Saturday, 30 April 2016

'Life begins today'. It's a wooden sign in the kitchen just over the coffee maker.

My emotions are doing their high-wire act this morning and the boys are my net. I can hear the crowd but I can't see anything with the lights. I step out and pitch over the rope without even trying. Lochlan climbs up into the net to pull me out and gives me a shove toward the ladder.

Do it again. Practice makes perfect, Peanut.

I climb the ladder again and cross to the other side without hesitation. It wasn't that I couldn't do it, I just didn't want to and I was making a point. Like a child. Since I was one the entire time and might still be, truth me told. Disappointment still stings. Euphoria still overwhelms. Contentment is still the goal. Moments that get strung together to bring me all of it feel like flashing Christmas lights in every color of the rainbow when I wanted plain blue static. Always on.

But the sensory overload will continue sometimes and sometimes it will be oh-so-quiet and he is right. On the way to the ladder today to do it all again each of them were standing there, in a path that leads straight to the base. Each one had a crushing endless hug for me. Each one a kiss for the top of my head and at the very end in the dark with the roar of the crowd spooling up again was Jake.

Onward and upward, Princess.

I nod and grab the rung just about my head. I know, Preacher.

When I wake up all of the hugs disappear into forgotten dreams and Lochlan and Ben are both still dozing deeply. Things are different this morning. The Devil and I are going to take another extended break though he isn't going anywhere. PJ is back in charge. Lochlan holds all the legal cards and Ben is back to being the wall of a guy that I needed most, as I ran headfirst into him all week long and he would gently put out his hands and catch and deflect my head so it didn't crack open like an egg each time. He's fine. He's tough. He's doing great, like he said, and had he left his program early we'd probably not be so great right now, even though the timing was terrible.

Isn't the timing always terrible? Life never runs like the show, choreographed within an inch of its life, planned out to within a fragment of a moment to keep momentum, or suspense, or excitement.

On second thought, that's exactly what it is. I'm going to let the boys sleep. I've got a pool date with Duncan so we can facetime with Dalton. I get up, take a quick shower and put on my bikini and a really pretty new kimono. I'm ridiculously pale. Add a little lip gloss. Dry my hair and then when I come out Lochlan is up on his elbows, staring sleepily at me. He's out of it.

I'll be at the pool, I remind him.

Just have your call and bring Duncan back here so we can keep sleeping, he mutters and lies back down, turning away toward the window. Ben hasn't budged. I don't think Lochlan knows what he's saying, or maybe he does and he's anxious to make me happy.

Maybe I'll stop in and see August afterward, I remind him. So I doubt it. 

But he's already asleep.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Family orders.

I sat in the lawyers office and cried this morning. I cried for myself and for Jake, but at the same time he loved Henry like he was his son anyway so it's not so bad. We were lucky. I cried for Henry and I cried for the past and for the future too. Ben and Lochlan each had one of my hands and they sat and watched me and wouldn't you know it I couldn't even wipe my nose because I wouldn't let go.

The assistants ran back and forth trying to make things better. Two boxes of tissues. Coffee. Tea? Scotch? Xanax if I didn't tell anyone, from a purse stashed in a private office. A suggestion that maybe we keep this to separate offices, that it won't take long. It's just some paperwork amending guardianship and nothing more. We did everything else already. Caleb left the trust. He'll leave his will unchanged. He leaves everything in place. This should be easy. I rolled my eyes at that. I shook my head and so we moved forward uncomfortably, ten people around a conference table trying to look anywhere but directly at me. Like Medusa, except if we lock eyes you will turn into a river and I will drown.

Henry had a shift while we were away. He missed spending time with Caleb. Ice-cold cans of root beer and Red Bull TV. Fishing for nothing off the dock. Sitting in the kitchen working out essay  points and other homework while they cooked dinner for Ruth on Caleb's nights. Tracking global sailing races and the twice-daily messaging marathons where Caleb would check in with Henry and they'd exchange funny little things.

We came back in the midst of this and somewhere over Detroit or Wyoming I realized I'm going to put Henry first. Still. Always. I will coexist with the Devil until the end of time if that's what Henry needs. If Caleb can make things up to me through making sure this kid feels safe, secure and loved growing up then everything else can disappear.

 Caleb is now insisting that he made an executive decision to give Henry a living father and that I knew all about it. That he had the original papers all along and that I agreed to have him raise Henry as his own to make things easier on me, that my denial now is simply part of a continued long con, an attempt to take all of his money, the whole thing masterminded by Loch who has always resented Caleb for his successes. That any and all accusations I have against him I was coached to create and maintain. That we are carnival people and that's what carnival people do. We take your money and provide you with questionable entertainment. That he did it to protect me too.


He says the settlement he has paid out in installments consisting of deposits, real estate and maintenance payments are not an admission of guilt for what he did to me as a child but instead a 'good faith effort to see that his former sister-in-law has a comfortable life, as life with his brother was understandably difficult.' That everything he has done speaks to that end.

Caleb also talked to Henry early this week about how Caleb and I get along and how awful Caleb has been to me. Caleb apologized to him and said he would try so much harder.

(He didn't actually tell him anything Henry would have needed to know to make an informed decision but there's a huge effort here to protect the children from our monsters. Even as we carry them with us.)

He's a lawyer. I'm a carny. This is the story of my life.

I have no intentions of taking him to court. I just wanted the Devil to leave me alone. The settlements, the house, everything was his idea as a way to make his monstrosities up to me. I asked for none of it. The judge knows this. The lawyers too. I'm not trying to con him, and neither is Lochlan. I don't even want him to go away, I just want him to be here as a friend. I want him to stay and be a friend without the frightening pressure. I want him to make amends. I want him to cover the cost of what he did and in return he can keep my soul. I don't miss it. It has no value to me.

But he won't ever have my son.

Lochlan takes guardianship of Henry now. Caleb can play Dad all he likes, but he'll be leaving this world with nothing, and that's everything he deserves.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Lawyers tomorrow but for today there is sun.

He is magnificent and wanted and right, as always.
And if all of the teachers and preachers of wealth were arraigned
We could see quite a future for me in the literal sands
And if all of the people could claimed to inspect such regrets
Well, we’d have no forgiveness, forgetfulness, faithful remorse
Duncan's full beard and shoulder-length dark hair are putting him in hundred-percent-lizard-king territory and I stood behind him on the stamped concrete rolling up my tongue so he wouldn't see it as he rolls back the cover on the pool again. I don't care if it's going to rain tomorrow. It's nice today. Actually it's cold but the pool is heated. The deck is heated. We've succeeded in controlling our environment completely here so it makes no difference to me.

You can't run that charade for a pool.

It's not just a pool. Look around you. He's facilitated everything you see.

We managed before.

There was no hedonism in trying to cram everyone into my hundred-square-foot kitchen six times a week.

Sure there was. He laughs but there's no light in his eyes.

Let me worry about this.

I can't do that. Bridget, good things don't last.

I think I know this lesson, Poet.

Does Caleb?

Please don't get involved.

Someone has to. Lochlan doesn't seem to want to-

Hey, I threatened him with death too. Don't presume to know everything.



You swimming today or can I have a nap?

You can nap in the covered chair right here.


See? Who am I to deny you this beautiful afternoon?

Bridget, we had just as much fun at the YMCA.

It wasn't nearly this nice. And we had to pay like two bucks each. This is free.

This is not free. Your soul is mortgaged to the hilt for this.


Sorry, Bridget. I get tired of watching them chip away at you. What do you want? What do you get out of all this?

Whatever I damn well please.

And what pleases you today?

This and you. But only if you stop talking. 

The roles are reversed at last. 


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Wouldn't know what to say.

He invited me for coffee and music on the beach and I didn't say a word but I went. Silence speaks so much louder than anything else. I want to flip tables. I want to scream and yell at him until he dissolves in the face of my legendary rage. I want him to feel like I feel. I want him to feel worse. I want to go back to a beach I recognize with water that hurts so much better than this and I hate coffee. It makes my stomach hurt and then I feel sick but I also don't fall asleep on my fate later today.

I said fate there, yes I did. Did I mean feet? It doesn't matter, actually. Controlling this rage keeps the collective together. It keeps Henry's bizarre but completely understandable change of heart rational and it keeps me in one piece.

And so for today I will enjoy this playlist made from Paul McCartney's setlist a week ago and very good coffee made in a regular pot by someone who has some decent-to-better coffee-making skills and I'll thank my lucky stars that our beach is so private and I will try very hard to remember all of the magic I've had in my life because it's better than the alternative. I'll just check out a little bit but keep my eyes wide open.

You going to talk to me today?

I shake my head but keep my mouth shut.
Well, the undertaker drew a heavy sigh
Seeing no one else had come
And a bell was ringing in the village square
For the rabbits on the run

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


Back late this evening. Caleb sent the plane. Huge tidal shifts in life keep washing over me, threatening to drag me down before lifting me back up on a swell that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Such is the sea. Such is life, I guess. A deep storm-teal, ice-cold with pockets of tepid, a rush of fury tempered moments later with stillness. Doldrums stirred up with hurricane-force might before you blink.

She's glorious, isn't she? I cry, begging an easy answer.

Just like you, they say, but I shake my head. It's not the same. Not to me anyway.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sundown but I'm on dinner-time.

Lochlan always has the cure for being cold or miserable. A beach bonfire and a bottle of whiskey. Ben already outclassed him though. Ben knows every single bit of dialogue from Eternal Sunshine. Puts me to shame.

And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so fucking sad, and the truth is I've felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long I've been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Well, fuck everybody. Amen.

Denial is a river in Massachusetts.

Ever the escape artists, we jumped at the chance when Ben offered a little side trip after he was done in New York. It was a reassurance visit for his people, who don't like it when he goes off to what we're affectionately calling Spring Training Camp. They want promises that he'll carry out his contract terms. He will. Hasn't missed any yet, has he?

Once we were done there we flew to Cape Cod. Something about Atlantic saltwater is so much more necessary than Pacific. We've got the big cold house again and we brought Loch too so I can play Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to my hearts content. It's fucking freezing here though and while I have wifi I don't have clothes that are warm enough. Going to fix that with a little shopping trip shortly but the rumors were already circulating so I thought I would check in.

I didn't have my head-meeting with Sam anyway. I bailed. Denial is fun. I know what the Devil did. I know he steered Lochlan's efforts to see that I was looked after (when Loch walked away due to Caleb's threats in the first place) by setting up Cole and then he's engineered everything since, right up to and including Jacob leaving without knowing he was Henry's father to this entire Collective, which was some sort of incredible attempt to continue to wield control and make restitution at the same time.

I know all this.

And now I'm going down to the beach.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Maybe brunch tomorrow. Or maybe a lombotomy instead.

I can't convince anyone to take me for smashed potatoes and eggs benedict this morning. August wants to have a Prince dance party in the kitchen. That's cool. Yes, let's do it. Turn that shit up.

(Fun fact: Lochlan wouldn't let me listen to Prince. I was twelve when Purple Rain came out. I'm guessing he figured I was corrupted enough. I was. We also couldn't afford too many tapes and he had already bought the new Yes album and we didn't have time to go to the movies much that summer anyway. We had a radio so I heard some of the songs anyway.

It's kind of ironic now, that we went away and worked our fingers to the bone day in and day out so would have money to eat, something that wouldn't have been an issue if we stayed home.

But that wasn't the point.)

August and Sam would like to have a meeting with me later. To get a barometer, see where I am with everything now that history is falling into place. They want to know if I've addressed things in my head. About Jake and how things would have been different all the way around if Caleb hadn't done what he's always done and engineered my life so that things would be this way.

I haven't. I haven't addressed a thing other than making sure Henry chose better the moment he had a chance to. But Jacob?

I can't even go there. I can open the door but there's a monster there so I turn and run. He yells Wait! but I don't stop. I don't even slow down.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Burning off and on.

(You ought to see the trouble I get into when trying to avoid the Devil. Or maybe that's you ought to see the avoiding of the Devil I do while trying to get into trouble.)
I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
to hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
do I stay or run away
and leave it all behind?
The pool is covered until the warm weather comes back. Duncan did it in spite of my protests. Not like it's warm enough to actually swim in the Pacific instead, however. Ever. I will persist because it heals everything. Every bruise, paper cut and emotional bullet hole I've got.

Don't give me that face. You're killing me here, Bridget.

I flash him a huge fake smile instead. I don't want to cause any further deaths in my circles. Two is two too much.

That might be worse, he frowns and watches the cover feed out, a huge blue screen turning my pretty little pool into a big ugly rectangle.

Once it's done he hooks his index finger through my hood and we head back to the house where I offer to make him a fresh pot of coffee if he promises not to tell them I started coffee-on-weekends-only-mostly early. He agrees easily. Duncan has a weakness for Bridgets, though I don't exploit it.

I mean, I could.

We'll see where the weekend takes us.

Please. Before you freak the fuck out, Loch's only outrage is Caleb-centric. As long as it's not him, I'm gold. Just like my blood when I swim in the ocean.

Gold? I meant cold.


Fucking freezing.At least Duncan's hands are warm.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The most amazing Knight.


I could be incredibly jaded at this point when it comes to artists but...just...naw. I screamed with the rest of the room when Paul McCartney walked out onstage and pretty much cried through every song. And then I got up this morning determined to share a tiny bit with you via a frustrating crash course in working the internet. So here. Enjoy. I sure did. I would have panned out or tried to steady my phone or something but I was too busy freaking out, okay?

(Note: the woooooo! at the end is from people behind us. I do not woo.)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

(Well, I ain't no devil and I ain't no saint.)

Deliver your children to the good good life
Give'em peace and shelter and a fork and knife
Shine a light in the morning and a light at night
And if a thing goes wrong you'd better make it right
Paul McCartney is never ever ever in a million years going to play my favorite song of his: Deliver Your Children, off London Town, that came out when I was seven years old, later cemented as a clear favorite from Lochlan's late busking days (Jesus, if you've heard him and you paid afterward, well, thank you for that, we ate well those nights). It's okay, I already saw the setlist so I know for sure but there's a lot of Wings songs in there nonetheless and basically this is one of those shows I'm going to where I don't care if he stands up there reading the label on the inside of his guitar, I'll be crying and going full fangirl for all to laugh at. Go for it. I really don't care. 

And GUESS who's coming with us?

That's right, Caleb. Because curse this shit of making plans as a group when things are great only to find months later things have fractured all to fuck and so he flew home this morning and met me at the front door at five a.m. looking rested and refreshed while I looked like a tiny tornado of bed-head and tea-stained pajamas, a frown six miles deep on my face, eyes only half-opened, mouth forming every swear word I know to greet him. He's interrupting my olympic-skill-level reunion sex fest with my boys. He's at my house where I wish he wasn't.

Hello Motherfucker.

Good morning to you too, Beautiful. I see things remain the same here. It's too bad your pyromaniac didn't have the guts to make the moves I would have while Ben and I were both away. Guess he can be the King of Cowards, Prince of Missed Opportunities, the Gutless Wonder-

I reached out and slammed the door on him.

I'll see you tonight then for the show, he called through the three-inch-thick wood.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Eight by ten, the size of a photograph to be framed.

Eight years to the day after marrying the most difficult, juvenile, fucked-up person on the planet, Ben still says he'd do it again in a heartbeat. He came home this morning with open arms for us, a huge bouquet of those amazing multi-colored roses and three weeks of intensive self-work under his belt because as he says, he is serious about keeping his sobriety instead of always being on the edge.

The minute I went into his arms I lost it. Fell apart in great wracking silent sobs and he finally let go of everything and everyone else and sat down on the floor and just kept holding on. Apparently I put on quite a tough face for everyone else but Ben is one of those people who, when they ask you how you're doing, instead of answer you just cry. There's something about his eyes. His voice. His arms.

Don't go away again. I hate it. I hate it. I blubbered at him but he just held on, squeezing gently, not saying a word.


He was nervous. I didn't realize how much. Coming home seeing all the renewed loyalties and blown-wide-open allegiances and he wondered if he had a place now that Lochlan seemingly holds all the cards again at last.

He said I put those fears to bed pretty quickly for him. I asked him why he didn't call and he shrugged. He's loathe to subject me to his darker side. He wants to be strong for me. He wants to be whole for me. I reminded him I don't care which parts of him are here, they're all good parts.

Some more than others. He winks.

Well there's that, I laugh and get another hug that ends in a kiss that makes my knees jello and my heart knock so loudly against my chest wanting to get out and fuse itself to him that we both step back, startled by the sound.


Eventually we had enough of each other and went and got Lochlan, who was given the afternoon off (yup, still working for Batman) so we could enjoy a micro-reunion together before the children get home from school and monopolize Ben with all the things he missed in the past three weeks. His Easter chocolate waits in the cupboard. His brother waits for his own reunion next door but here it was the three of us locked in yet another hug that was again, too long in the making. We needed this tiny moment. This breathless grip on the stairwell in the sun. This quiet reassurance that we're still the three musketeers and we love each other fiercely and with abandon. None of that changes, no matter what happens. 


Lastly, April 19 seems to be a fresh-start kind of day for me. If you go to the sidebar here to your left and scroll alllll the way down to 2006, a mere decade ago, it marks the day I first began to write about Jacob. It was our first full day today together. Ten years ago today. Of all days.

Seems like a lifetime ago, because it was.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Save the lizard, save the world.

Today I sent the kids off to school with PJ in the jeep and then I did my chores fast and by twelve sharp I was beside the pool with Duncan, who has a nice set of board shorts in a green pattern that matches my green bikini. He's got the Doors on the stereo for full Lizard King effect and he's optioning a lunch date of his own by suggesting we go in briefly to make up a nibbly-plate.

What the fuck is a nibbly-plate, Poet? 

Olives, cheese, crackers, fruit and such. For nibblies. 

I laugh. I can make that but I don't call them nibblies. 

What do you call them? 


He bursts out laughing. What is that?

Ben's french. 

Oh yeah. I forget he's American sometimes. He's been here so long. 

Been where?

Sorry, Bridge. Is he back soon? 

Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe if you call him he'll talk to you. 

He doesn't come to the phone when you call?

He's always conveniently busy even though I always ask if it's personal time and they confirm. 

Ben's got a lot of personal shit that he deals with, Poem. I don't know why the bikini doesn't liquefy his mind and fix it all but he's trying. 

I know he is. 

Maybe if you just wore that all the time it would be easier for him. 

Easier for who, again?


I stare him down over the tops of my sunglasses until he gives in and goes to make us lunch. Works every time. Implied disapproval. It means I don't have to lift a finger.


Sunday, 17 April 2016


Lochlan asked me out for a brunch picnic on the lawn, with one caveat. Could I ask that PJ help carry out the tray precisely at eleven? No sooner, and no peeking.

The kids are out with friends, roaming the neighborhood. Half the boys are still asleep. PJ is wandering in his namesakes around the house. Caleb has called a dozen times, Ben hasn't called at all.

That's a deal but only if I can make whatever I want.

Done. See you at eleven. He jams a kiss against my face and smiles and is gone.

PJ mutters under his breath. Elevensies and I laugh. We're the hobbits. The smallest.

At eleven sharp I collect PJ and the trays. I made breakfast. Fried eggs, sausage, toast and fried potatoes with apple slices and grapes. There's even a tiny vase with daisies on one tray. Napkins too and PJ has the big beach umbrella tucked under his arm with the worn quilt.

You're the best. I kiss his cheek as he opens one of the patio doors and then backs out to hold it for me. I have the lighter tray but it's still heavy and there are a lot of stairs involved. At the last second Keith swoops in and takes the tray because I would have dropped it anyway when I stepped outside.

Loch towed the camper all the way around the top of the point and brought it across the yard to rest parked at the edge of the cliff just west of the telescope platform on the rock wall dividing our property from Daniel and Schuylers. Technically the pool is in their yard as well. It's huge, all grass, stretching hundreds of feet from the house toward the cliff. Ours is smaller and juts out straight, forty feet of grass past the patio to a steeper, more abrupt cliff. Caleb has no backyard at all, for the boathouse is perched overlooking the cliff on the steepest side.

He did it so carefully you can't see tire marks. The truck is gone, parked back in the driveway. The door of the camper and all three windows are open, and he's set out the tiny bistro table and chairs, though we will spread the quilt and eat on it on the grass instead. There is room. The lower rock wall affords a better view than the tall wooden fence around the back of our yard.

We walk down. The food is probably cold. I don't even care.

PJ and Keith excuse themselves the moment they let go of their items and tells us to enjoy the afternoon. PJ winks at Lochlan. He is so glad I haven't lost my shit yet.


We get the quilt spread out quickly, umbrella set up easily and Loch begins to unpack the food. I dish up brunch and he asks if I like the view.

I nod. I'm focusing on getting the food on plates. Getting coffee into mugs. Making sure we both have napkins, forks. The same amount of potatoes.

He takes everything from me and puts it down.

Peanut. Look.

I look at him.

No, look at the water.

I look.

Look behind you.

The camper.

Yes. The camper by the sea. What else?


Yeah. Me and you. Complete with rings. And what else?

A girl and a boy.

A girl and a boy, you got it, Baby. (His voice breaks here. He's been so tough up until this minute. Henry is going to be signed over to his guardianship, at Henry's own request. Second generation, no less, to be in the care of this man. Hard to believe.)

I let out a long breath and burst into tears.

Let it out, and let it go, Bridgie. We made it.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Oh, the places you'll go.

(Incoming. Rare Henry post. For all you well-meaning folk, thank you. We have intensive counseling ongoing but kids are more resilient than Bridgets, thank fuck.)

I can hold Henry's face in my hands while he stands in front of me and I see glimmers of Preacher in him. Things I can't explain. Things I didn't want to see because I was so sure. Henry's temper is slow but fierce, like Caleb's. His humor easy and sophisticated. But there's something in his eyes. The way he moves. Big and graceful. The way he considers his words before he lets them fly. Nurture, nature, I suppose.

He looks like me. Same strangely-ashy blonde, same green eyes, same pale skin prone to furious blushing. But he's big. Six feet now. One hundred and fifty pounds of fourteen-year-old awesome that I refuse to expose to Caleb's evil ever again.

I'm sorry about all of this. 

Mom. Let go. It's fine. 

Fine? Fine isn't the right word for this, Bunny. How do you want to proceed here? You're fourteen. You get to decide. 

Can we just have Ben and Lochlan be.....uh... look after things?

Ben isn't , well, he can't-

Lochlan then. He can have twice the trouble. He grins at me. Oh my God. His big white teeth. Why did I let that monster talk me out of what is so obvious today it's heartbreaking?

It's a deal. 

Talk to him?

He already brought it to me. 

What happens to Da-..Caleb? 

Maybe he'll find an avalanche. 


I don't mean it. Things are going to change. 

I don't want you to be alone with him every again. 

That won't be an issue, Henry Jacob, I promise you that. 

Hey mom? Is Jake- I mean Dad, actually in the garage? 

Depends on who you ask. I like to think he's there. In spirit. You know.

Why the garage? 

It's big enough for his wings, but dry so he can be comfortable. He never liked the rain. 

Henry nods but doesn't say anything. Probably trying to decide if it's okay to think your mom is crazy. But he smiles abruptly. I don't like it either.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Caleb has gone to Lake Tahoe indefinitely to stay in the big new house in the hills. He's called no less than thirty-eight times since he left.

May I fall apart now?

Barrister Outlaw.

He says he did it to protect Henry from being the only child without a living father. He did it to gain access and provide both children with stable parentage, time, resources and lineage. He guaranteed their futures, gave Henry confidence without doubt and provided himself as a role model for what hard work can accomplish. He insists it was for the best interests of the children and nothing more.

I want my paperwork, I repeat. The actual test results. I want to see them.

They're in the safety deposit box.

And you're going to get them this morning, along with anything else that pertains to me, my children or to Jacob. And while you're at it, maybe take some time to book a long vacation because I don't think I want to see you for a while. 


No, we're done here. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Part II: Placeholders and placetakers.

I have a headache. Chiro care isn't working, I actually think it's making it worse. Ben isn't coming home, he really needs his program so he's asking me to have faith that he will come home strong enough to take over (just two more weeks, Bumblebee) and in the meantime, well, Lochlan continues to have some freakish, sudden magical knack for making this feel like just another sunny week here on Point Perdition.

Besides, he's only had to peel me up from my facedown position on the floor of the garage six or seven times so far. No biggie.

But I'm not worried about me. Maybe he's right. Maybe somewhere deep down I knew all along, though I got abrupt confirmation when Henry charged into the living room and shoved Caleb away from me. It became so clear. His movements. His words. His face.

(Henry had come back to get a book and walked in on Caleb's threats and he didn't like what he saw. Not one bit.)

He's not yours, I said. And Caleb was so surprised by Henry's sudden out-of-the-blue aggression that he agreed with me.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Patience, please. (This is not Part II.)

I should have listened. Should have tried harder to pay attention to the sounds all around me. Should have followed my instincts. Should have given Lochlan and Batman the attention their concerns deserved. I should have pushed harder, should have fought louder, should have followed through.

I should get Ben home, for this probably constitutes a family emergency if ever there was one but at the same time I'm paralyzed by the Very Big Things, whether I knew, whether I suspected all along, whether I wanted to admit it even as I don't understand how one person can continue to be so cruel.

It's been in front of my face the whole time but I've learned not to trust myself and that is the worst part of all. How can one person be undermined to the point where they no longer believe their own thoughts. So easily molded, scared into a shape that I never fit into. Threatened into a life that didn't have my name on it. Abused from scratch. To become this.

I look in the mirror and shake my head.

I don't know who she is, sorry.

I need to give credit to Lochlan here for finally stepping up and taking control. All the times he folded when I needed him was probably an act of reserving his strength and resolve for this.

I should figure out how I'm supposed to mourn the loss of someone who isn't dead, because I've lost one more here, The Devil slipping through my fingers as I tried to look the other way, and failed to pay attention to the fact that he was standing here unraveling my whole life, one ribbon at a time.

I had other plans and he took that from me and then he took everything else. Things would have been so different. Things would have been okay. Writing here would have been fun instead of painful. Life could have been good.

It would have been good.

It should have been good.

It will be good. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Come to monster (Part I).

Take my life
Take my faith
He took hold of my resolve in the dark and stripped it off me in one fluid motion, stinging me with a sudden cool rawness that took my breath away.

You held out a little too long, Neamhchiontach. That takes the game aspect away and turns it into work. There's a price for that.

He drops the resolve on the floor and I watch it roll away into the dark. I won't find it easily again. He knows this. He steps in close, pressing his chin against my temple, his hand sliding up into my hair to hold the back of my head. He breathes in.

You smell like Loch. 

Fancy that. 

A shove lands me hard on the couch. He puts his hands on the back of it and leans down into my face, waiting until I raise my eyes to meet his.

Two days. Make your arrangements in the next fifteen minutes. 

I have two hours. 

You have what I say you have. I get one day to tear you apart and I'll need one to put you back together. 

What do I say to him? I say it thickly, words of molasses dipped in panic. I can't understand myself, choking on tears and shock. He's going to brute-force time spent. Worst possible outcome.

Tell him you miss Cole. Not like I haven't been a proxy for him my whole life as it is.

What'll you say to her? I ask him, looking for accountability. He has a soft spot for twelve-year-old me that doesn't exist with me now. Maybe I can save her even if I can't save myself.

I'll tell her what I told her before. If she makes it easy it won't hurt. If she fights back, I hurt Lochlan. Bridget, I'm reaching the point of no return here anyway. There's bound to be some collateral damage besides you.

So the minute Ben is gone you call in your cards?

I've waited MONTHS for you. It's in not only your own best interests but also those of your friends. It was foolish to think you could try and ghost the living.

I let out a shaky breath and say nothing, nodding while the tears keep rolling.

Thank God I get off on your cries or this would be more difficult than it needs to be. Now make your calls or whatever you need to do because you won't be sleeping in your own bed tonight, Princess.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Still ringing.

Iron Maiden was unreal. Loud as fuck, entertaining as all get out even as they didn't play Aces High.

They played Fear of the Dark, though, which made up for it in spades. I'm pretty sure Bruce yelled LET ME HEAR YOU VANCOUVER at least a dozen times, if not more. My head exploded only slightly before Eddie's and my ears are still buzzing hard and loud.

I seem to be making a habit of traveling around Canada watching rock shows that feature large inflatable critters. It's hilarious.

I got searched twice and patted down once, with apologies. Apparently I look exceedingly dangerous. I ate very awful concourse food. I rocked my face off but I didn't get a shirt because they were hideous. I was told that is the point but I still couldn't bring myself to do it. PJ told me I lost all my credit as a metal fan and Caleb picked that exact minute in the merch crush to bump into Lochlan and deliver a great elbow which saw a magnificent effort not to begin a brawl in the hall. They were separated like kindergartners by the rest of the boys and then Caleb proceeded to spend every break in the show angling to invite me over.

I didn't go.

I fell asleep with an incessant ringing in my ears, eyes burned by pyrotechnics, lips repeating lyrics, neck sore from doing over-forty headbanging, which is actually more like very enthusiastic nodding and zero dreams. I did not, however, fall asleep during the show, which is a first.

I'm kidding.

Okay, well maybe not.

(Admit it, you're still stuck on the image of Caleb tightly packed into the center of a huge crowd trying to buy t-shirts. Yes, I am as well.)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

I should really be throwing books off the cliff but it seems wasteful.

I finished Child of God. Nowhere near on par with Outer Dark or The Road, it is presented as a shocking, edgy drop-you-in-the-middle of a moment in time with a serial killed story. In reality it's a lazy write, a snippet Mr. McCarthy didn't know what to do with so he published it. It's neither shocking nor edgy nor compelling and features a whole one delicious line compared to a watershed of beautiful prose as evidenced in the other two. I flung it across the room at the wall just as Lochlan was leaving the bathroom. It missed his head by about four inches.

Didn't like it, I see?

Nope. Not in the least. 

Now I begin House of Leaves (Not McCarthy. Danielewski, I think). I'm so excited to finally read it. I had to wait as it made the rounds to me. One of the sheer joys of an intentional family is that we have an endless library of books and media to pass around, only in addition to being the smallest human of the bunch I'm also the slowest reader so I get every book last and demand no spoilers. Duncan just grinned and said It's really weird but very, very good, and that's enough for me.


Yesterday's tally was two hundred kilometers, three spare owls and that Monte Cristo sandwich I longed for, minus the bourbon because we were on a bike and a good amount of different scenery to squash the insular nature of our intentional family. Sometimes weeks go by and I don't leave the point except for a quick lunch out or a trip to the grocery store. Everything else comes to me. PJ even suggested we have groceries delivered a couple of times a week to make things easier but I feel like if we do that I may as well kiss the outside world goodbye.

I could so easily, you know. I could give away my car keys and burn all my shoes and live an idyllic existence here on the cliffs without ever driving up that road ever again, cut off from the pedestrian daily existence. But then Sam would bitch about how little time I spend in church (as if he doesn't already. I get half my sermons in the kitchen now) and we still don't have that personal Ferris wheel required to actually cut ties with the outside world. (Oh and concerts. Can Ed Force One land on the future helicopter pad? Somehow I doubt it.)

Once I get those two things sorted, I'm all in. Duncan will buy the books, PJ can smuggle in the whiskey and Lochlan can do the burning. It's perfect.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Right this moment, absolutely no cares. None. Happy. Breathing.

Light a candle, blow the world away
Table for two on a TV tray
It ain't fancy, baby that's OK
Our time, our way

So hold me close better hang on tight
Buckle up, baby, it's a bumpy ride
We're two kids hitching down the road of life
Our world, our fight

If we stand side by side (all night)
There's a chance we'll get by (and it's alright)
And I'll know that you'll be live
In my heart till the day that I die

Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man
Lochlan has borrowed the Sunbeam for the day to take me for a ride. New Jake is generous, moreso than Lochlan would be if given the chance but they somehow didn't go down that road even Ben, Caleb and Batman went to string up New Jake for something that was my fault. Lochlan gets it. He should have been the one to burn down the point, and yet here we are borrowing motorcycles instead.

New Jake oozes cool. Almost as much as Duncan, but in a completely different way. Neither one of them could hold a candle to Lochlan though, because it would melt instead of burn. He's the coolest even when he's hot under the collar or just hot and bothered or completely dorky. He could never be as dorky as Ben so he's better at the other end of the spectrum.

(Caleb told me a few weeks ago: In the beginning I had planned to ask him if he wanted to be my partner and we would grow the business from the ground up and he'd be rich too, but then you got in the way and that was that.

I'm always in the way. Because I can't hear you when you tell me to move.)

We're going to go look for owls, Peanut. And get a picnic. Sound good?

Sounds like heaven.

It's not. We're here. We're alive. So let's live. He puts on his helmet and then he puts mine on me, fastening the strap, checking the bluetooth by singing a song he's been singing to me since I was seventeen (and he was twenty-three. He's FIFTY now. FIFTY and he still looks just the same). I nod and sway.

Say something. 

Stop talking and let's go, Locket.

Friday, 8 April 2016

With lungs full of acetophenone.

I am not what you have waited for
It's four in the morning and I can't sleep. Can't settle. Can't soothe myself, can't find anyone awake to do it for me. Lochlan's in a dream, in his own joyland right now, so deeply asleep I was able to pull his arms away and get up without him even breaking his breathing. The dog didn't lift his head up from his spot on the floor. The motion sensor lights didn't come on and there's no one around who would normally be awake at this hour to ambush me. I'm on my own in the dark and it feels unfamiliar, a stranger to a girl who, believe it or not, prefers the sun.

I made rounds first. Checking each room. Doors, windows, thermostats. Boys. Cats. Children. Lights in the other houses. Alarm last. I get some orange juice and head back upstairs, rushing just a little bit because the lady from The Conjuring 2 movie trailer just landed on my brain reminding me of what happens when you walk around in the dark alone. I make it back upstairs without being haunted, crawling in from Ben's side since I don't have to climb up the middle when he's away. I put my hand on Lochlan's forehead and consider waking him up.

I'm awake. He startles me and I peep really loud. He bursts out laughing as we shush each other.


You're supposed to wake me before you leave the room, Peanut. Why are you up?

Just checking doors.

Trying to escape? He frowns in the dark.

I smile bitterly and throw my hands up. Nothing I can say to that.

What would make you happy right now, Bridget?

A Monte Cristo with fries and a bourbon.

How specific. I thought you would say Ben.

I'm hungry. I shrug. I'm also full of shit.

How about for lunch later but sleep for now or you're going to be a little maniac later today.


We settle back in, Loch pulling the quilts up around my back, tucking me in underneath him where it's warm and I can't breathe. He is back asleep in what seems like seconds and I lie there in the dark, eyes wide open, watching the ghosts stare back at me over his shoulder but longing for the living like you wouldn't believe.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

An albatross that grows bigger by the hour and heavier by the second.

My mistake was I thought I knew you
Bleed through
They finished the wall.

In a bid to be crowned Most Useful both Batman and Caleb worked hard at perfection. The lines are straight. The paint? Flawless. The trim around the door replaced so that you'd never know it was ever splintered beyond repair.

The great front hall is the palest of greens now, a sage so faded it's close to white but not quite. Almost an antiquey-beige but with a greenish cast. It looks beautiful. They did well. I did the final inspection just as fresh flowers were delivered from Ben because it's been a long couple of weeks, truth be told. That's probably all I'll tell for now on that front.

I put the flowers on the table, kept the card for myself and dismissed both titans, who angled for lunch and dinner, respectively and whatever else I have that I might give them but they both left with empty hands and free afternoons. I already have a lunch date with Sam (who I found at church, facedown in the sanctuary at on the floor listening to How to Save a Life on repeat and it took far too long to change the Jakeness about him), and a dinner date with Lochlan, who quit once again and says he meant it even as Batman refused again to accept it, and went as far as to change into his painting clothes, tying his hair up in a knot and heading out to the camper to work on things he likes working on. Things that pay little but mean he can be outside working with his hands and not cooped up in a stuffy building in a dress shirt and pressed pants wearing shiny shoes being a yes-man for someone he doesn't even like and owes nothing, frankly.

I don't know but things like that seem to destroy these guys faster than I can. They won't admit it and continue to blame me but I know better and try to encourage them every chance I get to do what, and be who they want.

My plan is to ask to go for Thai for lunch and Vietnamese for dinner because I love noodles. And chopsticks. And taking forever to eat. That is the best part. Then we can come home to this newly intact but achingly empty house and figure out what's next.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Whole conversations right in the middle of fucking each other. I shit you not.

(I'm never sure if I love it or hate it, truth be told but it's certainly different. Like he is. Okay, well now it makes sense when put that way.)
Come on down to the Mermaid Café and I will
Buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
Let's have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let's have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town
I wake up falling or drowning, I'm not sure which as my arms flail through the dark looking for something to hold. They find what they're looking for and I open my eyes but he doesn't.

You got away from me in your sleep, Fidget. I won't let that happen again.

I reach up and stretch out a long red curl, tucking it behind his ear. He frowns, pushing my hand away. What're you doing?

Admiring my prize.

Thought that was my job. Still with eyes closed, he leans forward, kissing my shoulder, rolling his weight onto me.

Here for your admiration. I surrender to him, letting him pin my hands above my head, arching my back to share his heat, coming away with a kiss and a smile as he finally opens his eyes but they're already awake and smiling.

When are we going to talk about it?

Never and keep this perfect day. 

Peanut, it's an albatross.

Everything is. Leave this day, please. 


Maybe something will change and we won't have to.

You sound like you dread this. 

I don't, I just don't want to close doors. You always told me to be damned sure before I closed a door or burned a bridge. 

I burned you every night once.

An illusion. 

Same result. 

Not hardly. 

Have you made any decisions aside from what we talked about? 

No surprises, Loch.

Oh, yeah? That's good. Maybe my hair will stay red a bit longer instead of turning white.

I'm not the cause of your stress. 

Tell me more stories. I have all day. 

Yes! I'll tell you the one about the little girl and the sugar tornado. 

I wish you'd share that stuff instead of stupid moments when I was fifteen and so clever I pissed in the lake and you believed that I could warm it on command. 

Maybe I will. 

Eventually you'll be sharing photographs of my junk, I bet. 

No. I have a classy blog. 

It isn't. It's porn and angst and nothing in between. 

Just like me.

Yeah, just like you. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

No swimming today, it's six fucking degrees.

One of the most satisfying parts of raising children is in teaching them that their actions will always have consquences, i.e. a hug will help to comfort someone, or if you put a hole in a wall, you're going to fix it yourself, even if involves a lot of dust and a day week of work lost somewhere else.

It was incredibly satisfying to teach Batman and Caleb how to hang drywall, how to tape, mud and primer it properly so that it blends in seamlessly to the rest. Since the hole they made was too big to patch. Sigh.

How do you know how to do this, Bridge? Batman always seems so surprised when I exhibit actual, useful skills, outside of playing sugar baby or giving blowjobs or something. Caleb damn well knows I can do this. He kept flying in to check on the progress of the castle I sold in 2010 since Jake had torn apart several rooms that remained unfinished when he flew. I finished it all alone. I had never drywalled a fucking thing in my life before then.

(I actually do give a mean blowjob too. Though no it......mean....exactly...)

ANYWAY. The two titans get to spend a few days working together. I get my wall back. Life will continue on. Just now with drywall dust everywhere. I may go live next door for the duration, except that they need constant supervision from the bickering and PJ refuses to referee.

(What they don't know is it won't be a patch paint job either. Once the wall is fixed they're going to paint the entire foyer a new color because I have decided there is too much white in this house, so it's going to be a pretty pale green, then I can keep a huge vase of white flowers on the table with the lanterns and the driftwood and it will be really pretty without being so stark.

They should be done by the end of the week if they work hard.

And hopefully they've learned something, like the others. If you've got a bone to pick, take it OUTSIDE.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Like I need any reminders about how well the Leafs are doing.

I stared at the monitor on the wall for a good ten minutes before he pushed the button again.

Bridget? Are you still there?


Can you open the gate, please? Joel is sitting in his car at the end of my driveway and I don't feel like letting him in. Come on. We can watch the demise of the Canadian side of the NHL. 

None of our teams are going to make it to the playoffs. No bets have been made. But still I can't bring myself to buzz the gate open.

Today isn't a really good day for a visit, Joel. 

Duncan said it was. I turn and shoot laser beams from my eyes at Duncan who smiles lazily from the kitchen door because he follows me everywhere sometimes. Especially on days after Caleb seemingly does everything right. He takes guarding my body far too literally and I should know better but I don't. I know nothing but Duncan knows even less this morning.

He might not have all the information one needs to make that determination. I tell Joel and I can see as he rolls his eyes.

Bridget, I'll just jump the gate. 

You'll get shot by the turret guns.

Jesus Christ. You have guns now?

Jump the gate and find out.

Put Duncan on the speaker, please.

He isn't here right now.

Bullshit. He's behind you.

Duncan laughs and reaches over my head and in front of my face to hit the button that opens the gate. Let him in, Poem. He's a good antidote for Caleb's poison. 

He probably just heard about the bikini and wants to see it. That isn't going to happen.

I'll just show him the photos.

You took pictures of me?

I'm not a monk, Bridge.

You might be after today.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Devil and the pink bikini.

The really stupidly expensive one that Caleb bought for me last year that I told him to return? He didn't and I tried it on this morning and decided I would go and check out the pool, which we had checked and filled the moment the roofers left and I figured it might be finally warm.

It was so why not? It's April third in Lotus land which is totally pool weather, even though the rest of the continent is still having winter. We've got the seeds out for the garden. We're in shorts.

Except for me. I'm in that pink bikini.

Which is nice. It fits well. It isn't see-through when wet (I showered in it to check) and it doesn't gap at the back above my tiny little behind like everything else I own (even the cashmere underpants). It just fits. And it's beautiful, a ballet-pink that somehow enhances my paleness and endless ability to blush and yet also makes it striking.

Hey, freckle-face. He is already in the water when I walk down, a stack of towels in my arms for the tiny poolhouse (a glorified shed they put in next to the new sauna, which holds a whopping eight of us) a light kimono wrapped around me, tied with a pale pink ribbon that matches the swimsuit perfectly.

Hey, yourself. How is the water?

Come in and find out. He smiles, gliding away from the edge into the deep end.

I take off the kimono and do a curtsy. It fits.

I knew it would. I had it made for you.

How do you know my sizes so perfectly every time?

From decades of touching you.


Oh is right. Come in while you can. It's supposed to rain this week.

I walk down the steps into the warm water. Goosebumps announce my presence. His eyes mark my path. I walk until I am a third of the way across the pool and that's where my feet leave the bottom and I need to swim. I turn and go back to where it laps against my shoulders and he frowns.

Swim to me? It's warmer over here.

Did you pee?

Pardon me?

Lochlan used to pee in the lake to warm me up when I'd be cold. He told me it was magic. It was years before I realized he was peeing around me.

That's disgusting. And also genius.

I know, right?

I have a different idea to warm you. I reach him and he puts his arms around me, pulling me close. I put my arms around his neck and hold on so I don't have to try and stay above water.


Yes. But it isn't better, it's worse.

What makes it worse? (stop reading my mind.)

It's you.

I'm not so bad, Bridget

You're not so good, either.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Time won't let go/Sorry/Not sorry.

Would you have come to work for me if he hadn't had reservations?

Reservations? Such a mild word. I have come to get a cheque from Batman for the damage caused. Caleb already covered the other half. They made a new door from the front hall to the library. Avengers assemble.
Sorrow will find you
Its voice has given way to mine
Heart pumps death into our heredity
Who wants to come with me
Bridget- I have failed to pay him attention.

Sorry. I have to try and keep this straight.

You can do whatever you want. Does he threaten you?


Now, Bridget.

Not really. I just know my place.

I don't think you do or you would be with him. You're not.

There are issues.

Is he fixing them? Is he the end game?

No. He's not because he can't fix what he broke.

What did he break, Bridget?

Me. Her.

Jesus. You can't hold this together.

I'm fine. It's probably for the best.

Who's best. His? I'll do more than put him through a wall.

Don't touch him. I didn't ask you for help.

No. You didn't. Others have.

Others being Cole? Have you noticed he's been dead for almost ten years?

Oh. Wait.

When did that happen?

I made a hasty goodbye and walked up around the front of Batman's house, walking along the road, turning off far past my driveway to the locked gate by the orchard. I use my key, I always have my keys in my pocket, and I come in, following the wall along the cliff until I run out of cliff and have to cross the driveway. I use my key again and let myself into the boathouse. He is surprised but not surprised as I put my keys on the counter and ask the Devil if he knows how long it's been.

Since my only brother died? Yes, I know. It will be a decade soon and I'm not prepared for that kind of milestone. 

Teach me to survive it? 

I'll do my best, Neamhchiontach. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Crawling all the way back.

Oh Jesus, don't bug me, this song is on a loop. If you preorder Katatonia's new record (I did! I was probably first in line too) you get Old Heart Falls as a giftie to tide you over. It's like a very cold bleak Toollike song but with more emotion. Sigh. Kill me to this, please.
For every dream that is left behind me
I take a bow
With every war that will rage inside me
I hear the sound
Of another day in this vanishing life
Returned to dust
And every chance I've pushed away
Into the night
Asher also turned out to be otherwise engaged and so Batman will have to make a new plan altogether, unless he reoffers to Jasper but really I think that ship has sailed. And I am still busy. Busy juggling fire of my own in the form of men. Busy dealing with the crushing guilt of Caleb's outward loneliness and inward promise to not be the man his brother was. Busy caretaking my ghosts. Busy welcoming spring after a winter of crushing headaches and other issues that diverted all my energy into not spending the day screaming Fuuucccccckkkkk at the top of my lungs long and loud until the dark fell back down over us. Busy trying to keep this perfect balance, so obviously weighted down on one side. Busy watching Ben fight his demons, watching Lochlan fight mine. Busy watching my children grow before my very eyes. Busy not finding shoes I like enough to buy and living in my docs. Busy buying shingles and labour because I won't let the boys do the roof themselves. Too high in several spots to be safe and they are too proud to tie in. Busy considering Caleb's request of a helicopter landing pad and a new kitchen on my side of our line, drawn in the brick. Busy wondering why he needs helicopters here. Busy wondering about everything. Busy keeping up with them, and falling behind, as always.

It's been a bit crazy here. March break was so nice and now it's done and the kids had a short week back and I'm playing catch up because I was busy spending time with them. Next week should be back to normal though from here it looks like a clusterfuck of chiropractors (because headaches. I need to fix them) and car appointments because I'm the dealership queen or something.

I need a vacation but if I say anything four different people will book one. Yes, first world problems, I understand that but what you don't understand is that loyalty is a shell game and I've never been a very good politician.