Tuesday, 30 September 2014

After eights.

Hold your light, Eleven
Lead me through each gentle step by step
By inch by loaded memory
I'll move to heal as soon as pain allows
So we can reunite
And both move on together
He put his legs up on the desk and I slid right down his thighs and into his arms. He made a sound like a grateful laugh as I grabbed October and swung myself inside. One of the darker months in which I am excused to feel fall slide over me like an icy hand to come to rest clenched around my throat like a vise.

His hands dig in hard around my hips and I cry out. No play, no hesitation, no risk wasting time on anything less than what he wants. He forces his way into October too, against me and I dip my head down against his shoulder. He slows for a mere heartbeat at the surprise affection but I bite my lip and duck through the center of my own soul, a new unfamiliar place that seems colder than it should be.

Caleb reaches in and pulls me back by the hand. Turn, he orders and he pulls my hips up and pushes me facedown against the surface of his desk. His hand slides over my mouth and the other travels down my ribcage and then I see lights and stars but not the pretty ones at the fair. These are holes poked in the night, pinpricks of admission that show the dark for what it is and what it shouldn't be. He is on his feet behind me as stinging tears take over my vision.

(Can't say the word if you can't even speak, is the going joke here. Only this isn't funny or fair or kind and the tears spill over and make his hand slip and he stops and stands me up, turning me back to face him.

He orders me to tell him what's wrong and I lie and tell him I feel like I should be ashamed and I don't know why. He puts his hands up to my face and lifts it up to his. He tells me I should feel proud that he wants me so badly he can't even wait. As if not waiting is something new for him.

But I'm not ashamed, I'm just angry at myself because I'm unable to shut down and disappear anymore. He keeps me here, present in this moment of violence because he can and that is what I hate most about him now. This is Cole's legacy. Cole always kept me here too.

He uses his thumbs to gently wipe away the tears under my eyes, finishes undressing me and leads me down the hall. I just want it done. I want it over so I can go home and buy another few weeks or months or hours of peace until he is hungry for me again.

Project girl.

We love our tragedies
We're both broken in our own little ways
We're broken, but we fit together just right
You know I saw the black inside your eyes
I saw they were eclipsed by mine and they looked just right.
I went to breakfast this morning with the boys. I ate a huge plate full of omelet and hash browns and then I drank fifteen little teeny cups of coffee. It was glorious. The restaurant played music I could swallow easily with my breakfast. That's rare. I sat by the window so I could look out and watch the storm clouds sweep away the rain. I was not too warm and not too cold but just right. I was wearing leggings, ballet flats and a long dark green sweater. I felt like Peter Pan. It kept making me laugh. My hair flips up in little waves all over the place like Sam's now. It's bordering on cute. It makes me look kind of goofy though too. I haven't decided if that's good or bad so I'll go with a-okay.

Caleb kept kicking me under the table and after a good twenty minutes Loch hauled off and booted right back. I guess Caleb didn't notice my legs were tucked under my chair, and I was sitting in the crook of Lochlan's arm, leaning on him, so we were both getting knocked.

Lochlan smiled afterward and sat up straight to pour more coffee.

And we talked about my guardianship. I broached the subject because the time has come for it to be removed, I think and half the time I look after them, when they think they're looking after me. There's no pressing emergency here. I don't think I require representation any longer and I'd like to begin dismantling some of the needless monitoring, time wasting and general distrust, or fear, as it were.

But they said no.

Too soon.

You're not ready. 

Let's just wait a little longer. 

It's not hurting anything. 

Just because things are good today doesn't mean it's always like this. 

Just let us take care of you. 

I tried very hard to hold on to the good things about the morning but all it did was serve to remind me that I will never be taken seriously, never be one of them, my coveted boys, and never be considered capable enough of taking care of myself. Sam said I should find comfort in being looked after but I just sat there and looked at him because he knows so much better than this.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Bought back.

I can see why nothing has happened
Promises strain
I'm writing this down as I run
Take all the examples and what have I learned?
Nothing can heal you and everything burns
I woke up facedown in a straight jacket made of Lochlan's shirt. That's it. No covers, shirt jacked up to my elbows. In the Boathouse, no less.

And where is everyone? Oh, I don't know. Gone? And it's Monday and I don't know where my phone is or what time it is and it's long past sunrise which means the kids have gone to school and I wonder what story PJ told them this morning over breakfast and the rush to grab lunches/homework/gym strip/umbrellas because they never get their stuff out the night before, like I always suggest.

And here I lie, the sudden Queen of the Unprepared.

I start to struggle out of my flannel cage and abruptly Lochlan walks in, still in his t-shirt and jeans from last night.

Where is he?

Meetings in town.

Did you do this or did he?

I did.

Then take it off and run before I fucking catch you.

Ha. OKAY. Look, when I left I wanted to make sure you'd still be here when I came back.


I swear to God, I fell asleep last night in Lochlan's arms, his face an inch from mine while he whispered the same things he would tell me when I would get homesick or scared, far from home.

So little changes, ever. And all the Devil did was sit in the corner and stare at me all night and not move a muscle, burning my image to memory, plastering the walls of his brain with my movements, my tattoos and my sounds. Gave him every sense but one. He can't talk a game to save his life against the two of us together and so he lost and he lost hard.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sold out.

Without a hand to hold I followed the worn path in the floor until it grew too dark to see and then I stepped wrong and fell swiftly through the cracks. I threw my arms out looking for purchase but the sides were smooth and no one saw me fall anyway.

Or so I thought.

Somewhere in the last few feet, as the heaviness of bottom rushed up to meet me, that feeling of hurtling toward solid ground he grasped my hood in one fist, snapping me to a stop, dangling mere inches above death. A whispered oath and he began to pull me back until he could grab the sleeves of my sweater and let go of the hood and I could breath again.

Once on safe footing again he asked if I thought they had let me fall through the cracks.

I squinted my eyes shut because I don't like it when they read my mind but he threw his arms around my head and did it anyway.

We're not about to leave you behind, Peanut.

I nod from my place buried in a teenage hug.

You have to stick close, though, remember?

I nod again and tap out. I can't breathe.

He lets go and stands back, wild waves looking to explode into curls but not long enough yet. Eyes tired. Body wrecked. Healing slowly, mentally fucked like we all are but trying to be above it somehow while forcing honestly and transparency throughout the house, which is sort of exactly like me trying to boil the ocean, now, isn't it?

He stares at me. I'm being evaluated to make sure I'm okay and then he turns back to the Devil, the one who thrust his hands in deep, spreading those cracks wide, leaving a trail of sugar for me to follow until I dropped right in without a shriek, without a sound at all. Dead silent, just like my world when I choose to be invisible or choose to be bright.

I don't have to say a word. They'll do it for me, just as they do everything else. Speak for me, fend for me, provide for me, lie for me. Kill for me. Die for me. Fall for me.

Does it matter? What's the takeaway here, Peanut. What did you learn today?

I would stand with my hands clasped behind my back and try to force my ten-year-old brain to pay attention but she was in the clouds, soaring into space, exploding into glitter and rainbows and not paying attention enough. Not paying attention at all.

I stare at blue eyes and then at green (brown nowhere to be found). I hear the words as if I am underwater. There is sound but it's cloaked, murky and indistinguishable.  I see their expressions. I feel their hearts and yet I can't juggle them at the same time because I am terrified I might drop one.

The words become clearer as they get louder and I am abruptly yanked back close to Lochlan, who isn't as gentle as he could have been and the look on Caleb's face floors me as it generally does, because he talks one life and lives another and he looks alarmed but it's quick and I almost let it escape through my little fingers but I grab the tail and it squeals nonetheless and it's mine to keep and kill later.

The words grow quiet again, fading fast and I head off to find the lights and the music while they straddle the cracks in my world, balancing easily, one on skill, one on power, both on possession, both on love.

From my vantage point I feel the ire ebbing now, as the words become soft. Desperate. Conciliatory. Resigned. All the things they shouldn't have to be but are. I trade my safety for danger, my peace for war and my soul for more time. Keep it broken and it holds. Fix it and everything is going to blow apart. Keep her held there in midair and we won't have to change a thing. The show can go on.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

I'm trying to boil the ocean here. Help or get out of the way.

I saved a place for you
I saved a place for all of you
Like I said, a whole lot of shouting and a nice shoving match in the driveway and everything is alright again. Lochlan erupted like a volcano somewhere after keeping himself contained all through dinner and homework supervision and sending the kids off to play games or read and then he went after Ben like a rocket. He can be a little cold to Ben's charms most of the time. If it's about him he caves, if it's about me he loses his shit. He was followed out by most of the others, who weren't interested in seeing this on a Friday night after a long week.

They held him back and let him yell himself hoarse until he had it all out of his system. All of it. Then when he was spent Ben walked over to him and put him into a bearhug and they didn't move forever. Dalton lingered on the front porch in case there were any further points Loch wanted to make but he was subtle about it. Busy with his phone. I sat on the rock wall and watched as Ben whispered to Lochlan, not using charm but instead weakness. He'll lay himself bare, leaving nothing left open to misinterpretation. Loch finally put his arms up around Ben's back and held on so hard, sagging against him, worn the fuck out. Disarmed, as it were.

When I looked up Caleb and Joel were standing just in the shadows between the garage and the stable. Hands in pockets. Watching. Faces expressionless. Caleb meets my eyes and tries to hold them but I refuse to acknowledge him and hop down from the wall. I follow Dalton inside and Duncan comes to take his place on the porch until Ben and Lochlan are ready to come inside.


When I get to the brightly lit kitchen it's empty save for Preacher 2.0 sitting on a stool at the island, Ben's guitar in his arms, head down, eyes closed, strumming quietly. I can't hear what he's playing and I turn and try to head upstairs instead but he calls my name.

I go back in and dutifully sit up beside him, legs swinging, staring at his handsome face even though he's still there with his eyes closed, trying to get the chord just right.

I almost flinch when he speaks again after sitting there watching him for so long in silence.

Thanks for the magnificent show of drama to distract me from missing Matt.

I roll my eyes and he catches me, opening one eye, squinting at me, smiling quietly. I think I had less to do with this than you all seem to understand.

I know. It's nice to be part of the weirdness.

That's what living here is all about, Sam.

How do you feel about all this?

I was just worried Ben would start drinking. I don't think I could stand it if he had to go away again.

I know that, Fidget. I didn't mean about Ben.

You mean...about you. 


I need to go see how Ben is doing. 


But I didn't go back out front. Instead I went through the side door and back to the boathouse where Caleb had returned alone and was still standing just outside his front door, on the water side where there is a long wooden balcony from the steps to the end of the kitchen outside with a glass rail overlooking the cliff. The first fifty times I walked it I was terrified but now I just consider it a part of my show.

He was leaning on the rail, hands outstretched, looking over my surrogate sea.

Bridget, this isn't going over well with anyone.

What isn't? I ask him. And for the record, I'm still not speaking to you! So there!

So why are you here?

I don't know where I'm supposed to be! 

He let go of the rail and turned to me, looking amused for the first time all day. You have two husbands and a dozen friends. All up there split between two houses and you don't know where you're supposed to be so you come...here.

Friday, 26 September 2014

The verbal equivalent of duct tape.

For crying out loud, Bee! I was kidding about Sam. Do you really think I would do that?

Were you kidding about Lochlan? Or Caleb for that matter?

Hey, don't even-I LOVE Lochlan. It isn't the same. And I thought you were always up for Caleb's invitations. It didn't seem like it was hurting anyone.

Except Lochlan. Oh, and me. Don't forget me.

Who could? It's not likely.

Oh, I can be forgotten-

Bridget! That's not what I mean. I mean you're the reason we're here. You're the nucleus of this house. When you're gone I think every single person here is lost.

You mean every lost person here is single.

No, I don't and don't do that.

Do what?

Win this with your words.

Okay. I'll use bald logic then.

I meant no harm.

But you caused some anyway. Don't you see that?

I wanted to take control back from Loch. I'll admit it. He was loving being the main focus. I needed something back.

So you tried to give me to Sam?

No. I just said that to cause shit.

And Matt agreed with you!

Matt still doesn't really understand the magnitude of Bridget as a force of human nature.

Sure he does, Ben.

Then why did he agree to it?

Because Sam is clingy. Like me. No one fucking likes that. It's nice to get a break, isn't it?

You don't miss much.

I see everything and can fix little.

You are little and can fix everything.


By sticking to your guns, Bumble One.

Then stop causing trouble, Capital B. That's my job.


Nice, Ben.

I'm sorry, Baby.

What would you have done if I had been all for it and then left you both to go live happily ever after down the hall with the reverend and the scientist?

I would be fucking dumbstruck and forever aghast at my own stupidity and forever missing you. Unless..

Unless what?

Unless they gave me latitude for cuddles with you.


I mean x-rated fuckage, of course. That's the singular definition of cuddles.

So you did try to farm me out to Sam!

No, with him cuddles is just that. Cuddles. Cuddling. Side by each. Fully clothed.

Tucker, you're a piece of work. 

I'm trying to make everyone here happy. Jesus. Sam is miserable. I'm miserable. You seem to be the only bright spot in anything. Nucleus. The center of the universe. This is what I'm trying to say. And at the end of the day I'd rather see you love everyone a little than love one with everything. 

Does Loch represent that much of a threat to you?


Then we need to sort this out. You can't love someone wholeheartedly if you're worried about them taking everything you've got. 

I can't fix this, Bridget. I told you that. Why do you think things have been so tough lately. I see you together and it hurts and I know its going to hurt worse before it gets better. Everyone says it's inevitable. 

They also said Cole was a standup guy and Caleb was never a threat. What does that tell you?

That...they're blind as fuck. Oblivious. 

Right. So don't listen to them because they don't know me. 

That's the problem, though. They do. 

Not as well as you seem to think. Why do you think they're still so surprised that you're right here, beside me? Because they are blind as fuck. Oblivious. 

Oh. now I understand when you say I give you backhanded compliments. You're making me feel better by insulting me. 

Is it working?

I think so, yes. 

Okay, so fuck off with the lax permissions. 

I'm your husband, not your keeper. I'm not going to put down rules. 

That's fine but don't give me away, either. 

But I'm such a lucky guy. I want the world to see. 

So film it or start a webcam or something. 

Really? I can do that?

NO. Jesus, Ben.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thought I left the freakshow in a flat run but no, it came with me.

Let me wash away the painful words I wrote
We can smother out the flames within my soul
No more standing by the way that I believe
We can smother out the flames
With gasoline
Sometimes you have to accept that certain people do things for your benefit even when at the time it seems to defy logic right up until the moment that you get it. Like Lochlan waiting for audible confirmation every single night when he would head out for teardown or repairs.

Lock the door, Peanut. 

And he wouldn't go until he heard the lock click in the door of the camper.

Like Caleb demanding that my guardianship be split three ways. Not only to protect me but also to keep his own motives transparent and open and easily questionable. So anything Lochlan or PJ (the other two) doesn't like that he does they can discuss.

(By discuss, I mean push and shove each other and shout a lot until they get it sorted out.)

So the story goes that Sam got a little fed up with Ben's attempts to turn the tables and gave up on him this morning. Not cracking exactly but handing him off without hesitation to Joel, who spent all summer reiterating that he could help but no one would let him, as he was brought on to be of service in addition to all the other reasons for which he now won't leave.

I would have laughed but I really don't find this any funnier, honestly and sometimes Ben has really great ideas and sometimes Ben needs to be less of a bully about things that the common folk (all of us) are freaked out about that he takes in stride. 

Like sharing.

I think he figured the amusement pedigree alone would make us less uptight about certain things. All I can say is can you just IMAGINE how uptight we would have been had we not had that? God. It would have been stupendous, exasperating and so rigid it might shatter should you knock on it to see how strong it is.

(Ben had tried to give Sam a break in missing Matt by offering a little more cuddle time with Bridget which is so not cool and made Lochlan rather rageish) but Ben does these things with that sweet little-boy I'm-not-up-to-no-good smile that makes people marry him in some sort of fugue only to be reminded that later on he'll eat the contents of the cutlery drawer and then write you a fucking song that will liquify your fucking face or your knees, whichever he's in the mood to do and you forgive him somewhere between realizing you're now made of lava and it hurts and throwing your panties at his face.)

So here comes Joel and I alternately want to thank Caleb and wind up with my heaviest pot in my hands and whack him right off his feet for this. Joel can't counsel Ben. Joel will probably sleep with him too and then say Oh, I'm sorry, I couldn't help it, you're so tiny and fragile and alone in this big bad world and Ben would fall apart and believe every word until he remembers that he is six inches taller than Joel and has been around longer, in worse places so hopefully he'll laugh or maybe he'll just rip Joel's head off and eat the contents of his chest for breakfast (all with that innocent gaze) or maybe Joel will actually work his magic before Ben has time to charm him. I'm not sure which way I'm hoping it will go as long as it results in Ben feeling a little less like tissue paper and a little more like kevlar, because then when he feels better I will knock him off his feet with this pot too.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Eventually I'll tell him the coffee wasn't good but not now.

Let me stay here for just one more night
Build your world around me
And pull me to the light
So I can tell you that I was wrong
I was a child then but now I'm willing to learn,
Lying on the low white couch this morning in front of the glorious hard rain, the window my theatre screen while the devil makes me coffee. I'm his guinea pig. I'm not a coffee snob, nor am I oblivious though I maintain a cup of black questionably-aged coffee at a truck stop McDonalds in 1996 remains the best cup I've ever had, so I'm the perfect test subject for his new machine.

I just can't take my eyes off the rain.

We have meetings today and errands. I think he's going to pick up a Blackberry Passport. He asked me if I wanted a new phone. Heck no. And he has to switch cars for a day or so while his is serviced and detailed. He said he might get an Aston Martin and hesitated waiting for an impression to be made. I finally turn and gaze at him with my head aching and my eyes filmed with the beauty of the sea. What? I was just thinking about coffee from a truck stop and he thinks I'll be dazzled by his choice of cars?

But no, he wants to know what sort of latitudes Ben has extended to me in the past several days, latitudes I chose to defy and ignore. They won't help anyone, least of all those they are designed to console. But I see Ben thinks he's falling so he alternately throws everything at me with one arm and with the other he's blocking Lochlan's access to all of anything just because he thinks the minute that happens, well, it's over.

Ben is not falling though. He's just not feeling so tough. Why would he? Life isn't designed to be comfortable, I told you this days ago. It's all tears and white knuckles and gritted teeth and choked-back emotions punctuated with blinding black polkadots of pure soaring happiness.

So why would I tell the Devil anything? He already knows everything and so he invented a few more meetings (ramping up for fall, certificates coming due, need your input on these, and any other buzz phrases he can conjure for me on this bleak and beautiful grey fall day) in order to keep me close so I don't fulfill any of Ben's wishlist for self-destruction, now with built-in safety features!

Instead I'm going to sit right here for at least half the day signing a last name he hates and trying and failing to sing along with the Adele album I put on but don't know the words to. Because that's fucking annoying to him and today, I don't think I want to be anything but.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sway (yeah, just perfect.)

You see, things were better before
The storm came and nobody wanted to breathe
And times were hard again for you and me

And I can't remember what time it was
That I'm supposed to be here now I'm late for love
For you take it all back from me back behind the door of love
We went to see Nolan for a few days, just Ben and I, a trip sanctioned only because Nolan's such a hardass with me. I can't charm him or loop him in or even deceive him and true to form I burst into tears when I saw him, telling him Ben won't talk to Sam, he won't talk to anyone lately and Nolan reassured me and then asked me if I could help inside and he and Ben would work outside and I found a neatly-folded mending pile and a decent station on the radio and I settled in front of the fire to sew, vaguely, coldly comforted by Nolan's open-heart policy for Ben, who kind of got shoved to the side somewhere between Lochlan's accident and Sam's inability to crawl out of his own grief over missing Matt.

I got all of the mending done the first afternoon and then spent the next two days looking out the window at the cold, Ben and Nolan out of sight, working on fixing the fence, getting the storm windows in while they worked to reinforce Ben at the same time. Nolan doesn't like to travel much anymore, neither does Ben so he made sure to have a very high-quality visit, accomplishing a lot, inside and out. It became obvious so very quickly that he really didn't want me there but he was not willing to leave me back at home, alone with the Jester and the Devil and at night he took out his resentment for me on me, tearing my clothes off, throwing everything to the floor, forcing his weight down on me, covering my face with his hand, refusing to listen, grinding me out so hard that I would start to shake and couldn't stop, even as I fell asleep locked tight in his arms, he couldn't stop it and it made him feel worse instead of better and it made me feel wrecked and awful.

By day I fielded the endless long-distance barometer. How are we? Better. How is he? Great. Doing really well. How often do you lie, Bridget? Ask me later.

And then suddenly on the last night there it was like Ben saw me, without a team. Without a squad or a staff or a wall. Without outside influence. Without clothes or makeup or even my long hair I used to hide behind. Just clear and focused and pure. Right there. Right now, Ben. This is either as good as things are ever going to get or we need to work hard to get back to the place we liked to be and maybe if you'd stop doing things that make you hate yourself, well, maybe you'd like yourself a little more. I'm not taking those orders you gave me for Sam. I'm not running with freedoms granted, I'm not changing a goddamned thing so maybe you should stop testing me and just BE with me.

Just be, as you always say. Take your own advice for once. Roll with it because this is who we are.

And he laughed and asked if I wanted less freedom and I sort of side-eyed myself and said, well, let's not be harsh here...but then we both started laughing and this time I didn't shake when he put his arms out. And I didn't cry and he didn't wish he could just have one drink and neither one of us felt pushed out of the room, pushed out of our own existence, we just saw each other and it's certainly not an end to the endless difficulties we like to make of life but it's a little bit of a safer place to be for now.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The ineffectual junkie.

Not by choice but by simple discovery have I come to realize that I was meant to experience life via my own white knuckles only.

There will be no escapism. No drunk forgetfulness. No free pass. No passing out. No drug-induced haze. No reprieve and therefore, no surrender. I won't get the choices given to most, excused by virtue of a controlled substance, forgotten because of too much wine. There will be no pain eased by a decision to throw it to the wind, no writing off of harsh moments or jabs of honesty because it will be experienced in full sober clarity.

I am positive I'm not alone in this, but I'm sure there are precious few others. Maybe there are a lot who just keep trying anyway but I know when enough is enough and I can be surrounded by people who can make the hard parts go away. They know their medicines. The cost, the reward, the side effects and the consequences. Maybe they are the lucky ones.

Or maybe in the end I will be the lucky one, the one with life in focus, that life that I can barely see as I squint my eyes half-shut to endure whatever comes next.

(AKA I'm not dead. Nice rumor though. I'm touched.)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sleeping in the spotlight.

Take what you need, Bridget, but for our sakes, need what you take.

Ben whispered it to me a long time ago and it comes back to me now, words filling my head as I hesitate at the door, head cocked distinctly, listening hard for sounds in the house. How many times have I stood outside this door knowing things were on the other side that I could have if I wanted, but that I shouldn't but I did anyway. That the one here now needs more than I could ever provide. That permissions are granted but that it won't make it easier. That they will suck it up, absorb the blows, eat the pain, spit out the bones and be men and I will make it up to them, melting away betrayals, softening pain, swallowing fresh air to soothe the ache of regret.

I turn away and leave the door the way I found it, closed against a room filled with loneliness on the other side that will take months to heal. I can't fix this. I can't be a part of this. I can't put myself anywhere near this. I have enough on my plate right now and no appetite at all.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Formula one.

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control
I'm sure Lochlan is getting better just to prove to Ben that he isn't using his accident to earn extra time or attention from me. He blew me off twice already today when I offered to help him with things like breakfast and errands. He's very stubborn like that. He's always insisted there is no actual formula to winning oneself a Bridget. It's all about being in the right place at the right time and our darkened childhood street at nine in the evening on a warm summer night in 1979 was that place, he says. The rest is fate. The rest is the universe doing what it does best. Astronomy and Astrology are closely tied. The universe is a giant beating heart and we are the force that drives this big blue ball spinning rapidly through the galaxy, around the sun like a slingshot and back again, time speeding past us in a frenzy like hard weather. Time demanding to be spent before it's gone.

(Gee, Lochlan.You don't think it as anything to do with the way you've always done that, describing things to me in terms of love, in terms of things just being right because there is you and there is me. Nope. It was definitely hitting me in the head with your street hockey ball. You should always give your eight-year-old neighbor a concussion and then they will follow you around for the rest of your days like a baby duckling. That's the formula? Give me a break.)

He actually says all these things in between when I gave up on the new U2 album and put on my favorite one, The Unforgettable Fire. He sings along with the title song. He doesn't need any help to finish it today. That's how we seem to be marking his progress. They still insist he was fortunate to be so skilled as to be able to control not taking in any more of the fuel in an attempt to catch his breath. If he had panicked he would still be in the hospital or even worse and maybe that makes me clingy.

Like a moon, he says. Tied to a planet. 

More like a solar flare, I tell him. After all, if you're the sun..

He smiles.
Walk on by
Walk on through
Walk 'til you run
And don't look back
For here I am

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ninety-nine days until Christmas and here's our first present.

We got a deal. After a non-existent graduation for Henry, a reprieve from three terms of questionable marks for Ruth and an extra month+ off, it looks like the kids are finally going back to school.

Finally. The strike is just about over. They have a deal.

Caleb had given me a deadline of October first and then he was going to force my hand and send them to boarding school, but only because he doesn't like the private schools here any better than the public schools.

He's a hard sell, that Mr. Ivy League. He's up against me, a high school degenerate who went on to drop out of college. That wouldn't give me much leeway with our own family mediator, and so I had to pull up my britches and lean solely on my role as Mom. Which doesn't have much clout either. Mom's a former circus performer. Mom's deaf, has two husbands and some boyfriends and mom is under guardianship. They listen to Mom and then pat her on the head and give Caleb whatever he wants.

That's my life, in a nutshell right now. My lawyer takes all of my money. Okay, he takes all of Caleb's money. Interesting how that works isn't it? Yes. Shh.

But I somehow came out intact and the kids get to go back soon to their beloved school with the awesome atrium, double playing field and all their friends already in place. Thank God.

Thank Vince, actually. Mr. Ready got the job done, in spite of a short-sighted, heavily-skewed government and a tough bitch of a union besides.If the deal goes through it looks like this won't happen again until after Henry graduates. We squeaked through, I hope.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The pixie that roared.

(You can turn around right now and kiss me if you want to.)
I had a plan and Daniel didn't even bother to ask me if I was sure. He just took the scissors that I brought him and started cutting and pretty soon the pale blonde halo was all over the floor and my head was colder than I thought it would be.

He peeled the pictures of Jean Seberg that I had brought with me for reference off the mirror and nodded. You're so cute you I would almost go straight for you. 

From your lips to God's ears, Danny. I kissed him on the cheek. He was alarmed. Wait. He could blow dry my hair and put texturing mud in it but I was itchy and wanted to go home and shower. I borrowed a knit hat and ran across the yard like a tiny strike of lightning. No one caught me which is weird. Usually they know where I am and I can't get away from anyone. I wondered if I should take advantage of this sudden freedom but no. Itchy. Haircuts make me crawl all over.

Ben opened the shower door just before I ducked fully under the spray.

Let me see you. 

I walked back out, naked. Shoulders squared. Foolish and brave. Your brother's a rat. I was saving the surprise for the party!

Jesus, your head is tiny. 

What do you think?

I think I love it. You look beautiful. 

I smiled. I wasn't sure what anyone would think. I'm not sure which part of me cares. I needed to do this. I needed to lose the mermaid princess hair. I needed a fresh start this fall. I need a lot of things. I probably would have been better off asking Daniel to shove those scissors straight into my forehead and twist and remove the contents of my skull but hey, nothing lifts one's spirits better than a 'makeover', according to common advice so weee, folks, here we go.

It took one pea-sized drop of shampoo and exactly eight seconds to wash it and then I think it was dry before I hung up my towel. I high-fived myself in the foggy mirror. At least I think it was me. I look so different now, maybe it was actually someone else.

I walked back out into the bedroom and Loch was standing right there, in the way. Well shit! No surprise for him either as I watch the shock give way to pleasure. Not sure if that's because I'm naked or he sees my hair. Er..lack of it.

Okay, so maybe both. Let's just say it's definitely one strategy worth trying. Always present new scary things sans clothes. It softens the blow.

I try to square my shoulders again, try to look taller but apprehension squeezes me back down into a ball of anxiety so I fake it.

Let me see you. 

I square again. Got a well-meaning trapezoid this time, at least. Maybe a parallelogram.

Who cut it? Oh. He thinks Caleb shaved my head and now he's gearing up for war. I kick the weapons and armor to the side and deliver the forfeiture in person, with relief.

Daniel. He did a really good job, didn't he?

You look....

I hold my breath. Maybe I can pass out cold before he finishes and spare myself his disappointment as he doesn't like strangers anymore and my hair was his security blan-

Brand new.


Really. I don't even believe it. You're all eyes and bones now though.


No, I mean you look graceful and beautiful. Just. Wow. I don't even have the right words. Maybe you should have done it a long time ago. Just...so beautiful. We're lucky. You know that? You're so beautiful. 

The stranger blushes. Oh, well SHIT. No hiding that now, I guess. I try to be gracious. Thank you. 

Hours later I have heard good things from everyone save for one. The party was amazing. A great send off and a fun belated birthday do-over. Everyone was very kind and helpful and fun. It was a good evening.

 I am gathering up some of the empty dishes left in the barn when he fills the doorway.

Let me see you.

I turn to face the Devil, amused that he used the same words as both my loves. Amused that they all need a moment. I can't even square anymore, can't muster a lazy rectangle even so I just stand small and look at the floor. My bravery would have been smartly fueled by alcohol tonight but the party was dry.

I note he has one of his own glasses from the boathouse and is drinking whiskey. I hold my hand out for the glass and he flashes a bemused smile before handing the drink over. Once I've had it I can easily gather myself into a cube-type-thing and I wait for his reaction.

He holds his hand out for the glass and I hand it back, empty. He holds it up to his lips anyway and tilts his head up, eyes still on me. Not realizing that there isn't anything left.

(Oo. A metaphor.)

Wow.  He says it softly. I almost missed it.You're breathtaking.

No, I'm the boy I always wanted to be. We both burst out laughing.

No, no one's going to mistake you for a boy, Bridget.

Oh well, wait til you see phase two. I'm going to start wearing Loch's shirts and 501s and then I'll pass for one for sure.

Don't do that, he says. Just be you.

I didn't want to be Jacob's princess anymore, Caleb. Or your doll. I just want to be me.

I think you're doing a hell of a job then. Because you look like you.

Does this mean you're going to set me free? 

Of course not. But I very much like your haircut. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Tonight we're having a big party here, a belated birthday celebration for Lochlan (now a rocking ONE on the pain scale, he's a tough bastard) and a Bon Voyage party for Matt, headed overseas tomorrow night. It will be catered and servers are coming. I already cook for twenty people (give or take) on a thrice-daily basis so no one was willing to add any more work to my day. The only thing I was tasked with was making the cake and finding something suitable to wear to an event that will begin while it's thirty degrees in the shade and end when it's less than ten.

I used the wedding pans from the nineties, when Cole worked as a chef and we did wedding cakes on the side for friends and family. The cake is huge and gorgeous. I covered it with chocolate dipped strawberries and it's filled with strawberry cream and I want to eat all of it, now.

But I won't. PJ took it to the bigger fridge next door and extracted promises that they don't eat it either until after it is presented.

Now I have a date with my favorite hairdressers (Daniel and Schuyler!) and then a shopping trip to find a dress. I will tell you all about all of it tomorrow, unless it's still going on then, that is.

(Probably not. I rarely make it to midnight anymore, and if I do I turn into a pumpkin.)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Lines of credit.

I think I'll die if you deny me
Swallowed alive in eternity
Give me a way to be the agony
That knew you all along
I woke up today in an old familiar position, under Lochlan as he kissed up underneath my ear, my hands pinned over my head with one hand, his other hand around my throat.

Oh, well, someone's feeling better. Finally. But only a little. We took it slow. I'm not sure it's forbidden, exactly and we didn't spend hours or anything but he's whistling a happier tune this morning as he draws cartoons and drinks his coffee and says he's at a 3 on the pain scale today so hey, should I get credit for this or what?


Ben didn't sleep last night. I found him face down in a laptop on the big couch in his studio downstairs this morning and he woke up quickly, shook off the sleep and told me he had to show me something. He put the headphones on me and spun my chair away and I closed my eyes. We have a rule, no watching my expressions when I hear his music for the first time.

I'm terrible with them, honestly and it destroys his fragile ego to pieces so I turn away and I get three listens through and then he asks for my thoughts.

Not my opinion, which I don't and won't give, just my thoughts.

And Jesus. I struggled to be sure I heard the words correctly on the first listen. On the second listen I cried and on the third I was thinking, Damn, boy, you've still got it but you keep it locked up so tight and yet it shines through.

Even though it's a song about a tug of war, not with a rope, but with my heart. He credits me with giving him so much mileage as his reluctant muse. It's just dumb.

He pulled the headphones off me and spun me back around.

Tell me what you feel when you hear that.


Matt is being sent on some sort of scientist-exchange program. They delayed it for a long time based on his newlywed status but the time has come.  He'll be in London for seven or eight weeks working on a project. Sam is completely nonplussed and I remind him loudly and insensitively of the completely stupid things he said to try and comfort me with when they all moved out here and left me and the children in the Prairies for thirteen weeks straight.

He now sees why they didn't work, at least. Nothing makes it better except living for Facetime. At least he has the rest of us here for distractions and cuddles. I hardly even got that. He said it just proves I am tougher than he is. Who knew?

Well, I knew, but I probably don't get credit for that either.


Caleb found out that some of the boys were calling him Canadian Psycho behind his back and sent out a half-page email detailing the very definitions of respect and concession, that we all have to coexist here peacefully for the sake of Bridget and the children and inciting arguments via name calling would not be tolerated.

Or what, I think?

Because credit goes to me for not allowing him to banish anyone without my express approval. I'm not hanging anyone out to dry unless their behavior crosses MY lines, not his. Everyone has struggled and fought and built their character to a degree where they have earned the right to be a part of this collective and it would take a lot more than deploying a freakishly accurate nickname wrought by a beloved movie to change that. Besides, we won't give up who started it.

(I might get credit for that, too.)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Music makes us extremely melodramatic.

(Not sure if you noticed.)
I can be a better artifact
Or I can be a bitter king
I should know what I'm made of
But I'm starting to believe
That I can never leave
Maybe that's how like-minded individuals find their kindred spirits. In any case,  I went to check on Satan this morning and I could hear the record playing through the window before I even got near the steps.

I almost turned around but my muse, oh, sweet troublesome Curiosity, well, she demanded to know what was going on in the mind of the Devil himself.

She's so difficult sometimes.

I stole a glance back at the main house and went up the steps and down the walkway and was about to knock when the music stopped and he opened the door. I can almost sense you now. Exciting times.

I laugh at Caleb's face. Your deck is loud with these shoes.

Don't you mean your shoes are loud?

Yes. So you heard me. You didn't sense me.

No, I sensed you.

What do you want, anyway?

You're the one who came to visit me? What can I do for you?  Is this business or pleasure? He grins, clearly relieved that I'm..talking out loud. It's been a long quiet week here on Testosterone Point.

Neither. About Henry's thoughts-

Okay. You know something? First, you're compromised so if Jacob tells you something I tend not to take it seriously because he can't do that and secondly, I am flexible enough to comprehend the whimsical thoughts of a thirteen-year-old boy. I'm not taking it personally. I was his age once.

No, you were never.

Only because you never knew me at that age.  

Right so you were never. 

Is that proper grammar, Miss Writer? 

Nope. Not hardly. 

He laughs. Am I forgiven then for the awful Nevada incident?

Nope. Not hardly neither. 

Jesus, Bridget, why did you come to me? And speak proper English, please. He waits, handsome in his navy cashmere t-shirt and volcabularic perfection.

To make sure you were okay with what Jacob said and that's affirmative so....see ya. 

Wait! Don't go so fast. Want some lunch? I know a girl who really loves her cheese toast. 

Another day, maybe. 

Promise me. 

Can't do that. Gotta go.

 The whole walk back to the top floor of the main house to check on Lochlan and report for inspection since I was granted seven minutes exactly, all I can think is, 'compromised'?

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Today when I got to the empty shelf under the drill press on the workbench in the garage, I found a care package.

In it was a blanket, a pillow, a comic book, a granola bar, a bottle of water, a flashlight and a rubik's cube. I don't know who put it there, I just know I'd rather be out here than in there today.


Ben finished a song for Loch this morning. Loch was singing really quietly but then he started coughing like crazy so Ben picked it up and sang it softly to the end. Then he told Lochlan it was amazing how the stronger he gets the weaker Loch gets and is it a ploy to get more of my attention? The sarcastic Scot came out swinging, telling Ben he can get my attention without any effort and that if Ben thinks he would risk his life for a little more quiet time with the girl then, well, he can go to hell.

Oh dear.

I warned Loch softly in gaelic to stop. Just a couple of words and Ben came rushing across the room asking me what it means. What did I say? Are we going to leave him on the outside forever or just when it's truly important?

It made me want to cry to see him like this.

But I didn't cry. I taught him the words once taught to me and then I left them there together. They can sort this out. They can figure out where they stand with each other because they both know where they stand with me.


Jake asks if I know who left the package.

Go away, I tell him. You're not real and I'm crazy and I don't want to talk in case Joel hears me. 

Joel is working. We have the place to ourselves. He sprawls out on the floor across from me. He's all long legs and seventies wavy hair. His grin slows my heartbeat down to a flat line. I don't want to die under a drill press. I may not have a say.

I'm as real as you need me to be, Bridget.

I need you to not be anything so I can get better. Please go away. 

When you're done needing me, you'll let me know and then you'll let me go. 

What if that never happens?

I don't know, Bridget. What comic book is that?

The Starman Omnibus. 

Ah. Lochlan's fictional alter ego. 

Richard Swift. This has nothing to do with Lochlan.

Oh right. Accent. Top hat. Magical powers. Not a villain but not a hero either. Seems about right. 

Wow. You guys really have it in for him lately. Can you cut him some slack please? He almost died last week. 

I succeeded in that. Do I get slack?

Not a chance. 

See? Loch is the lucky one. Your loyalties are ironclad. 

To my boys. Including you. 

The hierachy with him at the top. 


You admit it? 

I don't know what you want from me today, Jake. 

I wanted to know if you knew who left you the care package. Because it wasn't the magical fire thrower looking out for your best interests this time. 

Then tell me who it was. 

It was Henry. Now you'd better start pulling your shit together a little better than this, Princess, because you have to be the parent he needs. Don't let the Devil turn that beautiful child into a mirror of himself. Because that child wishes out loud to God that a miracle somehow makes him Loch's child so that he and Ruth can match and so you and Caleb won't have to fight anymore.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bleak light.

And we find what we're made of
Through the open door
Is it fear you're afraid of?
What are you waiting for?
She's still a stranger, I assure him as he catches up to me on the beach. I walked as slow as I could, but invariably I move faster, close enough to touch, close enough to be coated in salt from the heavy air down close to the water. He doesn't begrudge me that, it's something I can't control.

He asks for a barometer on my relationship with the Pacific in all of her newness, a face I don't recognize even though I have studied her now for the better part of the past four years.

He isn't pleased with the result. You still want to go home? 

I don't think I have a home anymore. I feel like the memory, the thing that sort of drifts along with the rest of you and you indulge every now and again but then I go back to hovering on the sidelines while life whips past me so fast I can't focus on any of it. It's all a blur. 

That wouldn't change if we went back, Bridget. 

I know. Maybe that's why I stay. And also I don't have to deal with the snow here. 

Well, there is that. He laughs and it's only slightly hoarse now. Things are better. A little less pain, a little more air and we are go for heal. Go for marginal activity. Go for slow walks. Go for kisses in the middle of the night without him shutting me down as he fights for air without pain.

His eyes are crinkled up in the sun, curls starting to lift again after a radical hot-weather haircut that makes them hide for the first couple of weeks afterward, possibly in fear. His lips are chapped, his moods are fluid, his temper so short I'm bigger than something else in this life finally and his immune system is shot so he's getting a cold now and we'll have to deal with that too. His doctor said mostly keep sleeping. Keep taking it easy, so sure, let's climb down the cliff onto the beach and then have to climb back up later. No big deal, right?

We took our time. It wasn't so bad, actually. He said he felt better for the fresh air blast. That's just like home even though what was temporary for him is everything to me, as always because I have no capacity for temporary or in the moment. Or fleeting.

I just latch on for dear life to every damned thing and I hate that about myself but here in the sun and the wind and the corrosive, heavy salt it doesn't seem like such a destructive thing. It seems normal and touching and not at all fatal, as they say it's supposed to be.

We walk slowly down the beach, stopping to pick up glass, pointing out boats to each other and he asks how do I come to accept this sea in place of my own?

That isn't possible. 

Why not? What if we never leave here? 

What if we did? I'd be a traitor. 


The first thing you ever taught me was loyalty. One for all, all for one. Put each other first, back each other up, be supportive. Find allegiance. Focus. She would know. She'd kill me. 

The Atlantic?


You're not supposed to personify things to the point where they have the power to threaten you. 

It's not a threat, just an inevitability. 

I can't tell if you're being dramatic or resigned.

Both. Neither. 


I think we should go back now. I'll call Ben to meet us half way just in case you need a push or a piggyback or something. 


Let's go, okay? I'm cold and you shouldn't be out here anyway.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

(Pretty sure I'm getting sick because I don't care about much of anything.)

Today's high points include a baking sheet loaded with bacon, a one-point decline in the pain scale for one guy and just a random dull aching whole face for me, a kid who really freaking loves the Destiny game we fretted over when we lost the pre-order receipt and a pewter envelope from next door with only a polaroid inside.

It was a picture of a plate of toast with cheese.

A peace offering.

I shredded it. The picture, not the toast. I didn't get any toast. I don't want any toast today.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Still a girl of few words.

I'm cranky today. It's Monday. The teachers are still on strike, Lochlan's still a six on a pain scale of one to ten and I just came home from an appointment in which my dentist (who is my size) climbed all over the back of the chair, assistant in tow, to place a dental dam on me to fill a couple cavities, finally telling me I have a very tiny, tight little jaw.

I know.

Speaking of people who complain my jaws are small,  I sent the thousand-dollar bill to Caleb. What fun that was. He sent back instruction to just use the credit card. It was four tiny cavities, all told. I was caught by surprise.

Because candy.

And Bridget.

Two things that go well together. Pretty sure that whole bag of Orange Crush Twizzlers that almost killed me this summer (in one sitting) had nothing to do with this state of affairs but I'm also pretty sure that one sitting today doubled the number of fillings I have, though the first half are silver because I'm old.

Also speaking of old, Caleb is just completely, utterly put out that I won't actually speak to him.

Between the awful trip, the I-told-you-so horse debacle and the fact that as we were leaving this morning for the dentist I caught Batman heading up the steps to the boathouse because he thinks he can run this whole show and Caleb sometimes won't stand up to him), I have zero things to say to Caleb. Maybe that will change when the children go back to school but since we've already procured all of their supplies and clothes, their teeth are clean and cavity-free and we're good to go, there will be little to say.

My heads hurts so bad. I don't care if I don't know where I'm going with this. Come back tomorrow.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

My guts are all in my head.

Today's progress included showers (!) and getting dressed (!!) and then Lochlan summoned up the energy to be all indignant/accenty over Scotland's move toward independence. He had a little bit of coffee and a lot of juice and then...

He fell asleep mid-sentence.

Face-first into the front of Ben's flannel shirt.

It was probably the sweetest thing I've seen a long time and also a brutal reminder how fragile he is right now. I don't like it. It freaks me out and makes me compensate by being so outwardly tough I could stop a tank, I swear.

But no one's got one so I think I'll go to bed early and watch movies on the iPad with the headphones while they sleep.

It's funny. The children stay up til midnight every night reading and we can barely drag ourselves through dessert anymore.

(Dalton just said 'Outwardly tough'? Say what? Bridget you're peanut brittle. We'll look after things. Go get some rest.)

Saturday, 6 September 2014


Lochlan spent most of last evening and today sleeping. Ben and I went to get Ben's iPhone replaced (swelling battery wtf?) and on the way to the Apple store he was pretending to be the radio and every time I pressed an invisible button on his chin he would change the station. Sometimes it would be a different genre (opera and country included and a hell of a rap channel), sometimes it would be commercials, sometimes a soothing voice in a made-up language, and sometimes just static, white-noise, oblivion.

It was so funny. I laughed and laughed in the truck beside him. We sort of figured a tentative date to reschedule the birthday dinner and when we came home, Ben went up to snooze with Lochlan and I settled into the library to start Blankets and have a good stiff drink (well supervised, of course.) An hour later I've finished a third of the bourbon in the bottle (well supervised, of course) and a third of the book and I'm not sure if I want to escape into sleep too, like Ben, Lochlan and Craig (in the book), or just sit here and ruminate on how things are okay and maybe levelling out and how badly we complicate everything God has given us to the point of total destruction. I'd talk to Sam but I hate to subject him to my drunk self. I'd talk to Ben but same. I'd talk to Lochlan but he needs more sleep than worry and I'd talk to Jake but he would just tell me to believe and to give my heart up to Jesus and everything will sort itself out.

Last time he said that I laughed in his face and asked him how the Jesus nickname was working for him and he clued in and told me that he wasn't Jesus, he was only a messenger for God and I laughed in his face again and told him I didn't think so. That if Jesus was here and he was perfect and flawed and would die for our sins that he was definitely Jake and then I asked him why he died for someone who wasn't worth it and he disappeared again.

But that's okay. I have this book to read while I wait for the second coming. While I wait for everyone to wake up. While I wait to be saved from myself. It hurts to read this book. It hurts to be me, maybe. Hence the escape in a Tennessee whiskey and a fifteen-pound graphic novel. Some days are just like that.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Following the green stripe.

He is pale and fighting for breath when I get in. The hesitation between words is what gets me collecting our things before he can make his pride shine. Inside of forty minutes we're at the hospital and he is sent right up. Oxygen. Painkillers. More x-rays. Please don't admit him again, tomorrow is his birthday.

Finally the room clears. It has to run its course. He is healing, albeit slowly. Stop pushing so hard. Stay down. Stay quiet.

Almost didn't make it to forty-nine, did I?

I'll tell you tomorrow.

We're missing dinner.

I put my head down on the bed and he puts his hand over it. We'll reschedule.

I'm sorry, Peanut.

For what?

I was trying to impress you. I took a chance and it came back and bit me.

Why would you need to impress me?

You're my girl.

Impress me by being safe, then.

You're weird.

You're the one in the nightgown.

Hey, cut me some slack. I'm an old guy now.

At forty-nine? Yes, you are, Lochlan.

You make me feel young.

Could just be all that fresh newness on your insides.

Aye, it could be that.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The high-functioning wards.

Joel was here this morning. Early. Whoever gave him a key is about to be ruined, he's a stranger and my children sleep in this house.

He will tell you he's one of Jacob's oldest and dearest friends and in order to make the big switch to being one of mine as well, he sacrificed everything. I don't recall asking him to do it. Jeez. My 'fondest' memories of the guy are being undressed by him in the front hall after I came home, after Jacob flew, and before that of him chasing me up the steps right behind Jake and then both of them holding me down while Joel slid a whole shitload of tranquilizers into my veins after Cole.

Maybe psychiatrists are not the best sorts of friends to have. I don't know any anymore though, so I can't answer that.

I need to talk to Ben. You keep saying he isn't doing so hot. Is anyone doing anything about it?

Sam walks in. His timing. I don't even know. I'm working with him.

Maybe he'd like to talk for a bit to someone else.

I'm working with him. Sam repeats himself. Joel misses the vitriol and continues to address me. Ask him or I will. There's too much at risk for him to have you two put up a wall in front of me.

You're unqualified.

I have the training.

And it's ILLEGAL for you to use it anymore, Joel.

So help your husband and maybe keep it quiet. Isn't he worth doing everything you can?

Ben will be fine.

You're an enabler, Bridget.

I'm PROTECTING him from YOU.

I'm not out to hurt him.

Then leave us alone.

What's going on? My patient comes into the room. Still raspy, still hurting but won't stay down. I start tea for him and turn back to Joel.

Joel was stopping by to offer some help but he has to go now.

Bridget, if you stand in the way of Ben's recovery you'll have to answer to all of us.

Threats? Really? Is this because I talked to August?

I could hear you.

From the front porch. You live a hundred yards away. Were you eavesdropping?

If he shows up and suddenly you have a laundry list of people you want him to fix then you need to look closer to home.

Oh my God. You're jealous.

No, I want to help. I want to make amends.

By moving in and secretly keeping notes on me for Caleb? You had one job, Joel. I guess you botched it good. Maybe you should save face and just go.

But Lochlan is watching Joel and he's not going to dismiss him the way I do.

Is that it? Is she right? Are you jealous of August?

I'd like to help.

And Lochlan roars. ANSWER THE QUESTION! His voice is so strained it hurts to listen.

Joel stands there. I don't know how hard it is to weigh the words but it's going to be better for him if he just admits his weakness (not like it won't be shared, diluted among them all) but instead he lies and says he just wants to help any way he can, and that he'll have a report for me on Caleb soon just so we're on equal ground.

I don't want that.

I do, says Loch.

Hush, you.

Sam says This isn't the way they play the game and I burst out laughing because he's right. Oh, he's so right.

Joel says he'll drop it off later and I see him out. At the door I ask for the key and he gives it and I tell him if he's hungry or he needs something that he can message me or PJ and we will feed him or whatever but he doesn't have the right to just walk in. He's a guest, not a member of the collective and that's never going to change.

Please tell Ben to come see me, Bridget. Don't be selfish now. You've never acted this way in your life. Don't risk it with Ben.

I shut the door in his face.

Rest real loud.

Aw fuck. Chimaira just packed it in after fifteen long years. God love 'em. PJ is near tears and now we're wondering who the hell is going to soundtrack the mosh pits in the kitchen every day.

Good for them though. Family first. It's a tough biz any way you shake it.

(Actual daily post to follow after the obligatory amazing seven-album listen through. This is how we mark time.)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


August stayed long enough to wash off the dust, get a haircut and a shave and read Joel's report. I thought he would laugh. I thought he might roll his eyes and give a colorful curse or two but he nodded and then he kept nodding and he said it was about right but he said it softly, defensively as if I was about to lash out at him or fall apart but it just proves that they don't understand unconventional people and basically it made me stick even closer to Loch and to Ben. Loch is still having some godawful chest pain and Ben is retreating from us but not physically and I had to ask August if he could just deal with him instead, that even at my worst I have a good net here but Ben tends to fall right through it. Probably because of the huge weight difference between us. Or maybe because the net was just never designed for the types of tricks Ben does.

I don't know but they were locked in the library talking for a damn long time and when they came out they both looked spent and grim.

Sam needs to step up. He favors me. Maybe they all do because Ben doesn't give them a chance. I'm a open book. I'll sing to you my flaws and read aloud from the big book that is my fears. Ben won't say a word until he's so far gone he's lost. So maybe you're going to first fix the easier thing.

Which, okay so no, that's not it then.

Can't be.

August is gone now, on the plane that's going to bump his slender knees through Edmonton, Montreal, Halifax and into Gander. It might take him the rest of the week to get home at that rate but he wouldn't stand for me rearranging his itinerary to make things easier for him.

So I didn't. But I also didn't stand for him agreeing with Joel because I know what's wrong with me, I don't need to see it on paper, I don't need it agreed with. I don't need the confirmation that I'm some sort of enigma who has so many things wrong inside her skull they practically cancel each other out at this point. Instead I just made devilled eggs and chocolate-covered strawberries and I soaked up all of the Newfie while I could because I sincerely doubt he'll be back again this way before Christmas and then I put on my bravest face (and biggest lie) at the door when he left.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The pilgrimage back from Nevada.

(Still waiting for my money, Diabhal, if you'd put a rush on that. What? Your assistant isn't handy? She's busy, sorry. Do it yourself for once.)

I'm still mostly strung out on stress here and unable to sleep, remember things or get past the end of my nose with my list of chores. Sam redelegated my Monday for me and triaged me right through the morning. I can't seem to let go of Lochlan's hand. I don't want to take my eyes off him. The thought of ever losing anyone else to an accident or illness or anything for that matter leaves a simmering fear always on the verge of boiling over and maybe I don't do as well as I thought I did.

Ben gave up and handed me off to Sam almost too quickly. Hurry up, he must be thinking. Fix her up and then come look after me because I'm the one everyone dismisses or forgets because I never keep my shit together long enough to be counted. 

He's wrong but try telling him that.

Sam is doing well. This house is a full time job, I think. Probably Joel's job but as long as he is here to create reports and feedback on me I'm not speaking to him.

I just want to sleep. I want to have a good dream. I want to eat pizza without feeling sick and I'd like to maybe watch a really good movie without poking holes in the dialogue or the plot or the effects.

And then I heard a big Newfie walk in the front door, but only because he was yelling our names.

And I flew off the couch, and Lochlan's head snapped up because he had almost fallen asleep and he said is that August? 

And it was. Fresh and wasted from yet another goddamned Burning Man, because this guy never learns.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Breathing now.

Convalescent day with the pyrowrecknical who has a lovely raspy lilt to his voice that makes my knees buckle just splendidly. I think he totally fucked up and didn't want to admit it because he likes to be perfect even as he makes zero attempts to belong, fit in or mingle with the norms. He'll always be the outsider and that will probably be his downfall but for the next few weeks he is mine while we run the gamut of pills and x-rays and pulmonologists (?) and side effects. He hates antibiotics and steroids just make everyone mean but he has to take those too because lungs are precious things.

I can spoil him with Netflix and cuddles and music. Maybe a drive later if he gets restless (he does, endlessly) and Ben promised to entertain him tomorrow while I go grocery shopping because I'm tough and I'm resilient and lately it seems like the bad luck is offleash and running free but the horse was going to die anyway, rarely have I ever had a really good trip with Satan and frankly after so long at it the fact that Loch had a relatively mild industrial accident is almost a relief because the odds are back on his side again now, even though it will probably be next summer before he gets to give it another go and I have been summarily banned from ever doing it again for the big fire-transfer kiss finale because now suddenly it's too dangerous and he said if this had happened to me I would be dead.

Granted, that might solve as many problems as it makes, but he has a point and I'm just glad our livelihood no longer has to depend on these sorts of things. We've seen people have to leave a show due to accidents or illnesses and it was never not heartbreaking for everyone involved.

Lochlan doesn't agree with me on being glad we're out. He wanted to be a lifer but I dragged him into the real world and I bet he resents me for that even as he says he never ever would, that I have shown him the sweet parts of life as I jam down beside him into the couch and steal the remote the first chance I get. Because girl movies, for the win.