittens I am in. And Ben. I can bring Ben, right? Well, I'm not going to leave him behind. Are you mad?

Thursday, 23 February 2012


It was already beginning to show curses from years ago
And the ocean is already parted
Will you take a walk
Walk with me now til we get to November?
Something I was never meant to find
An answer
An answer
At three I slipped out from under Ben's arm and struggled into my clothes in the dark. Outside down the path, dodging between stars and then in through the door I ran. I ran straight to the big wing chair that faces the sea. There are no lights on. I'm going to break my neck. I come around the side of the chair and he is waiting for me. Head down, cuffs shot. Thick suitcoat buttoned. Shirt pressed. Hair too long, tousled just perfectly enough to distract from a jaw so square it will cut you wide open if his words or his hands don't cut you first.

He doesn't move and I wait. I'm afraid.

The wind, Bridget.

I turn around and look at the water. Yes, what about it?

It's different tonight. He raises his head at last and his eyes are darker blue. I had every right to be frightened.

I nod. I can't look away now.

Come here. He says it softly.

I bite my lip to keep it from trembling and I step forward. He reaches up and pulls me down into his lap by the wrist. Every touch is a bruise from Cole, every word a caution. He wraps his arms around my waist and kisses my shoulder.

You smell so good.

It's not a compliment. It means he doesn't like my perfume.

He pulls me back harder against him and wraps his hand around my throat. Cold metal presses against my cheek as he presses my head back against his shoulder. I hear the click and my heart drops through the trapdoor on stage and into the basement of the theatre. The lights are hot. There's not a sound from the audience for everyone is holding their breath.

How many people are you going to forgive this week?

Just the one.

Why now, beautiful? Why start this again?

I want it to end. I try to sit up and he wrenches me back tighter into his arms, squeezing my neck so hard tears slide out of my eyes but I stop fighting. I listen.

It's too late to end it. It only ends when another one of us dies and you know it won't matter who does, either way every thing will only change again. He is getting louder, angrier, roaring into the top of my head. I begin to shake all over. He mistakes that for cold and forces me forward, holding me out with one hand while he unbuttons his suitcoat with the other. He pulls it out around me and then presses me back against him. There is no heartbeat to search for. This is colder still.

The gun slides down my cheek, under my chin, up around my ear, down my throat to my shoulder. He then traces it down my chest and points it at my heart. He twists it against my bones. Such a little miracle worker to be able to repair something that's been broken so many times.

It isn't fixed, I plead. He presses the gun into my skin and I cry out.

It's better than mine, isn't it?

I just stare at him. Just a dream. Hold your ground. Jacob's voice is in my head and I run across my pitch black mind and cling to it.

DON'T YOU TALK TO HIM. THIS IS MY TIME. Cole is up out of the chair now, clothes are hanging off him, he is gaunt and wasted and dead and so staggeringly handsome I wish he would just shoot me now so I didn't have to see him like this and then I could see him like he was.

Jacob remains silent. He wishes Cole would just go away and most of the time I try to keep him far far away from the others and sometimes I take pieces of him and throw him in their faces until they get a clue.

I focus so I can hear what Cole is saying.

Maybe you would be whole again if you would just let me tell them what really happened. We already have the villain and the hero, there's no need for any more roles to be cast. The supreme triple-cross, Bridget, and now you're going to go back to the one who orchestrated the whole thing? You truly are insane. It suits you. But God, you are still so fucking beautiful. His blue eyes have shifted to medium and I switch them back. His hair is darker and I frown. This isn't right. The gun is no longer cold and he is still growing, shooting up through the night until I am talking to the lapels on his coat instead of to his chin.

He bends down and kisses me and I scream and push Caleb away. In my ear Jacob whispers to run and so I listen to him too. Exit stage left. Right out of the theatre and into the dark alley beyond.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

“Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.” ~Victor Hugo

I don't see the need for any routines
I'm all out of sync, I cover my cuts
And hope they are fixed before I get hurt again
And all this ground beneath my feet
Has decided not to crumble into the sea
When I stood still in the center of the dirt road I could see everything. It was pitch-dark outside, cloudy with no stars, still and quiet. Without the light of town it was almost daylight. In a few hours the frogs would give up their posts for crickets and sparrows. Barn swallows would gather, chickadees would sing and sparse farm traffic would throw up dust clouds, turning the dead grass browner than it already was. The heavy undercurrent of salt air from the ocean lifted the light overnight wind.

He repeated himself slowly, looking down at me. The rules. The cautions. The things he was not sure that I could handle. I squared my shoulders and nodded bravely at every point. I had no idea what half of them meant but if he could handle it then I would too.

He put his hand out into the space between us.

Do you want to come with me, or do you want to stay behind, Bridget?

I reached out and took the hand he offered. I'm coming with you, Lochlan.

He squeezed my hand so hard my tiny gold ring turned square and I looked up into his face for approval. His smile lit up the whole road.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Too little, too late (story of my life).

Disappear and dissolve
A weakening wall
Will one day fall
It's wise to sever our loss
I redefine pulse
Through your iris

Love's not all lost
But its raised to my cross
And crucified all that I've held on
To be awaiting
Anticipating a touch such as yours

False affection
A spawn of neglecting
A love, lust, hoax
Please understand me
That now where you're standing
Is closer then I'd hoped
Lochlan came back yesterday just as the sun was going down, a list of outrages that he numbered through, throwing them out into the air one after another, turning the sunset black for me. He started with the fact that his daughter still has Caleb's last name and ended with the fact that he's done everything I asked him to do, right down to sticking around and defying the very nature of his gypsy heart to just take off and come back many months later.

After every single litany I repeated the same three words and still he never listened and then I threatened to throw his own torches at him just to get him to pay attention. He laughed and told me to go run and get the torches and fetch a bottle of something and we could do it up right. Make a spectacle.

That's the way we do everything. With an audience.

The household had other plans, however and we were separated and banned from fire fights and alcohol and even simple conversation, because every conversation ends in an argument. Because time has changed both of us and ground the past into our backs with its heels and now we just try to keep the marks covered, free from prying eyes as we go about our days.

I just find it upsetting that some of the words he's wanted to hear so badly for so long evoke nothing more than rage now. I didn't expect that, but perhaps I should have. Some breaks can't be fixed and some wounds can't be healed with time.

Tell me about it.

On second thought, don't. Not today. My plate is full.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Freaky Friday (bonus post for the night owls).

Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away, leave the day, way up high in the sky.
But the wind won't blow, you really shouldn't go, it only goes to show
That you will be mine, by taking our time.

And if you say to me tomorrow
Oh what fun it all would be.
Then what's to stop us, pretty baby
but what is and what should never be.
Lochlan poked his head into the kitchen just as I was putting away the last of the dishes from dinner. Perfect timing. He had disappeared right after eating, telling me he had to run a few errands, heading out with the truck, newly driving again now that his arm is less sore. Finally, a little less restless now that he can get out and around.

Hey, Fidget?

Hmmm, Locket. I am ignoring him.

Bridget. Oh, there's his serious, logical voice. I turn around. He has a bouquet of roses. Real ones this time. And they're not on fire. Hey, we're making progress at least.

Truce? He smells dauntless and a little like shampoo.


Happy Valentine's Day, for real this time. He turned to leave again.

I forgive you. I said it quietly and he stopped and put one hand up on the door frame but then he kept going. He'll come back to this when he's ready. This is how we do things, he and I.

A quiet stream of unconsciousness.

I lasted through the three extra cups of coffee this morning and now that the caffeine has worn off the pain is back.

Ow, my head. This headache seems to show itself every third month and last for around five days. It's just lovely, thanks for asking. At least it's as predictable as the migraines used to be, maybe that's what it still is. I don't know. I've had bad headaches since I was a child, but they turned almost debilitating in university and Cole used to take me to the emergency room where they would shoot my hips full of Gravol and Toradol. One to ease the pain and the other to keep me from throwing up. It burned like hell.

The last time I went to the hospital for help I was pregnant with Ruth. After that I figured I was a mom now and moms have got to be some sort of invincible. Only I'm not invincible, and I don't know why I try to be. I just keep taking ibuprofen and drinking coffee and telling myself it's not so bad, when most people would be on the goddamned floor by now.

Others have told me it must not truly be migraines or I would be on the floor. Yes, I'm aware of that but like I said, the pain threshold, it's very high. So high I have broken bones and kept going, figuring they would heal. I had a caesarean without drugs once. I've been tested and I've seen specialists and I've withstood it, so don't tell me what it is and what I should do. I just never talk about it much anymore. Everyone's an expert on three things in life: babies, migraines and grief. This is why when you meet me I may not talk out loud. If you say the wrong thing you'll meet a stream of East coast Tourette's, for I have no patience for generalizations.

AKA Shut the fuck up, unless you fit in my shoes (see next paragraph) and have walked a mile in them. Easier said than done.

I'm actually pretty sure that this pain is a brain tumor and someday it's going to kill me midstep. Abruptly. Switched off, just like that. I hope I'm really old and holding onto something when it happens. That would be better than standing in the shop trying to decide between two pairs of Louboutins, now wouldn't it? Or perhaps just about to turn off the oven. I don't think that would be good either.

I like to keep things organized and not be a burden, you see.

So I'm just putting that here that I'm sure it's a tumor and oh yes I Googled the symptoms and one should never do that and instead I should just tell you that I did have breakfast with Sam and his...paramour? Friend? and it was really nice and he was funny and sweet and a little bit good-looking and I have invited them both here for dinner this weekend and hopefully by then I will feel better and in the meantime I will call Caleb and apologize for swearing at him and telling him to send the construction workers home because I couldn't stand the noise.

Wish me luck. Bring me aspirin. And my apologies for being a tiny little crab tonight.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A star to call our own.

Sam is like me. When no one is around he turns the music up all the way and enters oblivion, letting the music soak in, marinating his flesh and his soul in melody.

We get along so well it's disgusting. He's one of those people that is very easy to talk to, so when he invites me over I know it's time to talk and I drop everything and go.

When I walked into the church this morning, I had the unfortunate timing of doing so within the first three seconds of the song that was playing, the next 37 seconds of which bring me to tears every goddamn time for the string arrangements and I had to sit down in the coat closet because I couldn't go further in.

I sat on the floor right there until he offered his hand.

Sorry, Bridget. It's an inspiring piece.

That it is. I don't even particularly like the lyrics but the intro is beyond beautiful.

It is.

What's on next? Just so I'm ready.

I'll turn it off so we can talk without yelling. He grins. Sam needs a haircut. Badly. He's starting to resemble a hobbit. Just taller. Samwise of the Shire. He pulls me up out of the closet and we walk down the hall to the kitchen. He ducks into his office to switch off the sound system. My smile is helpless. I'm never ever a fan of turning off the music but the only reason I knew what he said is because he'll tell me that's what he said when I ask him when he returns. Don't worry, we go through this every week or so.

He hurries back down the hall towards me. Want to go for a coffee?

Sure. What's up?

I have some news. With his hands jammed into his jeans pockets, rocking back on his heels, stupid grin still glued on. I think I already know. I drop my bag on the floor and wait.

I met someone.

When? Where? Who is she?

She's a...well, she's a he.


He scrubbed at the back of his head with one hand and grinned wider. He...he's a man, Bridge.

(This closet is walk-in, apparently.)

Do I, do we get to meet him?


How long?

How long what? Well, I think I knew before Elisabeth left. I wasn't very fair to her and...

No, how long have you been dating this guy?


What? I start whacking him with my hands. You've been in a relationship for almost four months and you didn't tell me?

I didn't know how you would react. And I didn't know if we were going to get along as well as we are and yeah, it's been a while now, hasn't it?


Bridget, you didn't need to deal with any more than you already have going on right now.

Wow. Let's backpedal just a little. You're my friend. Screw that, you're part of my family. If you can't share good news with us, who can you share it with?

You're the people I care about most in life. Therefore your opinions matter. Your reactions matter to me. No one else does. It's hard to face everyone.

Who else knows?

Nobody yet.

Can we have a meeting? Bout time there was some good news around my house. And when the dock is finished you can have your wedding there. It will be beautiful! We can-


What, Sam?

Does everyone who dates someone get married in your universe?

Of course, Sam. Life is short. Celebrate love. Make it a fairy tale. Go all out. What other way is better than that?

You're the eternal romantic aren't you?

Yes. And I make no apologies for it.

Good. I hope you never do.

Does this mean I can plan your wedding?

Okay, we're not going to move THAT fast, Bridget.

Can I at least know his name?

Yeah, I think we're going to go way slower than that even.

Can I throw you two a party? Like a coming-out party? Sorry, I don't know what else to call it.


Okay. Can we just get a pinata then?

A what?

A pinata! The tissue paper animals you whack with a baseball bat and candy falls out.

Um, okay?

Yes! I've always wanted one of those. I make a fist and bring it in to my side. Victory. When are you going to tell the boys?

I thought I might do that tonight, if you'll be with me when I tell them.

I can't think of anywhere I would rather be, Sam.

I got that same feeling tonight, watching the boys jump up and surround Sam. Hugging him, slapping his back, shaking his hands. Telling him they were happy for him. That feeling of the soaring opening notes from that song, like sometimes everything really does make sense. Like we're all heading in the directions where we are supposed to be heading. Maybe we're not all horrible, flawed and paltry human beings after all.

Maybe we are trying our very best.

Go, Sam. Go fall in love. It's about time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

So rattled I forgot to actually post this.

Every year around this time I put on my tightest corseted business dress, my highest killer stilettos and pull my hair into a tight chignon, secured with a glossy black pencil. Then I pick up my calculator with its three hundred buttons and I get to work, doing taxes. For the whole collective.

Every year I hold myself so tense I get headaches, neck aches and general all-over body aches. I have been known to paint rooms, reorganize my handbag and drink my face off instead of sitting down and starting the paperwork. Eventually I get my act together and churn out most of them in the same week. The dress and shoes change daily but the little scowl remains. I hate taxes but I refuse to let any of the boys pay a tax preparer to do the same job I can do (with a little prodding and a lot of promises of rewards).

This year Caleb gave me an extra week's leeway by not having the T4s prepared on time. Any other year the boys had their paperwork ready to roll and we had to wait for forms. This year the forms were out and we had to wait for Cale. And to top it off, he always throws a red herring into a box that is meaningless to everyone except the CRA and I have to sort out if it's important or not. Batman? He had the forms ready for me the first week of January.

Add in the fact that we're in a new province and I am still unfamiliar with the provincial tax laws. For example, we pay our own provincial health premiums here. Most other provinces roll them into taxes. Therefore, they can't be claimed under medical expenses. So yeah, a few fits and starts this week as I call the CRA several times just to make sure I'm not making any mistakes. So far so good.

Once I had everything I barricaded myself at the dining room table with many sharpened pencils and swear words. I looked up the word 'tax' on my blog, and then 'taxes' to show you exactly how tense I can get about finances and wound up reading the entry from where I sold the hundred year old castle that killed two men and had to be reinvented and left behind.

I did not cry, but I had that weird stinging ache start up behind my sinuses that means tears are imminent. So I came back to this page to finish up, because it's late and I need to pull dinner together. Dinner is in two shifts, remember? One for the children and the secondary boys who start early and roll in early and one for the princess and the primary boys, who usually roll in sometime between seven and eight at night, which makes for long days but I am far more rested than I was a year ago. And I can't really breathe in the corset but I look great, and between looking good and having a head for numbers I suppose one could do a lot worse.

But that's just me.

The taxes are done now at last and I'm going to go put on my pajamas and make a stiff drink for myself and spend the evening visiting with each of my boys to give them their good news. You see, not only do I do the paperwork but I keep a close eye on their totals to make sure they never have to pay in. Good luck getting that kind of service from some faceless tax preparation kiosk.

Also, I'm really cute in pajamas. So bring on the rewards. Lets start with a cookie and move on to sexual favors after that.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Unsound methods (Outstanding, red team. Outstanding.)

(You want to know who the memory thief really is? Well, I'll give you an epic hint. It isn't me.)
Complement the atmosphere
Fill the ground with all our tears
Dry them up to make it clear
We do no wrong
He holds out a rose. He's covered with grease, and still in his dark blue coverall suit from the garage. He was late leaving the shop because the owner wanted him to finish a brake job and then wait around for the customer who didn't want to leave his car overnight. The rose is artificial. The only place still open is the convenience store and he didn't have time to go to the bank anyway. It's 9:47 pm and I blew my curfew forty-seven minutes ago. As long as I say I was with Lochlan and not sitting on the swings in the park in total darkness trying to act bored instead of scared for three hours straight I won't get in any trouble.

I take the rose and he looks at his feet and shakes his head like he has water in his ears. Lochlan's self-doubt is as visible as his flaming hair

Happy Valentines Day, peanut.

I thrust forward the card I made for him. The envelope is too big, borrowed from the desk in the front hall. Maybe next year I'll have some money to buy a card with an envelope that matches but then again I probably won't. I'm a very good drawer though. Lochlan's been teaching me life studies or whatever he calls it. I draw him in poses. He gives me one minute per pose, sometimes five if he doesn't have to go to work early.

He opens the card.

I made it just for you! I crow.

He nods. I can tell. I love your artwork. I'm going to keep it forever, okay? Test me on that twenty years from now.

I will then. I smile, I am so pleased with myself when I make him happy.

So I got a new job, peanut. A job with the show. It starts at the end of May. I applied for it a couple weeks ago but I didn't want to tell anyone and jinx it. I won't have to work at the garage anymore.

Where will you be?

All over the east coast, even down to the US. All summer long. Maybe more once I'm done school. Midway and the circus too. I can alternate depending on what's happening.

I am so excited for him my heart catches in my throat. Never have I seen him so happy. I give him a hug and say Congratulations because that's what people tell you when something great happens to you and then I'm suddenly aware that the feeling I have isn't happiness for his news but an abrupt realization that he's leaving. He just GOT here, into my life.

I start to cry and drop the rose on the ground and he pulls me into his arms. I am now covered with grease and sweat and he holds me really tightly and rocks back and forth as we stand there and says to me, Now see, Bridget, that's the best part. You can come with me. Did you really think I would leave you behind?
Close the door before it's late
We were born to love and hate
Turn it down for our own sake
We do no wrong

You fill your ears with every note
Direction seems the only hope
Its crowded, let's create now
We do no wrong
He puts me back down and tries to wipe my cheeks with the cleanest parts of his hands. It doesn't work. Now I look like an extra from Apocalypse Now. We watched it in his parent's basement last week. They have a VCR. I didn't like it because it was about wars so I re-braided my hair and tried to appear interested, like the older kids seemed to be. I was just happy it was over, eventually.

And it also means next Valentine's Day I can give you something nicer. He picks up the rose and puts it between his teeth and winks at me.

I snatch the rose back from him and clutch it tightly. I don't know what he's talking about. How am I supposed to come with him?

Just think about it, Bridget. You can live in the midway. Ride every ride all day long. Have cotton candy for breakfast. Instead of visiting for a few nights you will be part of the show. I'm going to take the old camper or maybe even buy one from this guy the owner knows. It's a dream come true. No more shop hours and pink soap and crappy customers and low pay. I'll be in the entertainment industry.
He grins, eyes sparkling in the dark.

His grin is contagious. I have no doubt he was born to charm. There's just something about him that makes him seem older than his years. Something about him that draws people in and holds their attention long after the lights go down and the rides are locked. Something that allows him to get away with things most people wouldn't dream of in a million years.
Common sense protects us
Everything affects us
To the outside light it's paradise
To the outside light it's paradise
I made him a new card this morning, a lot like that first one which he pulled out to show me. He's been using it as a bookmark for close to three decades now. Then he turned around and walked to the desk, and pulled out a big red fabric rose with a plastic stem, tag still attached. He gave it to me to hold while he dug his lighter out of his pocket.

And he set it on fire.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Power to weight ratio.

He presented me with the key. I jumped up and he lifted it way up over my head.

Tank is full, CD player is empty. He winked and I grinned.

How far? I ask eagerly.

Turn at Callaghan lake. But don't go to the lake. Then to Mission if you still need to stay out.

That's like four hours total.

And four back. Stay under the speed limit.

Yes, Dad.

He laughed. I'll tell Ben you're going.

I already did. He's getting his jacket. He's coming with me.

Oh. Well, then as long as the car is back by tomorrow disregard everything else. Well, except for the speed. Wait, does Ben even fit in that car?

Heh. I'll grease him up and push him in if he doesn't. Actually I might just anyway. That would be hot.


Yes, Caleb?

Please don't have sex in my car.

I turned around and walked out the door backwards, pointing at him. Don't you ruin my fun! And I laughed.

Friday, 10 February 2012


Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride

Well, you don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
And just like that he shapeshifts back into devil-form, loathe to have anyone else connect the dots the way I can, making pictures of death where they intended a rainbow or perhaps a duckling. Caleb appeared at the kitchen door this morning, coffee mug in hand, hair slicked back with Brylcreem in his more customary corporate Cary Grant style, cleanshaven, button-down shirt and dress pants. I am used to that. He's always looked like that once he was out of law school.

Cole was the one who looked like he fell out of a repurposed sixties musical with his Trey Anastasio hair and Jim Morrison beard, leather cord around his neck until it fell off and paint-spattered jeans that forced my knees apart and made me give up any idea of defense that I could come up with, if I tried, which I didn't/wouldn't/couldn't. He would tuck his hair behind his ears and my dress would fall off.

So forgive me if I still feel like that every now and then.

Cole would have been forty-four this year. His hair would have been starting to see a few strands of grey, like Caleb's. Maybe he would have laugh lines like Caleb. Maybe he would have calmed down a little but he still would have ruled our lives, a job Lochlan took over and still resents to this day.

No one minds if I let my brain off leash. It is proclaimed to be healthy. It's proclaimed to be a good coping mechanism. Someone might be wrong on that note but hey, give me oxygen and I will breathe. Call me a duck and I'll follow you into the filthy pond in the middle of a city park and go for a swim.

It's Caleb's week to take the kids to school. We trade off mornings and afternoons. I like pick-up because I can hear all about their days and see that everything is in their backpacks that they will need to do their homework. He likes to not have to watch the clock in the afternoons when he gets buried in the odd consulting job or catching up with his old boys network or decides to practice his evil. Lochlan doesn't take the kids to school, everyone was fine with the status quo remaining the way it always was, children included, as they have input now in all sorts of things that used to be relegated to an eventual throw-down in the backyard and because of my need for a calmer house for their benefit there won't be any more of those. Lochlan's going to learn to rule his own reactions with the same self-control he runs the house with. Which is very little in all honesty but something is better than nothing.

A dirty pond is better than no river for miles and evil is better than dead.


Evil is better than dead.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

This is why I can't have nice things.

Jeans and a fisherman knit sweater. Hiking boots. Umbrella. Beard. Hair about four times longer than usual, for he has abandoned his monthly close crop and clean shave in favor of this rugged sort of casual mayhem of an appearance. I guess I didn't notice, to tell you the truth.

And then I walked out onto the verandah to say goodbye to the children this morning and saw Cole and felt my heart drop through the bottom of my stomach, leaving a flutter of butterflies scattering through my very being. My weak knees held long enough for me to get the rest of myself back in order and he smiled and walked up the hill.

I know. Yes. I'm aware Caleb does this on purpose.

And it works.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Let me entertain you.

I've come here to sell you my body
I can show you some good merchandise
I'll pull you and I'll pill you
I'll Cruella De Vil you
And to thrill you I'll use any device

We'll give you crazy performance
We'll give you grounds for divorce
We'll give you piece de resistance
And a tour de force
Of course
After several hours of walking the halls, terrorizing gift-shop volunteers and staring into bottomless cups of coffee Ben sits back in his chair and stretches, clearly restless. I am reading and loathe to put the book down so I sling my bag toward him and he catches it in his hands, plunking it into his lap and pulling open the zipper. Finally, something to do, he says.

I'm never exactly sure why he doesn't play games on his phone or something but Ben travels very light and is weirdly terrified of becoming attached to his phone. This is the longest he's ever had the same one, all previous ones would be stolen/left or misplaced in hotels worldwide. He's not good at keeping things secure. Maybe it's better that he remain ambivalent about the phone after all.

He digs through until he finds the first bit of lip makeup. He unscrews the top and sticks the end in his mouth. He frowns and opens his mouth wide, blotting the end of it on his tongue. LALALALALA he says. Yuck. What the hell is this, Bridget?

Lip stain, I tell him, deadpan. I'm trying not to laugh. It's supposed to be a serious day. Lochlan's getting the first of the last casts. We have given the power tools to Sam until Lochlan is healed so that he won't get out of it at the first sign of discomfort. I am holding my breath that this works or he is facing surgery and a lifetime of never throwing fire or pulling me out of the ocean with one arm ever again.

Why is it different? He is painting his tongue with it. He reaches out and grabs my arm and uses the lip stain to draw a heart on my upper arm with an arrow through it. He writes MOM in the centre and then draws another arrow pointing toward my face. I am frowning too now.

Don't waste it, it costs twenty dollars.

I'll buy all of them for you, then. Only it's gross. Tastes like a marker. He tries a second one. Same face. LALALALALALALA he sings again as he taps it on his tongue.


Why did you buy that instead of all the fruity yummy greasy deliciousness?

I got tired of the wind sticking my hair to my lips.

Was it the wind or just a good hard-

It was the wind. I don't wear lipgloss at night.

Maybe you should start. He wagged his tongue at me. It's striped red and pink now. I finally allow myself some out-loud laughter and resolve to wear the sticky stuff, even if it sticks to everything.

I start to tell him that, but he has moved on and is now taste-testing an orange mini-sharpie.

I didn't even know that was there. Should have used it on my lips.

Or maybe on his.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tiny halcyon glows.

Don't put that on. It doesn't fit you anymore.

He is standing in the doorway smiling at me. I scowl and turn back to my reflection. Says who? I ask myself in the mirror.

I say. The color keeps you in the shadows and the fabric weight is far too much for a day like today. Plus it's one of your history dresses and this is a new day.

He is right. The heavy black vintage brocade is against everything today stands for in sunshine and warm wind. This is a mourning dress and rare is the day I don't pull out one of these first, before I'll consider something lighter, or maybe even jeans and a stolen band t-shirt.

Who let you in anyway? I scowl. I am still thinking, still considering. It's comfortable. And I like being in the shadows. I like keeping my head on my sleeve so they can see inside. Anything else is not me and I have had enough of strangers for now.

You did.

Maybe that was a mistake.

He crosses his arms and grins. I doubt it. You don't even have to get dressed to talk to me here.

You like that, don't you, Jacob?

My favorite part of the day was watching you roll out of bed with nothing but long hair and a sleepy smile.

Life was simpler then.

No, life was terribly complicated. Just like it always is, princess. Now, then. It makes no difference. You find the good parts and bear the rest.

Easy for you to say. Also hypocritical.

I was speaking about you, not about myself.

Right. Black dress it is, then. I shrug it over my head and when I pull it down he is gone.


Ben comes in and goes straight for Lochlan. They have their own language these days and I'm a little bit on the outside. He kisses the top of my head as he passes and asks Lochlan for an update on his hand. I had to take Loch in today for yet another x-ray and complimentary lecture. They're talking about surgery and titanium and horse tranquilizers and straight jackets and whatever else it's going to take at this point to heal him and keep him from using that arm.

Yes, they did indeed point out if he were to stop sawing off casts and punching Caleb he'd probably be all better already. I'd just like all of them to stop fighting, since it obviously serves no purpose except to illustrate how bloody angry they are at one another half or all of the time. That and I thought the days of everyone wading in to tear two brawling men apart ended when Cole and Jacob (the original dinner party brawlers) both took their leave of the planet.

I asked both Caleb and Lochlan separately if they wanted out of the current living arrangements.

Both said no.

So I said if they do it again, the rest of us are going to leave and they can finish each other off. Because hey! I can write a mean obituary. I've had so much fucking practice it's criminal.

Monday, 6 February 2012

I wanted to talk with Caleb about his conversation with Lochlan last week but he is running late and asks me to drive him down to the park so he can meet his dive group. He proceeds to turn the radio up in the car and fiddle with his watch the whole trip and generally evade my questions, and then once we arrive in the lot everyone descends on him and I am forced to stand and wait, keys in hand.

Finally he comes back and says to me that it's going to take a few minutes for him to prep his gear and I can talk to him while he does that. He is half into his dive boots and not paying attention, over my head, drowning my frustration. I don't like the fact that he dives any more than I like the cigars and the constant travel and the stress because all of it seems as if it would be hard on his heart but the devil persists in a lot of things, doesn't he?

And he is still the devil. I believe he lasted almost ninety days and not a minute more.

I have four minutes, Bridget. What did you need?

Why did you make Lochlan that offer? 'Here's a bunch of money, go away.' What the hell are you doing?

Why does it matter? It's not like he took it. Unless...were you considering my offer after all this time? The price I quoted. My holdings become yours and you are mine exclusively. He winks and smiles at me and I lock my knees against his charm.

You don't get to torture him.

But he can torture me?

He avoids you.

Every time you leave the room he describes something he did to you the night before. You think I'm wicked. Christ.

I don't know if I should believe him or remain on the side I'm on already. I stand there considering both options, weighing the oxygen left on the dial to breathe when Caleb stands up and nods toward the group. We're going. I'll catch a ride home with someone. He pulls me in close against him and wraps his hand around my head. You fucking beautiful little whore. You really think I can just let you go? He pulls me up off my feet, kisses me hard and then drops me back to earth and walks away, grabbing his tanks off the tailgate on his way. I watch as he crosses the road and heads down the steps toward the water.

I decide to stop at a few places on the way back and run some errands so it's a couple hours before I return. Caleb is home already, in the driveway organizing his gear. I pointedly ignore him as I cross to the camper and knock on the door. Lochlan comes out and smiles. His hands are covered with pastels and he's blasting Saving, the song that's been stuck in both of our heads now for a week or more. He asks what's up, reminding me I never have to knock. Tells me I look gorgeous. Suggests a movie later on tonight. I keep interrupting him and finally he stops and waits for me to talk. I tattle all my tales at once.

He said when I'm not around you describe some of our time spent to him. That the torture goes both ways.

My doubt becomes my regret as the look on his face changes to one of pure outrage. I should not question the logical one. Straight-ahead lies now, hey? he yells and takes off across the driveway where he pulls up into a superman punch the likes of which I don't think I've seen from him before. I hear his fist connect to Caleb's face. Caleb is still half into his suit and slow on the uptake and gets the full force of Lochlan's punch. I am right behind him and I throw myself between them when he staggers back. I feel small and helpless and afraid but I yell at them to stop and they do. They're not going to fight if I won't get out of the way.

Lochlan kisses his bruised knuckles and turns to go back to the camper. I let my guard down and turn to see if Caleb is okay when a blur of red, white and blue moves past me and they are on the ground now. The door slams and Andrew and Dylan come out and get them up and apart. Both of them look to me to validation or forgiveness or excuse. I don't know if I have any. I'm happy they waited until the children were already at school. I'm happy some of the others were at home to break it up before it got worse. I'm disappointed that their tempers still rule.

I'm even more disappointed that Caleb even presumed to think that he could buy Lochlan's exodus from my life. Last time I checked there were no price tags on my head anymore.

I guess I was wrong.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Call no man foe, but never love a stranger. ~Stella Benson
New Jake is kicking at the smaller rocks along the water while I stay within reach and scowl at him. I am allowed to come down to the beach but only if I bring someone with me who can swim. Lovely. New Jake volunteered and when pressed to explain his eagerness he produced a pack of cigarettes and explained sheepishly that he is down to two a day. Two is good, he points out and so I am given the all-clear and now he is hellbent on ruining my daily inspection for beach glass with all the kicking and rearranging of the shoreline. Low tide doesn't match any convenient hours for me lately so every piece I find is an absolute marvel.

(I warned you it takes very little to entertain me but you persist in your skepticism. Why?)

He laughs and take a drag. He doesn't like you, he says and lifts his head up to check the angle of the sun.

Who doesn't like me? I am coy. I know the answer but it will be interesting to hear an outsider's perspective.


I turn and beat my head repeatedly against New Jake's shoulder. He doesn't budge. I know, I wail briefly and he laughs again and puts his arm up around me and rubs my back consolingly.

It's okay, Bridget. Maybe he will warm up.

He leaves tomorrow, if he hasn't warmed up by now he's not going to. Besides, I don't think I like him either. I pull my fingers up over my mouth in surprise. Not sure I've ever met a man I didn't like, much less a friend of Jacob's.

So the world can rest easy now knowing I'm not charming another man to the breakfast table nor am I adding another character to the cast here. Therefore no description is required and no words will be spent. August has given up trying to force things and Garland leaves tomorrow. They did go out and tour the city and have a great time catching up so all is not lost, it just has so very little to do with me.

Maybe someday he'll come back or when I go to Newfoundland we can find some sort of common ground but that's far off in the future because he hates to travel and I hate to be around someone I make uncomfortable. I might be a little monster but if you ask for space you're going to get it.

I reach into New Jake's pocket and pull out his cigarettes, taking one out and replacing the pack. He raises his eyebrows and holds out his zippo to light it for me. I take a drag and then hold the cigarette out in front of me as if it's something I've never seen before. The familiar throb behind my eyes begins in earnest.

I thought cigarettes give you headaches, he reminds me.

They do. The pain will be a nice distraction, I tell him and turn back to my search for treasure. The sun is warm on the top of my head, and this is the purest form of Lochlan's Win some, lose some lesson that he used to try to make me understand back in the day when I thought I could conquer the world instead of merely surviving it.

Goodbye, Garland, and thanks for at least being honest. I didn't kill your friend though, he killed me. And there is no place on a ghost one which you can lay blame, it just slides off and falls to the floor every last time. Trust me, I've tried.

Friday, 3 February 2012

1986 was a really rough year for some people.

I might not say I'm sorry
Yeah, I might talk rough sometimes
And I might forget the little things
Or keep you hanging on the line

In a world that don't know Romeo and Juliet
Boy meets girl and promises we can't forget
We are cast from Eden's gate with no regrets
Into the fire we cry
Bon Jovi came on the stereo this morning while I was painting and Lochlan scowled when I started to sing. His only beef with them (aside from their eighties hair) was that their most prolific album came out in 1986 and that was the year he tried and failed to get me back from Cole (you would think he also holds grudges against 1987 through 2012. Oh wait, he does so NEVERMIND.)

Had he succeeded I'm pretty sure we would have spent our lives stacked in an airstream with three mischievous and filthy-wild little kids and fifty bucks in the bank and fought every goddamned day for the rest of our lives but it would have been true love forever nonetheless.

Alas, things have not worked out that way.

Save for the airstream. It's in the driveway. Oh and he has less than fifty dollars in the bank and he's perfectly happy, thank you very much. Oh and yes, WE STILL FIGHT EVERY DAMNED DAY, LOCHLAN.

What an odd thing to hold a grudge over. Bon Jovi. Hahahahahahah.

(I realize you want to know about Garland. So do I. August has been showing him the city, I have barely seen the guy. Hopefully on the weekend that will change.)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The little harbinger of all things warm.

I was roused, kicking and screaming from slumber this morning and dragged outside onto the damp grass in the fog-shrouded morning sun, still dressed in my pajamas with my knotted, wild hair. I fought my handlers tooth and nail to go back to my dream until I was shoved gently to the center of the circle, wider by one this morning.

I did not see my shadow.

Spring will be early this year.

Then I got my morning hugs which take a long time to dispense. Some people have to be tracked down, you know.

So happy groundhug day from down here on the ground, as the newly minted shortest person in the house. Thanks Henry. Sold your own mother out by growing taller than I am at last. On that note, I have to go. It was a busy day and there is a fun night ahead. I have a date with the tallest person in the house (Benjamin, naturally) to curl up and watch the hockey game. I'm taking it. Goodnight!

(Go Canucks Go!)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

January must be over/everything is okay.

It's not even ten a.m. and all this has happened so far:

1. I dressed for painting and even wound my hair up in a bun and went downstairs and..


......I forgot that I forgot to buy paint.

2. Some idiot (Thank you Dalton!!) sent me a link to R.E.M. covering Don't Fear the Reaper and I squealed and squeaked for twenty minutes to the point where PJ wandered in looking for the hamster that must be loose in the house. Also Wicked Game. They cover Wicked Game. *cries*

3. I read something something 'interpretive fusion of yoga and circus immersion' and snorted coffee out my nose. Don't do that. It hurts.

4. I rolled my eyes when someone pointed out how awesome it is that I walk the kids to school so much. They live halfway between my house and the school and also drive to the gym. To exercise.

5. Ben gave Lochlan a hug. Groundhug day definitely is spooling up over here. Granted Lochlan could use a few more hugs and a lot less yelling. He is having a rough time and Ben's plan is to comfort him until things get better. Excuse me while I melt all over the floor.

6. I made the reference to Satan because Satan never really goes away, he just flits to the sideline and waits. Caleb's only promise was to stop making my life miserable. I didn't think we had to specify my life meaning 'everyone in the house'. We have now. And no worries, I have all kinds of recourse. I'm not dumb. Well, I'm dumb but I'm not stupid-dumb.

7. PJ smiled without being weird about it. Also rough time. Long story, don't ask.

8. They started work on the giant marina/deck/dock/waterside restaurant/personal yacht club or whatever the hell behemoth is being built at the bottom of the cliff so it's safer (Hello BC assessements? Yes, right this way. Eight pages you say? Give the bill to the guy with the horns). I can't wait to see how they will pull this off. The engineering so far is fascinating.

9. Garland is here. Well, he texted August from the airport so he's on his way to the house. You will meet him later. I am terrified and excited to finally meet August and Jacob's university roommate. And no, I don't have any friends with normal names. Just BEN, ROB, CHRIS and MARK. MIKE if you want to stretch the word 'friends'. DYLAN seems pretty common now. ANDREW who I've been blabbering about since the age of three. Yeesh, people, you get stuck on the weirdest things. Never once have I been called out for my wicked polyandry but every day someone goes wtf is with their names?

10. Did I mention that Ben gave Lochlan a hug and pretty much nothing else is important right now? Ever ever ever again. Nope, nothing else.

Have a good day. Happy February.