Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Kill it. Kill it with sugar.

This does not need any words because it's cake. Mini-cake. Early-birthday-cake. Piglet-cake. Cake for a Piglet. Three syllables, Pigalet, if you have a very thick accent. Nom nom nom.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Everything in writing/The heartkeeper.

Today I was handed a large manila envelope. Oh. Legal business.

Inside, a half plea/half threat not to type any further into the past, in exchange for reverting back to the proposal conditions that I agreed to originally and not whatever Caleb had detailed in the unread contents of the envelope Lochlan burned.

Amazing what it takes to keep Caleb under control.

Amazing what it takes to keep me there.

And tucked between the pages of my order to Fleece & Insist was another fucking dark grey envelope! The nerve! I was so pissed I opened it on the spot.

Wish I hadn't. It's so easy to have to comply and so difficult to be asked to consider.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Headlights and homophones.


So much for gentle lions gathering the sheep
All I wanted was something safe
Show me your ungrateful tyrants
I'll point out the mirror, point to you
This is where forever gets us, immoral wishes and oblivion
I can't stay
I don't need the conflagration
I don't need the hate and I don't need you
The more time I spend with Caleb, the harder it is to keep him out of my dreams at night.

Sadly he is always twenty years old to my sleeping brain, and I am always terrified. Last night I woke up and I was pounding Lochlan with my fists, telling him to let go. Keening at him with a noise I can't hear and one that he never wants to hear again.

I don't look forward to the dark any more than Loch does. He is having a rough night too. He drags me in close until I am pressed hard against his skin, my face resting against his shoulder. He pulls us up and sits with his arms around me, his back against the headboard. His lips bump against mine. He whispers things but I don't know what they are. I can't even hear them well enough to tell which language he's using. I wrap my arms around his neck and hold on tight but he never lets me get more than a hair's breadth away from him. It's excruciatingly slow and hard and amazing. Physical comfort drags psychological peace behind it heavily, stubbornly. Thankfully.

Eventually we lie back down and he whips the covers back up over us. He nestles in behind me, his lips on the back on my neck, his sweet foreign words forgotten in a haze of weariness. I am drifting back to the memories, in spite of being safe, wedged in the middle of the big bed between hearts, arms in a tug of sleep, trying to see who can appear to care the most without even being conscious and all of it completely worthless against what my mind will find in the night.

I don't know what it was but I think my actions triggered something that made the Devil almost unobtrusively snap. I had opened the door, we were having a conversation. I was enjoying being taller, for once, since he was standing in the grass outside the door and I was only one step down into the camper doorwell, holding the handle with my left hand and the doorframe with my right. He was smiling. He was a little bit drunk. Not too much, just enough to be a little more charming and handsome than usual. It wasn't until he asked how long Lochlan was going to be gone that a bead of panic shot right through my skull and I shut the door, locking it in the same motion. He was surprised. Stunned, I think. An eternity passed and I held my breath, staring at the lock. Staring at the clock. Calculating the strength of a cheap aluminum latch against the minutes left before Lochlan would be back at the camper. I didn't have time.

Through the door Caleb tells me I'm making a mistake, that he's not dangerous. That I don't have to be afraid of him. That everything is okay, I can come out and we'll light a fire and have some chips or something and wait for Lochlan.

Twelve-year-olds are one trusting, naive bunch. Besides, he tells me to grab a sweater, it's getting cooler now that it's dark. Monsters never look out for your well-being. right?

My renewed confidence makes me profoundly foolish. If only I had known when I opened that door that I would spend the rest of my life being chased by memories that are capable of catching me before I can even begin to run, I wouldn't have opened it at all.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Aloe and copper pennies.

Last night I watched as Lochlan set the envelope on fire without it having been opened first. I watched the joy and concern flicker in his eyes in time with the flames.

Last night I sat patiently on the bathroom counter as he cut my bangs. I watched the determined set of his mouth as he worked to get them straight, not too short, just touching my bottom eyelashes. Once they hit the bottom of my nose he gets irritated and anxious to keep me twelve. Keep me innocent. Bangs aren't innocent, they are hiding places but he does it anyway.

Last night I feel asleep in his arms, curled away from him toward the cool flesh of a dreaming Benjamin. Loch put his forehead down against the back of my neck, pressed my back against his chest and wrapped his hands around my kneecaps, same as ever. We sleep as if we are jumping into water. Tandem rope swings. Childhood escape.

Last night I realized history is not a hazy catalogue of memories but a list of tasks you must complete over and over again until you get it right. Our memories are our closest efforts, our almosts, our good-enough-for-nows. Pretty sure there's a reason half my life has passed and he is still making it easier for me to see, easier for me to sleep and easier for me to live.

He is what I need to get right, I think. He's burning down the bad parts one by one while I keep touching the fire, like a child, because it's mesmerizing, hypnotic and warm.

Like you, he says. Just like you.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Fifty shades of gay.

Maybe I can make them take their shirts off and fight to the death.

That would be something. But then Luke might break a nail and Jasper would become rumpled. God forbid, we can't have broken nails and rumpled girls. That's my department.

And you're wondering who these people even are.

Jasper is Batman's assistant. He does all of Batman's dirty work, except for the Epic Mafiaesque Gun Battles and Forties-style Gentleman Fistfights (Batman does his own stunts). Jasper does things like make phone calls and deliver notes and schedule meal reservations, real estate agents and flights. He picks up dry cleaning and fresh coffee beans. He warns me when Batman is in a bad mood even though personally I think Jasper truly and honestly hates my guts.

Luke is brand-new. He's still in his wrapping, this one. He's a temp, functioning as Caleb's personal assistant this week because I refuse to show up anymore and Caleb can't do all of the 'ridiculous' (his words) parts of life like running errands and keeping organized by himself anymore. Luke will need to free his hands from that plastic and peel off his price tag so he can get to work already but no, he is standing there scowling handsomely at Jasper, who also hates Caleb but has to drop off some papers because business paths still cross just enough keep 'em tight, keep 'em close.

I think it's Jasper. He doesn't seem to get along with anyone. I'm trying to play his tough angle off the fact that maybe he has a chip on his shoulder because he can't open that closet door far enough to express his love for his boss.

Because, dude. We've all been there. Batman's a catch with a capital B.

But I think Luke might have lost a bet to even get to this place where he will file Caleb's bank statements for hours on end and answer the phone that never rings because Caleb forgets and just uses his personal phone for work. That or the pay was so good and the proximity to greatness so ridiculous that maybe we should all have our guard up? The agency is very professional, the people are vetted, so they are used to working for money and for fame and for washed up bullshitters who used to be someone relevant but at the same time I don't think Luke is old enough to know what discretion even means, let alone how to wield it. Twice now I've warned him if he Instagrams one more facet of my life I'm going to eat his phone. 

Caleb called me down to ask if I would just show Luke where everything is and then Jasper showed up and it's like a reluctant secretary party suddenly.

I sweetly ask Caleb if I will be paid for my time as well and he smiles that goofy, trying-not-to-laugh smile that he uses when he wants to disarm someone completely (IT WORKS. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.) and he says that he was just thinking of that, handing me a pewter envelope.

He's like a pornographic process server. Luke wants to know what it is. Oh my God this kid is so green and curious he's practically growing moss. I ignore his adorableness and address his new boss. Jasper leaves without even saying goodbye. JUST like Batman always does.

I think we've met your quota for this quarter, Boss. 

In with the invitation is an updated print-out of my new terms and conditions. 

Don't I get to approve them before you just arbitrarily make changes? 

No, Bridget, you do not.

So what does this mean, exactly? 

You're the legendary reader of fine print. I'm sure you'll have time to go over everything sufficiently before we meet. 

What if I don't?

Then I guess, my dear Princess, you will be in for a surprise. He turns and leaves the room, pulling his ringing phone out of his pocket and putting it to his ear. I stare at his back. I don't even..I don't even know what he's up to now.

Luke comes up and stands beside me, watching admiring his physique as Caleb walks down the hall. He looks down at me excitedly. So, are you guys ACTUALLY royalty?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Oh, I remember the heavily sedated posts. He doesn't.

(If these posts make you uncomfortable, then I don't know what to tell you. I'm not a whole lot better, there's just many more days between me and the hard parts. Or something. Thanks for keeping up with everything though. It must be frustrating to be a reader of my words. Almost as frustrating as it must be to be one of my friends.)

I've been figured out, haha. The air isn't air, it's anxiety and everyone else has a helmet on into which oxygen is pumped to keep them motivated, alive and calm. Relaxed even. My helmet is broken. I'm getting no air, just pure anxiety. My blood anxiety levels are so high I've gone past the toxic range and into mutation mode. As in, I'm probably going to grow limbs out of my brain any second now. I hope they can type. And run.

Gee, that's a great description of me. If it wasn't so spot-on I'd be really pissed at New Jake for telling me it at all.

He tells me all of this as we drink forbidden afternoon coffee and he gets to be the victim of my mental load out.

This is what happens when you're a soft, friendly face who says How are you really doing, Bridget?

You get tears and the hiding of the little streaked face and blubbery sweet lies that everything is fine and then it falls apart faster than I can stick the pieces back on, licking the backs, hating the taste but determined to hold my shit together so they don't think I can't handle life.

I can handle anything.

Except when I can't.

But the other thing I can't handle is everyone standing there looking down at me with that awful mixture of adoration and sympathy. Like, yeah, you're so tough, little girl. I'd be dead by now. 

Yes, I know.

I'm trying to find the silver linings but my playbook is missing. Ben probably ate it on his way to work.

Cue more sympathy, since I knew what I was getting into but it still sucks. Especially since he's not really working, he's avoiding, which is different but he insists it's the same.

Oh, okay. Gotcha, Tucker. Carry on.

New Jake has been dispatched to try and deal with the worst of the fears today. Mostly because my panic over Sam moving in has reached a fever pitch. Because my panic over Ben's crushing, omnipresent absence is destroying me. Because my panic over Caleb and Lochlan's three-decade tug of war never gives me a moment's peace.

So it's panic. Maybe I have a panic disorder. It's so pretty. Put it in the bouquet with the other mental flowers and I will leave them on display in the front hall so everyone who comes into the house will know that I am loved.

And neurotic as all hell.

They do make some mild pills for this sort of thing, Bridget. 

(Right. Even my allergy pills, taken so sporadically I don't know why I bother, turn me into a living, breathing...brick.) Jake. You're new, right?

Relative to the others, yes. 

Ask them what pills do for me and then come up with something else, okay?

Science has advanced. There's probably something better by now. 

If Science was sitting on a risk-free emotional lobotomy for me all this time and never said anything, well, then, I'm never talking to Science again. 

This is why you don't take pills, isn't it?

What do you mean?

You're weird and wonderful this way. Maybe that's why no one pushes you. They like you all fucked up and jittery and hilarious and creative.

Yup, that's it. Hey, did I ask you if you were new yet?


And you answered me, right?

I tried to. 

Okay then just stop now. I can't take anymore. And please take Science with you, the bastard.


Helmet is full, can't hear you. Bye.

Love you, Bridget.  I just want to help you. I love it when you smile. You're so pretty.

Okay, you can stay.

Least talented soul on the point, I swear.

This is embarrassing. My parents are home from the Cape and so I asked my mom to take a picture of the painting for me. The one described in this post less than a week ago.

You people don't deserve me. Hell, clearly the entire ART WORLD does not deserve me.

Please be kind. I was fourteen! Times have changed.

Yeesh, here already.

Would you just LOOK at those waves crashing on the shore. I was just there too and it looks nothing like that.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cold confessions.

One week left until Sam and Matt are supposed to be moving into Lochlan's old set of rooms and I have cold feet. They must be contagious. Everything is ready for them. We even painted. The only problem is the thought of Sam having completely unrestricted access to the part of my brain that I tend to keep from him. The insane, fucked-up part. The self-doubting, miserable part that he probably can see anyway, looking right through my soul and out the other side with his magical god-glasses fixed in place.

But still. What if someone starts a fight? What if he and Matt hate it here? What if he decides maybe I'm even more fucked up than he remembers and calls in the heavyweights?

Jake did. Sam remembers that well. And I've had a hell of a free pass over the last five or six years in refusing to talk to anyone formally because I like my fuckedupedness just fine the way it is. Well, I don't but they didn't help much as it was. Sam helps. If I can talk to Sam I do okay mostly.



This morning over breakfast at the boathouse (Dad's turn), Henry suggested that it would be really cool if maybe I married Caleb too and then we could all be a big family like, for REAL.

(For the record we've explained repeatedly to Henry that Lochlan isn't actually legally married to anyone. It's symbolic. It's okay, I didn't really get that at eleven either.)

Before I could say anything or even get my chin up off the floor Caleb swooped in and grinned at Henry, telling him that it wouldn't work, because if he married me, he would want me all for himself and everyone else would have to be left out.

Henry, without missing a beat or even pausing to think, said that it wouldn't work then because Lochlan and mommy have been in love like FOREVER and that can't be undone so nevermind.

The look on Caleb's face was worth it. So, so worth it.

Slowly I told Henry we're a family regardless, while Caleb glowered at me from the other side of the table. It was awesome.

(No, I don't coach Henry to devastate his father. Shit happens. Kids know more than you think they do, always.)


For those asking, Lochlan is doing just fine. For a fire-breathing red-headed Scottish psychopath, I mean.

No, he wasn't very happy at all that Ben took me on a little trip.

Yes, he was very happy when I came back.

But apparently before we left he and Ben had an entirely different conversation than what I was led to believe and of course no one will elaborate. I'm getting nowhere.

When we came home, Ben went right back to work (as in, so fast I had to unpack his things for him) and Lochlan cleared his schedule so we could velcro (not my word, PJ has coined my ability to stick on people until they peel me off) for a while and yet he's not talking much. He did say he's mad that I have such a huge allegiance to someone who isn't here all that much.

And of course, I thought he meant Jake and just made things THAT. MUCH. BETTER.


(Stop sending me emails telling me you wish you had my problems. No, you fucking don't wish for this. Trust me.)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Rapid apple movement.

Consider this
Consider this, the hint of the century
Consider this, the slip
That brought me to my knees, failed
What if all these fantasies come
Flailing around
Now I've said too much
Pretty sure that Caleb left this on the stereo on purpose when he went into the other room to take a call.

Yup, pretty sure.

He already lit into me early on about how ridiculous this whole thing is.

What thing? I asked. Because I didn't sleep and I have no idea if he means the weather, the election or my master plan to turn the backyard into a huge vegetable garden.

This thing where Ben uses Lochlan and I and our collective history as a justification to keep you for himself.

Do we need to do this today?

Yes, maybe we fucking well should!

Then the phone rang so I had all kinds of time to process the swearing, the yelling and the pure unchecked frustration from someone who usually has his shit together better than the rest of us.

Just not today.


You said a bad word! 

I can if I want. I'm an adult now. I'm Eighteen. I bet you're not allowed to swear yet, right, Bridget?

No not yet. Dad says when I'm eighteen I can say whatever I want. 

Good idea. But if you don't want me to swear around you, I won't. I mean, you're only nine. You don't need to hear ugly words yet. 

It's not that the words are ugly. I think they're kind of funny. But when you say them you sound so mean, Caleb.

Then I won't use them around you. 

I shrug and continue trying to eat the candy apple that he brought me. I can't get my mouth open wide enough to get any of it and my face is covered with sticky red syrup.

Do you want me to cut that up for you? 

Yes, please. 

It's going to be strange when you grow up, Bridget. If you think about it, you're exactly half my age but someday you'll be closer in years to me. Like when I'm fifty, you'll be forty-one so we'll be almost the same. 

You probably won't be around when you're that old. You'll forget you knew me. Thank you, I tell him as he passes me a slice of apple carefully, since his pocket knife is in the same hand.

You never know but I won't forget you. Maybe we'll still hang out. 

That would be neat. I could cut your fruit for you because you'll be really old and have dentures or something. 

Fuck, I hope not. Oh, sorry. I forgot to say something nicer. 

Say fudge! 

Fudge it is. Though it's going to sound weird in a minute when Loch gets here and I tell him to fudge off. 

Then just leave him alone already! You guys fight over EVERYTHING. 

No, just one thing. 

What is it?

Someday you'll figure it out. When you're older. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Edward and Bella AKA Matt and Sam (says the brat in her Team Jacob shirt. ROTFL.)

(I think something's wrong with me. I'm never this cheerful. Like, EVER.)

The only thing we know for sure is the song we're using.

Tell me! 

A Thousand Years

Fuck off, Samuel. 

I'm serious. 

The song from...Twilight? 


But you're not vampires and you haven't loved each other for a thousand years. 

We have vampire friends. Does that count?

Maybe. What about the time frame? We're not talking about a little padding to round it off, you haven't even been together for a thousand weeks.

A thousand days?

Nope. Well, maybe by the time you actually have a WEDDING, Sam. What a great song. I'm going to cry when you walk down the aisle. I will anyway but if you play this it will be my full-on ugly cry.

Maybe I'll be waiting instead. I told you we haven't figured any of this out yet. 

Oh, I have. You're the girl. 

Should I wear a dress then?

Only if you really want to Twilight this bitch to death. 

I don't think I'm up for that. I get hives just thinking about planning a wedding again. 


Too many details. 

That's what friends are for, to help with the little things. 

So far you've trashed my song choices, told me I'm the girl in this relationship and suggested we theme the whole wedding to match a movie you hated. I don't think so, Bridge.

I didn't hate the movie! 

What part didn't you hate?

The theme song. Haven't you been paying attention? I freaking LOVE that song. So you'd better hurry up and get married or I will and use it before you can. 

Who would you marry this time?

Myself, because I'm that awesome. 

Well, someone woke up on the right side of the bed this morning. 

That's because I'm ALWAYS the girl, Sam.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Hide your fantasies.

Since I never push cake away, as mentioned last week, I have found the ACTUAL first two signs of the apocalypse.

1. The Leafs made the playoffs. (I won around eight hundred dollars in bets from that right there, PAY UP, BOYS!)

2. Jerry Cantrell CUT HIS HAIR. Which just...oh my God. What if the next time I see him I don't recognize him? Some things just should not change. Someone hold me.

If there's a third sign today, I don't want to know. Yes, I realize Stone Temple Pilots fired Scott, I kept hoping that if I refused to acknowledge it, they might take him back, kiss it better, make things right. It hasn't happened BUT IT WILL. Eventually right? Not like they haven't done this a couple of times before.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Guess who's home?

My very first scenic oil-painting attempt was in 1985. Cole was painting on the patio of his parents house and I was sacked out inside (out of the sun) clicking around the cable channels and I stopped on an episode of The Joy of Painting.


I watched all twenty minutes of it and then I stood up. Fuck it, I thought. I can do that.

So I went out and asked Cole if I could do a painting too. He thought that was great. Seventeen and fourteen painting together. I turned my easel around so he couldn't see it and demanded all of the bright colors. He pointed to the paint and asked if I needed any help.

I didn't. Of course.

I was finished in an hour, thanks to Bob Ross's epic shortcuts. Fan brush dipped in semicircles on the canvas? Great palm tree leaves. I used a big fat brush to blend, blend, blend until my rainbow sky was perfect. And then I turned my canvas around to proudly show Cole my tropical beach painting.

He lied and said it was amazing. I thought it was amazing too until I took a painting workshop a few years later and then came back and thought, what an abomination!

Lochlan had a whole different view. He thinks every little thing I think, draw or write is an unspoken wish that should be picked, harvested as soon as possible, fulfilled. All signs are true. She needs something, he thinks. Every damned time.

You want to go somewhere warm when you grow up? No more cold, east-coast rainy foggy seashores?

No, I'd rather be at a cold seashore with lots to see and do than lie on a beach somewhere under a cliche palm tree soaking up the rays. SO boring.

That abomination now hangs in the laundry room of my parent's house in Halifax. My mom thinks it's 'cheerful'. I'm going to have to ask her to take a picture of it so I can show you.

And that brings me to my next point, because unlike most days, I have one.

Ben does not like to do 'things' when he is not working. He is happy lying...under a cliche palm tree soaking up the rays.

Boring. Gah.

I got into it, got rested up for a whole two days before getting restless with a capital B. I was wiggly, fidgety, disruptive and distressed. I would have climbed the walls if they had been made of actual building materials instead of hard woven grass. I would have gone for a walk if only there was somewhere to go outside of the circle of sand. I would have gone for a drive but we were boated here from a larger island with an airport. I contemplated making a big SOS in the sand for a plane to take me away but then I realized I didn't really want to leave Big Ben the Sloth behind so I finally went for a swim.

Ben was dripping off the edge of the hammock, asleep in the sun. I sprayed him down with Sunblock 3000000 before I changed into my suit. Then on my way past him a second time I opted to cover him with three towels instead. He's not awake. I don't have the heart to wake him up, I don't get to see him much when he's doing nothing. Come to think of it most of the time if he's not doing something he's asleep.

The water was cold comfort. Not only was it freezing but growing up the boys left me with an incredible fear of what's under the surface. I have difficulty being in deep water because of the Loch Ness monster...which I will leave to your imagine but it's REAL and it has red hair and it can hold its breath for an eternity, or what seems like an eternity to a perpetual child so nevermind. Adding to all this baggage,  I'm not supposed to swim alone because I also have a gift for being unable to gauge how tired I'll be for the swim back.

Since I can't outswim my frustrations I come back into shore. I march as fast as I can up to the cottage (which takes about fifteen minutes in deep sand and I look like a graceless walrus doing it, thanks) to find that Ben is awake! He is inside the master bedroom pulling our things out and packing our bags.


Hey! I tell him. (Maybe we can do something?! Hey let's do stuff. Wanna snorkel? We should snorkel. Wanna slow dance? Maybe we should eat first. Let's play cards. My brain is doing that but my mouth is all cool and just says Hey.)

Fucking mouth. Traitor.

You don't have to say it. Our time is up anyway. 

What do you mean? (For once I'm waiting for him to talk. Like, completely.)

Three things. I have to get back to work, I am acutely aware that removing you from Lochlan for any more than a couple of days is dangerous for all involved, and yes, I've been around long enough to know the story of the tropical beach painting and precisely how you feel about languishing under a palm tree for much more than a couple of days. I just...I just needed a few days with you. Alone. Somewhere sunny for once because jesus, living in the rain forest is tough, bee. 

I shrink down to thimble size, drowning in a tiny instant sea of guilt and remorse at high tide. I don't even know if he can hear me from down here but I try anyway.

I'm sorry, Benny. 

He turns and smiles at me, picking me up between his thumb and his forefinger. Don't be, baby. I know the drill and I got what I wanted and you got some sleep and we crossed off a bucket list item and it's good. Okay? Relax. Besides, we can fight on the plane the whole way home if you want or we can just watch movies again. 

(Because NO. The plane is stocked with Tim Burton movies and just NO.)

I think I'll take a boat home, Ben.

But what about the leviathans and sea monsters and giant-

FINE! FINE! I'll go on the plane! Just no more Dark Shadows. 

Sweeney Todd?

Fuck, no, Ben! 



(For those wondering about the bucket list item, it was not renting a private island. It was having sex in a hammock in broad daylight. So there. Yeah yeah, hi mom.)

Friday, 19 April 2013


So we had all of the alcohol removed, asked if we could just plan to eat al fresco for the rest of our time here, every meal,  traded bad jokes with the staff (who are AMAZING) and spend all of our time melting into the hammock. It's gigantic. Ben got up once and I was flung up over the clouds and caught on the way back down, that's how big it is.

They're going to have to burn it when we leave.

We've almost made up too. Almost. I see it on the horizon anyway. So in honor of not planning to waste another second away from that hammock, away from him, here's a rare repost, from my archives that I took down when I had grand plans to stop writing the blog. I'm still here. Still writing. Enjoy. Maybe see you tomorrow. Maybe another repost. Muhahahaha. It's cheesy and amazingly naive, given the circumstances but you can read it anyway. If I could change the past I certainly wouldn't start with revisions of my writing.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
To hold.

If there's one thing about me that you know for sure, it's that I only skip a day of posting when I am away. So, sorry, but I was away yesterday.

Getting married.

I got married, Internet. I married Ben. Sigh. Do you want to know what he said that changed my mind? He told me this:

Maybe you would feel less like his if you were mine.

He told me that the night he came home to find me sitting on the floor in the front hall covered in ashes and sobbing my heart out, and it's a sentence that I couldn't argue with if I tried. I don't want to try.

I haven't slept since forever. I haven't stopped smiling. I...I don't even know where to begin or how to explain or why I feel as if I need to continually justify this rather Elizabeth-Tayloresque turn my life seems to have taken.

A third husband, and all before I am even forty years old? Ben will be forty this December and for the record I am soon going to be a blisteringly ancient thirty-seven. Thirty-seven. Told I don't look a day over twenty-six. Do I believe them? Not on your life.

We started with prenuptial agreements and promises, through most of last week. Priorities. Me finding out that Ben started a trust fund in the children's names and they're wealthy because he didn't know what else to do with his money. And he can't touch my future earnings and I cannot touch his. We're just keeping things the way they are. His lawyers are paranoid, mine are not hopeful but we laughed anyway, after I found out he is way wealthier than I thought he was, and I have far more money than I did the last time we traded financial secrets, which would have been sometime long before I paid off his motorcycle and then to retaliate he put the money back in my account.

The ceremony took place last evening out by the creek on Nolan's farm, near picnic rock where Ben proposed. The children were there. The guys were all there. The woods were full of love and support and we recited our simple vows to Sam and cried a whole bunch and maintained a sort of incredulous joy that leaves me tearful even now.

We ate and drank and danced and cried and laughed and it was the most wonderful night ever. He...he's amazing. Giving and generous and caring and vulnerable to a fault. But instead of bringing out the worst in each other somehow we've managed to harvest the best. None of it is difficult or painful or unreal. All of it is beautiful. He's real. He's alive, he is healthy, he's forthright and passionate about the little things. He doesn't want to fix me, doesn't care if I am weak, he just wants to be with me.

He slipped his giant silver ring on my finger because he didn't have rings and told me I had to give it back, that we'd get real ones. I had to clench my fist all night to keep from losing it and when he noticed, he said we would go out and get them today. After lunch.

He asked if there was anything special he was supposed to know about being a husband. I told him I require a large glass of orange juice every night around eleven and he reminded me he said husband, not butler. I reminded him he said he would be the butler.

We've said a lot of words recently, we've dug deep and dug in hard, and a lot of that is so private I'm not writing about it, just know that we are very serious and this is very important and it wasn't a whim, in spite of our pretenses to make it appear to be one.

Ben is surprised at how this feels, far more wonderful than he ever thought it would, coming from someone who always viewed marriage as 'just a piece of paper'. It's never just a piece of paper. It's supposed to be a lifetime commitment to another person, through thick and thin, something we already have. Now we have the paper to prove it, that's all, a formal promise of commitment. A plan for a future together. No matter what.

He said he finally did the right thing. I said me, too. I'm not taking his last name and he's not adopting the kids until they are ready to have a say in the decision, though he is more than willing right now. We aren't moving very fast at all, despite what it seems.

He seems brave enough to be the man of this house, though sometimes he is as fragile as I am and I wonder how he ever wanted to be with me. He says he always wanted to be with me, that he was always vaguely sad that I didn't feel the same way before. I let him in on a little secret. I did, and quite often. I just never let it find the light of day, I never said anything. There's a ease to being with him that has never existed with anyone else. He's Ben and no one else is.

When I told Ben that he walked out of the room. Too cool to cry in front of Loch, I think. He came back and brought me with him to hold.

Everything's going to be okay.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A bitter half-decade and a private island with wi-fi.

I had all sorts of plans to post yesterday but then Ben did that thing where he walks in and says How would you like to...

And then I'm given fifteen minutes to pack, organize who's in charge of the children (Caleb, Loch or PJ depending on who has the most work so PJ hahaha) and have to round everyone up, hug them all and then I'm boarding a teeny-tiny plane and pretending I'm famous.

Which makes Ben laugh and laugh but really the only coping mechanism one has in these situations is all-out ham. Also squee! Because blue water!! Sunshine!!

Besides, he doesn't get it, he's not a mere mortal like the rest of us. Trips for him are shoving 5 black t-shirts into a bag and having someone wait on his every whim for months on end. Plan ahead? This guy? Never!

I'm not complaining. I'm in a place where I can exist in a string bikini.

(And sunblock 100 1000. We sparkle!)

But at this rate the best coping mechanism will soon be Xanax because it was a rough flight and a long day so instead of posting last night I got smashed at dinner and went lights out.

Because I CAN.


And...maybe I'm still drunk this morning come to think of it. I don't even know what time it is. I don't care. We're having a little getaway, just me and Ben. This trip is to mark five years married to the biggest doofus on the planet (his words. For me.)

Five years!


I'm guessing later there will be a medal-presentation ceremony. He glared at me and told me they'll be giving him his medal first, because they are handed out in order of suffering.

Or dickishness, I said.

He laughed and told me that's what this trip is. A chance to make up for things because things have not been great and we are horrible and difficult and completely brutally honest with each other in a way that somehow makes the glue hold when the seams stretch. As far apart as we can get we're alike in ways that really freak me out and make me glad for him because in spite of his ridiculous view of life, he's good for me. Grounding. Safe. Sobering.

Okay well sometimes he's sobering but NOT RIGHT NOW because champagne! I have it.

(And he's been on the phone for half an hour. Working, with apologies. So yeah, I'll finish his champagne too because I told the staff we were dry and still they brought it 'in case we changed our minds'. Good plan! I'll deal with them when I finish this glass. Maybe.)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Charlie, you were right.

(I seem to have a reprieve from the hives of late, and therefore the allergy pills. Those pills leave me fumbling for words with which to even greet my boys so hurry, let's write while we still can.)

Lochlan didn't appreciate my turn as businesswoman yesterday. I was hoping to miss him as I came home, planning to change quickly and then track him down to show him I was still in one piece, though Caleb opted to suffer me through a two-hour lunch at a place that wanted to serve every course as a teaspoon of this or that with a dribble of contrast on a plate so large I found it comical by the third course and annoying by the fifth. I was called Mrs. C____ the whole morning too and he never corrected them even once.

I did, every single time.

The morning was too long.

So when we got home and Mike opened the door for me to exit, Lochlan was standing right there, having spent the last half-hour cleaning up the bikes and scooters for the kids, waiting, visibly. He was polishing his tools up to put away and he nodded at Mike, scowled at Caleb and then attempted to put on his 'it's okay' face for me as he took in my outfit, my white leather pencil skirt and black lace fitted sleeveless top with the white matching jacket. Black ankle boots, black bag. Crimson lipstick worn off. Hair straight. Lochlan lies and tells me I look nice when I know he wants to tell me I look like an alien and I point out I will change real quick and make him some lunch.

He mutters Not quick enough and goes back to tightening the seat on Ruth's bike. It keeps creeping down but I know his good arm isn't strong enough anymore and he's too proud to ask one of the others to do it for him.

I return in eight minutes flat and his mood improves considerably. My ripped jeans, eight years in, a navy blue t-shirt with the Beatles on the front, ponytail, no makeup, pink converse.

There she is, he says and smiles. For real this time.

I think I'm done here anyway, he says as he hits the button for the garage door and ducks out as it closes. You don't have to make me lunch, I can handle it. 

I look at his filthy hands. By the time you clean up, I'll have it ready, I tell him. Really I want to say Let me do it. Let me make this up to you.

When he comes back, still with dirty hands because it won't come off and it never did, I have two grilled cheese sandwiches and a bowl of sugared blueberries out for him. Coffee. He eats it so fast I don't get time to sit with him and then he asks me to consider the fact that whatever payday we'll get from the Devil might not be worth living in hell.

I think of my thousand-dollar leather skirt I didn't pay for versus standing in the rain trying to run a con to get a free meal and I wonder if he's right.

I hate it here too, I admit and Lochlan breaks into little pieces, all over the floor.
We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
                ~Charles Bukowski

Monday, 15 April 2013

Bored meetings. No time.

And then I found out how hard it is to really change.
Even hell can get comfy once you've settled in.
I just wanted the numb inside me to leave.
No matter how fucked you get, there's always hell when you come back down.
The funny thing is all I ever wanted I already had.
There's glimpses of heaven in everything.
In the friends that I have, the music I make, the love that I feel.
I just had to start again.
I'm having coffee outside this morning and making notes. It's cool but I already stole John's hoodie that he left in our house yesterday, finding it looped over the back of my dining room chair, forgotten in his jovial dinner-drunk that he gets because over the years those of us left unscathed by addiction are pathetic lightweights and it makes me nothing but thrilled. A beer and a half and he loves everyone and forgets all his stuff. Then he goes home across the lawn and goes to bed.

Proper, good.

Besides, it's a Lamb of God hoodie, one of the hundred-dollar ones from the Metallica tour of 2009 that we saw. Should I keep it? I would except it's down to my knees.

Caleb is frowning at my attire. Sorry, I didn't think to be outside on my own patio that I needed to do much more than make sure I was dressed. Who cares what I'm in?

He does.

Besides the hoodie I have a black tank top. pink plaid flannel pajama shorts on and Ugg boots. Just because they were by the door. I wouldn't leave the grounds in them on anything but when it's too chilly for bare feet they work well.

Do you want to get ready?

I'm unemployed.

Yes but you're still required to attend the meetings. 


Because I gave you everything, remember? Now you have to keep a tight ship. Plus you employ a lot of people who are depending on you for their own living and I don't accept you letting them down. 

They would not mind if I appeared in my pajamas to approve funds. Besides you're there running the ship anyway. Don't think we all can't see that.

It's respect, Bridget.

Take my name off everything.

I can't do that. Only you can at this point.

I hate you.

I have cake at my house.

I love you.

I'll be back to pick you in up twenty minutes. We can make up the time on the road. 

Why doesn't everyone come here? Why do we always have to go downtown?

Never mix work and home.

Even though you do it daily. Pot-kettle much?

At this rate if you don't start putting a little effort into it, I'm going to put you in a pot.

I hate y-



Sunday, 14 April 2013

On eating Ptichye Moloko with my fingers.

  • Lochlan started to make noises today indicating he might be suffering from abject normalcy. This is rarely something that goes away on its own and accounts for just about every rash or impulsive decision I have ever made, save for two.
  • I paired my hearing aids with my phone. Just because. I also paired the cookie jar and the vacuum cleaner with the phone for fun. I don't even know what that means, save for the fact that if I did do it correctly, this will mark the first time ever that I spelled vacuum the right way in print so that completely negates the whole concept of hearing my phone calls from inside my head. What..we're not even going to GO there tonight.
  • I spent the dinner hour with Caleb and the kids ignoring pasta in favor of Jenga. I did not win even once. Caleb finally told me this is what life would be like but also with more designer garb and transcontinental trips thrown in, more staff and less angst. More evil too? I asked quite innocently and he frowned and got up to put away the dishes. 
  • I went home to have dessert with Ben, who thought we should share only I was like CHOCOLATE GIVE IT ALL TO MEEEEEE and refused to give him any and he pretended he wasn't hungry but I knew better. I ate it all. I feel terrible about that. Sort of. Okay, no. It was delicious.
  • I learned Robax Platinum and generic Loratadine tablet are together the OTC equivalent of six margaritas quite by accident when I forgot I took an allergy pill and popped a muscle relaxant before bed last night (because boys and tired...body parts and NEVERMIND) All was well until I got up around three to go to the bathroom and almost keeled right into the fireplace.
  • I know all the words to our entire Mastodon collection (which is slightly incomplete at five albums worth, I believe). They tested me. No, no, Mastodon didn't, Corey and PJ did. I think I passed. They looked a little surprised. They told Ben and he was all Pshaw, no way and then he quizzed me and now he's walking around all spooked and weird. Because first the chocolate and now this and he can only be thinking Who are you and what have you done with my bumblebee?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The bearded girl.

They left this morning. I said goodbye, they cried when they hugged the kids and me and Caleb, and they made a few completely on point cracks about Neverland and also the joke that never gets old about when Ben will stop growing already.

All of the boys were gracious. It's tough to see our parents getting older, suddenly needing naps smack in the middle of the afternoon (oh, wait, nevermind) and doing bizarre things like ordering chocolate cake at a restaurant and then eating one bite.

If I ever reach the stage where I eat one bite of cake and push the rest away, it will be heralded as the first sign of the apocalypse, and you'd better take cover.

In other news, today is the annual Haircut and Shaving of the Beard day for most of the boys.

I hate it. Like them wild. They tell me since I don't have a beard I don't know how uncomfortable it gets when the weather warms up.

I point out that the weather never actually changes here, and that if I had a beard I would never EVER cut it, and instead I would adorn it with colorful beads and tiny braids and maybe a resident mountain beard-goat or two to frolic within it and keep it under control but otherwise I would spend my days tripping over it, swinging from it and generally using it as a broom. As clothes. As a blonde security blanket.

(I would hide cake in it too. But not just slices. Whole ones.)

Friday, 12 April 2013

This is where forever gets us (four more hours).

His magic camera captured me, defects and all. Some exquisite fading, fragile beauty like crumpled paper, smoothed flat too many times to pass for new, ribbon so badly frayed it has taken on a whole new texture but good enough to giftwrap and hope that the small details would be overlooked in all the excitement.

If he were still alive today, I wonder if Cole's pictures would look like the ones Andrew takes of me on his phone while we wait for the others to get ready to go?

Cole's parents are here and I'm losing my mind.

I should say Caleb's parents, I suppose, since it's not like Cole is here to show them a good time. Cole's in a box in the ocean on the other side of the country. As far as possible from me but a safe place too, one I adore. So I sort of did him a favor.

The hardest part is watching them correct themselves when they apply the father title. Sentences to their grandchild(ren) begin with Your father would have been so proud to...I mean, this is terrific.. and I turn around and roll my eyes at myself because this is so much harder than I thought it would be.

It's easier to go to them.

Ruth and Lochlan want nothing to do with the charade of playing roles, of making things easy. Caleb tried to insist on something to Ruth and she turned around and shouted You aren't my father! and walked out of the room, leaving a silence behind that I cut into slices and passed around, making sure everyone knew there were seconds if they didn't have enough the first time. Then Henry wanted to go too because anything Ruth is doing is always more fun than hanging out with adults, unless they are PJ or Ben who aren't adults exactly but very oversized little boys.

So I let him go, and Caleb unleashed a controlled quiet fury at me that almost knocked me down.

But I can play this game too and I turned the whole thing around with my own charm, which I don't exhibit much anymore because then everyone screams unfair and manipulative and also: intoxicating.

I would love to be intoxicated right now but that would be a Very Bad Idea and I think we've had enough bad ideas for one week life.

I wasn't going to mention they were here. It's not as if they're staying on the point (they're not, they're in complete swankiness  at a downtown hotel so they can shop while they're here) and really I try not to write about people who haven't given me express permission to do so.

Except for Loch, Caleb, Ben and all the important people in my life. I write about them anyway because if I didn't all you would get would be a daily outfit of the day from Duncan or Dalton (jeans, button-down plaid shirt, cigarettes and beards every. single. day.) or transcripts of alternate Wednesdays when Danny and Schuy cook, throw dance parties or fight and make up.

I don't think that would be much of a fun blog.

They leave tomorrow morning so this is the last big evening together, complete with a family dinner planned at one of the few remaining restaurants downtown that hasn't banned us for food/fist fights and can hold nineteen people on very short notice.

Not many left.

(I mean restaurants, not fights.)

The funny part is this time Cole's mom looked at me for a few moments and instead of the usual You really should have married Caleb wistfulness she usually buries me under, she said I always knew you and Lochlan were two peas in a pod. I'm glad you're back together. 

Thank you.

We're perpetuating a thin farce here, trying to go for normalcy when instead we should just fly the freak flag high and cop to the polyamorous/carny/monsters/musicians/communal freakshow we're really running. Normal never existed. Normal is the fantasy I made up in my brain when the daydreams came true and I had nothing left to wish for.

You're incredibly special to all of them. 

I nod. They're all incredible men, Cole and Caleb included. 

Thank you. 

For what? (Ripping out both of your son's hearts? Perpetuating the fraud of fatherhood on someone who turned out not to be a father at all? Ruining their lives? Standing here pretending neither one of them was/is a monster?)

For seeing that Caleb is not alone. I know he doesn't deserve it sometimes but it's gracious of you to include him in your lives. I know it can't be easy.


I wouldn't shut him out of Henry's life or mine for that matter. He's family. 

That's as much as I can hope for. And I have two beautiful grandchildren. It's everything I could want. 

How do you do that? 

Do what, dear?

Manage to be so thankful for what you have instead of fixated on what you've lost?

Drowning in sorrow isn't going to bring Cole back. Or Jacob, for that matter. You can't fix what's behind you. You can only see what's in front of you. And right now in front of me I see a beautiful girl struggling to please everybody but forgetting the most important person of all. 


You, Bridget.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Bridget and the midnight vulgaritics.

(Title stolen from one of Henry's favorite books as a toddler. Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck. He refused to donate it to the school's book sale this week. I can't say I blame him, it's a rollicking read.)

Ben was game to sing last night.

He sang the song to me while he removed my clothing, one button at a time. Sliding satin over skin, smoothing words over hurt feelings, burying our argument in a melody torn from his throat in time with his heartbeat.

He lifted me up by my elbows, pulling me against him, keeping me there. When he ran out of words he used kisses instead. Ben's kisses are like clouds. Stormy and fierce one minute, soft and breathtaking the next. His affection is like the weather. You're either freezing, never to be warm again or you're so warm you wish you would just melt down into the grass and dissolve, hating yourself for wishing it was cold again.

Ben, I- Oh, there goes the hand again. Fine, cover my mouth, I can wait.

Oh, except I'll forget what I wanted to fight about because.





Oh my GOD. The only way it would be better would be if there was cake.


Hours later he tries to turn me over for more. My elbows, knees and eyelids weigh a thousand pounds now, but I'm up for whatever he can throw at me.

Instead he changes his mind, collapsing against me. Too tired. Have to sleep.

You can sleep when you're dead, Jake. 

He lifts his head up and looks at me. I can't even check the alarm on my face. I've never done that before. Called someone by the wrong name by accident anyway. I've done it on purpose many times.

Is that why you're with me? Because I'm as big as he was? A physical replacement?

Actually you're bigger. I can't help it. It's four in the morning and my emotions have been right inside the top edge of my skin for hours. I start laughing. Ben is a license to breathe and remember that life is supposed to be fun. So why we struggle so hard most of the time I don't understand at all.

He takes a minute to process all that information and then opts for grace.

I knew that, he grins and winks at me in the dark.

I don't want to know how. 

Easy. You didn't whistle when you walked until after I fucked you.

Classy, Tucker. 

I know. You're lucky on all counts, aren't you?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Nova's glow.

The sea, well, she was very pleased that I sang Castle of Glass to her, headphones on. I can't hear myself sing as it is but I think I did okay. When I turned around three of the boys were standing there and they clapped.

I don't know why they didn't harmonize with my most recent relentless brain-train track.


Trust fun.

Do you feel the chill,
Clawing at the back of your neck?
I start to spill.
Did you really think that you could fix me?
They'll sell your bones for another roll.
We'll sharpen your teeth.
Tell yourself that it's just business.
Sometime in the night, Ben finally appears. At some point he must have decided absence was easier than comfort and he lied and said he had a deadline. Schuyler hung up on him, I was told. He waited until another midnight hour had passed and then he sat down on the side of the bed and ran his fingers across my forehead. He leaned down and kissed my cheek and said he was sorry. That he should have kept a closer eye. That he gets caught up in his work. He slides his hand over my mouth so I can't respond. Like everyone in this house, Ben would prefer to live in the daydream of his choosing, and any deviation from that will burst his bubble. So I say nothing and eventually his hand leaves my mouth and I drift back into a dreamless, empty crash of a sleep. He's not there when I wake up.


I'm still foggy today, exhausted and dehydrated. PJ has already driven the children to school in the pouring rain. I don't think I remember how to drive anyway.

Lochlan is still yelling. He shoved a bowl of Lucky Charms and milk under my chin this morning and asked me how I felt. When I started to answer he just blurts out,

He could have killed you. Mixing drugs and alcohol! Jesus CHRIST! What if you had overdosed! What if you died!

I pushed the bowl of cereal back. These aren't questions. He's yelling at the wrong person.

If he wants to kill me, he won't do it with drugs. I stare at Loch until he clues in slowly around the perimeters of his outrage. It takes the flames out of his fire. Fear shuts him down instead of waking him up.

I asked the Devil to kill me once before.

He came pretty close.


The men come with the new patio doors. They are custom-made, a rush order. I'm not willing to board up the wall waiting for something to be ordered from some other place. One of them sees a framed item on the wall and reads the plaque underneath it. He asks if Ben is home, could he get a picture maybe? I tell him I don't know. He proceeds to walk around the room pointing out what a fan he is, stopping at the desk where my writings are. I ask him not to touch anything, please. He reddens and returns to working on getting the doors installed. As I leave the room he apologizes, but for what I don't know. Curiosity doesn't require an apology from a stranger but I accept it anyway.


I watch the rain from the dock. Caleb holds an umbrella over me. He is still surprised at the uproar his actions made in resolving my abrupt freakout.

I turn to him. You can't understand why they're angry. 

No, frankly. I can't. 

Then next time skip the Ativan or whatever it was and just ask PJ or whoever's home to see that I am just...restrained appropriately.

I feel more comfortable watching over you myself. He smiles softly. And it wasn't Ativan.

That's why they're angry, Diabhal. 

Because I can manage your needs? Because I love you?


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Benzo baby (now with...goats and kangaroos).

Sorry for not coming back with further entertainment. I don't think yesterday turned out to be a banner day of class, dignity or grace for Caleb or myself.

He has zero patience for games that involve locked doors (did I tell you that one? No, of course I didn't) and when I heard the glass breaking I freaked because the glass is supposed to be bulletproof. Breakproof. At least I think it is. I'm drunk. I don't remember. It should be safe, however.

Safe is an unreasonable expectation, a pipe-dream, a fairy tale.

I got tackled heading up the steps and went down hard on my chin on the top one, bit my tongue, tasted blood, dropped the bottle of rum and managed to elbow him in the face all in one motion. He wrestles me onto my back and proceeds to pin me there. There's blood dripping off his lower lip onto my chest and I don't want to be held down, thanks.

So I knee him where it hurts and he roars with a rage I haven't heard before. He straddles my waist, twists his entire body to one side and pulls his hand up and then he stops and sits there on me, staring. Out of breath. In pain. Dripping blood. I stare back wide-eyed, frozen, mute.

He shakes his head slowly. I was about to backhand you. Bridget. I'm sorry. Oh my God. You're so brave.

I shake my head in refusal. This isn't brave. This is terrible.

Did Ben take your ghosts away and then he went too? And you need someone. You do, you need someone to keep you safe.

I nod with great hitching breaths and he finally gets off me, pulling me up to a sitting position. He presses me against his chest like a doll.

You're safe. I won't leave you alone.

I shake my head, pulling back. I stick my index finger against his shirt. Not safe. I slur. SO fucken kangaroos. Dangeroos. Tell Ben. Tell Ben I want my goats back. Ghosts. Those goats. I want Jake and Coals.

When's the last time you slept, Princess?

I raise my hands, palms up. I don't have the question. I told him point-blank.

You don't have an answer, you mean.

I nod and burst into fresh tears. I don't ever have those! Can you buy me some?

He nods. Sleep. That's what you need. I'm going to suggest we get you some clean clothes and then you can come across to my house and sleep in peace. Okay?

I nod and wait as he opens drawers and closet doors and finds me an outfit. He is out of his league. He can have a Valentino custom fitted for me from memory but he's not sure the baby pink leggings and the Hello Kitty t-shirt are mine. Or even if they qualify as an outfit. Good enough. He tucks the clothes under his arm and pulls me to my feet, putting his arm around me protectively. We head outside and across to the boathouse and he asks if I can change without help.

I tell him no, because I read so much more into his question than he asked, in spite of being one hundred pounds of booze-soaked disaster.

He pulls the bloody t-shirt over my head and bends his face in to inspect my fat lip. He puts his thumb against it, pulling it down slightly and I wince.

So he kisses it. He gingerly stretches the new t-shirt over my head and then he turns the bed down so I can get in. Once I'm settled and almost asleep he comes back with a pill and a glass of water. I don't even ask him what it is, I just take it.

Out like a light.

I wake up at eleven this morning to shouting. I lie there with a pounding head and a numb lower lip and I can't focus on anything. Sound, lights, pain. It's all just gauze obscuring my mind. I try to get up but I can't even make neurons fire. It seems they are out of ammunition. So I just lie there, much like the character in the horror movie who is paralyzed but can see, hear and feel everything that's going on, they just can't move.

Lochlan bursts through the door. He's still in his version of a suit, which is his brown blazer and jeans. I smell jet fuel and bad airport coffee and complete and utter fear. I piece together that he came home, saw glass and blood everywhere and lost his mind.

I would too but I think sometime in the night I got my much-wished-for lobotomy. I can't care enough. I can't figure out how to talk. He comes in and kneels beside the bed.

Where's Ben?

I shake my head. Where in the hell are my words?

Did Caleb do this to you? Let me see you. He rips back the sheets and lifts up my shirt, front and back, he runs his hands down my limbs. He checks my head and then he resumes breathing finally and I shake my head. I feel a word or two.

I fell.

Bullshit, Bridget. He stares at my eyes and asks what the hell I'm on. Then without waiting for an answer he is up on his feet again, shrugging out of his jacket, heading back to the kitchen. I sit up but the fog hurts. Everything hurts. The gauze over my brain cinches ever tighter until I see stars. I hear more shouting only it's mostly Caleb. I drag myself to my feet, holding onto the walls as I make my way out of the bedroom.

Caleb sees me and crosses the room, his arms out. Bridget, you need-

She needs ME. Lochlan pulls him back and hauls off to throw a punch but then Caleb brings him down with words.

Right. She needed you and where were you?

Ben is home. She was supposed to be with HIM.

Then maybe it's time you talked to him about his disappearing act, because it's eating her alive.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Well shit. He's in. He broke the patio doors. I don't even.
And WHAT can I trade in exchange for being allowed to keep the music on?

You'll have to ask the Devil. He's on the porch but I've got the chain on the door so he'll have to use his evil powers to get in. This should take a while. In the meantime I can raid PJs liquor cabinrt

ONward and upward princes. Right jake. Tryin, here.

Mulligan shots.


The epitome of self-destruction involves hauling out the speakers on the patio and patching them into the ones in the garage and then playing love songs from the early eighties so loud I've already blown five out of eight of these suckers and I fully intend to blow the rest. Dalton tried to stop me but I screamed at him and he backed away.

Wait, the epitome of self-destruction is being fucking drunk on a Monday morning! What do I win?

When the cops show up with the noise complaint any minute now I think I'll entertain them with a gunfight and then my big plan is to light myself on fire and throw myself off the cliff before anyone can stop me. I'm small, I'm fast and clearly right now I'm flammable, thanks to all of this bourbon in my bloodstream. I'll jump in slow motion to the strains of Air Supply or REO Speedwagon.  Chicago. Fuck, Hall & Oates, bitches.

I wonder what Jacob heard on the way down?

(The ipod wouldn't work when they gave it back to me. There wasn't enough of it left.)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Survival skills don't include microeconomics and other things the devil doesn't know.

He lingers in what is supposed to be a quick hug hello, his arms keeping me against him, his head bent way down, his nose almost touching my jaw, lips against my throat. My goosebumps have deployed, every hair on the back of my neck stands up straight and I hold my breath. Of all the stupid things in the universe to be caught in today, this tiny allegiance would have been the most unlikely. Except for, you know, nonexistent boundaries.

You smell positively intoxicating. What is that?

Jacob's patchouli.

(One drop goes so far that there's still a third of a bottle left. I kept it, okay? Sometimes I put a little drop in the hollow at the base of my throat and then I can smell it all day long. I'm sure I'll still be doing it when I'm a hundred and twelve. It reminds me of him. It makes me feel safe. Unlike the Devil, who makes me feel as if I'm perpetually in danger.)

Remind me to take you to get something new. Did you like the last Cartier? I thought it was beautiful on you. 

I shake my head and attempt to disengage from his arms but he's having none of my escape, in spite of how he skated smoothly past the question of my loyalties once again.

I do need to discuss something with you. Henry's recent choice of weaponry-

It's a toy. 

No, it's very real, Bridget. Wasn't the pocketknife enough?

A slingshot is a good tool for him to practice his aim with.

 You're determined to live in a Lord of the Flies type of environment. 

What would you prefer I gave him to work on?

A laptop. I've been thinking about introducing him to the stock market. 

Caleb, he's eleven-

I was much younger when I started enjoying my first dividends from penny stocks, Bridget. 

Woo. Lucky kid. 

Smart kid. 

He's smarter than you'll even be, Diabhal. 

I don't doubt that for a second, but I want him to know more than busker tricks and outward savagery, Bridget. I want him to be independent early on. Then he can have everything.

Like you do?

Yes. Except that I don't have everything, Bridget. 

And that's why a slingshot is more important than a paycheck. You can get a girl with life skills and busker tricks but you can't get one with cash. Well, you can, but she won't be the same quality. Come to think of it, that's rather ironic, isn't it?

I smile at him and he finally lets go of me.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

When one door closes, another opens (and in walks a BOY! Or TWO!).

I'm going to be a landlady again!

Yes, I know. Most people collect stamps. Coins. Cars even.

I collect people.

My only prerequisites are that you have to be ridiculously handsome. You have to like my random drive-by ambush-cuddles, twenty-four hours a day. You can't be afraid of monsters, angels, demons, fire or children. You have to know how to set a proper table, sleep with a cat (or dog or child or homesick boy) on your head and fold the laundry exactly how I like it. Instead of PJ's method which is organized mayhem. Stacks of it.

That's it.

Oh, and don't eat my cake. EVER.

Those are the rules as I present them, always.

Enthusiastic nods were the response to my lecture. We've got a deal. They move in May first, into Lochlan's old wing, which will see all of the easels and art supplies moved to August's old room over the rest of the month. They will be just in time for Bridget's Birthday celebration 2013.

Who's moving in? What?

The future Mr. and Mrs. Matt and Sam. Newly engaged since 6:46 this morning, or to those of us who are less inclined to be so specific, sunrise.

YAY! Also: More CAKE.

(I would have more words but when they told me my head exploded. And when they asked if they could take me up on my previous invitation of permanent lodgings, the rest of me followed my head and now I'm all just confetti and sugar and struck happily dumb, awash in endless sighs of how awesome this is.)

Friday, 5 April 2013

No memory.

Jacob leans right into the mirror snarling as he ties his tie. He sings to his own reflection.
Pleased to meet you
Nice to know me
What's the message?
Will you show me?

I've been waiting a long time, now
Now here's the answer
You're all mine now
What are you doing, Jake?

I don't look mean enough when I sing, Princess.

'Mean enough'?

Fierce enough. I'm trying to be fierce. You see, Pigalet, that's what makes the ladies scream at the shows.

I see. 

Doesn't it? What do you think?

Maybe you should ask a lady. I throw off the sheet and stand up on the bed. I am completely naked.

Yeah, you're right. He winks at me. Seriously, what do I look like when I sing?

Like a country music star from the seventies.

Well, shit. That's not what I was going for at all.


Caleb is tying his tie in the mirror when I arrive. He's got a meeting today with Batman. I'm pretty sure both of them will arrive fully armed and dangerous. I bet Caleb has a knife in his boot. I bet Batman is already cracking his knuckles absently as he writes notes in his chicken scratch on a legal pad. He is usually ridiculously early for meetings and then disapproves of everyone else arriving on time.

See, Caleb is still a key figure in Batman's...um...empire, and they have to work together. Hell, everyone would work together if it wasn't for that one pesky little blonde thing fucking everything up all the time.

You look nice.

He rolls his eyes. You don't. 

Gee, thanks. 

I prefer you without clothes, but in this tie. 

I stare at the tie and it dawns on me that it's the same one he used to tie me d-oh, you know what? NEVERMIND.

I'm not going to the meeting. I need a day to window shop and just get away from everything and everybody, so, you know, I wind up in a car with Caleb for a couple hours because that's not escape at all, no.

Where are you headed anyway?

Marshalls? Holt. Robson. Everywhere.

Need money?

I'm not going to buy anything, Caleb. He fishes out a credit card anyway and I shove it in my purse. I won't be using it. He's ready so we head outside just as the car arrives. I frown at him. I thought he was driving.

I don't feel like worrying about parking today. (AKA he wants muscle there, you know, in case Batman IS armed.) Where would you like to have lunch after my meeting?


Seriously, doll...

I am!

He just stares at me.

Sushi? I smile with all my teeth.

Better. He concedes.

Maybe someday they will have McSushi!

I sincerely hope not.

He holds the door open and I climb in. The song is still playing, oddly enough.
I've been waiting for my sunday girl
I've been waiting for my sunday girl, now
I've been waiting for my sunday girl
I've been waiting for my sunday girl, now

Pleased to meet you
Nice to know me
What's the message?
Will you show me the way down town?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A little incendiary.

I wasn't watching you perfectly still
I'm near perfectly dazed
Out of our hollow and into a space
Fire and water and space
Yeah further and further away
I'm trying to keep up, running along behind them as they make their way through the woods quickly in the fading light. I am stumbling, tripping over roots and rocks. I've already ripped the hem out of the bottom of my sundress, it's a handmedown from Bailey and it reaches almost to my ankles anyway. My sneakers are covered with mud and my braids have come loose but I'm game. I want to keep up with them and Lochlan already said three separate times to stay put, not to follow. That he would see me tomorrow probably, that they were going to do things that sixteen- (Caleb), fourteen- (Lochlan) and twelve-year-old (Cole) teenage boys do. Eight-year-old girls are not invited.

I am bathed in sweat and tears of frustration but I wipe my face and keep struggling to catch them. Wait! I cry when I see Christian's green t-shirt disappear from view. I run faster and promptly trip over my skirt again and go down on my hands and knees.

Okay, I can't keep up. He's right. I'm going to turn around and see if I can find my way home from here.

Then I look up again and Caleb is making his way back to me. He looks worried. When he reaches me he pulls me to my feet and tells me to climb on his back, that he will carry me piggyback the rest of the way. I wipe my eyes again and he asks if I've been crying.

No, I snap, and when he turns away I wrap my arms around his neck and he stands up, pulling my legs around his hips, holding them just behind my knees. He walks easily with me, moving quickly enough to make up time but not too quickly so that he won't trip and spill us both. It seems like only minutes go by and then suddenly he walks out into the clearing and goes to Cole, turning away from him. Cole puts his hands under my arms and lifts me off Caleb, standing me on my feet. Lochlan scowls when he comes back from the place where he had hidden a flat of cheap beer and a pack of cigarettes by the river where they fish and never catch anything. He's really mad. His ears are turning pink.

You going to carry her back too?

Caleb walks over to him and gives him a good shove. Lochlan shoves him right back. I take a step toward the woods. I don't want them to not be friends because I followed them even though Lochlan told me to not to.

Christian turns and grabs my arm. Stay here, Bridget. It's too late now for you to go back by yourself. It'll be dark soon.

Loch takes my elbow and walks me away from the crowd. They are passing out beers and lighting cigarettes. They're going to get in SO much trouble. Where were you going now?

Home so you won't fight because of me.

You'd be smart to stay away from Caleb.

He carried me most of the way. He's nice. (Inside my head I also add and cute. And tall. And strong. And he smells like soap.)

He's not nice. He did it because he knew it would bother me. 

Why would it bother you? 

Because I told you not to follow. We're going to have a bonfire. How late are you allowed out? 

I don't know. I said I would be back in a few minutes. 

Shit. Okay, I'm going to take you back now then and then I'll come back.

Can I stay for a few minutes and see the fire? 

He smiled and scratched the back of his neck as he stared at me. I don't know why, but I want to stay with him. He might not be as tall as Caleb but he's so much cuter and he smells like woodsmoke and fabric softener. It's not just that though. When I stand beside him I feel all weird and excited and happy.

No, because then I won't be able to find my way back in the dark. Plus the fire is usually my responsibility. I like to control it. 


No, Bridget. Say goodnight to everyone. We're going. 

I stick my lip out but I dutifully march back to the loose group of boys and tell them to have fun but I have to go home. I thank Caleb for bringing me the rest of the way and apologize for wasting their time.

A chorus of Awwwwww's and Sweet Dreams! rises as Lochlan reaches out to take my hand. Dylan sings a little bit of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Caleb sits in the near darkness, frowning. His eyes glitter in the dark. Cole whacks him on the back and hands him a beer.

On the walk back I ask Lochlan why he lied to me about being mad at Caleb because he helped me.

What do you mean?

Why are you really mad at him? I won't tell him or anything. 

How did you know I lied?

The way you moved. Your eyes. You're a bad liar. 

So are you. You said you'd stay put. 

We're even then. 

Yeah, we are. He squeezed my hand as we walked. How come you're not freaked out by being in the woods after dark?

Because you're here. And you didn't tell me about Caleb. 

Did he say anything to you about me on the walk to the field?

No. He didn't talk at all. I thought he was busy trying not to trip and drop me. Why?

Because I told him you and I are friends. That we talk alot. That you're old for your years when we talk about things that are important. He thinks it's wrong. That I shouldn't have anything to do with a girl so young. 

So why did HE help me then, if he thinks I'm too young to hang out with all of you?

Because he knows it would bother me.

Does it?



I don't know. It just made me really really mad if I thought he was trying to take you away from me only because he knows it would piss me off and not for his own reasons. 

A little shiver ran up my spine in the dark, tickling the back of my neck. I don't know why but I like it that he doesn't want anyone to take me away from him. I have heard a few stories already about Lochlan and girls, mostly that a lot of them want to go out with him, mostly that he's a charmer who has kissed and yet not told all over town. But since I've been here I haven't seen him with anyone at all. Maybe they're wrong.

If I had to pick between you and Caleb, I'd pick you, you know. 

He grins in the dark. That's good, Bridget. It will save me and Caleb the inevitable fight to the death.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


I can't do this. 

Which part?

Any part involving him.


Oh, Bridget, stop it. I can't deal with Caleb. Okay? I can't. I've tried. Nothing works and when he touches you I want to rip him apart. 

Now you understand how everyone feels about you. 

No, they don't. I've been with you for so long-

So entitlement makes you immune to jealousy suddenly?

It's not the same. He's your monster and you go to him willingly. What the fuck is that? What the fuck is with Ben just ignoring everything going on around him? I'm losing my fucking mind here-

Did you come to apologize?



What about you?

What am I apologizing for, again? Setting us up for life?

Breaking my heart, Bridget. 

I just stared at him. I was not expecting him to say that.

Cupric sulfate, cupric chloride, polyvinyl chloride and blind rage. That's where your colors come from.

If you can't soar with the eagles,
Then don't fly with the flock
Are you still getting by?
Was I your knight in shining armour?
Or the apple of your eye?
Or just a step, a fucking step to climb?
It's official. I have corrupted Sam with my musical tastes. We pretty much live on the same page of lyrics on a regular basis though. If he's listening to or humming something odds are I either had it playing the day before or I'll put it on the day after. If we find something new we share it with each other first and while I patiently wait for Stone Sour's  House of Gold and Bones Part 2  and Switchfoot's Fading West soundtrack to hit the shops I can soothe my twisted mind (and his) with Bring Me the Horizon's Sempiternal, released today. August and Lochlan have already memorized the songs. It's like the Beastie Boys but more melodic, more metal. I can't even describe it.

This morning Sam was playing it so loud in the church he took a page right out of Jacob's book of daily tasks. That or this whole area is filled with folks who have the police department on speed-dial because we're interrupting their yoga or something. He got a visit and a warning and a whole lot of compliments on the acoustics of the room. I know, right? (Not bashing the yoga crowd, just the concept of silence in general.)

And yes, Lochlan exploded yesterday/today/perpetually. I keep finding pieces of Mystical Fire everywhere. I always suspected he was made of it but I have confirmation now. How pyrotechnical of him. But he's exactly like me, says one thing, does the complete opposite. We are working on it. It's going exactly as well as you would imagine.

Rather badly.

He called me a name this morning even. A horrible one, and Ben wrestled him to the ground and threatened all kinds of things. Because Lochlan doesn't mind when he's the interloper but if someone else is, well, look the fuck out. I told him he was a hypocrite and a fraud for all of his sudden morals. He told me to grow up and I yelled back that I did! I DID!

So why do I provoke him so painfully? I don't. Well, I mean I do but really there are things you don't know. Yes, life should be simpler. Right or wrong, yes or no. Black and white. But it isn't and it never will be like that, I fear.

So we eat the music, grow the skin, soothe the ruined hearts and keep moving forward. He loves me, he just doesn't like me.

I taught him how to pull that off, I just can't tell you why.

He'll soften. I just have to give him a little space. Or maybe he has to give me space. See? This is why I play my music so fucking loud. It blocks out damned near EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Bridget and the lake of fire.

Hear the inside of my brain today. Press play, go to track #3 and just leave it there all damn day.
Withering eyes catch you as you fall
 A bitter sigh, no one moves at all
Let me in for one more long disgrace
Just forget the same distractions you refuse to face
We both know that it's gone
But what if no one knows
No one knows to remember why it's wrong

This is all the pain a man can take
This is how a broken heart still breaks
I don't need much to show you
Only enough to control you
Bury your head inside this
And gather the darkness that binds it
I think I'll die if you deny me
Swallowed alive in eternity
Give me a way to be the agony
I knew you all along
Last night I bumped my nose against the shoulder of the Devil as he took us far out of reach of redemption on purpose, his arms a vise holding me to him. This morning my lips are still numb, my head and limbs hurt vaguely and in my fist is a cheque signed in his fountain-pen flourish.

I made my way down to the beach just before dawn to see if I could reach redemption on my own. The sun came up and drew a harsh line on the rocks. A challenge. Warm me, I thought. No, she said, there's nothing left of you for me to bother with.

I bent down at the water's edge, soaking the hem of my dress, pulling back my sleeves to show the sun how swollen my wrists are because I won't show anyone else. I gingerly floated the cheque in the sea, then I pressed it down until I was up to my elbows in the icy Pacific, my hem drinking up the heavy water, trying to hold enough of me to pull me in, pull me under. Seems I fight that wherever I go.

The ink runs across the paper, obscuring the secrets he bought from me, whatever ridiculous amount I asked for easily met, without hesitation. That's how I know he's the Devil. It doesn't matter how much it costs, he can pay for it.

I watched the zeros blur and vanish, the paper turning transparent in the saltwater. I picked it up, balled it up in my fist and threw it as hard as I could. It didn't go very far.

I don't either.

I sat down hard on the rocks and smiled at how awful I am. How far I can go before someone reels me back in. How I can climb down here to rock-bottom with such little help, starting over every day.

If you persist in destroying every document I give you just say so and I will switch to deposit. 

His voice doesn't startle me or make me turn around.

I don't need your money. 

It's part of our agreement.

You're not listening. 

Bridget, correct me if I'm mistaken. I'm fulfilling my end of the agreement, what about you?

I fulfill my end. 

But you ruined the cheque?

I'm not a whore (I didn't say it out loud, I only whispered it into the bubbles at the edge of the water). I don't come to you for your money.

Bridget, I can't hear you.

I turn my head and look at him. God. So handsome and I fucked him up too. Or he fucked me up. I don't know who even started it anymore. Oh right, he did. By default. Couldn't just keep his shit together and leave me alone in the first place.

I said I'm not a whore. 

No one says you are.

I raise my hand up to point up the hill. You..you just...gave me..

He looks up at the boathouse jutting out over the edge of the cliff and he looks back at me. Bridget, I thought you would appreciate an immediate, tangible reward but it seems to trigger a deep regret. I didn't mean for that to happen. If it's easier I will just deal with the financial aspect of this invisibly.

I nod. My teeth are chattering. My reward is not what he thinks it is. I'm not who I think I am.

It's time for you to go get warm. Have you been home yet?

I shake my head. No, I haven't. I wasn't going to walk through that door, my new bottom line weighing me down like a stone, a guilty, heavy, unchangeable stone. But I should go home now. I need to peel off this skin and try and grow something thicker.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Snap, crackle.

The only April Fool played on me this morning was a very strange half-hour in which Dalton sat across the table from me staring mightily at me as he slowly ate his bowl of Rice Krispies.

He just kept staring.

I did everything I could do to ignore him. I read the paper, I played with my phone. I drew patterns in the cinnamon left on my plate from my piece of cinnamon-sugared toast, and finally when I could take no more of his attention, I got up and stormed out of the kitchen in a huff.

Behind me Dalton called out,

But Bridget! You said you loved Rice Krispie STARES! 

(This was based on one of the first and last times I ever tried to read lips. I just can't do it. Things get hilariously fucked up and then they come back to haunt me years later, now, don't they?)