Monday, 29 February 2016

More about Dylan in one single post than in the last decade.

This morning very early we saw Dalton off for his whirlwind spring. I will miss him. He's my hippie, the Teflon Jesus we all know and love. He said he expects face time* every day. I don't know when that's going to happen with the time zones but we'll make it work. He's not as huge on affection as his brother so somehow it's easier to say goodbye, though I still cried. Dylan was with him. He gave me a quick hug and I swore at him because he won't let me write the oh-so-many good things I could share with you because he doesn't want to live online. Most of them don't, I don't think. They, like me, regard the Internet as a sort of instant-encyclopedia, good for looking up why the old guy in Colony looks so familiar, oh, it's Captain Brass from CSI kind of forgettable trivia we seem to fill our brains with when we should be filling them up to the brim, to overflowing with memories, just in case. Use the Internet to keep in touch? No way. That's why we live in a commune, silly.

Love you, Fidget. Be a good girl. 

I'll do nothing of the sort. You have condoms?

No, I plan to bring my raging chlamydia-infested junk home and rub it all over you. 

Hey, just no. Even Dalton is grossed out and Dalton has loved and left them all. He just did it well-wrapped.

Kidding. I love you. Take care of Benny for me and everyone else and make sure they take care of you. 

Or we'll kick their asses when we get back. Dalton is stern but holding tough so he doesn't lose it. We hate goodbyes. Hate them, hate them, hate them.

Just get back in one piece, guys. I hug them both at once. Too hard, too long. I have issues.

When they leave I wipe my eyes, pull up my underpants and head straight for the bank where I put a few thousand bucks each in their accounts just in case. Just in case they gotta eat. Just in case they need a quick flight home or an emergency room bill paid. Just in case they didn't pack condoms. Just in case there's cool merch or VIP when things swing this way. Oh, I don't know. Bail money. God forbid, think up a horror scenario and I've already imagined it, though Dalton is a well-seasoned traveler and Dylan is not my child so I should worry so much less than I do but I really love it when everyone is present and accounted for at home on the point and the gate is locked across the driveway best.

I thought Ben might have a hard time seeing them go off officially but he didn't. Duncan did that super-stoic cool lizard-king thing where he doesn't react but he's got his sunglasses on and it's cloudy so I know he worries and I hugged him and told him they will be fine and if something goes wrong we will swoop in and rescue them and he nodded and smiled and squeezed me back but he didn't say much on the ride home either. The torch has passed. The marginally-younger, unencumbered, unburdened guys are going out and the older ones in recovery or with families and tired bones are staying home. It's not a life if your thoughts are always back at home, it's just a miserable,  lonely kind of party. But they'll do well to make some decent money and gather just a few more stories to tell around the fire pit later this summer. I can wait. Or maybe I can't.

*(Back in the day when the kids were in diapers and the castle was cold, Ben would call maybe twice or three times during a whole run, because we didn't have cellphones. That was unbearable. At least now we can check in daily. Hourly, if need be. I like it a lot better.)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

In which I try hashtags.


The universe has been reset. Leo got his Oscar!

#teamRevenant #finallyJackdidntletgo  #iwonalotofmoneytonight #imnotinLAkilltherumors


Saturday, 27 February 2016


I drove for hours today with Sam, Loch and the horse trailer to get a horse that was needing me only when I got there she turned out to be too fragile to even transport and I had to turn her away, knowing that she will be put down before the weekend is out. I mean, I could have taken her and she might have gone just as fast. I was so hopeful that I could make her last hours beautiful and peaceful instead of noisy and dark and frightening. I can't think too much about things like bright lights and faith, dark skies and pavement, rushing nowhere. Not having tomorrows, no hope grown from yesterdays enough to see it through. No hope at all, Jake.

No horse either. Sam's gentle lead was a dead end, ironically enough.

No reward for all the work put into today only to see it end in utter defeat. I said I could handle it and I was wrong. Clearly I can't. Have a bottle of Jack Daniels and a plan to anesthetize myself into outer space where there are no horses and no ghosts either.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Defining ourselves by the things we can't live without.

All hail the siren of our time
I'm possessed when she passes by
She drains the best years of my life
She makes promises
She could never keep
This week's headaches seem to have the new feature of twisting my expressions so that the pain is visible all over my face. I never used to have this problem. Maybe the brain tumor no one admits I have is pressing on whichever part of the brain controls expressions, AKA the part I'm missing. When I walked on the beach this morning I looked for that part, as if I might be able to spot it at fifteen feet and go pick it up, dust the sand off it and put it in the pocket of my overalls. When I get back inside I'll ask Ben to crack my skull open and Sam can figure out where the part goes, precisely, because if I knew I would be stoic and cold and not crack like an egg myself when Lochlan yelled in my face last night. Though Lochlan knows the rules too and boy he sure seems to love having a full pantry and warm sheets until it comes time to pay up. Then he steals as much as he can and disappears.

We've talked about this. It just doesn't get easier. Not only do I miss the expression control but according to him my backbone is missing. If anyone had known when Caleb offered damages on this scale that it included continued damage to be done to me on a regular basis, well, we would have run. Or rather, Loch would have run. I would have stood there in the flames, sweat rolling down my skin wondering why it was so fucking hot.

It's just too late now and thankfully my small body has somehow doubled up on both stubbornness and durability so I'm good. I smile and then my crazy reveals it carries me alone because no sane person would have this sort of arrangement.

(Admit it. You are still back there on 'damages'. It's okay. I do that too. I don't tell this in order. It's easier this way, trust me. Now is not the time to show you how evil the Devil really is.)

Caleb had Henry bring me the envelope. He's getting good at getting around the fire. It's a moat of fire today, all around the house. So Henry came downstairs with one and handed it to me on his way out, saying Dad said to give this to you before I left for school.

Thanks, Bunny, I tell him as I go up in flames.

No problem. He shrugs into pack and off he goes.

But it's okay. I'm not concerned.

Everyone leaves and when I go back into the kitchen the Devil is standing there. I feed the envelope to the wood stove and his exasperated expression matches my pain one. Why do you do that?

I know what it says. Join me Thursday night, nonnegotiable, blah blah blah evil blah blah blah damnation blah blah Loch blah blah I love you. 

He laughs. Not because I was funny, but because today pain makes me brave. Bridget-

Oh, stuff it. My head hurts. 

Then why on earth are you stopping your pills?

I turn and launch a bowl at him. Overhand. I TOLD YOU WHY.

Wait a minute here. 

Just...could you fuck off for today please?

It hurts that bad? 

When did you ever care if something hurt. 

Your well-being is at the top of my list-

How long are you going to keep telling that lie? If you were concerned for my well-being you would have busted Lochlan for the lies instead of torturing him- my voice cuts out at the worst time. I have a whole huge list of things I want to yell about right now and I sound small and strangled.

I can call for something for the pain.

I have things for the pain! What I would like is for you to leave my house!

You said yourself they weren't good eno-

How about you just GET OUT? 

He closed his mouth abruptly, nodded after staring at me for a full minute and then left by the side door. I went back to the stove and opened it to put in some more wood and the envelope was sitting on top of the cinders, flames all around it and yet it is completely untouched.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cold hearts, warm hands.

All of the dreams that you made nightmares
all of the silence, deafening stares

All of the ships who can't carry loads
you wrecked in anger, along distant shores

All of this would have been
all of this could have been yours
These days I eat, sleep and breathe petrichor, or the idea of it, anyway, since it never actually stops raining long enough to become anything close to dry. These sunny days will be shortlived, like everything good. Who needs anything else when you have this? You just scrape the moss off your skin as it grows and marvel at how your blood has been replaced with rainwater. It's inevitable. The problem is, I like my rainwater mixed with salt and sand. Grit and glory, twenty-four-seven. Keep your rainforest, I'll be in the sea.

I'm pretty sure if I were in the sea he would stand disdainfully nearby, on the drier rocks and wait for me to surface, holding one of those envelopes like a bullet, meant for my heart.

Every one he gives me Lochlan takes to burn. Every one unopened. Caleb's birthday is a week from today. He'll be fifty-three, an age I still can't comprehend as it seems like just last night he was eighteen and piggy-backing me home from the ballfield or driving me to the mall. Or saying goodbye as he packed up his room down the hall from Cole's as he went off to University a few years ahead of the rest, while I was still in grade five and unable to even spell university.

Certain dates of the year I am required to spend with him, his birthday being the most important date above the others. The second-most important date is New Years Eve. I defied him that night for reasons I can't talk about. I don't plan to do that again, in spite of Lochlan's rules, so we shall see what next week brings.

I have a plan of my own, you know.

If I were to give out envelopes they would be glitter. It would get on everything. It would be great. Maybe I should do that. Make them fight for my time instead of making me fight for theirs.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


(Blame Loch for this too. The girl of a thousand nicknames.)

I had an early meeting this morning with the Russian doctor. The young one, in spite of my request for Senior. The young one is far creepier and knows less English. I forgot about the creepy part and offered him coffee first and he took it as an invitation to get familiar and asked me if I wanted a referral to a surgeon to have the scar under my nose fixed. And my nose if I wanted. He then refused the coffee and took my blood pressure. Probably should have done that first, as he frowned and asked if I had done anything to reduce it as promised.

I'm...trying to relax more? I smile with all my teeth.

He frowns and laughs at the same time. I think only Russians can do that, actually. You need to do it better, then. He scolds and I imaginary-roll my eyes.

I will try. 

If not, medication. 

Speaking of that-

What do you need?

I need to not take pills. 

Usually people want more pills. 

I'm not 'people'. I hate pills. 

What is wrong with pills?

They make me gain weight, sleep all the time and I have no creative spark whatsoever. I sort of don't care about anything. I'm not entirely sober on these things.

Well, you could use more sleep and more weight and less caring. Less..uh what do you call it? Less uptights. 

Right. My tights are too far up my arse.

Pardon me?

Nothing. I don't want to take the pills. 

What about headaches?

I'll have to try something else. Maybe a guillotine.

He said you were acrimonious. 

I don't even know what that means.

Gloomy. Bluesy, as it were.

I laugh. This is insane. Can I just please stop taking the pills? 

Yes, but go off slowly. One a day for the next week, then stop. 

Thank Jesus. 

Which one of them is Jesus?

No one. It's an expression. 

We have an expression too, Mrs. C______. It's Pochemuchka. It means a difficult child. 


So what do you want to try next?

Nothing. Let's just wait and see. 

He shrugs and turns to leave. If you insist, but the first headache you have brings me back. We are all busy.

Then I'll see you soon. I smile because I'm not in any pain right now.

Pochemuchka. He shakes his head as he goes. A pain in the tights for certain.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

This is the kind of thing that happens when you wake up at five every morning.

Who else danced naked on the beach in the dark this morning to greet the full moon + Jupiter?

Just me?

Oh well! You snooze, you lose.

Monday, 22 February 2016

When Lochlan came back (from a trip to fix the equipment left behind on the site before this one) I was on the roof of the camper, wedged in between the pop-up vent and the lexan skylight, Archie comic in one hand, halfway through the hijinks of Riverdale, the other hand holding a fistful of red licorice, taking bites in between belting out the words to Say you Love Me along with Christine McVie on the tiny transistor that we usually kept on the counter for dinner music. I'm emulating Bailey and her friends, getting a tan since I have a few hours free. That's what girls do, I think. Though my bikini isn't as spare so much as it is sturdy, because I'm eleven and didn't grow again this year so I didn't get a new suit for the summer. This is the one from when I was ten.

Lochlan climbs the ladder and smiles at me. He has oil all over his hair, face, hands and shirt. We're never going to get that out. We hand wash all of our clothes in the kitchen sink and dry them on a line strung between the front passenger mirror and the nearest tree if we don't have to move on. This is the first day in the newest location and it's on the beach, prime real estate. A decadence rarely seen in a life such as this. Usually the campers are parked behind utility buildings on the edge of a deserted industrial park or beside a run-down strip mall. This is amazing.

You look like you found something to keep you occupied. Any problems? 

Only that I'm going to run out of licorice any second now and as usual Archie can't seem to choose between Veronica and Betty. Why doesn't he pick one of them and stay with her? 

Because human beings are complicated, Peanut.

That's dumb. I'm glad I'm not complicated. 

He raises his eyebrows and descends back to the ground. He's going to change and my song is over so I scramble to collect everything in my tote bag that I then drop down over the side of the camper to the grass because I am not permitted to carry anything while climbing ladders as per Loch's rules. We have to work tonight so I need to change anyway in my midway shirt and shorts. I leave my bikini on underneath and maybe we'll be able to go for a midnight swim after work. I blow a kiss toward the water and head inside. I would love to quit and just spend the whole day down on the sand where the shore meets the sea but then we would starve and also we can't crew camp if we're not crew so Lochlan tells me to lose myself in the happiness of the fair goers and that will tide me over until we're finished for the night.

That and the ache in my stomach from eating half a bag of Twizzlers, that is. So good but not all at once and I keep making this mistake again and again. Lochlan says it's because I'm complicated after all. I smack him with a wayward licorice stick and he grabs it and eats it right out of my hand, pretending to start in on my fingers once the candy is gone, making me shriek so loud his eyes get wide for a second and then he starts to laugh.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Oh, Internet. Just because I post two sentences from a week-long argument does not mean I am giving you permission to judge, advise or condemn. I do realize you'll do it anyway. Everyone I know picked a side. Most of them were with me, because as we have already covered in previous postings, Ben has made a concentrated effort to reassure me that and the others that he is essentially unemployed/retired/home for good only to pick up and run out of the blue, turning what was supposed to be a one week business trip into a years' worth of scheduling. A comeback, if you will. A favor extended. A really really stupid idea in the first place. He isn't all that strong right now, it would have been bad for his recovery, bad for his health, bad for his marriage and ridiculously awful for his friendships.

When Sam asked him what he wanted more, he didn't even hesitate before pointing to me and saying her. 

So he isn't going.

He'll have to look after the loose ends quickly then. It's the perfect time to do it, before the press, before the rumblings. before anyone puts his name on Wikipedia. I think life with these boys before the internet was easier by far but then we wouldn't have Sam and we need Sam. Sam is glue. Sam is a calm force in a roiling sea. Sam is keeping Ben to his word when not even Daniel seemed to be able to, because Daniel also picked a side and Ben felt betrayed by that for a brief moment before realizing that his brother has come along behind him picking up the slack from me for a long time now. If anything we should give Daniel a medal for honor, for bravery or for utter foolishness. Pick one, because like sides in the end it isn't important. The plans, details and drama aren't as significant as family. Daniel is blood family and the rest of us are Ben's family by choice.

I didn't even have to say a word. I stood there courageously defending my own sudden stupidity at any cost, which Lochlan later told me was somewhat terrifying to witness. Cold, apparently and more like Cole and Caleb than anything he's ever seen before. Calmly promising heartbreak and carnage quietly, on a grand scale and without remorse. He said they must have taught me well. Only they didn't teach me, I was the recipient and I know what makes the scary feelings come out best.

But I didn't do it to make Ben change his mind and stay home with us. If anything I did it to remind him, myself and everyone around us that if you stay here you will get your heart broken, there will be drama and carnage and bloodshed and tearshed and reasonshed too. I made sure to give him every reason for him to go, to get out of here so that he would have no regrets whatsoever if he didn't. That weighing the odds, if he stayed in spite of the way I am that his reasons to do so must be pretty darn good in their own right.

They are, he told me. You and Danny and Loch and PJ, everyone. You're my reasons. I'm sorry, Bee. I get caught up and then I can't escape. 

I know. 

I wasn't going to get away from you. 

Then you're stupid, because you should. 

No, you're stupid because you think I'm stupid for being here. 

Well you are stupid for thinking I'm stupid because I think you're stupid for being here. 

I don't know how to respond to that. 

I don't either. 

Love you, Little bee. 

Love you too, Benny.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Spontaneous perdition.

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
It's snowing, I am having sunomono and black tea for breakfast and Ben is home early with one of his ridiculous ultimatums. If you don't want me to do this, I won't. Just say the word.

What is the word, exactly, Ben? Quit? Submit? Defeat? Kowtow? Bend? Surrender? Pick one, I have time. I drain the vinegar out of the noodles. My stomach hurts. This isn't so much salad as it is a cold soup and my body likes starchy warm things like bread. I'm cold too. Forgot to bring my sweater downstairs. I would borrow his hoodie, since it's on the back of one of the kitchen chairs but it smells like airplane fuel. It's very strong after someone flies but everyone else swears they smell nothing. I'm sure it has something to do with my brain, and how it picks up weird things like invisible scents and very intense, cloaked but controlled emotion. I can feel rainbows and see gasoline fumes. When someone walks into a room, they could be acting perfectly normal but if they're under duress I will feel it so hard I hit the floor. Explain? Sorry, that part of life isn't my job. I'm no brain surgeon but I will be leaving my entire being to science and they can report back to you when the time comes. In the meantime I just shrug. Lochlan dismisses it as indigo child/freak magic. But then he'll grin at the inside joke and I laugh because his grin is leprechaun-maniacal level in nature and no one witnessing it emerges unscathed. He resumes singing and playing at the table but quietly because half the house is still asleep.

We've got Ben's itinerary spread out all over the table. It doesn't look so bad, in all honesty. It's three months here and two there kind of thing but the dates are grouped in such a way that he could be home in between if they were going to be closer. But they aren't going to be close enough to make it worthwhile.

When is it not worthwhile?

When it's more hours of travel-time than home-time. 

Then they can manage without me, Bee. Just say the word.

 When I don't say anything Ben tries on some harshness. It fits, but barely. It's not as if you aren't full up of people to affect.

Another inside joke at the expense of his bitterness. We fight when he tours. It's as sure as a sunset, as predictable as clockwork and we can't seem to avoid it, hard as we try. His guilt puts him on the defensive. His defensiveness also makes my stomach hurt. No amount of insistence that he's fine to do this can dismiss the fact that it's chewing him up inside because he wants to be Ben the Walking Ego just as badly as he wants to revel in the routine of being home with no time limit or itinerary in sight. In on the joke, as it were, instead of on the outside looking in while someone else takes his place. And I would pick him in a heartbeat but if he isn't here then what do I do? I use his brother as a stand in and get all the goddamn affection I want, thank you. Or, you now, someone else.

Yes, that's right, I suppose I am pretty busy.  

He closes his eyes and escapes from me because I'm wearing my Second Best t-shirt and no one likes to have their shit called down front for all to see. But instead of remaining there he leans very far forward so his head is close to mine. He points to the shirt and says Now you know how it feels.

I would have high-fived him for such an exquisite, magnificent insult but I was too busy burning alive.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Freaks in the corner.

He slides his hands up my ribcage, thumbs tracing the bones, fingers wrapped around my flesh, a harsh touch that thrills me like nothing else from a man who generally isn't rough or anything less than gentle except for when he is tired, like tonight.

I don't know if this whole thing doesn't feel temporary but I think we need to stick with it and see how it plays out. He says this even as earlier tonight he caught me packing to run and as I took things out of drawers to put them in the suitcase he was taking them out and putting them back while we spoke in angry low tones to each other to keep it between us instead of declaring war with the entire household, or worse, the entire population of Point Despair here, where wayward bandmates go to languish and die. It's a hospice for the romantically doomed. It's a curse. It's a bleak rainy well-appointed prison. It's all mine.

It isn't his, as he points out far too regularly and I'm sorry but I used up all of my nervous energy in deciding to run. I don't have anything left with which to fight.

He was too quick to give up information. That isn't how he does things. 

He said it himself. He's getting old. 

So are we! But I gave up decades ago thinking time would make any difference. 

I know but disappearing doesn't help. 

Sure it does. It gives space and time and absence that either brings relief or brings us all to our knees. There is no happy medium here. You get extreme fulfilled joy or the most excruciating grief ever felt with no in-between and I wouldn't have it any other way.

But he isn't listening any more. He's unbuttoning my dress. He's kissing along my temple and jaw. He's delicate and rough all at the same time and involuntarily I shiver, goosebumps breaking out all over, eyes zeroing out, unfocused, breathing quick and heavy. My hands can't get purchase, can't gather him in, can't feel anything but his warm skin when my hands make contact.

I know what he means by temporary. We were supposed to play house. Just for a few years and then I would untangle myself and return to the show full time. Return to him full time. Return to my life out of a suitcase, always with a growly stomach and a wary trust. Always with a backup plan, an escape route and a stolen pair of brass knuckles hidden in the lining of my sweater though I can't throw a punch to save my soul, or I would have had it back long ago. Always a paycheck or three behind, always thrilled beyond belief with a sunrise, a book finished or a warm meal after days without one. A bubble bath or a glass of champagne were things on a movie screen and never once did I choose a bracelet in this imaginary gilded life without having a firm idea of what it will be worth when it comes time to trade it for goods on the run.

I want to see all the places I haven't seen but we're currently having a freak time-out, pretending to be people we're not in a world we don't understand or appreciate but never take for granted.

I unbutton his shirt, running my hands across his smooth chest, tracing tattoos, as many or possibly more words than the number that etch into my own flesh. We match perfectly. I start passages, he finishes them. A song finds its way into my skull and within moments he's sorting it out on guitar or piano. When he isn't here I can't find my way around, it's like my directions are gone. When he is here I want to be awake all the time so I don't miss out on a single breath that he takes, a thought that he thinks, a movement, a gesture. All the arguments in the world don't change this. They never change this.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

I'm always asked if I would go back. The answer is always yes.

As you can imagine, it's been quite an adjustment but I have lots of help. My hearing aids are being replaced on Tuesday, Ben will be home by Sunday and my daydreams seem intact in spite of the rain.

Joel is suitably unreachable and August is more than a little rankled up at Lochlan, who is only doing his best to protect me in the best ways he knows how to, to shut out the real world because who needs it, first of all, and secondly it will be right where we left it when we open up again, right?

(He hasn't been wrong yet.)

And I'm not good with reality. It's a smack in the face, a slog through mud, an obstacle course when I am out of breath with broken limbs, expected to keep up always. Expected to finish just like everybody else.

Hmmph. I'm not everyone else but I'm not special either and I would much prefer if I could keep this mask on so that you can be entertained without me having to give up everything in return. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so but then again, I'm not one of you so I wouldn't know.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


I come to you this afternoon defeated, having given over control of the day very early on to Padraig, who mostly has control of me anyway, except in wardrobe considerations, after he suggested I wear his Totoro onesie for the rest of the afternoon. When I complained that it would be too warm, he said You're not supposed to wear anything underneath it, Bridget.

I checked the neck for a handling tag. When was the last time you washed it? 

It can be washed? 

We're not going to go there. Or rather, go back there. I threw it down the basement steps. Next person going can take it the rest of the way to the laundry room.

My hands are covered with eczema. There's a little patch of it under one of my eyes and behind each ear too. They say it's stress. Ha. Lochlan threw my hearing aids out of the truck yesterday so I'm muted and still. But BUT BUT BUT I strangely don't have a headache today so boy is that ever nice. PJ hands me a big cold glass of water every hour or two and I've done nothing but listen to music and follow him around all week so far trying not to be stressed out.

They won't let Ben talk to me on the phone. That's helping. Or maybe it's not helping. I don't know.

We finished the spring cleaning. We don't seem to need groceries for once and I put the kibosh on things like dental checkups and needless appointments for a little while because I really thought for sure that I would spend all of February doing taxes. Then I finished early and now what? It's too rainy out to paint the walls so I paint pictures. It's too warm and muddy for winter hiking and it's too ridiculous to shop here anymore so we're housebound and down and not saddened by it in the least.

I may walk the Duncan later if he seems restless but last I checked he was holed up in the movie theatre alone having an X-men marathon and wearing a strangely familiar onesie. I don't think I'll go there. Maybe I'll summon the headache and give Ben a call. Maybe I'll summon the ghosts and call Jake instead. Maybe the sky will fall and I'll chicken little or chicken lots. Maybe doesn't get me very far lately, does it?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

You don't even know what death is, you fuckhead.

So tired this morning I dipped my paintbrush into Caleb's orange juice. He frowned and opened his mouth to say something but then thought the better of it and simply got up and took everything out to the kitchen, brush and all. He was back a few minutes later with a clean brush for me and a suggestion that I head home to see how Duncan is faring without his favorite meeting buddy to help him remember to actually attend those meetings, whether Ben is in town or not.

(Dylan has flown out to meet them. He's been recruited but I'm not allowed to talk about his life here so you didn't hear it from me.)

I'm painting with Caleb's blood today as when I arrived, sketchbooks in hand because I don't actually do any work on work-days, he laid on his relief so thickly I may mix it with the paint for a keen viscosity.

He says to me, and I quote to you now: I die when you leave, and I come back to life when you return. 

Ten years ago that would have ruined me.Thoroughly.

Today I rolled my eyes.

Why? I haven't slept. Lochlan wanted to fight instead of dream and so we waged through the night. All of our fears for inventory. All of our observations for effect. All of our insults for good measure. I came up short. Not going to kick a man while he's down but also loathe to point out his endless promise that my needs truly are not a dealbreaker for him. Because if we're going to fight and he sharpens his desire to leave then I'm running for cover while he's left threatening air.

It's not a fair fight. I can't be expected. I have no return threats, nothing I want to use that would be harmless enough. I'm not a good fighter. I'm a caver. I don't actually want to hurt him back and so I don't return what he sends across. I can't. I won't. I refuse to.

At least I have stubbornness going for me, as if that ever helped anyone at all.

Monday, 15 February 2016

This is karma, isn't it?

The only time I ever openly, purposefully defied Lochlan was the day they were short a clown, and so they asked me to fill in. The only thing I had to do is run in circles during introductions, cue the audience around me to laugh or clap when appropriate and get shot out of a cannon at the end of the clown show itself, just like the others.

I was in full costume and makeup. Lochlan was on labour/vehicle duty that day (fixing trucks, hooking up trailers and such). I didn't think he would even find out. No one had any reason to share it with him but on a break he came in and stood in the back of the big tent just as the spring platform shoved me out of the cannon at a hundred miles an hour. I shrieked as I flew through the air, hitting the net (which hurt a lot more than I would admit at the time) and fell into the horizontal net. Lochlan came around and pulled the net down, pulled me out by my ankles and told me to change and wait for him at the camper. Someone asked how he knew it was me and he said the scream was distinct. That he knows what I sound like when I fly like that, having made me fall (via LETTING GO a hundred times from the aerial bars so that I would trust the nets and now suddenly he doesn't trust the nets at all.

That's because there's force in this. Falling doesn't have the same danger.

Death is the same result. 

What kind of show shoots teenagers? Jesus Christ. I ought to call them in but we need this job. You ever keep secrets that could get you hurt again and I'll...I'll...

You'll what?

He never answered.

This morning Matt was eating breakfast in the kitchen when I came down.

No food downstairs?

Sorry. Sam doesn't shop much, does he?

No need. He eats with us most of the time now. Nice to see you home. 

It's not....

My eyebrows go up while I wait for him to trivialize his own presence here.

...not permanent. We talked late and he asked me to stay the night. 


I accepted. 

BOOM. Matt flies through the air and Sam catches him in his heart and the relief sets them both back a hundred years in therapy over splitting up. Some cannon this is.

Lochlan comes down. We have a Skype with Ben in five. Oh, hey, Matt. You back?

No. Well, Maybe, I don't know yet. 

They're...talking, I tell Lochlan.

Mmmmm. I see. He lifts his eyebrows at me and says, ready? 


I didn't last long in the call, I'm afraid. Ben's trip extends another week and after that he's accepted a job offer to work a run with Dalton close by and he took it before he ran it by us because as he said, it was a time-sensitive thing and it's good money and better exposure and who am I to get in the way of Ben's....uh..networking? You know, that same Ben who said he was 'retired' now who suddenly is dusting off his CV and pressing flesh, playing notes, getting invites and becoming some kind of hot commodity in a genre he has zero use for anyway. One he says he hates but of course it pays better than most.

It's for less than a year, Bee.

I only hung up on him..four? Maybe five times. Tops. Okay it was eight times but no one's counting.

I climbed into the cannon since Matt was through with it and was told to hang tight. They're inspecting the net before any more runs.

I said not to bother. I'm so good I don't even need the net. Just fling me into oblivion and hopefully by the time I've found my way back here they will have learned what it means to keep their words to me and to each other. Not like I don't keep all of mine, here for the world to see.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The beautiful storm (Witness me even as I offer you this bouquet of forgeries. Believe me even as I drown in your lies.).

He's awake. Hair in flames. Fingers tracing the tip of my nose. His mouth still tastes of chocolate. Chocolate and sleep and yet his eyes are still full of dreams in the instant he opened them, before closing them again. The rainy morning persists beyond the glass but we are warm and alone and safe with the door locked, a fire blazing and the favorite (though threadbare) quilts pulled up high.

The last thing I remember is the whiskey chasing the chocolate with a clarified burn down my throat, my own eyes heavy, listening to him read aloud from a journal he kept in 1994. All of his hopes and plans and daily routines mixed with his observations of me, of us. Of the rest of the world as seen through the eyes of a man on the verge of thirty, a man with the persistent grand plan to run away and join the circus, something he did every summer without fail up until he realized, somewhat abruptly that he would have to choose eventually, between coming home for good and never coming home again.

Within a few years he was no longer coming home, keeping a small apartment in the centre of North America and seeing us at Christmas or Easter. Then he got injured and got a job as a graphic artist/web developer and bought a bed and a table for the apartment with only a couch up until that point. Then he got a fiancee too and a new baby and then that imploded because it wasn't real life, it wasn't his life because his life was here with me, waiting for him and we've been punishing each other for the past in between epic bouts of making up for lost time ever since.

We played truth or dare with the Devil last night and smartly packed it in early as it escalated far too quickly, even for a trio so bent on self-destruction as we are. They admitted that they miss each others' friendships but also that we can't go back from here, only forward. Caleb dared us to stay, we called time on the game and walked home. His face alone would have sent me running back, if not for the literal hold Lochlan had me in, aware of how easy it is for me to cave in when it comes to Caleb and how easy it is for Lochlan to cave in when it comes to me.

If behaving correctly is so wonderful then why do we feel so raw this morning, as if we are weighed down by the keen awareness of a feeling of loneliness so overwhelming it escapes the confines of the boathouse only to seep in through almost-shut windows and underneath the solid doors of where we are? Like a thick smoke only in emotional form it threatens to choke off our collective breath.

Not my problem, Lochlan mutters, landing another kiss against my top lip, right on the checkmark scar. Approved, my skin screams while the skin underneath me that I am wrapped in fades and stings from the healing burn of an effort to change history.

I know, I tell him. It isn't. But my mind has no regard for things like locks or rules or propriety or plans and it wanders back across the drive to drift outside the glass watching loneliness in Devil-form. My heart is having none of it, firmly clutching Lochlan's heart like a life preserver or a four-year-old with a favorite toy that is about to be sent to the washing machine. My heart is stubborn and stamps its feet and I give in to the tantrum, weary and warm.

It never seems to stop raining here anymore. It's as if it's a metaphor too, like us. Or a cautionary tale. Depends on the day, the genre and the audience, as usual. I close my eyes and I'm back. In a filthy leotard with my eyes on the clock, fist closed over a handful of tattered bills, Lochlan's voice against my ear telling me to give it everything so we can find a better offer from a better show than this. This isn't what we were meant for, it's just a stepping stone, a rung up overhand and hanging on for dear life before we can find safer purchase, the sort of rock and hard place we always find ourselves in.

When I wake up later the fire is out and the room is empty and it doesn't seem as if danger could lurk in a place as beautiful as this but it does and I've seen it and yet I can't tear my eyes away.

Saturday, 13 February 2016


Aaaaaaaaand I was able to pay my note back in less than thirty hours, as my lowly Leafs beat the Canucks tonight 5-2. The most unlikely outcome of the season and I bet it all.

Good move, me!


He's all pewter-tipped white roses and incredulity today. All bemused smiles and french cuffs shot until I'm bleeding on the floor of the car for their charm, his thumb just under his chin, index finger over his lips as if he wants to hide that smile as he drives.

I'm disappointed that you were worried I would leave you for your lies of omission. About money? I knew damn well you kept all of it. How else did you buy that white-marble mausoleum except with more money, Cale?

Somehow I imagine few women would write someone off because they had more money instead of less. 

Oh, now, wait a minute-

Bridget, I'm merely toying with you now. I know you're not like that. Sometimes I wish you were, seeing as how you live when left to his devices.

I can be like that. It depends.

Yes, I saw that note. You need to pick a better team. 

I'll pay you back. 

Just so happens, I'm free this evening. 

I turn up the radio and sit back, leaning back against the headrest, closing my eyes and not answering him. We always get into massive amounts of trouble when Ben goes away. Why would tonight be any different? It seems as if Lochlan and Ben somehow temper each other perfectly and when one of them is missing it all goes to shit. Three is either my lucky number or my unlucky one, I never know which.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Bells and whistles and IEDs.

At six this morning Caleb barged into our bedroom and threw a folder on the bed. Lochlan sat up and swore at him and I squeezed my eyes shut and hid under the pillow. If I can't see the boogeyman, he can't see me, right?

There's the big secret you've been worried about. Remember when I told you all of my holdings were tied up in these houses and the rest was transferred to you? That wasn't quite true. Everything is mirrored. I just wasn't sure what steps you would take and didn't want them to wind up in control of everything. 

Then he left, closing the door on the way out.

Lochlan rifled through the paperwork and then looked at me. Too easy. That's not it. He passed me the folder and I looked through it too.

Wow. There's a lot here. 

We all knew he didn't sign everything over to you. He wouldn't do that. You don't have the experience and he doesn't trust the rest of us. 

Exactly. But still. Wow. It's more than I thought. 

But the more I think about it the more I realize he signed everything (or so I thought) over to me as a matter of honor and this means he isn't true to his word. That would be a huge risk, in that I might have walked away from him, hence his efforts to nail down his place in my life before I found out.


So maybe this is it? I don't know. But it's good nonetheless because the Leafs sit in last place and I wager a lot on standings and scores and I have a significant payout to make this morning (they have 47 points. FORTY SEVEN) and so I'll be asking for some sugar anyway, if you get my drift.

Also I keep forgetting to get my key back from Caleb. I need to look after that today. Lochlan's already threatening to set trip wires and landmines.

Just to be on the safe side, he says.

Is there one? I ask him and he just stares at me.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

I have a headache. It's six two with blue eyes.

We have a bunch of things to sort out so Caleb wants to go for a walk on the beach. It's truth serum. It's private. It's cold and rainy and not at all as comforting as the boathouse this morning with the fire blazing, the coffee pot just beginning to signal that it's ready and the lights on low in the living room.

I didn't think I'd be able to pull you away from the wolves this week. 

They tried their best. Ben is away this week (left yesterday :( :( :( BLAH) so everyone else has practically been sitting on me. PJ was reluctant but I reminded him I'm an adult and he's not on the hook for anything here. I don't say anything toward Caleb's observation. I just shrug.

Lochlan doesn't have any information that you don't have, in his defense. 

Since when do you defend Lochlan?

Since it favors the truth. 

Since when do you favor the truth?

If it doesn't hurt, I'm all for it. 

Then tell me whatever you haven't. 


Then fuck off. 

Wow. Nice. I need to remind you that your compliance is part of the deal. 

Not if you're going to dangle secrets just out of reach. 

I never planned to do that but your dogs are digging around and they dug too deeply. 

So Batman knows. 

I haven't been asked for formal confirmation so I doubt he knows anything for certain and he hasn't shared his theories with me so your guess is as good as mine. I'm not inclined to admit there's any real secret to be shared here, if you want brutal honesty. I just want to save my place, as it were.

Except that I'm actually guessing and you have all the answers. 

Look. I just want to absolve Lochlan. 

It seems to me it would be better for you if we're at odds with each other. 

You need him. 

I do. 

I'm trying to help you here, Bridget. Trying to, as they say, do right by you. 

Well then try harder. 

Comfort and security outside of financial means isn't my forte, Neamhchiontach. 

I noticed.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Juice break.

Busy day.

This morning Sam made the cross in ashes on my forehead and repeated a verse from Genesis that ended in 'And to dust you shall return' and I burst into tears and so did he briefly before continuing on to someone else. I went to his service this morning because he's in charge even though he's a little bit harried but the alternative was Batman and he would have marked his name on my forehead under 'Property of' and we don't want to go there today. He offered me Jasper's job last evening but I was a little pancake-drunk, blood sugar through the roof so I smartly ignored him and he said big mistake to those actions but left anyway. He fancies himself a savior of sorts too and I don't have the heart to tell him he's not. Better still to let Sam mark him too and maybe he can spend the next month and a bit thinking about the things he's done wrong like the rest of us.

PJ collected me after his dentist appointment and we came home to start tackling the big list of spring cleaning, something we wouldn't even consider until April-ish in any other province but the flowers are blooming here and Ruth wore shorts out on Sunday and so tick-tock, let's get this show on the road. I would prefer to be outside in the pouring rain cleaning up the gardens but PJ said once the inside is finished we'll head outside and begin the long slog of trying to keep up with the landscaping until Halloween.

We need more people. People with stamina. PJ snorts when I say that but this house is too big for us to clean and the yard is too huge to look after on our own but since these are good problems we persist. When things get really tough the others step in but those who work outside the home get to do less in keeping. We're really old-fashioned. Housewives and breadwinners. Please stop laughing, I realize there's precisely nothing old-fashioned about living in an intentional chosen family complete with open relationships but you would be surprised at some of the standards we adhere to.

Like ashes on my forehead. Even Caleb did a double-take, asking me if the priest shouldn't have done an exorcism instead of a blessing and I stuck my tongue out at him and pointed out Sam has ashes now. He asked if they were Jake's before he could catch himself and I'm pretty much done talking to him for the week or maybe if I'm really lucky, the rest of my life and Duncan rolled his eyes and told Caleb to eat shit which was a bit lowbrow even for him and so it's probably safer to be cleaning and ignoring the lot of them, I think. Besides, we have a huge list for the next couple days. I'd better get back to it.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

High Shrovetide.

I swear I just made seven hundred and twelve pancakes and five pans of sausages so we could see Shrove Tuesday out in style. Done. Then Ben ate half a loaf of banana bread because he was still hungry. I've decided for lent this year I'm giving up accepting lies as the truth. Let's see how far this gets me.

In the meantime, did you know that in 2012 High Holy Days put out an album under an independent label?? I didn't but I found five of the songs from it tonight and SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

And yes, Lochlan knows whatever Caleb isn't telling me. Oh, he hasn't admitted it yet but he knows.

Drunk for thirty two years.

Come on, Lochlan! I pulled on his arm but he shook his head and laughed.

I can't feel my arms, Sweetheart. He told me. He can't focus either. Too much beer. I wish he'd drink pop like me but only the clear pop because then nobody burps too much or feels too full.

Come! On! I pull both arms and lose my footing but still he doesn't move. We're going to miss the fireworks! 

We'll catch them next year. I'm just happy this run is over. It's time to hit the road. 

What will punching the road do? Don't we have to drive on it? On the bus?

Yeah. We do. Hey, where are you going?

I'll watch the fireworks by myself. 

Come back here, bridgie. 

Can't make me.

I'm in charge. You have to listen to me. Those are the rules.

Can't be in charge when you''re beered up. 

I think the word you're looking for is drunk.

Drunk is the postscript of drank. I drank. He drunk. You drink.

Yes, I did and I'm sorry. Your English is fucked. 

Too many new forwords.

That's foreign words. 

I made a port hawkesbury! I put the two words together and-

It's called a portmanteau.

Oh. I get it. 

You should have a beer. It would make you sleep like a baby.

I'm not a baby!

Yes, you are. 

I give up and slide down the edge of the bed to sit on the floor. Loch was drunk that night and I never got my fireworks and he's drunk tonight and I won't get my answers.

Come on. I shake him. Help me out here. 

It serves no purpose other than to wreck things just a little more, Peanut. Things are good. You have what you need. Don't go looking for trouble. It will find you soon enough anyhow.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Functional little maniac.

I powered through and finished the taxes today and then loaded everything up and triumphantly hit file and what do you know? Netfiling is only available beginning February 15.


I had a whole extra week to finish but look at me, I'm done. Everyone is done. Even Duncan's taxes got did because he is a procrastinator and a denier and never seemed to get anything done on time.

But yet here we are. Twenty returns, including Ruth for the first time this year and I'm finished and now I get to go out for dinner instead of cooking because I'm wound up like a top. Caleb's taxes are so complicated. Mine are so simple. Everyone in between is marginally tough but doable. My rules are simple. No receipt? No deduction. No funny business, payment expected within 10 business days of filing. Ha.

So happy that's over. Did I mention I HATE taxes?

So tonight it was an early dinner out with everyone. Short notice. Twenty minutes for a reservation for some fourteen people and maybe a few stragglers, we shall see. Got jumbled up in the planning on the way home and I ended up riding with Caleb in the R8 while Lochlan who drank more than anticipated was the charge of Christian, who didn't drink at all. We met up in the driveway and as I said goodnight, Caleb pressed a heart-shaped post-it note into my hand and a dry kiss on my forehead. Sleep well, Neamhchiontach. A twirl on his hand and I was off to dance my way to dreamland.

When I came up to change a dress for pajamas I finally looked at the note.

Roses are red
My eyes are blue
Why not ask Loch
What I'm hiding from you? 

Pretty sure I'm the only one who doesn't know, or maybe that's doesn't want to know what Caleb has up his sleeve now but I'm happy to stay in the dark, thanks so maybe everyone can just keep it to themselves. I'm trying not to kill myself with curiosity here. One slip and I might not have much choice.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sundays are for early church ('scuse me while I sleep through it with my eyes open).

When I was eight I started down the road of my worst habit that persists to this day. Holding hands. It left off when I was old enough to walk without supervision from my parents and then it returned when I moved to that small town and starting hanging out with Lochlan, Caleb, Cole, Christian and the rest and I couldn't keep up with them. Someone would always take my hand to help me along over roots, rocks and slippery snow. If my feet tangled I would be lifted right off the ground and re-centered. If my mind wandered, that hand would ground me. I still do it, almost unconsciously (both trip on things and hold their hands) and it still causes a watershed of confusion and assumption. Some things don't change, the more they stay the same.

This morning in church was no exception. Lochlan had to work. He doesn't mind if it's a choice between being paid and being flayed, as he says and so I sat between John and Caleb. John is the habitual safekeeper and so I had his hand in a deathgrip, mostly because my mind was wandering so far I lost sight of it no less than three times and I didn't want Sam to notice and single me out. So with John's hand held tightly in mine I bowed my head and closed my eyes and off I went while Sam spoke of what it means to belong, and how we search for our tribes and then we search beyond them through our faith.

In my daydream I ran to catch up and went flying to the ground when I missed the root that loops up over the path. My hands both went out and then I caught myself, slightly startled, but not noticeable enough for anyone to react. I recentered myself and went right back in, preferring stories of the past over Sam's admonishment. Sam and Lochlan do a daily war in my head. Sam to keep my faith and Lochlan to question it. Because when has it ever helped us? Naw. We help each other, Peanut. Lochlan has little use for God and I sometimes believe in Lochlan instead of God completely. At least I can hold Lochlan's hand.

When the sermon was finished and John pulled my hand slightly to stand for the hymn I realized when I imagine-fell that I had grabbed Caleb's hand too. He had the hymnbook in his left hand and he looked so pleased as he squeezed my fingers gently in his own. John leaned way over and shot him a look that would have flattened anyone else and Caleb merely winked in return as I tried to lean back to see their exchanges a little better. Finally John said hold this and thrust the book into my arms so I let go of both of them and took the worn hymnal and Caleb rolled his eyes but never broke his concentration, singing the words to Welcome Table along with all the rest.


Saturday, 6 February 2016


Are you...negotiating..with me? 


I have no problem with it, so long as you hold up your end of the bargain. 

I hold the floor in my gaze but it squirms and twists and I'm forced to look him in the eye. He looks positively gleeful. Fine. 

How do you think August will feel when he finds out you got him a raise using your tried and true collateral? How do you think they all feel when you hand them the moon on the back of that twelve-year-old girl who screamed and then asked for more? 

August needs a raise if he's going to be taking this on alone. The money you save in not having to pay Joel anymore will more than compensate for it. That has nothing to do with anything else. 

What about Sam?

Sam isn't on your payroll. 

What would you do to get him there? Make him available to you around the clock without the church in the way? Just like Jacob, who went on the dole to spend more time with you. He was in my pocket and he hated himself for it. 

He took up teaching, it had nothing to do with you. 

That dreamworld must be incredible, Bridget. You never seem to want to leave it. 

Jacob didn't take anything from you except for me. 

Think again, Princess. 

Look you can fuck with my head all you want. I'll email you my requests from now on. 

Look, I hate to bring it up but this game doesn't just involve me. And if you think your precious boys don't come to me when you're not looking seeking favors of their own then you are still stuck in your cotton candy freakshow universe. 

Give me names or never see me again. 

Your threats don't work with me, remember? I'm the Devil. I'm here whether you want me to be or not. We're linked forever, and don't think you can change that, even as you deny me when I know damn well how badly you want this. You want things to stay happy? Want to keep your Sugar Daddy right where you need him then stop dancing around this and get on with it, Bridget. Hell, I'll give everyone a raise. But you've got to hold up your end and stop with the vague threats and plans to put it all out there. It's getting tired. I'm older now. I've left my mark on the world already so my reputation is not at stake like it once was and I have all the time in the world to play games with you now if that's what you want to continue to do.

What time do you want me here?

That's my good girl. But not tonight. I would like to make some plans for early next month, however. I have a birthday coming up and I'd like to celebrate it in style. Maybe elsewhere. 

My helpless look must have hit a nerve. I haven't decided, so don't panic just yet. Why don't you run along home now and inform August of his promotion and maybe later we'll begin planning something unforgettable. Something fun. Something with cake involved. Okay? He tucks his hand under my chin and lifts my face up to meet his eyes. Medium blue washes over me and I forget we are at war.


Friday, 5 February 2016

Not for you.

Revelation 1:19 Write down what you have seen--both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.
Jake said that once, asking what kind of writer I was. Then he quoted that bible verse but I didn't understand. I write fiction, I told him.

Maybe someday you'll write the truth. He smiled, convinced.

Control is back. No plates thrown in twenty-four hours. Got my medal from Ben, who told me to stay close. Sitting in the basement behind two locked doors with laptop and headphones doing nothing at all except remaining calm. Listening to outlaw music. Every now and again Ben comes over, gives the chair a gentle twist before walking away again. The chair slowly spins itself out and then spins back in before slowing to a gentle rock.

It's glorious.

I have a cold cup of coffee that PJ made for me tucked between my ankles. Lotus position.

Somehow a song by Shooter Jennings became my favorite after an episode of Sons of Anarchy left me scrambling for my phone to press the big orange Soundhound button to find who in the hell was singing over the action.

So glorious.

Keith brought home a bike and a girl last night. The bike stayed but the girl left because she doesn't live here, and neither does he.  I like the bike. I gave it a nice place in the garage where Jake can look after it.

Jake isn't there, beautiful. August says it so slowly with his Newfie accent garbling up the consonants, grinding them smooth and I smile bitterly. My smiles grows wider until I look fully crazy. May as well call this ace a spade.

Black remains the color of choice. Corset under one hundred tiny buttons today. Full metal jacket. Squeeze my heart until it bleeds and then mop up that blood with your concern and wring it out with every ounce of your pity. I'll be just fine, just give me a minute to listen to this song one more time before they figure it out that I'm drowning in it and take it away.

But really this isn't so bad. I've learned that home is where the boys are. That's my revelation, thinking back to dancing on a hot summer night while they quietly competed with each other to see who would join me. So bring on the end of the world, I think I'm ready.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Complex carbon beings (you were so beautiful).

All that you love, will be carried away
oh all that you love, will be carried away

All of my pain, that you put on my name
all of my doubt, and all of my shame

All of my guilt, my denial and fear
all of my hatred and all of my tears

All of the time that I couldn't go home
all of the times that I froze all alone

All of the sadness all of the lies
all of the shadows that blackened my eyes

All of the servants, who cheated, who stole
all of the colors from the depths of my soul

All of the wounded, that you left for dead
now creep in the corner, they're all in my head

All of the dreams that you made nightmares
all of the silence, deafening stares

All of the ships who can't carry loads
you wrecked in anger, along distant shores

All of this would have been
All of this could have been yours

All of this should have been
All of this could have been yours
Throwing plates at Joel today. Be right back.


I was flat on my back in the summer bedroom, holding on for dear life, arms and legs clasped around Jacob's back as he drove against me slowly, languidly. It was so warm out. We were slippery and flush. A rare night breeze would gift us every few minutes, making the curtains fill and bow in the silence of the dark. He put his hand up to touch my face, wrapping his thumb underneath my chin, his fingers in my ear. Pulling my gaze up into his soul so I could see it. So I could feel it in the darkness. So I would know.

I love you, Pig-a-let.

But then my phone rang and instead of answering him, I told him I had to take the call.

He got up, put on his boxers and went down the hall to the bathroom to take a shower.

I pick up the phone.

Neamhchiontach. What took you so long to answer? 

It's four in the morning. What do you want?


Sorry, I'm not available. 

You will be. Give it time. 


He shot me up in the leg, behind my knee and I came instantly. Face down in the crisp white duvet under a skyscraper sky full of stars made up of office windows. My reflection staring disappointingly back at me until I closed my eyes and she was gone.

Just like Jake.

He wasn't real anyway, the voice says it thickly into my ear. I shove him away, pushing my head against his but he doesn't notice. It's so warm. He lifts my hips up with one hand and slams himself deep but I don't cry out like I usually do because his other hand is over my mouth.

I need to know in advance how long you'll be here, so that I can send you out intact. 

I shake my head. I don't know what time it is. I don't know what time is, right now. I just know the whooshing black waves of euphoria aren't real and I can't keep them.

We can go for days, Bridget. He turns me over, resuming his cadence against me. I can't feel my arms or legs. Everything is too heavy. My eyelids close and he scoops a hand under the back of my head to lift me up.


No. Right here is fine. I don't want to be held up against the door. I just want to be in this tiny little space where things don't actually hurt.

You do what I tell you. But when I go to stand up I can't and so I try to crawl but I only get a couple of feet before he yanks me back hard onto the bed and slaps my face gently to make me focus. It's a little hard to breathe, to focus.

Goddamn it, Bridget. I think you've had too much. 

Then just a little more please. 

I'm going to call Ben to come get you. He pulls the sheet up over me and I close my eyes. When I wake up next I'm tied up and he's gone.

Ben? I think. Why would he call Ben?


Joel wants all of it. Everything I've never said out of fear or a misguided loyalty. He's angry that I wasn't as upfront with Claus or anyone else. Angry that I still didn't put it all out there even though I put out enough to keep them busy for the rest of my life and theirs. Incensed that I'm not trying and yet I insist that I want to help them help me.

A little lying, thieving hypocrite, he names me as I turn my back on him, still looking over my shoulder at him suspiciously, holding all of their hearts in my arms.

Name-calling is incredibly unprofessional, I point out as I drop his heart on purpose and kick it through the door into the hall. I make no move to go and get it. He watches me and then stares at his heart and goes to pick it up. The minute he goes through the door I close it behind him, twisting the lock so he can never ever ever come back again.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Crushing it.

Today is Write-off Wednesday. Which means it's like a Monday but instead it fell on a Wednesday which are historically known for being great days backsliding into the tail end of the week, marking the middle, making everyone groove to their own routines, only somewhere along the way we messed up and today is Monday and I'm sorry because as usual, it's probably all my fault.

For starters, they did finally go ahead and cancel the Black Sabbath show tonight. I was so excited even though it's not Ozzy but Ian Gillan who sings my favorite song by them that I'll never hear live (Keep It Warm) and because our last tour stop was cut short by illness. At least they didn't try to power through it but I was looking forward to us dressing up in our finest and living loud. Those of you who would have been lucky enough to meet my entire famjam in public all at once today will have to wait for another day. Hold your tickets. They will reschedule. Hopefully before one of them dies.

Hi, I'm morbid. What's your name?

But it's okay. Because I have a fucking headache anyway. Which means the latest round of experimental guinea-pig pills probably aren't going to work any better than the last ones. To add insult to injury my period started and so I'm dragging my black cloud around low over my head today. God, it's so heavy as I pull it from room to room, comically stretching my arms behind my back to drag it with me, bleeding to death along the way. Jesus Christ, run for cover. You've been warned.

Batman continues to try and discredit Caleb out of the blue and I'm attempting to live in a civilized fashion between both of them. It could be worse. A few years ago they both opted to draw their weapons in a glass tower with me standing in the middle and amazingly they didn't kill me or each other. So if the backbiting and underhanded sabotage work any better for them I would be surprised.

New Jake is not fresh meat for the record either. Fuck off. He was a moment and the moment is gone. If I really wanted to fuck up my life I'd hit closer to home. Like a tornado. A sex tornado. Aw fuck, can we just move on?

Caleb called me a good girl last night for shutting Batman down. I love nothing more than to win his approval. Hate myself for it but if I admit it that is half the battle, says Claus. The other half is me fighting without armor, clearly, because that's what I tend to do.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Fully at least ten years old today.

I can feel your breath
I can feel my death
I want to know you
I want to see
I want to say hello
Batman has no patience this morning, cutting me off and asking me to put Caleb on the phone. Caleb bites his lip and nods at the phone as if Batman can see his acquiescence and hangs up, telling me Go.

Just like that I am squishing across the lawn from Daniel's to Batman's (because we smartly put in a paverstone path at least that far, to next door), passing New Jake on the way in who stands up from where he was leaning over his bike, tinkering. He smiles and my heart thuds but just once in return and I shake my head and rush into the house. Never keep a man with money waiting, I hear the advice echo through my child-sized brain from way back when I was just starting out learning how to read people to get the very best of them, or rather their most valuable part. Their wallets.

I leave my rainboots at the door and stalk-slide through the main level looking for the man of the hour. I'm peeking into the study when he comes up behind me, asking me what I'm doing. I lose my footing and almost splay on the floor like a deer learning to walk for the first time.

I need some runners for the floors?

I look down and he's wearing shoes. You ever kick those off when you're home relaxing?

If I were relaxing I would. He smiles though. He's a tough nut to crack most of the time.

What can I do you for?

You sound like a truck-stop waitress.

That's 'server'. This is the twenty-aughts.

It's what I can do for you.


I have his number, Bridget. 


It's bad. 

Then leave him be. 

But you don't underst-

I'm not going through this again with you. Please don't touch him. 

You have to hear me out. 

I'm going now. You could have called me. 

I wanted to give you a chance to flirt with your latest victim. 

Nice. You bring me over just to twist my pins? Have a great day. Seriously. 

Bridget, stop! 


Don't move. 

WHAT IS IT? (I'm thinking spiderweb? Or maybe a storm of locusts.)

Nothing, I just want you to stop and pay attention for a minute. You don't and you miss valuable information because you let your heart override your brain. 

It's the way people are supposed to work, you idiots! 

He collapses laughing into a chair. At least I can count on you to always say what you're thinking. God, you're such a breath of fresh air. You excuse everyone. You give out too many chances. You leave yourself wide open to heartache and disappointment. 

Exactly. That's what I'm meant for. 

Even if it kills you in the process? 

Naw. Haven't you realized it yet? It doesn't kill me. It makes me stronger. 

So now what? 

I was being facetious. I'm not any stronger. I wish for that but it doesn't happen. 

That's why I want to talk to you about Cale-

STOP IT! I told you to leave him alone and I mean it! 

I squish back across the lawn. No one follows, of course. He doesn't chase anyone and New Jake is no longer outside when I leave. I told Batman not to pursue this but he just keeps going. I'm starting to understand what they mean when they tell me I don't listen either.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Who's practical? I'm not practical.

Mondays always seem to begin with three loads of laundry,  a flat tire and an empty larder. A smile over the fact that every single episode of Sons of Anarchy now begins with a discussion on whether or not Tara looks good or bad and why and some Evanescence on the stereo, played at full volume at the Boathouse until Caleb gave up trying to talk over the music or turn it down and sat silently at his desk, tie already loosened, pen in hand but not writing, not reading, not doing anything.

Probably plotting something evil but I think I've gotten a leg up on him at last with this 'game', and no, that's not a literal leg up. That was last year.

How long do I have to stay?

Is everything ready?

Of course. 

I don't know what I'd do without you. 

Well, instead of sitting there you should be off trying to figure that out. Next year I'm passing the reins over to a new driver. I don't even like doing taxes. 

It's most amusing to watch you rant and rave about the calculations though! Besides, I don't think the boys will trust anyone else. I know I don't. 

So you're all happy to have a college dropout circus freak do your taxes because you don't trust anyone else?



Well, it's not as if you get nothing out of it. 

True. He nods toward my arms. Bracelets up and down. I wanted to dress like the fortune teller when I was young. She had bracelets up and down each arm and now I do too, because these are my payments for doing their returns. I pick a jeweler and off we go. One year I picked Cartier. That was amazing.

This year, probably McQueen. Because skulls. If they still make them. I saw them on Pinterest but I haven't checked at the boutique yet.

Caleb just looked over my shoulder and tells me they have them at Saks in New York, that we can go when I'm finished and pick something out. I sigh inwardly. Oh and also, not to write about him online.