Thursday, 6 July 2017

Neon Lights.

We can go forget who we are
Jay looked like such an easy mark in the late evening sunlight so I kept walking, blinded by my own need to be somewhere that was different and comforting and safe and not with Lochlan or with the Devil either. Them arguing is hard enough, imagine trying to exist when they're getting along. They both get equal blame for how this started, before Lochlan grabbed my heart when Caleb wasn't looking and ran right out of the woods, off towards the lights of the midway in the distance.

I don't blame them anymore though. I just feel strange when they get along very well. They got along so well Caleb ended up having a two-night sleepover at the big house and I got a little overtired and a lot overstimulated and was thinking about building a treehouse because we have everything else and it unearthed a memory that doesn't change anything save to paint Lochlan as the one who stands idylly by while Caleb feasts on my bones.

That was never the case and it isn't the case now and I find myself with a opportunistic ear in August, who is home, all the lights on, the fan on the ceiling making a lazy loop and music on the stereo. enjoying a cold beer and some watermelon besides. A quiet evening I'm about to ruin with my fountain of words. Just as you think they're finished they cycle back around and pour out again, over the top to the pool below.

Want one? They're non-alcoholic. They're not even near beer, actually. It's more like ginger ale if you made it yourself. 

I take one and he cracks the tab on it for me. I take a sip. Stupidly sweet. Good enough.

Can I fix you a plate? 

I'm fine. I just want to be here right now. You don't even have to talk to me. And if you had plans just continue with them. I won't be in the way, I promise.

I was going to have a bath. With my fake beer and music and everything.

You can still do that. I'll go. 

I'll delay it for an hour. How does that sound? 

No. I don't know. Yes. Can I just sleep for a little bit? 

Yeah. Sure. Help yourself. He indicates the bed on the ropes and gives it a gentle push. I'll wake you at eight to go home? 


Do you want to talk it out first? 

Not really.

Then goodnight, Bridge. He takes the can from my shaky hands, kisses my forehead and heads down the hallway. I climb under the top blanket and am asleep in precious few seconds.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Sorry. (It's back. Fuck censorship. Fuck respect too. It goes BOTH WAYS.)

I had a post today but it's gone now. I thought it was fine. It's my brain, not theirs. My memories, not the parts of life they'd like to whitewash, diluting them until they mix into some other memory, forgotten entirely. My history as it pertains to me.

I wrote about a summer early evening a very long time ago when I was ten in which Caleb and Lochlan took me up to the treehouse so I could see it, as I wanted to see it and climb up to it and it was for the older kids. They didn't like me writing about it.

It wasn't anything bad.

It was supposed to be, it could have been, but it wasn't. But I was told to take it down and out of respect to both of them I did and now I'm left with nothing for the day to write about. Caleb has gone back to his side of the property at last, having remained here with us for a few days. It was really nice but then I reminded him and everyone else that he is the Devil so now he's gone again and we go back to being at each other's throats or whatever it is I'm supposed to be here.

I'm not allowed to work things out. Not allowed to bring them up, not allowed to make anyone feel bad, though it's okay if I feel bad, I guess. I'll just jam it back down there in the dark with all the other uncategorized, unexamined memories where they can fester and ache and I'll promise not to make them feel bad.

Ironic. And now, just like that night when I was ten and they gave me beer, my stomach hurts and everything feels weird.

The first emotion, or so they say, is curiosity. They shouldn't have said that.

(Trouble finds you, Bridget, and then it walks behind you, darting into the shadows when you sense something, turning around to call Who's there? It stalks you and it sets you up and the sad part is you never even heard it coming.)


Teenage boys have really bad ideas sometimes. Sometimes they don't outgrow them even as you'd think they ought to.

I don't know what to say
But I'm going to want you till the stars evaporate
We're only here for just a moment in the light
One day it shines for us the next we're in the night
He uncovered my eyes. There's a tree in front of me, wider than I can hug, with boards nailed in a makeshift ladder up the trunk. Surprise.

The tree house? I can go up?


But you said it was too dangermouse.

Dangerous. We made it safer.

I climb the ladder gingerly, still managing to scrap my knees and elbows on the edges of the wood as I make my way up. When I get to the top of the ladder I climb through the hole and I kneel on the floor of the treehouse to peer back down but Lochlan is right behind me. There's a few candles, half a case of beer and a blanket spread out nicely, like for a picnic.

This is cool!

Lochlan cracks open a beer but doesn't offer me any. Because he's sixteen and I'm not yet. I know. I think he's in a bad mood though. He sits back on the blanket and pats the space beside him. Come sit.

When is Caleb coming?

Soon. I don't know. Just as he says that Caleb calls Lochlan's name. Lochlan hollers back down the hole that we're up here.

Caleb makes it to the top in record time and then sits down hard. He wavers as he unloads his backpack. More beer. A portable radio. Matches. Candles. I think he's drunk.

What are those things for? I ask him with my ten-year-old curiosity.

Us. So we can have a nice evening. He is drunk. His words are running together and I can't understand him very well. Lochlan frowns as they smash beer cans together. Cheers, brother.

Lochlan rubs my back and acts very territorial. This isn't a first but it's weird.

Did you bring anything for me to drink? I ask Caleb, who stares unsteadily at Lochlan all the while pulling a beer off the stack.

Here you go, Baby.

Lochlan takes it first, opens it and hands it to me reluctantly. I take a sip. It's warm and a little bubbly and not sweet like pop at all. I put it down. I'll just pretend to drink it, I guess.

Caleb finishes his beer in what seems like five seconds. Come here, Bridget.

I listen to him. He's the oldest, at eighteen. I always listen to him. I slide over beside him and he puts his arm around me, pulling me in close. He holds my face up with his free hand and kisses me solidly on the mouth. Then he pours beer into my mouth. Just a little.

Good girl.

I swallow it and sit with a thrilled feeling in my stomach. Caleb is cute and he is the oldest and if he's interested in me instead of Bailey then this. is. magnificent. Everyone loves Bailey. No one has any time for little goofy Bridget.

Speaking of the Devil, I hear a group of people arrive at the treehouse. It's deep in the woods between the lake and Blueberry Mountain. None of the grownups come out here. All of the kids do.

Bailey pokes her head through the floor of the treehouse. Ah. It's occupied I see.

Yeah, we've got some beer.

Shit. We were going to smoke up here.

Come up then, Lochlan seems relieved suddenly that our picnic is ruined. He slides over to my other side and holds my beer, which I go to take from him before realizing he isn't handing it to me.

Are you giving my sister beer? She's ten! Bailey's mad and jealous. She's almost as old as Lochlan. Beer is for the older kids.

No. Don't be silly. She's ten.

Then why is she here?

She wanted to come with us. Caleb lies and Lochlan nods.

I think I'll take her home. Bailey eyes them both suspiciously.

I'm just hanging out, Bay.

Not with these two, you're not, Bridge.

I'll be home by nine.

She stares at Lochlan. He covers easily. We're just having a beer and showing Bridget the treehouse. I'll make sure she gets home by curfew.

You'd better, or else.

Don't worry. You can trust me. Lochlan grins at her so easily I get a weird pang about that too. My stomach hurts now. Great.

She finally looks at me for a long time and then they leave in a big group and it's back to the three of us.

Caleb's eyes and his teeth glitter in the half light. He looks like a wolf in the dark. Finish your beer, Bridget.

I think she's right. I should go.

I'll take you home, Lochlan says quickly while Caleb shakes his head and swears at the sky.

Bye, Caleb.

Bye, Princess. Come again soon! He laughs and tilts his beer up. I'll just go fuck myself I guess.


Nothing, sweetheart.

Lochlan punches him in the arm and then goes around me, halfway through the hole. Back out and climb down the way you climbed up. He has his arms around my legs, making a cage as we go down.

It's on the long walk back to our neighborhood that he tells me he's glad I wanted to leave. I thought he meant so he could be alone with me to talk on the way home.  Which is far cooler than any attention I can beg from Caleb, honestly.

It wasn't until a few years later that Christian told me they bragged that they were taking me up there to mess around but no one took them seriously because of my age and it was soon after that that Lochlan came clean and admitted he didn't really want to but he knew if he wasn't there I would go anyway. Because of Caleb. Because I could never ever leave well enough alone and have put myself in his sights even as he's painted a big target on my back.

Nothing's changed, Lochlan says as he wakes up. I have my arms around him, my head against his chest, and wrapped around my back holding tight is Caleb, who slept hard again last night. He's been here for days. Nights. Things are different since. That night at the treehouse Caleb dodged a bullet that would hit him square in the heart a year later when Lochlan wasn't there to save us all from this future we haven't escaped yet, even as we run as fast as we can.

At least it's no longer wrong to touch me, I tell Lochlan.

Depends on who you ask.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Literally translated, it means Whore's Spaghetti.

I wore the ballet flats.

He noticed but said nothing, and rattled off the menu for dinner to me in short order, handing me a glass of wine as he did, with a smile.

We're having Spaghetti alla puttanesca. Are you hungry?

Starving. He seems to be on his best.

Can you wait a half-hour or should I do up a plate of fruit in the meantime?

I'm fine to wait. Will there be garlic bread?

I have a baguette. Would you like to make some?

Sure. I kick off my shoes, put my wine glass on the island and get to work sawing the bread into slices with the giant serrated knife he keeps in the block. When I'm a third of the way through I wrap the remaining loaf, tuck it into the fridge and pull out the butter dish and minced garlic.

I enjoy cooking with you, Neamhchiontach.

Come over any night of the week. I'm there same time every day.

Except tonight.

Except tonight.

And most of last week.

Did you want to talk about that? You and August are vying for Most Put Out. 

No. No, not really. I just wished you kept in touch while you were gone.


A call or something. Just so I can hear your voice. He drinks his wine in one swallow but I heard it. His voice cracked ever so slightly.

For what it's worth, I did miss you.

Then next time, call.

I will.

Let's get the bread in the oven. This took no time at all.

Soon we are eating outside at the little bistro table in the far corner of his patio, jutting out over the cliff. Usually I'd be hesitant to remain here on the frightening part of the cliff but this is my third glass of wine and I have no fear of anything anymore. I always try to front-load my courage for Caleb. Dinner is delicious. Tiny olives pop between my teeth. I eat everything on my plate. So does he.

I rise to clear the dishes.

Sit, Bridget. Not a suggestion, it's a clear order.

I sink back to my seat. He softens.

I'm sorry. Can we just enjoy this? How are you? Not too warm? Too cold?

I'm fine.

You're tense.

No, I'm just...what is it?

I just want to enjoy dinner with you and then I'm afraid I'm going to have to send you home.

Did I do something wrong? Panic builds. I need things. Where are they?

On the contrary. I made some beautiful plans for tonight with you but I'm afraid you'll have to come back another night. I'm very tired. I'll walk you home. He stands and come around to take my chair.  Take the wine with you. He brings the bottle to walk me home. You and Lochlan can have a nightcap.

Once across the drivewat at the door he hands me the bottle of wine and gives me a lingering kiss. I'm sorry if I wasn't able to give you the night you were expecting.

Come in with me. 

As I said-

We'll go to sleep. We can have a nightcap with Lochlan and go to sleep. You said you sleep better with me, this should help. 

Did you ask Loch-

I don't have to, remember? It's in the rules. 

Why are you doing this for me? 

Who said I'm doing it for you? 

Monday, 3 July 2017

In with my already bloodshot eyes.

One of the biggest joys about being in the pool is that I can't hear a thing. I feel the underwater speakers but I can't hear the music and if someone needs me they have to physically get in the water and touch me as I swim endless laps back and forth across the widest part.

Maybe I meant biggest drawback, as instead of reaching out to touch the edge my hand lands on Caleb's chest and he pulls me up against him in the deep end.

Hello, Neamhchiontach. 

Cale. Morning. I smile at him awkwardly. My eyes sting so badly. He doesn't care.

Nice form. He winks.

Thanks. I'm trying to be perfect. (Are we still talking about swimming? I don't think we're talking about swimming. I'm sure not.)

Shall we race? 

No. I would lose. 

No, I think you have a chance. I can always go slow. Or get lost. Or have a cramp. He laughs and his eyes flash. God can drown me now, really it's fine. He's so handsome.



He counts down and we're off across the pool. He makes a comical show of doing a poor backstroke, then foundering as if he's unable to swim, and then finally he stops swimming and pretends to walk in slow motion, but he's still really fast and he grabs me, spinning me back toward the deep end, not letting go but reaching out to touch the edge. I win. 


Fair and square. I gave you every opportunity. Something less cheerful flashes across his eyes and we're definitely not talking about swimming any more. All of history is now floating among us, crowding us out, pushing us under.

Tomorrow I get a rematch. 

Of course you do. When we get up. 

When we get up?

Yes, when we get up you can have your rematch. You'll be with me. 

Run it by Loch-

I don't have to do that. His rules. Go get dressed. Wear a pretty slip dress and the pink shoes. We're going out to dinner. 

The pink shoes make me almost as tall as he is. I can't run away in those. I can hardly walk in those. I look like a deer on stilts in those.

I have pink ballet flats-

The heels, Bridget. 

What time do I need to get ready? 

Now, I think. He had you far away for many days straight. I think he can handle one entire twenty-four-hour period without you at all. 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Jesus Driver/Cineplex sanctuary.

We might have bailed on church again for the better offer of specialty coffees and Baby Driver at an empty theatre. Don't worry, we brought Sam with us, as Holiday Weekend Church is usually empty too. We brought everybody, actually and holy, what a sleeper of a perfect movie. We've already made plans to go see it again. It's SO good, and you really have no inkling of how good it is from just the trailers. Trust me. Go see it. I was expecting some sort of teenage car-chase sort of fun movie but holy DAMN, it was so much more than that, stylized in a way that made it never stop. Now it's in my top ten favorite movies and I have to figure out which one drops off so it can have space.

That good.



(P.S. When you get home buy the soundtrack.)

Saturday, 1 July 2017

While I patiently wait for someone to trade Miller to the Ducks, you can read this.

Oof. Ben wasn't the only affection- or maybe it's Bridget-starved person here. I've been dodging men, feelings and drama since we landed.


Caleb thinks the whole trip was a personal affront. He's challenged Lochlan to wage love on home turf and see who emerges victorious. I can't wait for the jousting at sunrise. For fucks sake. Lochlan, to his credit, reminded Caleb of the umbrella on fire, that he has it covered, thanks, but that a mental and physical getaway is important and Caleb can stuff it.


The entire rest of the house thinks Lochlan is throwing up a human shield, himself to be exact, to keep me away from Jay, who's been fresh back a whole week and I've hardly talked to him besides. I tell them they're jumping to conclusions and they remind me that I don't have a man's mind so I wouldn't know.

Ah. Mansplain it to me, Dunk.

No point. 

Gatekeeping, then, is what you're doing. Seriously. 

God, why are you talking like Yoda, Bridge? I think you left your brain on the coast.

Oh, I totally did. I'm fine with that.


August thinks I was away too long.

It was three days. 


Three nights. 



I worry about you. 

With Lochlan? That's something you need to fix.

But he doesn't get it. Lochlan isn't any sort of threat to anything or anybody. He's been in charge of me since I was in the single-digit ages and I'm still alive, I have perfect manners and I can fend for myself. I'll scream the whole time I'm doing it but I'm capable. But he also hobbled me emotionally and I can't exist without a metric crap-ton of doubled-down weapons-grade affection or I hit a wall and dissolve. Yes. Explain that one. Child- and Teenage-Bridget adores him for it. Adult-Bridget can't even figure out how it all happened, other than imprinting being the best explanation I've ever heard.

Soulmate as a definition is a distant second.

Fate a shadowy third.


PJ shoves a list across the counter at me. You're behind. 

I think it's time for you to have a vacation. Also, my chores are supposed to be absorbed by the rest of you if I can't do them. Slackers. 

Yours were. These are new.


Hey, you just came back from not having to lift a finger. No sympathy from me. 

I don't know what kind of vacations you take but in my universe it's only a location break. We cooked. We swept constantly to keep sand out of the house-

I thought you had cereal. 

Still have to pour it in a bowl, pour the milk in, dump in a cup of sugar-

I'm glad you're home though. 

Are you? I am too. I missed my guys. 

Me the most though, right? 

Uh. Yeah. Right. You the most.

You're even cute when you lie, Bridge. 

Thank God for that. 

Friday, 30 June 2017

Home is where he is.

We're home, back from the refreshing Atlantic breeze, waving grasses, cool (almost to the point of achey) sand, back from my home coast.


Back to that beautiful little private beach cottage that had no wi-fi and the stove didn't work all that well either so we went and got cereal to eat instead of cooking and every morning we microwaved water for instant coffee. It was simple. It was like the old days.

What are we doing here? 

Making memories. 

What if we have enough? Is there a moratorium on them? Maybe a quota? A limit? 

No, if you get a better one, you're free to discard an older one. 

How do you discard a memory?

You forget it, Peanut. 

Ah. Is that what we're doing with-


I don't say anything and he comes over, glancing a kiss off my forehead, turning me face-in against his shirt. My arms hook up over his shoulders as his slide around my back and I instantly untense every single muscle I can count inside my skin.

I listened. I listened hard for his soft lilt over the roar of the tides. I listened to the words as he chose them and I listened while he dumped out the contents of his brain and his heart, mixing them all up together and now we can no longer tell them apart and I think it, no I think he works better this way.

We ventured bravely forth for a swim each day and otherwise picked sand out of the cracks in our elbows (no, I wasn't going to say something else) and our shoes. We walked for miles and miles. We spoke to hardly a soul, save for the person at the counter in the store we went to for food and the cottage owner so she would know about the stove. She returned a large portion of the rental fee Lochlan had made and also had dinner sent over one night from a restaurant nearby.

We lived in bathing suits and sweaters. We slept in the screen porch and we enjoyed a level of privacy we just don't get or want anymore to the point where I began to miss my children and my boys and so did he. Three days was enough, the perfect length for a surprise trip. I again needed next to nothing in my bag which is always a nice surprise but then again we travel incredibly light after so many years of doing it.

And now we are home. Renewed, refreshed and reconnected. We both tackled Ben the moment we saw him, taking him to the ground with affection built up over three days and nights. We missed him something fierce and it was mutual, as told by the look on his face when we walked in. We made good on our promises to the kids to be here for Canada's big day (150!) and we have already been put to work shopping, cleaning and doing meal prep for the weekend. Every now and I then I look at Lochlan and I catch him looking back at me. He smiles a little and my heart tries to jump out and run across the floor.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

See you in a few days.

He's got that smile on his face. The one that says he has a surprise and I see him coming a mile away. Kids are finished school. 

Yes. Finally! 

We should take a little trip now that the dust has settled.

If we did where would we go? 

Back to Montauk. Maybe. If you're game.


I might have booked our same little cottage for an early anniversary celebration. 

Who are we taking? 

Each other. 


You need to sort out the sunscreen thing first. 

Okay, a big floppy hat and a sweater. It worked last time. 

That it did. Better go pack. Plane leaves in four hours. 

What? Holy. Hold my plate. 

Take it with you and eat while you pack. We don't need to bring much. 


Bring a smile, Peanut. And that sweater. 

I can do that. 

You wanted a cold beach, I can give you a cold beach.

Monday, 26 June 2017

You'll know where to find me now.

(Yesterday was a big mistake, by the way. I did a metric ton of gardening early in the morning thinking I'd be safe and gave myself heatstroke and turned into a baby because of it. Things are much better after eight hours sleep. That's like a new record for me.)

Ben put up two extra six-by-sixes when no one was looking, down by the trees in the shade off the patio and strung up my beautiful hammock that I had nowhere to properly hang here. He knew I'd love it and I do. The pool area itself is now complete in phase two, with a wraparound outdoor kitchen with space for a bigger barbecue (that we don't have yet but measured for), a small fridge (whoops don't have that either), a wood burning firepit/cookout stove, and a shadier pool deck overall, with space above the pergola where I can drape my tapestries and make it look very neat. There is only one phase left to go and that's to augment the path to the pool from the house to string everything together, and landscape around the sauna and the back of the house a little better. I wanted to pave a path all the way to my house but that isn't a good idea if we want to keep the properties futureproof, to be sold separately when the time comes.

Unless we sell all three or even two houses as a package deal for searching communes. I mean, we could do that.

None of this is something we're planning either way, as we stay until Henry finishes university, so that's at least six years, maybe more. (Did I tell you I now have a university student and a student in grade eleven now? I didn't but I do and I'm so proud).

Then we'll see.

I love the hammock. And I love that today is cool enough to head out and enjoy it with my book and some lemonade and a whole pile of new sunscreen that sucks. Every single one I have tried is awful. They either give me rashes or sunburns. Christ. Any suggestions?