Saturday, 19 August 2017

Fair sanctuaries.

I didn't call his bluff, didn't bluster over for his test or his free pass or his freaky Lochlanish fair-weather ways. I followed him all the way to the house and then veered abruptly left, quietly left, and so I was in the garage, door locked and closed behind me, up the other stairs and knocking softly on the unlocked door down the unused back hall of August's flat in the waning hours before Lochlan even knew where I went. I was hoping he would understand and not panic and think I got snatched by a bear. I asked August to text him and tell him that much and just tell him that I was sorry and August smiled gently and said,

Do it yourself, Bridget. Please. 

So I did and Lochlan just wrote back I love you. 

Because he does and I think he understands.

If he does that makes one of us, at least.

August put on the record player and we swung in place listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer for a couple of hours straight and I gave up trying to stay awake and since August is one of those absolutely perfect men when I woke up from my catnap he made hot chocolate with vegan raw marshmallows but thankfully didn't tell me that's what they were until after, and he fixed us a plate of homemade flax crackers and some fruit to share. We talked a little bit about nothing and about everything too.

He got the Joel-update required so I don't actually have to talk to Joel and then he walked me back across the driveway so I wouldn't get snatched by a bear. Lochlan was sitting on the steps just inside the back door, nearly asleep, leaning against the wall, slack-jawed, eyes closed. He jumped to his feet when the door opened and August laughed. Take him up so he can get his beauty sleep, Bridge. He needs it more than you do. He kissed us both on the tops of our heads and we waited and watched him until he reached the other side of the garage door again.

I need to show you something. Lochlan takes my hand and leads me through the house. We go upstairs, through our rooms and right out to the balcony, where there are candles everywhere, some already suffocated to the bottom and in the center of the tile floor a low table set with beautiful dishes, covered plates and cushions all over the floor. It's like the Afghan Horseman restaurant but here at home. Exotic music plays on the stereo. He's tied tapestries all over the place to close it in. It's amazing.

Had you called my bluff you would have been surprised with a romantic middle eastern dinner for two. Just us. 

Why would you bait me? 

Because you would show up. You don't like being dared so you just take them. You always march right past me and say well, come on. I was a bit stunned when you didn't. 

I'm so sorry. But you could have messaged me and told me the truth when I left. 

I'm not going to guilt you into coming back. 

But all of your hard work went to waste! 

Not really. Ben and I had an intensely romantic dinner together. But don't worry. It was take out. 

I would have loved this. 

Well then, did you learn your lesson?

Did you learn yours?

But we're too tired to be profound or to wait for answers so we settle for crashing into bed instead.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Saturday night's...alright...for...fighting..??

That's one of the other things I love about the beach is how it sounds at night: muted and amplified all at the same time, which is mostly how life sounds for me overall, quieted in places and overly loud in others, only I don't get to pick and it's never the same things at the same time. The surf is loud, pounding out an unsteady beat against the shore. My heart tries to match, tries to prove we're kindred, tries to prove my blood is seawater within but I only end up feeling dizzy and weak in the face of so much directionless power.

It's not directionless. The tide goes in, the tide goes out. It pulls the moon. 'Tis a game to her. Lochlan says it softly, such beautiful words in his quiet lilt. My eyes fill up and defocus and now everything is black. I would find my way by sound, but I don't have echolocation. I would find my way by touch but I've touched the ocean floor and she wants to keep me. I would try not to cry but it's pointless, for words are never just words, are they?

She's a lot like you. 

In what way?

Beautiful beyond words. Bottomless. Playful yet dangerous. And blue. Always blue. He stares at me just a little bit shyly. Words always came easily when he was teaching, never when he was describing what was in his heart. Then he would trip and stumble, picking up speed, dropping letters, doubling back for meanings, making sure I understood what he meant, even as I've never had the same difficultly when I couldn't grasp the language for the life of me half the time in the most basic of fashions.

Blue. 

Blue. She's yours. It's why we're here. Well, she and the Collective. 

I smile quickly and then it's gone off to hide in the dark somewhere.

You can have what you want, Bridget. We've had this conversation. I don't know if you need a reminder or if you're looking for some sort of permission but this entire commune is yours. You do what you want. 

Another smile. This smile says Bridget's about to barf.

Loch-

I'm not going to spend the next six months watching you set up some elaborate game with Dalton, he your moon, you the ocean. 

Ah. 

Just drown him up front. Bring him back. Get on with things. 

That's abrupt. 

I didn't say it wouldn't kill me. 

Then I'll banish him. 

Then someone else becomes a target. 

Then I'll banish them all. 

You sound like a benevolent queen. 

Who would do anything for her king. Oops. Freakishly loud in a moment where everything else suddenly muted.

He smiles so warmly it's hard to enjoy the cold night air in the tortured state I was expecting. One of the joys of loving a redhead is you're perpetually sticking your hands, fingers, toes, heart and brain into the fire alongside them. Them and their mixed messages.

I love you. But you can still have Dalton. 

What if I don't want him?

No one believes that. 

I don't want him this week. Or this season, I mean. He seems like a spring...er...fling.

Lochlan throws back his head and laughs. This is why I love you. 

Because I have now almost slept with the entire collective?

No, because when offered something once forbidden on a silver platter you suddenly duck and run. 

I'm going to go for a swim. 

Cool off? 

Drown. 

Bridge- 

I don't mean ACTUALLY.

No swimming. Besides, we have plans. 

What did you do?

You'll see. But Dalton's invited so we should really go now. Brush the sand off your bum and put a smile on your face there, bluebird.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Cows is killing me and other fun Thursday things.

Another ride up to Whistler today. Crankworx is going on. It's very busy, dirty and things somehow cost more. Take note, tourists..

Also Cows is catching up with me, as I can no longer eat a cone of their beautiful ice cream, even with Lactose pills beforehand. I spent most of the trip home trying to be beautiful and fragile in the car with Caleb while dying with gas pains.

Christ.

Caleb was mad anyway because I might have cuddled with Dalton a little bit out loud and since I did that he wondered what the hell I must have done in private and since I'm a lady I didn't tell him anything. I kept changing the subject. He kept changing it back. I shook him down for ice cream and he hardly noticed what flavor we got (coffee) or how bad traffic was for a Thursday or the fact that I rushed him along. He was distracted to a fault with his almost-shaved retribution head, his punishment hair, his eye-for-an-eye.

It will grow back in a couple weeks. It wasn't long to begin with, and he had it fixed professionally from where Lochlan didn't worry about keeping it even or anything reasonable.

When we got back Lochlan was in the driveway.

You look pale. He tells me.

Ice cream, I think. 

You don't do dairy well, Peanut. Never did. One thing a day. 

I only had the ice cream-

Cheese on your sandwich at lunch. 

Aw fuck. That's right.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

THIS.

Dalton fell asleep today in the chaise, his head on my lap. Not a snooze-lite but one of those exhausted bottom-falling-out sorts of sleeps where you might die if it happens in a place that isn't safe but you do it anyway. I did it on a sidewalk once in Atlantic City when I got locked out of our motel room. I don't know why I'm still alive. For how unsafe it was or for the profound rage Lochlan went into when he returned and found me curled up against the door. At four in the morning. In the shittiest part of the city. When he thought I had a key. I was nineteen. I had nothing. Had I had a quarter to call him I wouldn't have had a number to call him at. He never forgave himself for those kinds of terrible moments even as I never blamed him for them. I went out when I was supposed to stay put. I never thought to ask for a key. I never thought to find out where he'd be exactly, or when he'd be back. I never thought to find a safer place. I never thought. I never think.

Sometimes I think TOO much.

At least Point Perdition is safe, relatively-speaking, though that depends on who you ask, and Dalton's arms are warm, wrapped up around my waist. He's not going to let go, even as he's not awake. And I feel somehow anchored, comfortable. Relaxed, even. It's kind of nice. I lean back against the cushions, take another sip of my mimosa and pick up my book. Because there are far worse things than to be pinned by a warm, sleeping man who looks far too much like Casey Affleck (one of my favorites) for his own good or mine, especially by the pool on a perfect late-summer day and for once victory is mine because...

BECAUSE....

I don't have to pee.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

You can't put a butterfly in a jar.

That was FUN! It's been all fun all the time since I posted yesterday with hardly any time to breathe let alone sit down in front of a stupid computer.

BC Place was great once again. They were stellar for ACDC and they were beyond stellar for Metallica. No lines, no waiting. I wished for my rollerblades a few times. I wished they'd have opened the roof. PJ got me good and drunk early on and when Gojira came on first we rocked our faces off. We were annoyed at the fact that Metallica's 'ad' for watching them warm up remained up on the screen above the camera screens the whole time. Unnecessary. But Gojira stole the damn show with their sweet hardness as they do. I love that band. So so good. The sound was bad. The sun was bright. The band was incredible.

Avenged Sevenfold seemed to be very popular. Can I leave it at that? Okay. Let's do that. Nothing stood out about their music to me but they got the crowd pumped.

Under Ben's beautiful glare PJ went out and loaded up on Gatorade for me before Metallica came on. Lochlan laughed and let it all happen. Dalton let me steal most of his food and lean against him. The host near our section looked the other way while we moved down since the rows around us were empty and then we got more Gatorade because it was so hot and dry in there. I never want to see grape Gatorade again in my lifetime and damn, they make strong highballs but then Metallica came out and blew my face off anyway.

I hoped valiantly, fruitlessly for Sanitarium, and did not get it.

I got so much else though, so did everyone. The sound got a lot better. Don't leave after the encore. They hang out. They talk. It's WEIRD and AWESOME.

When we got home it was almost two in the morning before I managed to pick-axe all of my eyeliner off my face, bring Ben back to earth and go to sleep knowing we had to get up early this morning to go kayaking.

But we did.

And it was even more fun.

I took my boys (on their own kayaks) and I took the dog on my kayak. He had fun TOO. Now I can't lift my arms, I have a broken foot peg someone has to deal with and I'm so tired I would like to cry but too busy having fun to actually cry.

I will sleep tonight.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The memory remains.

God. Here we go. Not sure I'm ever ready for these nights. All of us heading off to the stadium for Metallica. Ben going too. I'm guessing five or six people will recognize him and ask for a photo or throw the horns and want to shake his hand. Some won't approach him (he has a scary resting bitch face), and some will say something shitty about his music or one of the bands he's played in on or some stupid thing and he'll ignore anything negative like he always does and I will feel sad for him and sad for people who feel as if they have to provoke people who hold little allegiance to a flawed business model anymore anyway.

Ben doesn't care if you hate one of the bands he's been in. He hates some of them too. Some of them imploded and tried to take him down with them, some tried to undercut him from the get go. Some tried to climb over him to get nowhere fast, and some were earnest and naive. He's seen everything. So don't be a shit. And God forbid, don't let PJ hear you say something personal about Benjamin. PJ will make sure you leave wearing your beer. Boy, are you clumsy.

I'm really sad Metallica played Sanitarium last show because odds are they won't play it tonight (according to setlists) and I don't know a thing about Avenged Sevenfold except they don't sound like something I'd listen to but that's okay too, we will be open to New Things and hopefully we'll survive. Our last Metallica show (also with Gojira! Hey!) was amazing (HOLY. 8 years ago! and...don't read that entry, I just ambushed myself so hard) so I hope this one will be amazing too.

Wish us luck. I hope to nap between bands.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jesus cukes.

We didn't get much in the way of shooting stars or perseid meteors last night, as the clouds rolled in covering our fresh blue skies turned inky black turned grey and so instead we took to the dry grasses, did a rain dance, which brought a little rain, a little relief and then we came home. Lochlan promptly did that thing where he took ownership and shut Caleb down and then when I was almost asleep, he kissed my cheek and said he'd be back in a bit. He took my imaginary flaming torches and pitchforks and my army too and headed across the driveway and when I woke up he was there beside me, fully clothed, the whole bed slightly smoky, a stupidly handsome still-smoldering grin plastered on his face in his sleep, payback a bitch and all, score settled.

At Jesus Beach in the fucking wind this morning Caleb explained he got this new radical haircut to go with his new car, a fresh start for fall.

Lochlan smirked at the ground, hands in his pockets, nodding as he already knew.

I'm pretty sure PJ and Duncan held Caleb to the floor while Lochlan shaved his head almost to the brain-level (and Caleb looks a little scary now, truth be told) but we keep a crystal-clear don't-ask-don't-tell policy on those sorts of things. I got lots of compliments on my hair and Lochlan's fingers tracing my tattoo on the back of my neck all through the service making me shiver which counts for something.

I do look like I'm twelve though. That is new. I don't understand.

Sam fought to ignore all of us while he sermonized from up front and gave up quickly, eventually working his way around the crowd, touching us, soothing charges, quieting ires, changing things, personalizing things, calming everyone, doing that beautiful Jake-thing where you know you're seeing something special, witnessing something beautiful. By the time we left the boys were back to rights, my lungs were topped up with salt air and our eyes were all squinted-shut from the sun.

 I was actually ready for a nap but unwisely chose bottomless diner coffee instead and then agreed to make pickles and hang out in the kitchen enjoying the blue skies with Lochlan all afternoon because we need to. He wants to. I want to. If I don't we'll be eating cucumber sandwiches until Christmas. Jesus Christ indeed.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Veritas, Aequitas.

Perseids tonight,  Caleb has Darkest Hour cued up in the new car for the late-night drive up into the mountains. Permission not granted, nothing cleared. No lyrics, no direction, with only the piano and guitar from which to take our emotional cues. Shooting stars isn't hard, not with the ammunition we've got these days, but then when everything is dark and we're trying to find our way by touch, well that's when everything goes wrong.

And everything is sometimes already wrong so while I have my sweater and my camera ready, I don't know if I'm actually going or staying home.

**

Caleb was thinking out loud while I read last night. I had a glass of wine at the island and I was trying to concentrate in spite of his fingers on my spine, on my ears, my lips, my hands, his eyes staring at me. His arms sliding around mine. Doing everything he could to distract.

One more chapter. I want to finish it this weekend so I can pass it on to PJ-

I'm not stopping you. He lifts his hands up in the universal message of surrender and I keep reading.

A kiss lands on my shoulder and I give it to him cold, turning it inward and then twisting it out. I see him smile slightly before I return to my book. He takes my hair, twisting it around his finger. This has grown. 

Mmmmm, I say.

I miss your bob. 

So cut it, I tease. I'm not paying attention. I play into it. I should KNOW BETTER.

Next thing I know, five inches of my hair lands on my book.

I look up into his face with wide eyes. What did you just do?

He shrugs. I think we should let a professional finish this. 

I snatch the scissors out of his hands and leave. A flat run across the back yards finds me in Daniel's room.

Christ, Bridget. 

Do you have a few minutes? 

Caleb cut your fucking hair again didn't he? What is he, four? This is like kindergarten, he gets a pair of scissors and he can't-

Just please fix it. Spare me the lecture. 

Twenty minutes and I have a perfect chin-length bob again. Which is actually far cuter than I remember because Daniel is a better barber than anyone else and does a good job.

But I'm afraid to go home so I kiss his cheek and run back to the boathouse.

Lochlan is going to kill you, I tell Caleb.

Lochlan will probably thank me. For the first time, this has had the opposite effect and now you look younger than ever. He looks alarmed.

You can call him and tell him what you did. 

When he sees you he'll melt. I don't have to do anything. 

Diabhal-

Neamhchiontach, you talk about taking bluffs, well, you know you're not the only one. 

I'm not bluffing about him killing you. 

Wait here. 

He leaves me in his kitchen and heads across the drive. Fifteen minutes later he is back. With Lochlan.

He wants to make sure you weren't harmed. 

I'm fine.

Jesus. 

Daniel fixed it, I tell Lochlan.

Daniel's very good at it, Lochlan agrees.

I nod.

You look beautiful, Peanut. 

Thank you. I just realized I'm shaking.

Let's go home? 

Okay. 

I stifle the urge to laugh out loud. In Caleb's attempt to be right he just fucked himself out of his night with me. He's good but Lochlan's better.

**

Ready, Peanut? 

Lochlan has the telescope and the good camera and all of the lenses too. He has a stack of blankets and...CHILDREN!

The kids are coming. And a whole caravan of trucks, and boys and the Devil and the A5 too.

And we're off. I hope there's a million stars to shoot. I hope it's total carnage up there in the sky tonight. It will match what we have here on earth. Perfect.

Friday, 11 August 2017

The single stupidest post ever. Sorry, it's the heat.

I'm googling hysterectomies while I have my morning coffee. Things have changed. Now they can do them through two tiny incisions, one of which is in your belly button, it takes less than an hour, you go home the same day and you're back on your feet within a week, which in Bridget-time is five whole minutes tops.

No, seriously. Remember the whole don't get up or lift things after a c-section for weeks and weeks? RIGHT.

Or the whole pre-surgical valium party where they tell you not to get up (when I had my tonsils out)? WHATEVER.

I'm a bit of a warship when it comes to that stuff and a dandelion seed when it comes to everything else. But I research today nonetheless because I've grown tired of the SURPRISE every forty or so (sometimes twenty-five) days where I randomly start bleeding to death for precisely forty-eight hours straight with a virtually insane week leading up to it emotionally that I of course don't recognize as different anymore because I'm always emotionally insane and I don't know why I'm telling you any of this but if you've had a hysterectomy maybe now would be a good time to tell me the pros and cons? My email is in profile as always. It's time. There will be no more babies. Maybe I should have just done it when it was offered to me after Henry's birth but no way was I ready then.

Hindsight is a fucked-up bitch of a thing. I mean, we'd never have anything to think about if we could see how it all turned out in advance but I could have save myself sixteen years of periods and all that other stuff too.

And then I wouldn't have a blog..

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Blonde & Stormy.

Remember nothing
Let it all go
I dropped his hand as we rushed down the sidewalk, and I stopped. He turned, pulling against the collar of his button-down shirt. Bridget, come on.

Where are going?

Just finding a restaurant.

Well, what's it called? I can help look.

He spins back and gets in my face. Look, I'm just trying to find a place you've never been before. 

Which leaves me grasping for words, as I've hardly been to any of the restaurants downtown and all of the ones I've been to, I've been barred from due to Caleb and Lochlan taking their history to the floor in a hail of fists and feelings.

This looks good. He grabs my hand and pulls me in through a large heavy door. We're whisked to a candlelit table in the back and he rattles off drink orders as he has done a thousand times, except most of those were a long time ago, and consisted of him saying She'll have a small milk, and I'll have a Coke and I would protest and he would say simply Saturday. That's pop day for you, Bridget. Don't argue. 

I never have.

I don't.

Unless it's the hill I want to die on and I don't want to die today. I would never do that to the people here who have fought for my life as if it were their own because it is, so I wouldn't do that. They deserve, he deserves so much more than me. We've gone far beyond fighting this week and into that stubborn stasis where we're just going to wait for things to settle out and it will be okay again.

We've been here before, we'll be here again. I watch him as the food arrives. He's watching me right back, he hasn't taken his eyes from me. His whole face is lined in concern, coloured with doubt and shaded with an ire that makes him seem impatient and rushed but holding back so hard his eyes are bloodshot, focused and worn. His green is darker than mine, like the sea out where it's deeper, roiling in whitecaps, churling in a storm of it's own making.

This is a story about a man who has figured out how to live with the ghosts and the demons and everybody else too but doesn't like it one bit.

We don't speak as we eat. We walk back to the truck holding hands. We drive home in silence. We say our quiet goodnights to those who are still awake and then we head upstairs, his hand on the small of my back as I slowly feel my way up in the dark.

Once inside the room he strips out of his dress shirt and good pants. He strips me out of my clothes too with such careful hands. Then he pulls me under the quilts, wraps his arms around me, kisses me gently and says Goodnight, Peanut. I love you. I love you more than they ever will and so much more than they ever did. Just so you know. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Waffles.

Caleb is over first thing after Henry's party for a post-mortem and pseudo-assistance cleaning up.

He wants to take me car-shopping. Not because I need a car, but because he does. His forever car is not forever after all. He's grown tired of it. It's a car for a punk and he's not really a punk anymore. It's a new-money hedge-fund manager car. It's an old car, by most standards and he's not using it for much and it's a waste.

I almost cried because the R8 is a beautiful beast of a car but then I saw that the ones he is considering to replace it are pretty nice and yet a little more understated with a lot more class (as he pointed out more than once, in case I missed it the first six times) and he's right.

He's looking at an A5 or an A7, I think. Black on black on black, of course. They're so lovely up close and lovely from afar and probably not a lease because who does that? but he'll watch me and see which one I respond to best, and see which one I stare at longest, and he'll make sure it's easy for me to drive on the one hand all the while telling me I shouldn't be driving any longer, that he'll take me anywhere I need to go.

Yeah, just let me finish up here and we can go. 

Nice day for a drive anyway. 

A test-drive you mean. 

Oh, the car's already ordered. It comes in next week. But you look like you need a long-distance ice-cream cone anyway. 

Cows? 

Cows.

I smile and he knows he's done the right thing. I don't know how he does it. If he had texted me and invited me out for an ice-cream I would have politely declined.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Only sun.

Henry's having his sixteenth birthday party today (his birthday was a couple of weeks ago, I take a while to get my act together). Ten kids. It's thirty-six degrees in the shade. Why I had summer babies I have no idea. I have to do it all again in three weeks for Ruth's eighteenth but she's not interested in sleepovers and will probably pick a nice restaurant for dinner followed by cake and presents at home, like I do.

Hopefully it will be cooler by then.

The girls will go home by eleven tonight, the boys stay over and go home after breakfast. I will have to firebomb the theatre room. That's where they stay. There's enough seating/sleeping space for all of them, it's soundproof and very comfortable once it cools off.
 
Actually it should be cooler within the next ninety minutes, as the temperatures drop into the evening, and the sun sets. The air quality is slightly better and we'll be okay.

Well, I mean I hope we will. I feel outnumbered somehow. I don't know why but this is always daunting. Teenagers are scary. They're all huge and seemingly totally in control while completely out of control. Little children trapped in almost-adult bodies.

Just like the rest of us, I suppose. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Not for you, for me.

In the heat of the summer I can remember the cafe curtains on the kitchen windows looking out on the prickly grass, the pansies and the house further down the road. I remember the steps coming up the porch: one, two, three, then through the screen door, the wooden door (never, ever locked) and then down the hall, root cellar on the right, dark and clammy, with a door to the cellar itself and a window in the wall with no screen for hanging laundry out on the line, straight from the wringer-washer you just passed. On your left going into the kitchen is the telephone on the wall, the pull-chains for the furnace, and then the stove. Wood fuel. One side a huge log-eating mouth, the other an over for baking. Burners on top. If you went left past it you went into the dining room. A piano sat against the wall, a big round table filled the room. A wall of windows looking out onto the side yard and the post office next door was the dinner view. If you turned right from the stove you went into the kitchen proper. A fridge, pantry, cupboards and an always-full of water dishpan in the sink. Everything black, white, yellow and silver. We played cribbage and penny at the table here. The table was formica and chrome.

Straight ahead through the kitchen and you were in the living room. Keep going straight and you'd walk out the front door that nobody used, across the highway and into the river. If you went slightly right you'd be invited to sit and do some embroidery. I did thousands of stitches. Bailey? Not a single one ever. To the left the staircase. Up we go. We slid down it for years. I sat on the second-last step to have my braids done. Bailey's hair never got long enough for braids. Mine never got short enough not to spend upwards of an hour having my head tugged back and forth. French braids every day.

At the top of the steps is the tiny blue bathroom with the big bathtub with the window overlooking the apple tree and the had towels stacked in a pile that hurt to use. They were so rough. Line dried every day. The bathroom smelled like powder.

Then straight ahead. On the left, my grandparent's bedroom. I've never been in there but the walls were red. Then at the end of the first turn, my mother's bedroom. It meant nothing to her though, her house burned down when she left for college at eighteen, this is the house they bought afterward. None of this stuff is hers.

Make a right and keep going down the hall. On the left is Bailey's room. It's pale pink. All vintage poodles and very fifties ice-cream parlour style in decor. It's full of stuffed animals and doll clothes and hair accessories and white vinyl furniture. It makes no sense in this house. She loves it. Bailey was born a teenager though.

The next room on the right is mine. It's the smallest. The coziest. The walls are yellow. The big bed is painted brown with a buttery yellow comforter and there is a big bookshelf full of books to read next to a big overstuffed easychair. The window next to the chair looks out over the barn. The barn swallows come and sit on the wire that goes to the barn and sing to me each evening and morning. Their song at night makes my chest hurt in homesickness because I miss Lochlan. In the morning it makes me happy because I count the days I pass until my time here is up and I can go home, having learned embroidery, cooking, gardening, blueberry-picking, card-playing but mostly gardening.

It's not so bad but I won't know that until decades later. I won't know that until I stand in my own garden, snap the ends off a green bean and eat it raw, between the rows.

I was paying attention. I didn't know it then. I do now. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Restorative.

The backyard is still covered with glitter (which. is. glorious), I am still covered with hives (not so glorious, as apparently my skin doesn't like glitter) and therefore we did not go back down to the parade today, instead hitting up the art store for new supplies and the Gap for my annual prize catch of a chambray one-piece wrap dress. I find one every single year in the clearance section just as fall collections are being trotted out and it always makes me very happy because it's the absolute antithesis of my black/ruffled/embroidered/layered/heavy/ridiculous warning-clothing.

I don't care if the Gap sees my hives. They don't know who I am.

We came home and are now snuggled into the cool theatre to watch Netflix stand-up comedy specials and drink wine. When Sam and company come home we'll go upstairs and hear all about it. Everyone went except for Loch, Ben and I. I didn't mind staying home. I like it when the point is quiet for a day. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Good people and their bad music.

(Maybe it's a good thing I'm not going to Burning Man.)

As we walked toward the crowds my scowl spread across my face and I couldn't help it.

Lochlan pumped my hand in warning. Stop it, Bridge. Smile. 

I hear generic techno, I reasoned. Who smiles for that?

All of these people. 

I look around. He's right. Everyone is smiling. You can't tell me all of these people like this kind of music. I'm judging. I'm generalizing. That's the very worst thing I can do here. That's the very worst kind of person I can be here.

Just think, Peanut. I'm sure some cheesy eighties stuff will find it's way to your ears soon enough. 

Okay. 

Okay? 

Okay! I smile. I just hate techno! 

Me too! A man with a rainbow mustache and suspenders with no shirt hands us lollipops as he goes by. He laughs and blows kisses as he disappears into the crowd.

I blow a kiss and laugh and then hold it up. Okay! Candy! I feel better! 

Give it away, Bridge.

That sounds like a Chili Peppers song-

It's an edible-

Right, it's-

It's weed, Bridge. 

I look at it. Oh. I smile really wide and hand it to a really pretty boy passing me. He has even more glitter on than I do. Happy Pride! I tell him. He grins and tips an imaginary hat.

We wandered up and down for a couple of hours. People-watching was great. The costumes were fantastic but there seemed to be more people without costumes there to stare. Dancing was fun once the music switched over to more disco-y, groovy stuff. Blondie. There wasn't enough of it but it seemed to be the perfect soundtrack and Lochlan was right. We wore ourselves out. We had some pizza and water and piled back into the truck to come home around midnight. Lest we turn into rainbow pumpkins. I could do that every night if it wasn't so hot and smoky. What fun. What glorious fun. So much love. So many hugs. After the first three dozen the boys stopped being so overprotective and started being more open-minded too. We learned from each other I guess. By the end of it I was the techno-queen. Just don't tell anyone, because I don't like techno.

But that wasn't the fun part of the night-

And this isn't what you're thinking-

According to Daniel and Schuyler (who do this way more than I do and I'm suddenly far more jealous than I should be) the best way to remove glitter is to use baby oil.

So we had bottles of baby oil spray at the ready at home. Out at the end of the lawn as far as the hose could reach.  And we took turns spraying each other all over with baby oil and then turning the hose on each other until we all looked like vaguely greasy, glittery, somewhat worn-out rainbow warriors up past our bedtimes. Daniel and Schuyler gave us inappropriate tongue kisses and went up to the house. Matt and Sam said they were headed inside to talk (CROSS YOUR FINGERS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE), and Ben and Lochlan and I continued to fight with the oil, glitter, water and body wash until we couldn't get any cleaner even though we didn't feel very clean at all still, tossing around further ideas like paint thinner, acetone or an autoclave.

Lochlan said he told me so.

About what? The glitter? I'd do it again. 

Yeah, so would I. 

So what did you tell me so?

That you looked amazing. 

Topless people generally do. 

It was the smile. 

I've been told my fake I-love-techno smile is the best. 

They're right. It is.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Proud.

We're heading downtown for Pride Weekend/Anniversary festivities. It's very warm and smoky and yet I have heart-shaped pasties of pale pink shiny sticker-tape, boys-size tighty-whities tie-dyed in pastel rainbow bursts, knee-high pink socks with bunny heads covering each knee, Ruth's Heelys, my own pink velvet backpack and enough glitter painted in my hair/on my skin to be seen from space. Daniel says I'm his masterpiece, as I finally relented to let him decorate me for this annual Vancouver holiday. Usually I go and watch. This year I'm going to dance

No pictures. I have teenagers I'm not about to embarrass, but also friends I'm not about to let down.

This outfit is surprisingly comfortable.

(Lochlan packed my green docs in case the Heelys get the best of me. They will, probably before I make it to the truck.)

(You wouldn't BELIEVE the shit I'm getting away with now that Burning Man is off the table.)

(I don't actually mind nudity though I've never done it for free before. Lochlan says everyone will be brasher so...uh...okay. You should see him. I won't even describe him. You won't miss him if you're on Davie tonight though. Holy Christ. We all look weird and downright magnificent. Love is loud leaving this house tonight. Love is loud.)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

It's too hot to be serious so let's be something else.

I can't get writing jobs to save my soul because the Internet wants to read the following kinds of riveting things like:

This.

This too.

Your loss.

(It is. I can't imagine being the type of person who actually felt as if I was rebelling by not putting polish on my toes! The freedom! How cheeky! WHAT CAN I DO NEXT TO STICK IT TO THE MAN?!)

(Or the type of person to actually question whether or not my pizza meal might be formal enough to require anything other than my hands to eat it. I live in a commune. It's mostly men. You grab the pizza as fast as you can or you don't get any. In what scenario is pizza fancy enough to require a third party implement to bring it to my face? )

It's just to hot to understand this place today so I'm out. I'll tell you all my stories tomorrow. Tonight I have a date with a window air conditioner. Going to wrap myself around it and hold on for dear life. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about the rebelliousness of doing it naked! Or maybe WITH A FRIEND!

Lol.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Laga-pool-in (Modern/traditional).

It feels glaringly strange and wonderful to be celebrating a single solitary year of 'official' marriage to someone who's every move I've been shadowing since I was nine. Someone who has picked porcupine quills out of my face (curiosity has sent me to some wonderful and terrible places) and taught me the entire solar system and also how to win all the amusement park games and how to love a man so hard he'll forget how to speak his native language and any others besides.

But here we are. One whole year.

We spent most of the day floating in the pool trying to stay cool. My flashing LED raft exchanged early for a double floaty with a sunshade and a cooler. Lochlan kept it stocked with Lagavulin and ice and we smiled at each other and periodically would push each other off or offer more sunscreen, ice or a fresh argument. We talked about nothing and everything and then we went grocery shopping but it was hot so all we bought was more Lagavulin and some ice cream.

I feel as if I wished for so long not to live in a place where it was minus forty degrees all the time that I'm being punked, because it's suddenly forty degrees all the time and I'd like a happy medium because I can't think anymore. I'm princess-jello. I'm watching the cucumbers in the garden grow and I'm a little scared I'm going to be hot-batching pickles for winter in this heat sooner rather than later and that's not going to be much fun at all! ARGH!

First year traditional gift is pickling spice, right?

Don't worry. We haven't celebrated yet. It's too dang hot. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dunkirk.

I love love LOVE Christopher Nolan films. Can't understand a word anyone says, have no idea what's going on, am always profoundly moved nonetheless.

Dunkirk was a beautifully done telling of a true-life event with stellar acting, well-done scenes and just monumental action. The mumbling was rough though,  the bombs, torpedoes and shotgun blasts ridiculously loud in comparison and we also made the terrible mistake of popping in on Tuesday 'cheap' night (I didn't know they still did those), which was a VERY BAD IDEA because the kind of people who talk throughout a movie, kick seats and check their phones repeatedly were all there!

I won't do that again, I'll continue to call ahead and 'borrow' the theatre for a group. There were only five of us so it should have been no big deal. It was a big deal. People have no manners anymore.

A very good movie though. When it comes to Netflix I will definitely watch it again. This time with the subtitles turned on!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Raised on Radio.

Sunday late nights are for listening to Journey and getting the hell out of the way, I guess as the nostalgia monster runs everyone over until we're so flat we're ruined forever and it takes all week long to plump us back up until the next go 'round.

Lochlan's partial to Stone In Love. He loves that song. Sings it loud. Sings it with a passion I don't even understand because I don't understand the phrasing.

Me? I like Faithfully best. It makes sense. It breaks my little heart into pieces. I can't actually get through it, can't sing it, can't hum along, can't write it out. I can listen. I can hear Lochlan's voice mixed in as he sings along, his voice sometimes strong, sometimes cutting out because he can't do it either.  Sometimes I think that song looked for us and when it found us it settled in over us like a musical cloud, alternately a shelter and a storm all in one.

Sometimes I think I'm crazy too but I didn't arrive that way. It's nurture, not nature. It's Lochlan and it's Caleb and it's Cole and it's Joel and it's Jake and sometimes it's even PJ, who swore and rolled his eyes when the music came on and said he was out of here, that he'd be back in the morning to clean up the sap. He laughed and took the good alcohol with him and Duncan stopped him along the way and told him he should really stay and watch, that it's too entertaining to pass up. That's our cue to go inside too, so we can put our memories somewhere safe. 

Once the Frontiers album is finished playing, that is. It's the last album that I really liked. It came out when I was twelve. Does that surprise anyone at all?

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Great. How are you?

No, really. If every there was any doubt that a little maniac lives here, it's been erased now.

My gifts for burning man are everywhere. I made hundreds of tiny little (working) rose gold and clear pinwheels with little LED switches you can turn off or on. You could wear them in your hair, clip them on your shirt, wear them like a necklace or string them to your bicycle or whatever. They are strung all over the camper and the hammock. They're hanging on the pergola out by the pool. I have a good hundred thousand little batteries left because I bought too many so I can leave them on and replace them when the lights go out. When the wind blows the blades turn and the light blinks wildly.

I liked them, in any case. The boys thought they were pretty neat. The kids are giving them to their friends by the handfuls.

Oh well. The yard looks rather neat at dusk and that is worth something.

***

I didn't go to church again. Sam dipped his thumb in coffee, crossed my forehead and muttered something that ended in Jesus Christ but I got the feeling it wasn't a blessing. I told him I was packing up my picnic basket and heading down to the beach for the day because I need a beach day with my sketchbook, my headphones and my book. We have packed orange pop, egg salad sandwiches, salt & vinegar chips and chocolate chip cookies. Cheese and crackers, plums and Oh Henry bars.

(Boys will come and go all afternoon, as is routine. Some to talk. Some to nap. Some to have a quick swim. Some just to check in.)

There are three round beach towels for lounging. The big ragged quilt for more lounging. Four towels for drying off and pillows. The sunshade for Bridget. Sunscreen. Two medium-sized freezer bags for the sea glass I find and half a bottle of champagne to drink because I just want it.

Better than church. The beach is better than everything.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Oh my God.

Woke up on my stomach. The sun is pouring in around the edges of the curtains, which lift in the breeze. I can faintly hear the small children at the park (sound carries miles over the water) and music coming from Duncan's patio two floors below. I rise up on my elbows, surveying my tiny bedroom kingdom from underneath my crown of wild blonde waves. Lochlan sleeps in a sea of red curls, a riptide drowning everyone who comes too close. Caleb has Ben's usual place which is most of the right side of the bed if you're in it on your back looking at the ceiling, so the whole left side if you're looking at the bed. He sleeps easily on his back, face unlined, head angled in toward the center. He opens his eyes and I shriek, not expecting it. He laughs.

What time is it?

No idea.We don't keep clocks. If you need an alarm, set one.

I test my limbs. Everything aches. They called my bluff. Lit the tiniest, dimmest lanterns and candles, poured some wine, put on some soft unfamiliar music and layered all of the pillows up around the bed. Caleb offered Burning Man Light. All of the fun and excitement, none of the risk.

Lochlan said he was game for whatever I wanted and as usual I said I wanted everything and the night descended through into an unending darkness in which we checked all of our emotions at the bedroom door save for one and let a silent cadence tick the hours down until daylight. I don't know when we stopped. I just know when we woke up.

We tried things never tried before, we found peace not achieved in decades and we went places we'll never speak of out loud that's for certain but the Devil didn't bite and the Fire Eater didn't burn anything down and we're all here intact to greet the morning and I may need a full-immersion baptism and all of the grace I can carry this morning if I am to show my face downstairs just as my memory is probably as transparent and useful as my poker face. Knowing me, it is.

Lochlan rubs his eyes and rolls away, taking his sea of curls with him. Everyone good? he mumbles.

Yes, we say in unison and giggle softly. He rolls back and opens his eyes with a grin. We don't speak of this. 

It's got to be noon. Going to be kind of obvious. 

I'll go out the front. 

Yeah. 

Maybe Ben came in. 

He didn't. He had already texted me. 

Okay then no worries. 

I hate that phrase. It's as if people go, 'duh...okay! I don't worry about anything now-'

You say that every time, Bridget. 

I know. 

What are you worried about right this minute?

I cover my face.

Tell me. Caleb always pretends Lochlan isn't even there. That can be worry number one today.

I'm good. I just mean in general. I need to get rolling. 

What do we have to do, Peanut? It's Saturday-

I have a whole list-

Kidding. Okay. See you later, Cale. 

Much love, Brother. Neamhchiontach. The pleasure was all, well, wow. You are incredible as ever and I'm humbled and thankful. He plants a soft kiss on my bottom lip, finds his clothes, dresses efficiently and he's gone.

Lochlan makes no move to get up. You really okay? That was some harsh-

I'm absolutely fine. I think it would have been better if he left afterward instead of sleeping over. It would be less weird. 

But you let him stay so he feels less alone. 

I do. 

That's sweet. So we put up with the weird so he can have that comfort. 

Right. 

Then leave it.

You've very patient. 

I think we both would do anything if it meant keeping you from going to that festival. 

I think you both did everything last night for what it's worth. 

You might be right. 

Thank you, Locket.

Told you I would do anything for you. It has nothing to do with him. There are things I'll never forgive him for and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you. Trying to put those two things together is now something I've become really good at it. 

Juggling.

Yes, juggling, Bridget.

And he laughed from deep within. I will always love that sound best. Though there were some other sounds, some brand new sounds, some that I heard, some that I made have made last night that are in contention now.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Crow-flavoured ice-cream.

No, Bridge.

But within twenty minutes he pulls over, tired of the sound of me sniffling in his ear but also concerned because I haven't stopped crying and if it keeps up I'll start hyperventilating. Eleven-year-olds tend to do that.

You can't eat those!

But I'm huh-huh-hungry. And w-why not? You said they're he- he- he-althy.

Did you see the layer of dust and grease on those bags? They've probably been there since Woodstock. I don't want you to get sick off them but I don't want you crying over gas station sunflower seeds either!

I sniff. I don't know what he wants me to do.

We'll get ice cream sandwiches at the next store, okay?

Promise?

Yes. And maybe some seeds if they look new. If they don't have dust. He leans over with a grimace, wiping his sleeve under my nose. Smile for me. I do as instructed. So pretty when you smile.

What do I look like when I cry?

My broken heart.

That's so romantic!

Not really.

***

Some day you're going to look back on all the terrible things you write about me on the Internet and you're going to regret it. 

I hope so. 

Someone has to be the bad guy, right?

You should let Caleb have that label. 

Trying my best. He grins lopsidedly, lazily and he suddenly looks so sexy I couldn't be mad at him if I tried. Our argument, his action followed by my crushing silence brought the army in as reinforcements, as apparently the plan was for the tickets to be dispensed with this week anyway to friends of Batman, before I got my hopes up to where I...you know, couldn't breathe. Lochlan just chose to do it in a super-punitive fashion because he's an asshole like that.

Heh. 

He didn't buy the tickets anyway, he never wanted us to go, honestly. August, Ben and Schuy pooled for them and talked everyone else into it. I don't think August was game but then he wasn't about to let us go without him. Then they all realized what a bad idea it was and had planned to let me down easy but I made one too many offhand remarks about TJ and Lochlan was ready to teach me a life lesson.

(He is full of those, no?)

Most of the many reasons Burning Man is a bad idea mostly stem from the fact that Bridget is a free spirit and prone to bringing home wayward followers, cult leader that she is. The boys were scared. They were scared I would be the pied piper on exodus day, leading a fresh army of people out of Black Rock City in a line straight up the coast to Vancouver.

Which is only partially true.

I would do that, sure. But I'd roll them all for their valuables and leave 'em all stuck in Portland. I'm not a savage. I don't even know them, and the rule is I must have know you for centuries 'tantric-ly' or whatever. Someone made that comment about New Jake once and it still makes me laugh. I think I knew him in a past life. He's one of precious few I haven't known since childhood.

What are the other reasons, Loch?

Huh? 

You said 'most'. 'Most' of the many reasons it's a bad idea. What are the others?

Bridget, I'm not a young man anymore. I've learned that my bravado and what I'm capable of are two different things and I'm not comfortable keeping you safe far from home surrounded by people who don't give a shit about anyone's safety. I learned that lesson and it changed everything and I'm not willing to put you or everything we have at risk again. Call me soft or scared or write about me all you want but I made that mistake once already and I will not make it again.  

Just admit it. You like the eight-dollar ice-cream sandwiches. 

Okay, I do. I really, really do. 

Yeah me too. Can we have them for breakfast? 

Yes. Because nothing has changed since 1980. 

In a perfect world, no. Nothing has. 

The smile this time came more slowly, more sweetly.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Collective insanity.

I didn't actually miss yesterday in posting. I lost one of my bucket list items entirely in writing out another. Whether or not the item was a lifetime running gag, always there to see if anyone was paying attention is irrelevant as that reasoning has been dismissed as 'a fucking lie and everyone knows it'. Yesterday I got slapped back so hard in life just as I thought I might be getting somewhere that it all looks familiar here again at rock bottom. I'm comfortable here, to tell the truth.

Lochlan has a way of bringing me down a peg if I climb too high. Down a peg is putting it mildly. He has a real problem with me having a ego. He likes to take my dreams and future plans, build them up so high I can't even breathe and then he burns them down. Cole used to say it's as if he is jealous of them, which isn't quite right but it had to be close. I don't know what he is but he was always afraid I would leave, maybe afraid I would find a better fire thrower, a bigger show, a better offer than the one he made for me. Sometimes he would stand back and TELL me to go and then I would and we all know how that worked so I don't know what he's afraid of and we move back to the square with the one on it.

(You'll always know where to find us. We're predictable.)

He sold our tickets. And then he told Dalton to have at her and borrowed Jay's bike, leaving for the rest of the day and that was that. But he didn't just sell our tickets, he sold all of them. We had seven. Five didn't even technically belong to him and had been paid for.

Now there are none.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Clown cars and pool games and no, we're not talking about Teflon Jesus today.

The boys got a poolside basketball net. I fear they'll never want to come inside again. They're all varying degrees of brown now and yet I'm not allowed to play because they're too rough. 'Rough'. Yeesh. Seriously?

To make it up to me they bought me a giant air mattress stuffed with LED lights that change color.

Which sort of makes up for it but I figure all I need to play basketball with them is one of those inflatable sumo suits, because protection + buoyancy. Right? 

No. Lochlan laughed at the visual though.

This feels just like that time in high school that I demanded to play touch football with them and they also flatly refused.

Henry is allowed to play basketball (and football) with them, however. Henry is six-foot-two now. I wonder how tall he'll be by Friday at this pace. Henry got his second driving lesson this week, courtesy of me this time. I tried not to laugh when I realized his knees were up on either side of the steering wheel. I told him the wheel adjusts, we'll change it.

Only to discover the wheel? IT ONLY GOES DOWN.

Lochlan said afterward that Henry can learn in his truck from now on.

He was learning in your truck. This time I laughed out loud. Lochlan is five feet, nine (or ten) inches tall on a good day. He can rest his chin on my head with good clearance, it's not like he's short. Henry's just...almost Jacob-sized. Really, really huge.

But he's a good driver, at least. Appropriately terrified. Just how I like new drivers starting out.

Now if someone would just play Pool Basketball with me for the eight seconds I have left before I burn wearing this 275 sunblock, that'd be great, thank you.

Monday, 24 July 2017

As privileged as a whore.

Vacate is the word
Vengeance has no place on me or her
Cannot find the comfort in this world
Don't mind me, I wound up with Immortality stuck in my skull. I'm not impressed either as the lyrics could be better, honestly. Some are good, the rest are quintessential Pearl Jam, which means to say when they're not ripping you to shreds or breaking your heart, they're not making any sense at all. I recognize that in a man, it's an attempt to hold back lest they give too much all at once, seem to soft, show everything instead of remaining quiet, mysterious, masculine.

Which is sad but par for the course.

I don't do that but then again no one's ever accused me of being a man in my life. Or mysterious for that matter. I have my heart spread across my sleeves like strawberry jam. It's disgusting.

And that's fine. I'm fine.

Truly.

So, uh, HEY. Who's watching Game of Thrones?

***

One of my favorite bloggers ever from the best coast, Arlene, did an amazing Summer bucket list blog post. She offered up the idea for others to share so here goes (though I have a weird feeling the evolution of my life no longer allows for anything normal whatsoever, though I will try. I have a life bucket list (ever-changing, in-progress) but it's never occurred to me to do a seasonal one, and most people are horrified if they thought I would link them here so sorry if that happens. I mean no harm. I aspire to be not-crazy and more like the respected bloggers out there but that, like this bucket list, is a pipe-dream).

Things I want to do in Summer of 2017:

1. Have the best first and last Burning Man experience ever.
2. Go to Ibiza and sleep on a boat for a week. Month?
3. Sleep for a week/month.
4. Did I mention sleep?
5. Ukee/Tofino camping/bonfires/bad surfing/s'mores for a week.
6. Paint the bedrooms.
7. Have the great summer donut tour. Lucky's to Cartems all the way to Voodoo in Seattle because I like sugar.
8. Go back for funnel cakes in Santa Monica at Scoops. Again. SUGAR.
9. Rip out all the grass. I mean pay someone to rip out all the grass. Replace with plants. Big established fantasy-plants that need no water. Ever.
10. Dalton! Because I may as well shoot for the stars if I'm going to be incorrigible and he sacrosanct all the time, forever, right? Right? Oh, hush, you.

(Did I do it right? I'm not good at lists.)

***

Joel is coming over for a late lunch (and bringing food. It's a surprise, apparently), He's probably also bringing me a prescription for something or other, which will spell the end of free thought for me, I'm sure. So say your goodbyes now. Zombie-Bridget returns in 3...2...1.......

Sigh. I tried for so long.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Big-screen Jesus.

It's summertime and the living is easy for Sam, who can pass off a lot of the small-congregation days to his second-in-command to handle and Sam maintains the heavy lifting from birth at Christmas to resurrection at Easter and beyond. No one goes to services in summer and so we once again booked a whole theatre late this morning for a personal showing of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets*. 

Caleb slid in beside me to chat for a few moments as I took up residence fourth row from the first landing, dead centre.

Third time since October you've spent all night in the loft with August. Should Lochlan be worried? 

Do you sit and watch for me to leave? 

Yes. What of it? 

I ignore him.

Joel slid in the other side. I think it's time for you to go back on some pills, Bridget. It's a good time to try and temper some of the outliers of this illness, while things are good. I have the name of a medication I'd like you try through this winter. There are some upsides to it as well. It may help with your headaches. 

I file it under Things to Address Tomorrow.

Sam comes by and frowns at me. I don't know if you should be here or in church, he says.

This is church, I tell him.

He makes the sign of the cross on my forehead in melted butter and takes up a comfortable spot two chairs over from me with his popcorn and a Cineplex magazine. The new Spiderman is on the cover. Tom somebody.

Ben throws himself down between us. Been looking for you for a while. He winks at me and then smiles and leans over, licking the butter from my forehead. I'm doomed now without the mark of God to save me.

No, you're not. There's Lochlan jamming in against my left side, as always. He's brought the ever-present, ever-forbidden package of red licorice, his own popcorn and some bottled water since it's not Saturday (only Saturday is pop-day for little Peanut) and he rubs the back of my head with his hand as he settles in. Okay? His concern floats in front of his green irises like 3D credits.

I wasn't planning to stay last ni-

I know. It's fine. The subject is closed now. Let it go. He has. I watch him to see if he actually has and he nods briefly once and opens the licorice for me, taking the first piece as is tradition. Then he hands me the package, placing it in my lap before taking and holding the back of my hand against his lips.

Love you, Peanut. Ready for the movie? 

I nod because I don't know what else to say. He collected me at August's door this morning, concern light but present nonetheless. August opened the door and said Lochlan could wake me. Lochlan did, which confused the hell out of me, and they talked deep subjects while I tried to dress myself right in front of them.

It would have been funny if it hadn't been so weird, watching August assure Lochlan casually that he's not in love with me, that he just figures sometimes if it's late that it's better for me to not wake up all the way if I'm halfway to sleeping, because I never get enough sleep. That seems to quiet Lochlan's fears for just a little bit.

When Lochlan asks me if it's Jacob's likeness or simply August that I'm in love with I always answer yes as ambiguously as possible, whether to be difficult or honest, I'm never sure which and he appreciates that, oddly enough. He knows my head, knows my heart better than anyone, knows when it's enough to worry and when it's pure romantic daydreaming. He knows when it gets serious, like when Jake all but threw Cole out of his own house. He knew I fell into a hole and couldn't breathe and still can't sometimes and God bless him, he treads so carefully around Jacob's memories and my attempts to keep them as tangible as possible that he should be sainted while he's still alive.

I stick my thumb in the butter and reach up to draw a cross on Lochlan's forehead but he stops me.

I don't think you're qualified. 

Oh, you don't know the half of it. 

*(P.S. Valerian was INCREDIBLE. Luc Besson remains a genius. Loved every second of it. Had a massive laughing fit in the middle of it, cried twice and wished to see it again immediately. Worth the price of a ticket five times over. Go!)

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A first (sign of trouble).

Maybe it's because I regard him with full gravitas, or maybe it's because I don't fight back anymore when he tells me to go, or do something or feel something else or listen better, maybe it's because he feels sorry for the fact that I do that so easily. Submit. Acquiesce. I don't know. Maybe he's finally admitting he's lonely. Maybe things are changing for the worse. Maybe for the better. Maybe it was just a fuck it moment (after a fuck her moment.)

Maybes are dumb. They mean nothing. This meant an awful lot but at the same time I can't put any meaning into it simply because he won't allow it, explain it or apologize for it.

What time is it, Bridge? August has his eyes closed. The bed drifts so slightly in its' lazy swing it's hardly moving.

Time for me to go, I guess. We do this dance every time. Usually he's a lot harsher, telling me to get out or go home without warning. That's when I know I've found a comfortable place under his skin. Comfortable for me, I mean. Not for him. He'll play Jake until he can't do it any more and then he closes the door in my face.

You can stay. Go home in the morning. 

I didn't think I heard him right but I was listening hard. He put his arms out and I found a good place smashed hard right up against him, breathing against the hollow of his throat and when I woke up it was already the weekend and he wasn't Jake. He's never Jake after the first little while but I've known that forever.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Beach rats.

It was fifteen full hours until we returned last evening, and while I was glad I went, in order to spend so much time with Benjamin, I was relieved to be home. Relieved to find my way in the dark through the rooms upstairs and into the arms of Lochlan, who pulled both of us down into his dreams alongside him and there we remained until the sun came up again today.

He and Ben have settled into an overtly-close affection once again. It's possibly a more welcome sight than any other as Ben sometimes feels left out, sometimes feels like he screwed things up even as I tell him he didn't but I wished I could have given him everything he deserves.

You do. Present-tense. A gift.

And sometimes Lochlan feels shoved to the side in my rush to fill my moments with as much affection as I can possibly find, with whomever will give it, even as I tell him it doesn't matter, or that it's his fault in that he raised me this way.

I know, he reminds me softly, generously. But today is mine, he threatens, lips against my forehead. You two aren't going anywhere today. 

It's wishful thinking. Ben has a regular meeting. He takes Duncan. I don't go though. I'll stay home with Lochlan and do a little errant gardening while he works on the camper. I'll pick raspberries and eat them where I stand, I'll cut back grapevines but not where there are grapes, I'll stand and wonder why the apple trees produce so little even after I have given them so much love. Maybe if the day runs very long I'll venture into the studio and look at my empty canvas and plan a painting that's very far off because the last one took a lot out of me.

Maybe it won't be so hot today. Maybe we'll swim in the pool. Maybe PJ left some olives in the fridge. And maybe some champagne. Maybe the devil will come out and join us for lunch. Maybe pigs will fly past the point and taunt me from the air for this one perfect day. Maybe things will be better. This side of the bed holds so much promise when I get up from it. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A voice fuelled by anguish/Infrared light.

(Yet another bright light burns out and everyone goes through the motions instead of making change. We made changes to deal with these kind of lights and we fight for each other while we fight for ourselves. I can't imagine what life is truly like outside of my bubble, but that's okay because I don't want to know.)
Bring me home in a blinding dream
Through the secrets that I have seen
Wash the sorrow from off my skin
And show me how to be whole again
It's a sort of fragility you can only see if you have it too. A sad secret society. An unwanted pass into a club you didn't want any part of and it sucks. I can see it. I don't want to see it. I can predict it and I hate that.

It sucks.

I've got both arms around Ben and I don't want to let go. He has to go, though. He's got a meeting and then a brunch and then a different sort of meeting and then a conference call and then facetime and then maybe, if he ever finishes his day he'll come back and fall asleep with me but for the next fifteen or eighteen hours I won't see him and today that's an emergency.

Postpone it. 

What? 


All of it. I wave my hand dismissively. Do it next week. 

He turns and sits in front of me. That's the thing, Bumblebee. Life keeps going. Just with different faces, different plans. It never stops. You know this. 

And I hate it. 

I know but it's still going. It doesn't care how you feel about it. 

How do I make it stop?

It's better if you don't. 

I can't breathe. 

Yes you can. There are books, there's running, there are hugs, there are talks, there is so much to help with the hard parts. 

I put my head down between my knees and scream.

His eyes water. Don't make me doubt myself, Bridge. There's been enough of that lately. Come with me. 

I'm not fit-

I don't care. Come along and listen to music in the truck. Bring your sketchbook. Take a video of your day and put it up so people can see that you're safe. So you can see you're alive.

I don't answer him. I keep flexing my fingers into fists so I don't cry. It's not working it's not working it's not working. FUCK.

Are you coming with me? I really need you with me. 

I am. 

Good, I could use your face in my day. I don't know the others. I feel like screaming too. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

#poly.

I woke up like this. Hair suddenly past my shoulders in big loopy waves. Longer than Lochlan's hair. Perfect for space buns or a braid even, though I mostly looked like I rolled out of bed at any given moment. Not a lie most of the time but still, I'm somewhat relieved that the pixie cut days are two years past me now and by Christmas or next spring at the latest my mermaid hair will be back in force. 

I only mention it because Caleb mentioned it this morning when I woke up. I think your hair grew overnight. 

He's not pleased or disappointed, he's well-reputed in liking my hair chin length or shorter and so I promptly said Good, I can't wait until I can sit on it again and then I got the expected grim set of his beautiful mouth as he doesn't choose to have a poker face sometimes either. 

He lobbied hard for a brief escape for me yesterday out of the blue and won, exchanging a date later in the month for last evening and so we watched horror movies and sipped Lagavulin until our eyes were heavy and our hands useless. Then I slept. A full eight hours without a single interruption before he woke me at six thirty, pinning me beneath him, one hand around my neck, one eye on the clock as he had a meeting downtown. I was walked across the driveway when he was dressed afterward in a full suit of regret, as he said there is nothing more awful then leaving me in his bed if he can't be home and so I had to go and I pouted just for him, as he quickly found out I wasn't doing bunny ears at all the other day on the beach. 

He kissed my bottom lip and said he loves that too and that maybe he'll be over for dinner tonight, that he'll let me know how the day goes. He left me in Sam's hands and I feel as if I'm being passed around a lot lately when Lochlan's overly busy with things with Batman (whom he still claims not to work for anymore) and I'm not sure if it's just a coincidence or a direct result of Jay coming back. I just know that my dance card is full and so is my bed lately and I'm not sure I mind, exactly. I got my hand slapped for flirting with him on the beach and maybe it's shame or embarrassment that makes my hair grow faster. I'm sure I'll find out which soon enough.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

I'm just now realizing how much of their influence made me who I am today.

My whole life they've called me a reverse-vampire, loving the light, up with the sun, disappearing when the sun went to bed. Don't get me wrong, I adore the late-night lights and noise of the midway but I'm also holding my eyelids open with my fingers to take it all in.

I think that's all changed now. I still wake up at the crack of ridiculous, swim in the coffee pot until I think I can open my mouth to speak without a hundred different voices all screaming the same indignation coming out but I can't even be in the sun for a minute anymore. I'm instantly headachey, over-heated, under-hydrated and overwhelmingly miserable.

I didn't swim today. The minute I opened my face to complain about the heat Duncan threw me off the cliff. There I remained, floating on my back, trying to teach him a lesson without getting too nervous doing it. It's difficult to turn your back on Bridget's Undersea Imaginary Creature Keepers.

Why's she so scared?

There's a Buick at the bottom. (GET IT? Cole made the acronym, I provided the fearful tears. There was actually an old car at the bottom of the lake when we were growing up. Well, there was until the early eighties when it was towed out, empty. It turns out it was only a frame with a couple of body panels bolted to it that a homeowner put in to practice his scuba diving and then moved away and left it.)

Really? 

Yeah. We told her it was full of people who are still there to this day, waiting for helpless souls to come close so they can grab them by the legs and possess their bodies to live again. 

That was fucking dumb. She's going to drown, trying to swim and scream at the same time. 

We'll save her. 

In a minute. 

They laugh, or so I imagine they did and I never swam without a buddy ever again. I still don't, honestly and that's why I have to wait here for Duncan to jump in after me. The creatures can't have my soul since I don't have one but right now I'd auction his off to the lowest bidder. Name your price.

And then Ben hits the water right beside me and I almost drown anyway, getting pushed under by the huge wave of displacement when he hits.

He brings us both up at once. I'm sure when he opens his eyes my face must have been a nightmare, an angry, bratty, waterlogged scowl of a nightmare when he'd rather see a smile.

How long would you have waited? Loch said something about a Pontiac. I had no idea what he was going on about. 

Buick. 

I don't understand. You're afraid of Buicks? 

Yes. No. It's a long story. 

It's a long swim back, Bee. Tell me. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Terribly good.

I walked on the beach this morning with Jay (Jacob/New-Jake, you know who he is). We took our sweaters, our mugs full of coffee and Caleb with us. No harm, no foul seems to be the rule of the day. They all want Jay here. They worked out their issues, somehow sure we're not doomed to repeat history and he's asked for Jay's help in keeping me 'safe'. 

The only thing she has to fear here is us. 

You. 

And a number of others. 

Right. 

Then what do you want me to do?

Not fuck this up.

Jay throws his hands up. If you're asking me if I can keep my hands to myself I can but if she instigates-

She won't. 

I bite my tongue and close my eyes so hard I see black spots and waver magnificently. Caleb puts out one hand and steadies me without even looking. 

If she does-

Then we'll deal with her. 

I've seen the way you deal with her and I think you're all fucked in the head and she's the sanest one here. 

I love you. I gaze at Jay and smile. His whole face breaks into a reciprocal smile and I forgot how cute he can be. 

She doesn't mean that the way you think, Caleb tells him.

I'm aware. I don't know if you've noticed but we've known each other five years now. 

That's the equivalent of an hour compared to the rest of us. 

What's your point, Caleb? 

I think you fit in here. I think you can hold your own. And yet you seem to been almost gleefully exploiting her weaknesses when we're trying to build her up. I guess I don't understand what you're doing. 

We get alone really great. She's a like-minded individual. We mesh. Hell, she's been great to me. I fucked up and touched her. I thought it was okay. I didn't realize only certain guys can. I won't do that again. I'd like to stay though. It's a good place to be. I understand the repercussions mean I leave forever so I don't want to have that happen. I learned my lesson.

But you're a time bomb. 

Medically, yes. But otherwise if I make you a promise I'll keep it. 

I frown and stick out my lower lip because I have zero chill and no poker face and Jacob sees me and laughs out loud. By the time Caleb turns to look at me I've fixed it and I'm frowning at him. 

What did you do?

Bunny ears. 

Ah. Glad you're taking your own future seriously, Bridget.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Jesus chores.

Worn out. Long day. I was handed a big glass of whiskey with ice and I took it. The ice is long melted but I'm still sipping. Three days away wasn't enough. I need a week or two to unwind but it's been hectic since March around here with precious few stretches of total calm.

Sam reminds me it's life. You handle what you can and leave the rest to Him. 

When he says this I startle as he assumes so easily that I know who he means and I fumble for a name. Maybe Lochlan. Ben? Caleb. Jacob the ghost. Batman. Uh. Oh. God.

Right. He's not going to pick up my slack and get the car maintenance done, buy new socks for the boys or get groceries while I'm busy tackling other things on the list, but if he is willing, tell him to text me and let me know which things I can delegate.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Albatross.

When I woke up I had them both in a head lock and my shoulders were screaming. I think that's what woke me up, the sound of my whole body protesting, having fallen asleep in a painful position that took several minutes to change. I had one arm around Ben's neck and one around Lochlan's and yet I was lying on my stomach so my arms were pulled back up and hard. They seemed content on their sides, arms crossed over my back, touching each other to make sure no one left in our sleep. And no one did, I made sure of it.

I had just stopped sleeping with my sling on for protection from my elbow that got pulled out again. This morning is now Vicodin laced with coffee for me and there are elves in the trees and rainbows shooting from my eyes but at least nothing hurts now. I mean I can't actually feel my arms or my legs or my teeth and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to bake Henry's birthday cake like this but I think I'll have a lot of help.

Daniel is coming over to help me this morning. The boys are going golfing. Danny doesn't golf. He and I have fucked-up shoulders, elbows and legs and actually I lie. It's boring as fuck and I hate it even though I'm really good at it. I scored a 97 on my last game of nine holes. I'm a natural, clearly.

Lochlan has promised not to throw any clubs. Caleb hasn't. Should I be worried? Ben said he wouldn't eat or bend any clubs and no one believed him. Then he winked and assured me he will keep Lochlan in line, though I think Lochlan will last about five holes before his own arm issues put him on the sidelines. That will piss him off too though, so I'm glad I'm not going.

After baking and decorating if there's any time left we're going to work on my outfits and gifts for Burning Man. SO excited.

Friday, 14 July 2017

All I have.

It was only after Ben moved off me, stretching out to sleep in the dark that he spoke, and I didn't even know he was there. I jumped right out of my skin. It was cold, sure, but at least it didn't have the sting of Ben's razor burn all over.

Of course my bones all fell to the floor in a heap. Teeth too, and my brain rolled away under the bed and so I couldn't think of anything good to say and even if I could have, I wouldn't have been able to say it.

You didn't wait for me. 

Lochlan's voice has a jealous tinge, a beautiful kelly-green shade that turns it thick, luminous-rich.

My finger bones team up, find my brain, pull out some words and run them through my teeth until sound comes out.

Sorry. 

Not her fault, Ben says from his dreams. I don't think he's noticed he's still holding my skin from where I leapt from it. I think he finds it to be a security blanket. It won't cover him though, if you stretch it out square I think I'm the size of a king pillowcase.

Good enough, Ben says. He covers one side of his torso with it and goes back to sleep. Sorry, he says again and my brain flexes in a cringe. Once Ben's out, he's out like the dark. He sleeps like the dead. It scares me but right now I have more important things to do, like stand here to juggle these hearts because God help us all if they roll away somewhere out of reach.

I was here waiting for you. More luminous slime pours from Lochlan and my bones rattle faintly as they shake.

You didn't say anything when we came in. My brain is doing a masterful job of finding words that fit together. It's a puzzle. One for ages 8+. One I probably couldn't finish if I tried.

My bones float to the surface of his ire, still jangling faintly against each other and he swallows me whole, chewing on my brain because it's tough and bigger than it looks. He chokes it back and swallows.

Now my teeth have nothing to read.

Sleep, Bridgie. We'll talk about it tomorrow. 

I close my eyes with the finger I can reach. It's like when someone dies and you reach out and press their eyelids down over their pupils because they're never going to see you again. I did that for Cole so he couldn't find me anymore. It worked too well. Sometimes I miss him too and then I'm swimming in Lochlan's green pool, while monsters from the depths of his soul reach for my legs to pull me under. I scream at the thought and his jealousy floods down my throat into my toes, filling up my skin, leaving Ben exposed, at risk of losing everything.

I piece together one whole hand to leave resting on Ben's heart. He'll be safe that way while I sacrifice myself. That's how it's done around here, or so I've been told.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Best listened to very loud with headphones on the edge of a cliff, I swear to you, but sadly my piano is inside.

This doesn't seem to be anywhere on the Internet so I'm putting it up for others. I'm working out the piano for it and I need to sing at the top of my lungs to do that, but the words were nowhere to be found. I managed to transcribe it myself, in spite of being deaf, so some of it could be misheard.

Behold, the lyrics for I Remember, by Les Friction featuring Emily Valentine. Well done. It's beautiful!

Some lies can live on their own
No need to assist
Some lies will circle around til love pulls it down
I’ve set a course for losing you
I’ve no remorse for what I do

We say nothing, holding it in
How did we travel this far
Knowing that our light will fade
Remember nothing, Let it all go
We’ll live our destiny alone

The truth is in a whisper, your life is in a kiss
Hands can’t be held when they’re clenched into a fist
Your eyes are a crime frozen in time
This prison is yours

Feel me Heal me
Feel me Heal me

I don’t want to remember
I’m moving to newer frontiers
I will build my own empire and banish myself from me there
I don’t to want remember the life I chose
I will burn our destiny
Because you and I will always be alone

Feel me Heal me
Feel me Heal me
Feel me Heal me
Feel me Heal me

I remember the reason I built myself
You and I can tear it all down and let the past begin to melt
I remember eternity, love I don’t
I will fight for our destiny
because you and I will never be alone

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

You've missed everything.

(Just a footnote from your friendly neighborhood masochist Princess: The beginning of this post features a decade-old memory as detailed here.)

He leaned his head against mine where I sat trying to read in fading light. Princess. Put your book away. 

I want to finish it tonight. 

Do that tomorrow. He takes the book, carefully marking my page, and places it on the side table. Then he pulls me to my feet. His pale blue eyes crinkle up into a soft smile. Tomorrow's a big day. 

No more training wheels. 

No more training wheels. 

Henry's going to try riding without them. And yet instead of a bribe Jacob got down on his knees and asked Henry to consider something that might make him feel even more excited than if he got a new toy as a reward for trying something difficult.

Like what? Henry is rapt.

What if you had all kinds of good feelings burst forth from deep inside, the kind that remind you that you're doing your very best? 

Those are good but I'm presently collecting Hot Wheels. Henry is as stubborn as his mother.

Jacob laughs out loud. Maybe we can arrange for both Hot Wheels and good feelings? 

Deal, Henry is firm. They shake on it. It's official now, can't go back.

He's ready, I tell Jake, who seems concerned suddenly.

You're right. Why are you so calm and sure with them and so unsure about so many other things?

No one's bribing me with Hot Wheels. I laugh and he purposefully flips open my book and moves the bookmark to a random page.

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT. 

WELL I DID. 

He pulls me in close and I get a kiss. His beard is rough. His hands, rougher as they slide up my ribcage under my shirt. I'm almost off the ground trying to reach his face and I lean into him hard-

BRIDGET. 

I open my eyes. My memory thief is looking at me over his shoulder as he opens up his briefcase and then starts pulling drawers out, dumping them in whole. The briefcase is bottomless, and my memories disappear into the black hole.

Looks like I forgot a few. Sorry about that. 

What about the letters you wanted me to read? 

Those are instructions and reminders, not walks down memory lane. They can't hurt you. 

Neither can he. You are, though. 

No, I'm helping. 

This isn't helping. Leave me be, Sam. Please. 

He finishes the whole filing cabinet and instead of opening the next one he comes over to me. I make a note of which one is left. O though T. Got it. Bridget, we love you and we don't want to see you suffer. 

I roll over, pull the quilts in tightly around my frame and close my eyes. If I can drop back into this dream, I'll be able to breathe next time I wake up. Or at least I hope I can.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bumblebees.

No sooner does the dust settle from school ending (forever ending for Ruth, who's going to University in the fall, having navigated graduation ceremonies and dry-grad dinner/dance with ease, having achieved a medal for excellence, a merit scholarship and honour roll on her way out the door, but Henry turns sixteen this coming weekend and I feel like the record of my life has suddenly spun up to 78 rpm and I'm clinging to it with my teeth.

This Monday I'll take him in to write for his learner's permit, and then the boys will begin to teach him how to drive. He swears he knows already, having played GTA, promptly failed the online practice test, and realized he has to actually read the book. Once he is reasonably competent I'll spend the next year letting him chauffeur me around town while I yell out the last-minute instructions he will be expected to remember (and utilize) for a lifetime.

Yeesh. Ruth just got her Novice license in February. It feels like yesterday. It was yesterday. Jesus. This is what happens when you have children less than two years apart in age. It's easier than spreading it out but also far more pressure all at once.

I'm busy as a bee today though, finalizing birthday plans, plotting surprises, wrapping like mad and like I said, just trying to hang on. It feels sometimes as if there's a birthday just about every weekend, and that's because there almost is. The balloon people know me by name, I buy wrapping paper in bulk, and my cake pans hardly ever make it to the pan-drawer, as everyone likes my homemade cakes the best.

No pressure at all.

Monday, 10 July 2017

He still asks the same first question every year when we go to the fair.

Fried cat tail? Andrew smiles and takes a huge bite of a corn dog. I'm seven years old, and we're back together for the summer or at least a week of it during midway season, which my family spent travelling all around the coast each year.

They're not cat tails! I'm scornful and bossy. We're equals in this relationship. He teases me and I call him out because I'm convinced I am smarter.

Would you rather have a candy apple? Those brown ones are rotten. They've been in the window too long. They give those ones out at night when people can't see so good. 

So well. 


Oh well is right. We won't be here that late anyway so we're safe. 

They're caramel, Andrew. Geeeeez. 

Nope. Rotten red. Old candy coating. It petrifies. 

Petri-what?

Petrifies. That means it gets hard and turns to stone because it has air circulation so it doesn't get moldy.

Oh. 

Why don't you know these words? 

I go to French school. 

Oh yeah. What about math? 

I do it in French. 

Are the numbers the same?

I think so. 

But what if you have a math problem in English? 

I'll have to ask someone to do it for me. Just like if someone has a French math problem they can ask me. 

But are you any good at it? 

No, not really. 

Then I'll buy you a cat tail to eat because I feel bad for you. And I got my allowance this morning. 

How much did you get? 

Five dollars. 

Wow. Lucky. 

I got a raise because I turned eight, remember? 

Yeah. Andrew?

Yeah? 

Do you think we'll still be doing this when we're grownups?

Of course. But we'll have way more money to spend. And I'll still be able to help you with the English math.

Promise? 

Of course.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sheltering in place.

Lochlan put his hand around the back of my neck just as I stirred awake this morning, gave me a kiss that left me breathless and said he was calling in hooky to church this morning. Sam sat up and asked if he thought he might get caught and I laughed too because I think Lochlan forgot Sam was even there.

He was. We fell asleep last night whispering about all the things we love. New bars of soap. Campfires. Glitter. Canoe trips in quiet lakes. Finding unusual colors of sea glass. Marshmallows toasted just right. Friendly horses, friendlier owners. Very good lemonade. Long hard hugs. I fell asleep with the most beautiful thoughts in my head, and when I woke up, Lochlan was there with that kiss.

That glorious kiss.

Three of us called in hooky to church and set the tone for the whole point to be heathens along with us and not show up.

(It's actually okay. Sam's second minister was leading the service this week anyway.)

Dalton made crepes for us for breakfast.

What are crepes again? 

Think really thin pancakes. 

Like a thin-crust pizza versus regular?

Yes?

I'll pass. 

But they're full of whipped cream and chocolate.

I'm back in. 

Figures.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Another day, another...well.. God we fight a lot.

Today is quiet and warm. Twenty-eight and climbing and I've used up my chlorine-exposure allowance for the day too early, switching to the cliffs just before lunch, jumping off and swimming back so many times even Duncan got tired and begged for a break.

Once more then, and we'll stop. 

Jesus, Lochlan must have had his hands full raising you. 

Lochlan nods. You should see her begging for one more candy apple. Christ. It was like trying to bottle lightning. 

Good things shouldn't have a time limit. 

I agree, Lochlan says and my knees buckle.

There she goes, Duncan laughs, and grabs me up to throw me off the cliff. I shriek and he goes running and then I sail through the air, loving the first two seconds, and freezing for the last three before smashing into the water hard, turning my blood to ice, waking me up, forcing me back up to the surface where I fill my lungs again. The colors are brighter, the water feels solid, the world is a second-chance in that moment. That's why I do it. I give myself his second chance. Jacob hit hard, there was no surface to fight back to, no more breath, no colors, no Bridget after that.

I turn and lie on my back, giving Lochlan the thumbs up as Duncan lands in the water just a little further out. Yes, I'm fine. Am I ever fine? I don't do this because it's a thrill, because I love the feeling of falling, I do it to baptize myself again and I fail but I keep trying.

We climb up the steps and are met with fresh towels. Ready to go in? 

Yes, I lie. Hey, Loch? Can we get candy apples? 

Yes, we can. Just one though. He laughs and then is serious again. You okay? 

Not so much. 

I don't want you jumping off anymore. 

That's like telling someone not to breathe. 

No it isn't-

LET ME. 

HEY. He grabs my arm and yanks me back. I didn't say you couldn't. I said I don't WANT YOU TO. There's a difference, Bridget. LISTEN instead of reacting. 

WHEN HAVE I EVER DONE THAT?

Wish you would. He looked so sad suddenly. It was like I was looking in a mirror and my breath caught again in my chest. I'm sorry, Lochlan.

We're here. We're living. No one said it was going to be easy but it's better than THAT. He points to the cliff again. Fuck his faith, Bridget. You said I don't have any, well I have a hell of a lot more than Jake ever did, and don't you forget it.