Friday, 2 March 2012

Guaranteed returns (birthday eve).

The shot really blew your mind
Truly out of sight
And she cried for only a week or two
Then left the tears behind
And we froze feeling like mystery
On a misty road
In the dark filling the holes with love
Just to pass the time

It was already beginning to show curses from years ago
And the ocean is already parted
Will you take a walk
Walk with me now?

And danger averted us as it slowed me down
And it flashed in rhythm with my surprise
It never let me down
But it tried and i looked into its eyes
Then we said goodbye
There's a world balancing two designs
I can understand
I went shopping with Daniel all morning and ran some errands while he sniffled and coughed endlessly. I tried on jeans. I bought three designer handbags for pennies at a vintage store. I drove in the rain, peering out into the grey from behind the windshield of the Range Rover because I love driving other people's cars and Schuyler doesn't mind. I paid cash for things and I hummed all morning because I have lyrics stuck in my head, wedged tightly in between a listed hierarchy of boys in this house and my grandmother's recipe for cinnamon rolls.

I changed for my lunch date with Caleb, into the killer heels and the black and blush-pink dress he likes most. I put my hair up because he likes it up and then I put on lip gloss and mascara because that's all any of them like and I asked the mirror why I care what he wants to see anyway. She didn't answer fast enough and I couldn't wait anymore, I had to go.

When I arrived he was waiting for me, having driven his car here because of some meetings downtown this morning, while I was picked up and delivered by Mike, someone who was re-hired and relocated when I took John back from the Devil. Mike is someone I still steadfastly refuse to speak to anymore (after his guardianship in the Prairies turned distinctly stalkerish and he couldn't be called off) so I had my headphones in my bag and I put those in and didn't take them out until we were across the bridge and he opened the car door in front of the restaurant, umbrella in hand. I thanked him by name. I'm only a little bit of a monster, after all.

Caleb told me I looked beautiful and that he had already ordered for us. That's alright, I already called ahead to order a birthday cake slice for him with a candle for dessert. They frowned over the phone, this is not a place like Boston Pizza or The Keg where the staff will come out en masse and sing to the birthday celebrant. No, here the chef was agog that I would want to ruin his presentation with a wax candle, but based on Caleb's good name and my charm he agreed. Merde, he said and I knew what he meant and laughed.

After Caleb's delighted surprise at the cake, he slid an envelope across the table. It is blackened silver, and blank but sealed. I know what it is. I pick it up and put it in my bag. He pretends not to care, rubbing his face, fresh from a straight-razor shave and a haircut at the barber in his old neighborhood. I start to tell him I will talk to Ben about it and he abruptly says he already has, and he looks forward to tomorrow night. Then he stands up and asks if I want to ride with him back to the house. The surprise shifts back to me and briefly I wonder if he would mind if I put my headphones in. I laugh to myself but my outward smile is instantly mistaken for anticipation. He puts his arm out and I take it. People watch us leave. Then they watch as he takes the key from the valet and opens my door, somehow managing the door, key, umbrella and still a hand for me to balance with when I would have dropped everything by now. He walks around to his side and gets in.

Birthdays are strange, aren't they? he says as he pulls out into traffic. I watch him drive, his profile focused on the road and the lights and the other cars. I used to watch him drive when I was eleven, when he would drive everyone to the lake. Nothing has changed. He still smiles because he knows I'm staring at him. He has tiny lines at the corners of his eyes now. He has to shave every day instead of twice a week. He has a few fine grey hairs mixed in with the brown but only over his ears. The shirt he wears today costs more than his first car did. He'll be forty-nine tomorrow, he was nineteen in that other life before he knew he was the devil. Before I knew he was the devil.

He still reaches out to fuss with the heat and asks the same question he has asked for over thirty years. Warm enough? I nod, still fixated on his face. He keeps the stereo low so I can talk if I want to and I wouldn't had have the courage to take the headphones out of my bag and block him out because I would hurt his feelings and I seem to be incapable of doing that on purpose, instead doing it by accident and sometimes not doing it when I should.

We get to the house and I thanked him by name (monster) and headed toward the side door as he turned and headed toward the boathouse. I know he turned and watched me walk away but I didn't look back, I just felt it. I have things to do. Tomorrow's going to be a busy day. I have a cake to bake for the party tomorrow and I have to ask Ben why he agreed to something he promised he wouldn't agree to anymore. That he said he didn't want anymore and yet we keep going back for more punishment, over and over again. If this is is revenge for the fact that I still keep my little finger curled around dreams of the carnival then he's going about it all wrong.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Running from my last goodbye.

And suddenly it rushed my mind
I couldn't hold it as it moved so high
And I never looked back with the same eyes again

Suddenly I lost my voice
A new second when I had that chance
I saw my eyes
They were filling up with regret
And suddenly a paradise
Sees me running from my last goodbye
I saw my eyes telling you a story again

So I must have been running for miles
Out of my mind
But I never got tired
I must have been wired

And if I ever see her outside
With a letter from home
Well I’m never gonna go
Never gonna go home
He didn't read far enough to catch the parts where I wrote 'without history and 'without rules' because rage blinded him to my words and despair held him back from being able to absorb much of what I spoke of, save for my own death. He won't think about that. Ever.

Just like I don't think about his.


Something tells me heaven looks less like my garage and more like Coney Island but don't tell him that, he'll take it as a compliment and rule with his ego instead of his head. There's enough ego around here to offset the empathy and it leaves us dizzy and raw.

So I don't think I'm going to play out the conversations of yesterday. I just grew fresh skin over my open wounds and my heart is freshly sutured, threads caught and ripped by the sharpest teeth, a gentle pat on the back delivered as I am pushed back into the clouds at the top of the cliff and proclaimed 'good as ever' but never 'good as new'.

We had rules. I had to lie about my name and my age and by the time we graduated from gritty midway caravans and endless Ferris wheel rides to the full-on circus and subsequent freak show we were both so used to the rules that we fell into them instantly and easily, though they were no longer required. It's funny how that happens. You get so used to something it becomes as automatic as taking a breath, or stealing a heart.


He didn't like the rules but they worked in place of absolute freedom. Some is better than all. All is better than none.

And then Lochlan said a whole bunch of other stuff in a rush and I wound up holding my hand out for the vodka he brought outside but never opened. He struggled to get the cap off with one good hand and then he gave it to me, taking accountability instead of a drink, himself. I chose the drink just to soften the surprise.

And just like that I blink and we enter the next phase of adulthood, the one in which all the words are out now and we're not angry at each other at all.

I took a big huge gulp and then another and was planning on continuing until it was gone but he grabbed it back and said he didn't want us to have this conversation inebriated. Too late, it's burning me from the inside out. No, not the alcohol, the words. I remember everything he said and now I know for sure, he's absolutely never ever wrong.

Lesson learned. Won't make that mistake again.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

He was sitting at the island this morning, eyes boring into a cup of black coffee. Not drinking, just staring. Didn't even look up when I walked in, didn't say good morning. I poured myself a cup of coffee from the pot and when I turned around he said,

I think you mixed up Ben and I in your post yesterday.

Then he stood up and walked out of the room.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Barometers and outros (complete with ocean view).

Early morning
The city breaks
I've been calling
For years and years and years and years
And you never left me no messages
Ya never send me no letters
You got some kind of nerve
Taking all I want

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Where were you? Where were you?
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why'd you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me
You will know my grave when you find it, someday. There will be no name and no dates, only song lyrics printed in uneven Traveling Typewriter, set quite small, but maybe not. There will be no flowers, for flowers are wasted on the dead. Hopefully from where you stand you will have your back to the ocean, so that I can see the water even though I won't actually be there, no. Hopefully I'll be in the garage wrapped within black and white wings, hiding in plain view. Hopefully I won't mind. Hopefully it happens faster and less painfully than life does, this thing called death. But for the meantime, as far as I have seen, it doesn't.

I shouldn't hold my breath, should I? Prime real estate on the water doesn't lend itself to keeping souls, only creating them out of sand and seaweed, pressed tightly between the waves and the stones beneath until they resemble something that looks curiously like fossilized melancholy, or a little girl with an fistful of blue cotton candy and a broken heart. The sight of her will break yours. You just think you're tough.

Whatshisface has turned the corner. He has graduated to cast number two and seems to have his emotional footing back underneath him. Instead of seeing him perpetually sprawled on the floor from a decided lack of logic and balance he stands on the fringe again. He is the last person you would expect to be the first to take a risk, but there you have it. Maybe that's how he gets away with so much, that charm and easy quiet that fails to warn your intuition until it is so late it's pitch black and everyone has left. Hypnotism by fire. Don't say I didn't warn you, okay?

In any event, we are just happy he has stopped lashing out at everything and everyone. For the moment I will continue to evade his demands that I fill him in on the rest of my life because I'm busy doing other things, like drawing pictures, listening to music and trying to figure out what the rest of my life is supposed to be.

My current state is flawed, charred and twisted, dented, and rescued. I'm not sure if happiness is a ten-minute ice cream cone eaten in the park or a week without lifting a finger in Ibiza. I don't know if life is about a quick telephone call to someone I haven't talked to in a while or needing everything perfectly in place, clean, folded, pressed, organized and color-coded. Is that when it's finished? You're given your time card to punch out and ordered to choose between Quill and Commercial script?

I don't like those, they look like something you see in a trophy park and oh, that's right that's exactly what they are and How much for a custom font? and Oh, yes, I understand but you see, these deaths are different from every other one you have handled even though everyone must say that and no, I don't want them to look like those trophies because no one has any imagination or any creativity.

I understand the bronze will be tough and durable, but how black can they make it? Will that come off over time, a patina to blind people when the sun comes out?

Okay, good.

Because death blinds me, frankly.

(But what have you learned, Bridget?)

Oh. Do we need to do this today? I'll just rattle them off. Tomorrow they might be different.

Caleb taught me that fear can disguise itself as something else and that I seek it for kicks, sometimes.

Cole taught me that I am stronger than any (or is that every?) man I know.

Andrew taught me that sometimes a cookie is all you have in a relationship and that's okay too.

PJ taught me that a hug can fix absolutely anything, so many hugs can fix everything.

Dalton taught me that it's okay to hate green tea and lie about it for fifteen years running.

Duncan taught me that I love beat poetry and art but that I have no respect for affectations.

Christian taught me to edit. Edit, edit, edit and then edit again.

Joel taught me that even perfectly normal people make huge mistakes too.

August taught me that if it walks like a corpse and talks like a corpse and flips his hair like a corpse, it's probably the corpse's best friend and you should leave well enough alone.

Sam taught me that friends are here to help, no matter what they think.

Daniel taught me that not all men have to be bulletproof, impact-resistant or tough. Some can be so sweet and gentle it's criminal.

Lochlan taught me how to live, how to lie, steal, balance on a tightrope and how I can find comfort in my imagination when there isn't any comfort to be found in reality. He said Life is an adventure, and sometimes adventure isn't warm or safe or even happy but it's adventure, nonetheless. He is right. He's always right. When he isn't losing his mind, that is.

Jacob taught me how to die. (Fucking bastard, I already knew that one.)

Ben taught me how to love. Without rules or history or anything more than love for our own sakes. For that I will be forever grateful, for I would not have known it otherwise. He is still teaching, I am still learning. You won't get rid of us this easily.

I taught myself that what doesn't kill me just goes into the bitter stew and I eat it every day and grow stronger, healthier, even more jaded and completely cracked, too.

I need a blender so I can put it all together and have all the good parts mixed together from all of us and leave out all the bad things like mood swings, electric bills, broken boot laces and arguments. Maybe bad songs, missed goals, abandoned plans and burned toast can go in there too, and cover up the smashed watch that came back in a padded envelope because I asked for it and the blood pressure cuff that I took off an arm and put in the pocket of my sweater before the doctors ran in to save a life that had already been spent.

Maybe these mementos are the worst forms of remembering death instead of life. But maybe I needed their last-touched things because I have the first-touched things already. Maybe I'm not nearly as morbid or ghastly as I seem, maybe it's just that I wasn't ready. I'm ready with dumb things and plans that will never see fruition but blindsided by surprise, always.

Maybe my grave will have my name, simply carved in Times New Roman. Maybe there won't be a grave at all.

Maybe I'll live forever, a fitting sentence for someone who goes to the garage to play truant with the angels when the living are here, ready with their lessons, ready with their songs.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Order of importance (conversations at 8 and 13).

I wanna hear your voice call me, call out loud
When you talk to me I'll hear you out
I wanna space it out too close, move on out
It's all around for you to see, yeah, it's all I want to see
But there's such a lot of baggage

You got us into this so get us out of this
Get us out of this,
Get us out of this

Lochlan? Where are you from?


Certain words. You say them wrong.

Not wrong, just differently. It's my accent. I was born in Vancouver and then we moved to Edinburgh when I was a baby. Both my parents are from there.

Where is that?


Where is that?

The other side of the Atlantic, Bridget.

Did you use a boat?



You have an accent too, you know. At least to me you do.

Mom says I talk like where I'm from. South Shore.

She's right. It's really New-Englandy.


Don't say sorry for something you can't help.

When did you move out here?

When I was eight.

Just like me.

Yes. Just like you.

I don't like moving.

No one does, Bridget. On the other hand, it makes you flexible and that's a good thing.

I'm double-jointed.

Not that kind of flexible.

Oh. Then what do you mean?

If you move alot it makes you less set in your ways. You make changes easier. Adventure is normal instead of out of the ordinary. You see things you might not see if you were always in the same place, doing the same things, going down the same road.

Are you moving again soon?

No? I'm just pointing out examples of how you are flexible now. And that will help you when you grow up.

I'm never growing up. It looks stupid.

Yeah. It does, doesn't it?

So...will you still have the accent when you're grown up?

I don't know. Maybe. A little at least. My parents still do so I might.

I like it.

You do, do you?

Yes. It's umm...erotic.

You mean exotic?

Yes! Exotic means exciting and from far away, right? What does erotic mean?

I thought you were the word girl.

I am.

Not so much, actually.

So what does erotic mean then?

Grow up first and then I'll tell you.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Resolute dawn.

Oh, did you ever believe that I could leave you,
Standing out in the cold
I know how it feels 'cause I have slipped through
To the very depths of my soul.
Baby, I just want to show you what a clear view it is
From every bend in the road.
Now listen to me
Oh, as I was and really would be for you, too, honey
As you would for me, I would share your load.
Let me share your load.
I woke up slowly this morning when Ben pushed my head down into the pillow. He presses his lips against my hair and then he lifts away and cold air rushes in against my back. He wrenches my knees apart and my wrists down and then he is close again and I am warm.

He threads his arm down around my shoulders, pulling me back up against him. His other hand come up under my jaw and he turns my head against his for a hard kiss. It's glorious.

Oh, I've got you now, he says. I try to nod but I can't move. I think I could wiggle my toes if I tried but then again maybe I can't.

He loosens his hold for a response and I nod and he kisses the top of my head again, his hand sliding over my mouth. Good girl, he whispers into my ear. Good girl, Bridget. Don't make a sound.

I am flattened facedown against the sheets again. I reach up and hold on tight to the pillows. If I'm going to get flung right out of heaven, it's not going to happen today.

Friday, 24 February 2012

New plan(et).

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
It's nice to wake up and do some early reading and discover I qualify for my new dream job. You need a high school diploma, an ability to withstand isolation and reprovisioning only once a month, and mechanical/electrical repair skills. (No worries! I will just charm them and fake it and it'll all work out just fine.)

Lighthouse Keeper.

As long as I have whiskey and dry mittens I am in. And Ben. I can bring Ben, right? Well, I'm not going to leave him behind. Are you mad?

Thursday, 23 February 2012


It was already beginning to show curses from years ago
And the ocean is already parted
Will you take a walk
Walk with me now til we get to November?
Something I was never meant to find
An answer
An answer
At three I slipped out from under Ben's arm and struggled into my clothes in the dark. Outside down the path, dodging between stars and then in through the door I ran. I ran straight to the big wing chair that faces the sea. There are no lights on. I'm going to break my neck. I come around the side of the chair and he is waiting for me. Head down, cuffs shot. Thick suitcoat buttoned. Shirt pressed. Hair too long, tousled just perfectly enough to distract from a jaw so square it will cut you wide open if his words or his hands don't cut you first.

He doesn't move and I wait. I'm afraid.

The wind, Bridget.

I turn around and look at the water. Yes, what about it?

It's different tonight. He raises his head at last and his eyes are darker blue. I had every right to be frightened.

I nod. I can't look away now.

Come here. He says it softly.

I bite my lip to keep it from trembling and I step forward. He reaches up and pulls me down into his lap by the wrist. Every touch is a bruise from Cole, every word a caution. He wraps his arms around my waist and kisses my shoulder.

You smell so good.

It's not a compliment. It means he doesn't like my perfume.

He pulls me back harder against him and wraps his hand around my throat. Cold metal presses against my cheek as he presses my head back against his shoulder. I hear the click and my heart drops through the trapdoor on stage and into the basement of the theatre. The lights are hot. There's not a sound from the audience for everyone is holding their breath.

How many people are you going to forgive this week?

Just the one.

Why now, beautiful? Why start this again?

I want it to end. I try to sit up and he wrenches me back tighter into his arms, squeezing my neck so hard tears slide out of my eyes but I stop fighting. I listen.

It's too late to end it. It only ends when another one of us dies and you know it won't matter who does, either way every thing will only change again. He is getting louder, angrier, roaring into the top of my head. I begin to shake all over. He mistakes that for cold and forces me forward, holding me out with one hand while he unbuttons his suitcoat with the other. He pulls it out around me and then presses me back against him. There is no heartbeat to search for. This is colder still.

The gun slides down my cheek, under my chin, up around my ear, down my throat to my shoulder. He then traces it down my chest and points it at my heart. He twists it against my bones. Such a little miracle worker to be able to repair something that's been broken so many times.

It isn't fixed, I plead. He presses the gun into my skin and I cry out.

It's better than mine, isn't it?

I just stare at him. Just a dream. Hold your ground. Jacob's voice is in my head and I run across my pitch black mind and cling to it.

DON'T YOU TALK TO HIM. THIS IS MY TIME. Cole is up out of the chair now, clothes are hanging off him, he is gaunt and wasted and dead and so staggeringly handsome I wish he would just shoot me now so I didn't have to see him like this and then I could see him like he was.

Jacob remains silent. He wishes Cole would just go away and most of the time I try to keep him far far away from the others and sometimes I take pieces of him and throw him in their faces until they get a clue.

I focus so I can hear what Cole is saying.

Maybe you would be whole again if you would just let me tell them what really happened. We already have the villain and the hero, there's no need for any more roles to be cast. The supreme triple-cross, Bridget, and now you're going to go back to the one who orchestrated the whole thing? You truly are insane. It suits you. But God, you are still so fucking beautiful. His blue eyes have shifted to medium and I switch them back. His hair is darker and I frown. This isn't right. The gun is no longer cold and he is still growing, shooting up through the night until I am talking to the lapels on his coat instead of to his chin.

He bends down and kisses me and I scream and push Caleb away. In my ear Jacob whispers to run and so I listen to him too. Exit stage left. Right out of the theatre and into the dark alley beyond.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

“Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.” ~Victor Hugo

I don't see the need for any routines
I'm all out of sync, I cover my cuts
And hope they are fixed before I get hurt again
And all this ground beneath my feet
Has decided not to crumble into the sea
When I stood still in the center of the dirt road I could see everything. It was pitch-dark outside, cloudy with no stars, still and quiet. Without the light of town it was almost daylight. In a few hours the frogs would give up their posts for crickets and sparrows. Barn swallows would gather, chickadees would sing and sparse farm traffic would throw up dust clouds, turning the dead grass browner than it already was. The heavy undercurrent of salt air from the ocean lifted the light overnight wind.

He repeated himself slowly, looking down at me. The rules. The cautions. The things he was not sure that I could handle. I squared my shoulders and nodded bravely at every point. I had no idea what half of them meant but if he could handle it then I would too.

He put his hand out into the space between us.

Do you want to come with me, or do you want to stay behind, Bridget?

I reached out and took the hand he offered. I'm coming with you, Lochlan.

He squeezed my hand so hard my tiny gold ring turned square and I looked up into his face for approval. His smile lit up the whole road.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Too little, too late (story of my life).

Disappear and dissolve
A weakening wall
Will one day fall
It's wise to sever our loss
I redefine pulse
Through your iris

Love's not all lost
But its raised to my cross
And crucified all that I've held on
To be awaiting
Anticipating a touch such as yours

False affection
A spawn of neglecting
A love, lust, hoax
Please understand me
That now where you're standing
Is closer then I'd hoped
Lochlan came back yesterday just as the sun was going down, a list of outrages that he numbered through, throwing them out into the air one after another, turning the sunset black for me. He started with the fact that his daughter still has Caleb's last name and ended with the fact that he's done everything I asked him to do, right down to sticking around and defying the very nature of his gypsy heart to just take off and come back many months later.

After every single litany I repeated the same three words and still he never listened and then I threatened to throw his own torches at him just to get him to pay attention. He laughed and told me to go run and get the torches and fetch a bottle of something and we could do it up right. Make a spectacle.

That's the way we do everything. With an audience.

The household had other plans, however and we were separated and banned from fire fights and alcohol and even simple conversation, because every conversation ends in an argument. Because time has changed both of us and ground the past into our backs with its heels and now we just try to keep the marks covered, free from prying eyes as we go about our days.

I just find it upsetting that some of the words he's wanted to hear so badly for so long evoke nothing more than rage now. I didn't expect that, but perhaps I should have. Some breaks can't be fixed and some wounds can't be healed with time.

Tell me about it.

On second thought, don't. Not today. My plate is full.