Friday, 31 January 2014

I seriously doubt what he's getting is a shipping container full of Marshmallow Fluff but stranger things have happened.

I know I shouldn't look
But I can't turn away
He's twisting my soul right in front of me, wringing it out with both hands, making me writhe in agony as he smiles so kindly at me. I should have been prepared.

What do you think would happen if everyone you went to for a hug in any given day ignored your requests, as weren't even there?

They wouldn't because they know-

Just answer the question, Bridget. How would you feel? I want you to think hard before you answer.

Lochlan wouldn't-

Answer the question! Please. He softens slightly.

I stop protesting over something so ridiculous and think hard.  I would die.

I can't hear you.

I said I would die.

How do you think it feels for me then to ask for your company, for anything-on my knees, no less, and to be ignored for it? How do you think it feels after everything I have done for you?

I'm not supposed to be beholden to you.

Oh, but you are.

I am not.

Bridget, you don't want to piss me off today with your impulsive, belligerent inner child.

The one in grade six, you mean? I don't think I've ever made Caleb speechless like that before but he dropped the subject so fast my head spun.

I need your assistance this morning. 

Loch won't like-

I don't care what he likes, frankly. Would you like to come with me on a big-item shopping trip? I'm taking delivery of something you might enjoy.

Sure. May as well die young. And you have it backwards, by the way. You're beholden to me. Have been since grade six. 

I know. How am I doing?


I'll have to work harder then. Give me fifteen minutes and we'll go. Run and tell your keepers. 

They won't like it. 

Oh, Bridget. As I told you already, I don't care how they feel. 

This is why God invented credit cards, toast and ice cream too.


I plan to order one or two shipping containers' worth. You?

Post to follow later when I'm awake and not eating fluffernutters for breakfast.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Sleepless in West Van.

This. OMG I love this right down to the dumb video effects, the Where's Waldo striped t-shirt and the somebody stole my cookie expressions. They don't give a fuck about style, they are busy rocking our fucking faces off.

(I would embed it for prettiness but Google hates me and iOS hates all of us so until that works without coding hoops, stick with links, BRIDGET.)

Also, I never thought metal needed music videos but I've been in so many and it's wonderful and insane and sometimes embarrassing and sometimes gross and if there's a market then go for it, I guess.

I keep hitting repeat. I want to give them cookies and coats and see them smile really big and goofy. Just for a sec.


Asher has gone. I had breakfast with him and gave him a big hug when he left, even though I made no effort to get to know him or really include him in much because I didn't ask for a total stranger to be thrust into my life, one with no connection to us past a distant familial link via Batman. He would have caused more issues than he ever could have solved and at the end of the day PJ didn't welcome the extra hand nor appreciate it and all things default to Lord PaJamas, Everlasting Ruler and Much-Henpecked Destroyer of Conventional Domesticism in this household.

(That's PJ's full title, in case you're wondering. I regularly print out certificates for him that state that along with things like "For making the most epic tower of folded laundry so far this year" or "for not missing the toilet rim today because wow, are you fucking nearsighted or what?". It's really okay, you should see the ones he makes for me. I can't repeat any of them. My mom reads my blog.)

Batman was PISSED, however. He figured I would soften. Like wax, or like an ignored erect pe-WOW, I'm in a mood today, aren't I?


Blame the mood on Caleb, who 911'd me but no one else at four this morning and caused a hell of a row in my bed between Lochlan, who said to ignore it and Ben, who volunteered to go in my place, but only if he could wear the see-through babydoll nightgown that I've never actually worn. That made things worse instead of funny and I finally said they needed to tie a rope around my waist and set a timer and I would go over.

Everything would be fine! If the timer goes off and I'm not back, just pull on the rope.

For some reason, Lochlan didn't find that funny at all.

And so instead of going back to sleep I said the hell with all of it, phoned Caleb and established that he was awake and just lonely, bored and maybe...chest pains?


I wanted to say so many things but instead I hung up on him (don't worry, he was charming, threatening and negotiating and that's how I knew he was okay) and went downstairs to hang out with PJ, who couldn't sleep and was watching music videos on the big screen. But only ones that would rock his face off. He was very cuddly and fell asleep wrapped around me within about four minutes of my arrival so I watched the videos on my own until the sun came up, which was when I called Asher and invited him for breakfast.

Now I think I might die because I'm really tired and loopy and I want a cookie.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

More from the confession without absolution crowd.

Claus was here today!

Remember Claus? Well, he came at a good time, for I had already decided I wasn't going to get out of bed. It's been five years since I've seen him. He was my favorite head-doc in the cold lands. Post-Cole, mid-Jake. 

He and Sam had a great chat. They remembered each other. I didn't know Sam was privvy to some of Jacob's private talks with Claus. Gee, you think Jake spent his time grooming Sam to be my keeper in Jake's afterlife? 

Yeah. I think he did. 

Claus got an earful from me, holy shit. I don't think I was ever actually straight with the man because he liked knowing how I felt in the moment. And then how to keep the momentum. How to use emotions as leverage to survive. How to thrive amongst the chaos. 

Instead I told him a bunch of other things and he asked me why I never told him these things before, that it would have helped, it would have made a difference. But I am no longer hopeful, just resigned and so I pointed that out, that thirty some-odd years of silence makes for interesting fucked-up-edness and I don't share these things because I don't want to be a curiosity. 

He made me cry. He told me that I was strong. 

I hate it when people say that because I am hypnotized, prosthelized, brainwashed and objectified and not nearly as strong as I could be, oh no.

He asked who was actually on my side and I gave him names as if it mattered. Does it? I don't know. 

He asked about Joel. Joel is pretty much guaranteed not to be on my side, so that's that. 

He said he had hoped things would be better. They are, I told him. Well, in a different way, I mean.

He's heading off to Vancouver island to do some exploring. Canada's a huge country. He said he'll swing back around on his way home in a week or so and he gave me some things to think about in the meantime.

But I won't.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Integrated trigger safety.

Caleb left me his Visa infinite so I could pay for Henry's field trip on the school website. I put my birthday in instead of his when it asked for verification and now I'm locked out of paying until I can use a different card.  Does anyone know when it unlocks so I can try again? Because this happens just about every month now and you'd think..well, you'd think someone would get me my own damned credit card and then I wouldn't have to ask.

Oh wait, what? Yes, I know it defeats the whole purpose of the exercise. That's what I was hoping for.


Yesterday Caleb abruptly told me he was nothing like Cole. Nothing.

(Short of the obvious DNA and predilections and the way they eat/breathe/obsess. Right so NOTHING like him.)

Lochlan agreed, almost laughing in relief before punching him in the head anyway. Poor Matt was the only one present besides and he didn't waste a minute getting them apart and on their feet again. Lochlan made a shitty threat and Caleb ventured a legal one and I asked them both to fuck off and Matt agreed with me and then softened it with a word or two about keeping the peace for all our sakes before wisely shutting up.

PJ came through the door not five minutes later and I told him what happened and he was just sad he didn't win the bet. He figured Lochlan would pop him before lunch.


I stand in the sun at the top of the stepladder on the back porch of the castle, peeking into the hanging pot of strawberry plants. I have a fork and the watering can and some fertilizer on the railing and I'm poking around when Jacob comes out and wraps both arms around my waist so I can't fall.

What are you up to? Trying to touch the clouds again?

No, I'm trying to figure out why I'm getting the little white flowers but no actual fruit on this one. 

I see. What have you found?

Nothing? I don't know. Maybe it's a dud. Or maybe the bees aren't doing their thing since it's up really high?

True. But you know, I can see it just fine so that wouldn't be it. 

You're huge though. 

I can see right into the pot. 

Stop rubbing it in. 

So when the berries are ripe I see them when I come in the door. 

Jacob, there are no berries on this one. 

..and then I eat them as I unlock the door and you always think I've got strawberry gum. It's actually been a crazy producer, this plant. I'm just about full by the time I hit the kitchen. 

You've been eating them?

They're really good when they're warm from the sun. You should try them sometime. 

Well I would but I can't see when they're there, obviously. 

Yeah, that's too bad. 

It is. 

A travesty!

I can't believe you've been pinching them all summer long when you know I've been wondering and watching. 

I'm not sorry either, Princess.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Shhh. This is for me, not you.

Need my bravery song*. Just look away or something, for fucks sakes.

*(I have no idea why these videos don't embed on mobile Safari. My apologies. It's Dare you to move by Switchfoot.)

Bitter beans.

Today was just lovely as I sat at the table sipping coffee and trying not to flinch while Caleb detailed to Lochlan the best way to kill someone, if he was indeed serious about wanting to take my soul back. He said the only way to transfer it a second time is in death.

I pointed out if I die then my soul won't be important to anyone.

I was sharply corrected and the graphic descriptions began, beginning with Loch's inner character battles and ending with my bereavement as Caleb becomes the next to die, instead of waiting for his body or his mind to be ready.

(I don't think he missed anything except the effect the entire conversation would have on me in a permanent way.)

And I don't think I touched my food at our month-end coparenting informal meeting at a restaurant I don't like all that much. I just drank coffee. A lot of coffee. I drank so much I asked the server just to leave the pot. He did not want to until Caleb said it was fine. Ever the child, I am.

Loch looked like he was taking notes, though horrified ones, for it all makes sense if we're going to continue our large scale games of life, death, marriage, betrayal, trust, telepathy and threat.

I just wanted to live in a camper and boil green beans for dinner, I swear. That's all I wanted. Wildflowers in a jar on a table outside and not worrying about the moral difference between choosing to die and being killed. I wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel on Sunday mornings and call it church and I wanted to sing love songs out loud into the wind and I wanted to burrow my arms into the sleeves of Lochlan's jacket while he's still wearing it and I want to never think past the end of the week forever and ever, amen.

Loch squeezed my hand on the drive home and said he pictured a wreath of flowers on the door, not a bouquet in a jar and I swore at him for all of 1983 through 1985, inclusive.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Binding on pickup.

Baby, I been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be counting stars

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sing in the river
The lessons I learned
No silent treatment this time, just a good rollicking curse-laden lecture, driven by fear and spat out in endless breathless words that made me cry like I did when I was eleven and Loch would scold me for going too close to the breakwater/highway/monsters. It's only effective if you can draw out their emotions, someone told him once, probably the fucking fortune teller, as he learned how to parent on the road, amusement-park style. I learned within two months how to cry on command just to get out of the room but now it just happens and I can't control it and that really pisses me off. He takes my anger personally to the point where we take a moment before throwing our words out, sharpening each one to a fatal point while the room fills with witnesses and supporters and peacemakers too. Sam puts his hand on my shoulder and all it does is make me hurl the words that much harder until I have laid out my side so nakedly and honestly no one can pick it up to argue, it's just too fucking sharp now. For my efforts I am rewarded with yet another list of all the things that make me terrible, right down to the fact that my emotions took up so much energy in my body, they stunted my growth.

And yet I am smug and standing my ground, because he is afraid. And because his hypocrisy is staggering. I yell that too but it's no match for his own pointy points and pretty soon I have won the room. I play the grief card last, twisting paper cuts into his very soul with its edge.

I'd dip him in iodine to make him sting on top of it all if only I could lift him but I can't so instead I remind him that I'm trying hard to please him and trying hard to please the Devil with such fewer timely resources and trying to keep Benjamin relevant and the children happy and the other boys content in their lives and he tells me I've got it wrong, that it's all backwards and everyone should be trying to please me for once because I'm no longer that eight-year-old girl running through the woods, trying to keep up, hoping I'll be invited or at least not sent away this time. Trying to be one of them.

Bullshit! I can't breathe anymore. Fuck this.

You've got it wrong, Peanut. We're trying to make you happy but you are determined to be miserable. 

No, I'm not. I just really don't want anyone else to die. 

You know, I didn't think it was possible to break a human being this badly but they really did it. You know that? They really did. 

I'll be okay. 

I'm losing faith in that statement at this point. Something's gotta give. 

Status quo, Locket. Just leave it. 



The sunny day drifts into darkened twilight and I find Loch in the tiny studio we've set up in a little-used corner on the first floor. He is drinking tea and drawing. He looks up. The anger has passed, and in it's place hopeless indemnity has settled.

He asks what the kids are up and if I'd like tea. I nod but point out more than tea, I could use a hug. I figure he will tell me to go ask Caleb for one but instead he slides off the stool and comes to me, arms wide.

I will never get used to this. I don't trust him, Pea. I don't like his tactics. His games are too big. 

You have my heart. 

I want your soul too. I want to steal it back from him and then you'll be whole again. 

That would be nice but since we're a package deal, if we can get mine, we need to get yours at the same time. Now, please, can we talk about other things?

Okay. He pulls me in tight against the plaid flannel wall and I exhale for so long I think I am a slow leak in a small balloon, deflating flat and pokey in his hands. He laughs.

Stay here and draw with me. 

What are we drawing?

I dunno. Stuff.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The curse of wanting an eternal soul.

And I'm ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions and get some answers
What's a fire and why does it, what's the word? Burn?

When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that shore up above?
Out of the sea
Wish I could be part of that world
At the end of a helpless week in which he watched us do absolutely nothing with his generous gifts, Caleb called me over once again to ostensibly sign a card for Mike, who retires this week after many years of service as Satan's part-time driver (and mine though it was hard to call him and so I rarely did). Attached to the card is a large manila envelope containing a beautiful print and a smaller manila envelope containing his separation papers, a letter of character reference should he ever require it and cheques for vacation days not taken and a severance he is not expecting.

I'm not sure Mike is prepared for the fact that by leaving work he will have a higher net worth than if he continued at his old retainer rate but Caleb believes in rewarding people for their hard work.

I mean, look where I live now. 

But I work very hard to make the Devil happy all the while shoving him off the side of the cliff when no one is watching. Case in point, when I arrived at the boathouse, Caleb calls for me to let myself in. I wander down the hall and he is in the bathroom shaving with a straight razor. The strope is hanging over the top of the door. Shirtless and clad only in pajama pants, he is almost finished but still covered with three or so lengths of shaving foam left to remove. 

I'll come back when you're ready. Why didn't you say to wait?

Princess, does it actually matter?

It does, yes. 

You woke up in my bed less than a week ago. 

It doesn't mean we need to be... familiar. 

You're family. You're my obsession. The mother of my son. Sorry I'm trying to multitask today but I don't see it as a huge imposition. His hand begins to shake and he stops and takes a breath, setting the razor on the counter.

I pick it up.

Bridget, your cast will get wet. I just need a moment. The pills-

It's fine. I step closer and he lifts up his chin, looking skyward, blue eyes reflecting the lights of the bathroom while he studies the pine trees through the skylights.

If you were smart you would cut my throat and run, he tells me. He closes his eyes and waits and I dutifully finish and then he takes the razor back from me and presses a clean towel around my cast.

The glitter-

It's fine. Thank you for your help. He is two inches from my face and I tread water in his medium blues.

He kisses the space between my eyes

I should go. 

Stay. Have a cup of coffee. If you wouldn't mind waiting in the kitchen, I'll make myself presentable and be right out. Start some coffee if you can manage it?

Sure, but only ten minutes. PJ-

He nods. Ten minutes is fine. The card is on my desk, by the way. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

The butcher and the busker and the bumblebee too (please God don't let this stick).

I saw a different doctor in the practice this morning. This one was extremely personable and looked just like Tom Hardy.

I kept wanting to ask him to say 'You merely adopted the dark! I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!' in Bane's voice but I thought that might be rude.


Last night turned out to be an evening that I won't soon forget. The boys were jovial and tender, sweet through dinner and thoroughly generous with each other and with me when we returned home.

They haven't really been able to reconnect until now. Our nerves have been shot, patience so frayed we couldn't thread it through a day to save our souls, not that we actually could save our souls at this late hour but it's always a nice thought.

This morning when I got up to let the dog out and start some coffee I came back  to wake up Loch to get ready for his day and he and Ben were spooning loosely. They were both deeply asleep.

I stood there for such a long time and smiled. You have no idea.

I finally wedged myself in between them, making a Bridget-sandwich, waking up Lochlan when my cast bumped his shoulder and he said Good morning, meat. What in the hell are you doing? 

I told him how I found the two of them sleeping and he jumped up and pointed at me. Don't you dare write about it! I swear to God, Bridge. It was a vague threat that he left there because he knows I will and because he's technically proud to be here in our freaky little marriage for three. Ben woke up because of the shouting, smiled at Lochlan and sleepily patted the bed, telling him to come back, that he was cold and needed the fire close.

You weren't sleeping! 

I was. But damn. You're like a human hot water bottle. I think I'm going to have Bridget trade places permanently or maybe we'll just kick her out. 

Hey, wait a minute! This is my spot right here! I'm the meat! You're the bread! If you get rid of me then you're both...

Toast! Ben yells triumphantly and then looks alarmed.

See? I cover all the angles. Now you have to keep me!

You're lucky you're so cute, Meatlet. 


Well, it's not like you're even bigger than a side cut...maybe a roast. Ben is thinking hard for someone who's not awake yet.


No WAIT! Meatball! That's what you are. Loch claps his hands together and I twitch.

Enough. I have too many nicknames now. 

There are never too many nicknames for you, Meatball. 

I'm writing about the spooning, Lochlan!

Well then I'm going to give up all other nicknames from here on out, you little Saltwater Meatball.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pick somewhere good.

I'm never gonna open my heart again
The bleeding won't end
The bleeding won't end
There's not enough room there for love to grow
Ben and I had an unaccompanied coffee date this morning. And we did okay! No one got left on the highway so I'm assuming that's an improvement, though I was tempted to ask him to get out of the truck and walk home because he ate my banana bread slice that was like five dollars and something and I was starving.

(But I still can't drive.)

He said it was good. Then he said sorry? like it was a question. Then he drove to McDonalds. Because if all else fails there are sausage mcmuffins and hash browns if you get there before eleven. He got four of each. He ate all of the sandwiches and I ate all of the hash browns and now my stomach aches so badly I believe I'll just spend the afternoon lying on someone warm*.

He kissed me on his way out to his meeting. He said to find Lochlan and we would go out tonight and have a dinner date. I hope he means next week. I probably won't be hungry until then.

He didn't. He means tonight. I'm excited, actually though watching the two of them choose a restaurant is always a Sophie's Choice-caliber reenactment of hurt feelings and desperate measures. Wish me luck.

(*Someone warm turned out to be a Daniel and Schuyler sandwich. This time I was the bread though and not the meat! We watched Justin Beiber's recent escapades on the news and rolled our eyes so hard the television looked like a fisheye lens. It was very hard to get me to unstick myself from Daniel to get ready for dinner but I'm ready in spite of my arm. Seventeen days left with the cast. Gah.)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Comfort object.

Once upon a time he taught me to juggle. Eggs he stole from a farm. Incentive, he told me, for if I did it just right we'd have scrambled eggs for supper (which I believed) and if I failed, we'd go hungry because the diner was now closed for the night and so was the corner store. Inside the camper we only had half a box of cheese crackers that tasted stale a week ago, two Twinkies and two bottles of beer, scavenged gratefully from another camper that was abandoned when someone we didn't know was taken off to jail and either didn't have time to dispose of his belongings or maybe they didn't belong to him in the first place. There were some interesting and scary people on the Midway but mostly there were people on the run.

You sleep with both eyes closed and I sleep with one eye open, Loch told me when I asked why he was so crabby. I was sure he was going to yell about the five broken eggs and my rumbling stomach. He sleeps on the outside, closest to the door while I sleep pressed against the wall. He sleeps with his arms around my head, or when it's too warm just holding my hand all night so that he can keep track of me in his dreams too.

Today he stretched out with his head in my lap for a short sleep in the sun while I read by the library window. I'm pretty sure he continues his sleeping habits now to weigh me down, to keep track of me in his nightmares, where I stand right out in the open, juggling hearts. But he doesn't have to yell anymore, I've gotten so good at it. I've only broken a few but most of them seemed as if they were easy to repair. Easier than mine. Some break and smash when they hit the ground, some just chip and crack.

My stomach rumbles and I smile. We buy our eggs from a farm just past the other side of the city these days. Ninety-six at a time, stacked in cardboard flats, around once a month or so. I never ask the price, I just hand the farmer's wife forty dollars. It doesn't seem like enough and yet she always seems so happy to see me.

With my bad hand I twirl my fingers in Lochlan's hair, making perfectly even red ringlets. The more curls I make the deeper he sleeps. I wish someone would bring me some crackers or a Twinkie because I don't have the piece of my heart anymore that's okay with waking him up when I need something. I should probably look for it but I'm sure it's long gone. Besides, it's kind of nice to just sit here and watch him sleep.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


The toast that Duncan made for me this morning turned to concrete mush when Lochlan walked in, sat down beside me, called me possibly the worst thing he could choose from a list of so many things and then refused to say anything further, having not said anything since Saturday night. The protest went up so vocally all around us. I didn't know whether to be grateful for the blind support or humiliated that there really are no secrets left and we're reduced to horrible words and worse deeds to repay each other for whatever we fight about.

Believe it or not, around here Lochlan's ability to bestow the silent treatment on someone is right up there with me spending the night with the devil. Both are wrong, evil, particularly cruel and yet look at us go.

He had asked what I was thinking. Batman had just stopped in during the evening to say that the paperwork was in order, that everything looked good. Congratulations and be cautious, he said. He left and we felt so elated!

So elated.

I forgot and answered too honestly.

I wish Cole was here to see this. 

Come again? Loch said and so I repeated myself and then I tried to backtrack. He would have been happy to have this security and to have the upper hand with Caleb.

Jesus fucking Christ. Do you ever stop thinking about them?

I was dumbstruck. No. I assumed that was obvious. I exist through ghosts and fight to love the living. Why in the hell do I spend every waking moment asking for a lobotomy? I can't turn it off.

I just meant-

Maybe you should go find Caleb and get yourself a little taste of the abuse you miss so fucking much. 

Never dare me. Ever. Just don't because I'll take it. Maybe I will! 

Good! Tell him I said hello from my ivory tower where I sit on piles of money and yet he's STILL running my fucking life! 

Gotcha! Ivory tower, piles of money, life!

Bridget, don't you fucking walk out that door!

Too late. Sweet dreams.

I left. I slammed doors as I went and then suddenly I'm outside in the cold and now I have to follow through because I'm too stupid to let him have the upper hand. Besides, now Cole is in my head and my brain is stretching far over the memories, ripping, tearing, straining over the holes he left behind. I can't cover them and so I fall right in.

In a fight between my mind and Lochlan I can afford to let my brain win. If I let it lose it's worse for all of us. That much I have learned in the past six years and absolutely nothing else of value.

And now what's done is done and I've had two days of ice-cold fire to burn the shit out of what's left of me now.

I slam the plate down and leave the kitchen and another chorus of protest goes up. They don't have to lean on him though, he follows me even as I attempt to evade him, doing circles through rooms, doubling back, rushing forward and becoming panicky and desperate when I can't shake him.

WOULD YOU STOP? He roars right behind me and I come to a screeching halt. He plows into me and knocks me down, saving me from hitting the floor with both hands out with a modified Heimlich that hurts so bad I'm sure I'll need a full body cast by supper.

He drops us together on the floor where we sit, staring at each other. He looks irked but normal. I look like a hot mess. Pink tear-streaked face with pure humiliation painted all over it. I can't breathe and he softens. Stop. Just take a deep breath. He pulls me in against his shoulder just as Sam hits the top step.

Checking on things. 

What a good friend. Loch nods against my head and Sam goes back downstairs.

Why can't you stay away from him?  If I asked you to, could you? 

Don't ask me to. 

I think I'm going to anyway. 

I'll try harder. It's been seldom anyway. Please just let me sort this out. 

Stand by while you stomp all over my heart and ask me to be okay with it? Hell, no, Peanut. Hell no. I'll give back my share and yours too and he can take his money and be alone. This is not the deal. Are we clear?

I shook my head. No, we're not clear. We are murky and impenetrable. We are confused and fucking fucked the fuck up. We are never going to crawl out of this hole. I fell in and Lochlan jumped in willingly after me.

Save yourself, I plead.

If I go I'm taking you with me, Bridge. Don't even try to put up a fight. 

I never put up a fight. 

Yeah, well, maybe it's time you learned how to.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sleepwalking the wire (slow-motion, no net).

I didn’t need you then and I don’t need you now
I wake to that song still rolling through my skull. I see my teethmarks on a monogram, thumb-bruises on my ankles, shoulders and temples (I feel those that I can't see) and the most delighted expression on the wide-awake face of someone I'm not supposed to see first thing in the morning but rarely do anyway, given the planets aligning just right.

No other teethmarks anywhere, fortunately, but I can't seem to unlock my knees. My head hurts and he reaches out with one hand, smoothing his thumb across my forehead as if he knows.

I always know when you have a headache. Your eyes show pain so readily. 

I shove his hand away. No they don't.

Sometimes the only cure for what you have is an existence in this place right here. 

And where am I, exactly?

The place in the song that's stuck in your head. 

Between the Devil and the deep blue...oh. Stop reading. 

I'll share too, if you want me to. 


I'm wondering if you're in love with me.

Wrong book. I think you're reading Jasper's mind right now. You're forbidden and therefore exceedingly attractive to him. 

He roars with laughter. I'm forbidden to everyone, apparently. What's going to happen when you go home?

Nothing. What are you going to do to get through the next spell without me?

Why do you assume it's a concern?

Your eyes show loneliness quite readily, Diabhal. 

You're projecting. 

I'm not lonely. 

Bullshit, Princess. You wouldn't be here on sympathy alone. 

No, I'm here because I'm fucked in the head. 

Good, now the rest of your body matches. 

Wow. Proud much?

Always. It's nice being the one who's wanted for once. 

But I'm here because I'm selfish.  

But you're not. 

I have to go. 

Now you're selfish. How much for you to never leave me?

I told you. Bring Jacob back to life. 

The problem with that is if I do that I'll never see you again. How is that a fair exchange?

It isn't and I'll have tricked you but if I'm lucky you won't realize it until I'm gone. 

You aren't lucky though. You never have been and you never will be.

You should really lie to me more often then you tell the truth. 

I do you enough favors. Now run back to your circus of a life before I keep you anyway. As usual, the only thing you fucked badly was my mind. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Here I drift afloat withered from the sun
Night is drawing near and with it comes the fear
exists for my eyes where the stars once lied
I didn’t need you then and I don’t need you now
I don’t need you now here at the end of the world
Who’s gonna save us now?
Man overboard
Where is your saviour now?
When I woke up this morning Ben was dangling a piece of crispy bacon over my face. He had a tray with coffee and toast for both of us that he put on the floor but then decided to lie beside me waving the bacon around until I smelled it and woke up. Then he draped it across the bridge of my nose, pulled me up into his arms and ate it right off my face.

I think he might be coming around.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Go spend it in a perfect world.

And as evening draws your self-portrait full of flaws
And laughs the most
Whatever keeps it darkest
This morning Jacob's parents left and I took a really deep breath. August will meet them on the other coast. He left a long time ago, much as I begged him to stay.

Asher is leaving too. February first. He has a job and a shared apartment coming up and he's determined to show me he can manage just fine as long as he can come over once in a while.

I laughed.

(I'll say no later.)

Gage and Keith are both extending their stays. They like it here. Gage has started calling me Mom. I don't like that AT ALL. He's older than I am. Keith is sort of like Skateboard Jesus with his rare appearances and drive-by, bearded wisdom. Maybe he is Skateboard Jesus in metal form. Either way he is a gift.

And Jasper's here! Someone please kill me! Caleb really is retiring so now Batman has paperwork that pertains to Caleb (including all my stuff that I signed that no one thinks is legitimate) and to the company and I'm watching the Devil dismantle things he has built, turning everything into liquid gold and silver, all the while assuring me he kept enough to live comfortably.

Three times he has asked me what I plan to do with my newfound wealth.

The first time I said I was going to buy the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The second time I said I'd buy Tortola. The third time I said I was going to shove it all into a hole and cover it over with cow pies and wait for flowers to grow on top of it and then we would get to see what sort of flowers grow from money and shit.

Roses, Caleb said and he laughed. Like the rainbow ones you love so much. You know...we could pool our resources and become a power couple.

Except we're not a couple.


Wow. Are you drunk?

No, I shouldn't drink anymore, remember? I'm just thrilled that you had a good visit.


I told you. I'm going to fix you.

It's not your place to do so.

No one else has the means.

I do. I have the means now. I'll do it myself!

Jasper saves me from an ungraceful exit as he walks in without knocking, an armload of folders clutched against his chest. He's in a total fucking tizzy being surrounded by so many powerful men. I can see it all over his face.

I used to be that way too. Before they ruined me.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Hand forged deities.

Mayday! Mayday!
The ship is slowly sinking
They think I'm crazy but they don't know the feeling
They're all around me
Circling like vultures
They wanna break me and wash away my colors
Wash away my colors

Take me high and I'll sing
Oh you make everything okay
We are one in the same
Oh you take all of the pain away
Save me if I become
My demons
I went for a walk on the beach this morning with Jacob's father. He had a solid elbow to offer me, and Jacob walked five paces behind us. I'm sure Finn could feel him there. I didn't have to look over my shoulder because I felt him there. He was probably making sure I didn't slip on the rocks and take his father with me into the sea.

I was told it's not my fault.

Finn kissed my cheek and held me close and I smelled the salt and sandalwood that follows me like a spirit of love long gone and he rubbed my back while I cried in relief. Relief and then sadness that Jake was so far gone that everyone knew and I couldn't crawl out of my own hole long enough to pull him out of his.

I bought him time and it will take me the rest of my life to pay for it.

Is that an aphorism? Jacob's eyebrows go up. He's pacing small circles on the garage floor. His father is resting now. His mom is sketching at the counter with Dalton, who has taken to her so sweetly. I think he thought he could practice his charms on her and is surprised to discover he is the one being charmed here.

Allegory maybe. I don't know anymore, Preacher. 

I'm glad they came. Not many big trips left for them. It's hard to be older, Bridget. I'm almost grateful to have faced my mortality on my own terms. 

I bite my lip so I don't yell something into his face that I'll regret. The door opens and the light floods in around Lochlan. He sees my face and tells me it's too late to be hanging out with ghosts. That I should come in where it's warm. I realize my arm is throbbing and I nod. I don't look at Jacob when I leave.

Maybe he was just like everyone else after all.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

OH. So it's Wednesday then. My bad.

The mess that is Tuesday.

And all around me now
The waves are crashing 'round
And I am only half way down
Underneath this cloud
They're waiting to hear the sound
I am only half way
It's all around you now
It's all around

There's nothing left to say
There's nothing left to prove
There's everything to gain
When there's nothing left to lose
There's nothing left to say
There's nothing we can do
We will find a way
We've got nothing left to lose
Apparently Lochlan isn't the only one who thinks I'm a child. Batman asked Caleb for copies of everything we've signed. I guess the lawyers aren't good enough for him nor is the fact that I read every single page before I signed it and though I am alone in that, Loch said he didn't sign anything that didn't already have my signature on it. Not to mention it's not as if it wasn't all signed under duress, as we are perpetually, and so it's probably not binding and this is either posturing or fear on Batman's part.

I hope it's posturing. If it's fear then of what? Caleb says he's been upfront, considering it's an unsolicited gift but those are the worst sort of presents from him, historically speaking.

And Lochlan came home after many hours. A little bit drunk which seems to be the way he rides. I chastised him up one side and down the other for it, PJ took away his motorcycle privileges and New Jake very wisely didn't show his face. Loch was well and good enough to have dinner with us and Jacob's parents who said they actually missed his wild antics (if you remember the fist fight on the lawn between Ben and Lochlan when we flew to Newfoundland? Oh yay. If you don't, HERE.) and he didn't find that amusing because he's the proper parent here, the voice of reason, the stick stuck in mud right up to his chin. If he opens his mouth he'll drown in his stoicism so I don't know how they decided he was wild and unpredictable unless Jake told them so.

Aaaaand that wouldn't surprise me in the least.

I laughed because it was as if Jacob was delivering a punchline straight from Heaven. I laughed out loud and it felt so good.

Today the folks are being whisked away around the coast on a tour followed by a decadent dinner downtown. So I can stay home and turn myself inside out while I wait for Batman's postmortem and Lochlan's promised sobriety.

While I wait for Ben to stop eating guitar picks like they're Pringles. It's a really good thing all of his teeth have already been replaced thanks to hockey. So he knows what he's in for.

Don't play nets without a mask, kids.

Don't sign deals drawn up by the Devil.

And whatever you do, if you only listen to one thing, don't sell your soul when you're still too young to know what it's actually worth. That one's a big one, right there.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Saltwater heart.

(The title today comes from the best thing about Fading West, Switchfoot's ninth album that came out last night, inexplicably at ten on my iTunes. I listened to it in bed.

That will be my song off this album, a traditional, fairly safe album for the band and nothing like the ridiculously heavy, risky Vice Verses. It's still a solid addition to the catalogue and I'm proud of them for continuing to work hard in spite of the pulls of home in the form of growing families splitting their loyalties into three alongside surfing and music. Ahhh. The life.

Maybe once I've had my usual four or five loud listens right through I'll give a real review but groceries, I need to go get them.)
Saltwater running through my veins
Like a blind spot
Like I got caught
Saltwater like a teardrop
With a salt water heart
Jacob's parents are here. Why? I think Caleb is trying to kill me while he thinks he's working hard constructing amends. I opened the front door and there were Jacob's eyes, palest blue, cabochon-set into experience and sorrow, bottomless pools of pain and hope and memory and I almost went to my fucking knees there on the hard tiles in the front hall but Jacob's mom held me up as they fussed over me and my stupid broken arm, heart and mind.

A warning would have been appropriate. Who doesn't love things to look forward to? Apparently the Devil, that's who.

I need to feed them. Somehow the proliferation of beer and chicken burgers we keep on hand doesn't seem like a good idea. So we're leaving them to a grand tour courtesy of Daniel and Sam while PJ and John and I head out to the store.

Lochlan took off on New-Jake's bike earlier this morning and never came back. I tried to explain to him last night that nothing changes. It's being done in such a way that we pay little in extra taxes, and very very little of this is discretionary income anyway. Most of it is interest earned that is then rolled into something else to compound itself eventually into bricks of platinum or emeralds or something. If I really really want it I can get through but I would have to jump through hoops held by the bank and demonstrate significant hardship.

And as it turned out Caleb kept just enough to give himself a comfortable, well-padded existence and to keep full control of the point, or so I suspect from looking over the forms.

I expected no less, to tell you the truth. I knew he wouldn't give me the house or the land or fuck-all that would give me the upper hand. But he gave me a lot and with it I will build a time machine and if that fails then a reanimator and if all that fails, an automatic and painless labotomizer, and although Ben can suggest a bunch of those I'd like one that's permanent and not just day to day, traded for cash from some shady bastard in front of the mall.

But whatever. I need to go shopping. Bye.

Monday, 13 January 2014

A three-pack of five-minute curiosities:

My face in his sixteen-year-old hands. My eyes hostage, his fire starving all the oxygen from my doubts, his warmth keeping the cold trembles from my skin. In that moment when he touched me I changed. I grew. I metamorphosed from a wild, willful child into a dream without sleep, with singular focus and breathless, bottomless emotions.

He watched, fascinated, stunned. It was a visceral shift, profound and yet profoundly quiet.

He groaned and squeezed his hands, fighting for control. I kissed him again, biting his bottom lip and his hands left my face and slid around my hips. I stood in front of him in nothing but a ridiculous expression because for the first time I wasn't shy in front of him without my clothes on.

I may have been the only brave soul there that day because Loch smiled and kissed the end of my nose and then pressed his forehead against mine and said Not today.

I wanted to scream because I really wanted him right that minute. I thought I might burst into his flames and become part of his routine. I thought I might die unfulfilled if he didn't just touch me a little longer, a little harder maybe, a little so not-standing-up but I bit my own lip instead and he took it to mean I thought he might be rejecting me when I wasn't thinking that at all.

I want to eat you alive, he whispers and I nod. I don't even know what it means but I want it too. Whatever he says to do, I'll do it. I'll figure it out along the way. He's a patient, gentle teacher.

Please, Locket.

Soon. Wow.

What? I cry. I think I may explode and he laughs.

You're beautiful. 


You look like a wounded bird.

I whirled around, already on the defensive. I don't like being startled, I don't care who does it. What do you mean?

Your broken wing.

Fractured only. it should be better in a few more weeks.

Bridget, you can't trust Caleb.

I don't when it comes to me.

Then what are you doing?

What else am I supposed to do, Jake? Keep talking to ghosts? Keep pretending that you're not real so they think I'm okay? Let the money default into a locked investment when I might need it?

Why would you need it?


You think money can buy a solution to every problem? Don't you know better by now?

It's not the answer but no way am I going to turn it down. I said I was going to take him for everything and I meant it. 

What happens when he finds out?

He already knows! We don't have to hide a thing. 

Then do I finally get to hear the whole story now?

I'll think about it.


He wouldn't take it, Bridget. He has the integrity of a hundred men. I admire his ability to hold to his values no matter what distractions he faces.

So what did you do?

I lied and said he was signing the alternative plan, that sees everything put into a family trust. 

I love that you spent zero time encouraging him to read the things he's signing. You're a great lawyer. Really. 

He'd never listen to me anyway and he's old enough to read. I don't know if he actually can, though. This isn't turning out how you expected, is it? 

Life? Not a chance.

Well maybe I made it a little easier, at least. 

Do you even hear yourself sometimes? When have you ever made anything easier? Did you think your generous donation to the Home for Wayward Freakshow Rejects and Teenage Runaways would absolve you? Is that what you were hoping for, Diabhal? Because it doesn't. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Leaving marks.

Redheaded boys fond of singing British music sometimes do it so fucking maliciously. It's hard not to take this personally.
You dress me up, I'm your puppet
You buy me things, I love it
You bring me food, I need it
You give me love, I feed it

And look at the two of us in sympathy
With everything we see
I never want anything, it's easy
You buy whatever I need

But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
The currency we've spent
I love you, you pay my rent

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Clear glass.

Explain what you mean about making Loch suffer. I stand sweetly at the door, my hands clasped behind my back, waiting for his response. Behind me is John, because on my orders he would do anything, as long as I can say it.

And Caleb is vaguely afraid of him because of that. John worked for Caleb for a brief period but Caleb found him a little unpredictable, with loyalties that would not quit and so they parted ways. John now works for a small security company and sleeps the mornings away after working nights. He also moonlights as a living, breathing copy of Zakk Wilde but don't tell him that. Caleb smiles tightly at us both and rubs his forehead.

Bridget, I'm not in a good mood lately. I meant that once he's no longer the wandering gypsy rat that you will stop mistaking pity for desire and move along to the next man who needs you. In effect that levels the playing field. 

You don't actually live under those sorts of delusions, do you?

You're well aware that I spend my waking moments trying to win you back, I don't conceal my obsession. 

John snorts and Caleb asks him if he needs something or if we can have a little privacy.

John says no and Caleb almost asks him for which and then realizes John isn't going to budge. I lean back in thanks and he gives me a quick squeeze. Caleb rolls his eyes and turns and waves us into the house behind him.

I'm attempting to pour all of my resources into staying alive for a few more years to see my son grow up and to make sure you are looked after. Sometimes I slip. I will try harder. I think I'm doing a good job of being agreeable and yet it's one-sided. 

Can you blame him?

Bridget, if our roles were reversed I would have killed him in 1983. I could have even if they weren't.

Why didn't you?

Because I didn't want to hurt you and yes, I see the irony in that, under the circumstances. I didn't realize the seriousness of my actions at the time and so I made my threats and I ran. I was twenty. I was a stupid kid. 

You were the adult. We were the kids, remember? 

And you were both more worldly than I was, locked away in lecture rooms all day. 

Studying law. Stop making excuses. 

I'm making amends. I'm about to give him the means to achieve his wildest dreams and you're worried that I half-assedly threatened him? If I did, I apologize. I just want to be left alone now. Well, you can stay but only if you feel like having a nap with me and not talking. 

Not today. 

Did you hear that, John? She said 'not today'. Which means there's a possibility of another day, perhaps. This is what a man like me lives for and she never fails to string me along just enough to keep my hopes up. Bridget, I love you for that. He turns his attention back to me. Really I do. You never shut me out completely. 

I start to talk but he holds up one finger. I'm an old man. Leave me my delusions that they may turn into dreams while I sleep. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Prize at the bottom.

My blanket is the color of an Atlantic storm, my head sleepy like a wave. He comes into the room quietly and I can smell salt and earth and iron as he comes closer. I finally open my eyes and he stands there soaking wet, covered with mud, hair tangled and dripping, clothes ruined, watch and nails and the end of his nose streaked with dirt. He holds his hands clasped together tightly as if he has caught a small bird, except that it's not a bird. It's my heart and it's zombie-lurch-beating all over the place as he holds it.

I have it. I got it back for you. I got it back for me, I mean. Finders keepers, Peanut.

I will hide myself below
I'll be what you wanted
Kept inside I won't let go
Until I burn beyond control
Caleb tells me quietly as I finish signing things. That's all that I need right now. There will be more to do next week. 

Is it enough then?

Enough for what?

To buy what I need.

Bridget, just tell me what you need and I'll get it.

You know what it is. How much does it cost? 

You can't pay for that, Bridget. 

Why not?

The price is one soul for another and yours is not available, remember?

Then let me buy it back. I think I have enough now. 

No, not even close. 

Then keep your money. 

It's amazing. Faced with all of this, faced with me fixing his life too (he points in the direction of the main house), you still choose the dead over the living. I suppose I should be heartened by that since my brother is included in that but I don't. 

He isn't and I wouldn't bring him back even if I could.

Caleb walks right up to me as if he's about to haul off and show me his perfect echo of death but then he remembers that others are present. They might know of our arrangements but they don't need to witness intensely personal exchanges.

You can go. We'll do this early next week in the office. Tell your joker that he gets his no matter what and that he is to let you assist him in directing the funds. Don't forget. The last thing I want to see is him wasting my efforts. 

He doesn't waste money. 

Money changes people, Bridget. I was so hoping it would change you. 

Why? It's only made you meaner. 

It makes me impatient. I'm sorry if you interpret that as anger. 

It is anger. 

Time to go, Princess. And please don't ever speak ill of my brother again. He loved you and he existed knowing you loved someone else. We all have felt that and now we can't do a thing about it. Don't think that doesn't bring out the rage of all the angels. Don't think that doesn't make us ALL into monsters by default. Have Lochlan come and sign his papers this weekend. He doesn't deserve this but the least I can do is make us equals and then I'm going to make him suffer.

I liked you better when you at least pretended to get along with people. 

I could say the same about you, Princess.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

No navigators on board.

(Aside from the fifteen minutes I'm about to share, today was a good day. Mostly because I found the ghost I thought I lost.)
You pray to stars that can help you get by
And all at once you forget to try

I'd go there if you let me
They're never gonna find me now
Someone went out and left The Grace on the stereo. Heads are going to roll right into the hole they're going to have to fish me out of when time permits because I took one step away from that song and the ground gave away beneath me. I spiralled around and around down to the bottom faster than it took me to turn around and widen my eyes at Lochlan, who dove for the knob on the receiver and missed. (He's smart enough not to reach for me, as one would think one would do when music that liquifies my mind comes on. No. Always turn the music off first.)

Life is a bit of a minefield in that regard, and that's why I fall in these holes. I blow up when I don't look where I'm going and fall in a hole put there by a previous explosion.

It's fine. It's better down here. I don't have to be beholden to the demon with the gun perpetually held against my skull who ruined my past and my future and has now started in on my present. It's fine because I have lots of company down here. Jake was sitting up against the wall when I landed. He winced as my cast glanced off the floor and he asked if it hurt. I said yes and he kept his face very neutral because with me hurting is better than feeling nothing at all.

He asks about Ben and I wave my hands to defer. His whole face changes to despair and I assure him Ben is doing well, I just don't try to explain him anymore.

I pull my arm up to my chest and bite my lip. Fuck, it hurts. This is not a good hurt, this is an agonizing throb and he tells me to have someone get me out. He doesn't call Lochlan by name, which means he's mad about how Lochlan isn't very good at checking music before I hear it and I think that's a bit of a tall order in a house where half a dozen people share a vast and eclectic music collection, and they try to do what everyone does, not coddle me by ignoring songs that trigger falls into holes.

I shake my head in refusal. I haven't seen him in forever and he wants me to leave? He says purgatory is getting difficult to navigate. That every time he leaves me it gets harder and harder to find his way back and he didn't think he would have to anymore but here he is and he can't explain it.

I told him that means he made a rash decision. He shakes his head. It wasn't. It was planned. Calculated. Unavoidable. Inevitable. I just made him delay it by several years.

My cast thrusts itself through my ribcage, splintering bone, cracking ribs with an ungodly racket. My hand grasps my slippery, broken, stitched-up heart and pulls it out. I hold it up to him in offering and he tells me he lost that honor when he followed through.

I don't care. Just take it, it's yours.

What about Loch?

I don't know! He'll be okay. He's resourceful. He has Ruth.

Bridget, you have to climb up now. Right now.

I can't do it with one arm.

I can help. You can stand on my shoulders.

If I touch you again I think that will be it for me.

I know. Build a magic carpet out of my letters and float out. There should be enough. Have you finished them all?

I haven't touched them.

He did one of those indignant double-takes, as if he's completely disgusted and shocked all at once. It's the goofiest thing he ever did with his face and I loved it.  I realize I'm about to throw up, everything hurts so much suddenly, it washes over me, a tidal wave of memories that begins to fill the hole. I rise to the top eventually and Lochlan fishes me out by the back of my shirt. He's got a way with that, and yet all the seams are intact as he stands me firmly on the living room floor.

You could have drowned, Peanut.

Yes, I know.

You can't swim with one arm.

I know.

Jake isn't here anymore.

For you, he isn't.

Maybe you should read the letters.



He stops abruptly, biting his lip, checking himself, refusing to go any further with his attempts to force progress where progress isn't to be had, and he pulls me in, kissing my forehead, wrapping his arms around me tightly.

Your heart. What did you do with it?

I left it in the hole, Locket. 

I'll go back and get it for you tonight.

You don't have to do that, you know. 

No, I think I should. He nodded, more to himself than to me. Yeah. I think I should be the one to get it this time. I said I'd try harder and I will. I am, I mean. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


I'm in a long ruffle-y sweater, very tall knee socks that almost reach up to my neck (the joys of being five feet tall, NOT), a tank top and shorts. Basically pajamas with added things for warmth. I'm curled up in front of the roaring fireplace beside Lochlan, who decided to catch up on his reading and won't let me leave because every time I do something bad happens.

Not sure that yesterday was so bad but he's going to keep me with him nevertheless.

Caleb calls me and Lochlan's face twists slightly but not enough to admonish him for.

Bridget, you need to sign these papers. 

Send a raven. I will look them over when I feel up to it. 

Oh my fuck. This isn't Game of Thrones. You're keeping everyone hanging. Lawyers are expensive. 

So are princesses, Diabhal! 

Yes, I'm well aware. I'm trying to keep the peace, make you happy and get you better,  I would have thought you'd be more willing. 

Hey, you said the same thing in Vegas once, only instead of trying to get me better, you were trying to get me drunk and wondered why I wasn't more willing. Do you remember?

What does that have to do with this? 

More than you realize. 

I hang up on him and Lochlan bursts out laughing. 'Send a raven'. You do realize he could have easily countered with 'Send a dwarf'. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Dissolute (no one's project girl).

Are you finished with your voice lessons and ready to get some very important things looked after today?

Yes, Mr. C____. 

He paused but he didn't look amused. Bridget, I'm not in the mood for the brat today. I know that's a rare occurrence but now is not the time for your nonsense. This isn't the circus, this is the boardroom. 

This isn't the boardroom, this is the boathouse. Oh! By the way! Did I tell you I'm drawing a map of the property?

You can tell me later. Let's go, we have a lot to get done. 

I walk into the living room and there are lawyers everywhere. One of them is mine. Oh, wait. Two of them are mine. My heart sinks. He's taking Henry.

But Caleb sees the look on my face and is almost as fast as my anxiety is loud.

This has nothing to do with our arrangement. Except to say I tried to keep you shielded from this and I've reached a place where that is no longer possible. 

What do you mean?

He took me back outside to tell me privately, holding my hands, watching my eyes as I went from sure he was lying to sure he was dying within minutes.

Although he assured me he isn't going anywhere, he really has to take better care of himself. The stress of trying to manage all of this isn't helping and so he's going to take some of my unending suggestions and simplify, liquify and rearrange his holdings so that it's easy to handle but perfectly secure. The board will be dissolved. My proposal comes to me as a done deal even though I've done nothing to deserve it.

I nod and then tears are rolling heavily down my cheeks and I make no move to hide them. Every time I cut him off it seems he hurts a little more. This is my fault. I must be the heartbreaker.

You are, he laughs with glassy eyes, answering my reasoning out loud. And the fact that you continually defer or bank, ignore and sometimes outright refuse my money only serves to confirm that you are the one who should have it. 

Are you dying. I don't ask questions anymore, I just brace myself for the worst with statements, dry and bitter. I literally square my shoulders and lock my knees and when I look at him he is a bit covered with glitter and with sad and with resignation too.

Someday yes but not soon, if that's what you're worried about. 

You can't die ever. You're not allowed. I bend over to pick up all of the pieces of Bridget that are suddenly popping off everywhere and scattering all over the floor.

I know. I know I can't but I will someday and I'm going to see that when the time comes you are well-equipped to deal with it.

What do you mean?

Bridget, it's begun to dawn on me that no one has been able to fix you yet. So I'm going to. I have things at my disposal that no one else does and a history with you no one else shares or even knows all that much about. I figure I am the best suited to helping you get better.


Less prone to burst into tears and run off to sit on the rock wall in the pouring rain when you catch a surprise memory of Jacob. 

Hell, I do that when I have a rough time flossing my teeth these days, I think it's a universal-Bridget-thing, not a Jake-thing. 

Then I have my work cut out for me. 

Oh, this sounds relaxing and stress-free for you! Yay!  What about Loch?

What about him? I am entitled and encouraged to spend time with you. He can retch and moan all he likes, that won't change. 

It won't work, you know. 

I've tried everything else. Literally everything, Princess. Let's just take it as it comes and see what happens. 

You can't fix me. Besides, I'm not yours to fix. 

You as much mine as anyone's. A group project. Collective effort. 

No, I'm not. 

But you are.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Cover me.

And through it all
He offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call
He won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead
Caleb asked me to come down and go over even more paperwork yesterday and after all manner of threats, coercion and yelling between he and Lochlan both I finally just went, just to keep the peace. Just so the kids don't have to come home and find their fathers at each other's throats once again because some things never change and all of their attempts to get along are nothing more than selfish means to ends.

I went but further assuage the hearts at home I wore red and I refused to look at anything. I lay on the floor in the living room and blasted Angels on repeat, practicing my singing and God help the Devil, he didn't touch the stereo, instead eventually leaving. I remained there until the sun went down and then I sat up and went home. I left the song on just so as not to go quietly into the night and all that.

He sent a message to me late tonight ordering me to try again tomorrow but to leave Jessica at home.

I'm still deciding if I'm going to do that. Maybe I'll bring Robbie instead. Because it's his song, not Jessica's. Yeesh.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Wool & wood & frost.

He has a thirty-five-year-old cableknit sweater in a shade of oatmeal-ivory that I can't replicate in order to properly darn the elbows and underarms and when he wears it his hair is virtual fire. Today is definitely a sweater day as he comes in from chopping wood. They take turns, mostly but Lochlan is the one who seems to actually look forward to it. He comes inside with bits of wood hanging off his sleeves and mixed in his curls but he looks energized, puffed up. PJ walks past him and squeezes his arms, letting out a high-pitched squeal and a giggle and then the rest of us begin to laugh because we did not expect that.

He shakes PJ off and comes over to hug me. He smells like cedar and hemlock and salt. I don't think there's a better smell out there for a man and five years ago I would have said something else, perhaps.

Wood's done. I'm not stacking it though.

I don't blame you. You didn't have to do all of it.

We're good until spring.

I pour him a hot cup of coffee. I can hold things again. I can manage a little better each day.

He ignores the coffee and pulls me back in against him. He's a solid wall. I don't know where the muscles came from. He's always been ridiculously strong-armed but it was invisible strength and that's no longer the case. His neck is wider, his shoulders impossibly hard. The sweater is doomed.

We should go back to bed.

Still got some wood to finish up, do we? I swat him with the dish towel and forget there's a row of boys at the island eating breakfast. They are all studying their dishes and trying not to laugh. I blush pink and try and be really busy cleaning up for a few minutes but it's still frustrating, it takes forever.

Everyone's been great, almost better since Asher came and went only he didn't actually go, he's still here, but as a guest and not an employee until I figure out what to do. Batman is patiently waiting for my decisions and I don't actually think Asher has anywhere else to go, honestly so we've been including him at dinner and for movie nights and morning patio lounging though it's cold enough for frost here so the heaters have been on outside. I still go out and so does everyone else. The sunrise is so late so why not?

Hence all of the wood-chopping because it's always so dim and dark here. I could pay extra to have it delivered already split but if the alternative is Lochlan looking like this then I think next time I'll just tell them to bring us the trees whole.

Friday, 3 January 2014

I figure I will last about a week. Two, tops.

(Thoughts on formal resolutions this year tended to fall on a helpless kind of ennui about whether or not it's effective to get fired up about some big change only to find out it's an unwelcome, unsustainable chore. 

Or bore, as it were. 

So instead I'm trying something different.)

In 2014 I will have:

A little less structure: An effort to not follow a schedule, pick up every dirty dish I pass or plan meals within an inch of my life. Over Christmas we skipped lunch on purpose two days in a row and the world didn't end or anything.

A little more time with Sam working away at anxiety now that we (I?) have grief under control (NOT SURE WHO JUST WROTE THAT): He's going to help me figure out how I can think myself into a panic just by being me and how to not be me anymore. I can't wait to see who I am when all this is done. I hope they like her. 

(Of course they'll like her. Bridget, but without all of her debilitating doubt? Hell, I might just steal her for myself). 

A little less: alcohol 

A little more: sleep. 

A little more time spent on doing exactly what I want to do: For example, I want to make a little felt case for my headphones. I've wanted to do this for weeks but I got sidetracked making little felt ornaments for Christmas and then I didn't want to see any fucking felt after that. 

A break from the Devil: The last time I attempt this I made it five years and would have made it further but then Cole's heart stopped and my plan went out the window. I didn't say I don't need Caleb, I just need him to be less like Cole, if that makes any sense at all. Cold turkeys aren't the best turkeys but I am minding my time carefully with him.

Some new shirts: because comfort and also skulls. I need new skulls. They all have names, did you know that? I use the boys' middle names mostly but sometimes I make up new ones and then everyone is suspicious until they realize I'm talking about a sweater. 

A drawing a day: I did it before and filled two sketchbooks. Now I have five new sketchbooks and haven't done a thing. 

More walks on the beach, dinners out and special time with each child and boy: Ruth seems to need me and hardly ever need me, Henry needs me to direct him a little more and bail him out less, as in he needs man-chores without the inevitable list of questions that I answer instead of letting him solve on his own. If I remove myself from his available list of answers he tends to figure things out quite nicely. I feel like I don't even know half the people I live with anymore from trying to bite around the edges of my own reality for so long. And I've hardly been down to the beach these past few months at all. 

It ain't right, I tell you.

More breathing deeply: less blacking out! This is purely a selfish plan on my part.

More coffee: Because fuck it, coffee's good and trying not to drink it just leaves me...well, cold and sort of sleepy.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Resolutions tomorrow.

Today I actually got up, put on some clothes, helped untrim the Christmas tree and drank the last glass of cheap champagne. We took the wreaths off the doors and garage and the antlers off PJ's jeep (he doesn't know yet) and put them on New Jake's motorcycle (he doesn't know either). Lochlan helped me with laundry and Andrew and Gage looked after vacuuming and scrubbing bathrooms.

Which...they should have left the vacuuming until after Ben drags the tree outside but I didn't have the heart to point that out because they're helping. 

Helping's good. 

Henry won't share his Christmas chocolate, Andrew has a worse cold than mine and Lochlan's accent seems thicker than ever. Every time I ask him to repeat himself as he mutters into his collar he barks at me to put my ears on. Then he smiles, as if he's being helpful, sweet cad that he is. 

He sounds like Jake. I should tell him, but I don't have the heart for that either. I drowned my heart yesterday and it hasn't recovered so I left it on the shelf to dry and decided I would go up and fetch it before dinner. Maybe it will shrink. Maybe the color will run. God knows it hasn't behaved in any expected fashion since I sewed it back together with the thick black cord so I should expect any manner of surprises. 

Ben is awake now, it seems. He goes through weird stages where he seemingly sleeps for days and in my condition I basically said fuck it and joined him. 

And it was lovely. I sneezed into his chest and it all came back and showered me. He laughed in his sleep as he clutched me against him, also a rare treat since he sleeps like a corpse. We didn't move from that for hours. I needed it more than I realized. I need him more than I realize. I need them both, wrapped around me like a cage made of everything I ever wanted. 

We have a date to meet back there at nine tonight, once the day has wound down to a soft tick on a forgotten clock, the soft thump-thump of a rain and champagne soaked heart and the never-ending, always-present sound that seems like ghosts breathing but probably just means I should put my ears in already.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Fire eats oxygen (and blood runs red).

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

If you love me
Won't you let me know?
A blur of illness, injury, emotional tidal waves and hesitant touches saw 2014 ushed in this time around with copious amounts of pink champagne keeping me from choking on the weather all around me. The cold pushed back against the abbreviated light, putting a frost on the fires that threatened to burn so bright we might all go blind.

The waves crashed relentlessly against my heart as I lay in my bed at the very top of the house on the cliff this time and I let them. I failed to climb out from under the fur blankets and I failed to acknowledge whole days and I slept little but mostly escaped. I failed to engage, as they call it.

And I'm not sorry.