Thursday, 31 October 2013

Trick or treason.





This first picture is me goofing around on the farm and then moments later, Bailey appears and I fall on my ass (picture #2). Coincidence? Nope.

In the third picture I am casually reading a book and I look like the illegitimate child of Rik Emmett. (Mom? Have anything to say for yourself?)

The fourth picture shows me in my natural habitat. The Atlantic. It was cold and I would go no further. Note the ubiquitous bikini. I think I was born with one on. (Again, mom?)

Someone asked what life was like before I met the boys and so I had to dig back to when I was pretty much in diapers to pull that off, thanks to Andrew, who's been here like, forever.

So as you can see it was...faded, speckled, sometimes black and white and mostly unfocused.

I'm trying my hardest to get permission from Ben and from Lochlan to post the wedding details but absolutely no one is on board with that.

Yet.

They just keep giving me sugar and I forget I was asking something and that lasts for like half a day and then we go around again. I daresay when I was a micro-me not a hell of a lot was different. So instead of wedding stuff I am trying to give you something else and now you have to promise me you won't egg my  house. We good?


We're good. Happy Halloween. Be safe out there, kiddies.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Never could hold my sugar. Dammit.

Whoops. I sat down to write on the heels of eating a whole handful of Pixy Stix and other assorted candy and I might burst into a cloud made of glitter and sugar in a minute. Not a good time to expect anything because I'm busy doing loops across the ceiling whilst reciting dirty limericks. They're laughing but I can see the fear in their eyes.

*POOF*


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Two.

A small, humbling number for a small, humble girl.

Two years and today I don't know quite know where we stand. Two years and Caleb refused to give Lochlan the day off today so Lochlan quit again but Schuyler, who has the patience of a saint (and celebrated two years of marriage to Daniel yesterday because you would have to have patience to be married to Daniel because Daniel just requires a lot of patience) managed to smooth things over and he confided that he does this at least twice a week when Lochlan quits. He smoothes over ruffled feathers and indignant, obstinate stalemates and stubbornness and ire. He runs his hand over things as if the bad moments were wrinkles in a bed he is making and I wish sometimes Schuyler had that magic in more of life but if Lochlan doesn't, how would Schuyler possibly have it?

Two years ago today I married Lochlan. I haven't written about it much past admitting it for the sake of clarity here only because certain things were a bit weird-sounding otherwise. Our parents and families and friends know and care but otherwise it's not something you speak of in public because plural marriage isn't your every day garden-variety thing in the world.

Yet.

We keep quiet but in this house love is such a big gigantic thing. It tends to take over, taking up space, shoving everything else to the side while it holds center stage, a spectacle, a miracle, a curse.

And I wouldn't change it, in spite of how easy it was to be conventional once, married to a preacher on a pretty tree-lined street in a snowy city, spinning yarn and singing along with his guitar. I guess I knew at some point the circus would call me back because the circus is what I call home.

So tomorrow as a special anniversary gift to you I will write about the wedding.

Just not today. I have a date and I need to go get ready.
Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.
~P. T. Barnum

Monday, 28 October 2013

Profound even in nursery school.

He turns me away from him and pulls me in tightly against his chest. My back is so warm this way and I stop shivering. My heart dislodges and pins itself against my spine, a magnetic pull forcing it there against Lochlan's heart, which has thrown itself against his ribcage and strains to get out. It hurts, almost but not quite.

When I sleep I dream that I figured out how to draw with colored pencils and I'm trying to balance on the wire. I wake up laughing. Weird dreams. I haven't moved, but Loch's right shoulder is pushed forward and down, crushing me down into the bed underneath him so and I have to push against him in order to breathe.

I don't think he minds.

I have finished NOS482 and Allegiant (!!!!!!!!!) and am back to reading Doctor Sleep. I keep picking up my phone to text Ben but then I put it down without doing anything. I still cough constantly and am trying to drink my body weight in water which isn't going well and I feel dehydrated and frustrated and hysterical and penned in. Andrew yelled at me once to go back to bed once already this morning. I ignored him.

I feel peaceful when I think about my ghosts though, down to checking my brain to make sure all of my memories are organized and easily accessible.

Once I lost Jacob's voice and I almost turned myself inside out looking for that one before I found it hiding behind the one of Bailey locking me in the basement bathroom with her while she played movies with her Fisher Price projector on the back of the bathroom door. Peter Pan. And then when I was released I promptly ran outside and start screaming Pirates! Pirates! at Andrew, who fell in beside me, trusting every word I yelled because we were both four years old with magnificent vocabularies and an inability to count past ten.

Where are they?

Everywhere! Don't you see them? I was kidnapped and managed to escape but they said they will never rest until I am recaptured! 

Quick! Let's get under the deck! They won't find us! 

Good plan! 

We crawled under his parent's back porch on our stomachs and waited, keeping guard.

Do you see them?

SHHHHHHHHH! 

He claps his muddy hand over my mouth and holds it there. My eyes are wide. Finally after counting to fifty by whispering ...seven, eight, thirteen, teen, teen, twenty, fifty!, we crawl back out and assure ourselves they're gone.

Phew. That was close.

That night I dream that I am eating crayons and trying to balance on a board. I tell Andrew the next day and he says, That means you're going to meet a pirate in real life! He won't be clear about it but he's going to steal you when the time is right and you will never go back to being Bridget the regular kid ever again! 

How do you know?

It's what they do! 

How will I know who the pirate is? 

Easy, stupid! He takes your heart first and then comes back for the rest when the coast is clear! 

How will I know when the coast is clear?

Nothing will be in the way!

But what about the crayons?

Pirates don't color, Bridget! They're big people. All they do is steal things. 

But if those things are worth money then I want to be a pirate! 

Is your heart worth money?

It's worth more than all the gold in the land. In the world even. 

What's it made out of?

Me. It's made out of me. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Extra bonus: New-Jake is moving into Batman's place too. Today.

Extra super double-bonus: Jasper isn't moving in! Hurray!

Everyone in one place (AKA Batman's big announcement).

(I wish I didn't have to keep repeating this but no, his name is not actually Batman. It's a nickname to protect his privacy by his own request.)

This morning Batman joined us for breakfast and an early sermon on the water. I stood shivering in my dress because I forgot my sweater and Loch slipped out of his hoodie in haste, braving the four-degree sunrise in a Pink Floyd t-shirt and goosebumps.

(He's dressed up exactly four times in his life, truth be told. One wedding, one funeral, and two job interviews.)

Sam saw that and sped up his words to 78 rpm and we went around quickly. Home, family, love, God, faith, hope and okay, let's go eat. 

And true to his usual method of operation, Batman waited until the last person was finished the food on their plate (in this case, Henry, who dawdled through his scrambled eggs and Caleb, who kept refilling his coffee cup to the point where I was about to ask him if it's safe to have that much caffeine at once, and Ben who just kept on eating) to make an announcement that will probably once again change absolutely everything.

He's purchased the house up the street.

It's on the same cul-de-sac, but situated on the next point over, albeit a magnitude smaller than this point but one featuring a beautiful Mediterranean-style home that features the most impressive blue-tiled floors and the same beautiful view. I've seen the pictures, it's been for sale for some time. It's close enough to see the lights on at night but far enough to afford privacy, because it ranges in the low seven figures.

That's a perfect house for one person. Caleb congratulates him on the acquisition somewhat backhandedly. We still think real estate is a good bet but only at a certain threshold. Caleb doesn't believe in buying more than you actually need, however.

Ben will be welcome to stay as long as he needs to and anyone is welcome to come at any time. It's furnished. Lots of rooms for guests. Batman stares at me but I'm busy doing the math in my head.

When do you move in? I'm guessing he'll say at the end of the year.

I'm already settled. 

The boys stand and shake hands all around the table, good news is often embraced quite boisterously, and I lean back in my chair waiting them out. Ben already knew so he keeps eating and Caleb has suddenly lost his appetite. When everyone is settled again we discuss the noise and the traffic downtown and how quickly glass boxes and elevators lose their appeal in favor of well, this. Batman reveals that he's uncharacteristically excited to be putting down roots at last with waterfrontage to boot and it suddenly occurs to me that he has just levelled the playing field.

With explosives.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Keeping it chill for the next two weeks. Here we go, folks.

Henry is sick and convalescing at the boathouse today, playing video games and watching movies with Caleb. Ruth is working on some drawings with Daniel next door because she can leave her stuff all over the kitchen there and no one makes her clean it up at mealtimes.

I am waiting patiently at my place at the kitchen island here at home because PJ is making me a Monte Cristo. It's obvious who loves me most.

He turns around with the plate in hand, the perfect meal for me.

You know you want to marry me. I'd make these for you every day. 

Then we could share the same jeans, Peej. Because I'll be as big as you sooner rather than later. 

We should share them now if you want to get in here with me. 

You guys should get a room. Gage walks in because he smelled food.

You're absolutely right. PJ winks at me and I throw a grape at him. Perv. Hush now. 

Bridget, you just keep denying me, I'd be so perfect for you. I cook and clean and everything. 

Yup, the perfect wife. What would that make me?

Uh..spoiled?

No, it would make me the man in the relationship. 

I'm down with that. 

We should test that theory! 

Huh? It was figurative, Bridge! 

Why be figurative when you can be literal! Stay here and bend over the counter. I'll be right back. 

Where are you going?

To find Schuyler. Or Matt. Or anyone really. We'll just turn the lights out. 

You're a little monster. 

Hey, if I'm the guy I get to violate you any way I want. I just need a primer on technique.

You just...you just be quiet and eat your sandwich, little miss! Jesus! I'm shocked at the things in your head. 

Oh my God, PJ, I'm KIDDING. 

I know that, now like I said, EAT YOUR SANDWICH. 

Lochlan comes in. Wow. Bit harsh, Padraig. What's up?

The dirty mind on this one. WE'VE RUINED HER. 

Lochlan shakes his head. Nah, Brother, I think she ruined us. He takes half my sandwich and walks back out of the room, winking at me as he goes.

I DID NOT! I chase after him. I want my sandwich back.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Beginning of Six.

I didn't write yesterday. I spent it in a stupor after I looked at the calendar and realized, oh, yeah that was six years ago today that I walked down to the church late one night to ask Jake to stop working and come home and sleep already and he told me he was done.

Jake was never a person to put down roots past the windy cliff where he grew from a boy into a man. He lived with few possessions and traveled on whims that would have left most people clinging to civilization. He spent months in places like Nepal and India and Brazil. He stood high above every cloud, a blonde viking with a need to find God in tangible form and once he even said he found God in me but I'm almost sure now it was less of a revelation and more of a wishful thought.

Sam came to me last night and took the brandy away and said I really should read those remaining letters now, he made copies of everything, scanning them into the computer so that I could easily read them on the iPad or whatever but I've never opened them. They just sit.

Sam put his arms around me and kissed the top of my head and told me I am doing great.

He lies so easily. I think God gives him that power.

I told him it wasn't comforting so he shifted gears and told me to come watch television with him and we went and curled up on the couch like cats and we never turned on the television at all. He surfed emails on his phone without answering any and I fell asleep in his warm arm the moment my feet left the floor.

When I woke up this morning I was still there and so was he only someone had tucked a blanket around us. When I woke up I couldn't catch a full breath because the weight on me is so heavy. I hate Halloween. I hate that his birthday is right there and that we could have grown old together but we won't now because he took that, he took everything with him and it all smashed to bits on the pavement along with him. He took future memories and plans and my love for him and he broke it without asking.

He took Himself too. Capitalized because nothing says The Lord quite like a large nonexistent entity you pray to, worship and feel all around you all the time. God has a name and His name is Jake and He has forsaken me but I still believe in Him. Sam laughs and shakes his head and feels helpless and quiet and resigned.

Ben couldn't take the bend in my life right on this week each year that has permanently changed everything, preventing the past from colliding with the present, keeping the future just out of reach. I can't reconcile anything past 2007 so instead I retreat to happier times when I was young and knew nothing but hunger pangs and starry eyes, when I first learned that falling in love makes your body feel the same swoop of your internal organs flying out of place and your heart hitting your ribcage at a hundred miles an hour that you get when you take a ride at an amusement park and then later when you swing high above a crowd on a trapeze.

And then later still when the fear comes crashing in and everything is ripped away, including your confidence in a net below, and you are left cold, afraid of everything and stubborn as all fuck because life isn't a show after all. You can't pick your props, plan your acts or take just one more ride so you better enjoy it while it lasts. Revel in those lights, scream when your heart makes the leap and love for everything you're worth because you might turn out to be fool's gold and won't that be a goddamned surprise.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Oneironauts.

I'm on the floor in the hallway, the pale light of the moon spilling across my forehead as I sit holding a bomb in my hands.

Lochlan holds his lighter out. The old scratched silver zippo. Take it, blow this world up already. I'll take whatever knocks come my way and we'll be okay after that.

Jake bends down in front of me and tells me heaven is such a beautiful place and at least when Caleb kills me I'll have that to look forward to, that eventually we'll all be there together again, except for Caleb, because he'll be in the other place. I don't think Jake is speaking out loud. He's talking in my brain again, the way he always has since he flew.

How do you know I won't go to hell too? I ask him. I wrap my arms tighter around the bomb and try to use my body to shield it from them in case they try to take it.

Because you're a good human, Bridget. Duncan leans up against the doorframe, aviators on at night in the dark. He's never very far away, bless his heart and the minute I finished writing yesterday he kind of appeared on the fringes, put down the fucking perpetual beer and tuned in again. I must be so special.

Because you haven't done anything wrong, Dude. Dalton's voice. Teflon Jesus, loved by everyone, sticks only to himself. For a long time I thought he was gay but it turns out he's just very discreet and not at all prone to the sort of boasting the others can get into when speaking of their conquests. He calls me Dude. He says it keeps him from getting too attached. I told him he was being ridiculous and he assured me that no, he wasn't.

That's bullshit. Cole scowls it from the corner, where he takes up the space from floor to ceiling with his glorious black wings extended properly. Everyone takes a step back and he reminds me that Caleb doesn't let go. Never has, never will and I only encourage him even as I think I'm weaning him off me somehow or letting him have what he wants in hopes every time will be the last time but it never is. You couldn't be faithful if you tried. I think the brain damage you blame on my brother is from the endless microscopic attention you've had from all of us all these years. It turned you into a tiny little pleaser with zero interests in anything but that attention. It doesn't matter who loves you because it will never be enough.

I hope his voice is only in head, because his words are humiliating and true. Growing up, nothing fed my ego until it was full like a handful of boys fighting over me. Even then, the rumblings of its hunger practically knocked me down as I stood in place.

Do it, Peanut. Take the leap. Please the crowd! Loch swings nearer on ropes now, holding out the lighter. I hear him over the roar of the audience. No one ever lets the juggler up on the trapeze. This is an unbelievable moment in the history of the show. And I am a part of this special moment. Holy cow.

I'm thinking about it! I make him promises so old they're covered with dust. He reaches down and blows the dust away. It gets in my eyes and now I'm blind and deaf. You won't, Bridget, because you know I'll be collateral damage. Why don't you worry about you for a change?

Any satisfaction I get won't be worth the cost. Didn't you tell me that once? Weigh the cost against the reward. Sure we can pickpocket the expensively-dressed marks but they're more likely to have lawyers and press charges. Charges stay with you forever. Kind of like promises that don't keep even though they're supposed to. 

Christian turns his head away. Enough. Let her be. She's not old enough to make these decisions. Should have left her home. 

I told you I'll look after her, Lochlan steps up and flicks the lighter for the hundredth time and I cover the fuse of the bomb with my hand so he can't light it.

But you really don't, and that's why we're in this mess. PJ snorts his derision. Ben leans forward from where he sits silently (because he isn't here he's never here he should be here) and kicks PJ in the shin.

I can fix this with money. Caleb steps forward, scratching his car key against his nails. He's taller than Lochlan by a head but Lochlan gives him a shove anyway. Stay out of this, Diabhal. She's mine. Besides, don't you have a law exam to study for?

She doesn't belong to anyone. Therefore she gains nothing by blowing up everything. She's smart. She knows exactly what she's doing. Have faith that we raised her right and she'll do the right thing. I nod at him, pleased that he has complimented me and so I give him the bomb and he takes it and holds a gun up to my head instead.

Besides, if she tries this again I'll light the bomb myself and make her swallow it whole. 

Jacob cries out in protest and disappears as I struggle against the gun. Caleb squeezes the trigger and the gun goes off but it isn't pointing at me anymore, it blows a hole in Lochlan the size of his heart and he drops like a rock.

When I wake up screaming Lochlan is beside me and the hole in him is gone. I touch the spot on his chest where the hole was and start blubbering about dreams and big round black cartoon bombs with white-string fuses and Duncan's sunglasses. Loch pulls me in against the not-hole and puts his head down on mine and he nods. He nods and he says the most ridiculous thing.

I know. Cole was there too and I think the lecture he gave was the most I ever heard him say at once. Freaky, hey?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The music soared up and over and then right through me as I walked in the door.

Oh My God! What IS that? I asked the Devil, who sat in his favorite chair with coffee and his laptop.

His whole face broke into a smile. I think of this as your theme song these days, Bridget.

He wasn't kidding.
When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach
And the bullets catch in her teeth

Life goes on
It gets so heavy
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear, a waterfall
In the night, the stormy night
She closed her eyes
In the night, the stormy night
Away she'd fly.

And dreamed of paradise

When it was over he turned it off and stood up. I know what you're going to ask and the answer is no.

You didn't even hear me out.

Bridget the point of toying with Ben's resolve is that it brings more gradual results. Do you remember what happens when Lochlan is tested?

He gives up. 

He gives up! Indeed he does! Caleb is shouting now. Maybe you'd prefer I bring Ben back so I can work on Lochlan instead! Is that what you're asking me to do? At the end of the day, Princess, you have to ask yourself, who is the strongest one of all? It's like Snow White only it isn't. It's Cole Black and you don't get to be the fairest anymore, nor is this a story with a happy ending. It could have been once, but you just refuse to cooperate. 
 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Ben and Bridget hatch a plan.

Ben has had a haircut and a decent shave at the same time. I only know about the shave because when he does it himself he misses the entire ridge underneath his heavy jaw and the barbershop doesn't.

The things you notice, being five feet tall.

He is sitting up straight and open to whatever castigation he thinks he is due. Maybe Batman has rubbed off on him, Ben is staying with him at the condo downtown. Or maybe not. Ben is wearing my favorite T-shirt. The one that says Pipers do it with Amazing Grace. His bagpipes have been sitting on a shelf in the closet since last summer. With our marriage, his pride and my ego for good measure.

Do you know what you're doing?

No, Ben, do I ever? 

He smiles. God, he looks so tired it makes my heart ache. Be careful you don't get bitten, Bee. 

He does not mean this figuratively. I won't. He only comes close now. Still hurts though.

Bridget-

I'm fine. 

Are you?

No. When are you coming home?

I thought you had given up on me. His face is ashen.

Nope. I'm still waiting for you to grow up and be the man I've caught glimpses of in tough times. Are you telling me the only time you have your shit together is when you absolutely have to? 

You tell me. You know me better than I know myself. 

I thought I did, but I'm not sure anymore. 

His eyes fill up. Whatever hope he had a minute ago is gone again. So what do I do now? 

Come home and grow up. I will too. We can graduate together and join the adults.

They'll never believe you're a grownup. You're just too short. 

I'll wear lots of makeup and say 'Motherfucker' every second word. 

That might work. 

Let's hope. I'll talk to Caleb okay? Cross your fingers. 

I don't think adults cross their fingers for luck.

Oh, then forget the whole thing. We'll stay kids.

He reached across the table and squeezed my hand. It disappeared into his huge angular fingers and I took my turn to drown in the view.

Don't you cry, Bumblebee, we'll get there. He holds my hand up to his lips for a moment and then he gets up and makes his way out of the coffee shop. I stand up because I want to follow him but I forget PJ is at the next table until I take a step and he reaches out and grabs the back of my coat.

Don't make me chase you too, Bridge. If you're as fast as Loch is, I'm in big trouble.

I debated it anyway. I'm much faster than Lochlan and all I wanted to do was run after Ben. Instead I took PJ's hand and went home.

Motherfuck.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The boy with the blue-collared shirt.

The world will never ever be the same
And you're to blame
It was eighty thousand dollars.

That's why we took it. That's sort of enough money to sock away for a day so rainy an ark appears on the horizon to bring us to biblical safety. Not sure if you've ever been poor or ever been sweetly coerced into doing something you can't help doing because it's so compelling but lets just say I earned it all, rounded down to the nearest nickel, because every penny no longer exists to count now, does it?

Caleb offered that amount because he knows I wouldn't go for less. I'm now the Linda Evangelista of Executive Assistants, since I won't get out of bed for less than twenty thousand dollars a day and sometimes you can't get me out of bed at all.

I don't have to justify it, he is becoming known for moving large sums of cash to get me to cooperate because Lochlan's too practical to refuse and yet I am becoming a little too worldly for my own good here at home where we live in a palace of marble, hemlock, slate and glass by the sea and still I hang-dry all of our clothes on the drying rack in the laundry room because it knocks fifty dollars off the hydro bill every second month, and that makes me really proud.

It flies in the face of everything I've ever been taught, and so when I die you'll probably find my body frozen in a little house that ran out of wood for the fire because I was too cheap to buy more. A house wallpapered in hundred dollar bills.

Case in point, Lochlan came into the kitchen not far behind me to help with lunch. Did I mention the almost-visible tether? He was so angry. So, so angry. But resigned. Or tired. Or just demoralized. I don't even know but no more anything until he feels better. No more bullshit foolishness until he has restored his faith in my loyalty to his own satisfaction. I am now bound to him until further notice. I don't mind.

I asked him if he could get the prosciutto from the fridge. He opened the fridge and stared inside. The package was right in front, on the shelf at eye level.

Loch.

Yes?

Can you hand me the prosciutto? Maybe his mind is wandering.

The ham?

Prosciutto. Yes.

This ham? The thin-slice stuff?

It's called prosciutto.

We call it ham, Bridget. His voice is a warning and I heed it.

Pass me the ham, then, please?

Sure, Peanut. Coming up.

The look on his face is fierce. Fucking fierce. I think he liked it better when I knew nothing. Like the first time I tried beer when I was in Grade three.

What is it?

It's a drink made with grains and yeast.

Oh, like pancakes!

No, not like pancakes, Bridget.

Like Apple Jacks?

No. Not even. Here. Try a sip and you'll see.

It looks like liquid pancake bubbles.

What kind of pancakes are see-through, Bridget?

Magical transparent pancakes, Loch. Transpancakes. Pancarents. This beer is yucky, by the way.

You'll like it in a few years, I bet.

Nope. Can I have orange juice?

Orange juice? We don't have any juice on the beach. Why would you want juice at nine at night?

I always have juice with pancakes.

He tipped the beer up and finished the whole little bottle all at once. I watched him. Why did you do that?

Because you're frustrating.

I'm sorry.

Don't be. I like the way your brain justifies things you don't understand yet. If you can hold on to that, it will make for a great coping mechanism some day. 

What's a coping mechanism, Loch?

It's a...it's like always having a magical pancake in your pocket in case you need it. 

Oh, then I'm gold.

He just opened another beer and laughed.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

An aside:

You can stop sending me your dizzying parallel conclusions to the new Bridget Jones' Diary in which supposedly tragedy has ensued. I haven't read any of it, since this Bridget has her own diary. I read a blurb in the paper about it today though. Apparently widowhood is an "underexplored area in literature" and is going to be an emerging 'trend' because of an aging demographic.

Thanks. We've been writing about it over here since 2006 but not because it's trendy.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Metachisms (acknowledge the power if you use it).

She gets the magic power of the music from me.
Thought control is such a bitch, isn't it? It's exhausting and unpredictable and difficult when there's a redheaded conscience inside your brain fighting every last suggestion with fists and grit and heart. That's what's missing here, because Lochlan's heart pumps a gazillion gallons a second of indignant, mischievous lava through his veins and Caleb's is icy cold, faulty, slow, proper and wizened.

There's no heart in this. No desperate love, no incredible tilting lurch from my own chest when he makes his moves. It's not a game, after all and I am so slow to learn. So slow I think I might be learning-disabled.

And I told Caleb all of this on the way home and he kept trying to get me to shut up, to just listen. To stop. Just stop, Bridget, and catch your breath and stop trying to rationalize things that are meant to happen. 

Fuck you. This isn't a thing. This is a business arrangement and I hate it. My candor surprised and unhinged him and he didn't say much else for the remainder of the flight. He sat and read and checked his phone and his watch alternately and pretended he wasn't upset.

 Ten minutes before we landed he hands me a cheque.

I rip it in half and he rolls his eyes. Isn't it worse if you do it for 'nothing'? 

I don't know yet. 

Oh. Well. Maybe Lochlan will tell you what answer to give me. 

Lochlan did indeed. He took the money first though. Or rather, he made me take it.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Mad cash.

When you wake is everyone dreaming
When you wake you waste away
Heaven says that you are a sinner
So go back down you can't come in
He's so good at reverse psychology. He told me I wasn't safe with him and so I set out to prove him wrong.

No, I said, as I tried to limber up my stiff fingers and aching joints. I'm fine. You won't hurt me.

He didn't say anything. It was as if we had chosen to ignore the glaringly obvious in favor of embracing my defiance like the sun emerging from the clouds after a week of rain, stubbornness burning our flesh into cinders and ash when it was so very simple to nod and turn around and run.

A clear memory smacks me across the brain just then of a day when I was nine and Caleb held out a huge bouquet of wildflowers at the ball field. 

For the little princess, he said, and he took a drag from his cigarette. Player's Light. He was almost seventeen and so cool we had freezer burn. 

Thanks, I said as I took the flowers from him. I spun with them in my sundress and as I turned I saw Lochlan hurrying across the field to us. 

Bridgie, come here! He called. 

I dropped the flowers and ran to him. My nine-year-old self knew better than to be close to the Devil. Not like anything has changed. 

Except everything has changed. Cole is dead. The boys are divided into loyalty camps, set to deploy at any moment. Jacob and Ben have since come and gone and now I am here trying to maintain an existence for us without any marketable skills.

Marketable skills, I said. Know there is a difference.

I didn't say it would be pretty and I know it's against Lochlan's bombproof judgement but it needs to be done and if it takes fifty percent of me then there's still fifty percent of me that might make it.

No one is happy but I'm stubborn and ready to prove everyone wrong. I can handle this, I think. I'm a professional at difficult lives and frightening moments with the Devil. I almost believe him now when he promises not to kill me, because he smiles when he says it, crossing his heart, hoping to die. And sometimes, in the dark, far from home, when my hands are clenched into knots I hope so too.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Standing on the edge of a feather.

I'll ask myself
do you need to question everything?
He sits back in his chair, loosening his tie with one hand, pocketing his phone with the other.  Caleb is off the clock now. No more working lunches, no more meetings and hand-pressing and introductions and due diligence and charm. Just this beautiful table with candles and quiet conversation all around us. It's dinner time and it's very late. Neither one of us are hungry until after eleven. The time difference is hard.

He orders sparkling water. I barely got cleared to fly and he's not supposed to drink so here we are with the Gerolsteiner and a basket of bread I want to demolish with my bare hands but I wait obediently while he plates a slice, tears off a small bit, butters it and holds it out to me. I'm a handfed mouse. A pet.

I reach past his hand and grab the whole slice and stuff it in my mouth. It makes me laugh and I can't close my mouth so I clap both hands over my face and dissolve into giggles.

He's amused and horrified all at once. You're all savages, aren't you?

Yes. Yes, we are. And you can't fix it. But in my house the bread is fought for and hard won or you don't get any at all.

You keep me young.

You're not mine to keep.

Yes I am.

Well I don't want you. I wink at him and pick up my glass.

You're here.

This is business.

And cold.

That's how I survive you. I don't get sucked in.

There's no tenderness here, is there? He sits forward abruptly, his eyes sharp. Blue daggers stabbing me over and over until I'm dead but still sitting pretty.

Why would there be?

I think there are unresolved feelings between us.

Well there aren't.

Your tough-girl act won't hold up long tonight, Bridge. He signals for the bill. It comes within seconds and he signs his name with his usual CXC in a blocky flourish. We're off before I can finish my second act. Before we have had chance to order food.

He squeezes my elbow far too hard as we're walking out of the restaurant to the point where I start looking for escape. But this city is too big for me and I see none that isn't a bigger risk. When we are safely back in the suite he orders up champagne that I resolve not to touch. So he drowns me in it instead.

***

When I wake up I can't swallow or unclench my fists.  My brain sifts through a grey powdery fog and finds nothing. I can't talk. I stare at my hands. They won't budge. Music pounds through my skull and I think, oh, here we go, my brain has finally rebelled and my lobotomy will come from within.

I pull the headphones out by the wires and flex my hands. Caleb comes through the door with a tray with coffee. He looks fine.

Everything hurts, I tell him through gritted teeth. One eye watches him warily, the other wanders lazily around, inspecting the shabby reproduction antiques at will, pulsing to the beat of my heart, speeding up as I try and take a deep breath but that hurts too. Oh my God.

He stares at me for a long time and then he almost smiles as if he can't believe his good fortune. He seems amused and amazed, surprised at himself just enough that one of my eyes catches it.

You aren't safe with me. 

I know. 

Then why are you here?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Alpha wars.

Cole is smiling darkly at me, his black wings bent close against his back, threaded together tightly, overlapping almost completely. They look warm. I want to touch him but I know how very bad of an idea that would be.

I wonder if Caleb will see him when he comes out. By default the 370Z lives in the garage because otherwise the garage is empty save for PJ's jeep and that's a waste because it can hold four vehicles.

I remain standing just in front of the open garage door because I was instructed to stay put. Caleb had to make a quick phone call before we leave. I watch Cole quietly, my mouth twisted closed, my eyes narrowed to see if he comes closer or stays far into the shadows. I'm not afraid of him (much) anymore but I'm curious to know if anyone else gets these moments too.

Probably not, for I am insane, I've been told. I bite my lip outwardly. I'm not sure if I believe that. I think I just need to sleep a lot more than I do.

Caleb comes out and stops in front of me. What? You look like you've seen a ghost.

Nothing, I tell him, I'm just still not feeling well. I'll probably curl up with my book by the fire later today. I'm riding out this illness impatiently, like a cagey junkie waiting for a bad trip to end.

Cole smiles broadly for he always loved fucking with my mind. I stick my tongue out at him and Caleb catches me. He looks in Cole's direction, sees nothing and then looks at me with huge disappointment. Cole laughs out loud. I frown at both. The Brothers Grimm. They are standing within fifteen feet of one another. The last time this happened I was torn to shreds, fought over like a prize. Craved like a bad drug, their fucking little junkie girl.

Then we'll make our morning short. He opens the door for me and I get in quickly. Enough crazy, I have to play Sugarbaby today, for we are going downtown to look at a watch, since my Breitling stopped again and Caleb thinks that's bullshit.

He doesn't listen when I remind him about the three laptops, four car keyfobs, one flatscreen television and most recently the iphone and vacuum cleaner in the same day.

I do this, I tell him. I break things. 

How convenient, Princess. I fix things. 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Finally beginning to feel less...pneumatic. Pneumonatic. Pneumachosic? Spumoni.

He's got the whiskey out, a magnifier for his tiny truths that turn into giant epic confessionals once you can see through the bottle, thereabouts a third of the way gone now.

Lochlan's nothing if not predictable and I brace myself for the inevitable revelation.

I only have one thing I have to admit to you right this minute, Peanut. I told you I would never gamble with you but times change and I had no choice. I knew damn well you would latch on to the first guy who seemed worthy after Jake and I swore up and down I wouldn't be Rebound Guy. I couldn't risk it. Statistically those never work, right? So just look at this way, you got that whole stage out of the way already. Now we're home free.

What if it had worked out? What if it still does?

Well, firstly, it's over. And secondly, I can wait. That's what I do, Bridge. I wait for you. I'm a pro now. Expert. Grand master. 

You should probably  put that bottle down before you make this any worse with your words, Locket.

Yes, I should.

***

Caleb steps out from the path on the wrong side of the patio from where he is supposed to be. I am drinking hot chocolate that Duncan made for me and reading Christmas catalogs by the light of the moon. One of the upsides to being housebound and down is that I have my Christmas shopping half finished already! Yeah. please envy me already.

What are you doing? Were you at the house? 

I have spent the better part of two hours lying on Daniel's bed listening to Elton John and talking about sex clubs in Prague. 

That's what he does when he's stressed out. 

He goes to Prague? I had no idea. 

No, he lies on the bed and listens to Elton. He's too scared to go to a sex club. 

I don't blame him. I am too. I like Elton though. Very relaxing. 

Why is he stressed? Because of Ben?

Yes and I wanted to explain to him my reasoning and future plans to bring Ben home where he belongs when he is ready and not prone to taking out his frustrations on you.

Did he buy it?

No more than you did, I'm sorry to say but he did agree Ben can't lash out at you like that. You're both going to have to get used to the fact that sometimes people need a good swift kick to pull themselves together. 

Should I brace myself?

Speaking of which, why are you alone?

Loch just went in. I was about to follow. 

How is he?

Drunk and truthful. But do you care?

Of course I care. Someone important to you is important to me by default. 

Caleb?

Yes?

Whatever you do in life, please remember I'm not twelve years old anymore and I don't believe things just because you tell me them. 

That's a crying shame, Bridget. 

I know. It would make things so much easier. 

What could I tell you that you wish to believe?

That everything turns out okay in the end. That sex clubs in Prague are a myth. 

Want that figurative swift kick now or shall I wait? 
 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Thanatology and the art of spinning in circles without getting dizzy.

Can you save my bastard soul?
Will you wait for me?
I am reassured, told to pull myself together, reminded that Ben is also concerned with my wellbeing, that he and Caleb simply had a Discussion Between Men in which Caleb suggested Ben stay elsewhere while he gets stronger, that his judgement is not one hundred percent and frankly, that's not acceptable here, with children present. With Bridget present.

I am reminded this is not how Loch would have handled it. Loch wanted to handle it. They had to sit on him. Then they had to catch him and sit on him again. I remind Caleb that there's no need for refinement here. We are savages, plain and simple.

(PJ also said he was getting too old and too fat to run after Pyro, because Pyro can run like the fucking wind. We're smaller, that's all. Small people are quick.)

I am forewarned that should I escalate this, Caleb will too. That I need to work on recuperating and Ben needs to work on recovery and eventually we will all be one big happy family again.

I am told to stop being feral, and difficult and immature. I tell him I hate his evil fucking guts and Caleb grins and says he also would prefer if I stop lying, that it's unbecoming and crass.

I tell him I am too sick to fight, that I don't want to spend the rest of my life like this but I don't know how else to live it anymore and he says, I know, Baby. I know.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Kryptonite. (A follow-up because your emails, JESUS).

It's true. There's something about me that draws them in and then kills them. There's only one thing I know of that does that and I swear to God I was born on this planet, in a sleepy little town by the Atlantic. I swear I didn't know.

I say all this to Sam and he doesn't laugh or even act surprised. He's angry at me and angry at Caleb and concerned about Ben, who was unceremoniously asked to leave yesterday.

Because Caleb wasn't about to let him slide, even though I can be a provocative little fuck when I want to be, apparently I was not at the time and Ben just got scared and put his ego there in place of his heart, acting stupid.

I have been campaigning for his return ever since and wound up compelled to spend last evening with the devil, lest Ben's return take that much longer.

Of course it's coercion. And yes, I did whatever it takes. Ben will understand. He'd encourage it so he could watch. He'd film it in his brain and then plead innocence instead of debauchery, the way we all do. It's how Things Are Done.

I wish my kryptonite affected Caleb. He said it does, that his patience has already worn thin and his heart is malfunctioning. All that does is make me cling harder. Sam just rolls his eyes as I relate all of this to him and asks me to consider the thought that they are all projecting blame onto me because it's easier to pour it over me and watch me drown in their failed dreams than stand idly by as they admit they are sometimes less than human, that they fail.

It's easy blaming the one person who can't defend herself.

It's easy pointing fingers.

But I'm not doing that. They are men. Human men. Mostly good humans, even Ben. Caleb figured that instead of aligning with my loyalties he would simply cut out the middle man with the first excuse he could grasp, a brass ring of opportunity at a midway horror show.

The exciting part here is that I would think nothing of packing up every single person here, Henry included and bailing on him. If Caleb balks I can just throw 1983 in his face and watch as it crushes him to a fine dust underneath it's weight. Watch him burn the way we've been doing for the better part of our lives.

Watch me bring it all home.

I gave him twenty-four hours to fix this shit and also apologize to me and to Loch for the lovely threats that saw me donning sugarbaby gear when I should have been putting on pajamas because I'm so sick I should never have had my feet on the floor this week at all.  So shame on fucking EVERYONE.


Brimstone.

This is why you can't choose Lochlan, is it? Because he'll self-destruct or die. That's how it works, isn't it, Bridget? You fall in love with them and they fall apart the moment things are good, or at least almost okay. You need to keep him safe. If you focus all of your energies on him he won't make it.

His lips trace skin just under my nose, as his hands slide around my waist, pulling me in. I don't fight him, never do at first. Not until later when I've had enough and he is just beginning. He thinks we're equal and it makes me laugh. Or rather, it makes me cry.

He is pleased. I wore a dress, stockings, heels and a bright red slip for that extra special touch of defiance. I pinned my hair up. I wore seven thousand metric tons of mascara for him to smear and lipstick that he can drag across my cheek or scrub off his skin later but it won't stain his heavenly monogrammed sheets.

It did anyway.

I wasn't scared though, I'm too sick but I played my role. Indifferent, cold at first, then fearful, obedient. On my knees, mascara running followed by worshipped, washed and wanted. Ruined? One hundred percent all the way. But I still put my arms around his neck and asked for more, harder, longer, meaner, everything he's got.

No one bothers to admonish me anymore because they know. Lochlan knows but he shouts anyways and paces and shakes in fear and anger. Ben knows in his quiet, resigned voice over the phone because he fucked up so big time we don't see the way home anymore. Caleb has the map for my soul and directs my movements through this emotional landscape, packed with mines to step on, making sure I don't blow myself to pieces in order to destroy me slowly instead.

I keep hoping I will change, that my luck will shift, that I will age and find grace and be smarter and feel better and then I remember this way everything is easier because everyone is equal and no one will be singled out for oblivion except for me.

I can't save myself anymore but maybe I can save you.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Eyes like a car crash
I know I shouldn't look but I can't turn away.
Body like a whiplash,
Salt my wounds but I can't heal the way
I feel about you.

I watch you like a hawk
I watch you like I'm gonna tear you limb from limb
Will the hunger ever stop?
Can we simply starve this sin?

That little kiss you stole
It held my heart and soul
And like a deer in the headlights I meet my fate

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Near death (which isn't a bad thing if you are me).

Coffee with Ben this morning, old familiar patterns in new unfamiliar feelings as we sit at another tiny unbalanced table in a noisy, busy shop full of people talking superficially about crap like clothing and top forty music and fitness while we slice into deep, cutting subjects like death and whatever the hell it is that we're doing to each other here because we haven't talked at all.

I sip my coffee and launch into the third coughing fit of the moment.

You're not fit to be out. 

I shake my head. Nope. I'm not, and he will be lucky if I don't put my head down on this table and slide right off my chair at some point.

Jesus, I thought Caleb had all the answers with his Russians looking after you. He fishes his phone out of his pocket.

What are you doing?

Calling him. Just a minute, bee. 

Ben. Stop. 

Wait. He holds up a finger. What the fuck. I stand up and reach across the table and take his phone right out of his hand. We're having coffee. You don't talk on the fucking phone. You don't bring up the devil. You SPEND TIME WITH ME, DAMMIT. 

The conversations concerning yoga and Billboard comes to a screeching halt all around me. He stands up and begins to gather up our breakfast to take to the car. I follow. Neither one of us want to wind up being recorded, or even noticed for that matter.

He opens my door, puts our coffees in the console and then holds out a hand for me to help me up into the truck. I watch him trace the ground with his eyes all the way around the front of the truck and then he gets in. He looks at me.

I think I made a mistake.

Just one?

He laughs. Oh Jesus. Bridget, You're going to make this tough, aren't you? You know something? I'm sick too and I don't need this shit.

I open my door again and climb out. I think I'd rather talk to my Ben and not the one who's posturing if it's all the same to you. I slam the door, curse being uncoordinated enough to even consider bringing my coffee with me and head back into the coffee shop. Because, you know, I left my purse in the truck too. He roars out of the parking lot far too fast and doesn't look back.

I ask to borrow a phone and call Mike to come and get me because if I talk to anyone familiar I'll lose it. He says for me to hold tight for fifteen minutes and so I go back outside to wait. I cross the street and sit in the bus stop. I don't feel well enough to stand. I lean my head against the glass and close my eyes. A bus comes and stops for me, holding the doors open before I shake my head and it roars away from the curb. Someone drives by and yells something at me but I can't hear it. Then I hear a familiar purr and open my eyes again.

Caleb. He leaves the car in the middle of the lane with hazards on and comes around to the bus shelter, taking my hand. He leads me to the car and shuts the door once I'm in and then goes around and gets in his side. Traffic is lining up behind his car but he flashes that million dollar smile and calls out Sorry! Sorry! before pulling away.

I just need to know who stranded you here in this condition. You don't have to say anything else because if it's one of Pyro's stupid stunts then he's done. Just done, Bridget-

I stranded myself. And Lochlan is at work. You should know. You're working him into the ground now so he can't be home ever. 

You didn't get here by yourself. 

No, I came with Ben and-

Don't say anymore. He fishes out his phone and asks Siri to call Ben. She dials and it goes straight to Ben's voicemail.

Caleb's message is short and sweet. When you get this, come and see me.

He disconnects the call and all I can think of is great, everyone has an ego today.

How are you feeling? 

Really really bad. I burst into tears, which makes it even harder to breathe, and he drives faster still. Be home in a minute, Baby Doll. He squeezes my hand for reassurance but it only makes me cry harder. I try and wrench my hand back but he won't let go. Finally he pulls off the highway into a neighborhood I don't recognize and invokes Siri again.

Siri, call the Pyromaniac. 

Okay, calling the Pyromaniac, she tells him obediently.

What is it? Lochlan answers on the first ring. That surprises me.

Can you postpone the remainder of your day and meet me at the house, please? Bridget had a rough morning with the Beast and would like to see you. 

Be right there. Loch hangs up and Caleb looks at me. I told you I do what's best for you. Even when it isn't what's best for me. He pulls a u-turn and heads back toward the highway.

When we get home the gate is barely closed when it begins to slide open again and Lochlan's truck speeds into view. He blocks everyone in when he parks it right in the middle of the driveway. He pulls me out of the car, into his arms and rocks me, looking over my head. I hear him say Thank you to Caleb, or maybe he says Fuck you. I can't tell.

Monday, 7 October 2013

An actual elephant in the room.

This is my movie screen. It's ten feet across (more like fifteen, PJ corrects me) and I would hug it if only I could reach. I'm watching The Fall again and waiting to feel better after a few scary episodes in which simply breathing became some sort of Herculean task and I have more drugs now because I'm a lot sicker than I thought I might be, and really bad at things like Resting and Taking Care. It's hard, okay? I like to feel useful. I like to be needed.

SWP

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Bridget's pillow fort/Perfectly.

When all was said and done we reverted back to the past. Time teaches us so much and it also teaches us what is temporary and what is forever. We can make infinite mistakes and stretch the bonds until they threaten to snap painfully back, but it won't change fate. Fate is decided before you are even born and eventually it becomes your job to stop fighting it and embrace the path chosen for you by your very own soul and the one connected to it.

***

I lingered in dreams after I was no longer welcome. Floating in the warm darkness, unable to properly focus, content in the failure of anxiety and fear to chase me into the deepest recesses of my mind. A hand slid underneath my shoulder blades and I was lifted gently out of my sleepy fog into the morning. Lips slid across my own. I put my arms up around his neck and he exhaled and kissed my clavicle before pushing me back down into the mountain of pillows, a luxury we never take for granted, having shared a single thin battered one for whole entire seasons without complaint.

Lochlan smiles against my face, pushing his cheek against mine with his widening grin. He tucks his fingers into the band of my pajama pants and pulls them off. He pushes up the hem of my t-shirt until it is twisted around my ribcage and he grabs my ankle and pulls it up as he pins me down with his weight. I have to fight to breathe until he lets go just a little bit and then I am lifted right up again, pressed against his jaw, rubbed ragged over light stubble and rough hands, before he finds our rhythm and puts me down again. He groans, kissing my eyelashes, pulling me tightly against him. My breathing is laboured, harsh little bleats of want for him, louder when it hurts and he brings one hand up to cover my mouth. Shhhhhh. His eyes dilate so huge in the dark they turn black and he stares at me as if he is waiting for me to confirm answers to questions we don't ask anymore.

Then he is gone again and I cry out. It's cold. It's dark. Where did you-

Oh. Lips first. Trailing up my stomach to my ribs. Thumbs against my hips, fingers wrapped around the bones. I slide my hands into his curls and he exhales his hot breath in a rush all over me.

Loch. 

It's a plea. Don't make me wait. Oh God I can't not have you right this second please. Don't stop right in the middle like this, not for anything-

Cold again as he take both of my arms and pins them high above my head. I arch my back against him and he pauses for a moment, a look of sheer joy on his face before he buries his head into the pillows, hard against mine and drives until we're both gasping from effort. He wraps his hand around my throat, clutching his fingers lightly. I hold my breath and tip over the edge, falling up as he slows to a crawl to let me ride the clouds to the outer atmosphere. He leans back away from me, crouching on his knees, lifting up my hips, slamming into me over and over until I begin to beg him to finish.

Complete the night.

Connect the stars.

Make me yours again and take everything else away. As we fall back down out of the sky together he kisses me, eyes open, souls tethered in a bond made of  feathers and iron. He says he loves me in the middle of a kiss. I never hear it, I feel it and it's one of the most amazing things in my heart, in my life.

His hands are shaking as he reaches up to smooth my hair out of my eyes. He pulls my face up to his for another kiss and then wraps his arms around my back, pulling me in tightly until my head covers his heart. I fall asleep on a steadily slowing beat, back into those recesses where he found me, taking him with me to show him the world where I never ever worry about anything and where he doesn't have to either, not anymore.

He says it out loud for good measure just as I walk off the edge of consciousness.

I love you. I love you Bridget and I don't know a goddamn thing in this world for certain but I know that.

And then I get that extra little thrill in feeling every molecule of this man lighten all at once, putting out the fire, just for a little while.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Friday, 4 October 2013

Degeneracy pressure and cheeeeeese, baby.

(He spent decades teaching me astronomy so I would be uncharacteristically bright and all I wanted to do was listen to him sing. Just fucking sing to me, that's all I ever want.)
She climbs into bed, pull the covers overhead and turns her little radio on
She's has a rotten day so she hopes the DJ's gonna play her favorite song
It makes her feel much better, brings her closer to her dreams
A little magic power makes it better that it seems
Yesterday I heard a song I haven't heard since I was nine. It was one Loch used to sing to me, and he'd strum his (salvaged and now long gone in the fire) guitar along with the words. I thought he wrote it. I thought he was a genius and was going to throw away all that talent for the amusement racket. (See, he played me all kinds of songs but he had never performed one cold before.)

He downplayed it to the point where we both forgot about it, and in later years if I brought up that song again he feigned confusion over what I tried to describe since I only knew a line or two. I figured it was gone. I wondered if it was an actual memory or something I imagined.

Then I heard the song yesterday on the Triumph album and I busted him and he downplayed it again, saying it made him think of me so he learned it to play for me but was surprised that I liked it so much, and was afraid to tell me it was a song off the radio.


He was fifteen years old and just trying to impress a girl, after all.

I told him the only way he could have impressed me any more than he does (present-tense) is if he performs Killing Time for me on the spot. Like, now, if you please.

Naw, Peanut. You already know I didn't write that song. It wouldn't be the same. 
 

Sure it would.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Heavy water reactor.

1983, 2006, 2007.

I would erase those years from the page if I could. Struggling to make the marks vanish, tearing the paper, licking the end of the eraser and then trying again so that dark grey smudges remained and what used to be underneath the marks is unreadable, unpredicted.

Then I can burn the book for good measures and bad ones too.

I don't know if it matters if it's healthy. I'm not healthy but I'm not green either. Today I struggled through an early shower and then crashed back into bed, setting the alarm for yet another hour away from right now and in my dreams Jake said he would get up and see the kids off to school and when I woke up again it was so real.

So real it made my head ache and I want to undo all of it.

But then Lochlan came in with a travel mug full of apple juice (I am notoriously uncoordinated when sick. No, like way more than usual) and a ipad full of Erky Perky videos for me to watch and doze. He told me he bought me Triumph's greatest hits album (LOVE THIS GUY) and I could download it to my phone whenever I felt like it. Then he pretended he was hanging by his tie and said he had to go, that PJ and Dalton (God help us he's up before noon?) would see the kids off this morning. Not to get up at all, for anything until at least lunchtime and that Sam would be home to see that I eat something besides Jack Daniels and Pixy Stix.

(Because I found a store here that sells them in bags of hundred counts. JESUS CHRIST IT'S THE HOLY LAND FOR CERTAIN. Not the Jack by the hundreds, the candy, you idiots, though...okay no.)

I think the bourbon was helping though. Certainly with the lucid dreaming.

And of course halfway through one show I defied him, dragging my sorry arse out of bed, pouring out the juice, looking at my hair in the mirror and laughing until I coughed up things I maybe could have named if I wasn't so horrified instead (Nyarlathotep, Balaur, and perhaps Sabazios would be GREAT names for what I saw) and then I pulled on blown out jeans and a soft sweatshirt and laughed again in the mirror and opened the door.

Ben was sitting at the top of the steps working on his laptop and he leaned back, looked at me and said I was disobeying house rules.

Then he laughed too, not sure if it was aimed at my hair or all these damned rules. Either way we're a comedy road show here at home.

He put down his machine and got up and blocked the door so I coughed in his face except he's very tall so it didn't accomplish much of anything. He frowned and asked if I wanted to go to the doctor and I waved my hands at him and said if I got much worse I could just summon my own personal scary Soviet medical team to my bedside with their cold war strategies (get it? Get IT?) and then he said I was talking absolute nonsense and he walked over the bed and held the covers up.

I stripped out of my clothes, got back into bed and he stretched out beside me with his laptop again and told me to sleep while he...types really loudly and listens to music on his headphones which I can hear far too easily. If he isn't pickled then he'll surely be at least profoundly deaf before he's fifty.

But eventually it all faded away and Jacob came back in and leaned over me, one hand warm against my forehead. He swore lightly in his native unintelligble Newfiespeak and pushed my head under the water until I couldn't breathe anymore and I finally stopped fighting and lay still.

Ben didn't even try to stop him and Lochlan was too far away by then to even know what was happening. But true to form I resurrected myself because that's what I do, day after day after day.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

I know exactly who the enemy is.

Some days I just want to prop Cole up and resurrect Jake and fly August back and make Sam look up from his book and PJ from his chores and I'd like to get Dalton to pay some attention and Duncan to put down his pen and Christian to come over so I don't have to ask twice and if I can get Daniel to stay in the room and maybe get Schuyler not to work so much for a minute and Caleb can put away his evil and John can put down his sandwich, Matt could feel at home as part of us finally and I'll ask Ben to be comfortable in his own skin at long last and ask Lochlan to hold off in laying down more rules just for a minute, then maybe I could...

Hold on, let me just...

Just stand there, boys, okay? And form a wall.

And save me from myself.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The real-life Ancient Mariner.

But soon there breathed a wind on me
Nor sound nor motion made
Its path was not upon the sea
In ripple or in shade
My grandfather turns one hundred years old today.

One hundred years.

He's as healthy as a horse, a retired Merchant Marine. He's shorter than I am now, though. (So there is always hope, folks.) He does not have internet so we filmed ourselves singing a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to a camera and my parents played it for him on their iPad. They said he loved it. He can't hear to talk on the phone so I write him long letters. He writes back and sends birthday and Christmas cards with funny little notes. He has never raised his voice to me and he's navigated life as a widower for the past twenty and a half years. He built all of my barbie furniture  and a full-size teepee in the woods when I was little and when I was big he made matching cedar chests for me, a small one for my jewelry and a huge one for bedding. Both are still going strong, built to last.

Just like him.