Monday, 29 February 2016

More about Dylan in one single post than in the last decade.

This morning very early we saw Dalton off for his whirlwind spring. I will miss him. He's my hippie, the Teflon Jesus we all know and love. He said he expects face time* every day. I don't know when that's going to happen with the time zones but we'll make it work. He's not as huge on affection as his brother so somehow it's easier to say goodbye, though I still cried. Dylan was with him. He gave me a quick hug and I swore at him because he won't let me write the oh-so-many good things I could share with you because he doesn't want to live online. Most of them don't, I don't think. They, like me, regard the Internet as a sort of instant-encyclopedia, good for looking up why the old guy in Colony looks so familiar, oh, it's Captain Brass from CSI kind of forgettable trivia we seem to fill our brains with when we should be filling them up to the brim, to overflowing with memories, just in case. Use the Internet to keep in touch? No way. That's why we live in a commune, silly.

Love you, Fidget. Be a good girl. 

I'll do nothing of the sort. You have condoms?

No, I plan to bring my raging chlamydia-infested junk home and rub it all over you. 

Hey, just no. Even Dalton is grossed out and Dalton has loved and left them all. He just did it well-wrapped.

Kidding. I love you. Take care of Benny for me and everyone else and make sure they take care of you. 

Or we'll kick their asses when we get back. Dalton is stern but holding tough so he doesn't lose it. We hate goodbyes. Hate them, hate them, hate them.

Just get back in one piece, guys. I hug them both at once. Too hard, too long. I have issues.

When they leave I wipe my eyes, pull up my underpants and head straight for the bank where I put a few thousand bucks each in their accounts just in case. Just in case they gotta eat. Just in case they need a quick flight home or an emergency room bill paid. Just in case they didn't pack condoms. Just in case there's cool merch or VIP when things swing this way. Oh, I don't know. Bail money. God forbid, think up a horror scenario and I've already imagined it, though Dalton is a well-seasoned traveler and Dylan is not my child so I should worry so much less than I do but I really love it when everyone is present and accounted for at home on the point and the gate is locked across the driveway best.

I thought Ben might have a hard time seeing them go off officially but he didn't. Duncan did that super-stoic cool lizard-king thing where he doesn't react but he's got his sunglasses on and it's cloudy so I know he worries and I hugged him and told him they will be fine and if something goes wrong we will swoop in and rescue them and he nodded and smiled and squeezed me back but he didn't say much on the ride home either. The torch has passed. The marginally-younger, unencumbered, unburdened guys are going out and the older ones in recovery or with families and tired bones are staying home. It's not a life if your thoughts are always back at home, it's just a miserable,  lonely kind of party. But they'll do well to make some decent money and gather just a few more stories to tell around the fire pit later this summer. I can wait. Or maybe I can't.

*(Back in the day when the kids were in diapers and the castle was cold, Ben would call maybe twice or three times during a whole run, because we didn't have cellphones. That was unbearable. At least now we can check in daily. Hourly, if need be. I like it a lot better.)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

In which I try hashtags.


The universe has been reset. Leo got his Oscar!

#teamRevenant #finallyJackdidntletgo  #iwonalotofmoneytonight #imnotinLAkilltherumors


Saturday, 27 February 2016


I drove for hours today with Sam, Loch and the horse trailer to get a horse that was needing me only when I got there she turned out to be too fragile to even transport and I had to turn her away, knowing that she will be put down before the weekend is out. I mean, I could have taken her and she might have gone just as fast. I was so hopeful that I could make her last hours beautiful and peaceful instead of noisy and dark and frightening. I can't think too much about things like bright lights and faith, dark skies and pavement, rushing nowhere. Not having tomorrows, no hope grown from yesterdays enough to see it through. No hope at all, Jake.

No horse either. Sam's gentle lead was a dead end, ironically enough.

No reward for all the work put into today only to see it end in utter defeat. I said I could handle it and I was wrong. Clearly I can't. Have a bottle of Jack Daniels and a plan to anesthetize myself into outer space where there are no horses and no ghosts either.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Defining ourselves by the things we can't live without.

All hail the siren of our time
I'm possessed when she passes by
She drains the best years of my life
She makes promises
She could never keep
This week's headaches seem to have the new feature of twisting my expressions so that the pain is visible all over my face. I never used to have this problem. Maybe the brain tumor no one admits I have is pressing on whichever part of the brain controls expressions, AKA the part I'm missing. When I walked on the beach this morning I looked for that part, as if I might be able to spot it at fifteen feet and go pick it up, dust the sand off it and put it in the pocket of my overalls. When I get back inside I'll ask Ben to crack my skull open and Sam can figure out where the part goes, precisely, because if I knew I would be stoic and cold and not crack like an egg myself when Lochlan yelled in my face last night. Though Lochlan knows the rules too and boy he sure seems to love having a full pantry and warm sheets until it comes time to pay up. Then he steals as much as he can and disappears.

We've talked about this. It just doesn't get easier. Not only do I miss the expression control but according to him my backbone is missing. If anyone had known when Caleb offered damages on this scale that it included continued damage to be done to me on a regular basis, well, we would have run. Or rather, Loch would have run. I would have stood there in the flames, sweat rolling down my skin wondering why it was so fucking hot.

It's just too late now and thankfully my small body has somehow doubled up on both stubbornness and durability so I'm good. I smile and then my crazy reveals it carries me alone because no sane person would have this sort of arrangement.

(Admit it. You are still back there on 'damages'. It's okay. I do that too. I don't tell this in order. It's easier this way, trust me. Now is not the time to show you how evil the Devil really is.)

Caleb had Henry bring me the envelope. He's getting good at getting around the fire. It's a moat of fire today, all around the house. So Henry came downstairs with one and handed it to me on his way out, saying Dad said to give this to you before I left for school.

Thanks, Bunny, I tell him as I go up in flames.

No problem. He shrugs into pack and off he goes.

But it's okay. I'm not concerned.

Everyone leaves and when I go back into the kitchen the Devil is standing there. I feed the envelope to the wood stove and his exasperated expression matches my pain one. Why do you do that?

I know what it says. Join me Thursday night, nonnegotiable, blah blah blah evil blah blah blah damnation blah blah Loch blah blah I love you. 

He laughs. Not because I was funny, but because today pain makes me brave. Bridget-

Oh, stuff it. My head hurts. 

Then why on earth are you stopping your pills?

I turn and launch a bowl at him. Overhand. I TOLD YOU WHY.

Wait a minute here. 

Just...could you fuck off for today please?

It hurts that bad? 

When did you ever care if something hurt. 

Your well-being is at the top of my list-

How long are you going to keep telling that lie? If you were concerned for my well-being you would have busted Lochlan for the lies instead of torturing him- my voice cuts out at the worst time. I have a whole huge list of things I want to yell about right now and I sound small and strangled.

I can call for something for the pain.

I have things for the pain! What I would like is for you to leave my house!

You said yourself they weren't good eno-

How about you just GET OUT? 

He closed his mouth abruptly, nodded after staring at me for a full minute and then left by the side door. I went back to the stove and opened it to put in some more wood and the envelope was sitting on top of the cinders, flames all around it and yet it is completely untouched.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cold hearts, warm hands.

All of the dreams that you made nightmares
all of the silence, deafening stares

All of the ships who can't carry loads
you wrecked in anger, along distant shores

All of this would have been
all of this could have been yours
These days I eat, sleep and breathe petrichor, or the idea of it, anyway, since it never actually stops raining long enough to become anything close to dry. These sunny days will be shortlived, like everything good. Who needs anything else when you have this? You just scrape the moss off your skin as it grows and marvel at how your blood has been replaced with rainwater. It's inevitable. The problem is, I like my rainwater mixed with salt and sand. Grit and glory, twenty-four-seven. Keep your rainforest, I'll be in the sea.

I'm pretty sure if I were in the sea he would stand disdainfully nearby, on the drier rocks and wait for me to surface, holding one of those envelopes like a bullet, meant for my heart.

Every one he gives me Lochlan takes to burn. Every one unopened. Caleb's birthday is a week from today. He'll be fifty-three, an age I still can't comprehend as it seems like just last night he was eighteen and piggy-backing me home from the ballfield or driving me to the mall. Or saying goodbye as he packed up his room down the hall from Cole's as he went off to University a few years ahead of the rest, while I was still in grade five and unable to even spell university.

Certain dates of the year I am required to spend with him, his birthday being the most important date above the others. The second-most important date is New Years Eve. I defied him that night for reasons I can't talk about. I don't plan to do that again, in spite of Lochlan's rules, so we shall see what next week brings.

I have a plan of my own, you know.

If I were to give out envelopes they would be glitter. It would get on everything. It would be great. Maybe I should do that. Make them fight for my time instead of making me fight for theirs.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


(Blame Loch for this too. The girl of a thousand nicknames.)

I had an early meeting this morning with the Russian doctor. The young one, in spite of my request for Senior. The young one is far creepier and knows less English. I forgot about the creepy part and offered him coffee first and he took it as an invitation to get familiar and asked me if I wanted a referral to a surgeon to have the scar under my nose fixed. And my nose if I wanted. He then refused the coffee and took my blood pressure. Probably should have done that first, as he frowned and asked if I had done anything to reduce it as promised.

I'm...trying to relax more? I smile with all my teeth.

He frowns and laughs at the same time. I think only Russians can do that, actually. You need to do it better, then. He scolds and I imaginary-roll my eyes.

I will try. 

If not, medication. 

Speaking of that-

What do you need?

I need to not take pills. 

Usually people want more pills. 

I'm not 'people'. I hate pills. 

What is wrong with pills?

They make me gain weight, sleep all the time and I have no creative spark whatsoever. I sort of don't care about anything. I'm not entirely sober on these things.

Well, you could use more sleep and more weight and less caring. Less..uh what do you call it? Less uptights. 

Right. My tights are too far up my arse.

Pardon me?

Nothing. I don't want to take the pills. 

What about headaches?

I'll have to try something else. Maybe a guillotine.

He said you were acrimonious. 

I don't even know what that means.

Gloomy. Bluesy, as it were.

I laugh. This is insane. Can I just please stop taking the pills? 

Yes, but go off slowly. One a day for the next week, then stop. 

Thank Jesus. 

Which one of them is Jesus?

No one. It's an expression. 

We have an expression too, Mrs. C______. It's Pochemuchka. It means a difficult child. 


So what do you want to try next?

Nothing. Let's just wait and see. 

He shrugs and turns to leave. If you insist, but the first headache you have brings me back. We are all busy.

Then I'll see you soon. I smile because I'm not in any pain right now.

Pochemuchka. He shakes his head as he goes. A pain in the tights for certain.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

This is the kind of thing that happens when you wake up at five every morning.

Who else danced naked on the beach in the dark this morning to greet the full moon + Jupiter?

Just me?

Oh well! You snooze, you lose.

Monday, 22 February 2016

When Lochlan came back (from a trip to fix the equipment left behind on the site before this one) I was on the roof of the camper, wedged in between the pop-up vent and the lexan skylight, Archie comic in one hand, halfway through the hijinks of Riverdale, the other hand holding a fistful of red licorice, taking bites in between belting out the words to Say you Love Me along with Christine McVie on the tiny transistor that we usually kept on the counter for dinner music. I'm emulating Bailey and her friends, getting a tan since I have a few hours free. That's what girls do, I think. Though my bikini isn't as spare so much as it is sturdy, because I'm eleven and didn't grow again this year so I didn't get a new suit for the summer. This is the one from when I was ten.

Lochlan climbs the ladder and smiles at me. He has oil all over his hair, face, hands and shirt. We're never going to get that out. We hand wash all of our clothes in the kitchen sink and dry them on a line strung between the front passenger mirror and the nearest tree if we don't have to move on. This is the first day in the newest location and it's on the beach, prime real estate. A decadence rarely seen in a life such as this. Usually the campers are parked behind utility buildings on the edge of a deserted industrial park or beside a run-down strip mall. This is amazing.

You look like you found something to keep you occupied. Any problems? 

Only that I'm going to run out of licorice any second now and as usual Archie can't seem to choose between Veronica and Betty. Why doesn't he pick one of them and stay with her? 

Because human beings are complicated, Peanut.

That's dumb. I'm glad I'm not complicated. 

He raises his eyebrows and descends back to the ground. He's going to change and my song is over so I scramble to collect everything in my tote bag that I then drop down over the side of the camper to the grass because I am not permitted to carry anything while climbing ladders as per Loch's rules. We have to work tonight so I need to change anyway in my midway shirt and shorts. I leave my bikini on underneath and maybe we'll be able to go for a midnight swim after work. I blow a kiss toward the water and head inside. I would love to quit and just spend the whole day down on the sand where the shore meets the sea but then we would starve and also we can't crew camp if we're not crew so Lochlan tells me to lose myself in the happiness of the fair goers and that will tide me over until we're finished for the night.

That and the ache in my stomach from eating half a bag of Twizzlers, that is. So good but not all at once and I keep making this mistake again and again. Lochlan says it's because I'm complicated after all. I smack him with a wayward licorice stick and he grabs it and eats it right out of my hand, pretending to start in on my fingers once the candy is gone, making me shriek so loud his eyes get wide for a second and then he starts to laugh.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Oh, Internet. Just because I post two sentences from a week-long argument does not mean I am giving you permission to judge, advise or condemn. I do realize you'll do it anyway. Everyone I know picked a side. Most of them were with me, because as we have already covered in previous postings, Ben has made a concentrated effort to reassure me that and the others that he is essentially unemployed/retired/home for good only to pick up and run out of the blue, turning what was supposed to be a one week business trip into a years' worth of scheduling. A comeback, if you will. A favor extended. A really really stupid idea in the first place. He isn't all that strong right now, it would have been bad for his recovery, bad for his health, bad for his marriage and ridiculously awful for his friendships.

When Sam asked him what he wanted more, he didn't even hesitate before pointing to me and saying her. 

So he isn't going.

He'll have to look after the loose ends quickly then. It's the perfect time to do it, before the press, before the rumblings. before anyone puts his name on Wikipedia. I think life with these boys before the internet was easier by far but then we wouldn't have Sam and we need Sam. Sam is glue. Sam is a calm force in a roiling sea. Sam is keeping Ben to his word when not even Daniel seemed to be able to, because Daniel also picked a side and Ben felt betrayed by that for a brief moment before realizing that his brother has come along behind him picking up the slack from me for a long time now. If anything we should give Daniel a medal for honor, for bravery or for utter foolishness. Pick one, because like sides in the end it isn't important. The plans, details and drama aren't as significant as family. Daniel is blood family and the rest of us are Ben's family by choice.

I didn't even have to say a word. I stood there courageously defending my own sudden stupidity at any cost, which Lochlan later told me was somewhat terrifying to witness. Cold, apparently and more like Cole and Caleb than anything he's ever seen before. Calmly promising heartbreak and carnage quietly, on a grand scale and without remorse. He said they must have taught me well. Only they didn't teach me, I was the recipient and I know what makes the scary feelings come out best.

But I didn't do it to make Ben change his mind and stay home with us. If anything I did it to remind him, myself and everyone around us that if you stay here you will get your heart broken, there will be drama and carnage and bloodshed and tearshed and reasonshed too. I made sure to give him every reason for him to go, to get out of here so that he would have no regrets whatsoever if he didn't. That weighing the odds, if he stayed in spite of the way I am that his reasons to do so must be pretty darn good in their own right.

They are, he told me. You and Danny and Loch and PJ, everyone. You're my reasons. I'm sorry, Bee. I get caught up and then I can't escape. 

I know. 

I wasn't going to get away from you. 

Then you're stupid, because you should. 

No, you're stupid because you think I'm stupid for being here. 

Well you are stupid for thinking I'm stupid because I think you're stupid for being here. 

I don't know how to respond to that. 

I don't either. 

Love you, Little bee. 

Love you too, Benny.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Spontaneous perdition.

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
It's snowing, I am having sunomono and black tea for breakfast and Ben is home early with one of his ridiculous ultimatums. If you don't want me to do this, I won't. Just say the word.

What is the word, exactly, Ben? Quit? Submit? Defeat? Kowtow? Bend? Surrender? Pick one, I have time. I drain the vinegar out of the noodles. My stomach hurts. This isn't so much salad as it is a cold soup and my body likes starchy warm things like bread. I'm cold too. Forgot to bring my sweater downstairs. I would borrow his hoodie, since it's on the back of one of the kitchen chairs but it smells like airplane fuel. It's very strong after someone flies but everyone else swears they smell nothing. I'm sure it has something to do with my brain, and how it picks up weird things like invisible scents and very intense, cloaked but controlled emotion. I can feel rainbows and see gasoline fumes. When someone walks into a room, they could be acting perfectly normal but if they're under duress I will feel it so hard I hit the floor. Explain? Sorry, that part of life isn't my job. I'm no brain surgeon but I will be leaving my entire being to science and they can report back to you when the time comes. In the meantime I just shrug. Lochlan dismisses it as indigo child/freak magic. But then he'll grin at the inside joke and I laugh because his grin is leprechaun-maniacal level in nature and no one witnessing it emerges unscathed. He resumes singing and playing at the table but quietly because half the house is still asleep.

We've got Ben's itinerary spread out all over the table. It doesn't look so bad, in all honesty. It's three months here and two there kind of thing but the dates are grouped in such a way that he could be home in between if they were going to be closer. But they aren't going to be close enough to make it worthwhile.

When is it not worthwhile?

When it's more hours of travel-time than home-time. 

Then they can manage without me, Bee. Just say the word.

 When I don't say anything Ben tries on some harshness. It fits, but barely. It's not as if you aren't full up of people to affect.

Another inside joke at the expense of his bitterness. We fight when he tours. It's as sure as a sunset, as predictable as clockwork and we can't seem to avoid it, hard as we try. His guilt puts him on the defensive. His defensiveness also makes my stomach hurt. No amount of insistence that he's fine to do this can dismiss the fact that it's chewing him up inside because he wants to be Ben the Walking Ego just as badly as he wants to revel in the routine of being home with no time limit or itinerary in sight. In on the joke, as it were, instead of on the outside looking in while someone else takes his place. And I would pick him in a heartbeat but if he isn't here then what do I do? I use his brother as a stand in and get all the goddamn affection I want, thank you. Or, you now, someone else.

Yes, that's right, I suppose I am pretty busy.  

He closes his eyes and escapes from me because I'm wearing my Second Best t-shirt and no one likes to have their shit called down front for all to see. But instead of remaining there he leans very far forward so his head is close to mine. He points to the shirt and says Now you know how it feels.

I would have high-fived him for such an exquisite, magnificent insult but I was too busy burning alive.