Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Death on the beach.

Now my feet won't touch the ground
Now my head won't stop
You wait a lifetime to be found
Now my feet won't touch the ground
We need to discuss Christmas.

You're welcome to come and spend the days. Henry's off from the eighteenth. You know this.

I didn't mean Henry. I meant you.

He's wasting no time in exploiting Loch's newly minted generosity. I should tell him that generosity is only extended when Loch gets comfortable and the minute Caleb starts squeezing me again that will change. But he knows.

I'm here. I'll be around. 

Maybe we can make some plans. A movie night or something? Dinner? A weekend away?


His eyebrows go up. He assumes the best all the time. Love that about him. You and your McBreakfasts. 

Hey. Be kind. I like fried food in the morning. 

And at night? 

I'd rather drink my dinner. 

Speaking of drink. Why is everyone suddenly on the edge of falling off? 

Holidays are hard. 

Yes. I'm well aware. I miss my brother more at this time of year, I think. 

Do you though? 

Don't you?


Cole loved Christmas. It was the one time he was truly content. He loved the snow, the lights, the magic. He loved the traditions and the tree and the children's excitement. He loved opening presents.

Whoops. I went wading into Caleb's memories and missed the dropoff. Suddenly I'm treading water, far out with the black water underneath, my heavy skirts pulling my head under.

But I fight.

Everyone loves Christmas. Have you met Ben? 

Lochlan doesn't. I don't.

Everyone has their reasons for their feelings. But he knows and today he's turning screws because he doesn't want Sam's sudden blindingly-bright, painfully-loud needs to overshadow his own loneliness. Suddenly a wave of sadness comes out of nowhere, destroying my efforts to save myself.

You've both been alone. 

Ben's been alone. 

You can't draw a map using Ben as a guide. You should know this by now. 

So it looks like I'm in a boat with Loch this year. Maybe we'll row over and save you. Or maybe well pretend we didn't see you in the first place. He pushes my head under and swims away, taking his memories with him. The water fills my lungs and then retreats, leaving me coughing and wretching on the rocks, wondering what I did now to piss him off.

Oh, right.

Nothing. I did nothing. And he hates that the most.

Monday, 7 December 2015

I'd still save him first so the sticker is just a redundancy.

Here in this world
How would you know
What the angels look like?
Benjamin turned forty-seven last week and for some reason I can't explain he is happier now then he has ever been.

I made a huge chocolate cake for the huge birthday boy and he ate almost half of it and promptly turned into a huge hyperactive child. So we took him bowling and tried to dilute the sugar in his bloodstream with bad bowling alley pizza and failed miserably. He also managed to crack a ball just by touching it.

That's my Benny. Tough as nails, awkward as a duck on ice skates, sweet as that cake I baked. He offered to pay for the ball but was told it had just come out of unheated storage and they were having problems with those balls all week. He nodded very somberly and pointed out he has no problems with his balls ever. Loch and I were both doubled over snorting by now but the creepy guy behind the counter didn't notice and thought that just maybe Ben was a pro bowler.

(Ben is not a pro bowler. I don't believe he's even an amateur yet but he had an awful lot of fun.)

We had his official birthday dinner last night because we were waiting on Danny, Schuy and PJ to come home and they did while I was telling you about Sam last evening and then telling you to fuck off. Yes, I was cooking and wrapping and preparing for a party all the while swearing at the world. A fierce little multitasker, I am.

You know I love you but I get easily frustrated by your judgements. You try living here. Wait, you try being me and tell me you'd do better. Tell me you'd want to do better. I'm just happy that Ben is happy. When he is content it is as if I am too and I don't know why that is but I like it.

And he liked having his birthday stretched out into almost a full week of celebrations. When he was growing up it fell close enough to Christmas that he would be deprived of a full birthday party on account of the holidays and a lack of cash, with two working parents who were too busy trying to keep two six-foot-something boys fed, let alone have anything extra. So I like to spoil him thoroughly and he says that once again I have.

I sat on his knee after dinner (it's becoming a thing), his arm around my waist, his lips on my shoulder as he tried to keep his shit together while he listened to the speeches we give when someone turns another year older. When it was my turn last I stood up and said the words I wrote down a while back, as I have a year to work on these, you see, and as I spoke his eyes did that wonderful thing where they glass up and spill over and shine and when I finished he grabbed me back into his arms and told me he loved me. That he loves me more than anyone else does, and that he is so proud that I am with him. Then we had presents, and then we had things I can't write about because my mom wanted to hear about his birthday.

One of his favorite gifts this year out of everything was a novelty sticker for the glass by the front door that has a picture of the beast from Beauty and the Beast and it says In case of Fire, please save the Ben inside.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Fuck off.

If you're too judgmental to understand satire, sarcasm or just plain tongue-in-cheek irony, maybe it's time to find another blog to read. Jesus Christ. I write prose for a living.

Do I have it all?

Not even close.

But it's ironic that I am a magnet for ruined people just like me.

But seriously, if you have time to send me crappy letters, you have time to look for new things to read.

The moment I knew I had it all (except for the things I really wanted).

(Sundays are for honesty and ridiculousness.)

Sam's love for me is not all that romantic, so get over yourselves. His loyalty, however, is the supreme force to be reckoned with and when pushed, he (like me) will burn you the fuck down with it. Matt thought it would be easy to win over and he's struggled and when it got bad enough he'd take an assignment to get away from it but things haven't changed and things probably won't change. He gave Sam an ultimatum and Sam didn't budge an inch.

Lochlan looks at me last night, fire reflecting in his eyes, whiskey diluting his blood and he says why are you so good at this?

I shrug. You taught me to charm people for a living. And so that's what I do.

Why can't you turn it off?

Why would I for him? Why would I for anyone that I love? You said, if you want that brass ring give it everything you've got and so I do. A hundred percent all the time for all of you and nothing for anyone else.

This isn't how I meant. The brothers twisted everything we did and made it into something irreversible. Something too powerful.

You're not happy with me anymore?

It's not that. It's just you built this army but now you can no longer control it.

I can. But I try not to. I let the chips fall because anything else and we would be a cult.

We are a cult, Bridget.

I know we are. But are you happy, Lochlan? 

Very. I can't even explain it. I thought my jealousy would be worse than Matt's is. Worse than anything but it doesn't seem to be an issue sometimes. 

Only with the Devil. 

Not even with him so much anymore. 

My eyebrows go up and my brain starts churning but I don't reply. Too busy wondering if Sam can actually weather the storm of knowing he's alone except for the odd warm front of affection that gets forecast now and again.  A front that isn't really appropriate but that no one would dare complain about all the same.

Two more disciples for my collective. No one's on the fringe now. Not even Caleb.

Oh noes.

Oh noes.

Oh yes.

Oh shit. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Bowling for Bridget.

Found another Little Caesars and found a reason to go in (dinner) and we bought everything they had ready (hot-n-ready? WTF YES PLEASE) and brought it home and after fifteen minutes in the oven to get things back to piping hot (we don't live near town) we were happily eating. So happily. I'm currently plotting a crazy bread revolution. Because damn. Ben pulled me onto his lap as I was clearing plates and held a leftover box up with the other arm and said, she weighs this much more now. He was rewarded with the sort of adoring laughter that used to meet Cole head-on across the dinner table with the same crowd.

It kind of weirded me out but I was so sluggish from the pizza that my brain crawled along at the pace of a turtle and I let it be dismissed along with my hunger.

Lochlan used to look for the good in being hungry. He quoted Hemingway. He would have me count streetlights or highway markers or hours or stars until food. He sometimes had to stretch them out more than he wanted. Cole never wasted a minute on hunger. If he asked at three in the morning and I nodded that I was hungry he would go make something or go out and get takeout for me.

Ben is sometimes a lot more like Cole than anyone else but only in the good ways.

Or I mean mostly in the good ways.

Ben released me but took the plates when he stood up and told me to go check in on Sam and Matt to see if they wanted some of the pizza we had left and I went down and knocked on their door. No one answered so I knocked again. I heard Sam tell me to come in and so I went inside and walked down the hall looking for him. I finally found him in their bedroom. He was sitting on the side of the bed. The closet was almost empty, and so were half the bureau drawers and Sam was holding an open bottle of whiskey. I don't know if he had any but I have to assume he did.

He's gone. He's gone like Lisabeth and I'm alone now except for God. 

And he threw the bottle at me and I didn't even duck or close my eyes.

It knocked me down and then shattered all over me and the wall in the process and Ben came downstairs and Sam was saying sorry to him but Ben told him to shut the fuck up and called for the rest who were more than a little surprised because Sam has been sober forever without so much as a flinch in the wrong direction. Even through the miscarriages. Through everything. I tried to point out what seemed so obvious and boy, was that dumb.

You really loved him.

No. I really love you. That's the problem. And I didn't drink it. Not a drop.

Everyone turned and looked at me as I sat on the floor in a pool of glass and whiskey and I didn't know what to do except wish there was a rewind button for life so we could say oops and roll it back and get another chance.

I believe him. He's a truthful kind of guy.

Now that he's upstairs in the kitchen drinking coffee with my army in the relative safety of the knowledge that as long as you admit your feelings up front you can stay here forever. Apparently that's all I ask for. Your soul (because I don't have one of my own) and your undying loyalty (because I'm scared).

Friday, 4 December 2015

Annnnnnd...Matt is home!

Cross your fingers because this morning Joel told Sam he was being very immature about what amounts to an extended business trip. I might have taken a bite out of Joel to protect Sam's feelings because how would Joel fucking know anything about anything?

Instead of a relaxing Friday night everything is tense and crazy. I just want Sam and Matt to have some uninterrupted time to work through whatever they need to. Without me. Without Joel. Just the two of them. I'll be downstairs with Ben's huge headphones listening to Ella and Louis and getting shitfaced alone.

Because I can.

Pick a flower, hold your breath.

Yes, I cried when I heard the news. I have a pretty short list of people I adore who don't live in my immediate vicinity.

And I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on this planet with the entirety of the lyrics to Still Remains tattooed on my back. Sandwiched between the giant scrawled words in Caleb's handwriting, Neamhchiontach and Croíbhristeoir, because it was the one song Jacob couldn't actually sing successfully (he was a minister with a Stone Temple Pilots cover band if you're green to SWP) so I put it there as a challenge, that maybe he could someday sing it all the way through in heaven. It's a difficult song to breathe through, the same as today is a difficult day to breathe through because we lost a huge shining light that makes up fully half my life's soundtrack. A tiny man with big showmanship, a man who entertained me for nights and hours, in person and through my headphones, and left an indelible mark with his words. A man who had his demons on his heels the whole damn time he lived. I hope they've left him now.

Rest peacefully Scott Weiland. And thank you for everything.

(Croíbhristeoir means heartbreaker. Everything Caleb has ever called me in kindness goes on my skin as a label for all eternity, but this post isn't about him, because he is still alive.)

I'm so fucking sad. 

Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Telling fortunes, telling truths (a real gobsmacker from thirteen and eight).

What is the lie-berry like at the Junior high? Do they have The Hardy Boys?

It's lie-braire-ee, Peanut. The R comes right after the B. Like in Bridget.

Right! Lie-berry! So do they?

No, just books for teenagers. 

Like what?

Horror books mostly. John Saul and Stephen King. And stuff like Raise the Titanic

No Judy Blume? 

That's for babies. 

Wow. I'm not a baby! 

You're eight. Yesterday you were a baby. Tomorrow you'll still be a baby. But someday you'll be a big kid. 

Will you still be in junior high when I start going there too? 

No, I'll be in high school then. 

I wonder what the lie-berry is like up there. 

It's all encyclopedias and microfiche machines. 

So, boring? 

Learning is always boring, Bridge. 

Not if your friends are with you. I'm by myself and you guys are all in Junior High and it's a disaster, Lochlan.

I can't help the fact that I'm thirteen. 

I know. 

What's your favorite book right now, Bridge? 

A Little Princess, by....I forget who wrote it. It's a girl writer. 

What's it about?

A little girl who gets sent to boarding school by her father and she's very rich but then he dies and the headmistress takes away all of the girl's pretty things and makes her live in the attic where she invents stories in her head to escape her oppressive life alone. She's finally saved by a rich man who knew her father and lives happily ever after. Well, as happy as one can be orphaned.

Oppressive. You can use oppressive correctly in a sentence but you can't pronounce library? 

Prio-rites, Locket.

That's prior-i-tees, Bridge. You're a funny little kid. 

I'd be better if I was in your grade. 

I'm dropping out in a couple years anyway. So I'll never be there. 

I get a weird little flutter of panic in my chest when he says that so I put both hands across my heart suddenly and hold my breath.

He is taken aback. What are you doing? 

I don't know. It hurt a lot when I thought of you not being around. Like right here. I point at my chest.

He smiles. I know. I get that feeling too when I think about being away from you.

Well, maybe someday I'll meet a rich man like in the book and then I can use all of his money to make sure you're always here. With me.

Does that mean you have to go through a lot of difficulties first and someone has to die? 

Oh, probably but I think it would be worth it. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Hindered spirits.

(Here's the thing. And I have all kinds of time because I'm hiding out from Batman who's been looking for me for two days but he also can't just walk in like he owns the place because he doesn't. I do. Remind me, I need to get the key from Caleb. That's going to be a fight. Apparently I need better boundaries. Right and longer eyelashes too but a girl can only work with what she was born with, right? And I was born with a brain so flawed that it was easy to exploit me into what I am now. I'll take full responsibility for it though. Instead of actually making changes I just take circuitous routes back around to where I started.)

You should have gone with Matt. 

I know but I'm too busy to be flitting around Europe right now as the kept wife. It's Christmas, for fucks sakes, Bridget. Sorry, Gina. Sam calls out to the cleaning lady who is frowning at me because Sam swore. I point to him and she smiles and disappears again.

Matt's coming home this weekend for a break, a visit, a fight. Something big, anyway. Sam isn't doing well. He's retreated. He goes to the church and he comes home and disappears downstairs to his apartment. He hasn't joined us for any meals. Hasn't asked how anyone is doing. Didn't add his opinions to the whole PJ saga that turned out to be completely harmless (but cloaked in that famous frat-boy humor that pervades throughout the point) and he hasn't exactly been truthful about his answers when asked how he's doing. I'm glad he threw himself into his work. I'm glad he's keeping busy. And I'm absolutely devastated by his absence. I followed him down to church again in my pajamas but no one bats an eye about that anymore, they just give us even more space than usual.

Bridget, I don't think things are good with him. It would be like if Ben just kept going out on the road and didn't notice if you were lonely. Didn't notice when you were sad. Had this perfect life mapped out otherwise. Hit all the right notes with romantic gestures and all the right answers about the present and the future but completely missed the part where all you feel is lonely. Shouldn't he be able to tell? If you give someone your heart, shouldn't they be able to understand the language it's written in? I thought if I had him that I wouldn't feel like this any more. This isn't a hole God can fill, I don't mean I'm not fulfilled as a person but when it comes to love I shouldn't feel like this. You know? 

I can't answer him because my brain got stuck on the part where he said 'If you give someone your heart, shouldn't they be able to understand the language it's written in?' It's when I realized things really aren't any better or different between Sam and Matt, and it's when I realized that I've ruined Sam too and I fell a little harder in love with him (oops) and I nodded to him as tears rolled down my face and he said he didn't want to make me sad for him, that I'm sad enough, and he said to come on, that we'd go play hooky for a day and maybe then we'd both feel better, but first I need to go home and change. And come back and he should be finished and we'll head out.

I wiped my face with my sleeves and he laughed a little bit shakily and said it felt good to be able to talk to me one on one without the army waging war over my head and I realized he wasn't avoiding me, he just didn't want to add to the mess that is my life and I told him that's a mistake because he has a way of sorting everyone out and fixing things that we let fester so long, or maybe he can just come and talk to us and he'll feel that much less lonely. I lie, in other words, because that doesn't work.

At least we're good for each other. He smiles and wipes his own tears away quickly.

Oh, I highly doubt that. You must not be current on the family memos. I ruin everybody. 

Naw, Bridget. You're just looking for someone who speaks the language of your heart. 

You don't think they do? 

I think some of them have enough words to get by, if you know what I mean. 

I don't know if I do, but it gives me lots to think about on my way home.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The lesser.

I really wish you'd stop interfering. Lochlan scowls at Caleb, who actually came over to feast on some crow after being told in no uncertain terms by Joel that for PJ to be banished (even temporarily) right now at this perfect juncture between Ben's birthday and New Years would be detrimental and probably highly destructive to my well-being.

(I'm guessing Joel finally picked a side and is going to be looking for his brownie points from me from now on.)

I got to tell Caleb this morning and invited him over for his bird-meal. I may film it and put it on Youtube. 'Millionaire's latest attempt at scorched-earth campaign goes bust.'

But for some reason he is still full of fire. Fire and feathers, now.

If it weren't for my interference, you two would be bickering over a nickel in a run-down trailer park somewhere. You'd be drunk and she'd be scared and hungry. Bridget wasn't meant to live like that. I know you're hellbent to, though, so there's the door. 

Diabhal. You aren't allowed to speak to him like that. 

I am, actually. I pay his bills. 

No, I do. 

With the money I give you. 

I'm not here for your money, Caleb.

I forgot. Those with means are in a lineup behind me. See, Pyro? You're never going to have what you want. You should just get out while you still can before you end up like the others. Save yourself. 

And leave her for you? Never. 

Am I in a movie? I spin around looking for the cameras but they're well-hidden, I guess. I can't see them. Both men stop and look at me without words. Loch finally says What are you doing? 

Nothing. Thinking. 


How to fix this so you two don't kill each other. You have four years left. You're more than halfway through this forced arrangement. 

Going to be a long four years. Loch says it almost under his breath just as Caleb starts to laugh.

You won't leave here once the custody arrangement ends. I know you better than you think I do, Bridget. 

Maybe you'll leave. Maybe I'll lock the point down and everyone will have to move.

You would miss this too much. Miss having all of your boys around. Miss having them watch you, touch you, give you whatever it is you don't get from him. 

Definitely a movie. Right on cue Loch dives at Caleb and Duncan and Dalton rush in to pull them apart. I give up. What's my role again? Oh yes, I go out and stand on the edge of the cliff and look out to sea while the camera does a slow pan away from me until I'm but a speck of black on the screen while the credits roll.

Really I just didn't want PJ to feel like he was being shoved out and I don't want Lochlan to feel like he's a charity case. But I worried prematurely. Both things fixed themselves. Lochlan brought me a quarterly rent cheque and told me I'm not to cover it anymore but he would like receipts from Caleb himself, and PJ assured me that he didn't feel pressured to go and really he's happy to remain but he is taking his next long weekend and going to visit some family. I sat looking at the cheque for a while, doing the math in my head and I finally went back to Loch and asked where it came from.

I have a sugar daddy too these days. Thought you would have noticed by now. 

I just stood there with my eyes wide because I wasn't putting two and two together. I'm so bad at math.

Batman. I got a Christmas bonus. Early, he said, so I'd have it to use for Christmas. Oh, and the rest of the year off. He's not a bad boss actually. 

So this is the bonus?And you're giving it to me? 

No, that's just this week's paycheque. The bonus is in the bank. More money than I've ever seen. And it's ours, Peanut. No strings. 

From Batman. 


Oh, there will be strings, Loch.