Monday, 30 June 2014

A whole lotta nothing.

Today brings a shiny new twenty-four-hour chip for Duncan and a big sigh of relief that everyone came around. I held mirrors up to their faces so they could see him in themselves and pointed out the identical features, the common bonds, the easy rationalization of a band of brothers who have spent too long watching too carefully. I gave them all outs today. Reminders that they are free to go, that maybe this isn't the spare utopia they envisioned in which we would be safe and be together and that's okay. That I can help as much as they need with financials and references and employment even, because I know the right people. Indignantly, obnoxiously, I was refused, time and time again as each boy took a turn accusing me of wondering if they had any self control, especially in light of recent revelations and how dare I question their character when I was the one who helped them construct it over the years.

Crushes are just that and they ebb and flow like the tides and we've made another mountain where a molehill would have sufficed.

And so we tore down the mountain and I had a good long think and I know everyone else did too and maybe it's just another test, another hurdle to jump, another drama to play out until people are tired of attending the same show over and over and then we'll switch the theme again. I talked until my lips were blue and my head hurt and I assured them over and over that I know what crushes are and I know their value and no one has anything to worry about and Lochlan after far too long nodded and said he isn't worried, in all honesty but he thanked me for softening the blows I landed on Duncan with a little bit of affection mixed in because he's very low down and needed that, even if it was misspent hope or a gentle wish or whatever. It was the truth. I would have gotten around to him, I swear but Ben got in the way and never got back out of it and then he gave me Loch and then they gave me the Devil every now and again and really my hands are full while my brain is a small child wandering unbidden into the road but otherwise I'm doing okay and we've come so far.

I've come so far.

This isn't the first time a friend has confessed that they don't want to be friends if there's a chance they can be more. It might be the first time it doesn't send me down a rabbit hole of full-life-destruction though, much to Duncan's dismay. So we'll let it ride. Just leave it alone and he'll either figure out how to quiet his feelings or he'll leave and I'll miss him desperately. I'm prepared for either eventuality. Like I said before, I hardly ever cry anymore lately and I only lie through my teeth when it's really important that I tell the truth so take it for what it's worth. Nothing to you and everything to me.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

(No one was very happy when I just went ahead, talked to Duncan while the rest of them were still sleeping and then solely decided that he's not going to be made to leave. But I had to skin all of them alive to make them see why.

Here's the thing. He's their brother. He's one of us. He's special and you don't just rip someone from their home because they drank too much and spilled some secrets that should have never seen the light of day!

That was countered with some incredible sharp, pointy comments on how my ego runs this show and I'm stacking up future emergency man supplies.)

Oh, well then. Let's fight. Because if you think I've ever reduced any of you to meat-status and your friendship doesn't trump every damn other thing then you don't know me at all. You can't run a collective on sex. Jesus Christ. What kind of machine do you think I am? Better yet, what kind of monster?

But thanks for trivializing, minimizing and pretty much dismissing everything good about me. Ironic how you're doing precisely what I would never dream of.

Conversations made of cellophane.

Duncan is still not sober so I joined him for a few this morning because hey, who doesn't want whiskey for breakfast?

 He is six-two, close to a hundred and seventy pounds. I'm five feet tall and wavering somewhere between ninety-five and a hundred, I don't know but I lasted through two of his drinks and then I was toast and the real talking began, locked on the front porch, the only private place in which to have a conversation without a lot of indignant hotheaded husbands/brothers/uncles/sugardaddies taking over. Besides, I needed him to be honest, not defensive and I've never thrown a punch at Duncan so I figured I had the best chance of sorting him out and keeping the peace besides.

I asked him what happened to recovery and he asked me what the point of it was, that it was less frustrating to be shitfaced all the time and then he cared less. I asked him why he suddenly cared so much and he said it wasn't sudden in the least and he thought with my crushing on him all the time that it wouldn't have taken so long but here he is years later, years older, doing the same dead-end jobs, taking the same trips, suffering through the same detox, and alone. If I crush so hard and he's so cool, then where's the love?

(Daggers through my chest. That's where it is, it all poured out through those holes you just made, Duncan.)

This was designed to make your life easier-

How? I can't bring a girl home! Jesus, what am I supposed to do? This isn't a normal existence.

You don't bring them here..I don't know. Do what Dalton does! Or PJ.

You want to know how fucked up Padraig is from you?

Do what Dalton does. I repeat myself.

Dalton doesn't do anything. He talks so big. Bridget, he hasn't fucked anyone in years. He yanks himself to a picture of you every night and picks a name for her to tell you lies later on. It's all bullshit. No one here is happy. Jesus, look at Ben.

Oh, tell me about Ben before I kick your ass.

But Duncan laughs and takes another drink and just shakes his head.

That's what I thought.

How well do you really know these guys, Bridget? Are you so blind that you can't see the lineup out your fucking door? We wait for Ben to crack, for Loch to get fed up and disappear off to his precious freakshow again, we wait for Sam to really be realllllly fucking sure he's switched sides and then we wait some more. Sometimes we're number one to you and sometimes we're last but the lineup still goes right up around the point.

Do you want to stay?

I want to be here but it seems the price for your happiness is my own.

Then go. Live your life. The door is always open. I don't want you here if it isn't where you want to be.

Or we could have an arrangement.

I can't sleep with you.

Why not? Is it that I don't interest you in that way or because your schedule is full?

I need to go in.

Help a guy out and answer the question. You've done a solid number on my ego over the past few years, grant me that much.

I sit back down and he passes me the rest of his drink which I finish in one swallow. Great. I can't feel my ears and I'm about to break his heart. I should lie. I should make some shit up. I should take the easy way out but when have I ever done that? I opt for half and half.

If Ben hadn't gotten under my skin I would have picked you.

That so? Well, I wouldn't have shared you with anyone. He's fucking insane.

I don't know if I ever gave him a choice.

So I was next.

You were next but you're you. One minute you're the biggest clown in the room and the next you're the ice-king. Too cool for school. I never know which one I'm crushing on.

He laughs. Not your fault I don't have my shit together.

Are we good or is everything going to be weird now?

Weird, as always. This is you we're talking about, correct?

Should I dissolve it. End the whole thing? Disband the collective?

Naw. It's special, what we have here. It's just not the cakewalk everyone imagines it should be. Sometimes it's hard. It's hard to watch you be surrounded by people, know that you feel alone anyway and think I'm the one who could fix it. 

I don't feel alone. I have you guys here. You're why I get up in the morning. 

Pretty sure Loch's neverending teenage libido is why you get up in the morning. 

Shhhhhh, Poet. Don't wake the beast.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Good is subjective.

You know the heart beneath the waves
The one that I was trying to save
The one that almost slipped away was mine

I was sinking at such pace
Holding breath beneath the waves
The time it takes to compensate is up

I see the waves
And the time it takes for me to be saved
And its easily the most powerful thing I've ever seen
And you have to know
I couldn't see it here on my own
And you have to know
I couldn't see it here all alone
Today will be a wrap-up of some cliffhanger trains of thought. No time to waste. It's Saturday and the boys want to see the new Transformers movie. I want to watch Wolf Creek 2 and Willow Creek and have a scarefest. It's a standoff.


Sam got some new clothes. We're really really proud of him. He looks so good. Like when you pour caramel on a vanilla scoop kind of good. Matt finally convinced him that the map of Poland buckle needed to be retired, I told him he looked a hot mess and he grinned until I pointed out it wasn't a compliment. We steered him toward wrinkle-free summerweight pants and some gorgeous shirt colors that highlight that beautiful hair of his. Matt's going to be beating the church ladies off Sam with a stick, sort of the way Sam fielded endless questions about Jacob's relationship status back in the day.

Well, back in the day when Jake was alive.

Jake never had any style either. I think it goes with the territory. God first, self last or something. But damn, some of Sam's jeans were ancient. Like high school ancient and he said everything that is new is nice and feels good. He'll be more comfortable and I'll be less inclined to straighten his collars and remind him he's missing buttons/zipper pulls/the fact that there are holes in everything.

He said You're good to me, Bridget. You're a good person. A good girl. I nodded but didn't reply.


Caleb's appointment downtown was met, after all the fuss and it wasn't anything to do with the board. It was at the bank, where I had to sign for my own black card. With my name on it. And not even his last name, for once. It says B R Reilly on it and there is no limit. He said he grew tired of reaching for his card and not finding it, as I made pinching it a hobby for fun but then I would forget to give it back.

I started to ask questions and he squeezed my elbow just hard enough to make me turn it rhetorical so I waited until we were back in the car.

Why would they give this card to someone without a job? 

It's tied to my account. 

So you have to pay the balance?

Yes. Anything you charge will be on my statement, under your number. 

So you can keep tabs on me? And also what if I just go and clean out Louis Vuitton tomorrow?

I can already keep tabs on you quite easily, and Vuitton isn't your thing. I don't foresee any problems with this arrangement, it's simply easier for both of us if you have a card of your own. 

This arrangement?

You get the things you need, I take care of the bills. 



Are we formal now?

We've been formal for four years, I thought. 


I didn't say anything else for the rest of the ride home and it wasn't until I came inside that I remembered I forgot to say Thank you so I called him and told him and he laughed and said, Don't thank me. As I've said, you're a good girl. I just want to make things easier. 

But I could hear the smile as he said it.


Ben is mostly over his outrage. He's asked a lot of questions and punched a lot of walls but really there's no blame to place anymore and it has no bearing on anything. It doesn't affect me when I'm with Caleb and Ben and so he's agreed to just leave it woven into the tapestry that is my life instead of grasping the thread and pulling until the whole thing unravels. Besides, I pointed out it made me brave and crazy once we joined the circus proper, something I might never have done had I continued to lead such a protected, sheltered life under Lochlan's watch. Loch snorts when I say it and says if anything I was always the brave, adventurous one and he's still surprised to this day that I ever listened as well as I did. I pointed out I'm a good girl and he nodded, defocused and said Yeah, you are. 

The best, Ben repeats. We're very lucky. 


Duncan hit the floor hard, falling from the wagon when he hit a bump, laughing too loud and I knew he was drunk when he came home. He called for me and I was already there, standing to his left, just behind Andrew, who frowned and put his arm up to block me. Duncan saw that and lit in to both of us with a rant that left me wondering about the state of his presence here at all, as he railed against the alpha hierarchy and remarked on how he didn't know he was going to be a monk, and maybe I could make the rounds a little bit, keep them all happy, doing my bidding like a proper queen and then he laughed and said, Oh, right, she's not a queen, she's only a princess. Be a good girl and service your knights! And then Dalton knocked him out for his own good and sat there on his brother's legs, apologizing to me until I finally spat Enough. You didn't do anything!

But Dalton said he's been listening to Duncan complain about the state of the collective for years and didn't alert anyone because he was hoping his big brother would just grow up or drop it or something. We'll have a family meeting tomorrow when Dunk is sober and talk about things. I'll have to strap them all in their chairs.


We saw this last week shopping and Lochlan brought it home this morning, because we needed a shitty wafflemaker that makes a ridiculously inefficient number of waffles over an even more ridiculously long time period.

But really those issues pale if I can decimate a plateful of clowns for breakfast. I mean, there's so many in this house. I bit their heads off first, so they wouldn't suffer. I'm a good girl like that.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Can't start without me cause I'm the boss.

I've been lounging on Ben's lap in one of the big Adirondack chairs all morning. It's raining fairly hard. We don't care. He keeps twisting ends off of Pixy Stix and pouring them into my mouth. He poured one into my ear and then stuck his tongue in there and then he made a face and I laughed. The wind picked up and all the sugar flew sideways into my hair, sandblasting my face and showering him but all he did was chuckle and reach for a few more paper straws. My lips are coated with pink sugar. He has it in his hair. He drops the remaining ruined candy and takes my face in both hands. The smile leaves his face.

Bridget, you're wet.

My eyebrows go up and my mouth twists slightly but I don't think the punchline here is required. I start shivering. It isn't warm.

He laughs anyway. We should go in? 

No, we should stay here. 

So I get the cold romance and he gets all the hot parts?

Is that what you think?

Hell, no. 

Then why did you say that?

Because now every time I want to touch you I have to stop, drop and roll first. Unintended side effect of being in a marriage with the pyromaniac. 

I wince when he says it and he catches me. You realize he's going to call you Frankenben for the rest of the weekend.

Then proactively, Bridget,  I'll kick his ass. 

No you won't. 

Who will stop me?

I will! 

HAHAHA. How, exactly?

Sugar gives me superhuman strength. 

Prove it. Get up. 

Oh, that's easy. See? I-  I fight to stand up but he won't let me.

See what? 

Not fair. 

Sure it's fair. Sugar is no match for FRANKENBEN! He licks the entire side of my face, across my forehead and down the other side. When I open my eyes he's grinning at me.

I didn't expect you to be so delicious, Sugargirl! 

That's Sugarbaby, if you're splitting hairs. Caleb is standing at the bottom of the stairs. He looks incredibly unimpressed. His umbrella drips in a circle around him. It's pouring now.

I should be splitting skulls. Ben whispers to me. He winks, kisses my cheeks and lets me up.

I walk right past Caleb, ignoring him completely. He calls out behind me, We have an appointment, Princess. We're beyond late. 

Then cancel it due to rain!

I go in and run right up stairs. I need to shower and start over. What a mess. I rush into our bathroom and smack into Loch who is just coming out, combing his hair, clean and showered and what I should have been an hour ago.

He grins when he sees me, soaked to the skin, pink glittered sweetness, unable to stop smiling. What are you doing?

Ben and I were out in the rain eating candy! I think I missed a meeting and now Caleb is in trouble because of me.

He grins wider and plants a kiss on my incredibly filthy, sticky face. So it's a good day. 

Yeah, it is.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Breach (2014 Bear sighting #5).

I was electrocuted for NOTHING.

Last night the bears crawled over the stone wall from the house next door and sniffed around the driveway and the backyard for over an hour. I watched from the balcony. They left empty handed. I always feel so bad for them. I want to run out and barbecue them some steaks and say Here! Eat this and now climb the mountains to the top and live up there where you're safe! but I know that isn't how things would go. Soon they'd start trying doorknobs, telling their friends, marking their calendars. It's Thursday so Bridget's probably grilling steaks because by the end of the week she's a lazy little fuck with cooking so come on, line up right here behind me!

This morning Caleb stood out back with his hands in his pockets and said I'm going to have to do the front of the other property too and drive the bears back up toward the highway. I frowned and he turned to me and said, It has nothing to do with water, does it? Your preferred method will be death by mauling. 

John gave him a shove and got a warning. I had to spit out a warning of my own to Caleb but I did so in gaelic mostly because I was hoping he had forgotten certain things. I bet wrong.

I feel like I'm managing a daycare here some times. You know that?

You don't have to stay. 

Wherever you go, I go, he says and Daniel excuses himself to go inside. He holds up his coffee cup as his savior. Anyone want a refill? But I know he's not coming back out until Caleb goes.

It's fairly early for people to be running from you, Diabhal. Good job.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lullabies and ceaseless roars of my own (SWP is TEN today!)

Last night Loch kissed my fingers and lit them on fire. He's not supposed to do that indoors but I didn't say a word, I just lay there and smelled like smoke and counted stars that I could see through the open balcony doors and bumped against the weight of Ben as he slept hard in spite of our efforts to make that impossible.

This morning he said if we go too far and light the bed on fire he's enough of a heavy sleeper and far too big of a man to be easily rescued and maybe he should up his life insurance a little. I frowned and he laughed and said he was kidding, that something so beautiful couldn't hurt anyone.

That's what Loch said to me the first time he transferred fire to me. That's what Caleb said to me the first time I threatened to pay back the Brothers Grim for their efforts over the years.

Fire is beautiful. I've been surrounded by it all my life. I'm not afraid. There have been few accidents and little permanent scarring from the silent, hypnotic flames.

This morning everyone is up and in smart-casual because it's graduation day, even though the teachers strike rages on and there will be no ceremonies at school, no final chance for exchanging yearbooks to sign, no marks, no report cards. Ruth starts grade ten...holy shit. We made a certificate for Henry since he's leaving Elementary school forever behind. He's in high school now, can you believe it?

Me neither. He was almost three when I started this journal.

And on that news, today marks a decade of writing here, across six different machines no less because I type really, uncharacteristically fast and hard. Happy birthday (anniversary?) to my blog, Saltwater Princess, one of the few places where I always feel safe, no matter what. I'll toast to my damn own self, because I currently exist in the center of a circle made of people who would rather see me drown this website in gasoline, throw down a match and make a bonfire out of all the words I've etched into the screen over the years.

No thanks. I think I'll keep going. Not sure I ever knew where I was going with it but I'll know when I get there. I never needed an audience but somehow I have one anyway, like with everything I do, so as always thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

If you really loved me then you'd know I'm not a diamonds kind of gal.

(Hey look. Pretty sure I've written this in some form already.)

The tiny box pushed is pushed across the island this morning. It's early. Sam is up and gone to work, it'll be another hour before PJ or the kids get up and I think Loch and Ben will sleep all day. I left the windows up and our bedroom is cool and breezy and dark.

So I get breakfast with the Devil which he is delighted about in spite of the fact that it wouldn't have been his favorite part if I stayed and I didn't realize how much he actually covets sleeping with me. Actually sleeping, not the other thing. Cuddling down and finding dreams. Letting go.

Lochlan's going to exploit the fuck out of this for the rest of our lives and I could have really used this information back in our Vegas days when I would easily black out on broken champagne glasses, orphan dollar bills and betting chips. 

I've seen this box before.

I think you've earned a bonus. You gave me exactly what I wanted and you didn't talk back once.

I pull the ribbon and open the lid. The diamond earrings. I frown at him. I don't want earrings. Ben just eats them. I hate the way they feel anyway.

These are to replace the one Ben ate and if necessary you could use them to barter with in a post-apocalyptic situation.

You definitely spend too much time in this house. And besides, the ones he ate weren't real. Just glass.

Bridget, I'd like you to have some nice things.

I do. My boys are so beautiful. My children are perfect. I need nothing else. Some of my memories are beyond compare. I dream on a Ferris Wheel every night and I've seen almost everything there is to see. I don't need a flashy pair of earrings because then you may as well hang that Sugarbaby sign right around my neck.

I grow weary of seeing you in questionable quality jewelry. It reflects on me.

Then look at someone else. Also wow. You're a shallow dick this morning. From the fire to the ashes, I see. Which is it? Are they so I can have nice things or are they to make you look good?

Neither. They're a mistake, I gather.

Yes they are. Take them back.

I can't. Your initials are engraved on the backs.

You can have that filed off and pawn them. You probably used the wrong letters anyway.

Who's oozing with class now?

I never claimed to care. I cut my teeth on the freakshow, or have you forgotten?

I wish I could. You won't let me.

It's the only ammunition I've GOT.

PJ walks in rubbing his eyes. Cale, if I have to toss you out could you at least pull this a little later? I'll wear the earrings and be your baby. Just don't you touch my ass.

Caleb stands up, puts the box in his pocket and kisses the top of my head, telling me he'll come back when I've woken up a little. He nods at PJ on his way out and PJ pantomimes running after him with his arms outstretched, making me laugh.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A girl named Monday.

The wind drove me out of the vineyard this afternoon and the rain followed it, chasing me right up the path, up the steps and in through the glass doors in a halo of tangled blonde.  I shut and locked the door behind me and made a cup of tea, ignored all the messages piling up on my phone and decided that yes, I still hate Mondays. I stuck my face in the back of PJ's flannel shirt as he washed up at the kitchen sink and asked him if I could just hide behind him for a day or maybe a month or two but I wouldn't take up any room, I swear. He laughed, giving me a hug, pointing out he thinks he knows that sometimes I miss sitting in the cupboard where no one could find me but where eventually they all knew to look. I nodded. I sure do. I miss it more than he realizes. He speed dials Sam and Sam walks down the hall in bare feet and cargo pants and a white t-shirt, holding his phone and smiling and I feel like I'm in a laundry commercial. Sam ticks through his gentle list of What I Can Do and I follow his instructions, breathing in the long way so I don't swoon on my feet. He tells me Monday will soon be over.

Oh well, good, then. I really don't like her at all.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Polyevil (about last night).

Lochlan was convinced slowly and with a lot of cajoling. Come with me. I'm going anyway, I'd rather have you there. He protests, he wishes he could keep me home, he'd rather have Batman cover the difference and owe him whatever it takes instead of putting me at risk but then I stop cold in my tracks and remind him that he would never wish for that once he thought about it for any length of time.

Besides, this works. This isn't so bad. A little Soul & Cole. A little break from the ordinary that helps cement how safe we are most of the time, a little bend with the Devil to secure our future as a collective because as I always remind them, I wanted to make the collective and I always knew what the price would be.

But once there I still can't get Lochlan to come inside the boat where it's slightly warmer and dimly lit. He's on deck with a beer and a few words for Ben but mostly he's tense and unyielding and fraught with a quiet reluctance that's clouding the night. Caleb goes to refresh his drink and shakes his hand and I know he's making promises and he's doing that horrible, charming hypnotizing talk where he makes you feel at ease. It's the Devil's specialty and this is the only time he uses it.

It's too late to turn back and I take a deep breath as the Devil turns back to me and everything else disappears. He is polarizing, striking, captivating. All the things he sees in me. All the words he uses. Only I have no words when he touches me. They just go away.

His eyes flash in the dark and I feel the heat in my cheeks. He presses his forehead down against mine. You finally came to me. He brings my fingers up and kisses them and then he pulls my chin up to kiss me softly. Barely.

Stay the night with me. 

We can't. 

Just you. 

Ben says his name from beyond the screen door. It's a warning. Those aren't the terms. If I stay he falls in love with me and so it's just better if I don't. I have a hard time holding the hearts that I have now. Besides, Ben won't let me out of his sight. I tell him this is for him because he likes to see things that exist only in his wildest dreams because that's how Ben lives but he also knows I wouldn't only do this for him, that I'm just as selfish when it comes to ghosts and also selfish enough to bargain for the life of my boys as we live it now. It's not that high a price to pay, and it's not as often as it once was. But it's still a tiny bit of Cole when Cole was good and it's a little more security for my little fucked up family, for I once said I would find a way to make things easier for everyone and dammit, I think I did, even if it's a way that brings me nothing but shame.

Shame is what I see reflected in Loch's eyes when I am safely back in the big bedroom with just Lochlan and Ben. Loch inspects every inch of my skin and my heart inside before proclaiming me undamaged and then he takes me too, pushing Ben away, drowning me in kisses, leaving me breathless and hurting and exhausted. He keeps me pressed against him when I can no longer stay awake at all. I hear him call Caleb and he tells him I just fell asleep right where I belong, in his arms and that Caleb can never have that. He hangs up and smiles in the dark and I want to tell him not to be such a drag but I can't wake up enough to form the words.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

I like my songs with singers.

I think I've figured that much out. Instrumental jazz like last night with The Gordon Grdina Trio, John Scofield and Medeski Martin & Wood for the kickoff of the Vancouver Jazz Festival wooed me something fierce but I kept thinking the whole time they would all be so much more killer if they just had singers.

I know. I'm an incredibly green jazz fan. So wet behind the ears if you tell me a genre secret you'll slip and fall. I'm a predictably safe jazz fan. Glenn Miller, Ella, Louis. Mainstream, soft and friendly, over-quickly jazz.  Last night was over three hours of incredibly complex listening, rising, falling, give and taking, crazy-making jazz, let me tell you.

I did get to try another new pub too and I also got a refresher course on the art of precisely how fucking dirty Granville street is.  The thing about Vancouver is it tends to be so busy looking at the pretty scenery beyond the skyline that it fails to notice how dirty the window is that it's looking through.

And that's too bad.

But I did really love finally getting to see some serious jazz, even if I know nothing about it, and I got to groove down and out between the masters of music and money while doing so, because Caleb took Ben and I as his guests and yes, of course he wanted something. He always wants something and that something is always me but as a front he said he wanted a one-on-one (HA) chance to talk to Ben personally about everything that transpired between when I turned twelve up until after I got electrocuted. His goal for the night was to make it up to Ben using me, or something that made more sense in his fast talk at the theater than it did in his sheets later on.

Friday, 20 June 2014


When he took my chin in his hand I figured I was about to get another face-to-face can't-get-away-from-me-now-Bridgie lecture but instead he tipped my face way up and kissed a spot just under my jaw.

My knees liquified and I haven't been the same since. But that's how Lochlan and I seem to fight and then make up. Ben came around too, eventually and we went out last evening to celebrate and came home to celebrate a little more. Maybe it's one of those times when we can just breathe a sigh of relief. House is full up. Everyone's okay. The kids are loving the teachers strike. Duncan's employed. Joel hasn't been murdered. No one's killed Bridget yet either. Caleb's eating crow for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Ben is celebrating his AA birthday today.

One whole year. 

This morning Sam put his hand out straight against Ben's forehead and prayed for him and we all watched in awe. Ben is only very receptive to God if he's channeled through Sam and Sam is the closest thing Ben will ever have to seeing success in the program. Duncan is watching with interest because he's only just started and Loch didn't even choose to continue because he and God aren't so close and he'd much rather do it on his own. Loch has an incredible sense of self-discipline I've yet to see in any of the others. He was always older than his years and rarely prone to making a mess of himself that he couldn't clean up easily.

But some of us aren't that good at being independent, honestly and there's more like us than like him.

Everyone's shaking Ben's hand. They can be so formal and it makes Ben blush sometimes as they call him brother with so much love in their voices, love in their eyes.  They pound him on the back and clap him on the shoulders and throw their arms around him and he feels really humbled by this. So he should. Please make it stick.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

No more promises, no more keeping score
No more wondering what I stay here for
We broke the awkward silence with polite and practiced lies
But we were just preparing our goodbyes
I'm listening to Phish's new album Fuego today. It's streaming on the NPR website and I am being generously humored because it's as good as Hoist and I keep cranking the speakers up louder and louder. PJ already left and Caleb arrived in his place, lured over after hearing the notes floating on the heavy post-rain salt air, bent on more apologies and further reintegration into a broken and disjointed household.

I'm thinking this is perfect sunny-day long road trip music when he says, This is perfect road trip music. 

My brain wants to take him in that second and darken his hair and his eyes ever so slightly, give him that slow mean smile that used to be deployed like a weapon and call him Cole but my heart isn't even in good-enough condition to flex and include anyone else, not even Caleb. It's too busted up, too patched-together so instead I tell him that I have plans with Loch for the afternoon and there's Loch now, coming in to the library as if on cue.

Caleb asks Loch what our plans are and Loch screws us both by deferring, saying we don't have any plans today. Caleb feels worse because I lied and I feel worse because not only does Caleb think I lied to him, I know that Loch lied to him just to make both of us feel bad.


Also shitty.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Just a little longer.

I will travel the distance in your eyes
Interstellar light years from you
Supernova will fuse when we collide
Awaking in the light of all the stars aligned
This song is crack to my brain, Starset's Telescope.You put in your best earphones and turn it up all the way and stand outside in the driving wind, closing your eyes. You just listen. It's how I get to know music. Don't fault me, it's the only way I can hear it. Concerts have become a frustrating experience in finding out repeatedly that no, the mix isn't muddy, I'm losing what I have left.

Everyone gives me their most prolific sympathy faces and I stand there pointing out so belligerently that it could be worse, it could be my eyes.

I can do deaf. I'll sing no matter what, I'll play the songs on the radio in my mind but you can't fake sight. You just can't see. It would always be dark out and that scares the life right out of me.

So I stole Ben's monitors that he uses when he's recording, the ones I'm strictly forbidden from touching and I went outside to listen and I got through five or six tries and I realized that sometimes when my brain sings my soul overhears it and I somehow summoned the devil.

I take out the monitors but I don't turn. I wait, studying my shoes. Studying the waves.

It's been weeks, Bridget. We have a lot to discuss. What does a man have to do to see you? 

Sing like an angel. I put the monitors back in and press play.

When I check next (two more rounds) he is gone but Loch is sitting on the steps, smoking a stolen cigarette, wearing his top hat, stifling a shit-eating grin. I can't help myself but I smile back at him so evilly I'm surprised I don't burst into flames.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Transcriptions and telescopes.

You’re out there
I hear you calling from behind the star fields
I feel you radiating energy like eternal northern lights

Far from the the sun
Where no one knows
I’ve watched you from my telescope
When I opened my eyes it was dark and cool. I could hear car horns and faint music. Caleb was sitting on the edge of the bed, still in his suit, tie loosened. He tucked my hair behind my ear and smiled. I sit up and rub my eyes, leaving slight black smudges underneath my lashes, finding it weird that I fell asleep so hard. I'm still wearing the stilettos he chose at one of the stores in the lobby.

Everything here is bigger, higher, brighter, louder, he told me. Pick out something that you can wear when we come here.

The strip is also costlier than any place else. The shoes cost close to two thousand dollars. I paled but he didn't even notice. That's four months rent. We came back upstairs so I could change and then he proclaimed me hot as hell. He would know. We went back to another floor, where a door was opened and there was another casino inside, but no signs on the door.

We were handed drinks from a tray and then Caleb turned to me. I have a quick game here. I nodded. I would watch, maybe. He said I am lucky. But he shook his head. I have a job for you. Take these, he handed me two chips. I want you to spend one and double the other. He kissed the side of my mouth and then walked away toward another room. I found a solitaire table and promptly lost three hundred and then I squeezed the other chip and hoped I was as lucky as he thinks I am.

But I wasn't and so I grew paler still.  Another two months rent.  I finished my drink and found an empty space at the bar. The bartender looked at me sympathetically and asked where I was from.

New York, I lied and emptied the rest of my glass.

I will travel the distance in your eyes
Interstellar light years from you
Supernova will fuse when we collide
Awaking in the light of all the stars aligned

I see you watching over me across the sky
Overcoming projected on my eyes eternally
I find you in the night
When we first arrived at the hotel he took my hands and placed them against his chest, standing so very close I had to look way up under his chin until he looked down at me.

This is the only way you can visit your soul, Bridget. How does it feel?

His eyes were so blue they turned black and I didn't answer him because I didn't want to believe it was true. Maybe that's why I'm no longer afraid when I'm alone with him. Or maybe that's a myth too.

Far from the sun
Where no one knows
I’ve watched you from my telescope

I will travel the distance in your eyes
Interstellar light years from you
Supernova will fuse when we collide
Awaking in the light of the stars aligned
When Caleb found me I had declined a new drink many times over and the bartender had given up, spending his attentions on some flashier sugarbabies at the other end of the bar. The Devil kissed my cheek, apologizing for taking a while, asking how I did with my task. I showed him my empty hands and he laughed out loud and kissed them both.

Well, what did you play?


Not a lucrative table. Next time try Roulette. He scoops me off the stool and steers me toward the door. A guard hands him a cheque which he looks at briefly before putting it into his pocket. Once outside, my curiosity gets the better of me.

What did they pay you for?

Those are my winnings. 

How much did you win?

Enough to bring us here many times a year and buy you many pairs of shoes. He kisses my cheek again and we go back to our suite.

I will find you
I will find you
(I will find you)
(I will find you)
(I will find you)
I will find you
I will find you
I sit on the bed, shoes still on, trying to wake myself up. He takes off his jacket and tie, throwing them on a chair and then he comes back and sits in front of me. He leans in and kisses me hard but I push him away.

I lost all your money at that game. I can't pay it back. 

You're not supposed to.

Then tell me what you want me to do. 

He leaned me right back in his arms until he was lying above me and I was between his hands. What do I want you to do? Simple. When we travel you are to pretend you are my wife. Even when we're alone. There will be no second-guessing, no talking back, no arguments or power struggles. You act as though I am the choice you made. You act as if I am yours and I will provide for you and all you have to do is smile and not drop the act. Do you think you can manage that? It would be from when the car picks you up to when it brings you back. 

No. Because it's a farce. I married Cole. My laugh ends in a sob. I'm so sleepy. I think he drugged my food.

He takes my wrists in one hand and wrestles them up above my head, twisting them against the pillow. The pain makes my knees go up involuntarily and I cry out.

Did you forget who I am? Because I'm not Cole. I won't hurt you and then come back with humble pie and roses. I'll hurt you and then come back and hurt you some more. 

You wouldn't do that. I stare at him with inebriated hate in my eyes, softened only by the sleep I was taken out of.

 Why wouldn't I?

Because I'm your wife. (I can't even hear myself concede in a whisper under the din of the capital of Second Chances).

He smiled and only tightened his hold. That's my good girl.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Lobotomized goodbyes.

August went home today and I have a zillion more cracked bones from his gentle but completely crushing hugs and I have exacted promises that he will be back before Halloween if we're lucky. He stayed a few extra days, as he is without formal agendas these days and is considering hanging out a shingle in the tiny town where he and Jake grew up. It's not actually a town, it's little more than a village and so people there trust him because he's an Insider and also because he's capable. They respect anyone who is capable and fuss after those who are not. He's caught up with all of the work repairing and replacing a lot of things at Jacob's folks place and is finding himself idle again suddenly.

I said he could stay here and Caleb would be able to replace Joel but he said that wasn't so good, that he wanted to be my friend, not the keeper of my mind and everyone but me breathed a sigh of quiet relief because they never trusted me not to charm him to pieces and because I never failed to earn that suspicion. I couldn't help myself.

So off he goes. We loaded up his bag with American chocolate and Japanese sugar and he boarded a plane this morning.

And I didn't cry.

I think my incident a week ago shorted out my misery centers because I haven't actually cried much this week or maybe they are right and he is good for me in that he is like Sam. Positive, comforting and skilled. I think anyone that is soothing to a scrambled brain is automagically a good thing and a very important person to have but he isn't mine and I can't keep him, hard as I try.

I'm glad he came out though. It's very exciting for me to be able to show my friends how I glow in the dark now. It's something you definitely have to see in person.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

I'm not sure there was ever time to draw a map of how to be the one left behind when someone dies, whether by their own hand or by God's. I'm not sure I ever wanted to be the flag bearer for a group of people who exist without their consent, and I don't think I want any microscopes or infamy for just putting words down the same way I put one foot in front of the other, the way I can only take one measured breath at a time, the way I put the posts up and take the judgement and mostly otherwise just keep to myself. I'm not your poster child, your how-to/DIY, your widow hack, your curiosity so please don't tell me I am because I don't want to know and I don't want anyone to ever think there's a right way or a wrong way to do anything. Whatever way you live your life is your way and it doesn't matter what anyone else does, says, or thinks, okay?


I saw Caleb today and he left me an envelope for tonight. The pain in my head is finally receding like the high tide and I stopped sneaking bourbon in between Advils when Lochlan caught me. He took the envelope and burned it and then he didn't say a word, heading off with Ruth for their day together to celebrate Father's Day. Henry and Caleb started so much earlier, because they are early people and Ruth and Loch are late people now.

Kind of funny how that works.

I may go down to the boathouse just to say hello. It's been a while. Ben said I can have six minutes. I can't thaw him out at all.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


Last night I lay in the middle of the big bed trying to describe my headache to Ben, who was asleep and not actually listening.

It's like I think my spinal fluid is leaking but I'm afraid of the test. Maybe my brain bag is sagging because the pressure's too low because all the fluid is pouring out from when I fell. But it's supposed to go away if you lie down and I still have the pain.

Or maybe it's karma. Maybe it's punishment from God for being so indecisive and subversive with Cole and Caleb for so long. Though Sam says God isn't into that.

You know something? I'll stick with the tumor. It's a brain tumor and I must be tough as nails because it hurts so bad but the headaches hardly slow me down at all and a mere mortal would be on the floor from this pain. But I'm a boeing and so I don't notice. I wish I had a normal pain threshold and then I could just check out of life and sleep but I don't get to do that. 

I kept going. I think he was snoring but I just needed company and a shoulder and he has the biggest one and also is amazing at not fixing things because he has his own things he needs to fix and he treats me like an adult.

Which is kind of funny since I'll never actually be one.

I'm pretty sure at this rate I am marked for death only it's going to be slow and torturous and the soundtrack will be my husband snoring really loudly. Or maybe he was trying to give me a clue, showing me that I could just fall asleep like I was threatening to all along and maybe the pain would go away.

Eventually I did fall asleep but the pain didn't stop and the whole house swung back from Glad you didn't die, Bridget to Maybe you still might and I just want to wave them away and remind them of my wicked constitution and reassure them that I'm okay.

I'm not okay but I'm okay. I just don't want them to worry. I do enough of that for everyone.

Friday, 13 June 2014

'Not only stitious, but stitious to the extreme, hence SUPERstitious', as Loch always says.

If in the next iOS update Apple is indeed going to be able to remind me where I parked, then I'm going to need suggestions on what to do with all the new free time I'll have, that would normally be wasted walking around parking lots with a keyfob out, clicking the buttons to make the vehicle beep and then trying to triangulate where the sound came from with my mediocre acoustic wayfinding skills.

I couldn't go out today anyhow. I had big plans for my last kid-free day before school finished but since the strike notices have been officially tabled that day is today and it fell on a Friday the 13th/Full moon double-whammy and so I'm home because I am the most superstitious person you're ever going to encounter in your life, I promise.


I do have to go out around suppertime to get a boy who will need a ride home but otherwise I think I'll stay right where I am and eat leftover tourtiere and listen to Deepfield and Otis Redding and Medeski and watch my nerve lose itself in the maze that is my little fried brain. I'm a little scared that this Sunday night's Game of Thrones season finale is going to offer me all new characters that I don't remember and possibly be completely unrecognizable. This would be a travesty even Apple wouldn't be able to fix so let's all hope for the best while I keep working on this headache and wait impatiently for the day to flip over to the fourteenth, because safe.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

That's me in the spotlight.

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
Joel says that my OCD tendencies are waning as the weight of the world wrings them out of me, and that's not a bad thing.

August isn't a threat. Neither is Duncan, for the record. Ben understands this. He's bristling at the fact that I have three settings: destructive overwrought emotion, endless nondiscriminatory affection, and abject debilitating terror. August showed up on a great day and got bombarded by my inappropriate affection, God bless him, he never ends a hug first and Ben is tired and sometimes just wants to be The One, much as he loves the others and he doesn't seem to realize that he is The One, but that when he disappears for long stretches I feel helpless and homesick and so I try and spread the love in the form of making sure everyone is always willing with cuddles for me. It makes it easier but Ben isn't around enough to know this.

He's still vaguely pissed about the money thing, not because it was something only Caleb could do (it isn't) but because I happily agreed and it stole his thunder.

It didn't.

I have boundary issues and I never know when enough is enough. Also abandonment issues in that I exhaust myself working for endless confirmation that everyone is still here, that I am still loved, that everything is alright.

We recouped $4250 from the cliff, by the way. Lochlan put it somewhere for safekeeping. Hopefully in his wallet. Give it back? What? I can't hear you. Are we falling back on our old habits of stealing in order to buy small amounts of comfort because it's an easy pattern to fall into to blame the world for everything while we isolate from it?


And yes, I am considering the possibility that it was indeed a work trip for Caleb and that the rest is either a red herring to throw me off or he really is dying and wanting to experience everything before he does. I am not afraid of this. I don't know what will happen but it's not the terror with which I consider the deaths of the others. And I just can't, so I'll drop this entirely right now.

And leave it shattered on the floor while I go lie down snuggled against PJ's shoulder while he reads. It's pouring rain today and I have a really bad headache and Joel just won't shut up.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Burning brightly here. Still not allowed outside. FML.

My biggest fear is no longer than Lochlan will die, it's that people are going to start distinguishing time as 'Bridget before' and 'Bridget after', saying I never was quite right after that sunny Monday morning in the woods.

I have news for those people. It wasn't last Monday that changed me but whatever.

I think I'm a cat and I have two lives left, tops.

Just gimme that lightbulb and shut the fuck up while I turn it on using only my lunacy.

Lochlan helpfully pointed out last evening that if I do indeed have the legitimate gift of sight we're hitting the road this week. He laughed bitterly and said this time it would be safer than being home, and the irony was found and dispatched with quite quickly, I'll have you know. I foretold my own death here on Saturday in a post that was meant to be flip and wonderful and then Monday I blew myself to kingdom come.

I replied back that I was too busy trying to give off sparks from my fingertips and no way in hell am I going to tell fortunes, instead I'm going back as the Electric Lady.

I'm okay though! I have a theory in that if you can talk or text you must be okay, right? That's why I posted on Monday as we sat incredulously in the ER with people who had...colds and...splinters.

Eventually I had a whole team of doctors come and visit me, put me through a host of tests and ask me so many questions by the end of it I couldn't have told you where I was even born and then I was released into the wild that is Ben and Loch and as we were walking to the parking lot I managed to get a nosebleed and then promptly threw up on Ben. I didn't mean to, it just happened. Yuck. Jesus.

We went back in to the hospital and this time they didn't let me go home because during/after the nosebleed, my heart decided to find a whole new rhythm.


Last night though, I got home. The hospital needed the bed and I didn't throw up again after the first time so they said the whole thing might be just due being in shock and I laughed at the pun. No one else did. Ben washed my hair and my face in a bath, I slept for twelve hours, had some food with Ruth and Henry who asked me to stay inside and then I was soundly refused a request to go and see Caleb, because I wanted to know what possesses a man to put up an electric fence capable of 'deterring' a five-hundred-pound black bear but doesn't let anyone know. 

The only damage done appears to be to my soul, aside from the worst taste in my mouth that nothing seems to touch and the fact that my earrings had to be cut off. They think the bolt went out my head and so the boys have to watch for behavioral changes in case I fried my brain. I would be worried but I wished for this so many times over, maybe it's for the best if it is. And no one knows why the tiny rings I wear sometimes fused themselves because they're barely sterling but who am I to question what happens precisely when you grab a wire and leave the ground because it's a familiar action and not all that hard to do.

I took an ego moment and thought I would try balancing but then I realized in an instant that I had picked the wrong wire to walk on and I'm really glad I landed on some fairly soft ground. I'm even more glad that I wasn't near the cliffs on the other side.

 I'm not allowed out of anyone's sight now, FYI.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Just a precaution.

No one is mad at me anymore, especially since Caleb didn't exactly make it all that clear that he continued the electric fence all around the other side of the driveway from the little cathedral of trees out front to the other side of the orchard when he had the stables built, just in case.

It would have been pertinent information for a girl who likes to wander in the woods away from the house because I figured, oh, I can just climb over this and get back without having to retrace my path so I grabbed it with both hands and the snap I heard before I hit the ground sort of surprised me in that in came from inside my head somewhere.

So yes! I'm pretty sure I might be the only one here in Emergency with 'electrified' on her triage form.

I feel fine. Well, I feel dumb, my eyes are ridiculously bloodshot and there's smoke coming out my ears but really, I'm fine. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Difficulty level twelve.

I know this isn't what you wanted
Past words in the present are haunting us now
And on and on and on and on
My heartbeat could tell you it's urgent
I try to shout but the words don't come out
I feel I'm slipping away
I lay in a chair on the front porch this morning, scowling at whoever tried to get between me and a mugful of coffee and Louis and Ella on the record player. I play for the trees, I think to myself and everyone and everything else can fuck right off. I took another sip and when I put it down I realized Sam was on the other side of the screen door watching me.

He asked if it was safe to come out and I laughed and said no. He said that was a shame, that he would like to bring his coffee out too and listen to records. I reminded him there's another record player inside, there's actually three or four depending on Dalton's need for expensive needles and headphones. He's retrofitted a basic player into some high end sound device that makes me wonder exactly how much I am missing out with my defective ears.

But Sam isn't interested in letting me off the hook today, because last night I got a little weird and a little needy with August because he hasn't had a haircut or a shopping trip in a long time and he is as close to Jake as I can get this side of heaven. Ben had already written me off for my defection in letting Caleb go ahead and grant a bucket wish on the same weekend Ben worked so hard to pull the Big One off for me and Lochlan opted to just shut down completely, deciding to gut and redo the camper interior and then probably sell this one too and buy another. He says he's bringing them back to life, giving them another chance to be a romantic hideaway for someone or a home for someone else. The worse condition they're in, the more he likes them and the better he can make them look but really I have no interest in sitting in the blinding sun in the driveway while the light and the wind burn the rest of my senses away and he starts talking about all the things I do wrong, itemizing my flaws as if I can just magically wake up and decide to be different or better the next morning. I asked if he wanted to go find different or better because I would always be the same and also worse and he laughed and asked if there was anyone I don't hold a torch for, after seeing such a display when August surprised me, showing up after telling me he wouldn't be out until fall.

Yep, you, I told him, just to be mean.

Good. Me neither, he said and then shot me a look to make sure I wasn't serious and then he kept unscrewing the cabinet frames from the wall, essentially shutting me out again. I took the hint and went inside where PJ decided I had gotten in enough trouble for one brief morning and again, what a piece of work, and then he called me Work for the rest of the morning, giving me chores like peeling hard boiled eggs (a dozen at a time when we make them) and actually Talking To Joel, two things I work so hard to get out of most rotations, when my name comes up to do the shit chores like those.

But then I did it and I felt bitter and spoiled and so I took my crappy little self outside, effectively removing the negative energy from the house. It had to stop somewhere though. Joel reminded me to distract myself from the thoughts that eat me alive and sometimes he's actually good at me.

I nodded to Sam. Come out and sit with me. Ella's making everything better. 

I like her better than Randy Blythe, Sam said. Lamb of God is fine and all but Ella's just so...swell. 

Yeah. I hope someone says that about me someday. 

That you're sweller than Randy Blythe? 

No, that I can make everything better for someone. 

You do. You don't see it. Things are magnified for you right now but they won't be forever, and we're all grateful for you every waking moment. 

Sam, are you lying because it's your job?

No, I'm lying because you're technically my landlady. 

But I'm not. I'm a tenant here too. 

You're a spectre here sometimes, Bridget. You hang on to the dead instead of the living. 

I can make them say what I want to hear. 

That isn't how life works. 

I know. But I wish it was. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Just hold. Just stay.

Black dress to my knees over jeans and a skeleton key on a silver chain is my thing today and Caleb frowns.

I'm freezing still, hence the dress and jeans. Last night under cover of darkness Ben and I took a rare ninety-minute opportunity by bowing out of a late supper downtown and let them take the kids and we stayed home with Lochlan. In the backyard of Daniel and Schuyler's place I had a quick reminder on which is the throttle and which is the clutch and then I stripped out of my clothes as fast as I could, jumped on the bike, gunned it and almost threw myself off in the process but then got it under control and drove around on the grass in the freezing night, BUTT FUCKING NAKED. Touchy brakes, damn.

It was easily the greatest moment of my existence and the very first thing I ever put on my bucket list way back when I saw Vanishing Point at the drive-in and exclaimed loudly that I was going to do that for a living, like the girl in the movie. Ride around naked on a motorcyle in the yard, all damn day long. The boys laughed.

It was a tiny 250cc bike that I thought they were going to fix up for Henry to learn but I'm slow and it's too small for my son and too big for me. I still couldn't put my feet down flat on either side and holy shit that leather is cold on my bony ass and I was shivering so badly I wasn't sure if I was actually smiling or grimacing in pain but it was SO. AWESOME. Lochlan grabbed me, wrapping his sweater around me before carrying me inside to redress and he asked me how it was and I couldn't speak for shivering but he said it was good right? and I nodded so hard I must have looked like a bobblehead and he laughed. Ben put the bike away and then ran a hot shower for us and I shivered right up until he pulled me under the water and he let me shave his handsome face (ALSO BUCKET LIST WOW) then I slept so hard maybe I should do that every night.

In fact, I think I will.

I'm still smiling standing in Caleb's doorway this morning while he evaluates my outfit. What is the key, is that Tiffany? 

It's the key to the castle. I took all the keys and left a generic one when we came here. I'm so proud of the fact that I did that, moving from room to room pulling keys out of doors and putting them into the pocket of my dress until the cotton ripped and they spilled out all over the floor and then PJ put them in a big ziploc bag and packed them in with the bedding in a big box that said Master Bedroom.

Caleb's whole face frowns. (Yes, your brother bought me an old drafty castle. I flipped it and doubled his money but the new owners won't be able to lock any of the seventeen damned doors. )

He changes the subject, asking what happened to the grass.

Uhh. The bike-

A motorcycle?

Yeah. The one I rode last night! I-

Do I want to know?


No, I don't. What I want, is for you to have your bucket list item checked off now so we can move on to the next thing. 

Uh. What? I already did-

I thought today it's windy enough and sunny if you want to make it rain I think the gate would be a good place for it. You'll have the most fun. 

You want me to deploy five grand all over the beach? We'll be picking it up all summer. 

Five thousand is a small price to pay to see you laugh. 

I've laughed for less. 

I'll give you five hundred thousand if I can make you cry. 

Shame, I seem to do that for free. 

Okay then let's just go before we wind up arguing. 

Once to the ledge, he puts his arms around my waist and I lean out over the cliff and start sliding the bills out one at a time. Trust is a strange game with Caleb. I'm awkward at first and then I get my wrists into it and soon the money is flying into the air in a steady stream and I laugh and yell that I'm making it rain. Caleb whoops. I didn't know he could whoop. He only whooped in Vegas that one time when we recreated Indecent Proposal. Also with so many bills my fingertips will be blackened forever.

Then as quickly as it begins I am out of money, it stops raining and the clouds clear away leaving only blue skies and a weirdly-sated princess standing above a cliff littered with paper bills like a ticker tape parade. I think we'll be able to recoup most of it but only if we do it today.

I'm anxious to tell the boys all about it and last night too but when we get to the kitchen August is there. August who has a few days to himself and came out for a visit.

Everyone stops when I see him and my eyes well up involuntarily. He's here. I rode the bike with no clothes. I made it rain. Caleb slept with a guy. We're all getting along.

This is probably the part where I die, right?

Friday, 6 June 2014

I never did come out. It was Caleb's day to pick up the kids from school and take them out shopping for summer gear and then for an early dinner so eventually my stomach started to growl, Jake disappeared and in his place stood Lochlan. I looked at his legs for a long time while he spent a few minutes putting away tools from working on the bikes next door and then eventually he walked away toward the door and I closed my eyes again.

When I opened them next he was sitting on the floor beside the door, his back against the wall. Knees bent and out lazily. He's holding a whole bag of pixi stix. Apparently that's how you call out a timid Bridget. With sugar.

Hi Baby, he says. What's up?

I shake my head. Can I have those?

If you come inside with me. 

Never mind, I say.

It's fine. We can stay out here. He nods.

I don't actually want to stay out here. He's gone. 

How is he?

I know he's dead. I'm not crazy you know. I just need..I gesture at the air. Time?  A place to just not have to be perfect all the time. 

No one thinks you're perfect. 

Well, that's good to know. 

But we do have something that will make you feel better tonight. 

What's that?

You have to leave the garage to find out. 

What if I don't? 

Then the opportunity will disappear for a while. It's getting fairly difficult to coordinate things such as this with so many people here. 

What does that even mean?

Well, Caleb has the kids downtown and everyone who isn't working or busy is heading out to dinner. The only people on the point tonight are us three musketeers. 

Is this something sordid? Like an x-rated surprise?

He laughed so loud. Naw, Peanut, but I still don't think you'd want an audience for it. 

Oh my God. Vanishing Point?

I told you, come out and see. 

Just then Ben sticks his head in the door. There you are. He grins and looks down at Loch. All ready. 

Ready for what? I ask. Because curiosity. It kills me.

Come and see. I promise, you're going to love it. Loch walks over to me and holds out his hand.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thinking my pickups need to be replaced.

His head was sideways when he finally found me, bending to look under the workbench in the garage, where I have decided it's as good a pantry as ever to hide in.

He smiled. Hiya Piglet. You're hiding.

I nod and look away, putting my head back on my knees and wrapping my arms around the whole mess to try and hold myself together but it isn't working and large chunks keep falling off, rolling away to come to rest under PJ's Jeep.

Come talk to me.

You're not real though. What's the point?

It helps?

But does it or does it just haul me back to the starting line again? It's a race I'm never going to finish.

Who says you have to finish it?

Sam says I should at least try and get a good result here and it will be a waste of a life if I don't.

Sam's a good man.

Sam's a problem in that everyone here has a crush on him including me and it's driving Matt crazy.

Oh. I didn't expect that.

Caleb lost his mind and took a sparkly boy to the tropics because of it.


I thought you could see everything.

Well, I can but I don't look. I'm always watching you.

Oh, Jesus.

Hmmm, well. It hasn't been pretty but it could be worse.

I don't see how. You're not here. How much worse could it possibly get?

They love you, Bridget.

What about you? Did you love me? If you did then how could you do this to me?

I didn't love myself. I wasn't strong enough for you and I couldn't keep my head above water anymore.

Then why didn't you let me save you, Jake?

I didn't know you could. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The tiny little cave-dweller in her tiny little mind cave.

PJ brought me breakfast in bed after I called him and said I wasn't facing the world today. He's an enabler. He brought coffee and toast. However, he's a big jerk too, because he always punishes us somehow.

The coffee was decaf and the toast? Whole wheat.

I ate it all anyway. Joke's on him. Or me. Us, it's on us. He got yelled at for doing it and then so did I and next time I told him we'll bar the door and set a course for far-away shores. The fabric draped all over my bedposts will function as sails and the bed itself can be the boat. PJ can be the captain and I'll be the wench. Or maybe the pirate.

PJ just shook his head sadly and reiterated that his role involves a hierarchy and tough shit for everyone else, because Bridget's at the top.

Remind me to get someone to give him a raise or a perk or something.

He said he would take hugs but they had to be long and regular.

Like a maxipad? I asked him and he said yes but way more absorbant. Ewwwwww, I squealed and he laughed.

We're not dysfunctional, I swear.

I didn't want to get up but they made me anyway because I'm sick of deflecting the threats off Caleb and I'm sick of wondering what the hell he's doing and I'm sick of all of it today. I need a vacation and a long bender.  I need a nap. I need anti-anxiety drugs and a good hard fuck and I need a change of scenery.

Ben said he has a surprise for me tonight. I was so wary I asked if Loch was in on it and he looked at me strangely and said of course. For some reason I expected him to produce a recently-procured pewter envelope but he didn't. He said I should help him paint the new doors. He said I should take it easy though, and go slowly. He said I'm doing really good but when I looked at Sam I could see it was less of an observation and more of a reassurance because it's all bullshit and I'm not doing so hot today.

That's why I wanted to stay in bed but they don't understand that, it seems.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

When I'm drunk I understand it perfectly. Sober, not so much. (also his gay didn't stick so fuck my life).

The moment I walked in I was busted because I felt him there. Caleb was sitting at a window table in the tiny restaurant where I had made reservations and planned to meet Luke.

Is he coming all at?

No. Considering his stipend hinges on discretion he thought it best to call me for advice and I told him to skip it and that I would deal. with. you. 

I sit down and the server brings me a stiff drink. My eyebrows go up and then I remembered it's Caleb. He waves a finger and people bring him whatever he wants. Oh, and look, here I am. 

I drink the whole thing and the glass is scooped away before I let go of it, a new drink in its place.

May as well get trashed. I got caught snooping after being told to leave it alone. I just wanted to know what happened so I don't wind up a pawn in the Devil's chess game. I didn't want sordid details, I just want to know if Luke let Caleb fuck him because if he did and Caleb's about to possibly pull the biggest character shift of our lives, then I need to be prepared.

We've always had a plan B (for Bridget) if Caleb pulled the plug on the collective, but I don't like surprises. Are we finally done with the game? Will I grieve for it? How does one flick a switch like that because I need to do it too and this would be a holy grail much like the one in which the Devil brings my ghosts back to life and I don't have to hurt anymore.

Also, curious. Always curious to a goddamned fault, please don't kill me, I can't help it.

He waits until I take a sip of the second drink and then he starts talking. A reprieve maybe from my impending death over oysters, bread and brie.

I watch Sam and Matt together and you know what? They're so at ease together. They're like best friends but with affection and a desire to be together all the time. They want to have a future and they put each other first. It's beautiful. It doesn't hurt that Sam has grown into a handsome man over the past couple of years. Maybe it's his confidence coming back but it makes him shine. 

(Okay. The Devil has a crush on Sam. Check.)

Loch and Ben are affectionate with each other.

Loch fights it so hard.

He shouldn't. It's good to see..

(Okay, CHECK. He's got a crush on....Lochlan?)

Same with Daniel and Schuy. It's something that I wondered if the dynamic is more relaxed if there are certain factors removed. Like physical size. Gender. A lack of competition. Luke is almost my height and seems unattached. 


He agreed to the trip so it's a guess. But I felt nothing. It was benign, relaxing and almost pleasant. But I felt NOTHING. 

That isn't how it works. If you aren't attracted to him then it is nothing and you're wasting time. 

That's what a fling is. 

Oh. I get it. But is that what you want? To feel nothing?

I thought it was but then I came back and the moment I saw you it all came rushing back in, drowning me. Now I see your metaphors.


I still want to keep you, to hurt you.

Great. Thanks for the heads up. I'll be going now. 

He stares, disappointed, while I wait for my body to follow the signals my brain is screaming at it. My body betrays me. Not the first time this has happened.

What's wrong. He's out of his chair.

I'm just going to sit here for a minute. What did you put in my drink?

Nothing? You pounded back three drinks at lunch and you're wondering why you're fucked up? We've only been here a short time. Christ, you only weigh about eight-five pounds.

Right then. You can carry me to the car because DAMN. 

Why did you drink so much?

Why'd you order so many? 

I thought this would be harder. I actually ordered one drink for you and two for myself. 

Oh, well then sorry babe. Hahahahaha. I needed it because I thought I was going to lose you to the light side too. 

The light side? 

Well clearly I'm the dark side here. 

This is why I will never leave you. 

But you're not WITH me. 


Monday, 2 June 2014

Second conversation (out of order).

Have you concocted this to prove a point?

What point?

That people can drive you to do things out of character and that in the end it means less than we think? That it's fleeting and impulsive? That would be nice but it hasn't exactly held true for any of us yet so what are you trying to say, exactly?

It was fleeting with August.

August was a means to an end.

To what end?

To a gradual removal of Jacob instead of the abrupt one. It wasn't a temporary crush. Attraction is either there or not there. It doesn't change because you want it to. You can't control it.

Then be happy I am splitting the difference.

But are you? This is completely new territory.

Look. I had a curiosity. I fulfilled it. You do it all the time. Its over now.

That's different. I'm flighty and weird. You aren't.

Sure I am.

Well, yeah. You are NOW. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014


As privileged as a whore
Victims in demand for public show
Swept out through the cracks beneath the door
Holier than thou, how?
Surrendered, executed anyhow
We've just come in from lunch in which Caleb spent two hours boring me with business talk, asking me questions as tests. I passed because I make decisions based on what's best, not what's easiest or predictable.

He was pleased, I think so I didn't even hesitate when he asked to see my studio. I didn't even hear the change in his voice and he's avoided all my questions about the past week and I'm losing my touch along with my advantage here.

We walk in and he looks around. Do you like it? Does this work for you? I might have had different plans drawn up if I had known you were going to pull this. 

No you wouldn't have, because I told you not to build it in the first place. 

You told me not to. Right. That system doesn't work well for you, does it?

I walk out on him and he follows me closely. When we make it to the driveway he catches up and takes my hand, pulling me toward the boathouse. We still need to talk.

Maybe later. 

Now, Bridget. 

I roll my eyes and he squeezes hard enough to bend my rings. It's going be like that. I look around but the driveway and porch are clear and my nightmares are my own to navigate.

And then it got worse.

Because he told me who he took on his trip. I went from disbelief to shock to some sort of suspended surprise but not any surprise at all.

He took Luke with him. Lucas. The very-briefly employed Instagram-happy executive assistant the temp agency sent over before we fired them too.

I often thought the Instagram didn't do Luke in, his good looks did. Damn. He's only a boy but he'll never need to work if he plays his cards right and-



I asked if it was a work trip. The answer was no.

Oh, well, then. WAIT. WHAT?


Life's always been weird for me but this takes weird to a whole other thing. No, you know what? I gotta go. 

Let me explain. 

I'm not sure you need to-


Just. I can't. No.