Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Luminous and wired.

Caleb didn't wait for me to acknowledge his envelope as it was, messaging me during supper. I slipped out the side door but remained there to wait for him, pressed against the cold steel door. He walked down and stopped at the bottom of the boathouse steps.

Are you coming over? I want to talk to you.

No. We're making tea and dessert. What is it?

Can you come later then?

No. You know this. 

Tomorrow is New Years Eve, Neamhchiontach.

Yes, I know. 

Any plans? 



Happy New Year in advance.

Bridget, what are your plans?


I'm curious. What's the matter? Come here. 

I told you, we're getting dessert together. I have to go in. Did you need anything else?

I'll speak with you in the morning. 

I doubt it. 

The look on his face was frightening. I don't. You have obligations to meet. Shutting me out is a fool's errand. Tell him that. He turned and went up the steps.

I remained in the cold until PJ opened the door and then the warmth of the house hit me like a wall. Got enough fresh air? Matt made you a tea that might set fire to your soul, if you're interested in getting over that cold. Not surprised you're still sick though, you're out here without a jacket. 

Okay Dad. 

I was on the other side of the door the whole time, Bridget. With my hand on the knob. I think it would probably be better if I was on the same side as you. 

You are, PJ. Don't worry about that. Where's Loch? 

Duncan's sitting on him. Couldn't you hear him yelling for me to open the door and not just try to listen in?


I think your hearing is selective, you know that? He was fucking loud.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Wisely clinging to the ground.

Lochlan is sitting in the big chair in the corner by the fireplace picking a melody on a guitar, singing just barely audibly over the music. His face looks angry but he's still holding it together while I argue with Batman on the phone.


I made it all the way until around fourish on Christmas day when I went to do something that had already been done and a drink was fixed and left out for me besides and I had to go look into a mirror to tell the girl who looked back that I didn't know her and so I couldn't let her in, sorry, and then I went back and told Asher that he was off for the rest of the day and we would discuss employment tomorrow but this sort of ambush on Christmas Day isn't exactly a good idea on Batman's part and I'm not sure this sort of life for Bridget is a good idea on anyone's part, frankly.

On Thursday I would not let Asher make breakfast or coffee. The others locked me out of the house while he made lunch, only letting me in when it was ready, and then by midafternoon pretty much all of the boys were convinced that Asher is the best thing since sliced bread and did much to alleviate their guilt.

Lochlan hasn't said a word about it but I know he thinks all of this is so ludicrous. He thinks paying more than a dollar for a loaf of bread is outrageous when the rest of the world has moved on and doesn't blanche at paying $3.99. He thinks all kinds of things and only says half of them out loud because he chooses the hills he will die on and leaves the rest be.

It's very difficult to argue the actual need for Asher. No one wants to see me struggle. I don't know how not to, though.

By Friday I suggested he do no further unpacking and instead go and stay with Batman in Ben's recently vacated room or any one of the other rooms there and we would work out a schedule in which he could maybe come down and help for a couple hours a day to start.


Yesterday I fired him, telling him to go and get a life. He smiled impassively at me because he knows damn well I'm not the boss.

So I swore at him and one eyebrow went up and it was a little bit hilarious that he was standing there taking it when most people would have walked out and never looked back.

How badly do you need this job, Asher?

I was told not to make this personal. 

If you live here on the point you do it without skin. It's one of the perks and one of the drawbacks. 

I heard and I'm cool with it, I just don't want to guilt you into keeping me here. Did you really spend time with a circus?

Yes. Why do you need the job so badly?

Nothing tragic. I fucked up my chances at a corporate job on purpose because wearing a tie makes me gag. Batman is doing damage control on my behalf. 

He needs to let you fall. He's not doing you any favors. 

No, the whole domestic help thing in which I scrub toilets and sort mail and schedule appointments for the nouveau riche is absolutely not a favor, by my standards. 

Trust fund kid who lost his way?


That's hilarious, Asher. Now tell me the story of your name. 

He looks at the sky and then squeezes his eyes shut. Oh fuck. My folks named me Holden and no one ever let up with the Catcher in the Rye references so when I started Grade eight in a new school I campaigned successfully to change it. 

To Asher? Why did you pick that?

It was different. I don't know. I was fourteen. It was Judd Nelson's middle name. I had just watched the Breakfast Club. 

Fair enough. Holden was fine though, trust me. Every kid gets teased for their name in school. 

Did you? 

They still call me Midget and Fidget when the mood strikes. Widget. Bitchet. Frigid. Hatchet. You name it. 

I thought they called you Princess. 

They do but it was never meant to be a compliment. 


Batman has agreed to be a little less rash in trying to throw Asher into the fray here. Caleb hasn't said a word, preferring to let Batman take any consternation full on because tomorrow is New Year's Eve and he's hoping for certain appearances to be made. Just after two he slips a pewter envelope through the door and leaves without a word. Two minutes after that Lochlan picks up the envelope on his way from the library to the kitchen and goes back into the library, throws the envelope in the fireplace and continues on his path without a word.

He sees me watching him and he doesn't say a word.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Republic of the moon.

I was out on the rock wall the moment it stopped raining on Christmas day. I wanted to wait for Jacob to appear but he never showed. I wanted to wait for Ben to wake up and come out and sit with me but he somehow managed to sleep right through lunch and they let him. I wanted to be out here alone but Lochlan wasn't having it so he elected Dalton to sit up on the patio, just in case.

But then I saw this other man walking across the wet grass, hands in a long suit jacket, hair perfectly combed. He looks like a hockey player. I watched him organize his facial expressions as he came closer and then finally he stopped about six feet away from me.

Hello, Bridget. 


I'm Asher. Asher _______. 

Striking name. When did you change it?

He looked at me with his eyebrows up but said nothing.

What was your given name?

He looked out to sea. They said you were incredibly precocious. Have they told you anything about me?

No, they prefer the ambush. And since you specifically said I was precocious I can only imagine you are somehow connected to Caleb. Are you a psychiatrist?

I was contracted by a team, including Mr. C_____. My role here will be to look after your needs, as a housekeeper and driver. Butler. Bodyguard. Assistant. He keeps throwing out words hoping I will like one and grab a hold of it.

I snort but say nothing. He looks back at me and tells me his quarters will be above the garage. I nod. Now it makes sense that we finished and furnished the loft up there completely.

What are my needs, exactly, Asher?

You're trying to manage a large active household, doing it injured and under duress.

I have PJ and Loch. I have Mike if no one else is free. I have help. 

Mike is retiring, Loch is a busy man, I hear, as are the others.

No one is ever too busy for me. 

I'm not here to replace anyone, Bridget. 

PJ looks after running the household. 

PJ has his hands full with you and the children. I am here to help lighten his load as well. You have quite a family here, I'm told.

Yes and we don't like outsiders. 

When I am not at your service I will be invisible. 

How did they find you?

My godfather is _______. 

You are Batman's godson? Seriously?

Asher smiles and nods. He wants to help. Everyone does at this point. I am not here to spy or take notes, I'm here to take out the garbage and drive Ruth and her friends to the mall. 

What else?

What do you mean?

How far will you go to see that my needs are met?

Not that far. I'll make you a cup of coffee and call anyone you need to call. I'll keep you in the yard or take you to your appointments and I'll even listen to you complain but the most important things they told me is that I am not to let you out of my sight when outside and I'm not allowed to touch you inappropriately.

What about hugs?

Hugs and touching are two different things. 

Okay, yes, you're going to fit in just fine.

I don't think you're supposed to hug the butler though. 

No, well, not now. Maybe once we've brainwashed you. 

Is it a...cult?

Yes, Asher. Yes, it is.

The leader is Lochlan?

What makes you say that?

They told me he would be the most difficult one to win over. 

You have your work cut out for you, yes. But he isn't the one you'll have to win over. 


Yes, me.

He shoves his hands in his pockets. So if I make the coffee will you introduce me to the other members of your family?

I would be happy to. 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Nope. Still trying to wrap my brain around this but it keeps slipping before I can fasten it properly so here.

There were a few renovations this fall on the property, included opening up the library, making the downstairs a little more easy to navigate for PJ by putting up a wall to make a hallway (so that he can leave his door open but still have ample privacy) on the big house, Caleb's gutting of his own bedroom and bathroom at the boathouse in favour of a better layout (just like PJ's) and also finishing the loft over the garage to turn it into yet another living space, a private apartment, if you will.

A full (albeit small) kitchen and bathroom were added as well as a ton of built-ins. Cupboards, shelves, window seats, a solid front and new back door with a second staircase at the back for emergencies. Really pretty new windows. I chose the paint and drapery colors. I always choose neutrals that seem masculine by default. Lots of whites and greys with browns and soft dark blues. It works well. I wouldn't mind living there. It's a beautiful space now.

But it isn't for me, and I found out Christmas day who it is actually for.

It's for Asher.

He's the...



Friday, 27 December 2013

Under Orion.

I'm going to skip out of turn here just for a little bit. Sometimes I have to move quite slowly into new discussions of my own accord. Sometimes I just need a little time to let my brain turn things over and examine them thoroughly before I let my fingers and my mouth in on the action.

That sounded totally dirty. I love it. 

Christmas was a little bit of a quiet candlelit blur this year. I didn't feel well enough to enjoy it as much as I would have between the wrist that throbs like an unwelcome heartbeat twenty-eight hours a day and yet another delirious head cold that is still holding on to me so stubbornly it almost isn't fair. But as Lochlan says, I kiss everyone on the lips, I should probably be dead for my efforts but he only says that to be spiteful. I take my vitamins, eat bananas, never sleep and kill the germs with bourbon and coffee every chance I get so I suppose I can't complain. If I'm still alive, well then that's something.

He gave me Nyquil on Christmas night, fucked up the dosage and I almost missed Boxing Day completely and I love him for that.

I should give him something to unwind for he is rolled up tight and pulled hard enough to stretch across his own conscience like a rubber band, shrunk from the rain and yanked taut over the rough parts, prone to derision and hollering like a son of a bitch lately out of the blue and we have all stepped rather carefully into the fray, keeping his peace on his behalf while he hauls himself in. 

I think he appreciates it. Lochlan really doesn't like holidays. There are reasons for that, and I don't write them down because it isn't my place to do so. He does enjoy watching Ruth grow and suddenly she is tall and beautiful and enjoying teenager gifts and loading and spending the some billion-odd dollars she got in iTunes cards before we could check on her, and she blew through a few extra dollars that wound up coming off his credit card. But he's breathing a little easier because Christmas is over and because I'm not feverish and rambling anymore. 

He says no more kisses for anyone that doesn't live in our room and I laugh and sneeze and tell him I promise but he never believes me and I never tell the truth. Then he put up an entire solar system on the ceiling this week to supplement the handful of glow-in-the-dark stars we stuck there when I moved in.

I lie there counting them in the dark until the Nyquil kicks in and then I dream that I can throw my arms out and touch all of the stars one by one and they are soft and warm and giggle quietly which surprises me because I thought they would be sharp and cold and silent.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Clear and present.

Caleb and I had a brief conversation on Tuesday, and I should have been more prepared.

He bit down on the cigar as he smiled at me and said, Oh, just you wait.

What have you done?

Don't worry. I cleared it with your other handlers. It's a bit of a collective present.


Okay not him.

Is that wise?

I don't need to clear a damn thing with him.

Maybe you should just to keep the peace.

Anything coming from me, whether wholly or in part would be met with a flat refusal no matter what it is or how much it might benefit you. Or him, for that matter.

Not necessarily.

Yes, necessarily. It's his nature to resist me.

It's Christmas. Could you please try as hard as you can?

This is me trying, Princess. This is my effort to make your lives easier once again while I get slammed for it. This is me bending over backwards to do what's best for you no matter what position it puts me in.

I don't buy that for a moment.

Cole broke your trust completely, didn't he?

What the fuck. You did! You cracked it wide open, he destroyed the remains.

Right so let me just try and continue to make amends. I told you I'm in this for life. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

PJ has proclaimed that since I am very much under the weather and out of commission I am going to have a rare turn at skipping a post or two and instead simply wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope Santa finds you and that the people you love are close enough to touch. Hold them close and enjoy the lights and the music and don't forget these moments, for this is what life is all about.

Much love and happy holidays!

Monday, 23 December 2013

On throwing caution to the wind, and watching as it comes back and hits you right between the eyes.

When I opened my eyes he was sitting on the edge of the bed smiling at me. He needs a shave but we don't have a razor. I need coffee but he won't give me any, saying it will stunt my growth.

I'm still a little bit bitter about that (MULTIPLE. PUNS.) since apparently I was actually done growing and could have had coffee all along and instead developed some sort of sick attraction to orange juice.

Time to get up, Bridgie. Tear-down this morning. I want you to stay close by, okay?

Can I have breakfast first?

It's here. I went and got some things while you were still asleep. 

These are my favorite mornings, ones where I'm not required to wake up, get dressed, wash my face and hands, brush my teeth and then try and hold on to Lochlan from the back of the motorcycle when I'm still half-asleep and then read a kids menu for things like "Little Slugger Sausages" or "Princess pancakes" because every truck stop diner from here to the end of the earth has a kids menu only I didn't think I was going to be a kid out here. Out here I thought things would change.

I got you hashbrowns and a toasted ham sandwich with juice. 

A sandwich?

I didn't think scrambled eggs would keep us full today. 

I know. 

He kisses the top of my head and tells me to come out and eat before it gets cold.

I follow him, wearing his t-shirt and a pair of pajama shorts. He says I should stay in that outfit and winks at me but he's being disgusting and he's also kidding, since we have clothes we keep aside just for the hard labor days to wear today. They are covered with grease and torn sometimes too. I don't know why mine are. He hardly lets me do anything.

Here, hold these bolts, nut. 

Harhar. Hey, can I try the wrench? 

Sure. He sits back with a wry smile and takes off the gloves, passing them to me. I put them on and put all my strength into turning the wrench. It's half my size. Then I realize I can swing off it, feet off the ground. It's not going to budge.

Tomorrow you get two breakfasts. There's no way you should be so light. 

I'll grow. 

Yeah. He reached out and stroked my cheek with the back of his fingers. You will. Soon, I bet. He nodded and told me to hurry up. We have twenty minutes to get this one down, so can I hold this part right here so it doesn't fall while he takes it off?

Sure, even though I know now that I'm not holding it, that it won't fall because he braced it already, because I couldn't hold it if I wanted to.

I followed him around for three hours in the sun, drinking water as instructed, listening to him sing, watching him watch every move I make, torn between whether to let me learn things on my own versus saving me from getting my fingers pinched/crushed/burned.

And so little has changed now.

Watch the coffee, Peanut. It's hot. Hey, Padraig, can you put this in a travel mug?

It's fine, Locket. I'm okay like this. 

He looked so doubtful. PJ froze in between us, not sure who to listen to.

Lochlan, it's okay. I promise. 

I just wish I had been there to catch you. 

So do I but it was just a stupid accident. 

I worried something would happen when we were out on the road too, you know. All the time. 

On the show or the Midway?


Once it did, did you stop worrying? 


Well you can now. I'm housebound. 


Not so much unless you have a cure for wanderlust. 

I do but it always seems to involve danger.

That's just the way I like it. 

Yeah and that's just what I want to avoid. 

PJ breaks into our reminiscing with his clarification. So...am I supposed to be putting this in a sippy cup for Bridget or is she old enough for a real cup now?

Lochlan punched him square in the chest as he passed him. PJ went to the cupboard. Sippy cup then. Got it.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

And I watch you now/The color of the stars.

There was a silence in the stars. A navy satin and silvery solstice, chosen with purpose. This longest night. Ginger ale, potpies, squash, rarebit and Christmas pudding in lieu of wedding cake. Atlas. Codex. Cold soft rain amplifying promises spoken across the water reflecting the twinkling lights in the icy stillness.

Envelopes pressed against chests. Hands taken and clutched tightly as people I met an hour ago, sometimes a year ago were led down the heavily salted steps to the heated dock. Acceptance and welcoming of this new touching, amazing unit into our collective formally, permanently. Shivers of awe and frost competing for leverage against a fierce longing for that simple kind of love that turns the focus to one soul instead of three present and two departed. Undivided. Pure.

Dancing all night in the rain. The way we celebrate, an uncanny depth of gestures made, and emotions alike. Time heralds a richer experience of life for those of us holding our hearts out, exposed, at risk, so easily damaged or stolen, so handily appreciated for their rich composition and creative patina.

A return to the warmth and light of the house at daybreak, when the snow began again. A sendoff in the drive for guests who will gratefully sleep on the plane provided to facilitate the attendance of Matt's extended family at such a busy time of year. 

Sam's speech made privately this morning to the collective just within our home, thanking us for being welcoming, for caring for and fostering his love and for quieting his uncertainties and showing him that love can take many forms, and sometimes isn't easy or perfect even as it remains profound, and for being willing to accept his love of God in much the same way, as much a part of him as we are now, as Matt is now. I don't think a dry eye will remain in this house for some time to come, as we witnessed nothing short of a miracle here and are forever changed for the better.

Friday, 20 December 2013

You seem much closer.

Last night Henry's final elementary school Christmas concert took place. That's that. No more. This coming fall he'll start high school, which is good, I think he's outgrown the tiny school with all the tiny children, probably due to the testosterone levels in this house.

His father, with whom I still seem to be fully drift compatible, leaned over and said in my ear during the show, He's a good six inches taller than any of the other boys. And then he sat back, proudly. Because physical intimidation is good for business. Powerful men are more effective when they are tall and striking. Because Henry didn't turn out short like his mother. Whatever it is that Caleb repeats to himself in the mirror as he puts on his cologne (hopefully called Party of One) and goes to sleep at night dreaming only of himself.

Sorry, I'm a little annoyed. Gage was talking about spirit guides at dinner last night with August and Caleb asked what mine would be.

Lochlan told him if he'd paid attention he would know I have a spirit ride and it's a Ferris wheel.

Caleb, clever enough to catch the play on words, returned some of his own, saying he doesn't have time to pay attention because he's busy paying for everything else.

Ooooo. Cue the intraneural burn.

I just nodded and kept demolishing my pizza, because this parenting of tweens and teenagers business is harder than I imagined and I'm famished.

And hey! There's a wedding tomorrow! I'll probably post because I talk a lot when I get nervous and hardly at all the rest of the time. Sam's fretting turned out to be completely contagious, probably because I'm drift compatible with him too.