Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Princes who adore you.

I'm pretty sure Ben's embarking on some noble attempt to set me free and not tie me to him if he's going to be away forever and if it's 'meant to be' then I will want to be with him when he comes back but in the meantime he won't add guilt, regret or sadness to my life by contacting me.

Yeah, right. Fucking GAG me.

(No, don't, actually, this is neither the time nor is it the place.)

I'm so dizzy from rolling my eyes I can barely walk a straight line at this point. I'm prone to cynical laughter and bursting out with my Princess-Tourette's:


Fucking whatever!

and my all-time favorite explicative, MotherFUCKER.

Look, I'm glad he's straight and narrow and working hard and getting healthy and learning some coping mechanisms FOR ONCE. I'm glad he's contemplating his future, not being selfish but being pragmatic about life, serious in his thoughts, for once.

But I'm no one's fucking experiment.

Besides, at this point I have spent weeks getting my information second-hand, because apparently the six-foot-four monster metal god is frightened of the little five-foot-nothing blonde sometime-sideshow freak and has to relay all of his messages through people who probably don't have his best interests at heart when it comes to said freak and might spin information to suit themselves, and so with that said, from here on out I will continue to live, continue to love and wait for him and when he comes back, I wish unleash the holy hell of myself on him because this lack of contact is DRIVING ME FUCKING CRAZY.

Am I composed? Acting like a lady through this?

Nope. Sorry.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Forge welding.

Somewhere safe.
He's called already. When you were working. Lochlan says the word 'working' like it's filthy and frowns at the floor. His hands are jammed in his pockets and I hear the lighter clicking and clicking furiously. I wonder if I should fill a bucket and carry it around behind him for when he fumbles and sets his cargo shorts on fire.

Is he going to call back?


Did he want to talk to me?


Wow. The look on his face is getting worse instead of better.

What did he say?

You know something? I'm like the cleaner. Someone makes a mess of you and you default back to me, get yourself together and take off for someone new. You're making a habit of this and you get burned every fucking time but you don't learn, Bridget. So here's the thing. I'm not the back-up guy, okay? You get that? If you're with me, you're with me and there's none of this...this BULLSHIT that goes on all around me. You are mine. You got that? I'm sick of watching this. Stop running to these broken ones and JUST. STAY. HERE. 

I watch him as he melts down. He shines brighter and gets hotter as he goes. His cheeks turn pink and his eyes blaze and he finds a conviction that is generally too slippery and hard to hold on to. He finds his own worth in these little moments where he doesn't just up and shut down.

I watch him because he has me clutched in both hands like a rag doll, shaking gently with the emphasis on each word deployed like a challenge.

Just stay with me, Bridgie. 

I AM! 

He lets go but keeps staring and I burst into flames. Self-immolation is totally the new self-destruct. We're so doomed people run from us in the streets when they see us coming. In case it's contagious.

But are you? Don't answer me right now, just think on it and I'll ask you again later. You've got some hard choices to make here, young lady, and it's time you made the right ones. There are no fairy tales here, just horror stories.

Monday, 29 July 2013


You got me. I always spin you a buried memory instead of keeping up with the present when I feel kind of boxed in.

It's no big deal, really. Lochlan was vaguely annoyed but not too concerned by my trip down memory lane and I felt a little better because I could at least think about something besides the quiet phone in the pocket of my sweater.

Ben didn't call. Daniel went to spend two and a half days with him and is home now. He said Ben looked wonderful. He said he was in great spirits, very upbeat and sociable and healthy and well-grounded in his wellness plan. It was all the things Daniel didn't say that seemed to be the most telling and eventually I let him off the hook, much to his relief.

I'm sorry, Bridget. 

Don't be. You didn't do anything. 

I should have made him call. 

Oh, well that wouldn't have made me feel better if he had only called because he was forced to. Really. It's okay. I'm just happy he is doing so well. That's all I want is for him not be crushed by this.

He could still be a man and call you, Bridget. Did he call Loch?

Not that I know of. 

Daniel eventually was ambushed by Schuyler, who missed him and had all sorts of plans for the two of them for this afternoon, and I stood there in shades of green, wishing things were that un-complicated in my life.

I don't think they've ever been easy, to tell you the truth, when instead I would much prefer to lie.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Only once, we ran out of money on the Midway.

Caught between a lousy manager and a crooked accountant we didn't get payout. Lochlan had just finished buying a new battery for the motorcycle and a new bathing suit for me. We had enough money left for two days of food, tops, but not at the rate Lochlan worked. Hard physical work from sunup right up until he took his shifts manning the rides and then more work until bedtime. He was barely a man and hungry a lot. We were both still growing.

But we didn't want to go home.

And I watched the cons. I knew how things worked in the real world. Well, I thought I did anyway.

When Loch went to cover a shift for someone I walked down the road to the main thoroughfare. It took a while. Along the way I streaked a little dirt along my chin and under my eyes. In the fading light it make me look thinner, more run-down and more appealing, maybe.

I went to the take-out window of a little diner and stuck my hand in my pocket as if I had money to spend. The man running the place stuck his head out the window. He was wearing a paper hat. It's old-fashioned.

What can I do you for, little lady?

I shook my head. I'm not sure I have enough.

Well, tell me what you'd like and I'll work it out.

A...hamburger and onion rings....

And you have how much?

Two dollars, sir, I lie with a sweet smile.

That will be even then, I'll get you a bag.

Well, see, the problem is my big brother is working the fair and it's for him...and I'm so hungry too now that I can smell it but I only have what he gave me...I bite my lip hard and make myself cry but only a little.

What does he do on the midway, sweetheart?

Setup. He's too young to be fully insured though. We need the money so he can't quit either. The lies keep rolling. I've decided I will do whatever it takes for this food.

He looks back over his shoulder and then smiles at me. Let me see what I can do.

My mind is scrambling suddenly. What if he asks for the two dollars I don't have?

He appears back in the window with a huge bag, stapled shut. It has a name on a piece of paper stapled to it. It's not my name. It says HARMON. He's going to give me the wrong order and pretend he made a mistake. I look at him with wide eyes.

Thanks! Come again! he says, and closes the window to prevent me making a fuss and letting whoever else is in there in on the swap. I whisper thank you at the glass and turn around.

Oh, what a long walk back. By the time I get to the Ferris Wheel, it's dark and I'm late and Lochlan is looking panicked and scared. He sees me and lets out a swear word just under his breath so the riders won't catch it. I look up. It's a full complement tonight, just started so I hold the bag up.

What is that?


He takes the bag and looks at the tag. Then he rips it open and looks. Peanut, there are four cheeseburgers, two fries and two onion rings in here. Did you steal someone's food?

No, I pretended I was going to order some but then didn't have enough money for the food so the man at the take-out window pretended I was the one picking up this order.

Oh my God. This must be twenty dollars worth of free food. What did he say to you?

I relayed the whole exchange to him and he nodded. Okay, the only thing you have to do is never be seen there again. You can't even walk past it. In fact, I'm mighty pissed at you for not telling me where you were going in the first place and we're going to talk about this tonight at home. (Home is the camper, FYI).

I promise. Can we eat now?  

Yeah. You want onion rings or fries?

Both. I want both. 

He laughed and pulled me in close, thrusting the bag of food back into my arms, wiping off the dirt-smudges on my face, kissing me really hard. Our stomachs growled in unison, like music we would finally be able to turn off for a night.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Sometimes the angels punish us by answering our prayers.

I might still be high.

Last night we went to see Rush for the third time. It was so laid back I sat in my seat and drank beer ($10 for imported Keith's from home and yes I paid that without shame and it was WORTH EVERY CENT) right up until they came onstage and then I stood up and remained standing for the three hours of blissful music. BLISSFUL. I was more happy to hear stuff from Clockwork Angels than anything, especially Carnies. That's a recent favorite. The whole catalogue, however, paled in comparison to The Wreckers, which was a masterpiece live.

And I still can't hear the little vignettes that they play in between sets but that's okay too. I'm just happy to be there.

(I'm also completely obliterated today because I have a gift for choosing seats online that come with built in companions who smoke copious amounts of drugs and while I don't really care or partake, this little princess is no match for the almighty British Columbian weed, it seems.)

A very special thank you goes out to the bald man one row below who unknowingly taught me how to take a better concert photo.

I present to you the HDR setting: 

I love this shot. It looks like an aquarium. I think these were the lights during Wish them Well. 

What an amazing night. Lochlan is still sleeping. I'm up early hoping for my phone call so that I can tell Ben all about it.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Brokedown palace.

(I was allowed back on account of it being daylight and for the promise of a hefty freelance paycheque and and because he is Henry's father and Henry was there doing a puzzle at the kitchen counter, a glass of orange juice and two chocolate-chip cookies stacked near his elbow. But being at the boathouse is not what this entry is about.)
Little impish one, remember what we planned
We won’t hear whistles calling when we are out to sea
Come lay under my wing, morning’s over the shore
I love you, I can teach you if you believe
I have on a tiffany-blue embroidered shift dress and cream-colored leggings, no shoes, blue toes and Caleb clearly disapproves. I'm parked on the big couch in front of the big window drinking tea and listening to music while I fix the latest round of crap notes from the temps that keep getting hired and fired. I believe the last one's name was Samantha. She lasted four hours. He said she left in tears because he barked a whole list of orders at her and then didn't say anything else for the whole morning, even when she asked for clarification on something. His positively icy objective disdain is kind of scary. Back to the drawing board for him.

Or you could work for me. 

We go through this every summer. I need a real job. 

This is the best job you will ever have, hands down, Princess. 

Hands where?


That's why. Because of that. Because you never act like a boss with me. 

What do I act like?

Like a lover. A real busy one but still. 

He laughs and I have decided my whole life is a farce. Lochlan hardly speaks to the others save to hammer home his ownership stake in me so far into the ground it popped out in Austria five days ago. I need to find him and let him know I'm fine. I said I would spend an hour and I lasted forty-eight minutes total.

I make my way back across the driveway barefoot and enter the side door to the kitchen only to find a war zone of dirty dishes and recycling to be sorted. Only I shouldn't be cleaning up this mess because I didn't make it.

Lochlan comes into the room and I'm still standing there looking at the sink.

Hey. What's wrong.

I need to get out of here. 


Really fucking overwhelmed right now. Drive, don't talk. 

Without a word he passed me my bag and grabbed his keys. He went out back and lied to PJ and PJ confirmed he would take control and then we were off. Halfway down the highway I turn in the seat toward him and tell him to pull over, I think I'm going to have a breakdown of some kind. He doesn't.

He keeps going until we hit the parking lot at the beach and he comes around, flinging open my door and pulling me out and half dragging me down to the edge of the water until I focus on the horizon and he stands behind me with his hands on my shoulders. I lean back against him, take a deep breath and start to cry.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

How I know I'm awake.

Lochlan is going to seethe through every interaction he has with Caleb and instead take his frustrations out on Sam and Danger Duncan, putting them on notice every fifteen minutes or so it seems for standing too close/touching me/being too possessive.

I asked them both to give us a little breathing space while I sort out his misguided perceived affronts.

Sam will return to sermon writing, premarital counseling (for the record twelve weddings he has between now and mid-September) and the agony of planning his own wedding, Duncan will put his shades back on, collapse into a lawn chair wearing only a kilt and read.

Both don't deserve the shit they got this morning for doing exactly what they're supposed to do, shadow me as I wander around the property being Difficult. They drew the short straws since PJ is traveling, Christian is away on business and Daniel has gone to spend a family weekend with Ben.

(Excuse me for just a moment while I hit my head against the stone wall out front until I get really dizzy and hear loud wet smacking sounds.)

And Caleb is out front with the children while they teach him to ride the unicycle.

(Excuse me while I swim in my disbelief. Tired. I think I'll float on my back for a while now.)

Ruth loves everything about it save for having to wear a helmet. Dad insists. I don't think Caleb is too worried but if she has to wear one so does Henry. At least that's what Lochlan told them when he gave a little brush-up skill lesson before the kids took over and Caleb came out to vie for favoritism. He needs to step up the game, there's a Midway this weekend and that is Loch's arena entirely.

Lochlan wanted to take a nap with me in the sun to rest up for the coming weekend festivities but first I made him go and apologize to Sam and Duncan for being such a big shithead to them both and he did, taking me by the hand as witness and tracked them both down and gave them long hugs and said he was stressed and that was no excuse for his behavior and that he was sorry. He asked for forgiveness and got it willingly. Pretty sure it was the hugs. Everyone loves those.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Standard practice (with a gap in between of only thirty-four years, precisely).

I got it into my brain that if I could somehow get them both on board I could fix all of the broken things. Them together, alone with me, without Ben, just the way we used to be, the three musketeers, me playing monkey in the middle, midway through yet another ruined popsicle while Caleb drank a beer and caught up on hometown news and Lochlan ate enough hamburgers to feed a small village before venturing into a sort of dinner-coma where he lay.

It was like having two big brothers sometimes except for all of Caleb's focus, Lochlan had none, distracted and dreaming through his waking hours. He didn't like jobs and chores. He didn't want any responsibility. Caleb didn't seem to want to have much fun, cutting himself short to go and study or network or research. He didn't come out much as a result and sometimes we didn't see him for months. He called those 'semesters' because he was taking college courses while still in high school and he called the rest 'hard work paying off.'

But when he was there everything was the best. I thought he was so handsome. I would sit and look at him in the dark when he didn't think I was looking at him. He was handsome in a magazine model way. The Robb Report. GQ. That kind of Cary Grant handsome.

Lochlan was handsome in a boy next door oh please kiss me kiss me now way except no one was thinking about kissing me, I was eight.

Eight is not a kissable age.  

Even twelve is jailbait age, Cole said and he laughed uneasily and asked me what I planned to do with my future because someone was going to go to jail for kissing me eventually and he wanted to know if it was going to be Caleb or Loch.

No one, silly. Besides, I already kissed Andrew so no one's in trouble.

Preschool kisses don't count, they aren't the same. 

Well I probably wouldn't kiss your brother, he's way too old for me.

Barely two years older than Loch. 

There's no...I mean, I'm not..Caleb doesn't look at me like that. 

Okay, Cole said. But that smile. He's so full of shit it's reflecting in his medium blues.

Anyway, my plan is to marry Lochlan eventually. When I'm way older and he's stopped staring at Bailey.

You should stick with more immediate plans like getting a new popsicle, Bridgie. 

Okay. I went into their house and admitted to Cole's mom that I dropped my popsicle and she fetched another for me out of the deep freeze with a smile. Having a good evening, Bridget? The boys being nice to you?

Yes, they're all super. I smile at her as I unwrap my cherry double popsicle and immediately begin to head outside, for it will end up on the ground sooner rather than later and I don't want it to happen inside. I just can't figure this out. Two sticks. Melting the whole time I'm trying to eat it.

Good. That's the main thing. She smiles back and heads down the hall as I grab the screen door handle with my sticky fingers.

When I come back outside both Lochlan and Caleb are sitting quietly on patio chairs. Caleb is emailing and Lochlan is sprawled out flat on his back watching the stars. They both look up at me at the same time and both shake their heads at the fact that I'm holding a double popsicle in one sticky hand.

Or I was, anyway, until it slid off the stick and hit the ground before I even made it back to the chair in the middle.

(I am aware that no one thinks we have any brains at all with regards to the incident the other night that brought Batman screaming back into my universe but really if you only knew certain things, for when it comes to the three of us some things aren't nearly as shocking or out of the ordinary as they might be to others and we fully acknowledge that fact.)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Deliverance within reach.

Lochlan calls while I'm driving. Caleb lent me his car because he still feels that if I'm going to drive at all, his car is safer than the truck. I'm sure I've had this conversation before with Jake when I bought that very unreliable ancient C10 but as you can plainly see when pushed I come out swinging, defiant and downright unexplainable.

The phone rings a thousand more times and I finally hold the button down and tell Siri to call Lochlan. She knows what's up. She doesn't even ask to confirm, she just dials. This is the sort of relationship I have with this phone. I mean this man.

He answers in a panic.

Bridget, you get your little arse home right now. I'm going to give you ninety minutes and so help me if you're not within reach by six o'clock I'm coming to get-

Relax, Locket. I didn't sign up for anything.

You know what? Just stay put. I'll come and get you. 

You don't have to-

Just stay there. Give me an hour to get to you. 

Loch. Stop it. I didn't go. Do you really think I would go without you? 

I wouldn't put anything past you now. You grew up and left me in the dust here and I spend my days in awe of the adult you've become. 

Right. That's why you were ready to drop everything and come save me. 

I didn't say the awe was for how smart you are.

That's better. 

Drive safe. I'll be waiting. 

Can we come back on the weekend after setup and take some rides? 

If you don't know the answer to that by now, Peanut, then I don't know what else I can teach you.

He hangs up and I tell Siri that Lochlan can teach me how not to want to run away all the time. He seems to be able to manage it and I still can't do it at all.

She tells me she doesn't understand and instead asks if she can call the Devil for me.

I laugh.

Hell yes please.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Sonny's dreams can't be real
They're just stories he's read
They're just stars in his eyes
They're just dreams in his head
And he's hungry inside for that wide world outside
And I know I can't hold him though I've tried, and
I've tried, and I've tried
Last night as I slept the Dealbreaker Fairies struck again, much as they did when Ben took a drink and started in on me, because certain things are not allowed. These are rules everyone agreed to when we decided to centralize the Collective. These rules are carved into stone. Only I don't know what happens if they are broken repeatedly. I'm sure eventually we'll find out. Ben is working at that doggedly.

They paid Caleb a visit in the night and removed the weapon. I don't know what they did with it, I didn't ask. I didn't ask which boys are the Dealbreaker Fairies, I only know that this morning power had shifted back and I worry that this is needless and ridiculous and exhausting and never changes, which is ironically what Caleb wishes for and never gets and what I can never seem to get away from. Change.

Here's some change. This morning Batman roared down the driveway in his fancy sportscar and made no attempt at mystery or surprise. He simply slammed his way into the Boathouse and then he left just as quickly and I was thinking too little too late as he glanced my way as he turned around the fountain loop and then looked back at me, satisfied that no, the Devil didn't shoot me in the face over the weekend, I'm still living, breathing, waiting for Ben with one part of my heart while I saw the other remaining living piece into two with a rusted blade. Or into three. Maybe four. Five? I don't know, I was never very good at counting. I'm just grateful that they keep each other accountable, and grateful that Lochlan's pride is still flexible enough that he asks for help when he feels as if he might take things too far, because Caleb isn't the only one with self-control issues. I'm pretty sure if Loch had his way he'd be spending the afternoon digging a third grave on the property.

Whoops, did I say third? I meant FIRST.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

I remember when we were gambling to win.

He had a soundtrack, the outside system churning through a playlist of new favorites. Wye Oak, Imagine Dragons and some acoustic Metric that he found that I loved instantly, to name a few. Old favorites mixed in for familiarity, too, as always. Bryan Adams. Boston. Kansas.

He had our big sketchbooks, my bag of pens and pencils and his metal tin of charcoal pieces.

He had the big picnic quilt and he laid everything out under the tree at the center of the dead orchard but it isn't dead just lazy in production and we don't have the heart to tear it all up, cut it down and change it. I love it. It's like a secret garden of a different kind and when you're under the tree at the very center you can't even see the house.

He had olives and bread and cheese and wine and chocolate too. He had sour patch kids and a small bag of cotton candy that we were sorely disappointed in. Loch had a plan to spend the day listening to music, drawing each other's portraits and drinking and singing and then I put all of that aside in favor of lying flat on my back on the blanket in the grass, pencils spilled into the bowl of olives, charcoal fingerprints around my ears and on my cheeks. I watched the clouds play tag across the sky and every now and again a dragonfly or a bee would come and land nearby and I would watch it until my eyes got so heavy I couldn't see anymore and finally I closed them completely.

I fell asleep in the sun, got burned and missed my phone call, shifted to today because Saturday was family day and apparently Ben was hoping I would be there, in spite of his very specific instructions that I not come because he seems to do better when he can't see my face and feel the feelings that go along with my expressions. They say it's rather devastating but I don't look in the mirror anymore so I don't know what they're talking about, honestly.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Repercussion roulette (Hammer home the rules).

The first click came almost immediately and I counted, in my head.


He slides the barrel over my bottom lip, pulling it down, all the while frowning at me. He is all business tonight, almost disappointed that I arrived alone. If I come alone there's no need for appearances so he sheds his human form completely and then he loses control.

Say what I want to hear. He wraps his free hand around my neck, pushing me against the door. He thinks my presence is preference and won't listen to reason so I save my breath for later when I might need it more.

I shake my head and am rewarded with another click. Two. My feet leave the ground and my breath shatters in my lungs as he squeezes harder around my throat.

Eye level now and I still don't look at Caleb. Click.

That makes three.

Don't, I whisper.

What is your life worth, anyway? He whispers back gently.

More than yours. Lochlan's voice is loud and clear. He takes my hands and I don't fall when I am released and he pulls me back through the door and down the steps and home.

You don't do that. You don't go and see him if I say I don't want to see him. You don't ever do that again. 

You said you didn't want to go. 

That doesn't mean you go alone. Is that what you think I mean when I say I'm not going?

I shrug. I don't know. Stop yelling at me.

Is that what you think? Answer me, Bridgie. Right now, hon.

Yes. You're feeding me to the wolf! You don't care if I go. 

Oh I care very much and I've told you that but you don't listen until it's so late we almost run out of time. I don't know how to fix that. 

You can't. 

Sure I can. Or I can try. No more. No fucking more. You don't leave me for any reason. Got that?

You'll cave before I do. 

Don't you bet on that now. You'll lose.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Just killing time here until I get my phone call tomorrow morning. None of this is new, feel free to ignore it and go read something fun like Divergent updates. :)

I'm not close
I'm not safe
I don't know, am I better off in chains?
The one is not aware, so stay away from me
I'm just too young to care
Caleb had outdoor heaters installed around the secret garden, the space he built that I told you about here and here (I can't call it a grotto because that just makes me think of the Playboy mansion so secret garden it shall remain). They are heaters similar to the ones down on the dock but these ones come on automatically through some magical combination of temperature sensing and motion detection so I don't have to fuss with them, and they're set for my comfort which is a nice touch and as always, completely over the top.

I found out when I ventured outside with a sketchbook and headphones and a second cup of coffee very early this morning. Halfway across the lawn I decided it was too cold but figured I would check it out for a few minutes anyway. Surprisingly it was toasty-warm in minutes under the canopy of leaves and I realized there were three heaters built in to the top of the retaining wall.

Godammit. If he can control the weather now I'm doomed.

I can't control the weather, I just tried to think of everything you might need, he answers. I jump fifty feet, shrieking at him not to do that.

That's a poor reaction for someone who's been given a space such as this to call her own. I've been waiting for you to come out here for days.

I don't recall asking for this so exactly how grateful would you like me to be? I adore this part of the yard and may never touch down on the back patio again (I kid! Duncan is back there. I'll be there). But if Caleb only did it to get my thankfulness then forget it. He can bulldoze it over and the forest can reclaim it.

I want you to acknowledge that your champagne tastes rival your amusement park budget and that the rat is out of his league.

Just because I like champagne doesn't mean I'll die if I can't have it. I'm fine with water.

From the bucket outside a barn somewhere in a town you couldn't name if there was a gun to your head?

The very same (I wince at his description. How fitting that is.).

And you want to scrounge around for dinner pennies-

Nickels, now.  Pennies are being phased out.

-Dinner nickels only to go to sleep hungry because there isn't enough?

Sure. Doesn't bother me.

You looked pretty impressed last time I flew you to dinner. You seem to enjoy yourself when we engage in...extraordinary experiences that you can't find among people who don't have the means I do, Bridget.

I never said I was immune to decadence, just that I won't choose it. 

We're only on earth for a limited time. 

He pops the balloon of abstract theory. Yes. I'm aware.

Bridget, I want to spoil you. I want to give you an easy life. When we're together it isn't difficult, it's seamless and electric and comfortable. You fit beside me. You complete me. 

That's from Jerry Maguire.

You drive me fucking nuts. 

I'm sure that's from Gangster Number One. Or maybe Goodfellas.

I don't care. I just know that Ben isn't capable of looking after you when he can't look after himself and Lochlan doesn't have the means to support a family. Neither one of them can commit to a thing-

You know the best part of your pissing contest with Lochlan? He never mentions you, or Ben or money. Or what he can give me. He only talks about being so in love with me, about it being right, that it's meant to be. That we have something so amazing. All you want to do is fix a price and make your aquistion. 

That isn't true. I'm pragmatic. I focus on numbers first.

Well, that's wrong. 

That's practical. He isn't. I don't know why you say he is. I am showing you my concrete plans, concrete means. No one can live on glitter and fireworks and candy. You found that out the hard way.

There is nothing bad in Lochlan's universe. And I can't live with a gun to my head which is how you get your way, Caleb.

If I adopt his methods it will destroy you. You want me to talk about history? You want me to talk about how I fucked up and in the process I managed to not only not take you away from Loch but I lost you to my brother too? Want me to talk about lying awake nights planning pointless trips and business emergencies to bring you on to save your life? Want me to talk about lying awake nights beside you while you cried through your nightmares, telling me things I could hardly believe? Want me to talk about needing years of therapy to let go of you when you asked me to go away knowing you were staying with Cole? Want me to tell you about a loneliness so fucking deep it's destroying my heart in slow motion? I can talk about that, Bridget, but I don't think you would like it very much. 

Brought your verbal guns today, I see.

Limited time, Princess. That's all we have. A limited time.

The only reason Lochlan and I didn't survive on the road was because you changed things. That's YOUR fault, not his.

The aftermath was all his, baby. Don't pin his helplessness on me. 

You set us up! Jesus Christ, what was he supposed to do?

He was supposed to be a man! 


His mouth opened to keep going but his eyes changed from triumphant to horrified and he didn't say anything.

I want to fix things, Bridget. 

Then leave me the hell alone.

Come tonight. Bring him and we'll talk. Something has to change. He turned on his heel and went inside, leaving me alone to shiver in spite of the heat.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

I scream, you scream.

Our third child has decided to step in and fill some pretty big shoes this morning. Oh yes, that Jack of all trades, master of none Daniel has determined that nothing will keep the annual homemade ice cream festival from continuing.

Ben makes ice cream. It rarely works out. Everyone seems to adore it nonetheless.

He uses no professional eqipment. I don't think I've ever seen him wash his hands first but it's been a thing for him and the kids since diapers were also a thing. So, like forever, the third week of July their entire lives. This might be the first July he misses in its entirety.

But we still have Danny and Danny brings his doubtful, curious and handsome A-game to every moment of my life because he is the sweetest guy around and I only kiss up to him because he has never ever been the first one to release a hug. Ever.

And that, my friends, is something you all could learn from.

But then I would never get anything done. Like washing all of these dishes from making homemade ice cream. Not sure how he gets all the glory and I get the shitshow but I'll take it.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Attachment theory.

I was reading. I went around and gathered up as many hugs as I could hold and Lochlan still hadn't appeared so I changed into one of Ben's big t-shirts, turned off all the lights (save for one in the kitchen above the stove and the one on Lochlan's night table) and went to bed, book in my arm, eyes heavy.

He dropped his full weight on me and took my book, tossing it to the floor. Hey. 

Hey stranger. 

Never. Always familiar. I got hung up helping Sam.

Noble cause?

Girl problems.

I laughed out loud and he smiled. Love that sound. 

Enjoy it while it lasts. I can't breathe. 

Sorry, he laughs and pulls himself up so that his elbows are holding most of his weight. His forearms are planted on either side of my head. He bends his head down for a long kiss.

That's what was missing. 

I think so too. I give him another one and we trade off and on for a while before I realize he's not supported by his elbows again.


Sorry! There. He pulls the covers down and lies beside me, pulling me in tightly against his chest, working kisses from my mouth out to my jaw. He reaches out and turns off the lamp and then pulls off my t-shirt in between pulling his clothes off. His breathing is quiet and harsh, his curls are in his eyes, his teeth sharp against my cheek. His hands are hot, red-hot, burning into my skin but I don't care.

He pulls me up into his arms and pulls my legs up tightly around his waist. I dig my nails into his shoulders and he presses so hard into me that I cry out. He reaches up and covers my mouth and then leans me back all the way until I am flat on my back and he is over me again. He puts his head down and pulls his arms down around me. Faster we go. I reach up and grab onto his curls to keep him close and he leans up on his elbows again, putting his hands on my cheeks as he pounds me right through the sheets. We don't talk. We kiss but mostly we move together in silence.

Finally he climbs back up to a sitting position, pulling my legs up into the air so he can watch my face. He is too far away for my liking but he leans back further, moving slowly, watching me, lifting my hips easily. His hair is in his eyes again and his smile could melt steel if his hands didn't already. He slows down even more and leans forward again, holding me down, picking up speed and I pull myself up, arms around his neck and at last he slides his arms around my back and begins to melt us together in a blinding spark of magnesium and charcoal. He lets go of me and I am instantly cold, my hair stuck against my forehead, my breathing ragged, caught. He bends his head down for one final long kiss and then he tucks me in his arm against his chest and he is asleep in seconds.

I watch him until my own eyes become too heavy again and I join him in dreams, back at the fair, where surprisingly enough, it's daylight.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Great day. No time. Here!

Today featured all kinds of really really good things. Like:

Air conditioning.


A fixed barbecue, a fixed garden hose and a bathed dog, all courtesy of yours truly.

A found five dollar bill.

Chocolate FREAKING cake.



And a boy who turned twelve.


Oh my God. What?

Monday, 15 July 2013

In time to tee off with the pumpkins (a phone call from Ben).

I spent almost two-and-a-half weeks angry at Benjamin. I woke up, flip-flopped and got scared. Maybe it's a dream. Maybe he's dead like the others. You don't know what my mind does to me sometimes. It's a horror show rollercoaster ride. It's a bad dream. It's a whimsical, uncontrollable beast. It scares most everyone and that's why I have a team. Not just some friends but two dozen knights on high alert.

Because I'm unpredictable and run on flames and sugar.

Again, we know who to blame for starting all of this and we know who to blame for ending it. But when the chips have fallen there is still the burning question left.

What do we do with her now?

I woke up afraid and I made sure that it's fully and clearly understood that I miss Ben. A whole lot.

He called the night before I actually admitted this out loud and told me three things, you see.

The first thing was that he loves me, so very very much and he wants to be better. He wants to be a well man so he can be a good husband and a good friend and a good stepfather too.

The second thing is that he wants me to do exactly what he set in place for me the morning he proposed that we marry Lochlan. Because Lochlan is permanent, carved in stone and so should the need arise for me to be handed off to someone else well, let's just make it formal because alone=bad, Caleb=bad and anyone else would be a total fucking trainwreck.

(I could give you concrete examples of this but instead just remember Joel.)

The third thing is that he will be home at Halloween.

(That's right boys and girls, this is a sixteen week residential program where instead of just getting off whatever destruction train he was on, he's going to learn to rewire his brain to cope with stress and fear in other ways. The part he always walked out on before.

Oh, send me. I could use that. Except that I don't listen.)

Halloween? I asked three times (because I don't listen, you see) and by the second time instead of repeating why it would be so long he began repeating that I was okay now, safe from him. Far from him and his alter ego, who is full of rage and doesn't give a fuck.

He spoke of the letter. The one I never got to read. He said the only nagging fear he has is that if I revert to Lochlan completely for four months straight will it strengthen the bond so much that we'll have nothing left for Ben when he comes back? It was a similar message to the one left for Lochlan on his voicemail because once again Loch refused to be the bearer of bad news and told Ben he would have to tell me himself how long the program would be.

So he did.

He asked for some sort of promise that I would be open to taking him back if he can do this.  Not when but if. I asked him, didn't he have any faith in himself and he whispered no, that he left all his faith in me and that he hoped I would use it and do the right thing when the time came.

This is what Lochlan took issue with, I believe.

Ben asked me to thank Batman, who covered the cost of his treatment up front. He told me not to spend too much time with Caleb and then he said he would try to call back on Tuesday and wish Henry a Happy Birthday.

He said when he comes home he's getting a regular day job again and he's going to do things differently. He said he misses both of us. I reminded him gently that Lochlan isn't cooperating at present with our Three Musketeer Manifesto and Ben said he knows and if he was in Loch's place he wouldn't either but he also knows that everything will work out because we're special and a little crazy and a lot wounded and he can't wait to be home but he won't be home until things work properly inside his head.

He said at the end of the day I deserve a man who has his shit together and he would like to be the first to present that concept to me.

And in spite of myself I laughed. I laughed until I cried.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

I miss Ben.

Twilight comes and the house quiets down and I stop coping, stop distracting. I can spend all day long telling myself he was being a creep and he lets his ego get in the way and he thinks he's invincible except when he doesn't and that I don't like him when he's like that because he's sweeter when he's not so sure of everything.

I could tell myself I'm moving on without him and will cross the bridge back to him if or when I ever see him again but let's face it. I'm not moving on, I'm standing perfectly still and a butterfly landed on the hood of my sweater and the sharp intake of breath from John when it happened told me everything I needed to know.

I passed him my phone. Take a picture, I pleaded. Hurry! 

But in his quest to get the perfect shot the butterfly flew away.

Kind of like Ben. Try too hard to get him just right and he'll take flight, the grounded inebriated cocky pilot who lost his wings but oh that's okay, he still has that career, that stupid guitar and a head full of ideas for the next great hook that will never see the light of day and oh Jesus, I miss him.

I miss him so much. No one gets it, no one appreciates it. They just see my loyalties search and fumble for the next place to land, just like that butterfly. They see my intense history and penchant for revenge-affection and they see the love my boys openly exhibit and they assume that I don't care.

I was told not to care, not to waste any more time fretting and hoping and waiting but I'm standing here looking at my watch and I'm counting that it's day one of week four and I've had enough. I miss everything about Ben but most of all I miss his now. His in-the-moment. His smile. His hands. His stupid broken heart.

And yeah, I miss his big ego too.

I miss how rude he can be with his jokes and I miss how cool his skin feels. I miss seeing his fight play out in his eyes and I miss his boots in the middle of the floor and finding guitar picks in odd places like the sugar bowl, the soap dish and on the cat.

I miss his insistence on my doing whatever I need to do to be happy no matter what. It's permission, it's liberating, it works.

I miss his weirdness, his out-there opinions and his spur-of-the-moment food fights. I miss laughing. I miss falling asleep with my back pressed against his chest, a wall of bones and flesh with that matching broken heart keeping time with mine.

I wish he would call me. I wish he would write again. I wish he would just come home. I don't care if they haven't fixed him yet. I can fix him but no one has any faith in me either.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


Lochlan's just-before-sleeping and newly-awake states are mirror images of his drunk one. The words roll out uncensored, unchecked and unvarnished. He doesn't bathe everything in logic and common sense. It's where I see who he is instead of who he wants me to think he is. I don't understand why he feels there needs to be a difference between the two, I'm pretty sure that's habit more than anything else. As long as she's okay, happy/fed/warm/safe/stimulated/learning then he could rest easy in his role as the Responsible Adult, something he mostly faked and constantly slipped from, a tenuous grasp that turned out to be non-existent and he wasn't actually holding on to the right rope after all.

He says things like:

Almost there. Last time he was gone I got you out of here and you thought you were in control. So close, Peanut brittle. So close. 

I wasn't going to turn down this chance. So you can tell me I'm being disloyal but I'm not here for him and we all know it.

I think they all think I don't matter but look at me. Where am I and where are they? 

and this:

I'm sorry about Ben's letter, Bridget. I am but I'm not but I am. You once asked me to let you go so that you and Jake could be happy and I did. I hated every second of it but I went and tried to live like a regular normal person because I knew it was the best thing for you. Why won't Ben or Diabhal, for that matter, do what's best for you?

I'm too tired to do this now so I shrug. I don't know. I close my eyes. Lochlan spans one hand across the small of my back and wraps the other hand around the back of my head, clutching me to him and we fall asleep the way we always used to on the cot in the trailer that wasn't quite thirty inches wide.

Now the bed is seventy-two inches wide but look, I can still feel his heart beating harder than my own. I feel his blood pumping through his veins across his skin against mine. I smell toothpaste and kerosene. I feel his breathing slow to match my own and I fight to stay awake so that I can watch him sleep, because it seems as if that's the one time he isn't fighting everything and everyone.

What he wants is so simple and straightforward. It's not much to ask for, as he has never been one to ask for very much at all.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Cold play.

I'm listening to the radio. The announcer speaks of a new Arcade Fire album on the way. I look at Duncan. Didn't the Arcade Fire break up?

No, that was Alexis on Fire.

Why is everything and everyone on fire all of the sudden?

They've all been burning for years. You live in your own little world, Poem.

I like my little world, Dunk. It has all of my favorite people and things in it. 

This I know, Poem. Happy to be a part of it. 

You like my dress?

Sure do. What's the occasion? 

I thought it would billow out the most when I'm floating face down in the water for hours on end before you all find my body.

So mellow-dramatic, Bridge. Too heavy for such a beautiful day. 

Let's just roll with this, Poet.

Okay, then you have to wear those big crazy boots with the buttons all the way up with your dress and you'll float about fourteen inches below the surface and that will be extra creepy. 

Oh, good point! 

Except that you'll never make it across the yard. I'm not PJ. I can run fucking fast. 

Yes that's why I haven't bothered. 

I thought things were better. Well, relatively speaking anyway. In spite of Ben being away. 

You can say it you know. He's in treatment. Not on vacation. 

Bridget, if life was a lot sunnier for you all the time maybe you'd stop living in the shade. Say he's on vacation or tour or whatever you need to say and think to make it easier and then you go and do what you're going to do. Wringing your hands and wallowing in missing Benjamin isn't going to make it easier. It'll just make you miserable. 

But miserable fits like a dress, Dunk. 

Yeah, one that looks terrible on you, frankly. 

Here, this better? I give him a big goofy smile, all teeth.

I don't know. Take your dress off. Be easier to tell.

Making sure I don't miss Ben too much by wearing his pervert hat?

Someone has to be that guy. 

Yeah I just didn't think it would be you. It should be Ben. My smile melts back into a scowl but at least my cheeks don't hurt anymore.

Ah well, it was sure pretty while it lasted. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013



What they should have done is sent me away for a few months, keeping Ben instead and then they could have finished their Lord of the Flies reenactment here without me. Once and for all.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Every day a struggle, every day a stand. Lateral moments. Same old shit.


I was planning to audition for the Moulin Rouge in Paris (they have auditions in Vancouver this Saturday) but the artistic manager said that dancers need to be at least 5'10". 5'8" if you're really good. Sigh.


I spent most of today drawing plans for a new painting. A green bottle fly or a skeleton of one. Flowers. Etc. etc. Lochlan is excited because he pushes me to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to art and I usually go quite willingly. I sat in a big holey sweater (usual wet bathing suit underneath) and I ate red pistachios and drew and listened to Metric/Nothingface/Metallica/Wye Oak and I didn't talk much and I think that sort of drives them into certain ruin because everyone was very helpful with laundry and dinner and even enthusiastic when I told them I was plotting to dye my hair baby blue just because if it's turning white anyway then why the hell not but then I decided I might be kidding because the damage would be sad after I just spent the better part of a year not touching it so that it would be shinier and it is so I can't touch it now. Still sad though. I love pastel hair.


Sam and Daniel are home. I wasn't going to say anything because out of desperation Lochlan took away the letter Ben sent home for me and burned it before I could open it and I'm guessing he must have listened to the message Ben left on his voicemail last week finally because he's kind of skittish and uncertain and I flipped right out.

Loch! That didn't belong to you!

But you do!

We spent the next three or four minutes in a rage-filled staring contest before James Hetfield's voice fills the space in the middle and I realize I can't win this. I'm not in charge. I'm definitely not in control and there's only one weapon I seem to have and I can't play fast and loose with that right now but maybe it's the only thing that makes him see clearly from my perspective.

Yeah, well, if you need me I'll be down at the boathouse. Got a birthday to plan for my son.

Bridge- he makes a grab for my arm but PJ says his name almost imperceptibly. Let her go.

Yeah, let me go. I wink at him and turn on my heel. I don't feel victorious, I feel like shit.
Here I am
On the road again
There I am
Up on the stage
Here I go
Playin' star again
There I go
Turn the page

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Under privilege.

Lochlan still hasn't listened to Ben's voicemail.

I still have a headache but it doesn't seem as awful as yesterday and the day before that. I made rice and some delicious rosemary and pepper chicken in pitas with cherry tomatoes and spinach and the boys sort of devoured everything and now I have to have a backup dinner for Sam and Danny who are due home any minute now from the airport courtesy of Caleb who dispatched Mike to pick them up.

What a guy, hey?

I see where he's deploying his favors though, squarely on Ben's team by seeing to Daniel's safe return. I'm not sure anyone could actually blame him after Lochlan spent the morning turning Caleb's screws by asking him what he thought of the sunset last night, how glorious and spectacular it was and how it was too bad Caleb had to watch it alone.

Caleb didn't miss a beat, telling Lochlan he's been thinking of taking me to see the sunset from a new and unfamiliar vantage point, instead of the same old discount view from Loch's helicopter grip, and that all I have to do is pick a city or an island or a landmark and he can make it happen with a phone call and that he really wished with all his might that everyone had the means to offer those sorts of dreams to me, but alas he knows how hard Loch has to work in a month to get thirty dollars and that's the cost of two beach towels so at least he and I have a place to sit after we've come out of the water.

That's important, Caleb said with a wink. I thought he was going to earn a punch square in the neck for that one but Lochlan somehow kept his shit together.

I shook my head at Caleb. No sunsets. No trips. Stop it. I said it with my mind but he still answered out loud.

Again, Neamhchiontach, he started it and really these shitty comments are the only assets this guy seems to have. Enjoy those beach towels.

It's been a very long day.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Straight to voicemail.


That's what I am. I keep getting up and plodding along looking for brains and something whacks me in the back of the skull and down I go, like a ragdoll.

I'm trying to out-perform one hell of a migraine and I lost the battle days ago but like I said, I'm stubborn and I'm determined to give one hundred percent even though only a good fifteen percent of me is actually functioning properly.

Lochlan watches me fumble around for a little while. He's amused, trying not to intervene as I spent a good minute trying to get my lipgloss just right and then wincing through trying to make a bowl of cereal.

Argh, I say and he takes over. He fishes in his pocket and finds something shiny to give me. A Nevada quarter. 2004. It has horses galloping toward the face of the coin and I love it and for the briefest second the pain vanishes. He used to find me cool things all the time when I was little. A shiny penny. A cat's eye marble. A smooth rock shaped like a heart. A tiny whistle or a compass. A ball. A ring. A human heart, still beating, painted in circus stripes and if you hold it up to your ear you can hear the music from the Big Top.

 The only other time the pain goes away is if he presses his lips against my forehead and just holds them there, while I ache with the knowledge that I can be bought for twenty-five cents. and nothing ever changes.


When the sun goes down and I can stand outside without squinting in pain, he walks over to me and whispers something in my ear. No one is really paying attention anyway. PJ and John are barbecuing some hamburgers and Schuyler and Gage and Dalton are doing a little last-minute yard work. There is cold raspberry lemonade for them in the fridge and I am simply waiting at this point for tomorrow, when Daniel and Sam get home from their visit with Ben for family visiting day. I have not talked to Ben in days and I asked Daniel not to call me unless he needed something because I can't stand it. I want Ben to do well but I don't want him to do it on my time, frankly. I don't want to wait anymore for anything. I want to have fun. I want to be in love. I want to be able to ask for a hug and get one without waiting for volunteers, clean hands, empty arms or a generous spirit.

I want Ben home. I am so selfish.

But I forget it for now (have to, self-preservation and all that, if it hurts, don't think about it, Peanut) and take Lochlan's proffered hand. We go up and change into our swimsuits, grab towels and and leave the house again. Loch tells PJ we're going for a swim, so PJ turns his attention to being in charge of the children and John takes over at the grill. I am almost to the gate when I run back and give PJ my hearing aids. He pretends to put them on and I laugh and run back to the gate. We make our way down to the bottom of the steps just as the sun begins to drop low against the hard line dividing the Pacific from the sky and I stop and stare at it. My head is still sore but there's a cool breeze and the muted sunlight helps a lot.

Loch walks out into the surf and turns around. He's up to his waist in the sea, and I am still dry. He won't go a single step further away from me this close to the sea proper. I step in and walk until I reach my knees and he turns away, heading further out still until he's up to his shoulders. He turns back once more but I am still at knee-level so he comes back in and pulls me out slowly, watching for the bits of rocks half-submerged by the tides. The water is shockingly cold and we walk until he is shoulder-deep again and my feet leave the ground. He pulls my arms over his shoulders and turns us so we can watch the sun disappear. I got you, he says. Don't worry.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Baiser vole.

Moments string the day together like bunting flags in a line.

Like Lochlan, who came up behind me as I was washing pots and pans and swore as he kissed the top of my head, pointing out my roots are coming in probably 90% white now. Yes, I know. It's all downhill from here, sweetie, please toss those strawberry curls around just a little more because pretty soon I'm going to look like a seasoned witch who stole the heart of a young fire breather who NEVER SEEMS TO AGE, at least not physically, though emotionally if he is sober he is practical and stubborn and has zero time for nonsense. Crotchety, handsome bastard. I know my hair is turning white and I know time is marching on, picking up speed on the downhill but I'd be happier if he wouldn't bring it up. Besides, when he presses his chin on the top of my head my ruined knees ache now. This is why I don't run anymore. I don't know or care if it's tendonitis or arthritis, I just know that it's pain that distracts me. Physical pain is easy to deal with, however so maybe I got lucky. I get another kiss on the top of my head and he leaves.

Caleb is heading into the city proper to do some shopping and asks me for a list. What do I need? Better yet, what do I want? As if he can cross off a list like an evil, generous Santa Claus and win my loyalty with material wealth. I tell him I'll be there later in the week and he again asks if it wouldn't be easier if he just looked after it, as in financially. Because I am kept. Because he is sugar and I am the bee. Because he's rich and I actually have nothing. I tell him my list is on the calendar notes that we sync between phones and he nods and smiles and tells me he'll be back early in the afternoon and will meet me in the kitchen. My knee aches and I reach down to rub behind it and he asks what's wrong. I snap at him that I am getting old and falling apart and he says that's what stress does, it kills you just when you want to live most, and live without fighting for every moment in which you can breathe without clenching your fists. He's good at these descriptions, because that's exactly what it feels like. He tells me he can fly me to a specialist or have one come here and I tell him that if it hurts bad enough I will bite down on a stick and saw it off just below my thigh. He tells me to stop being provocative and I refuse. I get a kiss on the cheek as he leaves.

Batman calls and I hang up on him. John offers to screen my calls for me so I tuck my phone into the breast pocket of his flannel shirt. He pats it and gives me a kiss on the forehead as he leaves. I love my knights, especially the ones who make an effort to help and to listen. John is functioning as my sounding board while I am presently without August, Sam or Daniel to unload on. He's pretty awesome even if he does look like a runaway Allman brother. His beard is long. It's awesome. I want to braid it or hide under it. I want to grow one just like it. I horrify him. That's okay too.

Gage and Schuyler go shopping after lunch too, not downtown but at the mall thirty minutes down the highway and come home with a present for me for hosting Gage so sweetly. A bread maker because mine fell apart a year into living at the castle and I've often said I wished I could replace it because my hands hurt when I knead bread and it never seemed as effective to use the big mixer with the dough hooks. This one is a three-pound horizontal loaf bonanza and it makes jam too! I love the bigger size, since any one of the boys could eat an entire vertical one-and-a-half or two-pound loaf in one sitting from the old machine. I'm baking bread tonight for breakfast tomorrow. It's going to be so good. Hopefully it will last a long time, as I am always looking for ways to avoid grocery shopping. I told the boys if only someone would bring home some chickens, a goat and a cow I think we could go off the grid completely in very short order. I'm not kidding. Farm wifery comes so easy to me, you actually have no idea.

Schuyler kisses me right between the eyes and Gage lands one on my temple as they leave with a promise to return when the first loaf is ready. Possibly with livestock in tow.

I'll be here, but my whole head is dirty now from all the kisses today.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Physical Graffiti.

Every time Lochlan and I disagree on a matter of discipline when it comes to Ruth I pull out the fact that he let me get away with everything and then some, and it isn't fair to deny her the same freedom.

He will stand his ground saying only that times have changed. It's a mantra at this point.

I tell him the only thing different is that we hear more about bad things thanks to the internet but children are safer than ever. We're all safer than ever.

Then today he offers up that the freedom he gave me ruined his life and mine too and he has a second chance here to get things right. 


That makes perfect sense but he still can't project my childhood onto hers. That isn't fair to Ruth.


It's a Led Zeppelin kind of day and I have a date with a blisteringly toxic lemonade cocktail, the front porch and The Lost Symbol, which I'm into, finally. If I can just finish the mending pile first and the drawing of the ship I'm working on and convince the children to have some lunch. It's never hard getting the boys to come and have some food. Of course, they don't sleep until ten in the morning like the kids do.

So when I grow up I think I'd like to be a little kid again.


I went down to the boathouse to take Caleb the receipts for Henry's school supplies and he held up his hand to halt me in my tracks and he said She's here. He held the phone out to me and I reached up for it. I don't know who it is.


Hi, Sweet-Bee. 

Oh, hey Asshole. How's vacation?

Wish you were here! Fuck, Bridget. I feel turned inside-out. 

But are you going to be sober for the rest of my life?

Working on it, Bridge. 

Work harder, Benny. Why haven't you called? 

I don't want to get too attached to you in case you give up on me while I'm gone. 

Then come back soon. 

I will the moment I get this all figured out, Peanut. 

Peanut now? 

He's on my mind. He's the only person I haven't talked to. 

Besides me, you mean. 


Want me to go find him?

Naw. I left a message on his phone. I said what I wanted to say for now. I wanted to talk to you. 

So then why did you call Caleb?

He always knows where you are. 

You're smart. Maybe you'll kick this yet. 

God, I hope so. 

God can't do this. You have to do it yourself-

I know, Bridge. 

Sorry. I was married to a preacher once. Old habits die hard. 

Pun intended?

Ouch, Ben. 

Sorry but you earned it.

God, I hope they fix your totally inappropriate sense of humor while you're down there. 

No you don't. 

You're right, I don't. It helps make you who you are.

Who am I, Bridge?

Ben, no one knows who they are.

You seem to cope with it so much better than I do. 

You see, this is why we still call you the new guy. Because it's been almost twenty years I've known you and you seem to think I'm mostly bulletproof. 

Well, you are. 

Shoot me and find out.

And so well-adjusted. 

Aren't we? We totally are. So come home, you big freak and let's get on with the show.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Northumberland straight.

Sandbars were the best. I could walk for miles and miles before the water came up to my knees. I knew how to tell the time by where the sun was in the sky and how red my skin was. My hair turned golden-white and my nails were pitted and dull from the sand. I poured sand out of my shoes each night, I wriggled on the seat in the diner for not, rinsed it all away and I crunched on grains of it in everything I ate. I was a toxic cocktail of sunblock and orange pop and aloe cream. I slept when the sun went down and rose to meet it on the shore in the morning. I ate Pixi Stix for breakfast and lunch, french fries and lobster legs for dinner. I had ice cream ten times a week and I had no use for popsicles whatsoever. I couldn't work those and would wind up with a slushy grape puddle at my feet every single time.

I ruined my mood ring, so I scraped it off my finger over wrinkled, puckered skin and I threw it far into the waves.

I went through a bathing suit a month and lost more towels than I can count, leaving them somewhere on the beach when I went into the water and having no idea where I put them when I came out. I learned I have amazing, difficult diseases like Fresh Air Syndrome and Wanderlust and Beachcombitis.

And Wanderlust remains the one we can't seem to cure.

I would walk so far toward the horizon I always expected to begin to greet people coming towards me who might speak a different language. Lochlan was forced to spend forty-five minutes to an hour in a slow-jog through ankle-deep water at low tide to tell me to turn back, chastising me for throwing my watch into the water because I had transcended time and errands and chores and home. Home? What the heck are you talking about? I am home. This is home. 

I felt lifted above the constraints of life out of the water, buoyed by the heavy salt smell and the curiosities below the surface. That's what it is, then. I thought to myself. I'm a mermaid! And he must have figured it out to because he doesn't seem all that irritated at the lengths he has to go to reel me back in, to bring me reluctantly back to dry land.
Tell me why I'm discontented
Will I die without the details in my hands?
I feel these vines surrounding my heart
I fear I'm moving at a slower pace again
Tell me how this all unfolds

I can't find the secret to survive
To grow old safe and sound
Life is sifting through like the sands in the hourglass
There's not a moment to relive my time and space
There's not a moment to undo anything

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Less than 3 (okay, no just 3 and then I'm offline for the day).

And...Happy 4th! My husband is American. Well, one of them is anyway. Half my friends are too. But we already had Canada Day on Monday so aside from strawberry shortcake there will be no holidaying indulged in today except by Schuyler, who gets a four day weekend because for some reason y'all tossed Friday in there too and he can't work if all of the offices are closed.

Lochlan got me a feel-better present.

If you haven't seen this your life might possibly be sorely incomplete.

Less than B.

Sam and Daniel are packing to go and visit Ben. I wanted to stow away in Daniel's carry-on bag but he said my toes would be sticking out and oh, Bridget, if they see the toes then you know how it goes. All downhill from there. 

Ptooey. Fuck. Balls.

I want to see Ben too.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

(I would have been just as thrilled had he recited Goblin Market and he knows this.)

When I was very small (okay, not so small but slightly smaller than I am now and a lot less worldly) Lochlan would to bore me to sleep with lessons in literature, philosophy and astronomy. Astronomy was my favorite because the sky was so huge. A close second was poetry, for I was so impressed with how the romantics could make me feel so many big feelings with such shortened bites of words strung in tiny bracelets instead of endless spiderwebs of information, after devouring that Poe book translated by Baudelaire and winding up more fascinated by the man behind the man, as always. It's as if he was fated to eat at that diner, find that book and bring it back, where we would sleep in the bed of the pickup truck on hot nights and three decades later be tossing around entire poems as ammunition, deployed from our hearts as we try to live in the present, a place I'm not all that sure we belong.

To this day I mostly stick with Baudelaire but ever the showman, Lochlan knows how to bring a crowd to attention. Easily so when the crowd is one person and she wasn't expecting it as we quietly inspected the new grotto that is now finished and quite unlike anything I have ever seen. We waited until the heat of the afternoon when everyone else had disappeared for some creative endeavors or naps or catching up on books and sun. He smoothed down his curls and then his vest over his rumpled white button-down shirt and he stepped up on the wire chair and then onto the stone table and he cleared his throat and stared at me until he had my full attention. Oh, Rossetti. Sigh.
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? My love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows naught of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
Caleb stepped up beside me and clapped. You really do have a gift for performance, Loch. He smiled. The whole display of generosity was nothing more than an attempt to change the direction of the wind. I'm pleased I could give you a good venue from which to recite the work of other people.

I have my own works as well. Bridget knows..

Yes, I'm well aware. Not as if I haven't had the last five years to discover all there is to know about you as an adult. It didn't take that long, of course. Not much there below the surface, is there?

Stop it. I step in front of him.

Caleb simply looks over my head at Lochlan, who has stepped down off the table and changes the subject. Well, since you're both here I can detail some of the features I had installed. If you want to stop the water, just turn this lever toward the wall. This switch operates the lights. He flicks it and hundreds of tiny white fairy lights come on. It's shady enough to see them. And around the entire perimeter to the gate and then meeting the wooden fence is electrified netting. I will tell the children but I wanted you to know in case you decided to venture into the woods or something from the woods ventures down into the yard.

You put an electric fence around me?

If you belonged to me I would do a lot more than that to protect you and the children but perhaps I'm just more conscious of your safety.

You're fucked in the head, Diabhal. Lochlan tells him. He is done with the digs, jabs and barbs, and heads back to the house riddled with scratches and holes.

I'll be right in. I call after him and he turns, pointing at me. He holds up three fingers. Three minutes. I have three minutes.

(I am twelve.)

Well, what do you think? The Devil looks so pleased with himself.

I don't think we want or require an electric fence, Caleb. That's dangerous.

No, it's dangerous to have you or Ruth oblivious to the world with your headphones on all the time with the endless parade of black bears and coyotes down the lawn. Sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands.

To keep me safe.

Yes, he whispers.

Safe. I repeat louder than before. We've had this conversation already.


Is this for me or for you?

For you, of course. 

So you're tightening my leash, making my world smaller. Give me everything right here so I will be safe? 

No, I'm giving you a quiet, shady place to draw, Princess. Cole always talked about having a dedicated space in which to create. 

I like it. But I have to go. 

Maybe you can come down later? For some dessert? 

Maybe. I turn away and hurry into the house. I don't want any more grand gestures. They're just stirring up the sand on the bottom of what was easily a clear blue sea at one time and is now opaque and black.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Good enough.

It's cooling off a little, finally. The wind has picked up and a lovely breeze keeps us cool. I had Eisley's Currents album playing through my headphones and kept swapping it with Pallbearer for a little Heavy versus Light for my brain to play with. I was drawing caricatures of the boys on a new sketchbook that I stole from Lochlan's desk drawer. He won't mind.

I painted my nails green, though I expect it to last about two whole days because I'm terrible with polish and worse once it chips. Besides, PJ already grabbed my hand and smudged the polish and I snapped at him and he snapped right back before apologizing. He's not fond of Lochlan's methods but Lochlan has reminded him twice already today that there's nothing underhanded about the way he's going about things and he would do the same if Ben were here. PJ snorted and Lochlan said under his breath that he should shut the fuck up and mind his own business.

PJ heard that (He has giant ears) and roared back that Bridget is his business and if Lochlan wants to give half-cocked orders PJ will paint him into the floorboards with one stroke, flattening his pasty Scottish ass.

I laughed out loud and iced tea came out my nose and I started coughing so hard at least Dalton bothered to get up off his chair and pound my back gently.

Duncan briefly considered (out loud) throwing all of us off the cliff, one at a time until Lochlan shut that down too. You're not throwing my girl off a cliff but here, let's see if the fat one floats. 

So PJ charged and before Lochlan knew what had happened he was cartwheeling through the air, followed by Duncan, Dalton, Sam and PJ too. I don't exactly think it's bright of them to all jump at once in case someone lands on someone else but the shouts of sheer delight that bounced back up over the ledge gave me comfort. It will take them ten minutes to swim around and climb the steps back up. I get up to head inside for a new glass of tea when Caleb stepped onto the patio from the side yard. He's in running gear.

Are you insane? It's too hot for you to run in this weather, Cale.

He ignores that. Where is everyone?

I indicate the sea and he nods, still keyed up from his workout. He hands me his water bottle and his phone and his shirt after he pulls it over his head and tells me he'll be back before pulling off his shoes and taking a running leap off the ledge too. I run to the edge and he has already broken the surface and is beginning to swim around the point.

Oh hell, I tell myself and I put Caleb's things down on the concrete path and I jump too. I know they will wait for me, alerted to my impending presence by the volume of my scream as I fall.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Fire in the hole.

I am a child in need watch me bleed
How can I live if I can not feel
I am a animal no one knows
I limp around on broken toes

Blood sinks down to the canvas
I'm going down, down, down
My blood sinks down to the canvas
I'm going down, down, down, down, down

The girl who loved the monsters
Traces black streaks in the sky
The girl who loved the monsters
Is the girl who wants to fly
No sleep. No phone call today and a surprisingly eventful day yesterday so yeah, you didn't get to hear the end of the story about Friday night and no, I don't know what kind of owls make those sounds we heard last night but they were very close and I was freaked out and excited to and so I just lay there all night long amazed and awake but mostly just freaking amazed.

Now I'm a small coffee-making zombie. Just picture a mini blonde version of the one in the lab coat on the other side of the door when Brad Pitt is trapped in the room in World War Z. I'm even making the funny chomping, clicking sounds with my teeth.

(That's going on to the list of Best Movie Moments for me of all time. No kidding.)

Lochlan is still doggedly working on his act which now involves feats of strength and testing limits.

Last night he pulled me up by my ankles and I fought to be released and he asked me very quietly why I liked to fight it. What was I looking for? Is it a habit now, with him, with them? Too many hard questions so I latched on to the final one. I nodded carefully, eyes wide. One thing he always taught me is that I can lie to anyone else and should, regularly but to him I should always tell the truth.

So he pulled harder on my ankles still and called me mo taibheoir beag (which means something like my tiny little clown and is a far more cumbersome nickname than Circus Peanut and so never lasted long anyway and true to form he stripped back the years and peeled back my flesh and wrapped his heart around all of the pieces of my heart that we could find in the dark and he brought me back to life, but just for a little while. All the way, baby, see the lights? We're almost there, safe and sound.

His plan is transparent and yet fireproof. Fill in the gaps and I will no longer need anyone else. They saw it in shadow before but he didn't give it his all. His all is a force to be reckoned with. He just couldn't be bothered. He's too busy. He's too focused. He's too jacked out on his own preservation, trying to weather the past, present and future without self-destructing and he'll do it the way he's done everything. With magic. Controlling fire. Controlling our tiny camper-walled-limit universe, a hard worker nailing down our hopes and dreams while I'm spun off on sugar and lights and loud music and daydreams. He's focused now, but on me instead of everything else. His timing is maddening and incredible and perfect.

Nothing changes when everything changes, he always told me. We do our jobs, eat at the same time every day, swim in the sea at least eight times a week, say our prayers to the stars when we go to sleep at night, do our laundry every second Saturday and everything else will fall into place. It's all in finding a rhythm, a routine on the road. A plan within the chaos, Peanut. Come over closer so you won't get cold. Did you have fun today?

I fear the rest of them are doomed, knowing what I know. It's as if they're locked in the room and I'm the zombie standing on the other side of the glass, smiling and chomping at the bit. Come out and I'll destroy you. Stay inside and die anyway.