Friday, 30 November 2012


Because we're so awesome, Friday nights are just the pinnacle of entertainment here at the house, as the boys broke into a impromptu game of tackle football. Indoors.

I was the football, taking off at a flat run to get away, bouncing off PJ and heading in the other direction until Duncan cornered me in the library. I screamed and ran right up over the back of the chair, back out into the hallway, heading up the stairs.


Ben was waiting. He wrestled me down to the floor, held my head very still and squirted Otrivin up my nostrils. I hate nose spray.

Oh the other hand I don't sound like a walrus when I breathe now! Hey!

Too sick to tell you anything important.

When I wake up next (holy Dayquil, Batman! Er...) Lochlan has his head resting on the pillow beside me. He's staring at me and suddenly I'm afraid. This was how I woke up the first day knowing full well that Jacob was gone forever. Only it was Ben staring at me because the Red Chicken didn't want to take the blame for the bad news and it backfired on him and oh well, I wonder what day it is now?

I calm myself as I try to focus on his eyes, the 'completely unremarkable compared to yours windswept-isle green', as he calls them to me. Bleak-green. Brean. Gleek. Something something fever. If he had my color of green eyes, I would walk around throwing my panties at his face all fucking day long.

Hey, is it warm in here or do I still have a fever?

It's Friday, sleepyhead. Want some breakfast? You can't have my crow though, I have to eat it all. 

Huh? I sit up on my elbows. What do you mean?

I did not mean to imply that you were retarded because you physically look for your memories, Peanut. I actually love seeing it. I just ran with a moment and tried a zinger and it was insulting and childish. I'm really sorry, love. 

Apology accepted. I didn't take it personally, Loch. Your timing was priceless.

He half-smiles and moves in to kiss my forehead and I sneeze right in his face.

ACK! Bridget! 


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dammit listen to me good.

Maybe Lochlan's bad mood was residual, contagious, but I was summoned from my bed (sickbed, if you will) by a text from Andrew this morning.

It said Need you. S&D are at it. :(

If Andrew puts a sad face on it you know it's not good. If Andrew, of all people feels the need to call in reinforcements then it's definitely not good.

However, I was feverish and hallucinating so I went over to the house next door in my pajamas. In the pouring rain. I must speak to Satan about building an underground tunnel for the weather, or for fast escapes, as it were.

Up until now Schuyler and Daniel had enjoyed a long period of relative calm. Still in their post-honeymoon phase, with the pressures of housing prices off their backs they were settling in quite nicely. Until today, anyway.

When I arrived it was quiet. False alarm maybe? I walked down the hall and made my way straight upstairs to the master suite. Daniel is a hider. Andrew meets me halfway down and points the other way to let me know Schuyler is in the kitchen but I have a bond with Daniel and I want to see him first. He's my third child and he's just like Ben: tissue-thin and prone to cognitive ruin twice as fast so I went up and knocked on the door. I hear music.

Come in.

I went in and the music was loud. And then I see that Lochlan (who was called first by Christian, unbeknownst to Andrew) and Daniel are lying in the bed fully-clothed singing along and Daniel is crying and laughing a little bit and oh, I get it.

I'm dreaming.

I shake my head and pinch my arm but they're still there. They don't morph into Chris Broderick from Megadeth magically so dammit, I must be awake. (Shhhhh. We won't go there. Feverish! Hallucinating!)

I head over and climb into bed between them. Lochlan reaches out to feel my forehead but I push his hand off. Daniel looks concerned. Why are you out in the cold? Did he call you?

No, someone else did (I never give up names until What's happening?

Loch is using sappy love songs and quiet conversation to bring Danny around and I'm guessing it worked and I can go back to bed, only I'm in a bed and so I close my eyes and listen for a while. I push my butt up against Loch and rest my head on Daniel's arm which is bent up under his head. He slides it up out of the way and the moment I land on the pillow I'm out.



Asleep before I had a chance to find out what happened.
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You're a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye
When I woke up it was getting dark. I sat up in the bed and Lochlan turned to look at me from where he had been staring out to sea. The music was off, Daniel was gone and my fever seemed to be waning slightly. I coughed and Lochlan told me that the boys sorted things out.

You gave them both Big Picture talks, didn't you?


It's too bad we can never seem to take our own medicine, isn't it?

We're strong. We'll be fine, Bridget.

But I am still shaky and weak and somewhat out of it and I forget to soften the blow. No, we won't be fine. The way you consoled Danny was the way you used to look after me. Only you said you couldn't do that anymore and yet here you are. It still works. Just not with me I guess. 

He turned back to look out at the water and I lay back down, finishing the song in my head. See, unlike Schuyler and Daniel we no longer yell at each other until we're both in tears, we just sweep it all under the rug, shoving memories aside to make more room for all the new moments, and then pulling the edges tight hoping the coverage is enough, but it's not, exposing all the oldest ones. I keep hoping for the right love song to play that will tie it all together and make it possible to breathe. Knowing that we've played them all and it never has and probably never will. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sister Golden Hair Surprise.

Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
This morning I walked into the kitchen and Lochlan played a few notes on Ben's guitar, which he tinkers with every chance he gets. (It's electric. Apparently that's a big draw.)

I immediately turned around, cocked my head and tried to place the song. I know that song. I know it well.

See? he says and Teflon Jesus nods. She totally moves her eyes when she's rooting around in her brain for memories. It's unbelievable. 

Maybe it's a sign of something, I tell him.

Mental retardation?

Well, SOMEBODY'S in a bad mood this morning. 

He passed the guitar to Dalton and walked out. I looked at Dalton and waited for an explanation. Dalton just shrugged. He needs a little more beauty sleep, I think. He stays awake when you're sick. 

If he's so concerned he has a terrible way of showing it. 

Hey, it's his Scottish bedside manner. 'Go fuck yourself', or something like that. Right?

I suppose. And then I cough some more.

Here's the rub: Ben will keep me awake late each night whether I should be or not (so that we get time! We never have TIME.) and Lochlan does not agree with that, nor does he abide by the None of your business response to his direct orders to sleep and not play. The fucker.

On the other hand I am sicker today. So instead of I told you so, he just acts all miffy and put out for like the entire day and then just as I plan to sweeten him up and make everything better, he starts giving orders again. It's preschool by day, army by night.

See, this is why I go looking (literally, LOOKING WITH MY EYES, BOYS) for those midway memories. Daytimes on the show were pretty much the only time in my life I wasn't treated like a child.

No worries, Bridget. He'll come around. 

When I feel better. 


Hey, do you have that song on your phone? I want to hear the rest of it now.

No, you'll have to go ask Loch. He probably does.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No spirit yet.

Well, that's it then.

Daniel, Schuyler, Christian and Andrew have become the Griswolds.

Their house looks a little bit like a rave party standing still. They have four, count 'em, FOUR Christmas trees up and decorated inside and outside I believe I stopped counting at something like thirty strands of lights.

In this house we...have a huge poinsettia in the corner of the kitchen, but only because the creepy grocery store dude ran after me to take one because it was free if you spent a certain amount. I always spend over that amount so I get a lot of bonus products. This was the first time I've ever been forced to strap one of those products into the passenger seat of my car.

We may have non-Christmas this year. Everyone is too busy. And I'm sick now with a lovely throat thing and fever that makes me not care all that much about whatever happens a whole month from now.

I will still shop though. And wrap. And bake. And then make a cup of tea Christmas evening and exhale. That's my plan.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Break on your horizon.

I've had a slightly awkward morning yet it gives me so much hope that at least one person in my life still marches to his own drummer instead of falling in line behind mine. It also reminds me that absolutely nothing surprises me anymore.

And my drummer doesn't share, for the record. He's dead. He was the first one to vacate earth under the pressure from leading so many. But I don't miss Cole, not anymore.

I went to work this morning (how formal, geez. I walked over to the boathouse, coffee and phone in hand). I function as Caleb's frequently sexually harassed personal assistant while he pretends to be a venture capitalist/mogul/financier. It's very exciting, oh, yes it is. Mostly I schedule conference calls and file statements and listen to music.

I figure he is already working when I walk in this morning. I don't knock and he hardly ever locks the door so it's sort of an expectation that I am always welcome.

Except that when I walk in this morning, there is music playing and I smell perfume. It's lingering in the air and I say his name, switching to professional because I don't know what to expect.

Mr. C____?

I hear him laugh and then he walks out into the hall wearing only a towel wrapped around his hips, his straight razor in his hand, and the remainder of his face to be shaved.

I'm alone now, Bridget. You don't have to be formal but I appreciate the lack of implied complication if I weren't.

Someone was here?

Yes. Her name was Peyton. Medium height, brown hair. Very attractive, actually. I sent her home in a car around one this morning.

And you had a good date?

We went to dinner and a show and then came back here for a nightcap.

And you're going to see her again?

No, Bridget, I'm not. She was an expenditure I didn't want, but I can't live like a monk so I contract services to look after my needs. I'm not like the boys in that house. I can't live like that.

I know. We're down to whispers and thanks to the look on his half-shaven face I change the subject out of a sudden need to feel better. Coldplay this morning?

It's beautiful, isn't it? 

Yeah. I nod and point back behind me. I'll make some coffee for you, okay? 

That would be great. I want to get a lot done today. He steps back into the bathroom and resumes his routine. He starts singing along with White Shadows and he sings it well, I know it's a favorite but I sort of forget sometimes what Caleb sounds like when he sings, too. I have to lock my knees so I don't hit the fucking floor.

When he finally comes into the kitchen, fully dressed and ready for some work, I can't resist the dig. He's in a good mood (fancy that) so I know I can get away with almost anything this morning.

You realize her name probably wasn't Peyton, right?

I'm well aware that that was not her name, Bridget. 

What name did you use?

I'm not going to talk about this anymore, okay? 

You said your name was James, didn't you? James Bond but not THE James Bond?

So busted. Against his efforts not to, he breaks into a grin. Can we PLEASE get to work, Bridget?

Yes, Mr. Bond. Right away, sir. 

Please, call me James. 

Depends. What's the going rate for me to call you that?


Hey, you left your virtue at the door with one phone call. It's open season, Diabhal.

He smirks through the grin. Fine, I'll give you until noon to get it out of your system and then I will exact payback. 

Oooo. Payback. Will it be shaken or stirred?

Christ. You're impossible. 

Come on! I'm just having a little fun! No one ever lets me have any fun! 

He stops smiling abruptly. It's as if I have thrown a switch.
Maybe you get what you wanted
Maybe you stumbled upon it
Everything you ever wanted
In a permanent state

Maybe you'll know when you see it
Maybe if you say it, you'll mean it
And when you find it, you keep it
In a permanent state
A permanent state

Sunday, 25 November 2012


His arm is tight around me as I sit wedged into the corner of the couch beside Loch. He is reading things on his tablet and I am playing a word game against Matt on my phone. Matt is in the kitchen.

The fuck. Oh, I wish you wouldn't document every goddamned thing I've ever said. 

I'm sorry. 

But you're not!

Okay, I'm not. 

Please point out that you were also a major pain-in-the-arse who would bat your eyelashes and get whatever you wanted, so people don't feel sorry for you, 'oh the wee 'lil Bridget'! 

Oh, I think everyone knows. 

Hope so. Nothing's changed either. You're still exactly the same.

Everyone knows that also, Lochlan. 


Saturday, 24 November 2012


(Sorry, this one became rather long.)

I am waiting for him on the grass at the edge, but not on the concrete because he said to stay ON THE GRASS and he yelled it very slowly in what I am now calling his Worried voice. It's never angry exactly but he yells when he is afraid something will go wrong, it's almost as if all his nerves bunch up and force his voice out of his body very loudly.

(It took me precisely four days of spending time with him to figure this out but interestingly enough the only other time I heard him yell was when he got mad and threw himself at Caleb. That was a different yell by far. It was his Angry-Frustrated voice. That one happens when his nerves snap completely instead of bunching up.

I'm really glad he has more patience with me than he seems to with Caleb. Especially since everyone tells me I don't listen most of the time. I try to, I think they speak in the other direction and their words must get swallowed by the hungry wind before I can hear them.

He's the only one who saw right off that I'm not attention-deficit or anything, I'm just a daydreamer. He said I was imaginative, and he did so with admiration in his eyes. By the time it was dark out on Tuesday he had told me a whole raft of his own dreams. I said I couldn't wait to hear about them when they came true, because they would and he stopped talking in surprise because I was the first person to expect those dreams to eventually take place instead of dismissing them as impractical, fantastical, impossible.

I asked if that wasn't the whole point of dreams, to make a set of plans and reach for the stars, instead of hoping someday to come across a talking rainbow elephant in the bushes outside your house? He grabbed his head with both hands, his eyes open wide and said EXACTLY! But it wasn't in his loud Worried voice, or his Angry-Frustrated voice. It was a new one. I christened it his Astonished voice. We both like that one best.)

So as I stand ON THE GRASS waiting, he turns and looks at me suddenly. I turn around and look behind me (maybe someone is there) but when I turn back Lochlan is making his way back across the dam. They are walking across the top, where the water rushes over the edge into the river below. He went to see if it was safe enough to bring me too or if the water is still too strong like it usually is at the beginning of the summer. There is a camp on the other side, in the woods by the lake. The tire swing is there that Bailey told me about. I want to go. Very, very badly.

His face is stern when he reaches me. No way, Bridget. Sorry. You're too young and if you die I'll be in so much trouble. 

I can do it. I can get there. 

Not today. Maybe in a few years when you're older. Sorry. 

It's okay, Lochlan. Maybe I'll see you later then. I am crushed. I want to be with the big kids and he's going swimming at the swing. They don't always stay on the beach, like today and as usual I am too little to do the fun things. I turn away and start to walk across the grass to head up to the road and walk home (if I can remember which way) when Lochlan calls out for me to wait. He'll be right back. DON'T MOVE (worried voice). I sit down on the steps leading up the hill and wait, drawing patterns in the sand with a rock, my head on my knees.

He comes back and tells me that Caleb has to go to work so he's going that way and he will drive me since Lochlan doesn't want me going home alone but also doesn't want to give up a chance to see my sister and her friends in their bikinis. Then he says he will see me later and Caleb will be back across in a minute. He crosses the dam again and waves goodbye when he gets to the other side. I ignore him, not waving my Angry Frustrated arm, always too young, too small, too inexperienced, too much of a pain to be included in anything it seems and then I see Caleb. Lochlan turns and points to me and Caleb nods, clapping Loch once on the shoulder and then waving to me as he crosses the dam.

I sit in the front seat on the way home (secretly thrilled, since no one ever lets me sit in the front). Caleb asks me what music I listen to. I tell him I like heavy slow songs and he laughs and shakes his head. Interesting, he says. He finds a good rock station on the radio and we listen in a comfortable silence. I study him while he drives and every now and then he looks at me and smiles and says What? Then finally he asks if he has something on his face and I shake my head and then I blurt out that I really want to go to the rope swing and I know it's a long path and I know crossing the dam is dangerous but maybe since Caleb is the oldest, HE could take me there. When I'm done I am so surprised at myself I clam right up.

He just smiles at me and says Sure. When do you want to go? 


When we arrive at the lake the next day (that was fun as my mother told Bailey when to be home and then told me I couldn't go and Caleb was ready for her. It's okay, Mrs. Lund. I have a younger brother I'm used to taking care of so I can babysit Bridget if it's okay with you. I know she wants to go too.) Lochlan starts over, all no-ways and she's-too-youngs and Caleb ignores him.

He has my attention and he takes my bag with my towel and stuff in it, slinging it over his shoulder and then he reaches back and holds out his hand. I want you to stare at my back, hold my hand tightly and cross without stopping, okay? Don't look down, don't stop walking.

I grab his hand, holding it tightly. I hear Bailey warn him but her voice disappears. Cole tells me I'll be fine but then shoots a doubtful look at his brother. Caleb turns away and I focus on the freckle on his left shoulder blade as I follow him across the dam. The water rushing over my feet scares me but he pulls and I squeeze and then in the middle I stop. No! I cry. I can't do this! He turns and tells me I have to, that he can't switch places with me so we have to keep going. I shake my head. I can't budge. I'm terrified. I'm hyperventilating.

There is only one solution.

He looks back to the grass and calls to Lochlan, who has already realized what's wrong and is making his way across the concrete divide. When he reaches me he puts his arms out and turns me around and then takes my hands tightly. He orders me to look into his eyes. Not down, not anywhere but directly at him. I do and he squeezes my fingers and starts to walk. Backwards.

Turn around! I tell him in a shaky voice.

Just look at me. That's all you need to do. I keep looking at him and he smiles and winks and I feel all of the fear rushing with the water away from me. In studying his face I see a handsome, boyish charm between the chaos of the red curls and his quiet green eyes. He doesn't miss a thing. I think I like his face alot. He doesn't have the easy cookie-cutter handsome of Caleb, he has his own look. His jaw is strong and the expressiveness of his eyes is magnetic. His smile makes me feel warm on the inside. I don't even know what that means.

My feet touch grass and he doesn't loosen his hold on my hands until he has pulled me right up to him and into his arms. Oh. Warmer still.

Caleb is right behind us. Bridget, are you okay?

No, idiot. She's EIGHT FUCKING YEARS OLD. She can't tell you she can make that walk. You have to decide for her and you fucked it up. I'll look after her from now on. Jesus, Cay. You could have gotten her killed. 

She asked me to take her-

THAT DOESN'T MEAN SHE SHOULD GO! From now on she's MY Responsibility. Got it? MINE.

Caleb nods. He is clearly pissed off and I think it's directed at me.

I'm sorry I got scared, Caleb. 

You're eight. He snaps back at me.

I nod. I can't think of what to say back.

Come on, Bridgie. You and I will swim here. We'll catch up with the others later. Okay? He ignores Caleb, who heads out across the dam once more.

Don't you want to be with your friends? 

I am. He gave me a sort of annoyed expression and then reached up behind his neck with both hands and pulled his t-shirt off over his head. I just stared while my brain told me in a whole new voice: HE'S FOURTEEN! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?



I really want to go across. If you walk backward again will you take me tomorrow?

Yes, but only because I can actually get around you if you decide halfway through to go back. Caleb doesn't know how to do that.

How can you?

I'm really crazy-good at balancing. Now. Are you ready?

For? I break out of my reverie. He's strong and beautiful. The perfect teenage boy.

Swimming! COME ON! Oh, there's the Astonished voice again. I like that one best.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A barefoot winter.

In an effort to be more...uh, whimsical and spontaneous (since the complaints in this house are that I am still as uptight as ever), I put on a poufy party dress this morning (from a hundred billion years ago and it's too big now) and I went downstairs, cut a big slice of chocolate cake, microwaved it for a minute so it would be warm, and then I poured myself a glass of champagne (leftover from yesterday) and then I took my breakfast outside and ate it on the (uncovered) patio in the pouring rain.

None of the boys would come out, they wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry.


My bare toes were numb and by the time I came inside I couldn't feel my fingers either. I asked for help through chattering teeth to open the closet door so I could get a blanket and PJ helped me and then pointed directly at Lochlan, over my head.

I blame you for these character defects of hers. It ain't right, brother. 

And Lochlan laughed.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Heavy metal birds (redux).

Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up.
               ~Chuck Close.
There's a snapshot of the day in here somewhere for all to see and pin to a wall in a cozy spare room in between the television schedule and that credit card bill you paid and forgot to put away.

There are two still-newlyweds-in-spite-of-the-calendar cooking a turkey together next door in the house where they spend their love. Schuyler's got this, I think. He loves Daniel so much he'd cook a brontosaurus if Daniel asked him to.

 Daniel and Ben are American and so Thanksgiving to them is Christmas The Second and it's ridiculous. Only Ben never showed up, because Ben took the rest of that cognac and went downstairs to work days ago and I never saw him again.

Not a good thing. Just a thing that I'm supposed to believe is not my fault nor my concern and instead of accepting that I thrash against it like a rabid fox. I don't buy it for a second and I want to be there but he always removes himself from me when he gets scary like that.

Lochlan has likewise retreated to the camper to stay out of the line of fire. He hasn't said much. When I came in from a long walk alone with the dog, he followed me into the kitchen, blew on my hands to warm them up, gave me a silent hug, ever the affectionate one, and left again.

I turned around and realized I really do hate being alone and so I wandered across the driveway and found another obstacle, Caleb asleep again in front of the wall of ocean that is his decadent view, the lights on low in the kitchen but nowhere else. He sleeps a lot now. He's exhausted from just about everything but really I think it's escape. Depression. A weird form of established hopelessness that appears when you become mired in wanting things you'll simply never have.

Henry also wears him the fuck out, frankly. This whole week has been a Halo marathon. It's fun. Lochlan and Ruth play too. It's the only time Loch and Caleb get along, when they are forced together by the children, who are still inseparable, even though Ruth is firmly entrenched in art and self-expression at thirteen and Henry is all war games and strategy at eleven (just like their fathers, huh).

 I watch the Devil sleep. I don't touch him in case he's only pretending, I just sit nearby and watch the sun go down at a ridiculously early hour of the day and then I venture to touch his face before I leave. He doesn't move and so I know he is really asleep. When I leave I lock the door behind me.

At the main house there are three messages on my phone from Daniel, who is too busy cooking and playing host to come looking for us. I reply and tell him we're not feeling well and will find him tomorrow if he wants to keep a little aside for us. This reply is not so much to decline his invitation, he knew we wouldn't be there but to let him know I/we am/are safe.

I make some tea and put two cups and the pot on a tray to bring downstairs. When I get to the bottom the door is open. Ben is fussing with his acoustic at the board, the bottle of cognac nowhere to be seen. He is unshaven and focused and unreadable. I go in and set the tray down on the coffee table. He turns and smiles.


Hey, you. 

How much shit am I in? 

I don't think anyone has noticed. They're busy eating dinner. Your brother went all out. 

I don't mean with them. I mean how much shit am I in with you?

Oh, you know, the usual amount. Ben, where's the bottle?

Duncan has it. 

My relief wants to escape via my eyes. How much did you have? 

I had a taste, Bridget. It wasn't very good. Not as good as I remember it. 

Did you, I mean, was it because of me? 

No, Jesus, Bridget, never. I get caught up in cycles of self-loathing. You know this. You're the one good thing that counteracts all the rest. 

I'm not a good thing. 

Sure you are. And the kids, and Lochlan but I'm always sabotaging him so that I can stay ahead. Eat or be eaten, as it were. 

He can handle you. 

Yeah. Surprisingly. 

Not really. He has a high tolerance for freaks. 

So I've heard. Ben laughs, winking at me and then reaches down and pulls me right up into his lap, his arms tight around me. I'm surprised you're not hanging out with Caleb since everyone is occupied, speaking of freaks.

I was, for a bit but he's sleeping. 

Ben nods. He's very serious, suddenly. I see. Hey, is that tea for me?


Good, I'm starved.

It's tea, Ben, not turkey. It won't substitute for dinner. 

It will if I eat the mug too. 

You aren't allowed. That's it. New rule. 

Oh, you're going to make new rules are you? Do I get to make one too?

Of course. 

Okay, he pretends to think. The rule is, never ever ever ever not come find me if you are lonely, or if you think I'm in trouble or if I seem to be checking out on you. Okay?

A double negative. Wait, I have to figure ou-

Another way then. Always, always come to me. You look like a lost kitten. I'm here. I'm a total introverted wreck of an asshole but I promised to be here for you and here is where I will always be, okay? 

Okay. I nod and the relief sees a chance and escapes down my cheeks. Okay. I promise I'll come find you.

He reaches up with his big thumbs and smooths the tears away from below my eyes. You know what we need, Bumblebee? We need some FUCKING TURKEY NOW!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! 

I throw up the horns. Which either signifies that we should Rock On or that turkeys now come with antlers.