Sunday, 31 July 2016

Part I: The top hat on the bedpost (The most gloriously sweet cliffhanger ever*).

(Ben said Do this right, Brother and Lochlan told him he was way ahead of him. The best changing of the guard ever, and the only step we missed in all this love, all this time.)

In the dim light left over from sunset he pulled me out into the water. I thought maybe we would just stand in the surf up to our knees, make a mess that would mean clearing the back hall of people long enough to strip out of our wet things outside on the steps and make it up to our room in only skin without tracking salt and sand through the whole house, but no. He had other plans. Baptism by saltwater.

We walked until the water was up over my shoulders and then he pulled me under with him. We surfaced in a kiss, in the dark and then he pulled us back to where we could stand comfortably. It wasn't cold, surprisingly. It wasn't uncomfortable and it wasn't frightening. I didn't notice any of it save for him.

Lochlan wrapped one arm around me to keep me close and with the other he held my face up to his so that I would pay attention. And then he started to talk. He talked about everything while we went numb in the Pacific together, not caring. He talked about his feelings from the time he was thirteen to now. He told me all of things that paralyzed him. All of the things he hated about himself. All of the things he wanted for me and then for us and then for me again. He talked about his regrets and his shortcomings. His flaws and his gifts and what he wanted to give to me. He talked about love and what it means to him and what it isn't and what he thinks it should be.

These are the sorts of words that take years, even decades to formulate. As he talked I could feel my heart.  He keeps doing this to me. All of the broken, blackened, stapled and taped together pieces of it swelled and burst one by one, only to melt together in a slick cohesive red plush before exploding again. Over and over again it did this, at the end of just about every second sentence until it made a mighty gasp and started to beat really hard as one organ instead of the remains of my loves. Whole, rebuilt on promises that I don't doubt for a moment for the first time since I was little and believed that it would be easy to keep a promise. You just promise to keep it and you're good.

He spent his life in anticipation of this moment where he could tell me everything and here it is and by golly he earned the spotlight tonight. This is the greatest show on earth. One night only.

In the moonlight my blood turned to gold again and he took a shuddering breath and laughed, his forehead pressed down against mine as I finally start to shiver. He asks me what I'm thinking as we finally wade back in toward shore.

I couldn't find any words. It makes sense now. Everything works out. Everything explained. Everything resolved. Everything is better. Everything will be okay. Everything is turning out better than I had hoped. Everything is right here. Right now. But my brain couldn't operate my mouth and I nodded and shivered and cried and he cried and goddamn it, we'll figure it out.

I could regret the time it took for him to say these things, and the stony silence for so long when he refused to explain himself and instead took up last place when he should have been first in line but it makes sense now. I could regret all the times I've tried to hurt him for that silence, or tried to pay him back for turning his back on me, or begrudge all the wasted time and heartache we've endured for each other but then he holds his hand out, waiting for mine.

Everything happens for a reason, right, Peanut? Maybe we just had to be sure. And if we're not sure right this minute then I don't think we ever will be. 

Then he got down on one knee in the crashing surf and fumbled for a box. My head aches from the cold and my hands are numb. I can't imagine what his feel like but he has a deathgrip on the box.

A wave almost knocks him down and he grabs for my hands. Oh, that's good. I can't save you, stupid.

I really want this to be spectacular but I fear I may die down here, he says from his knees.

It will be spectacular wherever, I remind him.

Okay, pretend you didn't see this. He gets up and we head back up to the house but instead of heading to the house we head to the camper that is still parked by the cliff. He wraps me (shivering mightily by now) in a quilt, tells me the usual order to stay put before making a roaring bonfire. Then he joins me in the quilt, his arms around me, his head tucked over mine. Our teeth are making such a collective chatter I can barely hear his words.

Bridgie, I'm going to cry and ruin this. I've waited so long to do this properly and everyone keeps beating me to it. 

*(Part II will be a few days from now because we won't have wifi where we'll be. See you soon!)

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Stained glass.

There's a huge ornate glass jar by the patio doors and every time I come in from the beach I empty my pockets into it. It's half full of seaglass now with the odd perfect shell or tiny driftwood sculpture in for good measure. I beachcomb like other people breathe, constantly turning over rocks, checking in the same spots day in day out and waiting without patience for the ocean to bring me new treasures.

Wish it was gold, Lochlan says as I unearth this morning's handful of glass from our walk, dumping it into the jar.

It is! It's worth more than gold. Each piece marks a moment of time spent at the shore. 

That jar represents half my life, staring at the top of your little sunburnt skull while you take fifty years to sift through every grain of sand until you've got everything you can find and then I still have to pull you away. 

I'm trying to figure out if this is a good thing or a bad thing to you.

I can just buy you a big bag of beach glass from the craft store. 


It would free up our entire future though. Imagine how much free time you'll have, Peanut. 

You can have all the free time you like. I'll take Sam with me. 

Naw, I'm good. Same time tomorrow? 

We smile at each other. The bickering never ends. He'll never be slow enough for me and I'll never be fast enough for him, but somehow we keep pace.

Friday, 29 July 2016

The pop-ups and towables turned out to be such a pain we switched to motorhomes and never looked back.

Due to the sunburn I slept with a huge floor fan pointing straight up the centre of the bed. I slept on top of the covers without pajamas and when I woke up my ears hurt from the wind and I could have sworn I was in the back of Lochlan's pickup truck the morning he tried to surprise me when our ticket came up for a campsite. He tried to move the truck and trailer before I woke up but if you've ever slept in the bed of a pickup with a pop-up camper trailer towed behind it you know there's no way to sleep through all that clanking around. I remember thinking he was still beside me because I was tightly packed into the centre, surrounded by soft things and I couldn't get my bearings. I thought the truck had been stolen so I screamed and he lurched to a halt and jumped out of the cab and saw me and swore and then yelled that he thought I fell out and not to do that.

Where were you going? I asked. I was afraid now he was going to hit the highway with me in the back (legal back then, no actual worries but I was ten. I worried about..well, I still worry about everything. Sigh.)

We got our spot. He grinned. The waitlist was days and days and that was our first night in the truck since we couldn't set up. We got lucky.

Which spot?


Can we stay there forever?

What? No! Six nights and then we're gone anyway. 


I know, Baby. Someday we'll live on the ocean. 


I promise. In the meantime we are the carny kings. 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The surface of THE SUN. JESUS CHRIST.

I'm certain that Duncan is at this point plotting to fill the hot tub with sunscreen so I can be dip-screened and he won't have to yell at me while I shriek and complain that he's spraying it unevenly/on my face/not on my skin at all.

And I'm allergic to it so I'm going to get a rash and a weird sunburn, but only in places. He gives up and gives the can to Sam and says You deal with her. I like her better when she doesn't talk. Sam laughs and suggests regular/nonspray sunscreen.

See how fast they all come out here when you try to rub that all over me.

I'll do your back. You can do the rest.

Well, that's no fun.

Hush, Bridge. You're killing me here.

I plant a big huge sloppy kiss on his cheek and let him off the hook. Ben can do this. Besides, his hands are like tennis rackets. He can probably have me covered in one minute flat with one pass.

Then I pass the torch to him. Though it's a sad day, because I was enjoying you being too much for Duncan but just enough for me.

Told you, you're my favorite.

And you are mine.

Love you, Sam. 

But the SPF 60 Waterproof sunblock was no actual match for the Irish and I burned to a crisp inside of eight minutes. It was no match today for anyone else either and we have rechristened this to be Pink Point because now we all look like Lochlan after a day in the sun. Sweaty, ruddy and pink. He swears and says it means a day of hard work and I said that it means I am never going outdoors again, so someone needs to make it an indoor pool, and maybe an indoor beach since we probably have the money, and I'd like the stars and the moon inside too if you please and maybe-

Maybe just keep to the covered chaise, Peanut, because really you can't tan. But you shouldn't anyway so it's just as well. 

I think part of me is still outside. Does this look melted to you? I hold up one elbow. I feel broiled and skinned and miserably fried.

Yup, maybe a bit. I'll send someone out to scrape up the leftover bits. Maybe we should make room in the fridge for you. 

Oh, that's a great idea, yes, let's do that. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Mother of invention.

What he couldn't do via brute strength, he accomplished with magic and so it was in the early evening hours when he appeared with his top hat in place, torches lit, eyes flashing in the firelight.

Let's go, he said, and everyone followed suit, taking a torch up behind me. Off we went, down into the depths of my mind, dodging doors with huge creatures locked behind them, skirting dark corners we didn't want to investigate further, until the air grew cold and the light came up and the telltale crunch of leaves could be heard underfoot.

Almost there? He asks me. His free hand has mine tucked inside it tightly. Close behind us still is my beloved army.

Almost, I whisper. I don't want to bring everyone here. I don't want to be here.

We get to the door and he opens it but Ben steps through first. The light is on but no one's home. They're not here. See, Bridge?

I nod. It's so empty. Our voices echo.

He's not calling you, it's just your mind playing tricks on you.

This isn't the kind of magic I like.

Then let's go back home, Lochlan reaches down behind my ear and brings his hand back, holding up a house key in front of my face. I take it.

I tell Ben to leave the door open. Like I left it before, I tell him by way of explanation.

Sure thing, Bumblebee, he says, and swings it wide, letting it rest against the outside wall.

We make our way back quickly into the dark and then back through into the light. They're gone for real. It was my mind. Everything is okay. It was just a dream.

Lochlan looks pale when he finishes safely stowing away the torches and hanging his hat back on the hook. You always had such a vivid imagination, Peanut and I tried to foster it as much as possible over the years but I wasn't expecting that. Fully constructed rooms. Traps. Dark passages that couldn't hold an echo. Amazing. 

It isn't. It's terrifying. 

That's why we're fixing it. All of us. Together. For you. 

Ben said I had to fix it myself. 

I didn't know what we were up against, Bee, Ben says abruptly. I made a mistake. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Fifty to zero.

Woke up screaming. Jake was calling my name, his voice breaking over and over, a sound so lonely it curdled my blood as I slept fitfully between Ben and Loch and finally I sat bolt-upright, shrieking for him and he wasn't there. In the firelight Loch held me close and told me it was just my brain adjusting to the changes, that Jake is safe in heaven and he's not at risk. He can't be hurt and he can't get back to me because I released him to a better place finally. Ben nods on top of my head, squeezing both of us, barely awake but alarmed at the sudden outburst.

But I'm not having this. He's still there. I fight my way out of the bed, them grabbing for me and I start shrugging into my clothes, Ben tackles me against the wall, half-dressed, half-crazed. He's not there and you're not going there. It's just stress. Come and sleep, Baby.

But that isn't possible and within the hour half the household is awake and in the kitchen, tea steeping, lights blazing, Joel holding court with five o'clock casting a shadow over the room, wired and tired, attempting to explain what my brain is actually doing (processing. Grieving. Thinking TOO DAMN MUCH, everything hair-triggered by such an intense few weeks). I am given a sedative and sent back to bed. No dreams. No Jake. No memory of walking back up to our rooms. No desire to get out of bed today except that Ben forced me to. I whined and pushed against him as he physically pulled me out of the bed and stood me up against the closet door.

This is payback for me putting my faith into Lochlan making it through this intact, isn't it?
Yesterday I called Lochlan the hero. Every day we fall a little more back into the love we used to have and every day Ben becomes a little more of a stranger.

He stands back and looks at me with irritation. No, Bridget, this is me wanting to take you out for breakfast because I keep venturing off into my own world when you need me in yours. And for the record, he's the hero in my story too. Tights and all. 

He doesn't wear tights. 

He should. He has nice legs. Now get dressed and let's go before they switch the menu over to lunch.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Stockholm syndrome for two.

I want to have a gin and tonic and watch Captain Fantastic. Can't find any takers except Rocket-Locket but he's working and three hours out from getting home. I want to lie in the sun and not die from it, withering into dust under a gaze so intense it cooks you from the inside out and I want to call the shots.

All of them.

I want them to be lethal.

I want the devil to understand that the days of his quiet coercion are over. I wasn't made aware that these last couple of years I wasn't even his primary victim anymore in his own special brand of threats and promises, which are frightening and too believable for comfort, for easy dismissal. I didn't think he would stoop that low, and I didn't think Lochlan would remain quiet, failing to say a word when all this time he's been allowing himself to be crushed under the weight of Caleb's efforts to find a way to destroy us, any way he can. Loch wasn't going to be a rat but he's not going to be a martyr either. Not anymore.

While it was a soul-crushing revelation, thankfully I don't have a soul so it's also liberating. Game-changing. A relief for Lochlan now, a lesser burden spread amongst the rest of us. For that I am grateful. I'm also so much tougher than I look after all and for that I'm oddly thrilled about that. Out of the two of us I turned out to be the strong one? Yes, me, the littlest one who stood there and cried when she dropped her ice cream in the mud because it was dinner and it cost our last two dollars for those ice creams and Lochlan gave me his, saying he wasn't hungry, but his growling stomach kept me up all night that night and the next day I worked double time conning hearts (and stealing wallets) until we had enough money for food for a week. Then I could sleep. Then, so could he.

Now I'm going to make my drink and snooze in the shade while I wait for him to finish up, reaping the spoils of my war with this hollow materialistic victory of decadence. At least that's what Caleb calls it. I call it bullshit because I didn't ask for this, and Lochlan doesn't deserve to be punished for it. All the pools and expensive tile floors and big electric gates in the world can't make up for what the devil has done to us.

Fuck it all anyways. Claus leaves today. He said it's not going to happen until I make changes and find boundaries. He said what we've done is striking, touching and incredible nonetheless and if I'm going to lose my mind this will be the safest place in which to do it. He said Lochlan's tougher than I give him credit for, which I hope against hope is true in the end, because I want him to be, I don't want him to be hurt by Caleb any more, I don't want him to be second best and I don't want him to be hungry. I believe he's going to be the hero of this story and I don't believe it's over yet.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Um.... (yum!)

I fell in love with a sandwich today. It was on pumpernickel bread. Mustard, Swiss cheese, black forest ham, tomatoes, lettuce and bean sprouts. Sandwiches are second only to cake to me but frankly they're way more filling and they travel much better in a handbag than cake does. Also no one looks at you funny if you eat a sandwich while you're driving. Try that with cake. Try eating cake with your hands. Try eating cake and not having any dishes to wash.

Sorry, cake, I think you just dropped to second place. This was a really really good sandwich.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Fix one thing, break another.

So the mess is drawing forces
Outside I hear them say
Just come out with your hands up
So we can blow you away
And I walk out the door
Get blown wide open
By the things I put away
And I wasn't even warned
Just blown wide open
Now the mess is where I lay
Caleb is being as attentive in absentia as he possibly could. His ears must be fire. His life is not going to be the same from here on in. He called a few times but Claus has been working with us and the phones have been left upstairs on their chargers. He messaged and I finally had a moment and messaged him back late this afternoon. I'm sure he was expecting Miss you too or maybe You should come home sooner. 

Instead I wrote Maybe you should plan to move there permanently. I hit sent and I put the phone back on the charger and I went to join the barbecue. We're doing ribs, zucchini slices and endless chicken wings, with watermelon and homemade potato salad. Delicious. Later than I wanted to eat but better later than never. Like everything.

Friday, 22 July 2016

I forgot who was here this morning and came down late to breakfast in my customary and probably completely inappropriate bedhead, skintight baby blue lycra boyshorts and a fitted green t-shirt that says Pint-Sized Sex Machine on it. Saw Sam, August, Claus and Joel sipping tea at the island and turned around to go back up.

Good morning, Bridget, Claus said without looking up from the newspaper. Eyes shot all around the room.

Good morning, I tell the room as I decide to own it. This is my house. I head to the coffee pot and contemplate third degree burns to take the focus off my skin burning from Joel's eyes. I can feel them. But when I look back at them only Sam is staring at me like he's never seen a girl before. I'm not sure how to take that so I leave it.

Later, during a break Joel asked me if I dress like that all the time around the house. I frowned at him and said, Of course not. We have a pool now. Usually I just wear a bikini. 

Claus, for the record, has a military-issue poker face. Iron fucking clad. I want lessons.


Russian doctor today too. Double-bonus. Anyone else want to come visit me? I put on actual clothes because I don't need any more comments from him about how he can fix whatever he deems wrong with me via plastic surgery. My blood pressure is up a little but not enough for anyone to be sounding alarms and I've already stopped taking the anti-convulsants for my headaches. I gave them three months and fuck it all to hell. Debilitating migraines are a cakewalk compared to the side effects of the medicine, which were supposed to go away but steadily got worse.

I'm running out of ideas here.

Claus thinks if I 'reduce stress' the headaches would go away.

(here's. the. eye. roll. yup. do. it. slow.)

I just stared at him until he admitted he knew that it sounded ludicrous. I'm anxious by nature. Which puts it so mildly it's laughable, I'm a worry-knot of the highest order. Pills don't help. Booze helps but I'm not going to give myself more problems or stick a band-aid on a open fracture. Fuck it all. At least sex works. For now it's the only thing that works.

Hence the t-shirt this morning.

And I'm not sorry.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

I could shoot for the moon but I have a hard time hitting the fence, you know?

It's difficult to focus on the conversation at hand this morning with thoughts of last night still so fresh, leaning back hard against Ben, who had one hand around my forehead and the other around my ribcage while I marvelled at Lochlan's wide shoulders, wedged between my knees. Had I been able to see his face I would have told him that's an angle I could surely appreciate but alas, he was very busy.

When I got too loud with my cries Ben's hand moved to my mouth and he laid me out facedown on the quilt and I don't even remember how many turns they took or how many times I was turned over but I remember waking up with hurting cheeks from smiling in my sleep. I remember waking up blissfully cool, as we left the balcony doors open wide and it dropped to twelve degrees overnight and I rolled back an inch and was pressed up against Ben, Lochlan high above me on the other side, my face against his chest, one hand over my head against Ben's shoulder, the other around my chin.

Caleb is trying to talk to me and has realized I'm not listening. He moves closer, tilting my head to one side, checking for the hearing aids I never wear.

You're staring straight at me and you can't hear me? He looks devastated.

I'm sorry. My mind is somewhere else. Then I crack up because like I said, I have no poker face at all and it's terribly inconvenient that I don't sometimes.

You think it's funny that I'm leaving. 

No. I think it's awful that you can't just live here and be happy without always turning the screws, frankly. 

I told you what I want. 

Then I feel badly for you. It isn't mutual. 

Sometimes it is and those are the times I want to exploit because I think we could grow it into something incredible.

Something incredible, alright.  Caleb, I-

I'm not going to fight this because I don't believe anything is going to change so there's no risk in going right now. Ben will cave in and need rescue. I'll be gone, your ghosts will be gone. Soon your team will be gone and Lochlan will prove himself as useless once again in taking care of you. When that happens, call me and I'll be on a plane. Otherwise I'll see you at the end of August. He gives me a hard kiss on the mouth and I almost fall over but he steadies me and then stares hard for a moment while I stare back. Then he bends down to pick up his travel case and squints up at the sun for a moment.

Bridget, I've never known you to push away love. Don't start now. 

And he's gone.

I waited many heartbeats to see if I would have a panic flutter set in but I didn't. I waited many more to let the realization that the exodus of this week includes three very central characters in my story sink in but nothing changed. Caleb will be back. The memory thief didn't take everything. I'll be okay. I've got my boys. There's lots of them left. No shortage, anyway. The touchable ones remain. The loveable and loved ones remain, the alive ones remain. Life remains. I hitch up my cashmere underpants, vowing to do so well while the Devil is gone that he doesn't recognize me upon his return.

Then I realize I have a cashmere wedgie and I'm incredibly predictable to boot so I dial it back a notch, readjust my outfit and go back inside for breakfast.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


You want the good news or the bad news first? Bad news? Yes, I do it that way too. Always end on an up note.

The bad news is the lawyers can't actually do anything concrete. They can't even threaten. Privately, personally, they've told Caleb to stop it, already. That he's one step below harassment, and that he's being immature and obsessive.

He knows this. Everyone knows this. And of course he knows what he can get away with. He's a lawyer. He also knows Lochlan is legally the bad guy right now, still. Mostly because recently Caleb was the one who wound up at the hospital getting stitches, generously refusing to press charges for what was technically assault at the hands of Lochlan for the incident with the watch. While I didn't need stitches and was taken care of at home by the Russian doc. See how good Caleb is at this shit? Exactly my point. And I'm still not willing to blow our lives open and nail him to the wall for the past because it serves no purpose now. If he ever hurt Lochlan I would do it in a heartbeat but that would be the only way. So for now peer pressure from outside of the collective will keep him in check. They told him to back off already. They told him to leave us alone.

The good news? He's heading out finally. We've been struggling here since April. Since he admitted Henry isn't actually his though he continues to be the best uncle/liar/fake biological father in the world and they still spend a lot of time together, having thoroughly bonded in the past few years in a way that kind of humbles me. His legal rights have been removed but his honorary rights remain and no, they aren't conditional on his behavior. They're there as long as Henry wants them there. But Caleb and I have discussed the prospect of him taking an extended break from the point for a while now so that I can have time to deal with this without him here to interfere with the process and now is a good time, since Henry's birthday is now past us and Ruth's is a little over six weeks away. It's a perfect time actually.

I need this absence from him. I need to be away from Caleb to clear my head. To exist without his brainwashing. His powerful presence here always cutting into my thoughts. The odd kind of guilt I hold for him, taking responsibility for his loneliness, for his heart. For his own soul even though he has backup. Lochlan needs this break too, for Caleb has been on his back since he was thirteen without a break, up to and including when I asked Caleb for an extended break when the kids were very young so that Cole and I could try to sort things out. He responded by buying property within a few blocks of where Lochlan was living. He's never let up for a minute and I feel like we're just beginning to see the extent of his efforts, maybe it isn't just me in my mad efforts to keep everyone together. They said we can't get better with him here. So let's make him go and see what happens. Just for a little while. Just to see if it does make a difference.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

His favorite part was the cliff walk at Capilano.

Today I took Claus sightseeing. I wore my big huge sunglasses and I cried as we talked the whole time, just me and him. I drove in places I've never driven before. I got lost seventeen or twenty-five times. I screamed trying to merge on an overpass that was particularly daunting and he was so damned encouraging I asked him to teach the boys to stop doing everything for me because clearly treating me like I'm still eight is only hobbling me terribly. We wore ourselves to smithereens, came up with a concrete plan for our sessions for the rest of the week (he's staying until MONDAY!!!) and then he took me out to dinner at the fanciest, most beautiful restaurant where everyone assumed I was his grown daughter and he absolutely delighted in telling them I wasn't and correcting them no further.

It was almost dark when we finally got home and he gave me a warm hug and told me he was exhausted but it was one of the greatest days in recent memory. I agreed. It really was. And now the work begins. He is staying with August in the spare room in the loft so at least he is close by in relative comfort.  I could feel my ears burning once he went inside so I'm sure he was sharing all of his observations with August but I'm really glad he's here.

Monday, 18 July 2016

He prefers the term 'Storyteller'.

I think I make them nervous with my big feels and half the time they don't even know what to do with me.

That's what I think. And slowly they'll approach, one at a time, as if I am a wild animal they think they can tame or perhaps a mental patient they feel they may be able to reason with, before realizing the folly of their way, retreating to the circle once more, the safety of their numbers.

It would be funny but it's sad.

Big feels aren't a strength and they're certainly nothing to be afraid of. They're a decided obvious flaw, an utter lack of dignity, a proof that any vestige of self-control has been stripped away and you now stand for all to see and judge without your skin, thick or thin. It no longer exists and everyone can see right through you.

Now, I've never been a liar. I've never been one to hedge or hold a poker face. I could run and I could steal but god forbid I got caught. God forbid you ever asked me a direct question in your lives, I would unload my entire conscience at your feet for you to pick through and disseminate. It's ridiculous and I envy people who can lie through their teeth, deceive and trick and pretend and cheat and fake their way through life seemingly without a second thought. It's a gift and payback comes eventually but in the meantime it must be nice.

I'll stand here while the wind sears my uncovered muscle and bone and bear it well.

Better? Loch asks roughly. He knew the salt would hurt. He's one of those people. An easy, seasoned liar who does whatever he's ever had to do to stay on the right side of a moment.

Yes. It's gotta hurt. That's how I work. What do I do now? 

What do you mean? 

Maybe you should send Sam down. I need to talk. The tears start again. Make them stop. Jesus Christ. I've got no ghosts and nowhere to hide and suddenly he's being stubborn just when I need him the most.

Talk to me. 

I would but you're not listening. You're busy being right all the time. Busy saying you told me so. 

I'm busy trying to keep you safe. 

This isn't safe, Loch. 

Why isn't it? 

I can get to myself. 


Nevermind. Just tell me what I do now. 

Let me entertain you. 

I looked up abruptly and he's smiling at me. It's not a big smile but it's there. The joke is so old between us it must have been covered with a layer of dust so thick it would have been virtually unrecognizable but he found it and hauled it out, cleaning it off, offering it up like a life preserver as I drowned in my own tears.

And I took it.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

I just wanted to go to the beach. I wanted to go to the beach and I wanted to think and I wanted to spend some time watching the waves and unclenching my fucking fists and he said no.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

What had come as no surprise to me was equally not a surprise to Jacob who suspected and probably knew deep down all along, paperwork be damned. The children were the reason he pushed so hard for me to leave Cole and let him in.

But they weren't enough of a reason to stay. Like me.

Bridget, I wasn't strong enough to stay. I was a coward and a loser and I let the three of you slip through my fingers. 

I sat and stared at him for so long he asked me if I was alright.

Alright? Am I alright? No. I don't think I am. 

You should go back to the house. 

Ben will come for me. 

You were hoping that had I known Henry was my own that I would have never left and everything would have been different and things would be okay and I'd still be there to this day. 

Something like that. 

Life is messy, honey. 

It's a nuclear holocaust, Jakey. 

And just as if on cue I could hear Ben yelling my name. I stood up so quickly I saw black spots in front of my eyes. I'm late for the party. I have to go. 

Bridget. Don't leave yet. We-

The door is open. If you want to go you can go. 


Just know you can go. You don't have to stay here anymore. 


But I left. I didn't say goodbye or anything else. I need to go celebrate how fucking ridiculously human we are. I really need that lobotomy now, Sam. And I need to go marvel at how wonderfully this child of mine has grown in spite of his tremendously fucked-up parents.

Ghost recon.

Back to the concrete room this morning, slipping out of Lochlan's arms as he dreams of the midway, away from Ben's cool skin as he sleeps heavily without dreams. He doesn't dream unless he drinks. I run down the long hallway, muddy water splashing up against my legs as I go. It rained last night. It's cold and damp. It's always cold and damp down here. Why I made this place I will never know.

When I get the heavy door spun open Jacob is sitting in the centre of the room cross-legged, praying. The room is empty otherwise. My brain starts to wonder if Cole went to heaven or hell but then I realize I know better and I stop myself.

Jacob looks up and smiles gently, crinkling his brow in confusion.

Why are you here today? It's Henry's birthday. You didn't have to come today, Princess. 

I did, actually. There's something I have to talk to you about and I wanted to wait for today.

Friday, 15 July 2016

What if I need you? 

I'm sitting on the floor just inside the big airlock door shivering. The floor is damp, the room is downright icy. The single bulb hardly gives off enough light to see much of anything and Jake flatly refuses to move out of the way so I can talk to Cole in private.

Close enough, Princess. 

I've been talking around him for the better part of a half hour and I'm not getting anywhere. Cole won't respond anyway. He's not chatty like Jake. He's never been determined to be helpful or anxious to work with me to see them through this purgatory in order to make it to heaven. I don't know if I even believe there's a heaven anymore.

You can just keep going to the Devil until there's nothing left of you. Jacob interjects again, answering for Cole (he does that a lot) and I finally address him.

Could you not?! 

Oh but I can! This affects me as well. You keep putting me in here. Which means I've spent the better part of the past eight years stuck with him. I wouldn't exactly call that the purgatory of your brain, darlin'. I'd probably just skip to the chase and call it hell. And all the while I get to watch my best friends take turns holding my wife. 

If you have a complaint about conditions then maybe you should have TAKEN THE ELEVATOR DOWN, JACOB. 

Oh, there's the fire. Light it up, Baby. Watch it burn.

Let me finish with Cole. Before I implode. Please. 

FINE. But after today, I'm requesting a transfer. Anywhere he isn't. 

That's what I'm trying to do. Move him along and then you. So you're not stuck here with me anymore. 

He bristled and then softened when he understood. It doesn't hold the same weight for him that it does for me. The joys of being a figment instead of a fragment, I guess.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Forget the lake, let's make it a sea.

Ben walked right through the wall of flames round about four-ish and picked us both up by the backs of our necks. Like kittens.

You guys done? Can we have some dinner out on the patio? Maybe straighten up a little? Because every time I step aside and give you two a chance you both or someone else comes along and squanders it. It's hard to watch. I may as well stay right here. 

Yes, you really should. I'm so drunk right now I don't know if I remember what Cole looks like but I'm not going to double check with his big old doppelganger down in the boathouse. Who threatened Lochlan into giving me up for the week.

Harsh. Christ. Someone fix this please.

Must have been one hell of a threat, I said as I passed Lochlan the bottle.

You could say that, he said, white as a sheet. I never got the bottle back. Yes, it must have been one hell of a threat. Probably payback for the stitches necessary after Lochlan drew a line across his face with the watch after the last time Caleb hurt me because they don't seem to ever learn. Probably payback because Caleb thinks it's Lochlan's fault that I fell in love with Loch instead of Caleb in the first place.

I could make this easy and cut off all contact with Caleb but he fucked me up so bad I can't. 

Why. Why is it even possible for someone so smart to think he can order someone to love him?

The children had been dispatched to spend the day/evening out with Daniel and Schuyler and the army still had a lovely wall up. Joel skulks on the wrong side of it, thankfully. Claus is near enough but more on call than anything and since I only have the plaques in the sea that they took away because they were too dangerous to look at and the memorial trees that are trees and kind of boring and no benches or anything else I looked through some of Cole's photos and his voice came back to me, not like Caleb's at all. Lower. His radio voice. Smoldering, simmering. I took out his guitar. The one I never let anyone touch, still with his fingerprints all over it. I put on his big grey sweater and for fifteen terrible awful seconds I contemplated joining him and then I took the sweater off and I put away the guitar and the photographs and I filed his voice away where the memory thief won't be able to destroy it along with everything else and I ordered a stack of pizzas (the usual, for the Point) and August caught up with me, kissed the top of my head and I think Loch's so drunk and so relieved we're going to have to put him to bed early to sleep it off and Sam's looking after Claus and keeping an eye on everything and Ben is finally back where he should be and I very carefully climbed up above the lake of blood and fire when no one was looking and I unpinned Cole's wings from where I had imprisoned him and I put him back in the concrete room behind Jake for safekeeping.

Just for a little longer, I promised as I closed the door against their protests while they both looked at me with accusing blue eyes.

I turned and smashed into Ben, bouncing off him, landing on my ass, hard. Jesus! He's the only one who's not afraid to follow me all the way down here.

You can't keep them locked up forever, Bee. Even Cole deserves better than this.

I need to deal with them later. Right now I have to tend to the living.

I think we need to tend to you.

Possibly. Little drunk right now. Can't do it. And I swayed and bailed on standing up altogether. He caught me up in his arms and carried me back down the corridor and up into the light.

Set them loose, Bee. Soon. It's been way too long.

Don't push, Benny. Please.

I sat at dinner, profoundly sad. I wanted to stick around, to see where Cole goes when I'm not there. I wanted to see how Loch feels when I don't take up his whole life and I want to know why Ben does pretty much everything Ben does.

How are you doing, Bridget? Sam asked me finally as I picked up my blood-soaked coffee cup full of whiskey and drank it all, again. Someone's keeping it full. Remind me to thank them.

This is a zoo. 

I beg your pardon? 

We live in a zoo. This is the monkey house and down there is the apex predator. I point to the boathouse and start to laugh.

Jesus, she's still drunk. Loch puts on his glasses. Mr. Perfect has sobered quickly. Must be the extra sixty pounds he has over me.

You know when you do that you distance yourself from who you are. You're suddenly civilized. You're Clark Kent. I tell him.

Monkey indeed. He smiles at me. You're so fucked right now, Peanut. It's bedtime. 

But I'm hungry. 

If you eat now, you'll be sick. 

Wait, maybe she should eat and get sobered up. If she goes to sleep now she'll just feel worse. 

I don't think there's worse than this, Sammy. This is Bottom Rock in the monkey house. I tell him and keep laughing. I watch PJ turn sideways and pour the rest of the whiskey into his own glass. Then I watch Lochlan catch him. Oh SHIT.

There goes the table. There goes the food. There goes Ben to save PJ from the red monkey and there goes Bridget, off her chair because the table was the only thing holding her up.

So this morning, I feel GREAT. Because I didn't get any dinner. I didn't get any water, I didn't have any aspirin or good ideas. Cole is still dead. Caleb is still the apex predator of my nightmares and Lochlan is angry that I called him out for distancing himself from helping me and from being who he is instead of trying to be someone he's not. He should be happy that we found out he was being coerced within an inch of his life into giving me up, to the point where I can't even describe it here, instead detailing it to my baby lawyerlets to see if they have any insights whatsoever because you can't tell me threats like that aren't at least punishable somehow, and yet at the end of the day he's still there with his back against the wall watching me fall apart and refusing to pick up any of the pieces.

That's the problem. Right there. 

Bridget, look at him. Look what the Devil did to him. Don't think he isn't just as damaged. 

That's just it, Benjamin. It's not a pissing contest. 

Are you holding him up? 

I can't! 

Exactly my point. Maybe he can't hold you up either. That's what I'm here for, stupid.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


My heart has stained my sleeve red. Blood drips down my wrist, forming a pool around me until I can no longer stand on my feet and have to tread, kicking to keep my head above the surface.

Big feels, PJ says. He swims over to hand me the biggest cup of contraband black coffee I've ever seen.

What's in it? I ask him.

Courage and foolishness, he assures me and I float it nearby so I can throw myself at him for a hug. He's a great life raft. As I said before I'm a mostly terrible swimmer.

In the cup is eight ounces of whiskey with a shot of coffee for color. That's the foolishness part, I'm guessing. Works for me. I'll be on the floor before lunch.

August had other ideas and swam past me, pouring the cup into the pool, diluting my blood anyway and making it work even faster.

Well, shit, that wasn't what I had in mind, he laments, but we'll get it over with and get you back to rights.

I float on my back. Again, it works for me. I didn't want to feel any of this. I open my eyes and my angel Cole is pinned to the ceiling by his huge black wings. He smiles kindly at me. He's not frightening anymore but I'm so scared anyways because I can't remember the sound of his voice.

Just listen to me, Caleb whispers in my ear, and you can hear him through me. 

Fuck this, Lochlan says. He pulls his zippo out and lights it, throwing it into the pool to make a lake of flames. Let them burn, Baby. Let it go.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

At least I can pay for the damages.

This morning I received a text congratulating me on receiving my share of the sale of the marble monstrosity which closed this week and is not my problem anymore. I'm so glad. Besides, even after we moved the gate that house was too far up the hill and the gate's been moved back and well, he spends money like water so no matter, right? Besides, it's a really good time to have real estate to unload here in the GVRD.

A really stupidly good time.

Caleb's timing is great if he thinks he can butter my ass with cash. Unfortunately he can't because money can't buy actual happiness. Only stuff like new alternators, camper tires and stove parts. We need all of the above but that only actually came to $312.72 at Canadian Tire yesterday so the rest can sit in the bank.

I get half of everything the Devil profits from. That's the deal. Which is great if you don't mind dealing with the fun prospect of being me. Which as Claus puts it, is like trying to heal a burn victim while she's still on fire.

To top it off, Lochlan is the one who sold me out to Caleb and I don't know why because he did that and then within hours warned me not to go over there this week and that there is indeed some sort of cut-off time limit on grief.


He made himself the bad guy, and then made himself the bad guy and then yup, made himself the bad guy. 

Fortunately for both of us, August and Sam are WAY ahead of everyone because PJ made sure they would be. He has all the major holidays planned out far in advance, deathiversaries being right up with the rest. So Claus is here. Joel is here (URGHHHHH). Pretty sure they just backed up a truck full of tranquilizer guns/tanks and helicopters to the house and the army is all geared up and ready for battle. I should probably run now before they tie me down but I'm so curious about Lochlan's motives, I'm going to go find out about that first.

I'm also really calm and relaxed and happy so YUP. They're already drugging my food. I've got to hand to PJ. He's getting way good at this shit. He can see me falling a mile away. And weirdly I think if I look beside me Lochlan is falling too. No other explanation to be had, frankly. Unless there's a really good one I haven't heard yet.

Monday, 11 July 2016

My shallow heart.

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone
He worked doggedly, stubbornly through the night, torches burning all around us in his efforts to pin me to the dark, to keep me right there in that place where he knows where I'll be but no one else can find me easily, if at all.

He steps back and wipes his forehead across the back of his arm and staggers slightly against the uneven ground. He takes a sip of his drink and points at me.

Now you don't move, Peanut. His eyes are so glassy, I can't even see the green, just the flames reflected in them. Flames and fear and rage. Don't you go anywhere. You stay right here where I can see you. Don't even move a hair's breath or I'll...I'll...

You'll what? I duck down out of the first set of ties. I'm smaller than he realizes and better at this than he remembers. This was part of the first act. Tie me up, close the doors and set the box on fire. Outside he's hoping to God I can get out. Inside I'm getting the fuck out and going through the door in the floor, dropping seven feet into a dusty crawlspace hoping to God he remembered to put the padding on the cement floor so I don't break my legs.

Here I'm hoping to God there's a fucking door in the floor so I can escape but when I hit the ground it's solid and the fire's getting so hot we're burning alive.
Read between the lines
Of what's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone
He turns around to pick up the bottle and I duck behind the night and I wait. I hear him swear and the bottle smashes into the dark, shattering into a million stars, showering me with whiskey and tears, bathing me in his terror, breaking my hiding place wide open.

There you are. He says it but it isn't nice.

I nod. I'm afraid but I refuse to show it.

Come here.

I shake my head.


I shake my head again.

NOW, BRIDGET! He screams it and I take one step forward and the flames from the torch nearest me jump to my skin. I burst into flames and he smiles.

I'd kill you so they couldn't have you anymore. 

No you wouldn't. 

That's the sad part. I would. I would because I can't take it anymore. 

I woke up screaming. I woke up screaming with the sound of that stupid ominous chugging guitar sound at the very beginning of Boulevard of Broken Dreams in my head. Loch said he would have woken up screaming too if he had Green Day stuck in his head and didn't take it seriously but underneath our easy dismissal is a slow moving river of pure dread.

Ten is a number I suddenly hate with everything I've got. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016


All of the distractions in the world aren't going to keep you from me this week, Neamhchiontach, the Devil reminds me, and with that statement I see the ground beneath the cart as the Ferris wheel tips us over the top and comes around clockwise once more, gaining speed.

I nod into his shoulder. His arms tighten and I take a deep breath and let it out.

Caleb adores my tattoo. He traced it with his fingertips in absolute awe, as if it were in reverence to him, as he shared Cole's initials and appetites, and has appropriated his life and efforts with ease, without permission.

You're glorious, he tells me.

I shouldn't even be here, I tell him and he nods.

I know. We'll finish this midweek. He kisses my cheek, smooths down my dress and pulls me back up with him.

I don't know if I can get aw-

It's already arranged, Bridget. He tells me. I wonder what the cost was and who arranged it. Just no more near misses with your poet or your thief or any of your other keepers in the meantime. I've got big plans for you. Ten is a big number and we will mark it appropriately. 

I already did. I pull my dress up again to show him my giant X over my periwinkle blue cashmere underpants.

I meant together, but I do love that. He has an X as well but his is a beautiful script and he's had it for almost as long as Cole has been gone.

He lifts my face up with one hand and plants a gentle kiss underneath my chin before letting go and looking into my eyes. I can see why we love you. What I can't see is why they let you go. 

He didn't. They made him. 

He should have come to me. 

He should have done a lot of things, Diabhal. 

If you could go back, Bridget, knowing what you know now, would you have left him? 

The answer snapped my brain like a rubber band, so instantaneously that I cried out in alarm and Caleb stepped in close wondering if he had broken something else with a sensitive question. I brushed him off with some excuse about him being cruel, and that I really did have to go. I pushed him off and left rather quickly. I don't know why it didn't cross my mind before or maybe it's just that I take so ridiculously long to sort through things. Most people take a few days. I take a decade or so. Always. It's maddening.

Would I have left him knowing that it probably is what killed him? Would I have gone with Jake knowing that I would have had seventeen incredibly painful months ending in Jacob's flight too? Maybe had I never done that Jake would still be here and then I could have gotten a sane, slow divorce and eventually married Lochlan on my own time frame. Maybe things would have been vastly different, no one would be a ghost and the only thing to deal with would be the endless inevitable stockholm syndrome that only ever bothered everybody else and never really bothered me at all. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Worst/best conversation ever.

Duncan is trying skip rocks on a roiling sea this morning in the rain. I'm balancing on a rock nearby with my teacup and we're somehow not mortal enemies.

Because hope still exists, Duncan says.

For what? I ask innocently, but I know better as he winks at me.

I'm teasing you, Bridget. And frankly, I don't know what I would have done had you invited me into that room. Part of me would have grabbed you on the spot, the other would have sent you upstairs with a lecture and a smack on the arse to make you cry for being tough on Loch again. I'm here but for the grace of his generosity and nothing more-

No, you're here but for the grace of MINE. 

Damn. Wish I'd known that yesterday. And he smiles a rueful smile and I smile back really big and we're okay, we're just plain awful.

It's raining, Duncan. We should go back and make coffee. 

Yeah, we should. Think they hate us?

The plebes always hate the beautiful people, I tell him and he laughs harder.

For the little fragile miss, you've got a 'narse streak a mile wide. 

It's an act. 

That's the sad part, but you're a great actress. 

I know. Suddenly the levity is gone.

I wouldn't of turned you down, Bridge. 

I would have offered, Dunk, but I couldn't. Are we good?

We're always good, Babe. I think somehow keeping ourselves on our toes works. 

You do realize they had a pool going. 

Bridge, there's one for every guy you haven't slept with yet, my brother included. 

Wow. Nice to be known as the point whore. 

Well, you are the only woman here. Slim pickings. Not like there's much of you to be had even if you did go around. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

They had a pool going. PJ said he's out hundreds. He was sure. SO SURE that I would cave in and sleep with Duncan. But that he's so glad I didn't that it was worth the money he lost. That I can pay him back in sexual favors. And they wonder why I'm so fucked up as an adult. Seriously.


Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?

I'm fucking up my entire life.

Miss? Pardon me? Do you have an emergency?

You know what? I think I may have this, sorry to bother you. 

That's how it plays out in my head. In real life I sent two words to the message group on all our phones we labelled 911 that is reserved for the all-time worst moments of our life. The words?

Dalton's room

I heard a chair knock over one floor above me. I heard a door fly open and hit a wall and I heard feet on stairs as they came running and I lay there and cried because I'm awful but I did the right thing.

Or rather, I didn't do anything.
If you could only let your guard down
If you could learn to trust me somehow
I swear, that I won't let you go
If you could only let go your doubts
If you could just believe in me now
I swear, that I won't let you go
Duncan took my refusal of breakfast (or company) as a sign that I wanted to be left alone and made himself scarce, heading back to his room, closing the door probably long enough to dress and then the door opened again and I heard the front door open and close. I heard an engine start and he was gone.

I sent my text. He would have received it just like everyone else. I'm not sure who is more relieved or more crushed. It's a road you can't turn back from. You can pretend you didn't see what was down that way. You can try but it's never quite the same. Ask PJ. Ask August. Duncan's always going be a weapons-grade threat to me but he's never going to be enemy number one and I'd really prefer to have more friends than enemies at this point, on this point. He would laugh and tell me he'll take that chance and that's exactly what I'm afraid of.

Lochlan's angry regardless. No one's going to blame him.

Stay upstairs. Stay out of people's beds. Jesus, Bridget! Boundaries. This isn't hard. Right and Wrong. It's black and white. It's easy, Peanut. For Christ sake, you've been through so much and you just keep finding more trouble. Just stop. Stop it, Bridgie. Please. You don't have to do this anymore!

I'm staring at him while he shakes me and it's like he's grown taller and blonder. Possessed by the soul of a preacher or maybe it's the other way around and Jake wore Lochlan's soul and maybe they're so much more alike than I ever realized before. Life is so simple to them. Cut and dried. Part and parcel. Black and white and it wasn't until Lochlan said it that I realized he's operating from the same place. Blind and deaf to everything I feel. Unwilling to understand why it's so hard. Why I can't do it. Why I can't just cooperate. Why I can't just stop. Why I can't get over it/knock it off/fall in line/smarten up/straighten out.

It's definitely not the first time I've ever been let down by someone but it's probably the first time I've ever been disappointed by someone and allowed myself to actually feel it. Now I know how he feels every damn day of his life.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

I keep feeling like we fall apart
Better than we fall in love
I can’t seem to shake this feeling
Really I would have been content to spend all morning lying in Dalton's warm (empty) bed playing Owl Simulator and watching the rain pour down the glass. I hijacked a second phone too, just like the bed so I can listen to Shake This Feeling in one ear and The Grace in the second because I'm insane like that but it works.
Where I'm not alone
Duncan comes the doorway with a towel around his waist, freshly showered. Did you eat already or would you like something?

Kill me, please. Make it quick and painful, make it exquisite and whatever you do, donate my brain to science and tell the world I'm sorry.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Sam said it means Christ. "Oh boy, Bridget. What have you done?"

They didn't actually put me down in the grass. Jesus, people. Can you use your imaginations? I'm pretty sure they just drug my food as needed. It's far more fun to be facedown in my dinner plate anyway, isn't it? Especially if it's tacos. Ouch. That would hurt. I imagine taco cuts are like paper cuts, you get all sliced up with stingy corn cuts in your cheeks, unless they're soft tortillas in which you wind up with a big squishy cheese mess all over EVERYTHING and that would be just-

What did I come here to talk about? I forgot.

Lochlan runs his warm hand across my stomach early this morning. He hates this tattoo. (You look like the end of a pirate treasure map, for Pete's sake.) Hates it but he understands why I have it. Honestly he's glad I have it as much as he hates it. As he said on his way out the door while Mark was finishing cleaning it up, One down, one to go. 

The open vitriol surprised me so much I gasped. Mark's face came up over mine. Okay, there, sunshine?

I nodded.

Give him credit. I would have blown Caleb to kingdom come years ago.

Jesus, guys. My eyes water and Mark passes me a piece of paper towel. I ball it up and hold my fists against my forehead. Count to fifty, Bridget. Let it pass. Explore a city you don't know inside your mind. What's around the next corner? What would you put there to find?

Sam was teaching me self-control, emotional control before they took him away from me too. Not literally but figuratively. A 'break', they called it. Because I'm so intense I can break people from twenty yards away. He was breaking. I was breaking too.

Lochlan got a tattoo while Mark was here as well. Dóiteáin (pronounced doe-chane.). It means fire. (Surprise.) Across his back.

[Oh, you want a Gaelic lesson?

 Neamhchiontach is pronounced nav-shun-toch. Diabhal is said as doe-vol.]

But yeah, a week from now is the date that ten years ago I watched as the light went out of Cole's eyes and let me tell you it's the most frightening thing I think I've ever seen. Certainly the most profound in that you have no control. You can't stop it, you can't change it and I had to mark it. I had to do something about it. I had to find some way to have some power over that moment or it would continue to eat me alive. Maybe it's never going to stop. Maybe I am doomed by my ghosts and by my living alike.

Maybe the X is perfect. It does mark the spot. But I'm not going to write much about Cole today, I'll save that for next week but I'm deliriously happy with the tattoo, in spite of Sam's teasing. It's just a big fucking X. It can mean anything. It can mean everything. It can mean nothing. It's just perfect.

Something I'm not.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Chemical capture.

Today is less insane. I think they had a meeting after shooting me with a tranquilizer dart in the yard on my way back into the house and August warned them all that I need consistency, support and patience, not endless arbitrary rules, jealousy and infighting.

Actually what I need is sleep, food and booze, I told them with a laugh as I hit the grass face-first. Fuckers didn't even catch me. In my dreams it felt terrific and when I woke up I felt like me again.

I'm actually not a pot-stirrer. Habitually I don't throw dishes. I don't yell. I don't even talk back. If anything I stop talking. I stop reacting, I just plain stop. I turn into a shadow, a statue. I don't do anything. Lochlan says it's possibly more frightening, more maddening, more difficult than plate-throwing, yelling Bridget. At least then she's saying how she feels, what she needs, what she wants.

I realize that but it's too out there, too bratty, too out of control for me and I feel ashamed and immature and awful. But they're all cheering me on, for fucks sakes. Until they want to turn it off, I mean.

So I didn't get any of the beans I grew for dinner, I got medicine and a hot shower and a clean warm bed and it was lights the fuck out and I was gone and I didn't dream until early this morning and then I was up early and I was starving. Still am but coffee seems like the only thing my stomach can handle. My brain loves pills. My body? Not so much.

Onward and upward now, Princess. A voice cuts into my head in the dawning light as I sip the bitter gold. Too much sugar, not enough caffeine, as usual.

I nod. Working on it, Preacher.

Good girl. 

Oh, don't you say it too.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Ten degrees isn't t-shirt weather and I need some sleep, I think.

Cold and rainy today and I've had my lecture for heading out with Sam without technical permission. John had his lecture and kindly told Lochlan to go fuck himself, though he means it as a friend, because in order for this to work Lochlan needs to let go a little bit, especially and most importantly when it comes to people who know Bridget's head and how to keep it on straight better than the magic man himself. Besides, John was there. Problem solved. Bodyguard in place.

I'm not going to let anything happen to her, Brother. Never have, never will. 

Lochlan thought long and hard about continuing to push against this logic but ultimately decided John was right and he shook his hand and apologized. He came to apologize to me and I stared at him with my best steely-eyed child's disappointment, picked up my colander and went out to the garden to get beans for dinner.

He didn't come after me. Ben came out eventually because I was taking too long and said supposedly now we're surround by not only men and bears but also those coyotes now too. Many of them. And it's getting late so maybe I should come in.

They're like dogs. They sing because they're afraid of the dark. 

They sing because they're hungry, Bridget. 

The fence is live, I'm not worried. 

Loch is worried. You daydream. I've heard the stories. 

I don't do that anymore. Yeesh. Next he'll be wiping my ass for me. 

That's what I said. 

But you don't say anything to him. 

How do you know I haven't? It's taken you close to two and a half hours to pick a pound of beans. 

I'm thinking! 

About what? 

Why you only come when there's trouble.

Danger, he corrects me.

Whatever. I'm tired and soaked to the skin. I'm cold. I don't even fucking care anymore. This isn't Utopia today. Today it's prison and I got yard duty.

Let's go inside and get a fire going. You're shivering. Give me the bowl.

He reaches for it and I take whatever strength I still have and fling it about ten feet away. All of the beans spray out in an arc across rows of tomato cages and the colander comes to rest against a pumpkin plant beside the fence.

I don't want to! I tell him. Maybe it's not even his fault, maybe a lot of it is but I stand there staring at him and he stares back and finally he turns and goes to the fence, picks up the bowl and heads back toward the house without another word. I would feel bad about seeing him go alone but he's left me on my own for months now.

I pick up a bean and eat it. 

When I turn to see if he's gone he is standing at the gate waiting. He looks at his watch.

I've got all day, Brat. he calls. He's smiling.

Asshole. I call back.

A real hungry one too. Better pick up those beans. Dinner's in an hour. 

You took my bowl. 

Fill your pockets. 

I don't have any pockets. 

Fill that gaping hole in your face that all those stupid lies come out of. Like me only being here when there's trouble. Is there trouble right now? Nope. Only rain. Only beans. Seems pretty low key for a Monday actually. Could you hurry up, Bee? I'm fucking freezing. 

No! Fucking do it yourself. 

I'll pay someone to do it. 

No one TOUCHES my garden except me. 

Then get to work. He frisbees the bowl at my head and I scream and duck down into a ball, losing my balance. I sit down in the mud hard.  



I fell! 

Then pick faster so you can go in and change. 

Help me. 

What's that?

Can you help me? Please?

Are you asking for me to help you? 

Are you fucking deaf too? 

No, I've just been waiting for this for EIGHT FUCKING YEARS, BRIDGET but you're too goddamned stubborn. Just wait right here. He takes off his hoodie and slides it around me and heads into the garden, scooping beans into the colander as he goes. He goes up three different rows and somehow comes back in seconds with the full bowl that I threw and kisses me hard, almost knocking me off my feet, shoving the bowl into my arms, smiling at me gently, waiting until I hesitantly smile back.

There's dinner. All's well that end's well. I feel like I have to get you to some sort of incredible level of rage to reset you, almost and then you're you again. Except your lips are grey and the rest of you is...very dirty. Let's get inside.  

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Three steps forward, Five steps back.

Sunrise service by the sea this morning as Sam baptized a small group of new members who alternately shook with nervousness, wept with joy and smiled with an adoration only reserved for these sorts of events. I had the lucky position of playing helper in that I was right at the edge of the action taking photo and video, and holding bibles, phones, handbags, wallets, glasses, anything they didn't want to see ruined by seawater. Most wore swim trunks and dress shirts (men) or swimsuits with an old dress over top for women, and sandals so it wasn't a huge deal.

John played towel boy.

Remind me to have some small totes printed up so we can put their things into totes they can keep as a memento. Way more fun than a new bible. No one needs those.


It's true, they really don't, Sam. 

I'm driving his (Kia) Soul home because he hates driving in his wetsuit. Too restrictive, he says.

So change, I always tell him.

Takes too long.

For a minister you're very stubborn. 

I think it's a job requirement, he winks at me.

You know? You're right! 

Thanks for all of the help today. Only the morning people can hack this lifestyle. 

I don't mind. I love watching people's faces. 

You want to do it? 

Do what?

Be baptized? 

I was when I was eight in the United Church. 

But Jake didn't do it? 


That really surprises me, Bridge. 

He probably would have eventually. 

Hey, we're home. Let's make some breakfast, I'm starved. 

His glaring subject change does nothing to wash away my sudden debilitating doubt. Why wouldn't you want to save your own wife? Why didn't he do that first? He baptized both children before they were a year old, by my request.

He knew it was already too late, that's why.

(Here comes my memory thief.) Bridget, don't think like that-

But it's true, isn't it, Sam?

I can't speak for Jacob. He isn't here. 

And that's the problem, isn't it?

Saturday, 2 July 2016


Oh my God. I would post but I just finished this...gigantic club sandwich with double bacon and an entire plate of french fries and I can't even breathe.

It was the best.

I think I love food more than boys. Loch said he's sure of it. He says the look on my face every night on the Midway at supper in the diner when the waitress put my plate down made him so jealous he didn't know what to do with himself.

I said if he was a real magician he would have turned himself into a freaking sandwich and solved all our problems, obviously. We tried to have a giggle but it hurt too much. Still does. I need to go lie down. He said he'll remain standing, thanks until he burns enough calories to bend again. I think we found a winner of a greasy spoon with portions so big they're clearly enough for maybe three or four people instead of one so now we know for next time and can protect ourselves, at least.

So good.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The red and the white.

Happy Canada Day! This year marks our 149th birthday. Holy!

An amazing day today. A huge nonstop all-day all-night pool party (still going, guitars are coming out now) here and it's just warm enough in the sun without being too blisteringly hot to enjoy it and still wear earrings and a sarong with my pink bikini.

Caleb, Christian and Schuyler are manning the barbecue pit, Batman, Lochlan and PJ are the bartenders (Lemonade, pop or slushies) and Henry and all of his friends are taking care of the dessert station AKA lingering close and eating all of it. I'm keeping salads, fruit and veggies refreshed as required. Christian, Duncan and August are lifeguards. Sam is keeping mixed groups of teenagers out of the sauna and in plain sight, and Ruth and her friends are lounging on the big double chairs or in the hot tub, snapchatting just about every second of the day to each other, which is weird because they're all here. Together.

John is throwing people off the cliff as requested (only if you are twenty or older, much to the kids' dismay).

Daniel is sleeping up at his house. He'll do teardown by himself tonight.

Dalton and Andrew, Gage and New Jake are playing water polo on each other's shoulders. They invited me to play but it's far too rough so Ben said no. He is standing with a can of pop watching the kids enjoy themselves and he just looks so happy with everything. He looks like a vampire too, in that he is so pale it's striking.

We have a sunscreen station where you get sprayed to bits before you can go poolside. That is immediately at dropoff in the driveway much to the delight of 90% of the parents who forgot to equip their kids before bringing them over. I have waterproof sport 110 SPF spray sunscreen by the case and zinc for noses and lips and extra sunglasses and hats too.

The kids call it running the momlet (as in gauntlet) and roll their eyes. I tell them they'll be so freaking happy not to be snapchatting each other their lobster selfies tomorrow it will be worth it.

Now when is it cool to send seventeen-year-olds home so I can go to bed?