Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Help less.

Today didn't happen. Today was kind of a shoving-embrace-rejecting, double-Ativan, ghost-craving, fight-picking, uncontrollable-crying, miserable awful terrible no good kind of day. It was a day in which I made soup and bread for dinner after making soup and bread for lunch. I couldn't manage the day at all. It started up and took me over. It swallowed me whole, not letting me get a handle on it before flinging me off and I never did get control of it and so Ben said that's enough, Bumblebee and I've been sent off to bed momentarily, in clean pajamas and a freshly-washed face and I can't feel my chin or my elbows anymore but I also can't feel my past and tomorrow's going to look a whole lot better, he said. I asked him why and he said because you and Danny and I will spend the day at the park if you like and I told him it was going to rain. He said that was okay, that I'm not made of sugar but I wasn't convinced. What if I am? He smiled and said it would explain why I'm so sweet. But I'm not sweet, not anymore. And he stopped smiling and Sam came in and kissed my forehead and reminded me that being tough isn't an around-the-clock job. Sometimes you need breaks.  

It's a break all right, I told him and then everyone left and Lochlan came in and shut the door and stripped down to a t-shirt and his boxers and he said eight hours straight of sleep would help me and I said help me what? and he said he didn't know but I guess we'll see. I never liked surprises but I'm anxious for tomorrow nonetheless now. See you then.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Calls of the wild.

Batman called this morning. Told me he was having the time of his life, and the only thing missing was me. That this should be a required life event and that when he comes back he hopes to spend more time with me, having fun. Not in any sordid way, just in general. He was envious of our night of dancing, he said and he'd love to join us for the next show.

What if it's like Slayer or something non-danceable? 

Then we'll dance to it anyway. Why the hell not? 

(Well, there's the biggest indication that he's taking the drugs right there. Batman is not a 'why the hell not' type of guy, honestly.)

Bridget, you there? 

I'm here. 

I love you. 

I bet you do. 

August called too. He said it's even more awful than last year and he'll probably come back before Saturday. He wants to know how I feel, what everyone is doing (to me, probably and not just in general), and if I want to talk for a while, if so he can go find a charging cord and we can continue in a bit. I let him off the hook. I'm too tired for barometers and too sad that he's not here to listen to his voice without the accompanying physical presence.

Caleb called and said he'd bring me next year but only if we have a private RV. He said he transferred some money to me for the children's school needs, since school starts in a week. I told him he didn't have to do that and he said he likes to, that it's important to him to have a hand in taking care of us. Then he said he should be taking care of me and when he comes home from the desert he's going to do just that.

Gage called and said I should be there too. That it's perfect for me.

Keith called and said Gage is full of shit and that I am too good for the whole of Black Rock City.

New Jake called and asked if I really was worried about him.

I always worry about you, Jake. But the k is silent. My mouth won't finish his name out loud. Mostly his name seems to be 'Jay' now.

Bridget, I'm a grown man.

You're a diabetic in a shitty environment for staying healthy.

I'm not doing drugs. And I'm testing. And I'm fine. If you're that worried I'll go get on a plane.

What? Why would you do that?

To give you the peace of mind no one ever affords you.

No one can afford me, I tell myself. The cost is far too high.

What was that, Bridget? I don't think the connection is very good. I can barely hear you.

Nothing, I say at a normal voice and his voice smiles. Ah. You're back.

I never left, I tell him. Have fun, okay?

It is, actually. August and I are talking a lot. It's nice to have brothers. They're all good guys.

Yeah, they are.

It's like a deeper bonding experience but with less distractions. Not like at home.

What do you mean?

You're not here. You're the punctuation. You're the focus of the point, you know? Worshipped and watched over. The sun rises and sets by you in a way that totally supersedes any random girls walking around here. There's zero energy in any of them. They throw themselves at us and no one bites.

Oh, Jesus.

Yeah, I'm not sure if that's really really bad or very very good. We were trying to figure it out.


There's just no one like you, Bridget, and we wouldn't trade you for the world.

He broke my heart via phone. They all did.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Glitter cannons. Yes. I'm getting some for the house.

Last night I grooved in the same room as Nile Rodgers and Chic played Get Lucky, We are Family and Good Times. Then I proceeded to cry through most of Duran Duran's set so whatever but at least I could dance while I cried. Lochlan cheered and said maybe I finally learned to multitask but maybe I was just sad that my metal plating wore off thanks to my caustic tears, revealing the beautiful truth underneath that from the age of 10 through 12 I lived and breathed for Duran Duran. I still know all the words. To all the songs. At least the ones up until the mid-nineties

Lochlan assured me that I still have all my cred. That as long as I'm a music lover genres don't matter.

What about country?

Okay, maybe that would matter. 

(Fun fact: In the very early nineties I would sing along to Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood because DAMN. The boys HATED that stage of me until they saw me in a cowboy hat and braids.)

Lochlan danced too and Lochlan doesn't dance. We got very sweaty. All my pictures and video are ridiculously blurry and terrible but that's okay, I didn't put any effort into looking at my phone anyway. It was an in-the-moment moment. We had a blast. Everyone in the arena did, by the looks of things. No one, not a single person that I could see even used their chairs.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Fire extinguishers + church ties.

Why didn't you go with them? I ask Duncan this morning over breakfast. He's ready for church. I'm not. I've got bedhead, I'm in pajamas still and there are toast crumbs on my cheek. Maybe I am ready. Sam and Jake both always said God doesn't care if you're presentable. He just cares if you're present. 

Duncan grins and pulls at the neck of his shirt. The action is here. This is where all the cool people are at. I mean, look at this. The epitome of cool right here. He turns and gestures at PJ, who shambles into the kitchen in pajama pants and the beard from hell. He looks like I feel. Why didn't you go to Black Rock City? Duncan asks PJ, still with that wide sweet smile.

I hate camping, PJ reminds us with no shortage of irritation. He really does. He hates anything less than total luxury. He won't even tolerate his beer warming up as he drinks it. He's amazed someone would go to all that trouble to breath dust into their lungs and live like savages for a solid week in the name of 'feeding ones soul' or doing drugs or whatever it is they get up to. I'm not sure if he's just getting old or if he's trying to disparage the image of it so I don't want to go so badly. Either way I love him to pieces for it.

Lochlan comes down and reminds me it's getting late and I should go change.

I think I'm going to go like this, I tell him as he reaches out and wipes the crumbs off my face with a smile. The smile spreads. It's contagious. I stand there grinning like a fool at him and he turns and says Thank you to PJ before turning back to smile at me some more.

For what? PJ grumbles with a mouthful of toast.

I thought she was going to be a brat about Burning Man for the whole week, he says as he stares into my eyes. You seem to have put some common sense into her. 

Funny, normally Lochlan would slay any man who attempts to inject reality into my fantasy world. He's gone out of his way to keep things magical and hates it when someone paves over his endless fields.

Wasn't me, PJ laughs and heads off to clean up. We're already late for church. God may still love you when you're messy but not when you're tardy. No sir.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Next year I think I'll charter a plane, an RV and a staff. Idgaf.

Caleb, August, Gage, Keith, New Jake and Batman have gone to Burning Man.

I stood inside the door after they left and let out a solid scream for at least a minute, maybe longer. It smacks of unfairness. It boggles my mind that no one will fulfill this bucket list of mine.

They're afraid.

Afraid that my self-reliance will be so apparently absent that even I will figure it out and get scared.

Afraid that I won't be able to rough it.

Afraid that I might be popular and make new friends and like them better.

Afraid that I'll have fun and maybe become someone different or better.

Instead I can stay home, depend heavily on the boys for damn near everything, beside the pool in the shade because a rough life isn't for me or something like that, and remain hobbled mentally and socially. While I'm doing that I'll worry a lot about New Jake's insulin pump. August and Batman tell me he'll be fine. Keith will help keep him in good condition but I have my doubts. He's impulsive and intense.

And besides. You can't go to Burning Man sober. Can you?

August says of course you can. He does it all the time. He's only going as a guide though, because there are so many virgins going this year. Can they even all get along for the entire trip? I can't wait to see pictures and hear their playa names. I can't wait to see the video of the man burn a week from now. I can't wait to go myself and experience this and I don't even know why.

I so, so want to be one of them.

I cooked and did laundry and shopping again and helped them organize their things. I hung off every moment of planning and prep and then like a good sport (good girl) I waved and smiled as they left and now I'm just...

Just argh. 

Really disappointed there was no eleventh hour change of heart. They're selling the extra tickets last minute, in Reno. Those tickets that should have been ours. I think Loch and Ben would really enjoy it with me. I still have the costume I made. They don't even need costumes. They can just wear their kilts and top hats.

And I don't understand why I can't go. I doubt I ever will.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Yup. It's Friday night and they've put on Gwen Stefani's cover of Rainbow Connection.

Times have changed.

Bulletproof for one more day.

And where are you now, now that I need you?
Tears on my pillow wherever you go
I'll cry me a river that leads to your ocean
You never see me fall apart
I open my eyes and feel around for the first hints of the day as they are revealed in the light coming over the edge of the point, flooding slowly through the windows on one side of the room, though the dark still presses furiously, hopelessly against the glass of the patio doors on the other side.

On the inside the first thing my mind does is remember. Every morning begins with a snap and a slow bloom of an ache I can't seem to soothe. I feel my way around the edge of the hole. It flexes with the days. Sometimes it's small and I can avoid it completely. Other times it grows and grows right out to the rim of my life and I get sucked into it, bones and all. Usually it spits me out for I am small and bitter, unsatisfying, incomplete. My fingers start to flutter against my lips, my eyes spill over and Lochlan instinctively pulls me in underneath his chin, my eyes drying up as gratitude replaces grief, as my brain permits me to remember everything before and after, too.

Shhhh, he sleep-talks. He can't surface, he's still at the Midway, standing and watching as I go in circles into the night sky, coming down in front of him, huge smile across my face, music blasting in my ears. I used to be her. I used to live for the lights, for the moment and now I live for the past, for what came before, a fleeting, intense magic of a different sort altogether, a bright flash of light in that dark, a preemptive rescue from a storm I wouldn't see coming for years.

I sigh outwardly. The effort of just standing up, of getting dressed, of smiling. Of being human. It takes a lot and some days I have more energy than others. Some days I can't even handle the early light. Some days I'm so grateful I lived long enough to experience the things that came after. Exquisite pain. Unbridled joy. Love let loose. A circle right back around to the beginning. Another chance, that gift few people ever get and I got it in spades. A house chockful of love, brimming with the kind of sweetness, affection and support most people could only dream of.

Ben is there now too, up because of the fluttering, no doubt. Light-sleeping. On guard, half-aware, half-awake, all ready. He moves in close, pressing into my back, making me into a breakfast sandwich in between them, closing that circle, shutting down any gaps where the light might escape, shining straight through instead of holding. Exhale once more. I feel safe. The ache gets a little smaller, the gratitude grows a little bigger.

There's a little energy now and enough light. It's safe to begin the day.

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Being big and tough is exhausting. I don't know how the boys do it. I gave up my efforts well into the evening and barricaded myself in the library with Ben's headphones and a plan to fall asleep on the fluffy white rug.

Only I felt a hand on my shoulder just as I was drifting off. I opened my eyes and there are big brown eyes staring back at me. It's gotten very dark and he's turned on a small light on the table across the room.

Bee. Come upstairs.

I'm good. I hug myself smaller and close my eyes again. He takes off the headphones and sees what's playing. Nothing. I didn't even think to turn on music, I just needed to block out the world.

Come on. I'll take you up.

I need a pantry.

You need to not get caught up in their power struggle. Take what you need and leave them to their bullshit. Don't take it on.

It's hard not to.

I know but their emotions and their actions aren't your fault or your doing. Remember what you've learned.

I learned over the years that if Ben drinks for whatever reasons, I'm not to blame. Even if I fucked up and pushed him or fought with him or ignored him. It's supposed to not be my fault. I never ever believed that for a second. Not any more than I believe that right now it totally isn't my fault that Lochlan and Caleb have spent their entire adolescent and adult lives fighting over me.

 I can't cause, control or cure it.

Except that I know I did, I can and I should.

This is hard.

Ben kisses my forehead and lifts me into his arms. I hold on for dear life. There's a reassurance tinged with regret in our embrace as he tries to believe that he's relevant and required. He is but maybe he has an easier time believing in things he finds at the bottom of a bottle or in a jar of pills. Demons grow quiet under those perfect circumstances. I don't have the self-disregard to go there. He tells me that's a gift. I tell him it's a curse, as I am an anxious, fearful idiot now and I'm supposed to know better. I'm supposed to be good at life. I'm old enough to understand these things and I'm old enough to control my own destiny.

This is far too heavy for a Wednesday night, Bumblebee. Let's go to sleep and tomorrow we can grab Sam and talk some more. He's good at this. Sam's a jack of all trades. He's a patient prince and he's somehow just about off limits suddenly. Again.

Lochlan would prefer I talk to just about anyone but Sam.

Loch's a carny. He's got no training. I'll deal with him.

Who else do you know that can juggle fire that well? It's only partially a euphemism. But my eyes are heavy and my words slur against the proper pronounciations. I give up and fall asleep against Ben's shoulder, his reassurance blanketing me in total warmth. I worry for nothing and soon I don't worry at all.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Woke up at four. This is how the day's going to go.

My wrists are two different sizes. I think maybe I was supposed to be a twin. I must be the stronger of the two. I bet I absorbed my weaker sibling in the womb before she even registered on the map. I bet I ate her with gusto and spit out her bones and proclaimed that I would win everything and never have to compete with her for anything.

It would explain an awful lot.

It would explain everything.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The appearance of conflict

He said I'm fabulously rich, come on just let's go
She kind of bit her lip, jeez, I don't know
But I can guarantee, there'll be no knock on the door
I'm total pro, that's what I'm here for

I come from downtown, born ready for you
Armed with will and determination, and grace, too
I have to admit I burst into tears when I watched the recap of The Tragically Hip's Kingston concert and saw Gord Downie break down at the end of Grace, Too.

That's the song I like most by the band. I wasn't much of a fan, per se and it was only today that I realized 38 Years Old is by them and not by Tracy Chapman. The things you learn. Holy.

A couple of the boys are psycho-fans and cried all weekend and have been playing the Hip's music nonstop ever since while I go around and pat their shoulders at regular intervals. This is mostly happening in both other houses so I don't have to be bombarded.

PJ has stopped broadcasting his selections over the speakers here as well. It as getting out of hand again. The new rule is that music is just for you unless it's a random setlist for dinner or something that is agreed upon by everyone within earshot. That's never going to work. Voting generally results in misery. We have to draw slips out of a top hat to pick a restaurant. Imagine something as precious as music and see how easy it is to agree on what to listen to.

Yeah, good luck. Headphones for all.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Bachelor Canada.

I was reading an article introducing the first half-dozen bachelors vying for the heart of some hopeful Vancouver hairdresser and I thought to myself,

Holy shit.

They need to do The Bachelor: Perdition Point Edition. Based in Canada with a bunch of international men vying for the broken heart of one already-married woman who would love nothing more than to set them up for life with someone sweet. I'm not sweet. I'm a mess.

Sadly, you won't find love (messy or sweet) on a reality show, as noted by the decided lack of long-term success stories.

I also refuse to give any of my boys up so if they find love, she ain't coming here to live. Two women on the point is enough (Ruth and I). One of them the guys wouldn't cross if their lives depended on it, the other one is me.

But I might watch it anyway because it's fun to watch the cast judge each other, pretend they're all about 'realness' and 'honesty' when in reality they've presenting a hyphenated facade of themselves for the rolling cameras and the subsequent material is boiled down into dramatic edits for ratings.

You won't find love on television. You will however, find it everywhere else. Just keep your eyes open and your facade tucked away somewhere safe. You won't need it after all.

They will, just to maintain their dignity of having their hearts ripped open on television.

It's so sad.

Let me go place my bets.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A light liquid courage.

It's a glorious twenty degrees today and already I've been offered and have accepted Caleb's summerweight suitjacket as we have lunch on a patio over the water. The food is perfect, the other tables far away and the weather the best of the previous six weeks.

It's downright cold and fallish yet sunny. I love it.

He is disappointed that I didn't come over last night for movies and yet elated that I agreed to lunch. If only I can treat because it's my turn. That delights him but I'm sure he would agree to anything if only to have the time.

My ego chokes on a mushroom, chasing it with sparkling water, failing and dying in front of his eyes.

You're finished, his psyche tells me.

It's been fun, I tell him as everything fades to black.

In real life Caleb frowns as I take a second piece of bread. I catch the frown just before he corrects. He would rather I sat here looking pretty instead of actually eating. He likes to keep me fragile and frail while Loch wants to see me sturdy, brown and healthy. Well-fed, he says with a laugh and I know it's post-traumatic memories stealing the moment from him.

What? I hold the bread out in surprise, mouth full, eyes challenging.

Would you like me to order more? I was going to eat that. Caleb laughs.

I pass him the remaining piece and he nods in appreciation. Okay, sharing is good. He laughs and I roll my eyes as I take another sip of Prosecco.

Stay for a walk? 

No. I have to get back. Henry needs lunch and I have some gardening to do. 

Can't someone else look after things while you're away? 

No? It's my son and my garden. I stare him down over the rim of my glass. I look after my responsibilities. 

My apologies. I only meant that the boys should afford you more breaks. Following the suggestion -or reminder- of more time for fun for you. 

They do a tremendous job of it but no one's going to make space for more time for you right now, Diabhal. There's just been too much upheaval between us this year already. First with Henry and then with Lochlan. I told you I needed time and I still do. 

Funny that's the one thing I can't currently afford you. 

Why the hell not?

Because I lose too much ground and you won't let me make it up. Because I love you too much to let go.

Take the hint. Be a friend. Be a distant friend and be glad I haven't evicted you from my house yet. 

From your house? 

Right. From MY HOUSE. 


If you're going to be here you're to stand where I tell you to stand. 

This is Lochlan. He's turned you against me. 

You did that all on your own! 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Reverend Run.

Sam got very busy very quickly, somehow winding up with a funeral and two weddings this weekend, plus regular services. He's pulling a hundred-hour week and I'm trying to help him as much as I can, not only by filling him up with coffee and taking care of his chores every chance I get but I also went out this morning and bought him an off-the-rack black suit in a huge hurry when a particular bride decided at the last minute that everyone at the front of the church (including Sam) had to be in black or white. 

I wasn't going to buy him a white suit. He'd look like a BeeGee. 

Though, now that I think of it, that would have been amazing. But it's too late now. He's already left, pins in place on the hem of his pantlegs because I didn't have time to sew them but I will tonight when he is home. 

At least the weddings will keep him well-fed and the stipends are several hundred bucks a pop so he comes out tired but ahead. And he only agrees to officiate the weddings of people he has met and counselled and actually likes so that's an extra bonus. 

I love weddings. Really I do. But I love Sam more because he's a good person, deep down. I'm not sure if I am. He says I am but I think he would have told me I was Cleofuckingpatra if only because I'm the only one in the house who could shorten his pants on such little notice.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Obverse and Bridge.

Lochlan waits until the room is at least forty-five degrees and then he pulls me up into his arms, one arm around my shoulders, the other scooping the rest of me up hard against him, not touching anything else. He can move us both, he's strong and he's overly warm and I didn't know heaven was a sauna until I met him.

Jacob described heaven as a garden, but only around the edges. He said he thought it was more like a digital picture frame you could walk right into, or change at will. He wondered if it was like a university and God was the professor and you would go from class to class processing everything you have learned, studying the meaning of life and having coffee or lunch, spending time with those who arrived before you.

What a weird concept, Pooh, I told him from my pale sun-dappled nest in bed. He's bunched all the quilts up around and over me, and just my head is peeking out. It's freezing and the summer bedroom is unheated, save for him and the woodstove we forgot to bring wood in for. Jesus, Jake. I think we need to run better vents in here. 

I think I can keep you warm, Princess, he promises, pulling me up against him.

Lochlan says heaven is a day at the fair. No one steals your wallet, you never get hungry or sunburned and the tiny lights are never turned off because you never have to go home. It doesn't pack up or shut down, it's just always there.

What a perfect idea, Locket. 

It would be except that heaven doesn't exist, Peanut. We have to live now because once we're gone, that's it. This is the reward, only most people don't know that. They hope for something later instead of now. That's a waste. 

What about God? 

What about him? If he pays he can come in and see the show. Just like everybody else. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016


I'm all fixed up. Lochlan gave me a hard line for my internet and suggested once again that I give up on Firefox and use Chrome.

Of course he's right, but that's okay too. He's the computer guy, I don't know anything about computers or networks or HTML, because you've had to look at the same design of my blog for almost five years now and while I'd love to change it, I don't know how.

In other news, we have heat wave and wind warnings and the humidity is high and so I'm just going to slither down into a chaise by the pool and pray for winter. I told you I wasn't good with the heat. I have a headache and my eczema is all over my hands now. It's probably got less to do with the heat and more to do with how neurotic I am but who cares? I'm broiling. I'm also wearing the absolute least amount of clothing I can get away with and still considering making this into a nudist camp. It's the only stone still unturned in this commune. May as well throw caution (and clothing) to the wind.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Short and sticky-sweet.

Today is all about Pallbearer covering Love You To Death, a very mild case of sodium hypochlorite poisoning (I'm FINE, Jesus. Locked myself in the shower to scrub it, used way too much bleach. Shower is incredibly clean but my throat hurts and my eyes did that thing like in erotic asphyxiation when the black comes in around the edges just before I pass out but I survived. I always do.) and plotting to have ice cream for dinner, which never goes over well because big guys seem to require big plates of chicken and vegetables or huge slabs of steak and garlic bread to not be hungry.

Offering up a frozen cone of something sweet probably won't cut it but it's too hot even to barbecue at this point. We'll have to stand in the shade and eat the ice cream reallllly fast or it could get messy (also like in erotic asphyxia-oh, nevermind) and really I don't have much time to write much more here today.

Because someone (I won't name names but it starts with L) seems to be throttling my internet something awful lately and it's taking too long to do anything online, This is it for the day, though Andrew offered to look into it later. I'm sure he'll find the root cause and Lochlan will pretend he forgot to do something when he reconfigured things and then I'll be back up to speed but in the meantime it's too frustrating. I'd rather be choked into unconsciousness than wait for these pages to load.

I'd rather be outside with ice cream dripping off my elbows.

I'd rather be loved to death.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Devil's cover letter.

There's such a tiny little part of me that is a shallow, materialistic nightmare most of the time I can forget about her, but the Devil knows how to coax her out of hiding in spite of my best efforts to kill her off, quash her forever and be the free spirited light traveler I was groomed to be before the Devil took over. Now I run a fine balance between being a capable earth mother and a helpless walking nightmare. I'd like to say it's all his fault but I'm loathe to give him anything, including credit at this point.

I was out watering the herbs on the patio this morning when he wanders over oh-so-casually and without preamble drops his latest thought on my head. It was heavy. I'm shorter now and have a headache. Talk about left field.

If this property isn't satisfactory, Neamhchiontach, we can find one that is.

I'm sorry. What?

He takes a deep breath. Everyone has dealbreakers. You have to decide if this is one of yours. 

Frankly I don't care if we live in a cave. The discussion was private, the thought was fleeting. 

I can have the camper moved, if he won't do it. I can look after virtually anything he won't do, Bridget, and you know this. It worked for Cole and for Ben and it can work for Lochlan too if you stop writing down every single thought that crosses your mind. 

Maybe you should stop saying every thought that crosses your mind out loud. 

Consider it. Seriously. No man can be everything. Especially to someone like you. 

Someone like me. I wondered for hours afterward what he meant by 'someone like you'. And the little tiny part of me that goes for broke (or maybe goes for rich) started jumping up and down yelling Oh boy! We get our house on the beach! SCORE!, even though it will probably never happen.

Because I can't be discreet, and because he'll never settle for second place.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Serenity Princess (accepting those I can't change).

The further you go
I should have known
No use in holding
When it's already gone
It's Monday and I'm still here on the surface of the fucking sun, so let's do a barometer (a core dump as Loch calls it) and then I'm going to go outside by the pool and wait for my brain to melt and start pouring out my ears where it can mix in a puddle in my lap with my heart and I'll let the whole mess slide into the water. Pink and blue. So if you fly over the area I'll be the one with the now-purple pool, just outside Horseshoe Bay.

There is endless loud derision for the fact that I regularly sleep with counselor number one (August) and seem to always be just about to with number two (Sam). I don't know if it's any of anyone's business. I'm doing okay right now (Look, Ma, no meds!) and I haven't been caught anywhere (in the past eight hours at least) talking fervently to ghosts or demons alike.

I'm in love with everyone though. Still. Always.

That has to count for something.

In other news if I have to pick between DC and Marvel, I'm going with DC. Sorry but it seem obvious that I'll pick the dark brooding emotional superheroes over the shallow slapstick ones, though Iron Man teeters in between. I'm a Batman girl all the way, he's my favorite.

The actual Batman in my life I'm trying to avoid. Long story. He's presently Lochlan's boss and mine as well, though I am contracted a whopping six hours a week with work I can do in two. It's sweet of him to attempt to take over Sugar Daddy duties but well, long story, he isn't. I've had several vague yet sweet invites for breakfast in bed or whatever. I haven't refused them, I choose not to acknowledge them at all. Maybe he appreciates the sparing of his dignity in a way I don't appreciate the kindly sexual harrassment. We're so civilized in our strange relationship.

Since we're talking about sugar, I am not allowed to move the camper down to the beach. I had even found a company who could do it at great expense but Loch said no. Then he said I was immature. Oh my fuck. I just want to live on the beach. Didn't think that was too much to ask. If I ever move, he's not invited.

Speaking of invites, I received a beautiful one on pewter stationery to spend Christmas in Tahoe this year. Which would be...well, amazing. Obviously I'll have to refuse. In lieu of being able to do that (bait, switch), I was also invited for a horror movie night this weekend. I might be able to swing that. He is still my (boy)friend, after all (shhh just shut up just shut up) and I somewhat betrayed him and would like to make peace with that, as long as it doesn't involve being held up against a door by my throat, that is. Or at gunpoint. You know. That all kind of kills the mood.

Yes, I have the new Switchfoot album (well, there's a shift in subject matter). No, I haven't had time to give it my requisite five consecutive-listens through but it's audibly stunning. I love I Won't Let You Go and Shake This Feeling and Holy Water and Where The Light Shines Through (also the name of the album, don't you know) and If The House Burns Down Tonight. It's amazing. The boys all love Float because they're huge Jamiroquai fans and it seems to be in a similar vein to that genre but really Switchfoot could put out an album of all white noise and I would love it. Some songwriters seem to have the keys to unlock my mind, I think.

It's a nice change from PJ's recent steady musical diet of The White Buffalo. PJ doesn't have headphones, he plays all his music from the stereo that's wired into the house whole. The whole point, rather so if he is listening to something, we're all listening to it.

In other album news, it's the summer of genre mixing, apparently. I caught Royal Tusk live this summer and fell in freaking brutal, thorough love with a song they have called Above Ground. The chorus. Jesus, the chorus. It's like someone flipped open the top of my skull and started stroking my brain. It's the most glorious thing to hear live that you will ever hear in your life. Well done. All their other songs are good too but that one blows my little mind.

New Jake is doing really great, thanks  to those who have asked after him. He has a new (read: WORKING) insulin pump and is stable. I'm so happy people ask about his health. He's in a better headspace these days so he's managing very well. Sometimes my readers rock. Batman does too. He keeps Jake too busy to fall into holes, something Batman tried to do with me and failed because I'm "not motivated". I'm busy, uninterested in being his girlfriend because he is difficult.

Ben is also doing really well. Maybe it's a relief and I should be insulted? I'm not. I'm glad. All of this rearranging was tough and somehow easy at the same time. He's making an effort to be present but feels free to not be, too, if that makes sense. He's got a lot of work coming up that he can do from home and he's suddenly thriving. He also has the beginnings of a tan from all the gardening I make him do.

Yes, that's right. You didn't misread. Vampire Benjamin has a tan. A farmer's tan so just his neck and arms but IT'S A START.

In our garden just four out of the some eight hundred tomatoes in the garden are ripe. The pumpkins are ripening for fucks sakes and the hundreds of green tomatoes just hang there, mocking me because the nights are cold. I have heirloom seeds from everyone I know for next year already and things will be better. I'll be kicking the garden up a notch. Not as many tomatoes. Broccoli and garlic and rosemary in spades. I'm campaigning for some goats and chickens too but I have to check the bylaws to see if we're rural enough. I mean, we must be. There are no pokestops, gyms or nests for fifty miles. I have a page of pidgies and a Pikachu I hatched myself from an egg and otherwise I'm not playing Pokemon unless we drive downtown where the park is freaking full of Tentacools. Score. LOL

Jake would have hated Pokemon. We had very rudimentary Blackberry phones and woefully underpowered flip phones then. When I'm reminded of Jacob and his dumb little cellphone that barely worked I get a weird warm feeling now that seems to take a few more minutes to morph into a painful ache in my head and my stomach. Maybe I can credit the boys with being here, spending time, making things fun and keeping me distracted. Maybe time does change the way we react to constantly being aware that someone you love isn't coming back. Maybe I'm learning to live with the things I can't change. Maybe it's just a temporary great spot, treading hearts right here and I'm about to be sucked into a black hole in spite of my efforts not to. I don't know exactly. Cross your fingers.

I still have the phone. It's in pieces but I have it.

That's really all for today. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sunday weirdos.

Heat makes things strange. Makes them ripply and mirage-like. Makes them smoke and waver. Makes them melt. It makes me lethargic and yielding. Makes me cranky and weak.

Beach Jesus/Sermon at the Sea was warm and overly sunny for me and I grew so tired of squinting I turned and walked back to Sam's car two-thirds of the way through the service. He parked in the shade. I sat with the door open fanning myself and feeling sweat pool in the center of my back and underneath each ear, somehow. I took off my hearing aids and put them away.

Thirty minutes and he was back. You alright? 

Good work, Sam, I tell him again in my deepest voice.

If it was good, why'd you leave? 

Too hot. Now I miss the Prairie winters suddenly. Ten months of the year without sweating, as long as you can make it through eight weeks of forty degrees.

It's only warm like this for three or four weeks out of the year here.

Yes and I hate it. 

And you miss driving on ice?

Fine, you win. Can we go home now? I'm going to need help moving my bed into the pool. 

Let's go out for lunch first. There's a little place I found downtown that's really good. 

Downtown? We won't get home until one. 

Oh well. 

Lochlan's home today. 

Ah. I've been replaced. And so soon. He looks down with a huge comical frown.

Never. But if he doesn't have to work I want to be with him. 

You really like the guy, don't you? 

Naw, I'm just bored and I want to play connect the dots. He has the most freckles. 

Actually I think you do. 

Shhh. We don't speak of those. 

But my face is covered. I've been marked by Jesus as one of the unbearable ones, a hot mess when everyone else is positively worshipping this weather instead of the things they're supposed to devote their faith to.

The Lord makes beautiful things. He smiles at me, turning on the car, turning up the air conditioning, motioning for me to close the door.

Like your Poland belt buckle? 

Ha! No, I think that was made in Taiwan. 

Oh. Really? Not Poland? How curious. 

I know! That's part of it's charm!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Shrinkage (take it any way you like).

Sam finishes another lesson by handing me a gold star from a roll he keeps in his office for Sunday school attendance.

Good work, Bridget.

You're biased because I'm in a swimsuit.

Actually I was going to talk to you about that.

You'd rather I didn't wear it?

Yes. Wait, no. I was going to tell you to wear your wetsuit for the lessons so that you don't burn.

I don't think the lesson is long enough for that to happen.

The sun is reflected in the water. You burn faster.

Oh. If you want, I can. But just say it, because me sunburning isn't the reason.

It's distracting to the point where I forget what I'm supposed to say.

You say "Good work, Bridget." I do it in a deep voice and he laughs.

Well, as long as you can prompt me, then, I guess it's fine.

It's way too hot for any more clothes. I was actually going to campaign for naked lessons.

Clear it with your husband and it's a go.

God, I can't wait to see you in your birthday suit yelling at me to breathe.

Wait, I thought you meant the student would be naked. I can't be naked.

Why not? Is it a sin against the Lord, Reverend?

What if I get excited?

Then you EMBRACE it! Jesus. It's forty zillion degrees and we have a pool! Boners for everyone!

Bridget, I swear to God. You're a man, aren't you?

I wish. Then I could write my name in the pool with my pee.

Okay, now that's just wrong.

I mean the snow!

Marginally better. You're obsessed with having a penis though.

Now you know how I got to this strange and wonderful place.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Collectors and defectors.

I haven't slept yet. Our hours of languishing flat out on the sand last night on the big round beach blankets watching shooting stars was followed with a night of being passed back and forth, being held up, being held down and being turned over so many times gravity ceased to be a factor because I couldn't tell which end was up. I became a falling star overnight only when I came back through the atmosphere I was supercharged instead of destroyed.

Ben could tell which end was up, thankfully, and he was anxious to reconnect in a new way. He likes it dirty and rough and difficult and by the time they stopped fighting over me I had flutters and shakes and was bathed in sweat. True to form they both fell asleep while I was in the (autoclave) shower and when I came out, Lochlan was flat on his back, snoozing deeply and Ben was almost spooning with him, one hand holding the top of Lochlan's head, the other holding my pillow against his chest firmly.

I wish I could post photos of that. I take them, I just can't share them.

Ben looks good though. The dark circles are gone and so is the beard. I thought I was throwing him under the wagon, marrying Lochlan but it seemed to calm him down, as if all the vigilance and strategizing of the past eight years can be relaxed at last.

I left them sleeping and went to find a bottomless mug of coffee.

Eventually they surfaced and right away, Loch asked me to come back upstairs.

Jesus, you're a machine. 

I wish. I have something for you, he said.

Upstairs we went where he went and pulled a largeish flat box out from underneath the bed and set it on the bed.

Open it. He smiles at me almost shyly.

I open it. Oh my holy water. Inside? At least a dozen pastel sets of the most beautifully soft vintage lingerie I've ever seen, far over the cashmere and velvet outfits he burned yesterday. It's all in perfect new condition and all in my size. I try on everything. Not a stitch is amiss, not a seam puckers or lifts. Uncanny. The slips fit like gloves. The garters are the perfect length. The bras contain everything yet still manage to be completely scandalous. I look almost..I mean...kinda sexy almost. He sits quietly, watching my fashion show, admiring my skin in between trips to the mirror. Hell, I'm admiring myself right now. Geez.

How did you-wait, when did you do this?

I've been adding to this collection for years. I've found pieces in Europe and the US but it was hard to find such small sizes so it's taken a long time but I knew I wanted to make the most beautiful collection for you.

And Caleb found out and beat you to it. 

He heard me telling PJ a while back that I wanted to go one better than Jacob and all that lingerie he bought for you that you liked. But Cale cheated. Everything was new again. That's not the same. Money can buy whatever. This is history. None of this is younger than 1960. I remember you looking at those retro Vaudeville girls on the sideshow. I remember you saying everything you wore would be velvet and satin and beautiful. I don't forget anything you say.

I can't believe he did that. 

Bridget, our entire history is steeped in his concentrated efforts to ruin everything for me but it didn't work. I have everything now and I want you to have everything. I want to spoil you for anyone else so that you will only be mine. I want to give you everything I couldn't give you before. 

Can we still have cheeseburgers though? I like eating those with you.

As many as you can eat. 

We both say half a one at the same time and he smiles so wide, eyes glistening that I loose my composure in the neatly stitched ribbons and ruffles.

I kiss him hard, wavering slightly. I still can't feel my legs but at least I look good.



Thank you. I don't even know which set to wear first. 

We'll pick, each day. How does that sound?


Love you, Peanut. Glad you're finally old enough to wear some of this. 

Wait, how many years were you collecting it for? 

The first two sets I found in 1982. 


Yeah, before Jake. Before everything. I mean, it looks now like I'm just copying everybody but I was-

You were here first. 

Yeah. I was. And I'm back. And I still love you as much as ever. 

How much is that?

More than anyone would even comprehend if ever they stopped to consider.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

It's Perseid time!! Get your asses outside!

The velvet bonfire.

True to his word, he set it all ablaze. True to his word he left his fists at his side and instead asked me again to be different. To be that little girl he used to know before time and experience turned me into a stranger to him. True to his word he asked but did no push. True to his word he gave my name as his though it hasn't changed yet.


I'm thinking about it.

What do I wear? I asked this morning in between the flames of sunrise.

Nothing, he said. And he laughed without letting his eyes in on the joke and we stood and watched the light change into something new and I was completely comfortable in my own skin while he roiled and tossed in his.

We were soon joined by the Devil, who came out to watch the fire, hands in his pockets, unreadable expression masked by forced joviality.

I see the renovations have begun. You going to light her counselors on fire too? Gosh, maybe we should take before and after pictures. The new and improved Bridget, version 4.0. Find the difference. Oh, right. There isn't one.

Lochlan didn't say anything, having escaped into the roar of the flames, blocking out the cold.

I turn to Caleb. He does what he needs to do.

As do you, clearly. Logic and Impulse. You two won't make it a month.

We've only been inseparable for three decades.

She puts no weight in your presence, Doiteain. The word is drawn out to make a point.

Things take time.


Diabhal, go inside. Please.

I'm fine, thanks, Neamhchiontach. If he's going to try to destroy what I've built then I'll undermine what he builds. She won't change for you, Brother. She's still going to go to them and then eventually she's going to come back to me. I wired her this way for a reason. That reason wasn't you.

I can get her back.

You already HAVE me back!

You can't keep her. That's the problem. But good effort. Impressive show, as usual. For that, I'll give you full credit. He throws a twenty into Lochlan's top hat, which rests upside down on the ground near his feet, and turns and walks away.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Late than never.

I couldn't think of a better Wednesday.

I spent an exorbitant amount of time today in an artist's loft in the middle of nowhere on the sunshine coast. I found a kindred spirit and a great place to explore. I ate crab cakes and drank cheap coffee and crawled over logs in the woods and strolled along new beaches and nodded carefully as people pointed out that life is short. I nodded like I understood their lesson without educating them on how I already know these things. I listened well.

It was a most perfect day but we were home on the after-supper ferry and I turned back into a small pale pumpkin as the sun set somewhere over my right shoulder, far behind me. Lochlan kissed the top of my head and asked if I had fun and I did. Unequivocally.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Horizon lines.

You're okay with this? 

They had a thing long before we did. We were familiar faces far from home. That was it. There was no expectation that it would continue once we left. That's why they're getting together. She's not the one that got away or anything like that. August is easy, casual when he speaks about Erin and Christian. I wonder briefly if he's ever been in love. Tell me about Loch. How is he faring now that you're home? Right back to work I see.

A week is all we could have right now. He's...He wants me and the kids to change our name to his.

You can't blame him, Bridge. Any label he can put on you to tell the world you're his is a given at this stage. 

It never crossed my mind. Not since I was twelve and used to practice my signature with his last name. I didn't think it mattered anymore.

He runs his hand up my thigh. So warm. The bed shifts, swaying against his weight. I put my hand up and run it over his hair. The waves stick up after I smooth them. Just like Jake's.

He wants me to get rid of all the velvet things Caleb had made for me too. 

That I can see. Not sure how that ever got past him in the first place. He slides his arms around me. He's not gentle. He doesn't notice the brief alarm in my eyes. I shift my weight to bear him and he lands the most preoccupied, absent kiss against my shoulder. Christian's revelation bothers him. Lochlan's sudden rules bother him. I think everything bothers him but he keeps it in a locked room in his head and instead takes on my problems and bears the brunt of my issues like a trooper. Like a champ. My new best friend. My reluctant living ghost.

Maybe Caleb is right and I'm creating a monster. 

Lochlan's not a monster, Bridge. He's just a man, like the rest of us. Only I'm pretty sure you're the hardest thing he's ever had to juggle, seeing how hard it is just to hold you. 

I didn't mean Lochlan. I meant me. 

Just be quiet now. He covers my mouth with his and the conversation is over. His long strokes against me make the bed begin to rock ever so slightly. A cool breeze reaches my skin from the windows facing the water. I arch my back, pressing myself into him, calling him by the wrong name, forcing him to conform to a memory when he just wants to be a man like the rest of them.

But I won't let him be less than what I've made him into. Not yet. Maybe soon though. And I don't play by the rules. I did that once before and I'll never do it again.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Future Navy seal.

Christian's teaching me to swim. Or I should say, Sam did, in the end.

It's true. Christian had said he was tired of seeing me dogpaddling around the point to get back to the beach after being thrown off the cliff. He said I look like a terrified four-year-old the minute someone lets go of me. He said that should change and since we have a pool with a shallow and a deep end, it's time. Before Halloween, he says.

I have my red cross badges up to green. I'm not afraid of water, per se. Just the dark murky water that I can't see the bottom of. So he promptly threw me off the scary side of the cliff into the dark murky water that I can't see the bottom of and I screamed so loud something snapped in my head and then he proceeded to yell instructions I couldn't hear because I was fighting not being dragged to my death by the invisible monsters just below me. I frantically dogpaddled the whole way around back to the beach and then I asked him to fuck off and die.

(Rock climbing went much the same way, if you remember. He dropped my lines so I went plunging down the face of the cliff (a different cliff) and told me to recover. And Jacob punched him in the face afterward.

Christian is the only adrenaline junkie we have left who is as extreme as one can get.)

You'll be single forever. I tell him after the second throw. And PJ came out and told him the pool is where he can teach me and God help him if he scares me like that again.

I have a girlfriend, he tells me with a smile in the shallow end. My safe space, they call it with a laugh. The water's up to my neck. We don't do shallow, Caleb told me when the pool was being built. Besides, the children are taller than you.

Goddamn it.

He didn't turn out to be much of a teacher. Oh, and he's dating Erin (Jacob's sister) again long distance. They're talking, he says. That means dating, I tell him. They've done this dance before. I'm so happy I forget he's an asshole, especially when Sam offers to take over. We're both somewhat relieved. I love Christian to death but he's very heavy handed when it comes to me. It doesn't work.

No, I never dated or slept with him. That's probably part of the problem.

I would guess. I've known you since you were eight. At some point you're going to have to be brave, Bridget. 

I am brave! I cry.

Then swim in your precious sea, he says as he turns to go back to the house.

Sam is the complete opposite. I get lessons beginning with simple strokes, including him physically holding me up in the water, turning my head to breathe and my arms to do mock-crawls so I get the motion and the timing down. Then backstroke. Floating properly. Treading water properly. Proper dog paddle (fingers together, Bridget, or you're wasting energy!)



Butterfly. Which is terrifying. But I can almost do it now. Kind of.

It'll be years before you're ready for the Olympics, Bridge. 

That's okay. I just don't want it to take half an hour to get back to the beach when Duncan can do it in three minutes. 

He's six three! And he'll take you with him anyway. 

No one likes that, Sam. 

Then do your front crawl and you'll be fine. We'll keep practicing but you did great. By Halloween you'll be a pro. Are you tired?

No, I'm good. Thank you for the lesson. But I wrapped myself in one of the giant pendleton towels we keep in the poolshed and curled up exhausted in one of the chaises and slept until lunchtime in the shade.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sam said doubt is not the opposite of faith but I don't know if I believe him.

Caleb is aghast.

What have you done, Neamhchiontach?

Tempted fate and was rewarded, Diabhal. Why are you home so soon?

You planned this. I had to come back.

I was as surprised as you.

You admitted you and Ben changed the rules. You've been planning this for a long time.

I didn't know Lochlan was going to propose when he did but there was no reason to wait to get married once he did.

The word 'married' rocks Caleb visibly and he sits down heavily on the stool by the counter. What have you done?

I did what I wanted.

What about me?

What about you! What do you want from me?

Everything, Bridget. And now he's going to lock you down.

And rightly he should, maybe?

Wait until he leaves Ben out in the cold.

He won't. We've got it sorted out.

He looks at me with some indescribable rage. Bridget, you have no idea what's coming. He'll be worse than Jake. He's had that much longer to take care of you, to take responsibility for you. It's going to be something we never imagined and it's going to blow your life apart. 

He's fixing it. It's going to be the way it was. 

Between him and I and everything else it's never going to be that way again. He sold you a fairy tale but it wasn't his to sell. 

Whose was it? 

Pardon me?

Whose fairy tale was it?

It's yours, Neamhchiontach, but you refuse to take responsibility for it. And if you can't, I have to. It's not safe with someone who sets things on fire for a living. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016


You were supposed to give me another month. 

I couldn't stay away under the circumstances. Neamhchiontach, what have you done?

Friday, 5 August 2016

Part II: Keeper of the flame.

(Life is real. We've made some big changes.)

I loved you from the first time I saw you, and I love you now. You're my fire, the fire that burns inside me and I want to take care of you for the rest of our lives. This is our second chance, Baby and we need to take it. Marry me. Make me the happiest man alive. You're the love of my life. My fire. Please.

He lets go of me, dropping to his knees, holding my hands in his. The quilt lands in the grass. My blood hardens in the cold and then instantly, painfully ecstatically liquefies once more. The fire roars through my skull, lighting the dark along the way, flooding out the monsters and the rage and the grief. The quiet that remains is striking and abrupt. I nod because I can't speak.

He opens the box, fumbling again. It's started to rain and the wind has picked up and the fire struggles but prevails. Fate.

Please tell me that's a yes, Peanut.

Yes, I whisper it because I don't trust my voice.

You saved my life. He slips the ring on my finger. It comes to rest on top of the band he gave me after we were symbolically married in a tiny private ceremony with Benjamin, years ago.

I hold up my hand. It's a heart-shaped diamond. Our second chance beats in ice and carbon. It's beautiful and it's time.


I don't like big weddings. Not sure if you noticed (snort). This one took place in Coney Island, on the beach in the shadow of the Circus sideshow. Then we went straight to the Wonder Wheel. It was the most perfect place I could envision on short notice to marry Lochlan (for real, FOR REAL this time) and it had to be right. We were there just long enough for our short ceremony and a bunch of rides and then it was done. Sam performed the ceremony. Ben stood beside me too. Schuyler, Daniel and PJ came to be witnesses and because we wanted them with us.

We had a picnic of hotdogs and wedding cake on the beach. Then we drove to Montauk and had a few nights of a honeymoon alone while everyone else flew home. We stood and stared at each other on the porch of our cottage rental wondering if we would be able to get along, finally, at long last now that we're together. Officially.

After a long time there Lochlan nodded. We'll be fine. I love you. That's all I care about right now.

Ben and I very deliberately, quietly divorced a long time ago (almost two years ago, actually) and I didn't say anything because I couldn't. The pressure is off him though he said he intends to continue everything as always but maybe not feel so much guilt if he winds up spending six days straight in his studio or falls off the wagon or wants to tour or something that causes distance.

The distance would still be felt if you're not here, I tell him and his eyes well up. He's still mine. He always will be mine. But he maintains he took the opportunity as a placeholder because he wanted this for us and I wasn't ready but it wasn't the grand experiment that he makes it sound like. He still loves me so. He just knew if he hadn't taken my heart when the time came someone else would have and our chances would have evaporated, maybe forever.  It's intense, this love with Lochlan. We're intense together and intense apart and there's that trouble of getting along and I wish I could see the future the way I can see the past. I don't know. And there are other factors at play here. I worry. I still have a lot of fear of the unknown. Caleb's threats don't fade. I don't know what happens next but the deed is done.

Lochlan and I are finally legally, legitimately married to each other.


(It's not sinking in. At all. Pinch me. Wait, no, maybe slap me. Something.) 

Ben is going to be my boyfriend but only because that was one of the things I wouldn't budge on. Though he thought I should cut him completely loose I maintain that our hearts are (and our bed is) plenty big enough and somehow more weird if he isn't there. Lochlan is on board with this (Yes, surprise.) You would be too if you were him. He goes back to being Alpha everything and my precious little twelve-year-old heart is quieted. Happy at last.

Right where you should have been all along, Peanut.

But I can't see where he means because I'm blinded by the sun. It's in the shape of a heart. My heart. I got everything I ever wanted and didn't have to lose everything that was left in the process.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

We're home! More tomorrow. I'm zonked and all I smell is plane fuel on our clothes so I need to go bathe and sleep. So happy to be home. Not happy to find Caleb beat us here by an hour or two but I'll deal with him tomorrow too, if he lets me.

I have so much to tell you.