Saturday, 8 January 2011


This is what we come up lying in bed being goofy on a Saturday morning. Today is going to be an everything BEN day.


We'll have eggs BENedict for breakfast.
Maybe sit on a BENch.
We'll be BENevolent.
We'll say hello to our BENefactors,
Let's do things for our own BENefit.
We'll BENd over backwards to have some fun,
and not get eaten by BENgal tigers.

I'm sure there will be more.

Friday, 7 January 2011

He requested one particular song and I couldn't do it for him. The piano is situated in the glass corner. All windows, the rain just pouring down the glass and I wondered why he was twisting screws this morning and then I saw why. Earrings on the kitchen counter.

Someone I know?



I stopped trying to play altogether, getting up abruptly. I thought I saw a flash of amusement cross Caleb's face but it was gone as quickly as it arrived and replaced with what I could only place as guilt or maybe sadness, even. He maintained convention even as I managed to knock over the bench but John jumped a thousand feet from his place at the island reading the paper, having been asked to stick around for an hour in order to take me home. John reacted. Further proof that Caleb isn't human, though he can be prone to devastating emotion. Maybe he just learned that from me along the way.

He asked if I needed anything, a question so loaded with innuendo I broke into a sweat.

I was tempted to ask him for juice in a glass bottle so I could break it off at the neck and jab it into Caleb's wretched, inhuman soul, putting it out of misery for good, but I resisted and said nothing, hands beginning to flutter. I shoved them behind my back.

Would you like to talk about why you're so unsettled today, princess?

No. (There's no way he doesn't understand how I feel about her.)

Good then, because we have quite a bit to accomplish today.

I don't want to be here when she comes back.


I just told you. I don't want to see Sophie.

You won't. I sent her home this morning. I'll courier the earrings out later.

So why did she come here?

She had a meeting and so we went for dinner. Bridget, what is wrong with you?


Is she a rival?

What? No? She can have you if that's what you mean.

Something isn't right with you.

She just..

What is it, doll?

We really need to get some work done. The children will be out soon.

He paused and smiled gently at me, leaving the smile in thin air, bending his head over the stack of invoices between us. Subject closed. A molecule of grace and a reprieve, in spite of his attempt to feign polite ignorance. My feelings about Sophie are none of anyone's business, Caleb included. Hell, BEN included. I can't explain it and so I just don't.

I just don't want Jacob's ex-wife to enter into my life in any way, shape or form, in person or in passing mention. Is that too much to ask? I came to that conclusion last time I saw her and I'm fine with my decision. And you all know how forgiving and permissive I am, so this didn't come easily. Don't make it any harder than it has to be.

I can't write with him breathing down my neck. Wait til I get home again.

They never tell you truth is subjective
They only tell you not to lie
They never tell you there's strength in vulnerability
They only tell you not to cry

But I've been living underground
Sleeping on the way
And finding something else to say
Is like walking on the freeway

They never tell you you don't need to be ashamed
They only tell you to deny
So is it true that only good girls go to heaven?
They only sell you what you buy

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Elephants with strawberry blonde curls.

Oh fuck me. Lochlan got my head stuck on Journey again. It's going to be years before I shake this. Just like last time.

He's a very simple guy. He requires blue jeans, t-shirts, a handful of bands: Pink Floyd, Journey, Kansas, Allman Brothers and a couple others, coffee, smokes, a Wacom tablet for painting, his camera, his small but beloved princess and his motorcycles too.

I think that's all he needs. We're on the fence with the beer. Long story maybe not for today.

But I found out this morning his phone alarm is that Journey song and maybe I didn't find out this morning because it's been stuck in my head for a few weeks so I must have heard it in my sleep.

They always played it on the Ferris wheel.

You could curse Lochlan forever for being stuck in the past. You could tell me I'm the ticking time bomb and that he could be the soulmate based on what you've read and you could condemn him for the near-evil that he brings oh so quietly and you could revile him for his bottomless cold logic which isn't nearly as cold or as logical as it seems when you realize it comes from a place of total insecurity and you could fear for his perpetual fever dream state which always leads me to wonder if spontaneous combustion will be his fate some day.

Or you could just let it go, like we do. Leave it alone. Pretend it isn't there because you can't do anything about it anyway. Neither can we.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A thirst for potassium chlorate.

(One of the few requests I can actually grant. Thanks to those of you who asked for this story.)

I met Lochlan three weeks after moving to the neighborhood my parents still live in to this day. I was newly eight years old and we had moved around the Maritimes three or four times by then, summering in Shediac and Cape Cod equally, breathing in sand, exhaling salt air. Settling near Halifax because my father worked there and it was close to my grandparents, who lived down along the south shore of Nova Scotia.

(If I didn't spend my early childhood on the beach, I have spent it in the car, or rather standing beside it on the shoulder of every Eastern coastal highway you can name, dry-heaving because I can't sit in the backseat of a car. I still can't, to this day and Gravol is Bridget's very own roofie cocktail.

Out like a light for days.

Is that a tangent? I'm sorry.)

Anyway, the night I met Lochlan was the night he made his best-ever shot on goal (for a thirteen-year-old boy), knocking me down with the practice ball they were using for street hockey. They were playing a quick pick-up game, sons versus fathers in the waning light of a hot July night during the neighborhood block party. The bonfire licked at the sky at the end of the street just off the pavement where the road turned to forest and the path to the ball field began.

Up until I hit the ground I had been on the sort of high only an Elementary-school student jacked up on ice cream and excitement can manage and I never heard him yell a warning, though afterward I am told his thirteen-year-old voice broke spectacularly and he was teased for the rest of the summer, until that other kid showed up for Junior High with high-water pants on and Lochlan was left mercifully alone, having enjoyed a complete deepening of his voice at that point in late puberty that meant he was well and truly ensconced in teenagehood now and had little use for some kid in grade three.

But for reasons that remain a mystery to me, we were instant friends. He picked me up off the pavement and felt my head gingerly and apologized profusely. By then all of the dads were present, and all the other boys too. He told them he would take me to his kitchen to get an ice pack and they could continue the game without him. He put his arm around my shoulders and pointed out his house and we walked slowly in the dark as kids ran by with sparklers (oh, how I wanted one!) and bubbles and frosted cans of rootbeer and Dr. Pepper and hotdogs with grubby, blackened buns and the last dregs of relish from the jar.

Once in his kitchen, Lochlan promptly forgot about the ice, instead telling me I had cool hair. I was sitting on my long hair, perched on the bar stool by the counter. He poured a couple of glasses of cream soda for us and asked me if I had eaten at the barbecue. I had a hamburger, I told him and he nodded. Good.

After a few minutes I asked if we could go back to the party. I was hoping there would be some sparklers left and I had precious minutes remaining in my wild night of summer freedom. I wasn't about to waste those opportunities. Besides. All boys were always nice to me to show Bailey how awesome they were. I was sure he would be no different.

Lochlan nodded and we left, leaving his house unlocked as people did back in 1979 and he walked me back down to the end of the street and the bonfire, where most of the adults and children had gathered to watch the flames and roast marshmallows. He said goodbye and repeated his apology for hitting me with the ball and then he stuck his hands in the front pockets of his jeans and walked away back toward the boys, who were still enjoying their pick-up game even though it was too dark to find their sticks, let alone the nets.

I burned four marshmallows beyond recognition, ate seven raw ones, and then started to become hypnotized by the flames when Lochlan returned and called me away from the log where I had been perched. I went to him and he produced a lighter and a single sparkler, which he lit and handed to me.

Didn't want you to miss anything, he said.

He lit a sparkler for me every night for the remainder of that summer. Every now and then we'll buy a package for no reason at all and light them and the nostalgia hits all at once, just like a hockey ball to the back of one's head. If you aren't careful it will knock you right over.

Every now and then I have this urge to tell him to stop being so loud.

You know what's really cool? When I miss Ben during the day I can just put on some of his music and then his voice is reverberating through the entire house, with feeling.

Kind of like when he's home, except with a remote control handy for volume control.


Everyone has disappeared back to their lives today so that means I'm back to being really organized, and having six premium plus crackers for lunch every day because I do not have any lunch dates.

Well, that part kind of sucks, actually.

Monday, 3 January 2011

I think he would have chosen to be Peter Pan but that one is already taken so I made him Mr. Grin instead.

So how do you deal with it?

Simple, Dollface. I assess risk for a living. So I make sure to minimize the risk factors by living well and consciously.

But you already do all that.

Exactly. That's why no one wanted you to worry.

Do you hear ticking?

Careful, princess, or we'll change your nickname to Captain Hook.

And that was it. With Caleb, it's very easy to gauge when a subject is now closed. I will be able to look back on that moment in around sixty years, if I remember anything at all, and realize he would never bring it up again. Maybe this is just one of the things you come to know after knowing someone for thirty years. Maybe I am simply delusional and we'll do this every morning and I will fret and wring until I know he didn't just check out in the middle of the night until I hear from him each day. Maybe I won't be able to contain him in the concrete room with the others, hell, I'm always stunned to find Cole still there because Cole is virtually unstoppable. Maybe the death-part changes things like that. Maybe I can gain the upper hand with Caleb when he's dead too.

But I doubt it.

His voice cuts into my reverie. He is smiling at me and my blood freezes in my veins.

I can't see you ever NOT being the princess.

Oh. I check my expression and brush past him. We have a well-timed appointment in court this morning with our mediator for a quick check-in or I wouldn't be dressed up. Instead I could be adjusting my black cloud, terrorizing New-Jake and Dalton or out breakfasting with Lochlan, who chose to start his Monday morning at the diner in the village with the children, because if you can have an adventure on a Monday morning, then you should. (Also: Bridget hardly ever buys bacon anymore because she is becoming the cholesterol fairy.)

So is it a bone of contention that Ben chose to construct the home studio but will still be coming in town most of the time to work?

Maybe. I don't know yet.

Distractions, princess.


It's okay. You feel the same way when you're writing.

I'm well aware of that.

But you hoped differently.

Maybe. Can we please talk about something else?

What would you like to talk about this morning?

How quickly will we be finished this meeting?

All business today? I can't interest you in lunch?

Not today. The children are home, remember?

I remember, but I also figured that since they're in good hands you might be more receptive to an invitation.

I don't think so. But thank you.

Maybe next week.

Maybe. I let him have the hope.

And with that, we're off. A united front with the best interests of the children at heart. I think the court will be pleased to see this for a change. You know, while it lasts.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Expected vocations.

Here at the home for orphaned rock stars, wayward artists, those afflicted by romantic Tourettes, sideshow freaks and vaguely clingy but perfectly capable, newly-minted moguls, we have dreams too, you know.

Just because we didn't run the gamut of promising to get in shape, lose weight, spend less, live greener or eat locally or whatever is on those magical lists doesn't mean we don't already do those things, it just means we're decided the disheartening approach of beginning fresh only to abandon efforts and subsequently feeling bad about that isn't the way we want to do things anymore.

Besides, I have another new career. Well, not new, I've just decided to go pro.

Collecting beach glass, full time.

It fits in very well with my other mind-bendingly nonpareil occupations of being the company figurehead (bolted on the front like on a ship, no less), simple affection extractor, wrangler of personal black rain clouds and oh, writing.

So there you have it. Freak show indeed. I think I like the sea glass one the best, because it involves being able to hear the water and absolutely nothing else. It's permission to be silent as long as I stand on sand (Bridget's decompression platform, highly top-secret material, you see), and it's showing off, because I'm really good at it, coming home with damp, sandy pocketfuls. Weighed down.

I clink when I walk into the house now, you can hear me coming a mile away.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

So far so good.

The part where I'm supposed to make restitution.

Resolutions. Absolutions. Those things we say and we promise ourselves all of it is going to be different.

Aside from a few very specific things I want to look after anyway (and will), I'm going to do something quite out of the ordinary (which I don't think I've ever been in anyway) and not make any resolutions at all.

None. Not a one. Zip. Zero. Go away, thank you.

I'm not feeling nostalgic and sentimental. I didn't hear Auld Lang Syne this year. I haven't managed to wrap my head around a new date to write on cheques and field trip forms and so I will slip into the new year gradually, quietly, when everyone is looking the other way. I'll hold my breath and slip in the back, taking the last empty seat on what will undoubtedly be another year of ups and downs, ins and outs, highs and lows. This is what life is, is it not?

Well, then, there you have it.

Besides, I have a birthday approaching in the spring and it's one of those largish ones that ends in a zero and I'm still wrapping my brain around this news, only the paper doesn't quite fit and I can get it folded over both sides but it doesn't meet in the middle and so I need to find more paper before I can do it properly.

A new year indeed.

So far so good. The changing of the guard with the company will mean little over all. As I said before, it's a t crossed, an i dotted and nothing more and I'm calmer today. I'm a little more rested today too, and it's sunny and cool outside and we have great big plans today and so I'm not going to open dark boxes or worry about shadows or fret and wring today. I'm going to go run in the sand and search for some beach glass and maybe spend the day smiling.