Sunday, 30 April 2017

Close to normal, just for you.

I sat down in the hard cold pew this morning. My skin sizzled and popped but I bore it without expression. PJ smiles a sly smile and holds up a loaf of bread so I can see it. God, what a mess. We're going to put slices in the collection plates today. Sam will try and figure out how to sweep or mop afterwards and give up quickly, asking me to call whichever cleaning service I call, because he won't look in the very comprehensive contact list I keep on the church computer for him. He hardly knows how to turn it on, preferring to bring his own laptop with him every day. He doesn't even have a receptionist currently. Says the church is hardly big enough for the four full-time people it employs now. He does most of it himself. I help him a lot. We get it done.

But on a day like this I feel like an outsider, a heathen. An anomaly. Maybe I am every day. Lochlan slides in beside me, tsks at PJ and grabs my hand, squeezing it warmly. He leans in and whispers against my ear, asking me if I'm warm enough. I shake my head. Churches are like movie theatres. I'm always cold in them. He puts his arm around me and pulls me close to him. He is warm all over. He kisses the side of my mouth and sits back comfortably to listen. Ben is in a few minutes later and squeezes my whole head with his hand as he edges past Lochlan and sits on my other side. PJ and John move down a bit for him. Ben takes my other hand and kisses the back of it before smiling at me. He keeps my hand in his, his leg pressed against mine. Hip to hip, hand to hand we all sit and listen as Sam spins an old yarn into a comforting wrap. A story with subtle but glaring metaphors, reminders, tips for life and instructions on how to be redeemed. It's back to standard issue sermons and the church is noticeably less-full than it was in the days leading up to Easter.

After church we all pile into a diner, taking up three tables and two booths. We order fried food and milkshakes, coffee and juice and we eat and laugh and plan the week (which won't be as busy as the last few) and the day too (which won't be busy at all) and then we scatter back to the trucks and form a line up the highway to home. Everyone disappears and Lochlan looks at me.

Horror movie? 

With you?



Say yes before I change my mind.
(Lochlan hates horror movies. Hates 'em. I keep telling him watching the Canucks earn their draft picks every year is more horror than a silly movie and he laughs and tells me I'm probably right.)

I made a quick call to the cleaning company we use for the church sometimes to come and sweep up all the bread crumbs and mop the sanctuary proper and then I head downstairs to join him.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Resulting in eleven hours of sleep.

I was pulled into warm arms reluctantly, lifted down into his lap, kissed gently and then harshly too, and largely ignored for my exhaustion. My shaky limbs were directed, as I was hauled in tight, legs draped over hips, arms looped around necks, shoulders kissed in a flush of darkness, for it coated me like a shroud.

Too tired, PJ. 

Shhhh, Bridget. Enjoy it. I will. 

I push at him but he just pins my arms in between us, palms against his chest, beard tickling my ears, my cheek. He tries to hold back but he can't and by the time he gives me back I'm raw and ruined. I can't feel my fingers anymore, can't tell you what day it is, might be far too drunk for anything resembling agreement and about to black through into morning.

They don't care.

I rewound the day in my head before I fell through the night to figure out how I got here. Oh right. I smiled. I said Sure, just one more though. I thought I meant drinks. They meant friends. Or maybe I have that backwards. Like I said, I don't know. I slept well though. Worth it.

Friday, 28 April 2017

"The kites. The kites! Get 'em ready!"

Woo. Dance party in the kitchen as my phone came back to life like the Bride of Frankenstein after thirty hours under rice. I think the Apple battery case saved it's life and the only casualty seems to be a slightly blown speaker, but only slightly. Lochlan says it sounds like 'mild vinyl' (I love that he described the sound like that) and that I'll never notice it and if I do, it's akin to playing a record softly so I'm good to go.

The battery case will be vetted by him after another week under. He said it's lithium (HA) so he wants to be sure before he lets me put it back on the phone. Otherwise, he said, it could turn into an IED and we don't want that.

No. No, we don't want that. 

Welcome back old friend. I love my phone. I hate technology but I really love my phone.

Daniel and I had a fun dance party though. PJ watched and asked what kind of party it would have been if the phone hadn't powered up at all.

A sad sad Poor Bridget pity party. 

Bridge, if you need a phone, I'll buy you a phone. 

(At last count, I had nine offers similar to that in less than those thirty hours I waited out that phone).

I'm good. It's back. See? 

But the 7 is waterproof, PJ says with a wink.

I stop dancing. Seriously? 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fuck things up.

This morning I was finishing up cleaning the bathrooms and I ran in to put a new box of tissues in the one just off the kitchen and I slipped on the freshly-mopped floor and my iPhone (my beautiful iPhone loaded with 128 GB of music, all music all the time) went sliding out of it's customary emergency position under my elbow (because I run out of hands) and straight into a toilet full of Pine Sol.

Lavender-scented fucking Pine Sol.

I screamed and plucked it out and now it's in Pine-Sol lavender-scented rice.


So now I'm using Henry's old 5C with a whopping 12 GB of space and ARGHHHHHHHHHH. I can't put my new obsession on it (Dope Lemon's Honey Bones album) and it's pissing me off.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

"Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots."

This is a battleground, I'm caught in the crossfire
My words are weaponry and I'm waiting patiently
You win the battle now but I will return the fire
'Cause I'd crawl on broken glass
To be the one who laughs last
Ben picked up the dark yesterday and ran with it. The weather cleared and he brought me down to the beach for a windswept, threatening picnic by the driftwood house. He stood on the rocks at the shore and read aloud from Lovecraft. He did his own annotations.

He read until the wind made it too hard for me to hear him and then we ate. Garlic salami, green olives stuffed with garlic, havarti, tiny rounds of thin toast. Grapes. Chocolate popsicles for dessert. Sparkling water. Then he asked what was for lunch and wrapped me in his hoodie.


He laughed and said Funny, that's what I'm craving. 

But we didn't leave.

We just sat there looking out at the gentle waves, watching the advance of the water until I started to feel sleepy and sunburned.

Better? He asked quietly.

So much better.

Good because you see that cloud? That's the rain coming back. I made a deal with it to hold off for a bit and it's waited as long as it can. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


I hung on to today and am navigating it all fake-like and full of bullshit, easy shallow responses to keep from giving away how I really feel, saved only by the wrong people asking the right questions. Change that to the right people asking the wrong questions and I'll be had, found in the depths, a liar and a thief of positivity on a day when I can't see that the glass truly is half full. 

These white knuckles are sore. These black clouds are dark and I'm going to escape upstairs to myself as soon as dinner is done. Before it's too late. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Leaves, Leafs and Mr. Presley.

Now Samson told Delilah loud and clear
Keep your cotton pickin' fingers out my curly hair
Oh yeah, ever since the world began
A hard-headed woman been a thorn in the side of man.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are out of the playoffs thanks to last night's overtime but they had a good run, we all aged and I feel vindicated as the only fan here in a sea of Canucks supporters (you know, the team that didn't even make the playoffs, coming in second-last in the league) and a loyal fan at that.

I stuck my lip out in a pout when their trip ended and that was that. Now I can get on with my life because once they're out I stop watching hockey save for the occasional glance at the scores (every chance I get) or trip through the sports section of the newspaper.

Nothing wrong with that. And Lochlan picked me some almost-dead cherry blossoms, while he barely missed a beat singing Elvis songs at the top of his lungs while cutting branches now that the blooms are done.

He's threatened to juggle chainsaws. I pointed out that we only have one and he says So?, eyebrows raised in mock annoyance. He's not a big fan of hardcore gardening like trimming trees back but Ben is too sick and so Lochlan, a full foot shorter and half as strong has decided to pick up the slack. I'm sure he's plotting to make the offending branches disappear using magic. I don't know how but I bet it crossed his mind. My job involves wearing gloves, standing around for a while far back away from his work area and then getting clearance to drag the branches over into a pile near the side of the garage so he can chop it into firewood later. I offered to do it but he wouldn't hear of it. Cole used to let me split wood when we went camping. I mean, I almost cut off my legs below the knee more than..okay just about every single time but at least I tried. Axes are heavy.

We got the whole thing done. Us and Elvis and Lochlan's great impression of him and impressive volume of memorized lyrics for songs that we were force-fed behind the tents most of the time on the sideshow. Standard fare, harmless overmusic that winds up part of you in spite of efforts to leave it behind. He sang all the way back to the house and inside, only finishing off when I took off my rubber boots and gardening gloves, leaving them on the patio steps where I'll probably forget and come back to find boots full of rain. It only happens every second week or so, so it's not the end of the world.

Coffee? Lochlan asks, as if I'd ever say no to it. The fuck is that.

Yes, please.

Ben was up when we came inside too. He's got what I had, just not as bad, thank heavens. He's good at sleeping though, so hopefully he'll get better quickly. Cross you fingers. At least my coughing is down to only two or three times a day. So glad. My garden needs me. I can't afford to be sick anymore.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Nature vs. nurture.

Caleb is home, just at the crucial junction between not really having it sink in that he's not present and missing him very terribly. I tried to quash it somewhat. I woke up slow with Lochlan. I went running with Dalton. I went up and listened to music with August. I took Ruthie on a tour of the neighborhood where her university is, where she'll be spending all her time this fall. I had a lunch date with Sam after skipping church (I skipped, not him). I helped PJ vacuum out his Jeep. I took all the glitter off my nails and plotted fresh. I had a quick swing in the rain with Ben and we planned some garden things. He's my farmer. He loves working outside in the garden and so do I so it's great. I declined coffee with Batman. I brushed the dog.

And then Caleb walked through the side door and said Hey with a big smile on his face. Not sure who missed who more but his smile spread to my face and I flew into a crushing hug that lasted far longer than most.

He had an easy trip. Luxury seating on the plane, cushy drive to the mountains, and was treated like a King in his castle because I hired people who like to be paid well to do that. A housekeeper and a butler. The cook is on call and the landscaping/maintenance service is scheduled regularly. I'm a little jealous of an empty house that runs better than this one. I regularly destroy myself trying to keep this one clean and the boys help so much but none of us ever seem to be able to do enough but it's not the same. It's easy to spend his money. It's easy to follow his directives and make an operation run like a top, it's a whole other story to manage a commune full of headstrong, passionate people with a common focus but no long term goals. What are we working toward? Utopia? What does that mean and why is the answer different depending on who you ask?

Does it matter? He's home and he brought me a teeny tiny pinecone bracelet made from a real pinecone, dipped in white gold.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Am busy! Lying in bed watching the Relient K live show on Instagram. It's so good!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Catching my death right here.

Before anyone else loses their shit emailing me pointing out what a hypocrite Lochlan can be for raising me the way he did and now demanding I be 'normal' save your words. He's frustrated. I don't take him seriously. Sometimes life is surprising easy for us and sometimes it's uphill both ways. We'll get through it one way or another. He wouldn't wish for me to be normal ever, trust me. There is no fun in that.


It's twenty-two degrees in the shade, slowly pulling weeds in the garden with Ben left me an uncharacteristically warm, sweaty princess (due to the large hat/shirt/scarf I need to shield my delicate and highly allergic skin from the sun. I'm a slow learner so this year the protective clothing will be put on at the beginning, AKA now) and the pool is still empty because we won't fill it until we can go in it regularly.

So ha. This expensive land stuck out over the sea here presented a habitual, comical opportunity as Ben said he could cool me down quick and so he picked me up and just chucked me off the cliff.

And he was right. The water was freezing and my teeth have been chattering since. He came in right behind me and then Sam and PJ came running and jumped (wasting a perfectly good opportunity to throw each other, mind you) and Dalton strolled out to see what was up from the screaming but declined to be thrown or to jump.

Lochlan met us at the end of the beach with big warm towels and some choice swear words for Ben. Apparently it's very bad form to throw someone with Bronchial Pneumonia into the Pacific in April just because it's 'sorta' warm out.

Ben looked at me. How do you feel, Bridge?


See? She's fine. You worry too much, he tells Lochlan.

I mean he does, but still. I might never be warm again.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Woke preachers, absent devils.

Come with me. A little getaway before your birthday. 

Now really isn't a good time. I can't fly anyway with this stupid illness. 

Caleb is stubborn but in the end he took off alone, to Tahoe to see if his house survived the winter and see if anything needs to be done. He wants to turn it into a summer retreat, a getaway for all of us and when we're not there he'll be renting it out. Which always seemed risky to me so to protect his investment it comes with a staff of two and a weekly minimum upwards of a low five figures. That will weed out anyone who wants to disrespect the roof over their own heads. But he is still cautious and not convinced that its worth the risk (me neither, frankly) and so he wants to have a look around and also probably smartly have a change of scenery from Point Perdition, which can be oppressive, suffocating and almost painful.

Besides. I'm in good hands. Sam finally woke up. For real this time! Which seems odd but maybe if Jacob had gotten more sleep he would have been able to handle things better. Pot Kettle Black. It's not like they all don't say the same about me. Sam just smiled when he appeared for breakfast, to much applause, until Duncan said we should leave him alone, that babies need their sleep and everyone laughed and that was that.

I only sleep like that when I'm tranquilized to within an inch of my life.

(I only sleep like that when I'm dead, I think.)

I said goodbye to Caleb at the car that he called to take him to the airport and he said he would call when he landed. He looked so disappointed I didn't almost change my mind but I thought about sending John with him, just for company. Then I didn't. Caleb is a loner. Always has been. He'll be fine. I almost think he has introvert tendencies like me and needs a lot of daily silence to recharge because there are so many people living here but then I remember that's not quite right. That he would love to live in the main house and be a bigger part of the group. That won't ever happen.

So Sam is ready to talk my face off for the next three days and Lochlan's fine with that because he thinks I need a refresher on common accepted behavior as if I'm a normie or someone who's lost their way when in reality I know exactly where I'm going.

To the theatre to watch horror movies and take Jesus' name in vain every freaking time there's a jump scare. That's where.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Never mean but never satisfied, either.

On my back, three in the morning. Lochlan has one hand around my neck and the other behind my back, holding my hands. He gets all fierce and in my face and then collapses his weight onto me.

I can't do this. This is fucked up. 

He sits me up and lets go. Then he pulls me in by the neck again, but this time to cuddle. Whatever lingering want I have will have to be taken out on Ben later. That's okay too.

I could have told you that.

How do I make it so you never need Caleb again? 

I told you! A lobotomy. It's the only surefire way. 

Or I could kill him. Call it a crime of passion. I'd probably be out in time to retire, at worst. If they even put me jail knowing the history here. 

Do you want to take that chance? 

Of course not. Except for most days when I do. 


I'm kidding. Okay, sort of kidding. Okay, not kidding. 

I can't even do this with you right now. 

Then don't. Let's run away. 

And join the circus? I think I've heard this one before. 

He tucks my hair behind my ear. And we were so happy. Happier than we've ever been. 

You'll have to go without me and I'll catch up to you when the kids are grown. 

I wouldn't leave you again. 

Then take this horrible, terrible life and live with it! I motion around the room at the eight-hundred thread count weightless Egyptian duvet. The ocean view. The fireplace. The everything. The difference between our shitty little broken-down burned out camper and the endless fear and relentless hunger and this. 

We sold out, Peanut. 

We had no choice. This is the only way we could have survived. And I wouldn't do anything different if I could go back. 

I sure would. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Off the cliff and on to a mental trampoline.

Lochlan's patience is sometimes so thin I can hold it up to the light, seeing right through it. Other times it's an impenetrable force, a tank, a wall. An endless test. Today it's half and half, see-through in spots and thick in others. 

I mention I need to fetch my sweater. I left it at Caleb's. 

We'll get it later (which is code for 'You're not going back over there alone any time soon'). 

It's my favorite. 

He frowns at me. Fine. I'll get it. Be right back. 

He's disappeared out the door, across the driveway and up the steps before I realize what a stupid idea it is to let him go over alone and I chase after him only to be caught by Duncan, who is coming up the steps and feels like jumping right into whatever's going on. 

Bridget! Are you tied up with anything right now? I'm looking for a captive audience to try that new Mexican place. 

Is that a pun? 

Should it be? I don't know what you're taco 'nabout. 

Oh my God. Not that part. The tied-up and captive part.

Do tell. 

Tell what? Here comes Sam. Fresh off two whole days and nights of sleep. I'm so jealous of him I don't even like him anymore. He looks rested and reborn and there's not a line on his face. 


Duncan bursts out laughing. Caleb's tying her up again-

HUSH, you. 

Bridget- Sam's frowning so big I wonder if I've ruined his face with his disappointment in me. They'll say 'He used to be so cute but then she let him down and his face just...well it's stuck like that now.' 

It's not a big deal and it's no one's business. 

Then why did you need to write it out? Duncan's still amused. Oh my God.

So I could deal with it. 

Which part of it? Rested Baby Preacher is sharp as a knife and ready to dive right in to my twisted brain.

The part where he isn't supposed to hurt me and we're supposed to be healthy but frankly I don't like him any way but the way I'm used to and that's wrong.

Wow. Good job. Usually it would take me a week to get you to say that out loud. 

Huh. Guess I'm cured. 

You? Never. You're just varying degrees of fucked-up. Duncan swats my ass as I resume my attempts to follow Lochlan to the boathouse to prevent the inevitable physical fight. 

But when I look up, Lochlan's coming back across the driveway, with my sweater in one hand. He looks content. Is that even a thing? He comes in to the kitchen and hands me the sweater. Sam and Duncan disappear. Wow. Just like that.

Just got a little blood on it. That will come out with some cold water. Just two spots I think. Here and here. He points and I see his hand is also slightly bloodied. Not much, just a little. 

Damage report. Fuck. I hate this. 

His nose just started bleeding. I helped him have a seat and told him if he'd stop fucking around and keep his promises he wouldn't be cursed like that. 

That's a new one. 

Have to keep it creative, since we're going through the same shit week after week here. If he can't keep his shit together, Bridget, I swear-

It's not his fault, it's mine. 

Right. Anyway. No more. He can have a break and when he remembers how to be nice we'll talk. 

I'm the one who's not nice. 

I'll look after your needs. 

What if I-

I told you. I'll look after it. 

You can't. 

Our eyes meet. He looks tired.

Try me. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

(Everything I lack in style's made up in how I feel.)

I need us undivided, I want this thing to stop
I've had the training to be overwhelmed but I'm not
Empty soul of hate but this isn't my war
Couldn't tell you how it started or where it is fought
This song was running through my head as I woke up, tried to move and couldn't. He didn't loosen the velvet ties before falling asleep and so I spent the night facedown and sideways against his chest, knees pulled up, hands behind my back. Fuck. I say his name and he startles awake.

You need to undo this.

Oh, Jesus Christ. I'm sorry. He scrambles to sit up and turns me away, pulling the bow, setting me free into a world of muscle pain. I cough and bring my hands up to my face, and my arms burn and ache from such a long time. I sit up and he rubs my arms gently but that hurts too. My eyes water and he presses his lips against my forehead.

I'm so sorry, he whispers. Let's get you into a hot shower.

I nod and he finally lets go, standing up. He bends back down and lifts me up to standing. I pull my arms in close and cringe, biting my tongue. My eyes threaten to spill over. Jesus, indeed. Even in our darkest moments he's never forgotten to let me go and I wonder fleetingly if he left me like that on purpose.

He gets right down in my face, reading my mind. I didn't do it deliberately. I knew you would stay.

I nod and he uses his thumbs to wipe the tears from my cheeks. We good? He asks and I nod again but say nothing. The pain is keeping me mute.

Once under the shower he cranks the heat and we stand there while he rubs my arms and shoulders with shower oil. It feels really good but now they just feel bruised and worn.

How are you feeling besides that? He's still right down in my face, eyes focused. It never takes Caleb an hour to construct a logical thought or get his eyes open all the way in the mornings. He's a machine. A machine who's in his mid-fifties now and managed to leave me tied up when he unexpectedly fell asleep.

But I did too, and I didn't think it was possible to fall asleep while in a precarious pose but apparently it is, because I did. We did.

I feel a little better today. 

I watch as he takes the credit and files it away somewhere under the guise doing this for me. Then I blink and he's washing my hair for me.

He's slow and gentle and even uses conditioner after. Then he rinses me down, proclaims me ready for prime time and leads me into the bedroom for my clothes. He dresses me and then I'm steered into the kitchen to sit on a chair at the island while he makes coffee and cheese toast. I lift my arms and they weigh a hundred pounds each. I lean forward and rest my head on the counter.

He turns. Bridget. I think you need to go back to bed. 

I will when I get home.

It'd be easier to stay here. If you go home now Lochlan's going to pressure-wash you, give you a conversational third degree burn, blame it all on you and then assure you it's not your fault. Then he'll give in and offer to take you for breakfast to make it up to you. It will be two this afternoon before you can escape for a nap. Eat a piece of toast and go back to bed. I'll see that you're awake by noon. You need this. Badly. 

(Who needs what again?)

We stare at each other. He's right but I also know what happens if I stay. If I stay he gets more. He gets me under his skin. He gets attached and territorial and he gets to be in control. Give the Devil an inch and he takes everything as far as the eye can see. Give him a moment and he spins it into decades. Give him any hint of encouragement and all of the hard work of being independent of him vanish in one beat of my heart.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Jesus Easter surprise.

Sunrise and I haven't seen a bunny, a bicycle or a hint that spring is here.


Have to deal with that later. We're late for church.


The Unitarian faith is like the unicorn of modern religions to me. It is made up of a perfect blend of scripture and deep reverence which is then wound around a parable of myths, legends, ideas and basic common sense. It's sometimes insane and sometimes so fucking normal and boring you forget what you're listening to and fall asleep while listening to the sermon. Especially if it's crowded, warm and long on words in church on this, the most formal and important of church days, holidays and commercial excess. The twice a year crowd, now doubled in size.

Ben sat beside me and ate an entire bunny, quite slowly, while Sam went about trying to tie the resurrection (which is a story to teach us about living a good life and not an actual thing) to the chocolate (which lets us live a good life and is an actual thing and that's bad but not in moderation). Ben didn't unwrap the foil from the bunny first and Sam gave up early on and stopped looking at Ben for fear he might crack up. Caleb gave Ben the sternest look around and Ben held out the bunny, eyebrows up, as in Want some? 

Because moderation, right?

Then he took it back and resumed eating it while everyone watched him. It didn't take Sam's thunder, though, for it was only our row and the row behind us that were interested. 

I didn't cough at all. Lochlan gave me a huge swig of whiskey in the truck right before we went in and that worked really well. I just sat there and burned and enjoyed the unicorns and filled the collection plates with tiny wrapped chocolate eggs until people started getting annoyed that their envelopes were sliding off the top and Sam finally sent out a basket to empty the plates which he should know better to do anyway. Then he started to send the basket back around with just foil-wrapped chocolate eggs to give out and I think I'm known as the Candy Lady to everyone under sixteen at church now. Fine by me except for the terrible looks from some of the women who seem as if they are concerned that our communal lifestyle for all of its raging sinfulness might rub out their piousness via proximity. 

In any event, Jesus is back, the chocolate is flowing freely, I can almost breathe again, I'm drunk before lunch, everyone's getting along great and I'm getting really excited for Sam's mini-vacation, which always comes after a long church season and he needs it because he's been pulling double-duty, stealing memories all the while steering his flock around living in this golden age of balance and renewal. He's earned a break.

I turned around to pass the basket of eggs to the next row (I had to sit on the end due to our lateness and space constraints today. Fuck all you twice a year churchgoers) and sitting directly behind me was Batman, wearing the giant bunny head, in his tux, waving his head and hands slowly at me. I screamed, dropping the basket, and eggs rolled all over the floor.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Still sick, OMFG.

Oof. I tried once again to have a normal, everyday-day with Ben. We dropped Ruth off at her job, went for brunch, hit the hardware store and then the record store and I faded like a moonlight flower probably before I had finished my coffee, to be honest. I daresay I don't know how much I'll be able to participate in the Easter festivities tomorrow but hopefully there will be enough chocolate and Jesus thrown about that no one will notice.

Edit: They summoned the doctor back. Steroid inhalers! Bronchial pneumonia! FUCK. Not feeling better. AT ALL.

Friday, 14 April 2017

It's Good Friday and I had my cookie.

It was overly sweet. Kind of ridiculously sweet but still good in a way. I tried to pawn off the second half of it but got no takers due to my germs and then finished it with no plans to have another any time soon.

We went to church this morning, dutifully freezing in our spring finest. On Sunday this year the bunny head will be worn by Batman except he has opted for a bicycle over the rollerblades because as he said, he feels old, and so I tied the basket to the front of my bike for him and it's ready to roll.

(I don't actually ride the bike, if you're wondering. Some of the boys have road bikes but bicycles don't make me happy. I'll ride the unicycle any day any time but that tends to look bizarre on long trips and is only actually fun if you're juggling at the same time. Yes, I can juggle four or five objects and ride a unicycle at the same time but put me on a regular bicycle with both hands on the handlebars and I'll be ass over teakettle on the pavement inside of three minutes flat.

Not if you had a paying audience, I'd bet. 

That's a bet I won't take Lochlan up on. Not now, not ever. Give me a motorcycle any day. Or I mean, riding bitch, since no one will let me drive a motorcycle either.

Sam's sermon was all about the inherent victory of life over death. I half-listened, half horrified and half tired. I tried not to cough. I blew my nose once and ended up excusing myself to finish draining what seemed to be my entire head and all of my brains, and Ben kissed my forehead when I came back and said quietly that we should have stayed home. Sam clued in and actually cut the service slightly short and I love him for it and we were home and ordering pizzas within the hour.

Then we went out and did yardwork after lunch and now I get the life after death part, raking away dead leaves and dried branches to find shoots and tiny signs of life everywhere. I came in and organized my seeds for planting in a few weeks and I feel excited by the garden, excited to grow our own food, as we just ran out of pickles and are down to a handful of jars. I think one pickled green beans and some spaghetti sauce. And one bag of cherries that I plan to turn into tarts just as soon as I'm not contagious. I took it slow, in any case, as I have no energy yet but it was nice to be out in the sun and the wind getting dirty, finding hope with every turn of the soil, seeing God in all of the signs of spring around me and marvelling at the fact that I cured a massive chocolate-chip cookie habit with one successful round of lent.

Surprise, Motherfucker, I thought to myself, and in response, I laughed.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Glow in the dark Preachers.

You never said a damn thing
You never shot a warning across the bow
No, you just chose to let me run the ship aground
Three-forty-five and I wake up coughing quietly. It only hurts a little when I cough now, that or I'm so medicated I don't notice or care how much it hurts now. The Devil is gone from his watch and Lochlan sleeps with one arm thrown back across me like a conscientious afterthought. He's out hard. The light is hurting my eyes and I open them to squint at Jacob sitting on the edge of the bed. He has one hand on my forehead and the other is in a tight fist against his chest, as if it hurts his heart to touch me. He should watch as I die every time he touches me. Talk about pain.

You need to see a doctor, he says, smoothing my bangs back.

I did. It's probably pneumonia but not bacterial.


I'm coughing up clear.

I see. There has to be something else they can do for you though.

This is life, Jake. Things hurt. You live anyway. You become tough. You get through it.

You're too fragile. This is hard on you.

I laugh out loud. I sound like a strangling horse. Then I start coughing harder and Lochlan turns over and throws his right arm around around me, patting me in his sleep. His lips touch the back of my neck and then he relaxes again. If I could sleep like he does I'd never have any complaints about anything ever again.

This is not hard on me. I have a fucking cold. You want to know what's hard on me? You gaslighting me half to death and then just checking out in the end. That's hard on me. I hope guilt is the one emotion that remains in heaven for you to savour, frankly. 

I can't get to heaven because of it. That's why I'm still here. I'm glad you're angry. 

I'm frustrated because you woke me up when I need sleep now more than ever to harp on whether or not they're doing enough to keep me well. It smacks so hard, Jakey. It just smacks. 

I miss you, Princess. 

Don't you fucking do this now. 

I wish I had stayed. 

Just fucking GO! 

I yelled it and Lochlan flies out of bed, buck naked, red hair wild, half-awake. WHAT IS IT? THE FUCK! He turns and lunges at the door, which is closed and locked and puts his hand toward the bed as if he is protecting me. It's the most beautiful thing.

I had a nightmare. Jake was here and he said I was too sick to be cared for by you so I told him to leave. 

Lochlan turns, his whole face softening and he crawls back into bed, pulling the quilts up around us, pulling me in tight against his chest, kissing my forehead, now burning again and he sighs. He's not dangerous. I don't think you need to yell at him. That's how your brain deals with things while you sleep. It pulls stuff out, holds it up to the light and then decides where to file it. Looks like you need a new visit from the memory thief. 

I need a visit from the lobotomy-giver. Also you protecting me was very sweet. 

I didn't know what the fuck was going on, Bridget. I figured Caleb had come back to try and drag you off like the fucken caveman that he is. 

I laughed and coughed some more.

No. He wouldn't dare criticize your care of me at this point in his life. He's got it good. 

We all do, Bridget. 


Except Jacob. He doesn't have it so-

Please don't. 

Sorry. It's tough not to be a little smug sometimes when I know I set you free and you came back to me. I feel like I won the lottery. 

Ha. You won a very faulty little sputtery human. Congrats? 

Thank you. I'm blessed. Jake on the other hand, well-

No. Don't. Just go back to sleep with me. 

I love you, Peanut. 

I love you, Locket.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Barely alive and stricken with extreme melodrama.

Didn't even wash my hair today, the earrings have been abandoned on the bedside table where Lochlan left them after he took them off me. I've got the white hand of Saruman on my face today, a tiny deaf Uruk-hai and I growl at everyone who comes near (says Ben, who makes me laugh and then his face falls when I start coughing again).

Blame Jake as he came to me in my dreams, last night, taking my temperature, his huge hand on my forehead for a rest and then asked me why I hadn't read the letters yet, that he's glad Sam rescued them from the fire, that he's happy the words he meant for me to see will be seen after all.

But will they? I don't know if they will and it will take more than a delirious fever dream to get me to read them. My curiosity has been stifled like everything else right now as I focus on getting better. I think it's pneumonia. So does the young Russian doctor but I waved him away when he suggested chest x-rays. Fool me twice, those don't resolve a thing. Eventually I'll get better. I discovered Dayquil is kind of like amphetamines in that you feel so awfully bad but you don't care and you go get everything done that needs to be done anyway.

I did it and then crashed and found out Dayquil has a stupid four-hour effective period and declined to take any more. The rebound headaches are crowding in on top of everything and I've resorted to hiding behind PJ for the duration. I've cried twice today just randomly. Wait, no, once was when PJ said I smelled bad. I don't. Well, maybe I do. I don't care.

Lochlan gave up on trying to get me to stay in bed and yet that's the only place I want to be. I'm just so sick of the four walls of every room and no amount of visiting sympathizers has changed that, be they ghosts or real live men.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Told you so.

Did I catch you in the middle of getting ready?

No, this is the outfit for the day. 

But..the earrings?

I've had them on for three days. Don't worry about it. I hold the door open and Joel comes in. We're celebrating the Leafs making the playoffs for the first time in four years. He brought flowers and hopefully a catered lunch. I am quarantined, confined to the house and not allowed to even venture into the driveway and that's how the Devil ended up here the other night and I've gone shack wacky since. I get bad cases of cabin fever along with everything else, I guess. Not fun but I'll get better faster if I listen instead of talking.

As always.

I showered, dried my hair and put on clean pajamas but the earrings have indeed persisted. They're smallish hoops though. White gold with diamonds set all the way around. They make me feel fancy so they stay. They match one of my rings. Works for me.

I take a sip of juice. I'm at the point where if I cough it's going to be all over. It hurts so badly to cough. I'm just trying to drink lots and not notice their version of choreage is not nearly done to the exacting standards and military precision as mine so let's go back to talking about diamond earrings and pajamas.

And Joel.

Why are you really here? I ask him. He smiles and tucks his chin down into his collar in amusement. God. Stupidly adorable and so. much. trouble. all the time. I swear Jake just packed his life with beautiful, fallible people for me to ruin. Himself and me included.

I'm not beautiful though. Not today. My nose is raw and red.

The letters, Bridget. From Jacob. I-

I haven't touched them yet. 

You're generally curious to a fault. You must really be sick. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Waking up different.

The change in the weather heralded a change in Sam's mind as he handed me a short stack of envelopes this morning.

Since you're sick-

Are there drugs in here? I start rifling through them and one falls out. Instinctively I grab it before it can flutter far and see Jacob's handwriting. My eyes snap to Sam's face.

I didn't burn them, Bridget. I just wanted you to have a break from him. We all did. I've gone through them and this batch is a safe read for you. If you want to. 

(If I want to. Safe for me. Is the sky blue? Wait. It isn't. It's kind of grey- Shut up, Bridget. Just shut the fuck up and read them already.)


Before he left the room this morning Lochlan lit some white sage and some patchouli incense so that I would have a peaceful wakeup. The ceiling fan is on and all the windows are open. Tonight is the pink moon. One of my favorites of the year.

I step into a hot shower and he's left a bottle of baby vapor bath in the shower for me. My cold rages on. I can hardly breathe but it's a rite of spring. Or maybe of passage. Or maybe both.

I pile my rings back on as I dry my hair quickly, pinning my bangs to one side so they don't cover my eyes. He'd like to cut them but I might grow them out. The pin is sterling, an antique I found in a shop somewhere far from here. It doesn't flex like the cheaper ones, necessitating a purge every few months as my hair is so heavy and the pins are no match for it. This one always works. Also a favorite. A good luck charm.

I pull on my black tights and a long-sleeved black thermal t-shirt. Then a knee-length knit black pencil skirt and tall black button boots. A short-sleeved black shirt and a black velvet choker completes my mood. I sit at the edge of the couch, grabbing a button hook to get to work. These boots will stay on until after dinner and then I will be Bridget-sized again. Three inches makes me feel ten feet tall, though, and it's always the feeling that matters, so much more than the look.

From the bed I hear a change in breathing and the Devil opens his eyes.

You look beautiful, Neamhchiontach.

I smile and leave him there. Might be a first. Might not be a last. We'll see.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

My little Toronto Maple Leafs quietly snagged a playoff spot last night. The Canucks didn't. The house is divided. I won all the long-shot bets there were to be made. Pay up, boys.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Hello Tempest.

Fight over the clouds, over wind, over sky
Fight over life, over blood, over prayer
Overhead and light
Fight over love, over sun, over another
Fight for each other, for the ones who are rising

Angels on the sideline again
Benched along with patience and reason
Angels on the sideline again
Wondering when this tug of war will end
Ben didn't care that I was sick. He came upstairs, pulled me into his lap in the dark from where I slept hard and gurgly-congested and put his arms around me. Pajamas were sent to the floor amid quiet protests. Headphones were put on my head, his music player tossed to the side and then I was unceremoniously dumped facedown where I remained for the next few hours while he held one hand around my face, over my mouth and kept the other wrapped around my lower abdomen to pull me up off the bed and against him, over and over. It was harsh and beautiful and loving too, with music pounding through my feverish skull and then finally, at long last he turned me back over, ripped the headphones off my head and brought us back up to a sitting position, with one hand around the back of my neck and the other cupping me against him and he made sure we both hit heaven at the same time in dead dark silence, my arms wrapped so hard around his neck that by the time he let go I realized I was holding him and holding myself too. He dropped me back down onto the bed and tucked me in against his chest and I slept like a baby. Until an hour later when he woke up and wanted to repeat the night in daylight.

It's okay though. After I was full of Ben he filled the top half of me with coffee so I'm good. I'm good. God I hurt.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Four paragraphs of sweet fuck all.

It's Friday afternoon and I'm letting a playlist entitled 'Sappy' play through five times or seven, I don't know. I lost count. I think I've slogged through the new Phish, Pallbearer, Demon Hunter and Jamiroquai albums enough to be released to old familiars. Right now Triumph's Lay it On the Line is on again. I have a soft squishy spot inside my head for eighties ballads, an absolute blackened hole in my brain where I keep my favourite seventies ballads and zero time at all for anything from the nineties, frankly. All of this is stuffed into a metal shell, a tough alloy overlay I'm probably allergic to but will withstand nonetheless because a daily diet of teeth-rattling hardcore LOUD is better than everything else combined.

Sweet and hard. That's where it's at.

Just in the nick of time I think I have soothed all the hearts on the point to a dull contentment, I've got Asher keeping Batman organized to a fault, New Jake has his bike and has been good about keeping in touch every few days, Caleb went away with his tail between his legs and hasn't been back, surprisingly, so Lochlan is super happy today, Ben is still sober, PJ is still mad at me for spending too long too close a morning with Teflon Jesus (that Lochlan didn't care about one bit) and Sam warned me that I'm now in my final week of Lent, that Holy Thursday is less than a week away and I can have a cookie. Soon.

Except I don't want a cookie anymore.

I think I'm cured. Well, for now until I'm hungry again and then we'll see but really I don't care. I'm trying to transition back to coffee as a snack or a meal or pretty much a standby because my throat hurts so bad right now. We went to run errands earlier (my driver's license is about to expire so YAY. Photos that suck because if I'm not smiling I look like I'm going to cry. Also shoulder length hair booooo and now I'm stuck with that new photo for the next five years fuck.) and we ran out of a few crucial groceries which wasn't good and I don't feel good enough to improvise. Every time I sneeze a glob of something lands on my hands (because I sneeze like a little kid, both hands up covering my whole face. Thank God for that.) and Dalton is now sneezing a fair bit and Oh fuck. I'm going to make the whole house sick but it's inevitable. I either get sick first or I'm stubborn and I get sick a week after everyone else is getting better.

Ben is sort of sick too. Not in that fun way, I mean actually sick. He's been sleeping a lot and coughing a lot. When I woke up this morning I croaked good morning and he laughed like a big scary donkey and I laughed like a donkey being squeezed and then Lochlan woke up and just laughed like a normal freak and now I have to sing all day along with these sappy songs because my voice sounds so weird. PJ keeps telling me to rest my voice, as if I'm saving it for some big show, but as you can see it's not important because I've got nothing to say today. Today's just a day. Everything's level. The ghosts are quiet. The demons are satiated. The monster's got her shit together for five whole minutes and is probably about to go down rather hard. But not in a bad way. I guess I can look forward to more cuddles and a cozy weekend. I probably need it. I hope there's pizza.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Sanctus chill.

I'm having morning pajama cuddles with Teflon Jesus because I have a really bad headache and because he looked very cozy netflixing on his giant iPad Pro in bed when I went down to throw a load of clean clothes in the dryer. He called me in and asked what was up, because Dalton never ever pays attention when he watches movies. We can't take him to a theatre, he's such a casual talker. The best part is that it's a perk, not a flaw because in short order you'll realize you'd rather talk to him than watch the movie anyway. I don't mind that one bit.

So he held up the duvet and I crawled in and closed my eyes and drifted while he talked gently about this and that, knowing full well I wasn't really listening. Eventually he put his hand around my forehead. It was cool and felt nice. He keeps his room cool so I was out in seconds. Then he fell asleep too and the iPad fell on the floor at some point and we both jumped out of sleep and fell a thousand feet a second until we landed in reality.

He put a new movie on and we settled back in to watch it this time. But not watch it at all, because, as I said, he talks. I think Sam finished the laundry, probably as an afterthought while looking for me. I know this because PJ messaged me five times and Dalton messaged him back with a short Got her and nothing else which will get the rumor mill jacked up and chugging hard, belching smoke everywhere as it fires up to level Extreme but Dalton shrugged, tucked his hair behind his ears, said he doesn't care, and asked me what I wanted to watch next.

I didn't answer. I was too busy falling asleep.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cole, you would have liked this one a whole hell of a lot.

Oh my God, I dropped the ball and apparently it rolled away under something somewhere and I just found it late last night. 

Big Boat. You know, the new (new. Ha!) Phish album that came out six freaking months ago

That's what I get for not using the internet. I blame everyone on this entire point for not telling me. They're always online somewhere, reading something. No excuses. No surrender. 

It's glorious though. Better late than never.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A little ball of fire, a lot of destruction.

In the shower this morning with Lochlan. He takes me by the elbows and walks me backward under the spray until I'm drowning. Then he pulls me back out, smooths my hair back and kisses me.

I christen you every morning in boiling hot water, Peanut and we start over. I wish I could put in rules. I was I could take you with me and run. I wish to God Sam would stop falling asleep holding a lock of my hair. 

He laughs and sticks his whole face back under the spray. Then he rubs it hard and is back in front of me, where I have made a tower of my hair, full of shampoo, up into a tall soapy point. He looks up and laughs as it falls over and deposits a blob of shampoo in my eye. I yelp when it burns and he takes a damp facecloth and holds it over my face until the soap is gone and the pain with it. He then dips me back in the spray again until I am rinsed clean. He could baptize me a thousand times over and I'm fine with starting over again with every single breath. If this is the way it has to be for him then this is the way it is.

We've taken Sam in as a fixture or something at this point. He's lonely and a little unsure, a little shaky in real life when he isn't on a pulpit speaking as the representative of the Lord and he's cute to a debilitating fault. He's not a threat either. Not anymore. Not how they thought he would be anyway. At least very very few people see him as one, and Lochlan and Ben are not two of them.

Caleb and Batman, on the other hand, well, they bitch long and loud about this.

But it isn't their business.

Sure it is. You're my girlfriend. Caleb's fairly certain he can have a say in all of it. I'm certain he has a say in none of it. Also...girlfriend? He's never ever talked like that in a thousand years. He's transferred all of his energy that used to be used to bully Lochlan and figures he can do it to Sam. I don't think so.

Sure it is my business. I promised to look after you. Batman's still got one hell of a fucked-up allegiance to Cole that seems to transcend any business or personal relationship they had. He acts as if he's lost a lover and he's racked by the guilt. My brain never went there before and I don't know if I want to let it now. Neither Cole nor Batman has ever expressed interest in men but then again I run with a strangely progressive and permissive crowd-

No. You know what he's doing? He's hiding his personal distaste for any relationship I have that doesn't involve him behind his loyal duty to keep a promise to someone who's dead and can't care any more.

Hey, look. It's only the third time I've ever used that word to describe Cole since he left.

He is dead.


God, I hate that word so much.

So if I want to fill my wakeful moments and then my dreams with as much love as I can because it feels good, it feels safe and it feels right I will and they can't do anything about it.

Sure I can. Caleb gives Sam a shove when he walks in through the kitchen archway. Sam bumps against the wall and his phone bounces off the floor. It's fine. He's fine. He says nothing to Caleb and collects his phone and heads out anyway, and I turn and stare at Caleb as he takes a seat at the island to watch  me finish cleaning up. He positively glowers with jealousy and I finally ask him to leave if he's just going to spread negative tension everywhere.

PJ stands up. PJ's never all that far away and doesn't like any of this. Not for jealousy's sake, just for peace of mind.

You can sit, Padraig. There's no drama. I promise. I just want to speak to Bridget in private.

That doesn't exist-

It damn well does! Caleb yells at him and I slap my hand flat on the counter and lean way over.

You don't get to speak to him like that. Go. Please.


GO. You can apologize to him later and I'll talk to you tomorrow. That's all.

Dismissed. Like that. He won't be over for dinner.  I won't be over later. He lost the day for his temper. I can't give him an inch or he'll take everything and there's no way I'm letting him take out his ire on people I care for just as much. Nor will he be allowed to come in here and start ordering anyone around. I balance up here on such a thin wire of keeping the demon in check with the monster and it hasn't been, nor will it ever be easy but I'm doing it anyway. I'm well-trained and I have a lot of experience staying up here forever and if civility is what makes us work then that's what will be law around here, instead of the wild west it used to be.

I hold on to Lochlan's shoulders and he leans me way back under the spray again, landing a kiss against the hollow of my throat. You get to make the rules now, Peanut. Just make sure you say very clearly what it is that you want. 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Maintenance of a tender heart.


The word I spoke on the porch maybe had more weight than it needed to but Sam let the door swing closed on Caleb's face as they made their way past each other. Sam was going in as Caleb waited for him to clear the door so he could come out. Usually whoever opens the door outward waits and whoever is coming through comes through but Sam chose not to be polite.

He turned and held the door wide with his arm. Sorry. Didn't see you in the darkness. 

Caleb passed him with a nod and came out to sit with me. I don't know if he caught that double entendre but I sure did.

Sam is doing that thing where he's annoyed that I missed church again and even more annoyed that I haven't seen much of him as he hunkers down in preparation for the coming weeks of heavy work. The biggest season of the year for church. It kind of makes me crazy how people who show up at Christmas and then again at Easter in their finest get a pass while I'm singled out in my contentment to give up cookies and get my forehead orthodoxed out with a cross every couple of days while at the same time thoroughly corrupting my minister to the point where hopefully he won't notice my absence in front of him during the weekly sermon.

I think it's working, though.

Caleb and I sit for an hour or so until the tea is cold and so are the tops of my feet. Then he heads inside to bid the rest a goodnight and Sam is back on the porch before I've had time to register that I have the whole thing to myself.

He's here too much. 

What's wrong, Sam? 

I worry about you. I don't know how you can give him the time of day sometimes. 

I forgive easily. I can hold a grudge with both hands and not let go in a tsunami, but I still forgive him. 


It's necessary. 

But is it? Can't I or someone else take his place? 

Not the same. 


Jesus Christ. I'm not here for numbers. I love him, Sam. 

Do you love me? 

He stares earnestly at me. I've never seen such hope in his eyes. Even during dark times. It makes my eyes water even as I hold my breath.

It's late. We should go on up. 

Yeah. I have some reading to-

Come with me. You can read later.

There's my answer, Bridget. 

Yes, Sam. There it is.

Sunday, 2 April 2017



We went to see the Tea Party last night after having listened to them for over a quarter of a century for their 20th anniversary of the release of Transmission tour. It was so good! We managed to get our usual set of tables without a fuss, the Commodore Ballroom is perfect as usual and the band was outstanding. Worth it. They made me cry once, but only when Heaven Coming Down turned abruptly into With Or Without You, which, coincidentally, I saw U2 perform live on their last show here in Vancouver.

I finally feel like I've caught up with the boys as far as attended live shows goes. Finally. And this one last night lands in my top five of all time because it was THAT good. 

The crowd sang along and clapped and we all laughed and Jeff Martin is the Lizard King if ever there was one, but in a very good way. I don't know what people think when they read that, but when I mention it I think of Jim Morrison (of course) and how any man with a shit-ton of charisma, charm and cool who also sports some nice leather jackets and long brown curls is going to wind up in that category. Jim, Jeff and Duncan (my resident LK) are just somehow far better at it (or were, for Jim anyway) than most.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

All the fools in one place.

Thank you for letting me sleep, Neamhchiontach, he says as he comes into the kitchen this morning from the living room, blanket still over his shoulders. All eyes shift over to the doorway and he salutes the room lazily.

You seemed to need it.

The house is so quiet. I didn't expect that.

We soundproofed Ben's workshop, PJ says with his mouth full of toast.

What's that? Ben says from where he sits and ignores every last one of us. Lochlan smirks at Ben but says nothing.

Can we continue our conversation this evening? Caleb's still looking at me and ignoring the banter now spreading around the room.

Yes. A group of us are going to dinner and to a concert. We plan to get along. It's working. Somehow. Holy.