Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It was a division of the night, into two distinct parts. His was all that mattered as he pulled my hands up over my head and caught them with one hand firmly wrapped around my wrists. I remain still and breathe. This is not how this one works. This one doesn't stray so far from straight-up missionary fucking and this one doesn't restrain me unless I'm determined to hurt him and this one never goes to dark places, preferring to light a match, flick a lighter or lick a torch until the dark is pushed back into the edges, retreating smoothly and without hesitation.

This one doesn't like to hurt me, not even to pretend.

And I know he won't but then his teeth catch on my bottom lip and the unholy sound that erupts from deep within his throat give me such a little thrill I mentally chastise myself for being so goddamned predictable, depraved.

Tell me what you want, he pleads. No, wait, it's not a plea, it's an order and Little Miss Depraved kicks into high gear with her endless list while Little Miss Fragile lies there and smiles.


Trust has become a four-letter-word, spit in any random direction hoping to land a blow, traveling on the wind. Ben sent me a series of messages from downstairs and I knew what he was up to before I saw him, finally, when I went downstairs to see him. I can tell by the subjects he brings up.

Ben, you promised us. 

He's doing what he's always done, sitting slouched way down in the armchair, all knees and elbows and cheekbones and big brown eyes and he's not wrecked but I know he wishes to be. He takes a sip and then slams the glass back down on the arm of the chair. Some of it leaps out and coats his forearm and some of the chair arm but he makes no move to wipe it off or apologize for the mess. He points in my direction with his free hand.

I promised you, he says. He's lucid. The glass is full. I look around for the rest of the bottle so I can see where he's at and he reaches over the other arm of the chair and pulls the bottle up by the neck. It's full too.

This is the first drink, Bridget. Why don't you go get someone for me, okay, Bumblebee? This is not for you to handle. 

But maybe it is. Maybe things have to be different. Maybe we can't keep going in circles. Maybe we can't keep building up the towers to knock them down. Maybe I'd like to use my instincts for once.

I walk over to him as he covers his face with his hand and I take the glass away from him. He watches as I drink it, the whole thing at once. I gulp it down until it's empty. It burns. Oh, Jesus it hurts so bad I think it might have dissolved my knees. I start choking and coughing but I still grab the bottle and I turn it upside down, pouring it all over Ben's expensive soundproof carpeting.

He watches. He doesn't even try to stop me.

It's the first drink and the last drink, Ben. I want you to keep your promises just like I keep the ones I've made to you. If you do this again, next time I'll light the carpet on fire after I soak it in fuel and I'll burn down your whole fucking life. 

I think someone already beat you to it, Bee. 

You want to know the funny thing? I know better than that. He didn't make you pour a drink. You did that all by yourself.

Monday, 10 June 2013

I posted this a little while ago:

But then Ben sent me this:

He wins.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Six Pine Trees.

The preacher uniform seems to be a white shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbow and ancient jeans. Brown leather shoes, but at the last minute because we hate shoes, you see.

 I know this because both the preachers in my life sport the same outfit most days.

Well, they used to, I suppose.

Sam shovels cereal into his mouth at a pace that might cause me to look away if not for his own expression, which is not at all relaxed like usual. He chews noisily and swallows, takes a sip of coffee and then one of juice. Then he holds out a spoonful in offering and I take it. He shovels another into his own mouth. Now we're both staring at each other and chewing noisily.

He finishes his bite before I do and tells me he's getting more terrified and overwhelmed with each passing moment in planning this wedding and he's no longer pretending it's cold feet.

What is it, then?

Maybe it's a sign.

If I told you it's normal and then it's a relief once the ceremony is over would that make a difference?

What if it doesn't?

They have annulments for that but I don't think you're going to find a greater man than Matt.

What if I don't really want a man?

T-Rexs' arms are far too short for this to work. And alpacas are so filthy, Sam. 


If you fuck up the best thing that's happened to you in a long time, Sam, I'll never speak to you again. 

His eyebrows go up and he says, The most fascinating thing about what you just said isn't that you can make idle threats so easily but that the thought of you carrying this out would be a literal death sentence and I would cease to breathe, never being the same again.

You're one of the few finding a life in this mess of what Jacob and Cole left behind, Sam. 

I made a mess, too, Bridge, the first time around. And Matt is too good of a man to risk ruining. 

So don't ruin him. Make him happy. 

I see the light leak back into his eyes, which crinkle up quite beautifully as my words soak into his brain. We've had this conversation before, Bridget. 

I know we have. You have to go or else you'll miss your own service.

Coming today? 

No, you can give me a synopsis later. 

I can give you one now. Leave it all in His hands, and let Him carry the weight sometimes. 

I tried but I couldn't find Him.

Then you didn't look hard enough. 

 Great. I can be the little deaf and blind heathen. Now go take your own advice.

You're something alright. I will see you this afternoon, unless I don't.

Bye. Did I mention I love having you here? 

Did I tell you I will never be anywhere else again?

No! You didn't, but you totally should because I would like to hear that. 

Then I will tell you later, because I'm going to be late if I tell you now.

Sam gathers up his messenger bag and his blazer and phone and kisses my head before rushing out of the kitchen. Church starts in eight minutes. It takes twelve to get there.

Caleb looks up from the newspaper. He is sitting at the table waiting for the children to take them out to brunch. He folds the paper closed with a practiced snap and smiles thinly. I see that the legacy Jacob left for Samuel is in the way he speaks to you. 

What do you mean?

With each passing day, he talks more and more like Winnie the Pooh. I'm surprised you didn't notice this before.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

We settled on cheese and bread and whiskey for breakfast and pretended to paint the sunrise as it appeared on the horizon but really we were liars and fakers and thieves, until that whiskey dissolved the lies and uncovered the truth, set against a cool morning tide, wind roaring in our faces as we split the last piece of smoked gouda.

Lochlan ate the heel of the loaf of bread too, even though I wanted it. He took my glass away after two drinks and told me I still need my bangs cut and I dissolved into barely-inebriated frustration.

What's wrong? He asked and I lied some more to see if I can craft a poker face out of fake smiles and thin skin.

I'm cold.

He pulled his sweater over his head and stuck me right through it. It smells like turpentine, kerosene and Old Spice. It smells like Cole but then my brain reminds me that Cole smelled like Loch, save for the kerosene.

His eyes smile at me and it's hard to be mad. Really hard, as it always is when he switches those gears from parent to first love.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Simple tasseography.

He's sipping on a coffee on the patio, just out of the sun, where the shade begins from the overhang. The backyard is a blown-out, nuclearly-bright point that crumbles to dust in dry weather and sharpens in the rain. The orchard has no shade either. The boathouse is in a lovely stand of hemlocks and cedars and there's virtual wooden darkness out front except for very early in the morning but that backyard, man, it's just overly warm now.

I suppose that's why he's not wearing a shirt. He's warm. Lochlan does not sweat, he just turns red-hot from the inside. He glows like an iron in a fire. I only wish for that strange talent as I scrap my bangs off my forehead from where they are plastered and vow to burn these flannel pajamas just as soon as it's cool enough for actual fire.

I only put them on when I got up because they were hung on the hook on the back of the bedroom door and I had to wear something presentable. I'm sure I wouldn't get objections if I didn't put them on but that's neither here nor there, now, is it?

In a similar train of thought, I guess that's why Loch is wearing his navy blue board shorts and nothing else. They were probably within reach. The color just highlights his hair as the curls on top have changed to honey and strawberries and the ones underneath remain the color of the darkest orange maple leaves for now.

He looks delicious and I'm hungry because I was busy and I eat breakfast at nine but there was no bread left and I didn't feel like having Shreddies or fruit for that matter. I could have dispatched someone to fetch an egg mcmuffin but just as likely they would have told me to get it myself. That's a useful, bitter order when one is pretty much bound within these property lines as it is.

I could have called Mike to take me to the McDonalds in the city but God, what a waste of gas for one person's breakfast.

I have just decided I'll maybe gnaw on Lochlan for a while when he tells me New-Jake has lent him the Sunbeam for the weekend.

Oh, that's a great idea.

Have one better? He asks, smiling. Not like you won't be invited. 

I grin. In that case, be careful? 

Always am. 

Liar liar pants on fire. 

I don't tell anything but the truth. 

Oh my God, you even lie about lying, Locket! I poke him and grin. This give and take used to be normal. It's a nice change from our usual strung out declarations and emotional undertakings. This is levity.

It feels so good he feels guilty and ruins it instantly, lest I take the wrong things seriously. So many years and he still doesn't trust me to know how to react properly since I have grown from a little kid with a little instant-gratification brain to an adult with...okay nevermind. The point is he stops smiling and tells me he's not leaving this earth without me.

Oh. This earth grinds to a halt and almost throws me off in the process. Gravity intervenes at the last second, channeled by his eyes, which have leaked all of their mirth down over his skin and all that remains is sadness and devotion.

You just...had to do that, didn't you?

I learned from the best and now I can't help it, he says and his eyes continue to project their heat shimmer as I try and breathe through my choked-up throat.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Rock- or Metal-tarts would have been so much cooler.

Old mister fun is back
Wonder where he's been hiding at
Hanging round the edge
Walls unfortified, inside
No different, patchwork hack
Toil away on an unlaid track
Falls closing in, got nowhere to hide
This time
Finding ceilings low
I'm too big or this room's too small
Why's my ceiling another's floor
Christian is writing, writing, editing, working and I've done nothing but distract him for a good ninety minutes, chattering about damned near everything, showing him different boats and what I think are whales but are probably waves because I'm not good at this, I find the binoculars big and heavy and even propping them on the table isn't a great solution but Christian is impatient and frustrated and finally he says,

Bridget. Get a chair. You look ridiculous.

Oh, well, why didn't you say so?! I don't think like the rest of you!

I see that. Need a Pop-tart?

I stare at him. I can't think of a comeback.


Christian used to babysit me when I was eight. Mostly because Lochlan was above that and Christian was happy to make some money for what he considered an easy gig. Except the first time he did he put a movie that his family had rented into their VCR. He figured he could keep me busy that way.

Ah, the brilliant ideas of teenage boys. The movie was Halloween.

By the end of the movie I was behind him on the couch, covered with pillows, shaking like a leaf. He turned the television off, turned and stared at me with wide eyes before putting on his adolescent bravery and he said,

Need a Pop-tart? (As if Pop-tarts could solve everything.)

I chose strawberry and then asked if he had the second movie, so we could find out what happens next, because it didn't actually end, just hanging like that. Look who's brave now!

That's called a cliffhanger, Bridget. You want the other Pop-tart? He holds out the wrapper.

Yes. I take it but I can't finish it and he takes my offered remaining piece and stuffs the whole thing in his mouth.


I shake my head. It's too early for pop tarts and besides, they make me feel sick now. Probably because they are cardboard with sugar frosting and I'm getting too old to be fooled by those kinds of things.

But now Gage won't get his chin off the ground. He points at Christian and then at me.

He used to...babysit you?

Sometimes, yes. 

Isn't that weird?

Would have been weirder if it had been Lochlan, Christian laughs and takes a bite of his Pop-tart. They don't make him sick. Lucky guy.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Out Shine.

Ben met me halfway up the basement stairs after a cryptic SMS sent me flying down the steps. It was eleven at night and he had come home, shown his face at the table, wolfed down a plate of food and disappeared to the basement to finish something up. He said he'd be an hour, ninety minutes tops. This was at six-thirty.


When he meets me, he says, Oh, what's that, bumblebee? Your phone's dead? What a shame! And he throws it over his shoulder. I hear it hit something and bounce to the floor and he tilts his head in that weird intense gotcha way that makes my knees kind of buckle and he scoops me up and carries me down to the studio.

Which isn't a studio anymore, it's a campsite.

With a tent. Our six-person tent set up in the middle. No lights but three battery-powered lanterns are on. The portable electric fireplace plugged in and flickering nicely (lights, no heat). He's projected stars onto the ceiling and set a soundtrack of loons, crickets and lapping water.

And an ice bucket with champagne because as I have said many times before, Benjamin has no idea what to bring on a camping trip. He had called for pizza too, it was sitting on a blanket in front of the open tent. He shivers and laughs and tells me (pretending) that the lake was really cold (yes, it was) and that we need to start over (yes, we do) and boy is he hungry (so am I!) and just like that he resorts back to the quavery-earnest hilariously non-serious Ben that I fell in love with.


Something Jake would do. I know. I was witness to some of his outstanding romantic gestures. It's okay, I can take it. But he squeezes his eyes shut and ducks his head down as if he's about to be lambasted. But he's not.

...incredible. I love this. Ben. I freaking love it.

He opens one eye doubtfully and grins. Then he passes me the whole pizza box and I take a slice and fold it New-York style, like he's taught me.

Ghosts don't go camping, Benny. 

Sure they do. Especially when you wear them on your shoulders like a backpack. 


I dropped the ball, Bee. 

Yes. Kind of. 

I'll make it right. Is it too late? Do I have a shot? Can I...crawl back into your heart with some bubbly? He pops the top and pours two flutes and passes me one, clinking his glass against mine before drinking all of it. He puts it down and I look at it. Then I look at him and wait for him to detail his promises in full.

It's non-alcoholic, Bee. 

I know. 

How did you know?

I trust you. 

It's also Christmas. Thank you, Santa, he breathes. You gave me exactly what I wanted. She's beautiful. And a perfect fit. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

What it's like to still be twelve years old.

(It's not your eyes.)

Lochlan buried all of his own bravery and determination in the cornfield when I was a child and can't stick to his own beliefs anymore. Push him just a little and he wavers and gives up. He hates that about himself but he's learning to find the will to push through, to put his foot down, to risk anything at all. I think sometimes I got off rather easy, and Caleb scared him more than he scared me. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what happened, because I've been mowing him down ever since. He won't put up a fight with me very often. He's mostly paralyzed. Injured. Wounded. Scarred. He used to make all the decisions, he controlled the sun and the moon and now I'm learning celestial mechanics on the fly to try and keep the universe going while he lives in his own world in which he knows things are wrong but not what to do about it. He struggles to put aside his doubt  in order to be a good father. Every moment he fights to not show Ruth his flaws. She accepts them anyway, same as I do.

 Cole used to have three brushes on the go at once. One behind his ear, leaving paint on his chestnut curls, one in his right hand, creating magic on the canvas and one wedged tightly between his teeth to bite down on when it hurt too much. Painting was catharsis for him, therapy, release. He would come to bed at four in the morning, turning on all the lights so that he could find me and I would open my eyes long enough to make note of the placement of catastrophic smears of paint that he didn't bother to clean off before sleep. I woke up in the most violent hues. My skin was always raw from showering in turpentine. We threw away a lot of sheets.

Jake had a thing about hot food. Everything had to be broiling. I don't think he ever ate a salad or an ice cream cone in his entire life. He sort of spoiled me rotten in that respect, as he would disappear each morning and come home with fresh warm bagels for breakfast, or McDonalds (!), then we always had soup for lunch and at night I spoiled him right back with hearty stews and casseroles and barbecued goodness. Later still in the nights he
would heat up cake in the microwave. I still do that to this day. Not sure what it was but seeing as how I visited the tiny hamlet where he grew up in Newfoundland I'm guessing he was always cold and this was a comfort mechanism. It worked wonders, in that regard.

Caleb had some sort of grand plan for himself from the day he was born and he has steamrolled his way through life to get there. He's isolated himself from everything and everyone, depending on Cole and on me when he wanted company, now paying for those choices dearly when his brother died and I refused to give him the same loyalty I afford to Lochlan. It's the one thing he can't buy and it's driven him mad enough that he's now getting sloppy, making business decisions with his heart instead of his mind. He's slipping at last and I like him better fallible. I like him when he tries to be human. It's refreshing and strange. And I must refrain from vilifying him so much now, since I gave him a son. He can't be that bad, if he gave me a child like Henry. Henry is love and for it, Caleb has changed. He's finally human.

Ben is trying. His hands shake, his mind isn't clear but he sometimes wakes up sober, at the bottom of the well, ready to climb out for another day and work towards staying above ground. He's too big to be so unsure, too heavy to be as graceful as he is, too nimble to be so physically strong and so emotionally wrecked. My sun rises and sets by his rare smiles, and when
I take his hands in mine and squeeze them he is grateful for the lull in trembling. I'll be strong for him. We take turns. Right now I've got everything going sort of okay so I can be the one to take the bullets and he can be the one to take cover. At some point we'll trade. He's the strongest and the most fragile person I know. They say that about me too, so it stands to reason we would work best together. I can't lift him but I can hold him up, I say. And he says that he can't fix things but he can hold me while I try.

 I look at this table and I don't get why no one walks away. I pushed and I threatened and I did every single thing I knew of to test them and no one budged. I have fought, tempted, struggled and failed. I have loved. I have tried so hard to sort this out.

Five massive personalities with strength beyond belief. Giants. Tyrants. Legends. Heroes. Villains. Magicians. Gods.

Now three are left.

I'm amazed they all share the same single weakness. Amazed, but not surprised.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

And I'll be waiting for you there.

This is for long-forgotten light at the end of the world
Horizon's crying the tears he left behind long ago

The albatross is flying, making him daydream
The time before he became - one of the world's unseen
Princess in the tower, children in the fields
Life gave him it all: an island of the universe
Lochlan fixed the dryer, Ben fixed my hearing aid (at least temporarily but as he pointed out, I'll yank them off after twenty minutes anyways), we threw the moka pot in the recycle bin and decided to bounce between the big coffee maker and the fussy french press from here on out, and I didn't drink any wine or draw any pictures at all.

Instead we went out for a fancy dinner (which does not include carrying our own food to the table and sometimes that's nice too even though it's hard to beat french fries in one's cupholder, which is not at all a euphemism for anything, Padraig) and came home to watch Cloud Atlas, which is a masterpiece, and you should see it if you haven't yet.

It's not as complicated as Inception nor is it as esoteric as The Fall (my all-time favorite movie besides Across the Universe). It's beautiful and fractured and fucked up and perfectly fitting together and difficult and easy all at once. I had a hard time with parts of it for obvious reasons, which I never expect and then there they are, and incredibly graphic besides. But I'm not sorry I watched the movie because I know the difference between real and not real and I'm working hard to not personalize every death, every leap, every decision just because it's happening on a screen/in a book/throughout a song.

I could bury my head in the sand but I won't. I can't.

Today we've shifted our plans to painting, bourbon and cake on the beach, because it should be less girly and more rustic, Loch said. I pointed out cheese is far more rustic and manly and what in the hell is he talking about but he said cake is manly enough and it will do fine.

Yes it will. It always does. Pretty sure he changed the menu to cater to me, and not the other way around. They do that. They'll choose something I want and then act like I'm doing them a favor and I figure it out later. It all works out in the end, just like movies by the Wachowskis.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Twelve hundred dollars worth of bits and pieces.

So far today, I have broken the moka pot, the dryer and one of my hearing aids.

PJ and Ruth had a mini-standoff,  Lochlan had a one-sided shouting match with Caleb and Matt and Sam abruptly stopped planning their practically non-existent wedding because Sam is having a busy week with other weddings, ironically.

Matt closed the folder that Sam left on the table (without the selections marked that Matt asked him to do in choosing certain aspects of their day) and put it in the recycling bin. He gave me a tired, half-bitter smile and said not to say anything, that he takes it in stride as one of things he loves about Sam, that they'll work it out next week when Sam's schedule levels out.

What do you love? His devastating vulnerability and indecisiveness? 

Something like that. Matt laughed.

Lochlan is standing at the counter watching us and sort of stewing in his own bitten-back anger from his morning's completely unresolved altercation.

Sam is the male equivalent of Bridget, Lochlan says abruptly and Matt nods before catching my expression. I turn my jaw slightly to the left and gaze at Lochlan steadily.

Matt whispers Sorry in my face and kisses my cheek on exit. He's heading downtown to run some errands and meet some extended family for lunch. He finds the difference in his weekday schedule versus Sam's end of week+weekend one a little tough but he doesn't say anything because here it is Saturday morning and where is Ben? Sleeping, because he worked around the clock all week. If I'm lucky I'll see him tomorrow when he wakes up.

At least, I hope I will.

On a good note, Gage is loving living here. He loves watching the drama, the waves and the giant movie screen. He loves the wildlife (bears AND coyotes yesterday, two apiece) and he loves the food, though he's incredibly handy at cooking and on a weird schedule that sees him hungry before I can even think about cooking. He loves the people. He's also good at knowing when to leave a room. He salutes and follows Matt out of the room and Lochlan comes around to help empty the dishwasher.

Could you wait until Caleb is back to at least 75% capacity to rip him apart?

Could you not cave in with your heart on your sleeve the moment he drops below that? 



Great day. What do you want to do?

Go down to the beach, draw, drink wine and eat cheese. I smile, thinking he's never going to go for it.

How provincial. 

Tell me about it. 

I love it. You're taking the high road. 

What would I do if I took the low road, exactly?

I'll tell you while we head down to the water. Get your pencils.