Monday, 9 February 2015

Mold a new reality (9 and 18).

I was singing under my breath, walking back and forth on the edge of the curb as if it was a log over water. I was pretending Brutus and Nero were on each side, like in The Rescuers when they guarded Penny. I wasn't paying attention until I turned to come back and Caleb was standing there, hands in his pockets, hair in his eyes, college-smile on his face. It's spring break for him and Easter for the rest of us. We're having a block party since the snow is finally gone.

Whatcha doin', Bridgie? 

Waiting for dinner. Lochlan said he was going to make hot dogs for me so I have to wait a little bit. They had the hamburgers but not hot dogs ready. I don't like the hamburgers.

Why not?

They have onions in them and they're bumpy and really big. I like hotdogs because I can put mustard on them. 

You can put mustard on a hamburger. I can make you a smaller one. 

No you can't, silly! Only cheese and ketchup. Oh, and pickles. And Lochlan's already making me a hot dog but thank you anyway. 

Okay. I can wait with you. What song were you singing?

Closer to the heart. It's really old. 

A couple years. Loch teach it to you?

Yes. 

Yeah, he likes Rush. 

He says he'll take me to see them at their concert if they have one here.

That sounds fun.

Yes. How is school?

He laughs. Why do you ask?

Because that's what all the grownups ask when they see you. I think it must be an important question.

School is hard. I want to be a lawyer so I have to get really good marks to get into law school. 

Another school?

Yes, it's like a specialty school. 

Oh. So are you getting like B's and A's?

Something like that.

Lochlan is going to go to circus school. He wants to be able to do everything so like ringmaster and tightrope-guy and elephant-rider and clown with juggling. And fire. He wants to juggle burning things too.

Is there a school for that?

I don't know. 

What about you? What will you go to school for?

I'm going to be a grownup first.

Yes, but what job will you have?

Storyteller and also Lochlan's assistant. 

Oh so business school with a minor in creative writing?

No, circus-assistant school. I can already write stories so I don't have to learn that. 

Just then Lochlan hollers my name and tells me to come and eat.

Caleb turns and looks back at the group manning the food tables and then smiles again. You better go get your hot dog. 

With mustard. It's just gross if it doesn't have mustard. 

Next time I'll make you a little hamburger, okay?

Okay but none of the bumpy things. One like McDonald's, okay? 

Oh, you want a pressed patty instead of fresh ground beef. 

Whichever the flat ones are. And no onions.

I'll remember that. 

Hey, Caleb?

Yes?

Will you be finished lawyer school before I finish circus assistant school?

Yes, I would think so. 

Okay good. 

Why?

So you'll have more free time to come and watch Lochlan's act. He's going to need a very big audience to be famous.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

'Something about an iron hand in a velvet glove quote from Charles the Fifth', he said.

My cashmere and velvet goodies have returned and everything fits this time.  I was ordered to come and prove that to the Devil but I declined, telling him I was going to church. He offered to bring me. Nothing says weird like sitting beside Satan in a pew while Sam preaches his fool heart out.

It was worse when Jake was up there.

I'd give anything if he still was up there.

After church we went out for an early lunch or brunch I guess it's called (still no coffee after thirty-nine days) and then when we were coming back down the driveway he ordered me once again to show him when we went inside so that he is satisfied everything is right now. Once again I said no, that he will have to trust me.

That if it was a gift it comes without obligation.

He gave me that half amused-half incredulous smile that makes him look all of a handsome eighteen again and said that I win, that he can wait. But not long. 

All amused now. He really likes this game. Some days he's not impatient at all.

Sam was home when we got back. Out in the driveway drinking tea and watching Loch on the unicycle. Caleb did not even pretend he was going to run him over. He always says it would be a freak accident. Not a 'freak-accident' but a freak accident, in which case a freak gets hit. I just roll my eyes and go to sit with Sam because it's beautiful and sunny for once and the rest of the day is mine, and what's mine is ours.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Broactive.

I'm watching myself evolve here, weatherwise. Watching the webbing develop between my fingers and toes, seeing the scales growing on my legs, now fusing together with an iridescent sheen and a large flowing fin at the end of my new tail. Fucking rain, it never stops.

Duncan asked me if there was room on the broom this morning and I scowled at him so hard I may have pulled something. He laughed and joined me on the big bench at the table where I sat reading and finishing my toast. Saturdays can be fairly quiet in the house in the mornings and I relish that peace but I love company too.

To pay him back for calling me a witch (room on the broom? Seriously?) when he left his phone on the table to go and get his hoodie I swiped left on all of his Tinder potentials and changed his settings. Ha! Looks like his Saturday night will be spent at home with us listening to Jamiroquai and eating pizza, marvelling at how the cheese just beads right up on my new waterproof mermaid skin.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Blaster indeed (new Scott Weiland! Squeeeeeeee!)

There he is. 

(Sorry, I fangirl so hard over this guy. And I would imbed the video but Blogger sucks and gives my mobile readers a goddamn blank white space and I don't know how to fix that.)

Firewall.

This force is in love with you
It wants you safe
It wants you well
This force knows what you can do
And what you can make
With your tattered shell

Faith in your device
So quiet and precise
Just when, not how
You can feel it now
Deep beneath the light
A spark will now ignite
And you will see me now
This is our world now
Lochlan continues to be touched that I paint him in such a flattering light. I always remind him that I put out my worst side first too, that no one's going to read about our lives and run off and join a commune OR a circus, that ours is a cautionary tale, told with warnings, with hesitation.

But that doesn't mean we didn't make it because we did. Or we are, as it were, for this is a serial story and not a one book deal. This is an ongoing, evolving, developing, breaking down, eroding and rebuilding kind of story.

We are a plateau. We're an avalanche. We're a new day dawning over our own wreckage, working to rebuild.

We are cheesy and ridiculous and immature and freaky.

We're not the least bit apologetic. Or rather, I'm not. Loch is a stranger danger, in that he shifts easily from parent to showman to grifter. The fun part lies in the fact that I never know which of those sides of himself he's going to present to me at any given moment. 

What I do know is that if all I ever wrote about was the sweep-me-right-off-my-feet, heart-melting teenage-fever kisses he gives me, well..

You'd be really fucking bored by now.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Probably just.

I wear my heart on my sleeve
It's what I feel, it's what I need
Everyone will tell me that I'm doing fine
I wear my heart on my sleeve
Until you see it's what you need
Until you see that I'm the only one for you
I went back to Joel and told him to start packing again because he's still leaving and I was probably just insane when I asked him to stay.

He said Yeah, probably, and don't worry, I never stopped.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Guardians of the fallacy.

Treat me like a fool
Treat me mean and cruel
But love me

Wring my faithful heart
Tear it all apart
But love me

If you ever go
Darling, I'll be oh so lonely
I'll be sad and blue
Crying over you, dear only
I open my eyes in the light of the morning. Elvis on the radio. It's twenty after seven and the room is choked with heat already. I force my fingers under Lochlan's shoulder so he'll roll off the end of my braid and he mumbles painfully, something about needing aspirin. I ignore him and his top hat perched drunkenly on one of the posts-ends of the headboard and pick up his t-shirt off the floor, shrugging it down over my shoulders, then my hips where it stops just shy of average decency.

I go into what passes for a kitchen and pour the last of the apple juice into a scratched glass. One sip and I decide I may have not picked a clean glass but I don't know for sure. After another fight last night Loch actually made an attempt to pick up the room. It's not an apartment, it's a hotel room you can rent by the month. The hour. We have a kitchenette and a private bathroom at least. We have less than nothing. He took my passport and rented a safe-deposit box downtown at a bank that looked decent enough, putting our passports and my necklace in a box. Hiding the key at the bottom of my suitcase. Not willing to leave a damn thing in this room when we're working but not willing to let me carry my passport in case I lose it because he still treats me like I'm twelve even though I'm twenty-four and he's pushing thirty so hard it's backing up and spilling over the wall as he shoves.

I swallow my birth control pill with the last of the juice and listen as my stomach growls in angry reply. We need to go get some food. Payday is Saturday. It's Wednesday and there's half a bag of chips and a a box of crackers on the counter and Lochlan has fifteen crumpled ones in his pockets but part of the deal to get on the show was no more busking. People aren't going to pay for what they think they're getting down on the corner behind the music store for free. Even though it's a completely different routine, Lochlan signed us away exclusively.

I contemplate shoplifting, calling Caleb and begging in that order and decide I don't want to go to jail in a foreign country, I can't let Caleb know what sort of conditions we found ourselves in once again and therefore begging might actually be the ticket.

I take a quick, ice-cold shower and dress in the bathroom. I slide into a worn but pretty pink sundress and flipflops and pull my hair over one shoulder, braiding it again loosely. I check the mirror and decide the black rings under my eyes will probably help me, though I take the time to bother with pale pink lip gloss. It's practically the only luxury I indulge in here.

When I come out Loch has turned over onto his stomach and thrown most of the covers off. I would open the window but we're on the ground floor and it isn't safe here. He asks me to let him sleep for one more hour. I quietly let myself out.

Once on the sidewalk the heat is oppressive. My shoulders ache with yesterday's sunburn exposed again as I walk up the hill and cross at the stoplight. I walk for another few blocks where the buildings and restaurants go from dingy to decadent. The financial district. I find a cafe with an empty, unattended sidewalk table and slide into a chair.

And then I count.

Four men walk past. The first doesn't even glance my way. The next two look and then hurry away but the fourth one, in a lightweight expensive suit and a death wish makes eye contact and holds it. I smile and he turns ninety degrees, coming over to my table.

Beautiful day. 

It is. And I'm starving but I have no one to have breakfast with this morning. 

Is that right? Maybe I could join you.

And just like that I get a huge plate of sausages and eggs and toast. Coffee. Fruit. So much food that I can hardly finish and so I ask for it to be boxed up. Suit hardly notices that I've eaten half of everything I was given as he pays the bill without thinking. He exacts a promise that I'll meet him right here at six tonight, that we can have dinner and then maybe who knows what else?

Who knows? I promise, as I smile without hunger pangs interrupting my thoughts. I position the boxes of food in front of me as a barrier. Six o'clock, I promise, and this time I'll get the check. When he moves in for a peck on the cheek I'm already gone.

When I let myself into the room, Loch is gone. My heart lurches sickeningly but then I hear the shower. I put the boxes on the table and fetch a glass of water, making a nice place setting for him. He comes out in short order. Where'd you g-

Then he sees the table.

You gotta stop doing that, Bridgie. One of these days one of em's going to come to the show and see you and then what are you going to do?

Lie some more. 

Lie some mor-oh, that's rich. Really rich. Maybe just quit it. I'll get an advance. We'll pick up some things tonight. No more. Promise me. Stay put. It isn't safe and you don't need to do this. I'll look after you. I promise.

I nod. The promises roll out so easily in this heat. Like softened wax they spread across our dirty little escapist life here. Like fire they roll on, destroying everything in their path down to cinders and soot. Like Bridget, they're soon to catch up, if only we could wait a minute, ever.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Brain damage.

I stood outside when the roof gave in
You called from the wreckage you were lying in
You were out of reach and were out of time
But I took it all and towed that line
You held my hand and pulled me down with you
If you blinked this morning, you would have missed the moment where I faltered, losing my drive to keep putting one foot in front of the other when the bullshit surrounding Joel became a little too much and I left his apartment (over my garage) after telling him to just stop packing and then couldn't go back inside, couldn't face the others and so I sank down onto the bottom stair of the front steps and let the rain soak me to the bone.

It sucks to admit that he's right and that I need him here because I don't trust my own emotions and I scare myself to pieces on an hourly basis with the unchecked thoughts that reach out from the sidelines and try to knock me over.

It's not often they miss.

It's not often I admit that I need someone who can do nothing for me on the romantic front. I don't care about these things. Getting better with my healthy responses and behavioral maps that will teach me to fake it without hurting myself or anyone in my path until I'm strong enough to do it without the self-deception? Whatever. His map for my head to help it find its way back from grief was supposed to be a quick trip and yet here it is a lifetime later and I'm still lost and can't find the way. Or rather I'm stubborn and I refuse to do the work, for the work requires peeling my skin off and walking around blisteringly exposed, raw. Even a gust of wind hurts in that condition. So I'm a little chicken. I'm a cop-out. I'm a failure and he didn't do anything wrong recently except attempt to help the rest of them and yours truly make sense of my feelings when they crash into this house like an emotional tsunami, drowning everyone.

No survivors. Nothing unscathed.

I'm going to fail at this too. Keeping him compartmentalized while I veer wildly into the walls pretending I can walk normally. That's what being crazy is like, it's like trying to walk a straight line when you're wired to bounce off the drywall instead. It's like playing sober when you're too drunk to stand. It's like being perfectly capable of bursting into tears in the middle of a dinner party and not only does no one ask you if you're alright but they don't even react as it becomes one more habit blooming in a bouquet of self-destruction.

It's not even unusual anymore to open the door and find the little girl sitting on the steps, soaked through her clothes and unable to move. Surprised? Never. Expected, almost. Inevitable. Wait for it. Watch for it. Plan for it. Bring her in and tell her it's okay, that things will get better. Lie to her little face and she'll not believe you anyway, so that makes it okay. May as well keep him too. Just in case I do need him after all, though for what I can't fathom. I'm not a navigator. I'm not. I'm lost, twenty-four hours a day and nothing looks familiar except their faces. That's it.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The deafening noise of reiteration.

Screaming our screenplay off the cuff
We were both stuck pretending our dreams were enough
I awoke in the morning holding the day
I thought I could I have you miles away
from falling in love
Truth finds time is sweet enough
Please don't call it love
Oh, there's Ben now. Present and accounted for long enough for a windy, rainy walk on the beach this morning and then gone again. I see more of his face when he's asleep and so I'm having a hard time tearing my gaze away from his beautiful brown eyes. He thinks I'm so foolish, saying Look here. I got you a Lochlan. Play with it for a while and you won't even miss me!

Only I do. All the time.

And I think sometimes Ben just disappears to protect himself maybe, that just in case I change my mind about all of this (which I do with surprising frequency, just not in the way you'd expect) he could say, yeah, I just don't have time for a wife, I suppose and that might protect his heart somehow.

From me.

That makes my eyes sting to think his endless absence is just one big contingency plan to let him save face in the event that I do the unthinkable, completely predictable thing and shut him out.

I wouldn't do that. It would be so much easier if I could but I can't. And even if I could I wouldn't give Ben up for anyone.

He only spent the morning at home to try and hammer it in to Lochlan's skull that Lochlan doesn't need to take Batman's offer, that he's ours and we are his and he need not do anything but be present and be happy.

Lochlan, of course, wonders if this is a trap.

It might be. We just might kidnap him and keep him for ourselv-

Wait.

We did that already. And he came so willingly.

So there's that.

But there won't be any deal with Batman. I appreciate the gesture, the effort put into breaking things and then attempting to fix them, but we close ranks fairly quickly these days and Batman isn't going to get to use Loch to keep a toehold in my life, nor does Loch need to work just to contribute to the expenses here. His portion is covered and it takes place firmly against his will. He isn't made like that, no matter what Ben tells him. I just can't get Ben to stick around long enough to show him that Loch doesn't trust that. He doesn't trust anybody. Not even me.

And it makes me sad.

I watch him sleep. Watch his curls shake ever so slightly when he moves, watch his mouth open slightly as he breathes, watch his hands jerk and relax as he dreams. Watch him build rides in his dreams and throw torches in his nightmares. Watch him thinking out loud, solve problems and be ornery and pragmatic without even opening his eyes, watch him play out his regrets and his victories in the dark of his imagination. Watch him wake up with a gasp and remember he's safe and not on fire or being held just under the surface, the same way I do, every single day.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The day people pretend they like beer. Right Keith?

It's a dimly-lit, cozy sort of Sunday today. Anywhere else and thick silent snow would be falling heavily, making the outside world an excuse instead of an option but here the rain keeps everything filigreed with drips and vaguely chill. Cozy in a different way as I walk around the house trying not to cough, taking every single hug that is offered up while I turn on lights and answer questions about dinner tonight.

Dinner? I don't know. Bacon and eggs and toast, probably. We'll see. We'll see is code for please someone go buy pizzas but it's Superbowl Sunday and pizza might be hard to come by. This isn't a football house. We no longer even try to pretend. It's a hockey house. There's a game on right now on at least five different screens. We need to pull Miller. The Avalanche just keeps scoring. Fix it quick, boys.

See, I know my hockey, through and through. Football never interested me even once.

Sam got home ten minutes ago, ripping off his shirt and tie as he went down the hall, coming back ten minutes later in a t-shirt and a big sweater, hair messed up, arms out for another hug. He bailed on a meeting. Too sick, need to sleep. It's become our battle cry as we limped through the end of January and I hope the groundhog doesn't see his shadow tomorrow and instead sees the light at the end of the tunnel for this miserable bitch of--

Aw, Canucks just lost again. 4 to 2. But when I lament their crappy playing lately someone will invariably point out at least they have more than fifty points at this stage.

Oh, right.

My Leafs. They always start so strong and then you can watch their energy evaporate before your very eyes. Too big in the contract, no incentive to do anything other than show up. They've lost it. You gotta be hungry. You gotta want it so bad. You have to, at the very least, try.

I'm going to try to nap and hopefully when I wake up the Seatraitors or the Patrihawks will have won and pizza will be available again without a three-hour wait. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

I cut myself a little slack this morning and it turned out to be just what I needed.

I finished AHS: Freakshow. It redeemed itself in the final three episodes and Finn Whitrock was amazing, as was Jessica Lange, as always. I look forward to the next one, whatever form it may take and while I hold a tiny thimbleful of disappointment for how unlike my own experiences on the Freakshow it turned out to be, I still found a thread of thrill to hold onto for the moments that turned out to be exactly the same, which were solely the moments when they showed their pain visibly, and for when in spite of said pain, the show must always go on. Maybe I'm blessed that I could be a freak by choice and not by birth or circumstance but it's still part of my life I credit with giving me the ability to see people for who they truly are, even when they attempt to present only what they want you to see.

Thimbleful indeed. That's an incredibly tiny, cheap shard of my takeaway from those years. I can never convey how it felt to be there sufficiently to share much of it with you at all. But that shard. It's something when it glints in the sunlight.

***

I finally got absorbed into Mr. Mercedes. It isn't a standard Stephen King book, it's as if he mixed it with his hard case crime books. I hoped it would be more horrific than his son's turn with Nosferatu but no, not so far. There is too much thinking. Too much detective. Too much deliberation, not enough shock so far. I'll stick with it, but it's tough going.

***

A week and a half and six pounds down is the math on this flu for me so far. I have to keep track. I've already had my cliff-baptism from Sam to absolve me from church that isn't even until tomorrow and PJ finally succumbed to this scourge of a flu besides. The good news is we're all just well enough to cook, clean and complain so hopefully next week will be better, faster, healthier and more efficient. No work gets done. No creating takes place. It's a holding-pattern until further notice and it's the most difficult way to live sometimes. Two steps forward, three steps back.

***

I made tea and pancakes this morning and I thought I was doing really great. I drove Ruth to a coffee shop across town to hang out with her friends. They will walk everywhere and then she will call for a ride home after dinner tonight. It's that weird fifteen-year-old freedom where you have nothing to do and it's the best, isn't it?, or so they say. I don't have much patience for it because I was working at that age. Working hard. It's difficult to minimize my experiences on the road in order to bring them in line with what a 'typical' fifteen year old does now. What the fuck is typical? No one wants to be that way, do they? But then there is Ruth and while she's miles further in her trip to sophistication than I will ever travel, she's sometimes a carbon copy of me and that scares me half to death.

 It scares them more. Thankfully she's taller and more sarcastic and not the least bit fragile at all. I can't wait til she gets a job.

***

The rest of the day will hopefully bring take out and horror movies. Both incredibly necessary when one is this sick. Both standard operating procedure when Joel wants to have a head to head discussion. Note I didn't say heart to heart because I don't bring mine when I come to discussions with this man. He doesn't deserve to be near it.

***

Oh and for those of you following the underwear saga, I've sent the velvet sets back with pins in all the places that need to be taken in and have decided to just go commando until they come back again. All the cashmere went too. It's just too big. But there was no way I could put on the old things after spending any length of time in those beautiful pieces. They feel so good. No more mass-produced shit for me, thanks. I'm now an underwear snob.

Well, I will be when I get my stuff back.

The Devil was very proud. I'm not known to do anything the easy way, nor do I seek out any sort of luxury unless coerced slowly into it, like a fearful animal. But this morning between being sick and fed up and foundering for a little moxie from somewhere, anywhere, I just said You know what? Fuck it. I'm worth it. 

Mark this day, then. Because it's finally come.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Taking usury.

He wants to make amends, asking me to try on one of the sets and show him the issue with the size. I come out and do a dizzying spin and Lochlan studies my hips.

I don't think he realizes how small you are. 

I shrug and play with the ruffles and he pulls me into his arms. He squeezes and lifts me up slightly. You haven't lost more than a pound or three from being sick. Maybe these can be altered a little. Then he lets go, standing me up in front of him, waiting until I meet his eyes. I'm sorry, Peanut. I'm sorry I tried to ruin something of yours, something you loved. He wisely stops there. There's no but. No I just. No if you knew. But the look in his eyes is pure Lochlan. Pure insolence. Defiance. Scorn for this position he finds himself in. Nothing's changed but he has to atone for it anyway. Funny how that works.

I get it. Can I keep them?

Why are you asking permission?

Because then it becomes about me and not about Diabhal. 

He shakes his head and then nods. Some formality. Some weird twist of irony here. Some exacting bittersweet exchange leaves this a victory for us instead of Caleb.

***

Ben laughed when he saw how loosely the butterscotch set hugs my frame.

You...Hahahaha.

I what?

You look a little bit like a potato skin. 

Aw fuck. Don't do it, Ben. 

I'm kind of hungry....

BEN!! 

Okay, that tastes NOTHING like a potato skin. I stand corrected. You taste like a couch. 

You just don't appreciate the allure of fine lingerie. 

Delicious chesterfield. 

And ruffles. 

Tasty sofaaaaaaaaa.

Nevermind. 

***

Caleb takes far too long to evaluate me in the ruffles. I feel like I just walk into rooms now and drop the dress. This must be what supermodels feel like. Is this what tall feels like? No? I didn't think so.

I don't know where I went wrong. 

Did you guess my measurements? 

No, I used the same ones as I did for the dresses and they fit you perfectly. 

Yes but they are draped over places where I can't fill them in. So it doesn't matter if my butt is tiny a dress where the fabric falls straight it's going to be painfully obvious in something form-fitting.

What is the solution?

Try things on before buying them. 

How does this help me, Bridget? 

I will pin them and you can have them adjusted one final time. 

This is complicated. I wanted to treat you. 

You are. It's supposed to be worth it, though. 

He smiled and said it is. To see you so at ease in decadence makes everything worth it. Whether or not you ever admit it, this is the life you were born for. 

Naw. It's all an act. I'm a freak, remember?

Maybe, but everyone needs to be saved from something. 

I don't need to be saved. 

That's not the view from where I'm standing. 


Thursday, 29 January 2015

So different than the show (Part 2) (101).

(AKA the part where I realize I don't know who the bad guy is anymore. Therefore it must be me.)

He reached out for my hand and I crossed to take it with my left, for my right is still clutched around this big anesthetizing glass of red wine.

He then proceeds to squeeze my fingers gently as he starts a story for Lochlan (and Ben by default, so far the silent witness who prefers not to wade into our history wars) about how over the years he has noticed that the peripatetic nature of my upbringing under Lochlan's charge has led to a a desire to attach unreasonable meanings and importance to select possessions, in addition to an over-attachment to people, coupled with that debilitating fear of abandonment that carries a whole other name for it straight out of the DSM-VI but we don't like labels, oh no, we do not. So that a beautiful custom made wardrobe of underclothes wasn't just a few little pieces of velvet, they were my moment of elevation, a fantasy-come-true moment in which for the first time the most luxurious and fine fabrics became my everyday. That it hasn't been so long since Lochlan won a hundred wars with the simple gesture of giving back my music box snowglobe with my initials on it that I had to abandon once before. That Lochlan has absolutely no right whatsoever at any point to take things that belong to me and destroy them, that he would be wise to understand that it's his easy dismissal of things that are important to me that make me unsure, untrusting, almost uncaring because all of this is fleeting and can be taken away in a heartbeat.

Loch is almost speechless at what he's being blamed for.

This is my fault? Death is the only permanent? I didn't teach her that! Cole taught her that. Jake taught her that.

No, But death just drove it home and now look at the mess she is and why do you want to perpetuate this? Let her have nice things. Allow nice things to be provided for her. Respect her and her things and those who care for her and remember you are one of her things and you are only here because I have very great respect for Bridget. 

And Lochlan snorts. You respect her every time you tie her down, is that it? 

Our arrangements are none of your business and you've missed the point. Want to stay here with your friends and your daughter? Don't fuck up again. 

If I go, Bridget goes with me. Lochlan looks at me. I see the fear. Top left. Just a glint of it.

I nod and raise my chin up.

Caleb pulls me right down into his lap, grinding my wrist bones, wrapping his arm around me tightly. No, see. You can't go. Sorry, Doll. Your son stays here and so you stay here with him. This isn't negotiable and I would love to know what sort of brain damage keeps it coming up as an option in his little burning mind. Caleb is talking about Loch but he hasn't taken his eyes off me. He starts talking to him again before I can process any of this. Oh, I don't need to. It doesn't change. Do we have an understanding, then? You don't touch her things, I don't touch you. You've got such a good life here. Don't fuck it up, Pyro.

And then he let go and pushed me up off his lap. He said he'll have a raincheck, that she's already drunk and defensive and that's never a good combination, that when the new things are delivered we will reschedule so he can see how they fit. How they look. He didn't say how they feel but that is what he meant. The pretty fabrics aren't for me, they're for them.

***

This morning the new box arrived and was delivered to the main house. Inside, not two new sets but three, including one in butterscotch velvet with pearl buttons that I wasn't expecting. The new dark rose is beautiful, the mint green striking and when I tried one of them on I thought they had goofed so I tried on all three. They're too big and sag off me. I didn't eat much this week. Too sick. I wonder if he'll blame Lochlan for that too.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

104.5

Might be rethinking the ease with which I get passed around for hugs and kisses as I have now managed to infect the entire point, save for the Boathouse which is now a Designated Safety Zone. Sam and Matt's bed has become ground zero because Sam and I have the worst of this and we have spent the past three days in bed bemoaning our shitty immune systems while we unapologetically drink all of the orange juice for miles and watch amazing movies like Rent and Point Break and extoll the virtues of wondering who mourned for Patrick Swazye's beard?

I did, in my feverish germy way. I did.

And then I slept some more.

Their bed used to smell like sandalwood and high-end designer and cool. Now it smells like sweaty little princess. I think I'm down to hours left and I'll be kicked out and the whole thing will be burned. That's fine. There are other beds for me to languish in.

Monday, 26 January 2015

104.

Part 2 will have to wait until tomorrow, or the next day. I managed to get the flu and just now got my head up off the pillow since yesterday. Holy dizzy. Coughed so hard I almost barfed. Ben made tea and toast for me before disappearing. Lochlan's been home playing Warcraft next to me and keeping me motivated. Sam let me cry into his shirt before he had to leave and Caleb brought over a Lush Legends box a half hour ago but I am too sick to be excited yet. I can't wait to look through it. He's starting to listen though. I don't need any more Cartier bracelets, but I love glitter in my bathtub and all over everyone besides.

And PJ's wearing a surgical mask because as he likes to say, he loves me, he just doesn't love my rabid, debilitating germs.

Yeah me neither.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Not so different than the show (Part 1).

The amazing label from last night's wine, in glorious compressed Blogger/panoramic form for your perusement. The wine was good. The label better. I found my own depiction in the middle of the crowd and my soul floating at the bottom on the inside.

The money I gave Caleb was my own from my emergency stash, my attitude I brought myself, hauling it along with me, a monkey on my back. Drunk but disorderly, belligerent and still sweet somehow. Hesitant but smart-assed. I was sent back to get Lochlan in my deplorable state and there was no way on earth he wasn't going to come with me, because I was going back to the boathouse no matter what.

I was making snacks while they talked and then I brought out a tray and had to go back for my wine. Then I lost my nerve and I stood in the hall, one eye visible. The rest of me hiding against the doorframe.

Come here, Bridget. Caleb's voice is soft and kind. I shake my head and stay right where I am. Ben has smoothed everything over. He wants to counter last week with some soothing of frazzled nerves and quieting of all the miscommunications. Things should get back to normal. Lochlan is ours, our business, we cover his expenditures here. He should try to look the other way when the bigger deals go down and I am reduced to sanctioned payment because Ben really likes to see it. Likes to see me crawl away on my hands and knees, likes the tears, likes the harshness and the binding, likes the shadow and the sound. And I'm going to do it anyway, may as well do it for the greater good. Or maybe that's for the lesser evil. 

But Loch refuses to leave me here. If she stays I stay. But if I stay by the door maybe the sun will come up soon and the light will kill off whatever depravity grows in the darkness. The filth of this. The needlessness of it. Ben pushes as hard as the Devil sometimes and I wish they would just fuck each other and leave me out of it. I want to make Ben happy but sometimes I hate how easy it is for him to lead us down this road. A road I was already on before he came along with a map and an ironclad itinerary.

And tonight my luck ran out with the rest of the Freakshow wine. I take one step onto the wire and Loch shakes his head. Doesn't feel right, not a good time to go, he tells me with his eyes but I take another step.

He closes his eyes and he's quiet. I wonder who he prays to, because he doesn't believe in God.

Friday, 23 January 2015

HA.

Took some eight hundred dollars and went down to the boathouse with Ben and I made it rain all over Caleb's lap so it was covered in twenty dollar bills and then Ben looked at me and said Go home, drunk, you're Bridget or something like that. He says he might work on fixing some things. Hopes o.

The velvet underground.

(I swear to God sometimes I get these visions in my head of the movie they'll make of my life. The Sound of Silence will play loudly in the background while Caleb and Lochlan dive to the floor in slow-motion, locked together in a struggle to the death. Dishes will shatter, curtains will be yanked off their rods and the looks of horror will cycle through the expressions on everyone else. I'll close my eyes in a shower of feathers and plaster in the center of it all but otherwise, you'll get no reaction from me.)
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
Caleb is having a second (and third) set made (or remade, I suppose) for me. The third one will be that beautiful pale mint green. He said he was touched that I loved it so much I wanted to wear it always (which isn't quite right but makes life easier for me if that's what he thinks), but disappointed that Lochlan chose to destroy something that clearly meant so much to me, that if he is frustrated with his financial health, Caleb could help him but Lochlan refuses to help himself and so Caleb's hands are tied and he has no choice but to stand and watch Lochlan destroy himself over a matter of pride and petty jealousy and for such a freewheeling fucking homeless gypsy, his standards seem pretty rigid, don't they, Princess?

Shots fired.

Man down.

We're in this together. I stood ground on our behalf. Me and Loch. My chest hurts so bad when he does this.

Then you can pay your credit card bill for those tires. If he can't even afford to keep you two safe then...his eyes fill up. Incredible. God damn it. I'm going to call this The Week Everyone Cried.

He keeps us safe.

Caleb nods because he's going to drop it in favor of something else. What about the job with Batman? 

I don't know about that yet. 

He'd be a fool not to take it. Which for Loch is par for the course now, isn't it?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Demands a sacrifice

Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
Amen
Amen
Amen
I brought my treasures home and planned to wear all of it, just not with the Devil. And it backfired spectacularly when Lochlan came upstairs, stripped me out of my clothes, took one look at the most beautiful rose velvet and walked away to the stereo, where he turned up the music as loud as he possibly could without disturbing anyone. Our wing isn't near any of the others. It's the other side of the house with its own staircase. So loud and he locks the door and then comes back and puts me up against the wall, asking me where I got the outfit and I tell him like I'm so proud that I can stick it to Caleb and wear it with Loch instead and he turns me around and rips it all off me, stinging my skin, tearing my pride with the sound of buttons popping and stitches exploding in his hands.

Back around and he tells me not to do that, not to play them off each other, not to go there, not to let him touch me, not to take his gifts, not to leave, not to do anything but just be who I was back before I knew I could be someone. In the dark I can see the tears streaming down his face, dripping off his nose, hands clenched, not gentle, just fed up beyond belief. He can't buy the tires, he can't afford to dress me in velvet, he can't change our circumstances any more now than he could back on the road when we wound up in rough towns behind by a payday or three working for people who didn't deserve to see what we showed them and we didn't deserve to show them what they wanted to see. It's a vicious cycle and I'm going to be eaten alive as the music swells so loud it blocks out the light and mercifully I don't have to see what I've done here anymore.
Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Nerves that feel like velvet when touched.

So crawl on my belly 'til the sun goes down
I'll never wear your broken crown
I took the road and I fucked it all away
Now in this twilight, how dare you speak of grace
There were boxes and boxes of the most beautiful lingerie. Cashmere underpants in gentle hues of warm brown, pale blue and sage green. Periwinkle velvet camisoles and stockings. The absolute cutest selection of forest green ribbed woolen underpants I have ever seen. I've never seen material like that for underwear before. It's a little stretchy on these tiny boyshorts. Very soft, fine fabrics. Silk and woolen stockings in sweet pastels. Some greys, lilacs, pinks, cream, skyblues and ocean teals, along with olive, burnt orange even, but absolutely no black. More velvet. The most delicate covered buttons and boning on a dark rose velvet corset that I've ever seen. With matching pink underwear with ruffles and satin ribbon edging and clips. Heirloom-quality. This is a dream.

My first two initials embroidered delicately on the top edge of everything: BR.

These are bespoke and unreturnable. I had everything made to measure.

Amazing. I push him away so hard. I ignore his requests, threats and even the pleas and I am rewarded. I don't understand him. Most people would get the hint and give up. He goes shopping because surely he can buy whatever it is that I'm made of. Five weeks without touching me and he loses his goddamned mind.

I expected to show up today and be flung off the cliff by my head.

What do you think? His hands slide around my waist. He's right behind me, pulling me back against him until I can press my head against his chest and feel his chin on my head. He sighs.

Why do you do these things, Diabhal?

Because I can, and because you get endless hives from lesser fabrics, and if I recall the last time I watched you dress, the elastic of the pair you had on was ruined and they sagged off your cute little ass. I'd rather you had good pieces to wear.  

Why these colors? 

They look best on you.

To whom do they do that?

Me. 

I thought you liked black and grey. 

My brother's been gone for almost nine years now, Neamhchiontach. I want to see colors again.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Junkyard Bridge.

She's in a long black coat tonight
Waiting for me in the downpour outside
She's singing "Baby come home" in a melody of tears
While the rhythm of the rain keeps time
Stress always manifests in me so violently, obviously, wracking my body from head to toe with uncontrollable tears and endless debilitating headaches and stony silence as I fight my way through another day of remembering to breathe and not cry when I catch a melody of a song that I like. Remembering the the little things building up are not the worst and maybe I don't have to fall apart over a flat tire or a broken nail.

But I do and it's like those little things, when you stack enough of them up are just as tall now as the big things and it doesn't seem to matter if the issue at hand is important enough, it's all painted with the same brush. It's all the same catastrophe and I keep trying to arrange things just perfectly in my deranged OCD way. Everything straight in a row, checked seven times because my memory shuts down first and leaves the rest of me to sort it out like throwing someone with no limbs into the sea and yelling at them to swim already.

That's what it's like.

It isn't pretty, it isn't film-worthy or book-worthy or fit for public consumption. It's like being in a coma and feeling everything when they've already decided you feel nothing and to just go ahead with no anesthetic. Rip out her heart. Rip out her mind. Rip out her soul.

The rest?

Keep it for spare parts.



Monday, 19 January 2015

Pseudoscifi.

Joel is aghast that I am turning down free, local, voluntary, familiar help as I forge ahead with his banishment.

Jasper is outraged that I nailed his boss again when that's all he ever wants in life, please and thank you.

Caleb is incensed that I still don't seem to need him.

Ben is busy.

Duncan is white-knuckling life and I want to help him so I stay away.

Lochlan is keeping his cards close and won't tell me what he's thinking about the whole job-offer thing in case someone gets ahold of me and I squawk before he's ready. It's happened. I'm a pushover and I'm gullible. I'm also horribly ticklish. It's a favor, leaving me out in the cold, trust me. I never could keep very many secrets. Once I'm full, I'm full.

PJ is tired, so I'm making dinner by myself though Dalton is about to jump right in here because again, I slipped and admitted I still have a very bad headache. If he can chop up some heads of broccoli we'll be in the clear I think.

Blue Monday? You're freaking right it's Blue Monday.

The good news is it's almost over.

The even better news? New winter tyres on Lochlan's truck because the ones he brought from the prairies were falling apart and unsafe. Not an expense that he needed right now so I put it on the black card. That will buy him some time, at least. He was so mad that I paid for them but also kind of glad for a little more time to cover the cost, I think.

It's like the whole point is half in rich dark shades of black and the other half is always in the red.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Whiskeyjacks. I've never seen one with my own eyes. I like birds, though. We have owls here and they are SO LOUD. It's awesome.

The Swedes have moved on, the house is semi-pulled back together (Ben and PJ are working on it) and I had breakfast with the devil this morning because he was lonely, he was angry and he wanted to negotiate*.

He also pulled rank over Sam, who is starting to get irritated at the lack of attention I pay to church and Sam actually sent Caleb a scathing message that I saw because Caleb's phone was sitting on the counter while he made cheese toast for my breakfast. He even did tea instead of coffee because eighteen days, you know. I'm doing great. I really want a cup now, but my poor fragile kidneys and my anxiety won't allow it.

Sam sent a scathing message to everyone, as I later found out, that they need to show up and make an effort if they want to live the best life possible. We support him fully as heathens, we do. He hates that. Jake did too.

Caleb sent back a scathing message and pulled rank over God too and I stopped wondering about his phone after that.

Lochlan is gearing up to announce that he's going to work for Batman, I think. He hasn't said much. When I ask he tells me he's thinking, and it's no longer as reassuring as it was when I was eleven and didn't know what it meant.

I might be sort of drunk right now too, I'm sorry. Dalton poured me a good one an hour ago and it is lighting up my insides and burning my expressions brightly into my face and making it hard to concentrate but he said I looked like I needed it after a long weekend and they are allowed to medicate me as they see fit. Some of them are until they cross lines, that is. But he cleared it with Lochlan first so I guess it's okay and I won't be up late tonight anyway and Matt is making spaghetti for dinner so I can just sort of slide out of the weekend on a melting ice cube and the memory of the hard hug Caleb gave me when I realized he really didn't want me to leave.

(*He wants Joel to stay. I say Joel goes. It's a Irish standoff and dammit, he's not going to win.)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Totally tea.

The Swedish band rats didn't stay here last night. Our landlord doesn't permit it, or so he pointed out in a text that woke me up because I had one whole beer (well, almost a whole one) and then was so sleepy by eleven I got very snappy and so I sent myself to bed. Ben was still going strong because Ben is weird like that. Sometimes I think he could stay up for weeks without blinking even. He didn't have a beer though. Beer is heavy. He had tea and water all day. The rest (except Sam) drank flats and flats of beer. PJ was fuzzy and slowly joyful. It was adorable. Duncan did well to not drink. I watched him. Probably too closely but I worry about him even though he stuck to tea for the whole evening in spite of being repeatedly offered drinks until Ben said some of the house is teetotal and then the offers stopped short. Done and done.

Today they were back right after breakfast but thankfully they've moved downstairs to pull out a serious jam session with a mind to record.

I didn't join them, I don't want to sing with a cold or have any more beer (ever) and besides, I had a standing date with Caleb and Henry to go shoe-shopping. Henry's now in 11.5s for sneakers and if he keeps growing I worry we might have to put a lift kit on the roof just in case he grows so tall his head pokes through the flashing and the shingles too. Then he'll get rained on and get leaves in his eyes and make a mess besides and kids named Jack will come along and try to follow him into the clouds via a shortcut in a beanstalk that grows nearby.

Can't have that. I'll keep him inside.

But I can't have that either.

So on he grows.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Death n' roll, it's called (love that).

Two or three times a year Ben's friends show up and take over the whole point for a day or a weekend and then they vanish again. This is one of those days. They eat everything. They make me laugh. They tease him incessantly and they bring presents in the form of things like the best, newest stereos with plugs that don't fit North American outlets (I have that covered though), vintage guitars (!!) and entire crates full of merchandise.

Fun fact: Men's medium fits no one. Ever.

Also fun fact: Who the fuck fits a ladies XS junior? Ruth is a 00 size and she can't even squeeze into those shirts. I'm sure she could when she was 2. I'm being punked, right?

Final fun fact: I haven't fallen asleep yet. Score!

They played some music together between conversations on the porch (It's metal! You can't play metal quietly) and our uptight, homophobic neighbors across the cove called the cops within minutes, who came down to check things out but of course they can do nothing because I know the noise bylaw and it doesn't kick in until long after dark but because we're actually nice people (if you try to get to know us) we took it inside.

Because we're not that nice we opened all the windows.

Everyone looked the same as always, just slightly older. They asked me who did this to me, who cut my hair and made me look like a boy? I was quickly defended with a few comments about how I probably did it to look taller. Consensus is it's had the opposite effect and I look smaller. Then a chorus of awwws let me off the hook and they moved on to teasing Lochlan for almost burning himself down from the inside out last fall, something Ben had told them about over Christmas when they spoke of coming for a visit. They brought Lochlan a giant antique copper fire extinguisher. I don't think it works but he loves it anyway.

By eleven this morning it was too loud and too crazy even for me and they switched gears, opting to rendezvous for an early traditional Benjamin-lunch which is when eight of them go and bring back twenty pizzas (sometimes the numbers vary slightly but they must always be even). And then I'll make actual-lunch because the pizza won't be enough. I have a headache from laughing, Caleb is afraid to leave his house and I got to hear Ben mimic a Swedish accent which was so terribly done he should be publicly shamed. We were laughing too hard to film him, however, so my proof has gone to the same place his dignity wound up.

It's just nice to see him so happy.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Be right with you.

Seventeen days with no breath at all
You fall off a ledge and your world dissolves
And no one listens to the sounds you make
and no one listens to you when you say
Save me from pain
For whatever reason my narcolepsy came back with a vengeance this morning and Benjamin bore the brunt of it as I kept completely checking out, my chin hitting my chest and my eyes flying open so many times I lost count before I scowled and fell asleep again. I didn't even ever feel it coming on. Usually I feel so overwhelmingly sleepy but today I just keep waking up.

Maybe it's dangerous and foolhardy to give up coffee.

Maybe I'm just dangerous. I just know I've always been this way whether I get nine hours of sleep or three. Same with the black circles under my eyes. They're always there. Genetics fucked me over bad. Bailey is perfect with her curly golden hair and tall willowy figure, perfect black eyelashes but no black circles, flawless hearing and normal alert levels.

I believe I may have been abandoned with her family by leprechauns passing through the village.

No, seriously.

It would explain the wanderlust and the love of potatoes and cake, you know.

And whiskey.

Shhhh.

I mean Zzzzzzz.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The reluctant survivalist, the insane surprise.

So this is my once upon at time
So this is my star-crossed wasteland
I cut my hand pretty badly on the mandoline. I wasn't even using it. I was moving it, fumbled and instinctively caught it. By the blade. I've never seen that much blood at once that wasn't period-related and it was hypnotic, seductive. It was incredibly bright and tepid and slow-growing, absorbing its surroundings like the shadow of the mountains when the sun dances from east to west.

It was properly bandaged four times before it stopped bleeding and before PJ would relax and crack a smile again. Then I washed some dishes and got dressing number five. Then six and they sent Dalton out for more first aid supplies and Sam took over the dishes. Odd how you can't seem to find steristrips in Canada in spite of the fact that everyone seems to carry them but is always magically out. We bring them back by the case from America. I'm going to sell them on the underground, I think (notes potential source of income for the future).

Because in the future my hand is healed but I'm left with a wicked white scar you can only see when I raise my hand to shield my eyes from the bleak whitewashed sunrise, to shield my heart from damage and my soul from theft. I can't see a thing but I feel everything. It feels uncertain and dangerous and yet hopeful, that if you just keep on walking, single-file, quiet as mice, that eventually you come into full sun and things will turn lush and green and certain once more. That people like Joel who claim to be helpful yet only cause more problems are memories that have faded to the point of unreadability and that the pain has too. That only the happiest recollections that make your heart skip and your eyes sting are there to greet that day.

And no blood.

No blood spilled. No blood shed. No blood drawn. No blood painted until it turns black against the white wall and when I step back I see a picture of me.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Don't you dare fuck with Bridget and her friends, both real and imaginary.

They say you've been living up the street
Well, I'm sorry boy, yes indeed
Back from the war and down by the creek
Well, a 'sorry' ain't what you need
Heard you've been trying to tell the truth
But I think I've about had it with you
The high point of the morning was when Ben started threatening to use me as ammunition against Duncan, who refused to budge. He was sitting on the big couch in front of the fireplace reading and Ben asked him three times for help moving a huge armoire before promising to throw me at him.

Duncan shook his head and said, I'm not catching her. 

You will. 

Nope. 

Oh..you will! And Ben picked me up and tossed me squarely at Duncan. At the last second I screamed and Duncan threw his arms out and missed and I managed to nail both his Adam's apple and his balls in one amazingly uncoordinated but reasonably soft fall.

I was horrified but they all laughed at Duncan, who could not speak or stand up for several minutes. They're too rough sometimes still. You think they're going to outgrow it as they mature but apparently that never happens. The maturity part, I mean.

The low point of the morning was when I gave Joel his notice. Ninety days to find someplace else to be. Ninety days to stop psychoanalyzing me on the run, ninety days to break the habit. Ninety days because the rental market is hard here. Ninety days because I might change my mind. Ninety days because I'll change it back, come hell or high water.

Oh wait, we have both here. Out he goes.

Ninety days to fight with Caleb who does not want me to dismantle the safeguards he put into place for me just because I got my feelings hurt when I was called out for talking to the garage walls again. What a hypocrite he is too.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A good day for black.

Burn down my house
And make something happen
Stab me in the heart
And make something stop
Because I am so distracted
I am slightly shocked
By how things can keep going
Like a dead man's clock
Jacob is pacing in the darkness, feeling his knuckles with the pads of his fingers from his other hand. From it distance he appears to be wringing his hands, from close up you can see he's rubbing out the soreness from his fingers from where his hands have been clenched into fists. There is as much salt in his hair as sunshine now and I can't tear my eyes away from him even as my heart beats so hard it's making me blink involuntarily.

He looks older, and stronger and more tangible than ever today. My tactile dream, my dead preacher, my love. He used to love lying in the dark at night as I told him stories from the show. He would laugh and say, but how did you feel? and I would answer so easily. Throw-up-excitement, dread, exhaustion, bursting happiness, contentment, endless hunger. He would frown or smile depending on my answer and work on his knuckles in the dark, rubbing them, cracking them. I wasn't sure if he was arthritic for he never complained, or nervous for he never admitted or maybe it was just one of those things, one of those endless unconscionable habits one picks up and then can't seem to put down anywhere later.

Jacob smiles when he sees me. You look good today, Princess, he tells me because he was used to this. All black from head to toe. Hundred-button boots, delicately cabled tights, black wrap dress in a pretty drape, tied so tightly and the whole thing covered with a long black sweater with buttons so small I'm the only one who can fasten them and the elbows are three-patches deep now.

Liar liar Preacher Boy. I say it softly, with a smile. It's an old inside joke, for he used to tell me I was beautiful when I was red-faced and in full ugly-cry, my eyes turned bright blue, lips quivering, nose running for the hills, fingers clenched til they drew blood. He would say that and I would laugh. I would laugh so hard. Incredulous and say he was a liar but the Preacher Boy disclaimer brought appreciation and affection for his efforts, just as my black clothing brings the night around with me, like a shadow. Like a shroud.

The more he talks the more I think he's real. Ghosts can't feel things. They can't be concerned or worried. They can't show emotion or be held to earth with negative energy so I'm not going to do this to him or to myself foremost. Today I must protect myself, standing behind the shadow of my presence, standing in the glint of silver and gold. Just standing here.

Because I don't know where to go next.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Winter of eight.

We are fire
Burning brightly
You and I
I had the lighter in my hand, standing perched on the driftwood log at the top of the snowy dunes. My tongue is sticking out of the corner of my mouth and my fingernails are blackened underneath and all around the edges but I told him I wanted to light the fire tonight. He gave me one lesson in how to light the lighter and then he went about finding fallen wood.

But I'm not strong enough to hold the flame. I keep getting it to light but then my fingers slip off the button so fast. I'm so frustrated but so determined.

How's it going, Fidget?

Almost got it! Bring tons of wood! It's going to be the biggest fire of the year thanks to me. He laughs and I jump off the log and sit down. I try to roll the wheel against the log like I've seen him do but all I get from that are sparks. I bang the lighter repeatedly and grunt my displeasure at not being able to do this. I wipe my hands on my skirt and tuck my hair behind my ears. One more chance. My coat has black sooty flinty fingerprints all over them, my face too, streaks in my hair that would take five washes to come out.

He comes back with the last armload and dumps them on the pile and looks at the balled up paper I am holding. No luck? 

Almost. I have sparks. I'm almost there!

You have sparks because you're soon to be a flame, and someday you're going to grow into a roaring fire but for now you just show a hint of your light, protected from the wind and rain. Someday a little rain won't make you sizzle and a little wind won't blow you out, someday you'll be the most powerful thing in the world. But for today you will only show as a tiny spark so I can find you. He takes the lighter and with a practiced, easy motion conjures a full flame that he holds up to the paper and then tucks the paper under the edge of the bonfire. Soon I'm warm and sleepy and I don't care at all that I'm not at full-flame yet. Someday I will be.I think it will be when I'm as old as he is. Around fourteen. I can wait.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

.81 cents on the dollar and falling (It's like 2002 all over again).

Today I slept until nine, drank tea until two pm, replaced another hard drive in another macbook (like lemmings, they are), bought bad RAM (FUCK), developed a new respect for Shia LaBeouf's emotional music video catalog (themes, holy themes!) and finally got to watch Lucy while I drank some coke and Kraken. Oh, and I went to Dairy Queen, because onion rings and Benjamin, dammit, it's a deep fried mutual admiration society there.

I hope tomorrow is much the same. Though I have to return the RAM. Which is funny because today I returned some PLA filament that was the wrong size. A week ago I returned a snowball microphone and I feel like everything I buy is a two-trip minimum experience. Also the boys have weird and incredibly varied lists of things they need/want/ordered and so I mostly get to tag along as company or go myself as casual personal assistant.

I get paid in candy and hugs, so it's all good.

But that sleeping til nine thing. I can thank my dog for that. I really really needed that.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Chatty little cinnaskulls.

There's been times where I felt
So alone it tried my mind
But you always showed up
Made me feel like I'm alive
Today feels just like a normal average (read: completely uncharacteristic for me) day. It's Friday. It's been nine whole days since I had any coffee and I'm just a little too even-keeled for suspicions not to be raised here. My anxiety levels are down, my kidneys sent me a thank-you bouquet and so far I haven't fallen asleep once mid-conversation. I did fall asleep inappropriately during Hercules when Ben rented it on Apple TV but it wasn't inappropriate after all because the movie was so awful. I woke up just as the credits rolled. I didn't mind a bit.

No jitters. No wild mood swings. I'm not worn out or irritable or craving coffee. It's sort of like when I quit smoking once I realized I got nothing out of it except for bad headaches so I just stopped and then I felt so wonderful but I'm also one of those terrible people who refuses to have any vices or become addicted to anything and can just stop a fledgling habit on a dime.

Except I won't give up starch. Diets don't work at all. Someone mentioned we should go gluten-free again and I laughed and then ignorantly asked if that meant I had to give up cake and potatoes because I don't remember what gluten is again so no, I'll eat those things still, please.

Well, within reason. I need more protein and vegetables. Not bananas. I'm pretty sure I glow in the dark from all the potassium in bananas because I can eat ten in a week, easy. I'm weird with food jags like that. If I open a bag of pistachios it's game-fucking-over because I will eat the whole bag. That started with licorice when I was little because I didn't want to share with the boys so I would just demolish the whole bag in half an afternoon and then they'd never know, but they always knew because I would feel so sick afterward.

So sick. I ate a whole bagful over Christmas and yes, same result. I asked Lochlan not to buy it anymore.

Because I have no self-control, it's better to just not do it all.

You see how this extends to so many areas of my life, don't you?

Yes, I know.

It also takes the pressure off because while Canada heralds the arrival of 'flat whites' to our country's Starbucks, I can just file that name away with the other coffeeish beverages I don't know the difference between, like lattes and...huh, I already forgot. So see? I don't even need to care that I don't know what these things even are, save for that brief period when the castle was within walking distance to a Starbucks and I would go (like five times in five years) and get mochas that were sickly sweet and seemed like inconsistent hot chocolate that cost five dollars.

Also how the FUCK can anyone get one of those super huge drinks? I'd have to pee for months afterward. Does being short mean my bladder is also extra-mini? Don't answer that, I think it is.

But yes, I'm very happy with my one little cup of tea in the mornings and Ben says now if we get a midday date out somewhere we'll have to shift to ice cream!

Sold.

Though I would happy to continue going to the little coffee shop we like best (not a chain, just a counter with two surly employees and a few dirty tables but their music. Oh, their music. Today they were playing Merriment) because they have cinnamon rolls the size of my skull and I've always wanted to try one. I wish someone would make cinnamon bun skulls, that would be cool. Covered in royal icing with dark cinnamon pockets for eyes and a nose and then raisin teeth. I would just pick it up with both hands and sink my own teeth into the forehead and it would be the best thing ever and I would become addicted so fast everyone would wish for the days when I bummed cigarettes off them and tried to pretend I was cool.

I'm not cool at all. That's okay too.

I bet Ben would unhinge the jaw on one of those buns and make it talk. It would say Bridget.....you want coffeeeeeeeee....and I would laugh but shake my head no.

Nice try though.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Friends with penalties.

While Lochlan went to figure out all the details of his soon-to-be imaginary job working for Batman (again) I rolled out of bed headfirst and went out to breakfast with the Devil, who was in such a wonderful mood the only place I wanted to be alone with him was in public. He offered fried potatoes and I'll take those even if they come with a side of death.

Obviously.

Caleb was being nitpicky, evasive and snappish so I responded by being sweet. I asked him if I could pass things and cajoled him to eat his stupid egg-white omelet with a cute smile plastered on that would have to be removed with threats and a lot of elbow grease.

Caleb is in over his head with me, I'm afraid. He can easily overpower me physically but emotionally he has no idea what he's doing, why this is so difficult or exactly how hard Lochlan worked to raise me so that I would be quite unlike any other human being on earth, at least to the point of the typical gimmes that Caleb encounters with most of the women he meets. Nope, I'm nothing like them, and nothing like their opposites either.

He should just walk away before it's too la-

Oh, right. Nevermind. *looks at watch*

He started with awful things while I nibbled on my food. Threats. Promises. Certain complete dismemberment down to my baby tooth. My eyebrows went up and he said those too. But then after I failed to react further (trying so hard oh please please stay stoic, Bee) he softened and warned me about spending intimate time with someone I don't know all that well (I do) and then asked if I was satisfied ripping Loch's heart open always just as it finally begins to heal.

I shrug at that one but he gets a reaction when my eyes spring a tiny leak.

Caleb notices and pulls out fatherly/kind but I don't want that. It's easier if he just yells out of fear than if he sits here and shames me to pieces using Lochlan's feelings as ammunition.

I swallow some of the crow that comes back up and point out that Caleb doesn't have right of first refusal and nothing I've done in the past week concerns him at all, actually.

Then he asks if he should add to my bonus, since clearly it wasn't enough.

I shook my head.

Jesus, most women would say 'how much'? You slay me, Bridget. 

Like a dragon, Cale. 

Like a dragon, baby. A...fire-breathing dragon. He realizes what he means and pushes back from the table, taking a final sip of his coffee. I finish my juice as he shifts his gaze to the floor and somehow I feel like I just ripped his heart open again too.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Velvet disease.

I had my little crow feast. It was disgusting. He grilled it bone-dry, burnt and twisted on the rack and I choked back every last bit until like me, the only thing left was a picked-over carcass.

I will spare you Lochlan's performance at the barbecue but it's safe to say he built me up and tore me back down. He got it all out. He vented at PJ and Ben and Batman too and then Caleb showed up and was promptly ushered out with excuses while Lochlan was tackled to the ground so he wouldn't go after him too. Let's just say it was about as pretty as the grocery store, but with a waterfront backdrop and it wasn't until I finished the meal that he was satisfied that I'd learned my lesson.

But Batman wasn't finished. Batman came back with a job offer. He told Loch he thought time with me was somewhat...sanctioned and then said he wanted to make things right and he doesn't intend to complicate things further. That set Loch back to yelling about how every single man here who wants to touch her complicating things and it took just about forever to settle him again.

And Caleb doesn't even know the details yet. Really, Lochlan's temper is nothing compared to what's coming.

And I think Loch might take the offer to work for Batman, personally, AKA Made up job. Nice paycheque. Very very little travel. This should be great. I give it five months like everything else. I asked Batman what he would be doing and Batman couldn't answer me because he probably doesn't know either so he said something like we can talk about it tomorrow. Come see me at ten because Batman doesn't like to get up early and I know this so I knew he would be home because I'm that evil.

But I'm not that evil and last night after I was done that terrible meal I was picked up and tickled into submission and that was Lochlan's playful cue that he is no longer really mad at me, that I am doing my best.

My best? No. I could do better but what I seem to do best is sabotage myself.

***

As it turns out too I have now managed to infect all four households with strep throat because I'm generous like that. Only the boys are big bearded babies when it comes to being sick and I just keep on going until I drop. They make little coughing noises and sprawl out on the couch, useless or clear their calendars and not even get out of bed. Matt is already feeling better. Sam is still coughing a fair bit but then again so is Ruth.

The only person well enough get anything done at this point is Christian and he showed up wearing a mask. Not a simple face mask like on airplanes, a full tactical gas mask with filter cartridges for biochemical warfare.

That might be overkill, I told him.

He shook his head. I read somewhere that the smallest things hold the most germs. So like pets...babies...Bridgets. 

Nice. 

You're the one who made the rounds. I'm here bored as fuck, minding my own business, the least you can do is shop local. 

Oh my fuck, Christian! You didn't just say that. 

Right. I didn't, actually. Carry on. (For the record, he wouldn't. He has standards that far exceed uh...any woman he's ever met, actually.)

If you don't mind, I'd rather not. I need to reel myself in here. 

Like a fish? 

Like a fish. 

Like a tiny little diseased fish you throw back. 

Yes, exactly. Or flush. We always flushed the sick ones. 

I don't think you'll fit. 

For once. Finally something I'm too big for. The toilet! We should go celebrate. 

Some bitch ate all the crow. The party's over, man. 

Ow. There's no love for me here at all tonight, is there?

No, you see, Missy? That's EXACTLY how you get into these messes in the first place!


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Scene kids.

PJ and I had company grocery shopping this morning in the form of one pissed-off Scotsman, who refused to speak to me but also wouldn't leave me alone. He called in sick (more or less, when Schuyler came to get him) and glared at me the whole time and Schuyler was all you were fine yester-oooooh. Okay feel better, man and then he glared at me too.

PJ glared but at least he was speaking. Sam was cranky at breakfast and even John rolled his eyes when he came in and I asked how they suddenly all became these rabid girl-blog readers and Sam said For Pete's sake, Bridget, You don't TALK. How else are we supposed to know what's going on?

Well, next time I'll let you know in advance so when I do my walk of shame you can all come out and watch, like it's a parade or a fucking tour. 

Bridget-

Who was around yesterday? He was. That's it. Everyone else forgot about me so I forgot about all of you too! 

But I didn't mean it and the minute it came out of my mouth I wanted to stuff it back in and choke to death. Lochlan put his arm out and pulled me in close and asked me not to fuck with the millionaires already, that he's sorry he wasn't there. He's only half-apologetic though, the other half is positively bristling with a sparking, snapping current of pure rage. He didn't say any more after that and we resorted to stupid visual cues to navigate trying to shop for ten people, eight of whom eat a lot more than the other two.

PJ didn't say anything though I'm sure if he had right then he would have pointed out the irony of Lochlan apologizing to me because I went and messed around with Batman. I could see it all over his face and so I pleaded with him with my eyes to not say it out loud.

Further down into the store Lochlan lingered for so long at the meat counter I had to go back and get him.

What are you doing?

Selecting a nice juicy breast of crow for you for dinner tonight. 

I'm sorry, Lochlan. 

But you're not. Ben might not give a shit who you're with but I do. I do BIG TIME. He yelled this part and the whole store tuned in for the next part.  Just because we're in a commune doesn't give you permission to sleep with everyone there!

Then he looked around and asked what the hell people were looking at.

You, Lochlan. They're looking at you. 

Yeah, and they see a guy who used to have it all and now has nothing.

You have me.

You're not worth the paper you're printed on, anymore. You used to be such a draw. The crowd favorite. Guess I should be careful what I wish for, huh? The crowd definitely favors you.

I stood there with my lower lip vibrating, trying not to cry and finally told him to finish shopping by himself, that I'd be in the truck. He said FINE and out I went.

I did not have the keys so I climbed in the back and lay down flat on my back in the bed and looked at the sky. The clouds were tinged with 1982 and when I was just about fall asleep Lochlan's head appeared over the edge of the bed, curls damp, face sunburned, breath heavy and he said,

There you are! I was worried someone might have run off with you. And he grinned with relief that I never took seriously until now. I'm making his worst fears come true in an effort to fix mine. The tears came hard now with the sudden rain and 1982 is washed away again in favor of drops stamped clearly '2015'. Loch's face appears over the edge of the truck bed, curls damp and he says, Jesus fuck, I thought you ran off and then he stood waiting for me to need his help getting out because the tailgate doesn't work. The relief is visible in his expression and he asks if I was okay. I shake my head when my feet hit the pavement, No. Not if you're mad. 

If I wasn't mad I'd be a fool, Bridgie. 

So be my fool. 

It never paid very well, remember? 

I nod and he finally smiles slightly. Softening maybe? Nope. Not hardly.

Get in. We're going to go home and prepare your feast! He holds up a tiny cornish hen in one hand. This will be your crow though I imagine it tastes more like pigeon. Oh, well, nevermind, it will do. 

I'm not going to eat it. 

You'll do what you're told. Maybe for the first time in your life! 

Monday, 5 January 2015

A men (sic).

There's a bed tray haphazardly placed somewhere down between our knees, but our heads are pressed together, watching the rain pound against the windows, drumming in sheets, translucent pages with no words. You're supposed to write your own story on this day, maybe, if you can find enough letters still floating in the puddles on the streets once the early workday crowds have dispersed.

Empty juice glasses, champagne, a small bottle of whisky and two half-eaten croissants on plates rest there on a ravaged morning newspaper. The melon and cheese have all been eaten. We've been here for hours. It's a ritual rarely engaged in anymore. It's a weird kind of comfort in which I can center myself again and leave his world to go back to mine. The two hardly glance off each other in their respective orbits these days, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

He meets my hand, raised up to pretend to draw on the glass, and laces his fingers into mine. His hands are soft. The only tools he ever holds are paper and pen. The only time he smiles is when I'm here, I guess correctly, and that's sad but inevitable. I promised nothing here. This is just chance. Sick design. Flawed architecture. Hope for him, worshipping at the religion of Bridget, where Jesus looks like Tinker Bell, tiny and seriously messed up and unworthy and still they come each Sunday in droves to be faithful to she who hasn't shown an ounce of faith in her entire little life and that's why God turned her out early, I'm afraid.

A soft alarm sounds and I moan, frustrated.

I have to go, Bridget. I have work to do. You can stay. 

No, I shouldn't be here anyway. 

Then we're both breaking the spell and I don't have to be the bad guy.

 But I don't move to get up and get dressed. I lie in the cool white sheets and watch him button his shirt. His shirts are as expensive as the Devil's but he is old money and doesn't notice or care. It's just The Way Things Are Done with him and I like that too.

How much did he give you? For your bonus, I mean.

[redacted].

He laughs. You were a slacker? A wink follows. The mood has turned back to playful and all I would have to do is say one word and he would take the shirt off again but I wouldn't do that. I'm unintentionally cruel but never purposefully mean.

Maybe. Think I should go back and campaign for more? 

I would have gone higher but with caveats. 

I bet you would have.

Thanks for a fun morning. Way to start a man's week. 

Mmmmm. I close my eyes. So tired suddenly. It's psychological though. This is a refuge and I don't want to go back out unprotected, naked to the derision of a world that has no idea what I'm about.

But instead of leaving he sits down. I smell aftershave and wool and he's in a lovely black suit and dark grey shirt. His cufflinks are tiny silver flags. His watch is a vintage Breitling that belonged to his father. Repaired with the glass replaced and the strap now three times over.

He leans down and kisses the top of my head. My eyebrows betray my surprise. He's not affectionate, ever and yet this morning has been like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all rolled up into one.

Your hair. I like it. 

Really?

Would Cole have allowed it? Or Jacob? 

Never. 

Then I like it because you did it for you. 

Thank you. I like it too. 

He looks like he wants to say something else but instead he gets up and leaves the room. I don't hear the front door. I do hear his car a few minutes later and I close my eyes. This is not familiar even though it's so familiar. The lack of attachment makes things so easy. The lack of feelings makes it unbearable.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

With interest.

Lochlan was up and eating oatmeal at six this morning and out the door by twenty-five after and so the remainder of my day was claimed in short order by the early risers. All of this will eventually be cancelled out by the late risers and I'll be nodding into my turkey soup by eight tonight, back to waiting alone for Lochlan to come home.

Sam brought me to church (ha, seriously a line from that song that is stuck in Lochlan's head that he NEVER stops singing/whistling/humming lately) with him for the early service. Matt will come to the late one. He isn't feeling well. I'm the substitute husband as much as Sam functions as my substitute wife and it's a little funny and kind of nice to be in his sphere of activity sometimes. Sam has turned out to be far more quirky and funny and sweet the older he gets and we mesh well. We mesh too well but no one minds. I sat up front and made faces at him so he could practice his stern but fatherly reverend gaze. Sam's about as fatherly as I am. It doesn't work but he's good at not reacting now. He used to be terrible and it was fun.

During collection I loaded up the plate with chocolate coins from our Christmas stockings, the fifty-dollar bill hidden in the middle just to be a brat and passed it on.

After church I went to say goodbye to Sam and ran outside to meet Caleb, who had pulled up right in front of the doors. He opened the car door for me and as I got in he said we have a breakfast reservation so off we went toward the city. When we arrived he rattled off an order to the server before they had time to properly greet us and I broke in with a warm Good Morning and a revision. Hash browns, fruit, bacon and tea. No to the coffee, egg-white omelet and roasted spinach. Caleb hates to be corrected in public and glared at me and once the server made his escape I pointed out how much I hate egg white omelets, I hate being ordered for because there's no way he could possibly know what I want to eat and also we gave up coffee for one of our biggest resolutions and he knows that.

Diner-manners don't fly in this sort of place, Princess. 

Neither does overstepping your boundaries. 

If you want to see what I look like overstepping my boundaries, then let's go home and I'll show you. 

My glare would have melted the ice jams off a Winnipeg house in March and he actually reeled his evil back in for once. I figured the minute we get to the Boathouse I'm dead in the water anyway so I may as well make my protests loud and early but he surprised me. Not only did he steal half of my hash browns which is a cardinal sin because you don't TOUCH Bridget's potatoes, but when we got back to the boathouse he clearly detailed what he needed as far as work, then he asked me to put on some music of my choice and that if I was efficient I would be back home before lunch.

And here I am. Because I'm efficient. I'm the best damned executive assistant/Analyst/Partner he's ever had, frankly and he knows it. He reminded me that since we have switched to logging hours worked for 2015 instead of me being paid on a per-day basis that I was to input my hours before I left and that if I needed money before payday to let him know, but that my belated holiday bonus was already on deposit.

Oh. I got a bonus? 

Yes, you did, Bridget. Because you work like a dog for these companies and expect nothing. 

Oh. 

So here I am with my banking website open and my Christmas bonus making the balance run off the page because I have to scroll to see all of it and I think he made a mistake so I call him and he laughs as he always does and reminds me that icebergs are usually much larger under the surface (AKA you thought I gave you everything but you were wrong) and not to blow it all on cotton candy and new spark plugs or library fines from towns we have fled or new shoes when Loch burns his or gas or deep-fried food. How easily he can fall with us back into the past. Such a soft place to land these days, isn't it?

Well then what should I spend it on? I ask him as if I know nothing at all now. Nothing at all.

That sort of amount isn't one to be spent, Bridget, it's one to invest. 

And how. 

But I would like to track what you invest in, if that's okay with you. 

You do anyway, I'm sure. 

You're so smart. Sometimes it scares me, Babydoll. When I think you're missing key details, you've already absorbed everything. Good girl. 

I hate it when he says that. Screw cotton candy, I'm going to buy a factory that makes cotton candy.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Pine.

If I'm a pagan of the good times
My lover's the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
I met him at the door last night. So late. I've been once again fighting sleep. Slapping my ears, pinching my legs, trying to prop my eyes open but he smiles when he sees me because I'm not in Devil-clothes, I'm in Midway-day-off clothes. Bare feet, old jeans, tiny t-shirt emblazoned with a glitter rainbow. Hair sticking up all over the place (damn pixie), no makeup. I look young and untraveled. Unhistoried. Unbroken.

(Oh, I like that one.)

I saved dinner for you.

He drops all of his stuff on the floor. Thanks, Peanut. I'm starved actually. He laughs and rubs the back of his neck.

Didn't hear from you all day.

We have three months to get this stuff finished and out the door. It isn't going to be pretty- But then he stops and admits his fears. I figured you were busy with Diabhal anyway.

I don't feel so well. I told him I could come and work tomorrow though for a bit.

Me neither. The relief is solid, tangible. Textured with a faint hope clause I didn't know was written in. What did he have to say about that?

I didn't give him a chance to say anything. I didn't say I was going for an even division here, I just don't want to be shut down.. I just. I mean, he's like Cole and I don't have to-

I know, Bridget.

I'm sorry.

You're here. That's more than I expected.

I fed him dinner and we talked about movies for a bit and then we went upstairs and he dropped me down into bed and followed me in the night, pulling my jeans off, my shirt over my head, marveling at the lack of things underneath. Sipping Aberlour from a shared mug and trading bright loud for dark quiet. Just like old times. Just like young Lochlan and Bridget, making love without a recipe.

I'm sorry, I tell him again as I drift off to sleep. Blissfully. Finally. I don't mean to be difficult. I don't want to lose anyone else. In him I have both Caleb and Cole. And I can make him pay the price for his decisions too. You know this, Locket, you told me-

Go to sleep, Peanut. 

But are you mad at me?

We'll talk tomorrow. I don't know what I am. I just can't even think about you going to him or I want to rip my brain out. It hurts so much. 

Sorry-

Sleep! Now!

Okay!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Hungry work.

No Masters or Kings
When the Ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am Human
Only then I am Clean
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
I kept one resolution and bailed on the other but the difference is I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache and a strep throat fever now too. I stood in the doorway as he left for work, refusing to make the promise he asked for. It isn't fair. It's a total and utter lack of rules that got him to this place in his life and an endless list of rules that got me to this place in mine and I'm fucking done with this. This is safe-crazy. This isn't hurting anyone. He can handle it. Besides, he's the one who bailed.

Say it, Bridget.

I'm not going to lie to you.

I can't stay. I have to go. I have to finish this project.

So go.

Stay here.

Can't. I have to go undo the damage you've done. Way to leave me the heavy lifting.

Don't go.

You can make up all the grand plans and perfect solutions you wish, it doesn't change a damn thing, Loch.

This is bullshit, Bridget.

Oh, hell, I know that, Loch.


He stood there waiting for me to say something different until he ran out of time but I didn't have anything else to say. I have to take a stand sometime, it may as well be today. He agreed to this. He never said he had to like it or accept it and I never asked him to. I never asked for any of this either but it's what I've got now and I'm not letting go of anyone.
Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Waiting for Marty McFly.

Garage. Ten pm. Just before the interesting turn of events that saw me arrive prepared for my own destruction only to leave completely intact.

But I'm drunk. Not falling-down-drunk. Just fuzzy like my head is filled with cotton balls and I know enough to walk slowly and hold rails so I don't stumble in these shoes. These are Devil shoes and they're not easy sober, let alone like this.

I turn the lights on inside. It's so bright. He squints from the sudden flood assaulting his eyes.

Princess. 

Happy New Year, Jakey.

Happy New Year, Bridget. 

He only calls me by my name when he's irritated. God I miss him being irritated. I miss him being anything.

I'm not having anymore, if that's what you're worried about. 

Good. 

Unless he makes me. 

Bridget-

Just don't. I just wanted to see you. 

You shouldn't be over there.

I have bills to pay. 

This isn't the girl I fell in love with. 

I don't know if you noticed but things have changed. 

You haven't changed. 

Too bad about that. 

No it isn't. They should be doing more to keep you safe. 

They can't. I have obligations. 

Sure they could. You don't have to be here. 

This is where I belong. 

No, you belong in a warm little house with someone you love, happy and content. 

I had that once but things are different now. I walk unsteadily back to the door and flip the light off and leave without saying goodbye.


***
I see so little time
My eyes are crossed, my hands are tied
All I wanna do is to breathe in
Their plan worked really well. Someone made me a drink around four and then another around six and by nine I was a little bit a little lit, I'm afraid.  We went to the Boathouse just before eleven, where we hung out in the kitchen, much to Caleb's dismay, for he had to go back and forth from us to the others. Loch kept looking at his watch, to the point of rudeness. Then abruptly at 11:53, he stood up, pulled me up with him, wished everyone who was in the kitchen a lovely New Year's and pulled me wordlessly back home before Caleb was even aware that we had left. Loch pulled me into the house, up the stairs and into our room where he closed and locked the door behind us, looked at his watch once more, and then said Happy New Year, Peanut. This year is going to be different. We're going to get some help and change everything and the Devil isn't invited and then he put his hands up to hold my face and he kissed me like he never seems to kiss me anymore.

I was asleep under the quilts by twelve-thirty and then I didn't wake up until Ben came in (he has a key) around three I think. He kissed me on the shoulder and said Happy New Year Little Bee and I garbled something back and fell asleep mid-kiss and no one woke me until ten this morning with fruit and tea on a tray just for me.

So...Happy New Year.

So far my resolutions are no coffee and no Caleb. He's not going to be very happy. I had just gotten his approval for a less structured, less difficult time schematic. I would go see him if and when I wanted to. He fought me on it but ultimately decided it was the best way, because I would be there only when I wanted to be there. I was actually the only one who thought it was a good idea but while I was thinking up that idea I guess everyone else was thinking up this one.