Friday, 10 March 2017

Terrible boys.

Bridget, you've cultivated a lifetime of impressive romantic gestures from more than one admirer. Don't settle for an ice-cold peanut butter sandwich and some magic tricks as the best, because it isn't. It doesn't even register.

(I'm going to point out the fact that the Devil is jealous. And I'll point out that's all I'm going to say about it because if I actually open my mouth to reply to him directly, my face will come apart at the hinge and a million angry bees are going to fly out.)

***

It's sunny! I've been annoying everyone by singing Fireflies at the top of my lungs but in different voices all morning long.

So far I've been offered cash, a good hard beating and a...a....dick in the mouth to make me stop.

I'm still singing, for the record.

The dick offer didn't alarm me as much as the beating one. If you only knew what offer came from which boy, I think you'd be surprised.

I haven't had a cookie in ten days. I haven't had more than five hours of sleep across any of those nights either. I'm currently treading coffee and hoping to keep my head above the surface as long as I can.

But did I mention it's sunny?

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Peanut butter kisses.

I'll show you fire, he said.

I didn't think it was a reference to anything other than his temper, his frustration with Caleb. It might be easier for me to live with Caleb if I can forgive him but it isn't easier for Lochlan, who struggles constantly with this and I try to make it as easy as I can for him, considering he's now the one shoving me out the door. Get it over with, he says. Have your time and hurry up. I can't breathe without you here. 

And I'll walk across the driveway, trying to keep my heart from cracking in half along the way. 

But I didn't go recently. Haven't gone for a week and won't be going for a bit. The deal is a handful of times a month, and I get to choose. That's the only thing keeping Lochlan from suffocating. The rest of the time I am his. 

Last night he said he had a dinner planned for us. PJ looked after feeding the few who were around. The kids were both at friends' houses and after everyone had scattered back to their comfort zones, Lochlan told me to close my eyes. 

I did with a grin, because I just love surprises. I actually hate them but he's not one to give orders without a good reason so I listened. He bends down and starts to remove my thigh-high socks. I needed them under my dress. It's cold. 

Lochlan! Not in the kitchen!

Not what you think, Peanut. He laughs. I almost lose my balance but he's there to hold. A kiss lands on my mouth and then he struggles with something (his own socks, I learned later) and he takes my hands. Ready? He starts to walk, leading me down the steps to the patio doors and then outside and down the steps into the rain. We're walking in the grass, cold and slippery. He holds tight. I get warmer and suddenly the rain stops. 

Open, he says and I look around. He's brought the small patio table with the umbrella and the outdoor heater all the way out to the camper on the edge of the cliff. The tiny coloured lights are strung all over the place, as always and the table is set for two. 

It's pouring. 

Be right back. Leaving me under the umbrella he dashes into the camper and comes out with a bottle of pop and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

The stove isn't hooked up, he shrugs. You always liked these. 

Still do. I tell him. We sit across from each other and eat, trying not to smile big peanut butter-teeth obnoxious smiles at each other. Then he goes back to the house, telling me to wait a minute. Stay put. 

The outdoor sound system comes on, flooding the backyard with an old ballad I love. He holds out his hand and I take it and he pulls me out from under the umbrella into the pouring rain. 

To dance.

He puts his arms around me and we sway to the music. No talking, just drowning in each other's arms in the rain. The music is loud. Everything is muted by the rain save for the music.

Except it's cold away from the heater and before the song is halfway through I'm shaking like a leaf, responding to his sparse comments with chattering teeth. Lochlan pauses the dance and heads quickly around the side to the garage. I stand in the rain holding my arms close around me with the music blaring in my ears, soaked to the bone and then he's back with the most spectacular sight I've ever seen. 

He's wearing his top hat and carrying a huge black umbrella. 

The top side of the umbrella is on fire

Safe underneath, he wraps one arm around my waist and holds the umbrella above us. It's warm, but the flames are on the other side. I don't know how long we have before it burns through but honestly I don't think I even care. We just keep dancing as sweet songs keep playing. I ever get a twirl or five, one hand high above my head holding his hand while he holds the umbrella out to one side. 

When we run out of time he dips me low, kissing me hard, tossing the umbrella to one side. There's nothing left of it. He says something, his lips pressed against my ear and I look at him in surprise before he pulls me back in close. We finish the dance as the sixth or seventh song ends before running inside. Rain has become snow, my heart has fused back together again and Lochlan has won the romance wars of my life.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

He gets me (take it any way you want).

The Pacific doesn't want to hear my troubles today. She's busy keeping level, keeping the wind threading through her waves, keeping the tides moving on schedule, keeping small blonde people out of her many leagues.

Little does she know that sometimes, if the wind is blowing, I can't hear her anyway.

Little does she know PJ's holding the ties of my coat today. Even if I got a running start I wouldn't get a drop of saltwater on me. Not today. Not anymore.

Lochlan threatened to bring me a bouquet of french fries today for International Women's Day. I scowled a little, mostly because dinner is already planned and now I can't stop thinking about french fries, but also because I'm not exactly a feminist. I get a little attention for being the female leader of an all-male cult, a female general of an all-male army, a queen bee surrounded by worker bees but all of that is an illusion. I don't run their lives, I stand behind them, letting them fight my battles for me. Sometimes with each other. I promise them things and they turn to each other for comfort when I fail to follow through. I use sex as a reward and attention as a bribe. I fall back too easily on helplessness. I'm not the picture of a strong independent woman.

I need a man.

I need a few of them. More than a few, even.

So if we're celebrating that, have at 'er. Bring on the fries.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Cap-Pelé radio special.

(Nine and fourteen respectively.)

Which way, Peanut? 

I turn and scrape my hair out of my eyes with my fist and with the other I hold up my sucker. My hair blows back, sticking to my sticky face. I have a root beer-flavoured sucker. The very best. Along with the radio playing loudly from the open doors of the camper this is a good day. 

I turn in the other direction and whatever hair isn't stuck flies straight back. I point out straight with my sticky-sucker hand. That way! 

What direction is that? 

Left! I yell. I'm so good at this. 

North or South? 

Um. How do I tell again? 

Use the compass. 

I take the compass but I can't open it. It's now sticky like everything. Lochlan comes over and takes it from me, opening it. He frowns at my sucker and asks why I haven't finished it yet, why I need to wave it around as if I'm a little Napoleon ordering my army over the hill into Moscow.

It takes me longer. I need to find out now who Napoleon is and how I can get my own army to order around. I would order it to answer all of Lochlan's questions. 

Look, here. See the needle? It points north. So we turn until we face north and now tell me which way the wind is blowing. 

Ummmm. I squint at the face of the compass. Then I look back toward the woods. South. 

Good! You need to know orienteering. 

Why? 

So you'll always know where you are. 

Where am I now? I don't get it. 

If you always carry a compass, you can find you way anywhere. 

That seems fake. 

You mean vague. 

Right. Vake. 

I'll teach you more with a map once we get set up. Why don't you go find a hose and clean your hands a bit. 

There's no soap. 

Use a tiny bit of the dirt here. Scrub your hands with it and then when you go rinse them the stickiness will be on the dirt and it will run right off. 

How come you know everything? 

I don't know. I guess I was meant to teach you. 

I want to teach you something! 

Okay. Can I pick?

Of course. Unless I don't know it. 

I wouldn't pick something you don't know. 

What if you suspeck I know something but I really don't and I've been fooling you all along. 

Suspect. With a t at the end. I don't think that's possible though. Why don't you tell me how you know the words to every single song on the radio. 

I listen very hard and I learn them. It's a hobby. 

Can you teach me? 

Sure. Do I have to learn more orange...orangineering?

Orienteering. Yes. These are life skills. 

So are song lyrics. 

Do you think song lyrics are going to save your life someday? 

Definitely. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Schrödinger's princess.

Yesterday turned sunny and warm. Most of the snow melted, Lochlan only took Caleb to the ground once (okay twice) but again they worked it out, his time Lochlan reminding Caleb that he's only doing this for me, anyway, and Caleb said that was fine, he was only playing along until I see the light anyway, and they walked away from each other with a fresh coat of rage coloring the whole world red again. Red like the Devil and red like Lochlan. They're perfect for each other.

But today isn't red, today is black like the clouds above the point, especially the little cloud above my head, the blackest one of all. The snow and rain is coming now and there's nothing I can do to stop it so instead I will wait it out. I went with Duncan and PJ to fetch groceries this morning and we are stocked and ready once again for whatever mother nature wants to throw at us. 

I finished and filed and paid (fuuuuuck) the taxes for everyone and today I know how a helium balloon feels, floating high away from earthly constraints. Not even these dark clouds can keep me down since that huge chore is done. It's a relief like nothing else and every year I say I'm gonna hand it off next year but then I don't because I'm a control freak when it's something easy, even if it's tedious and maddening the way it is. 

I never learn, that's why. That's the reason for a lot of things but since this cloud is coming and some sort of freaky extreme weather is on our doorstep I feel like we should have dug a better basement while we had the chance instead of depending on this cool modern mountain chalet with a basement that's only half tucked into the hill, the other half being Duncan and Dalton's gorgeous little garden walkout. 

It's too late now. 

I feel like I should tell you that if you want to sob through the ending of a book, read Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, or Dean Koontz's Sole Survivor (not what you'd expect. A book that broke me.) I feel like I should tell you I had plans, but not what they were, in case the point doesn't break off and sink into an angry sea. I think I should tell you I loved them all so much but always Lochlan best even when we didn't get along which turned out to be fully half the time and that's all my fault. Every time it was my fault because I didn't listen and I didn't know I couldn't hear until it was almost too late. He says it'll never be too late so it's all okay but the damage we did still shows through if we stand in front of a very bright light. 

I feel like I should tell you some of you suck so bad I wanted to stop writing, but I didn't because as much as you complained at me, you kept coming back to read more and that gave me some sort of sick satisfaction I didn't expect. You can never get enough even as I refuse to give it all and I think that's awesome. 

I wish I had known that the song I love so much that Stevie Nicks does for Practical Magic was originally sung by Lindsey Buckingham and is that much better for that fact that I have copies of both of them singing it now. You knew that, you've heard it, Lochlan reminds me. I don't remember some things. I feel like I should have remembered that.

I feel like this is the last day of something. It's never been this dark and I was reading about the chances of a big earthquake and I feel like I want to run and pick up the kids from their school and bring them home and get Schuyler to come home and get Ben to leave his meeting early and fetch PJ from out on the wall where he's testing my theory that new metal songs sound best with headphones standing in the wind facing the sea. (Today the new Pallbearer single, I Saw The End came out. It's glorious.)

YOU'RE RIGHT, he yells to me from the telescope platform, and throws up the horns with both hands. I smile at him but then it blows away as I rush back to the house, where the lights are on and I've brought half the wood inside already, with help from everyone. They couldn't tell me it would probably be just a little rain because this is what it's like inside my brain and no one's ever been able to turn it off. Certain people soothe it, making me a little less frenetic. A little less panicky but sometimes nothing works at all and then they have to pull out the big tricks to bring me around.

Dalton smiles as I come back inside.

Hey, Drama. How about a lunchtime cocktail? 

It's only twelve-thirty, I don't feel like having one this earl-

Tough. Gotta slow you down somehow.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

One week to daylight saving time and I might not make it.

I opened the curtains this morning and yelled MOTHERFUCKER! at the snow falling in thick flakes all over the point. Then I turned to apologize to Sam who was finishing his coffee at the sink. He grinned at me and told me to accept what I cannot change and I said I'm going to move the patio heaters all around the yard today to melt it all. Ben laughed and asked me who was going to move them again since they are exceedingly heavy and hardly as 'portable' as they are advertised to be, and I told him he was. He frowned in mock disappointment and told me to wait a few hours, that the rain will follow the snow and wash it all away.

Oh, great! More rain! This is not mock disappointment from me, but despair.

Bridget-

I'm not complaining! 

Yes, you are. August laughs and then his eyes drop to study his coffee intently when I turn to look at him.

This sucks! I hate winter. I hate rain. 

Tell us how you really feel. Lochlan's going to gang up on me too. Hey, they treat me like a kid I can act like one. February and March are hard months to be a Canadian, probably not for most British Columbians, but I'm not a British Columbian, am I? And this isn't even normal weather for here. I'm beginning to think the snow just follows me around from province to province like a big white annoying shadow.

On the upside, it's light out for almost twelve hours a day now. Right, Bridge?

Did I mention PJ is my favorite? I nod, suddenly comforted. At least that shows me we are indeed still turning toward spring and not stalled out, a big blue ball stuck in space in an endless season all around.

There you go, he says. Stop riling her up, guys. 

We didn't make it snow, it does that on it's own. It's called weather, Ben points out unhelpfully.

Well, it needs to stop that, I tell him.

I'll tell it you said so. 

Thank you!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Thrall.

I am home. Home to sort recycling and turn back into a scullery maid. Off with the diamonds and the Lagavulin and the television that just plays whatever you want it to play and the man who agrees with absolutely everything you say because he had no stake in raising you and therefore is not worried about your manners or your emotional wellbeing or your fears and your dreams alike. Home to the one who worries about everything but who loves in a hard, visceral way, a permanent way, a beautiful way.

Home to a house without birthday cake or the fear that a mood might change or a word might trigger something buried deep underneath. Home where our monstrousness is right up front and we check each other regularly for attitudes and issues. Home is where I crawl back under the microscope, back in front of the two-way mirror, back to the future of the past. Home to relative safety from the demons.

Home.

My demon was very good. On his best behaviour but then at the last minute, this morning when his time was up he tried a half-hearted soft threat that I thought about and then didn't acknowledge. He did though.

This is harder than I thought, Neamhchiontach. Thank you for coming to spend my birthday with me. You are the best present a man could hope for.

I'm a world of trouble.

Not to me. I know how to keep you in line. 

I paused there, not moving, thinking about his words and all of the incredible history between us that between Caleb and Cole made me who I am today. I let it slide. It serves no purpose now.

I'm sorry, Bridget. I just want to keep you here and if you won't-

You know something? I had a wonderful time with you. Thank you for sharing your birthday with me. I kissed his cheek and left him there. This event is too sacred to drag all the mud in behind it. Let's leave it clean.

Friday, 3 March 2017

54. 321.

One of the significant things about Caleb's birthday is that he is the oldest out of everyone and so I spend a lot of time thinking about his age as a number, how he will forever be the oldest and what it will feel like almost a decade from now as I reach those same numbers. I used to think that this age would be old. Washed-up and infirm. Done. Now I think it's hardly started, precious, fleeting and solid gold.

He asked everyone to join him on the beach at sunrise in the pouring rain for a toast, handing out bottles of good champagne but no glasses and so we danced in the deluge and drank straight from the bottle (some had sparkling water) before quieting into a low rendition of Happy Birthday, sung by all. A day that starts off that special will be a good day.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Ice-cold turkeys.

Joel is staying with us for a few days, mostly because I can't seem to regulate the beat of my heart anymore. It's either frighteningly slow or thumping so fast I can't keep up. So I've either spent time crawling inside my own body to trying to outrun it and he's not surprised. That's why he was there in the first place, because drugs don't work for me in the way they're supposed to. They work, they just do it unpredictably and then I quit and coming off is suddenly an issue and I feel like this whole place looks familiar. Ah, there's the sign. It reads SQUARE ONE.

Lochlan and PJ got lectured for letting me once again run the show.

August got lectured for leaving.

Sam got lectured for everything else.

I'm still being lectured. But Joel is doing it graciously. I pointed out he's here under duress anyway because I've quit sugar for Lent and they thought quitting the drugs cold turkey was a bad idea, wait until a few more days without cake go by.

Or cookies.

Or Nutella, straight from the jar with a spoon.

Marshmallow fluff, Lucky Charms, Reeses, Three Musketeers, and sour patch kids. Licorice. I can't have any of it. I can't have a Shamrock shake. I can't have a Peanut Buster Parfait. I can't put sugar in my coffee. I have to face my cravings by praying with Sam, who practically implodes, shaking with silent laughter as he listens to me wax and moan to God that if His Son was so awesome, church would have a dessert bar, and it just might after Easter if we get to vote on the use of the new funding and I'm terrible, I know. I just haven't done this before. Recently, I mean.

But I'm mostly back on track now, just in time for tomorrow's festivities with Caleb, who will be celebrating his fifty-fourth birthday and the only thing he's asked for is the entire day with me.

Maybe someone should warn him.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW OTHER PEOPLE COPE WITH LIFE.

Everyone seems so organized, focused, disciplined, pulled-the-fuck-together and I feel like a haphazard blonde tornado made of anxiety instead of wind. 

CATEGORY FIVE, BABY. 

Fml.