Friday, 21 November 2014

Warmed me on a blustery damp Friday. (I wasn't going to post it but then I couldn't not.)

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes
He took a huge gulp of what they thought was whiskey but it was fuel. He didn't swallow it, instead turning to me, kissing me hard. As he pulled back he sprayed the fuel all over me and then touched me on the shoulder with the torch. The audience gasped as I went up in flames before he swooped back in quickly with a wrap and made a romantic show of pulling me in close, effectively putting me out. Then he would try and soften it with another kiss and then fake-sneeze a flame. He would shake his head, kiss me again, and sneeze out another flame. By now the audience has forgotten the horror of his favorite trick and is laughing along. He finally takes another drink before kissing me long and hard. Forever until the catcalls begin and then when he lets me go I pretend to be dizzy for a moment before sneezing really hard, lighting all of his torches, held out like a bouquet.

It was very popular.

The poster said WITNESS YOUNG BURNING LOVE! It had a cheesy drawing of Elvis in a top hat, instead of Lochlan. We weren't there very long.

***
There’s no reason to cry now
There’s nothing to forgive
This suffering’s my blessing
The death of sin is how I live
This morning Sam confronted Lochlan in the front hall and asked if he actually tells me lies about Cole and Jacob being alive.

Loch stood his ground and said he did, that he does whatever it takes to get me to sleep. (He was surprised though.)

Sam told him I needed to learn to do it on my own, that it sets me back, giving my brain conflicting ideas and refusing to help me acknowledge death as I should. As I have.

Loch said he doesn't care, that sleep comes first and I'm smart enough to see when I awaken who's alive and who isn't. That if I don't sleep all bets are off and then we have a lot more to deal with. PJ wandered in, toast in hand, because both Sam and Loch have been known to engage in surprise fist-throwing and we don't want to send Sam to church with a black eye. Not now. Advent is starting soon and besides, they're fighting on the same team, they just forget sometimes.

Sam said if I need help he is here to talk to and Loch gave him a shove before PJ put his hand up in front of Loch and blocked him from doing any more damage. I went in and said it was an old comfort from years ago that has less to do with ghosts and more to do with a blanket quiet for a severely overactive mind and he's doing no harm by it. Sam seemed to accept that but still shot Lochlan a look that would have cut glass. I gave Sam a quick kiss to see him off and Loch just glared him right out the door.

I took him back for a little comfort of his own. Back to the show.

Norms don't get it, Locket. Doesn't mean it's not okay for us.

I know, Peanut. I just don't know what gives him the right.

He cares, that's all.

He should mind his own.

We are his own.

I felt his hands relax finally. Just a reminder that yeah, family. This is it. We're here. We're not always going to agree and yet Lochlan shouldered my safety and sanity for so long without knowing how to help me that he devised ways that were neither right nor even remotely acceptable but he did the best he could for a teenage boy in charge and it doesn't do any one of us any favors to question that at this late stage in the game.

Sam figured it out before he got to his car and came back, barging back in through the door and PJ swore and tried to head him off but he smashed right into Lochlan, throwing his arms around him, holding him close.

Sorry, my brother. Trying to protect you both.

Loch nodded and put his arms up around Sam too. I know you are. Thank you for that. It means a lot.  He nodded as they let go and Sam left again, with a nod to me to have a good day.

Sometimes the surprises are from the audience. Sometimes it's the performers' turn to gasp out loud and then relax when it all turns out okay.

(At least we get in for free.)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

If I lie on my side pressed against him I can count his freckles. One by one as they fade into winter to hide until the warm weather returns. His hair already seems longer, darker, the curls bigger still. The circles underneath his eyes holding his freckles captive are deep and dark and tell a story you might hardly not believe if it weren't for his eidetic memories, organized by season and year. By Bridget. Bridget at eight. Bridget at fourteen. Bridget at twenty-six. Bridget at thirty-three. Bridget now. Bridget at ten. Either mislabeled or he removed it to wax it nostalgic and now that it shines bright he's forgotten where it belongs.

Most of those stories I have too but mine are arranged haphazardly, clumsily, remembered in a completely different way, having taken away a different slice of life for being younger and far more naive before becoming vaguely, reluctantly hard, jaded into a concrete green for the things I have witnessed with my own eyes when people are free to be themselves. I only ever slept at night because he would take the most unpleasant of stories and explain in the way that only he could, telling me that the man that shot the other man out back was merely practicing a trick or the boy crying with the black eye walked into a light standard and was going to have his pictures taken for school the next day, or that if we didn't eat tonight, we would have the most fantastical breakfast in the morning, right after we've slept well.

Sometimes when he feels patient and generous he tells me Cole is off seeing the world and that Jake is downstairs. Sometimes he tells me the Devil is only in my nightmares because funnel cakes do funny things to my brain. Sometimes he tells me the feeling of falling is the same for falling in love, that agonizing lurch when your heart hits your breastbone and your blood begins to float and that it's not supposed to be scary.

He has two hundred and sixteen freckles left and that means winter is almost here.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Well, YEAH, if you walk in and I'm busy yelling the lyrics to Sex Metal Barbie while I test Christmas lights on the floor behind the dining room table well then you can't LAUGH, MOTHERFUCKER!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

So who did save your soul?

(Hold still for more first world problems because I swear storage capacity is worth more on the black market than bullets and gasoline combined.)

Ben took me out to breakfast this morning where we loaded up on hash browns and sausage and egg mcmuffins and then on the way to get groceries he ambushed me (again), taking me to the phone shop and trying to set me up with a 6 plus. He got one on release because he's one of the eight people in the world with hands and pockets big enough to deal with one. I grabbed it with both hands, tried to shove it in my pocket and then shook my head. I knew I'd regret it. It made for a fine angle from which to plead my case for a 128 GB regular 6.

Sold.

I loaded on every single thing I've got and I still have 80 GB free.

*falls facedown in surprise*

Damn. I'll never run out of music now. This is a very far cry from my 8-AA-batteries-an-hour (sorry Cole, I know those were expensive) Sony Walkman with the option of only bringing one cassette at a time. I always played Jewel's Pieces of You because she's easy to sing along with and it was 1996.

So just..yeah...I still have that album on my phone right now. (shhhhhhhhhhhhh)

It's good, okay?

Caleb was all Good for you! on the phone like I finally let Ben buy me something. I'm very bad with that. I don't know if you noticed but it's very hard to let them buy me things. They'll all nod sagely and agree that it's tougher than they would have thought.

Until I showed Ben the box full of new phones since probably 2006 and he laughed. I don't think I've ever made it more than 14 months without someone buying me a new phone. It's pretty much the only thing I collect, other than boys. Reluctantly, of course.

(Phones reluctantly. Not boys.)

(And yes I blubbered through my call with Caleb. Because I'm a big fucking baby, that's why.)

Monday, 17 November 2014

(Do as I do, not as I say.) Quadrilaterals and polynomials.

You remain,
My power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny.
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby?
But did you know,
That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
It's like he's waking up. Eyes flashing, smile unable to leave his face, curls highlighted in the darkness. No longer in the shadow of the devil, he thrives in the moonlight, charm leading the way. A quiet confidence tried on for the first time in ages, inspected and repaired to one hundred percent. My heart soars. I wish sometimes that it was only us again, plotting our course on a stolen gas station map with a borrowed pen and the most foolish of dreams, dreams we never finished. Dreams we don't know the endings of yet. Dreams we can maybe finally afford.

But it isn't just us now and we have a whole built-in circus full of characters, full of workers, everyone knowing their role, playing their part and when the Devil lets go he leaves a wake of flames behind.

Only one person can control those and it isn't me.

Our audience is each other, our acts change daily, costumes too. Our profit is high and our word of mouth travels as far as the eyes can see. To a place I have never seen, a place Lochlan describes as magical, full of adventure and surprise and comfort too because comfort is essential when you travel so lightly as we are wont to do. I nod enthusiastically. I'll believe anything he says when he says it like this, only the adventure came to a grinding halt right here, grinding, sliding right to and then slightly over the edge of the world, tipping perilously toward the ocean but not quite. The wind ruffling our hair, threatening to help gravity just enough to end this grand adventure but our hero thought of that already and has fashioned a safety-rope made of my fears and doubts, twisted tightly together in lengths, knotted for strength, destined to save us somewhere along the line, the face of caution and preparation to his headlong rush, the childlike fear of the unknown that kept him from taking me into his arms and dropping off the face of the earth never to be seen again, lost in a mighty whirlwind of show after show after act after show. Going down in history as the courageous lovers who never saw the end coming until it was too late.

Except that isn't how it ends. Our act has changed so much through the years, veering haphazardly down one path, doubling back before heading deliberately down another and still here's one more path and it's different than all the rest but as he always tells me when the doubts rear up like boogeymen to chew off my limbs and then feast on my heart,

We're together. We have food. We have heat. But most importantly we have each other and I'll never need for more than you as long as you'll have me and be beside me. 

We need more than food and heat, Locket. I have to have grade ten math to graduate and I need an actual job and if we ever get caught we're screwed-

I'll always provide for you. I'll teach you the math. And you don't need a real job, that's why we're here. I'd rather do magic for the rest of my life than suffer indoors at some stuffy office gig and we're too good to get caught, darling Peanut. And that's the best magic right there. We're independent. We're perfect. We're invincible! 

Does this mean I can go get cotton candy for dinner? 

No. I stole beets and carrots from the field just down the road. You need vegetables to grow strong. 

You just said I was perfect. 

Perfectly miniature. I think you'd have a easier time if you grew just a little more besides. Then you could reach those dreams without me holding you up. 


Sunday, 16 November 2014

You and your modus vivendi.

Everything I say you lie along with me (she said)
Every song you sing is that because of me (I said)
Any time I cry you always laugh at me (she said)
No matter what you do you won't belong to me
Caleb left this afternoon. Halifax-Dublin-London-Dubai-Delhi-Spain and then home again. Six places, twenty-two days. Which isn't much time in any place but he's rested and ready to conquer the world while we three here decide on whether to accept his offer of armistice once and for all.

I cried when he left. I cry when any of them leave. I cried when I saw Santa at the mall yesterday so this isn't a particularly awful thing, just a thing that I do that I can't fix and don't care to.

(Santa seems early. Don't you think?)

He said repeatedly if I change my mind he can send for me. Lochlan said it wouldn't happen so Caleb cut him out of the conversation all together. Ah. Brotherly love. (Here, take her. Naw, give her back, I changed my mind. You're still a monster.)

Duncan is nine days from coming home. Single digits. I am counting hours almost.

As a surprise while Caleb is gone I have arranged to have his house cleaned top to bottom, carpets and draperies steamed, wood conditioned, kitchen professionally detailed. Then a day before he returns a grocery delivery including fresh flowers.

I'm good like that.

I'm outstanding like that. I spoil my men. Mine, even if I'm not theirs.

And I know what armistice means. Maybe he likes me dumb and pretty, still a child in matters of this life but I know it doesn't mean an end to the war, just a break. Which isn't up to us to accept or reject in the first place. He was going on this trip anyway. That is the break. He wonders if things will change while he's gone. If I will miss him to the point of shifting allegiance. If I will be so lost without him here that I will turn over everything to his charge and leave his nemeses out in the cold.

No. I will not. However. I would be open to a different sort of arrangement but this time I will make it myself and he can either agree to it upon his return or find out what it means to be left out in that godforsaken cold himself.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

No one's going to build a monument to love here.

Last minute instructions as he's beginning to pull his things together for a three week round the world odyssey to diversify, reaching out to some untapped desperate markets and have a trickle of European profits to round out what is shaping up to be a surprisingly solid and easy to oversee selection of projects. I reassure him if I have any problems I can easily reach him by phone. If that fails I can always go to Batman for help. Caleb frowns and says he'll check in daily and nothing can go wrong that can't wait.

I nod. This is a technicality. He didn't have to put me in charge of anything. It could have sat with a short note on his voicemail to relay his return date and an automatic reply on his email to say the same. He just likes to put me in the hot seat. He is always testing me and I always remind him that I do business using logic and common senses because that's the way life works. He always frowns and says I sound like Lochlan.

He tells me he is going to miss me while I count out pills and more pills for him to take along. Some are dailies. Some are just-in-cases. Some is spray nitroglycerin in triplicate and it's all neatly labelled now and in clear bags ready to be pulled out of his carry-on bag for inspection at airports. This part makes me a little nervous and so his daily check-ins are five deep. Batman in the morning. John at lunch. Ben at dinner. Henry at bedtime. Me at night. This is so over-engineered I want to Caleb to wait, that he can get Luke or even Batman or maybe possibly me to go at a later date but he wants to get this done and onto the books before year end.

I tell him to avoid the women. And the Russians. He laughs and tells me he's too old to get in any trouble these days.

Any advice for the really hard parts, Babydoll? 

Late in the night when you can't sleep, you mean?

Precisely. 

Call me. It'll be early here. I'll talk you through it. 

Or you can just come with me. 

I shake my head. I'm trying so hard to avoid this part of the present.

Take care of our son and if anything happens, Bridge-

I nod. I know what to do. I know where all the papers are. 

Not what I mean. I mean if I'm gone, don't let them vilify me to Henry. I want him to be proud of me. I don't want him to have to hear the things I have done.

My nose gets all stingy and my eyes start to leak but I nod. I didn't let anyone do it with Cole. I won't let them do it for you. 

And if I go, Bridget-

Just.. Just shut up. The odds aren't there that you won't come back so let's not do this. 

Well you don't read the letters anyone has left for you so I made a video. I emailed it to you already. Watch it now or if I don't come back or later but watch it eventually, okay? It's important. 

I nod and he kisses the tears off my eyelashes. Diabhal? I can't talk about this.

Hey. I know. And this goes both ways. If you need me to get through the really hard parts, call me. 

You're never going to get any work done. You realize this, don't you?

That's fine. I'm at a point in my life where I set up the pieces and the puzzle solves itself. 

You're so humble about how hard you work. Stop it. You need to take it easier like you promised. 

I need to actually be busier because then I get into less trouble concerning matters of the heart. Did I tell you one of my side excursions is to the Taj Mahal?

I have always wanted to see it with my own eyes and it's hard not to turn jaded green at his news.

Send me a selfie when you get there. I'll put it on my blog. 

You'll do nothing of the kind, Bridget. 

It would be nice for people to see that you're human, Cale. 

Why would I want to be human when I can be a God instead? And he leans down to kiss me hard because I'm finished. There's nothing left to pack.

Gods don't need luggage, Diabhal. 

This is not my final form, of course. I like to travel in disguise. He winks and lets me go. His charm. I could drown in it if it didn't dissolve my bones the moment it touches me.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Even at my ugliest.

You always say I am beautiful
As you tear me to pieces
Matt came home early this morning. Early like 3:47 this morning and of course everyone is now asleep and I'm all Hiii? Someone come play with me? But no one answers except the furnace and the odd random cat meowing for attention and winding around my legs.

He walked in with his customary clear call, Honey, I'm home! I thought Sam might burst but he didn't because that would have been messy and ironic and so instead he only grinned huge and glassy and rushed into the front hall and we all followed and Matt was greeted as if we hadn't seen him for years. It made my chest hurt because Ben would go out for six, eight, thirteen months and we would stay up and greet him the same way. Hugs. Smiles. Tired relief like okay, everyone is here now, home safe.

We can actually sleep now except sleep is still waiting for when Duncan is home too. At least for me. The rest of them can sleep but me, I always wait.

But Caleb leaves before Duncan will be home and  my chest hurts every time I think about that too.

Bridge. Come back to bed. 

Yeah. Okay, Locket.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Comets are a girl's best friend.


All 142 frames of this are amazingly touching. You can click through them all here.

***
Take me all the way to the end
Show me how you want it to end
Keep dancing with the dead
Go ahead
Keep dancing with the dead

The devil's in your head
Filling in the stance
God is playing dead
So save your breath
I declined Caleb's offer again this morning. He leaves in a few days for Dubai and will be gone for weeks. He thinks I should go with him and has managed to make the pot so sweet if I dove into it I wouldn't even sink for all the sugar. Dublin. The Canaries. A whirlwind trip to see everything I've ever missed. With him. The original benefactor who brought the world to me. He thinks I'm throwing my life away once again in order to follow Lochlan around. Baby duck, he calls me. Imprinted. This is wrong, Bridget. I went out and made a life for us and while I was ensuring your future you ran off with the Joker.

He is mad about that and also because he actually thinks I'm about to order plastic cufflinks for him for Christmas and he insists I am more than that, that I should strive harder to be what he wanted me to be instead of what I have become.

We come bearing our baggage, hauling the weight up on our shoulders, braced in a rigid stance facing each other. He is never going to put his weight down, while I would drop mine in a heartbeat except for the fact that my hands are fused around it, melted together and I can't seem to let go.

Everyone sees a different facet and I blind them all when the sun hits me. A miserable diamond, a shattered visage, a valuable and yet worthless trinket set by a market rate but fetching whatever number is called on any given day. Some days I am surprised. Some days no numbers go up at all.

I'm not sad that he's going, honestly. I'm looking forward to the break from his intensity. I'm looking forward to debriefing Henry and not being criticized because I can't crawl out of my own way here. I'm looking forward to being in charge and being deluded about that as well. I'm not actually in charge. I never will be but the North American side of business falls to me in Caleb's absence and I'm anxious to prove myself worthy. A diamond in the rough, or something. I can be in charge of his high-stakes ventures with his full confidence but not of my own household. How telling.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Like playing Barbies but giant oversized Barbies with beards!

This morning I painted Ben's nails for him and helped PJ do a mask on his face. I asked Ben if he wanted a mask as well, for exfoliation and he asked what the mask tasted like. He's looking at the front of the container. Cucumbers and coconuts? I ventured. But probably like chemicals. 

He declined. For once.

Lochlan came in and did his Oh ho ho Santa-Claus laugh. He saves it for his happy/incredulous moods. I chased him around the house trying to get him to submit to some treatments too but his idea of effort is not brushing wet curls. Then once they're dry he rakes his hand through them and has perfect glossy red loops.

I swear to God in my next life I want that hair.

Ben's nails are black. There's no other color ever. Well, once when Ruth was four he let her paint them pink. They were still pink when he came home from tour and if you look at pictures online from that summer you can see the pink polish on every set of horns he throws.

It's great.

PJ asked how to get the mask out of his beard after about fifteen minutes of waiting for it to harden. Rather, he whined for a good ten minutes while I guessed at solutions.

Have a hot shower. Or stick your whole face in a sink full of really hot water?

Oh come on, Bridget! Seriously? There's no easier way to get this out of my beard?

I don't know. I don't have a beard so I'm not the expert here.

Wait. Loch, how do I, oh nevermind. Not like you can grow an actual beard. (Oh. Burn.)

Naw but at least I can grow a set of balls and not let her play beauty parlour with my face, asshole. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Checkout is 3pm.

Had an epiphany! A diamond headband with a pixie cut would be hella cute. Just need to find one now. God forbid I mention it or I'll be taken over to DeBeers and held there until I pick something. I don't want something from there. I mean like a Goody Rhinestone one from the drugstore.

In other news, I woke up long enough to page through my favorite Christmas catalogue today and every model made me think of Drunk J Crew.

(I never laughed so hard lately as I did at this website.)

But then I found Caleb's Christmas present for this year. No, not the Maserati. He doesn't love those cars in the same way I don't 'love' DeBeers. I'm getting him THESE.

JESUS CHRIST.

I've been rattling around the house mostly since 5 am (I don't sleep anymore. Why don't I sleep?) and I looked out the window and abruptly it was like someone flipped a switch and the sun rose. Like it was dark as I walked toward the window and I blinked and it was light out.

I wish I could do that at will. I hate the short days so badly

More later. I might be hallucinating and should probably go back to bed.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Small but not quiet.

I can't believe I let myself break down
Every morning now at four I get up, turn on the fireplace and bring my phone and headphones back to the middle of the big bed. I burrow back down between the sleepers and put on music. Mostly I just play Run Free/Moving On/The Road on repeat until I fall asleep again and then when Loch's alarm goes off at six he will quietly lament the need to tether me to him so I'm not wandering around in the dark. It was so easy once with a tiny fifty-six-square-foot space. Not so easy now. Fifty-six hundred feet and then some.

He'll wrap his hand around the back of my head and pull me back in. So warm. Perfect. He'll promise me we'll get new headphones because these ones are broken from waking up lying on them and after snoozing for twenty minutes or so he'll leave me here and go get ready for the day.

I put the headphones back in and press my forehead against Ben's arm until he shifts and spoons with me. He says turn it down and I ignore the request because I can pretend I'm asleep and he doesn't know what a lifetime of sleeping with music on has done to soothe my brain and how much I missed it recently.

He is back to full sleep in seconds anyway. I press repeat another fifty times until my batteries run out and then I get up too.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I used to love the sound of rain when I could hear it finally.

The only thing I'm needing is for you to be bleeding
From my homicidal kiss
It'll be five years this early spring since we moved here. I should be packing. Anything over four years and I start to live on time borrowed from someone else's future. A nice present (and a bad pun) but I always wonder if the cabin fever is some sort of escapist technique I just haven't figured out how to wield properly.

Caleb laughs at this suggestion and provides one of his own, saying he thinks Lochlan managed to impart to me a fairly serious notion that humans don't need roots or stability or familiarity at all and that it was profoundly damaging in adulthood, proper.

I remind him not to be disparaging and he dismisses his words as normal thoughts, unchecked. No filter, as he promised to be as forthright as I always am. I walk in the door, unload my anxiety all over you and then wear your mental picture of my transparency as a frame around my fragile bones. I don't do it on purpose, this is just what has become of me.

He asks how we, all together, would start over yet again, somewhere else and I tell him,

Leave that to me. Just pick some place where it never rains but I'm still on the beach. Okay?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The lady who pinned my poppy on me this year is a genius. It's still on there. She threaded the tip back up through the poppy itself. It's not going anywhere, and my hand is all poked to bits from trying to adjust my seatbelt strap under my coat collar. I'm not complaining though. Usually I lose them within minutes.

Sam had someone else pin his and as such, lost it within minutes.

He's getting so excited. Matt comes home next Saturday for good. The work thing is done. Matt was on Skype with us and August and Duncan (home in less than three weeks) and everyone else too and it was amazing yesterday.

Til I ruined it by crying and asking August to come back.

But you know. I cry every time I see him. It's not him though. It's me.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Good morning (my archives, they're up now. Go read all about Jake while I lie here and die.)

Life goes on here. I'm not quite up to a big birthday dinner tonight for Jake but maybe later this weekend.

I had a massive change of heart. I reuploaded all of the missing archives. All of Jacob, from the day I left Cole right through to marrying Ben and then walking away from my blog. Two year's worth of entries, April 2006 through April 2008 (when I left for four months and then was convinced to come back) is up now and available for your reading pleasure.

I'll apologize in advance for the liberal amounts of romantic cheese at the start. Jake was like that.

But he's gone now and it serves no purpose to shove his memories in some dark corner. If they were in direct sunlight, perhaps they might fade a little faster so I can thrive a little here too. He wasn't magic and it took seeing it all again to understand that.

Maybe Sam was right.

I'm not going to die though. I feel a little braver than I expected to at this point. It's been seven years today. Happy forty-fourth, Pooh.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas? MADE.


Ultra Snobby Sugar Daddies of West Van.

(I'm so cranky today.)

The news out today seems to be the new Star Wars title (The Force something I forgot) and the fact that yeah, they did go ahead and make a second episode of Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver. I'm not a Star Wars person, as such. I'm really not. I don't get the hype. I think it's cheesy and poorly written and frankly some people, once you reach a certain age, develop a thirst for nostalgia that rarely matches the quality of the thing you are waxing about.

URAGV on the other hand, well it's just delightful. Probably wouldn't be if the episodes ran longer than fifteen minutes each but it's hilariously pointless. Poorly directed, stereotypical and also weirdly sweet. There's no purpose other than today I learned that Chanel put out a line of purses called Boy.

Not sure I'm missing out on fashion. They also put out a line of QUILTED FUCKING MILK CARTONS. I think fashionistas are being punked, is what I think but whatever. I'll be a Coach girl on my deathbed. Only the leather ones though. And yeah, I love Snoopy but I don't want a Coach Snoopy handbag because I'm not twelve. Well, I am but twelve-year-olds don't carry $400 handbags.

Maybe the Ultra Rich ones do.

My favorite handbag of ALL time was a burgundy vinyl mini-backpack from Bentley. I carried it from age fifteen to twenty-two and then it broke. I wasn't Ultra Rich though. Probably the opposite which is why I was so blissfully happy today to find petite Rider Jeans at Wal-Mart of all places because sometimes that's where I go. They fit so good. You don't know what it's like to buy short or 28" minimum inseam jeans only to come home and discover there is still an extra eighty-five inches of fabric after your toes stop to still deal with.

Caleb frowned and asked if I needed jeans made. I told him quite loudly and slowly that I. just. found. a. bunch. at. Wal-Mart. and looked at him with huge eyes.

He physically winced.

I should see if they want to make a show about him.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Gravy train.

Is it sick of me
To feed the animal in you
Is it sick to say
I tease the hunter like I do
Is it sick of me
To watch the wicked way you thrill
Is it sick to say
That I live to break your will
Ben took me Christmas shopping this morning. We got wrapping paper, ribbons, some LED light garlands for the mantle and a few books to add to what we already have to send home to the grandparents. All of the grandparents. I shop all year round but yes, I'm going to be the first person to remind you Christmas is now fifty days away.

Jacob's birthday is two days away. Ben's is less than a month! He won't tell me what he wants and I don't know what to get him. This is nothing new. I should get him some sort of silver teething ring. In the grocery store this morning when we were picking up a few odds and ends he ripped the top off an envelope of powdered gravy and stuck his tongue inside and then made the worst face I've ever seen.

He then opened a container of chocolate milk and drank half of it in the aisle. We got a really big frown from an older lady and I got cross and told her we planned to pay for it. He took the jug away from his face and gave her his best Kurgan laugh.

Gosh, Ben can look so scary sometimes doing this stuff. Part of me wishes he could have a little more self-control and the rest of me eggs him on because if you can't have fun while you're living then you're never going to have any fun at all.

Ben and I were like this together before death happened to us.

It's sometimes really nice to know we can still be silly. Or creepy. Or just weird.

He said we can get a cake for Jake's birthday if I want. I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking it's a great idea and also a terrible idea and I should probably run it by Sam or Joel or...or...it's just cake and cake is pretty much the point of life, isn't it?

It's not?

(Seriously?)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Easy answers/no easy answers.

He's covering it over by telling them that his point was that in spite of testing or margins of error or percentage matches, he would still have stepped in to take care of his brother's family no matter what. But don't worry, we used the best labs. Tests don't lie. Those percentages can't be called in question. They're simply too high.

I stood behind the door and rolled my eyes because the nobility of it all slays me. No, actually it doesn't. What slays me is how easily the rhetoric pours out of his mouth like black tar, coating everyone in a slow reassuring ooze. They buy it. They buy it with lingering silent doubts but they still buy it overall.

***

What do you want for Christmas?

Levi 501s in my size. 

Ah, the endless search for jeans that fit properly. What else?

The Justin Trudeau book. 

And?

Um..

Someone needs to teach you how to be a girl. Every other female on earth keeps a ten-page list. What have you always wanted?

A rear-wheel drive car I can drift in!

I give up.

Monday, 3 November 2014

I heard shouting this afternoon and ran to look outside, wondering if some of the boys were home and had decided (against my wishes) to take matters into their own hands.

I see Batman standing at the bottom of the steps to the boathouse and Caleb at the top. They're both shouting and gesturing angrily and then Batman turns and sees me. He come straight over to the side door and I meet him there, where he sticks his finger up in my face and tells me to stop buying into Caleb's attempts to find a way to hurt me. That it's probably all bullshit anyway and I'm stoking the fire by even responding to him. That we maybe do belong together because between the two of us we create enough drama for a fucking soap opera. He says no more trips across the drive and if I miss Ben so badly I should call him and he'll do what he can to get home early or stay home or whatever he needs to do and do I understand?

I nod and he closes the door in his own face. He doesn't have time for this. I stand there staring up at my back door, listening to his footsteps as they fade.

But all I can think is he said probably.


It's called Defamation and I don't care.

But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
the currency we've spent
I love you
You pay my rent
Last night was a furious round of hate sex followed by restless sleep and I was up at five standing on the stupid thinking-patio (as Ben called it because he's right too) feeling the rain saturate through my skin until it mixed with my blood, diluting my life almost colorless. Lochlan came up behind me and I jumped fifty feet when his arms came around my ribs. I took out my (wet, broken) headphones but he was already three sentences in. Wants a mulligan on our fight, didn't mean to add to my stress. Is going to work on how to deal with the inevitable Devil. Is going to work on sharing. Is going to work on never threatening me with his absence.

This isn't even a Ben-coerced crow feast. No, this has Batman written all over it. Batman is so close I can taste him but far enough that you can't see him with the naked eye.

Ben is too busy for this. I forget what Ben looks like except for the expression on his face last week on the plane when I threw up in his shirt pocket and he was alternately charmed by my ingenuity and horrified by my sudden air sickness. He didn't quite know whether he should try and save the shirt or call it a loss and be grateful for the t-shirt underneath (we went for loss).

I nod and tell Loch that's a shame because he was right and this isn't working at all.

He reminds me that I already pointed out we got ourselves into this mess and we can't change it.

The weight hits my shoulders squarely, hammering me clear through the earth and I pop out in the water on the other side, immediately beginning to sink.

I don't even bother showing him the messages on my (wet, broken) phone from Caleb. A game of twenty questions spanning several days, back and forth, ranging from deep to sublime. What's your secret favorite color that you never tell people? and Is the reason you're like this because you hate me that much? 

And we took our sweet time answering (Lilac. No) before he lobbed a grenade out of the blue.

What would you do if you found out on Henry's 18th birthday that he wasn't mine? 

I'll show them. Probably later but I'm sure it will be dismissed as a game, that we have proof otherwise. We had our own testing done. Henry has genetic markers that match Caleb's to a tee, and sometimes the same attitude. That could be from the time they spend together. There's so much of it.

 But Henry looks nothing like Caleb. If I lined up everyone I've slept with over my lifetime I would still pin Henry to Jacob without hesitation and if Caleb isn't playing a game then Jake would have flown for nothing. Caleb would have kept me here for nothing. Loch would be tormented for nothing. Caleb would have won the worst game of payback for his brother's death that I could ever imagine.

And I wouldn't put it past him. Not even for one second.  Especially since I found out he is single-handedly responsible for Duncan not being able to stay on the wagon and is now focusing on Sam, who apparently is next on Caleb's To Ruin list.

Because he can. I guess Lochlan and I weren't enough. He isn't about to let anyone get close to me without paying a price. I don't know why I put up with this, Oh, right. I didn't get a choice.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Manipulating shadows but right every time.

Life is like a constant state of switching from light to dark as I am thrust back into the spotlight of the big top. Lochlan's gone full shutdown on me though, sitting in the darkness, top hat and drink at hand. He looks like The Shade character, slouched in the rain on the patio, refusing to speak until I conjure up enough helper phrases from family therapy to open him up just a crack. His skin is on inside out these days anyways, as is mine and Ben's too but Lochlan will never accept this. Never ever ever.

Can you help me? I finally ask and he turns sideways in the chair. I don't know how drunk he is.

I could help by leaving. Then you'd never have to feel bad. I wouldn't have to live like a norm anymore and you would be free to wear yourself to pieces rubbing up against the guy who ruined everything for us. What an extended reward for him. What a fucking curse for me. 

I'm not rewarding him, I'm taking something I need and punishing him too. (Woah, there goes that fleeting foolish misdireccted insane pride of mine again.)

What do you NEED that you can't get in this house?

Cole. 

Cole's dead, Bridget. Fucking his brother isn't going to bring him back. 

But it does. And thinking that is the only way I can deal with Caleb.

Then you need more help then you're getting, Neamhchiontach, but you know that already. 

It works. You're supposed to look the other way. And don't ever call me that again.

You're walking around telling everyone I'm you're one and only. Clearly it's a line from an act and I think I've seen it before. He takes another drink.

It's not an act. 

Then leave Diabhal alone. 

I can't. If I don't go he'll take Henry from me. 

We can fight him. No judge is going to separate a boy from his mother. 

They will if it's me. All he has to list everything that's wrong with me, everything I've done and no judge is going to leave a boy with his fucked up mother. 

He takes another drink.

We're fucked, Locket. 

No. You're fucked. I could just walk away. 

Ruth needs you. 

She has a whole collection of better fathers than I could ever be right here. 

That isn't true. 

I missed her childhood because I was off trying to forget about you because I forget how much this hurts. Then I come back for more and I'm still not exactly raising her. He pays for everything. PJ looks after the rest. Kind of like with you.

None of this is going to change until Henry is a legal adult. 

I don't have to live with it. I could go. Start over. Go back to the show. Live out my days from a suitcase, in front of a crowd. This isn't me. 

You need to stay here. With me.

With who? You aren't yourself. My Bridget doesn't sweep around in a Valentino gown pressing buttons for fire. My Bridget stands in the pouring rain, shivering from the cold, her stomach growling, in the same clothes she's worn for two weeks straight and she can't keep the lighters dry but she smiles so big for me I think my heart shattered every time I looked at her. She looked SO HAPPY. She sure doesn't look so happy now, Miss Millionaire. 

I'm not, because you're not.

THEN FIX THIS, BRIDGET. Because, Baby, I've got one foot out the door and if I go I won't come back this time. You'll have to come to me and dammit, I don't think I can wait forever for your loyalty to them all to fucking die already.

THIS ISN'T REALLY THE BEST WEEK TO SAY THAT TO ME, LOCHLAN.

IT'S A BETTER TIME THAN ANY OTHER BECAUSE MAYBE, FOR ONCE, YOU'LL HEAR ME.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Worth it in the end.

(Halloween is a gimme for the Devil. Obviously.)

He wanted to shrink the world. 

I held my breath and stood very close as it got smaller and smaller until it was no bigger than a footprint for two and there was just enough air for both of us and just enough cognitive awareness to remain in the present but no room for the past or the future.

Then he turned, asking me if I was ready. I nodded somewhat hesitantly. There is room for worry. Will it be like the last time? What if he's worse? What if I can't play my part with the Corporate Cowboy to his satisfaction? What if satisfying him is as difficult as ever?

I close my eyes to keep my balance on the ledge in front of him and focus on my breath, forcing it to come slowly, just like the rest of me as he smiles and my brain edges in on my heart, shoving it violently out of the way in an effort to force just a little space for the past. Come on now, it teases. Just a memory or two won't hurt a thing. His hands are the same. His blood, the one and only. Five years apart but it might have been five minutes for how alike they are in certain ways.

My heart shoves right back. You don't get to choose. She's ruled by me. 

But my head just laughs out loud and the cowboy takes it as approval, kicking into a faster pace. His hands slide down my throat, down my arms, over my backside to my legs. He tightens his fingers around me and the past blooms in full color now, just long enough for me to say the wrong name and my heart withers and blackens while my head hisses Told you so spitefully.

Goddamnit. He stops and asks for clarification. Neamhchiontach. Don't lose your focus. 

I shake my head. I can't keep my balance on this tiny space. The past is bigger than the present and the future is nothing more than a black hole gaping dangerously before us. We're speeding straight for it, a race to a dead end.

Dead end.

I say the correct name and feel his relief like a dark warm blanket all around me. His arms tighten once more and his teeth press against my skull. He's not going to hurt me, he just needs me. He needs someone to hold. He needs time to process and absorb how he let me slip through his fingers, hammering himself into this tiny postage stamp of ground where we left off. The present is a difficult puzzle, as shrouded in mystery as the future, as tangled as the past. His lips force against mine, his hands holding my head. He is out of breath and headed home to the bigger world where we have room to run when abruptly he drops this kiss and whispers a plea for me to never leave him.

And in that tiny patch of darkness I smile because that's exactly what I'm always going to do until the day I die too.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Threesomes but with two.

Light a candle, blow the world away
Table for two on a TV tray
It ain't fancy, baby that's OK
Our time, our way
Lochlan and I managed to fit in another brief milestone celebration in between meetings and barfing. Three years (sorta) married!

We're never going to catch a break, that's for certain but we caught low tide, taking a bottle of cheap pink champagne back down to the beach to crack open, as is tradition in our verse. Forget glasses, we passed the bottle a couple of five times and then I was almost sick again. Ben missed it completely though he promised to make it up to us later. Loch kissed my fingers, held tight in his hand and lamented the fact that this probably wasn't the best week in the world but it was an attempt to find some good in so much bad and I will forever love him for that, if I didn't love him for everything else already.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Take that silver spoon and dig your grave.

Well, did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love?
And is it over now?
Do you know how?
Pick up the pieces and go home
I threw up on the plane. I came home and slept from late right through most of today. Caleb sent me a note alternately conveying his ire at me leaving in the first place with his desire to have his share, dangling the offer of a new bottle of Lagavulin in front of me.

I adore Lagavulin. But I'd be better off right now with flat ginger ale.

It's nerves. That's all.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Specific coast highway.

Heaven is on the way
You could feel the hate
but I guess you never will
I'm on a roll again
and I want an end
'cause I feel you creeping in
Ben's solution was to drag me to California for what will be possibly the fourth longest day of my young life, because he woke me up at two-thirty this morning holding up my shoes asking which ones I would pack if I was going to spend the day in Los Angeles?

I shook my head. I don't like travel dreams, I told him, they suck and in them you never give me any time to pack.

Lochlan rubbed his eyes and pointed to the stilettos on the left and said if I wasn't going to wear those he would.

He came too (and Schuyler!) so we could graze around while Ben is in meetings and also because there's still a stupid moratorium on me traveling alone with Ben and also because this afternoon Ben will take me to the beach while Loch and Sky have THEIR meeting and this is just dumb and so I asked Batman if he would stand by in case I need a ride home because at some point someone will forget me.

(Run-on sentence. Sorry. Yeesh, Bridget)

The text from the Devil (who intercepted my brainwaves) assured me that will never ever happen in this life or the next.

I suppose he would know.

Batman never replied.

I have chosen either Nobu or Moonshadows for lunch. We'll see if I'm still awake in two more hours. I might just go curl up under a table instead of eat.

(PS Loch looks so out of place here. Especially in a dress shirt and wool pants. I should have never talked him into leaving the show but Schuyler seems to be able to keep him busy with projects so I suppose it's good enough.)

(PSS Batman finally replied but only to point out most of the restaurants I like don't open for lunch. I think I knew this. It's fine, McDonalds is across the street from Nobu. Ask me how I know this. Better yet ask Caleb.)

(PSSS Loch wore his All-Stars. Not my stilettos. I wore the stilettos so I could blend in. I don't blend in. I should have worn breast implants and THEN I would have blended in.)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

(Updated) PJ, I love you so much.

I can feel it coming.

It's like my stomach has clenched up and my heart is bursting to tear itself apart. It's starting to take a huge effort to get a deep breath, answering people normally, without a catch in my voice is almost unbearable and everyone is crowding in so close. I just wish I could get some air here.

And it's been seven years, Jake. I've remarried. Twice, if you want to be specific, once for technicalities. And still there you are in heaven looking down, demanding to be front and center and my heart suddenly knows no different even though I would blame you now for not doing the heavy lifting. You did it all for Cole but Cole's death was a relief when all was said and done but yours was unwarranted, unnecessary and out of character. You sucking me in for such a brief beautiful moment now a cruel joke behind my back and a bitter taste in my mouth, poison I can't spit out or swallow.

PJ is behind me on the grass as I ask him to at least allow me to look at the light. The icy, blinding clouds and the driving rain is something I think I've never seen before, not properly.

It's time to go in. He won't look up, only down. At me. Forced with taking care of someone with no regard for her own safety or sanity must be such a fucking chore.

You're fired. Go have a fun life. 

I've got it right here. Well, most of the time.

I'm not worth it, Peej. 

You let me be the judge of that. 

Will you be the jury too?

Sure. 

What about the executioner, PJ. Will you be him too?

That's enough. He charges forward and dips low, grabbing me around the hips and lifting me right off the ground. He marches back into the house. So help me, Bridget, you want drama, we'll do charades in the living room. It's getting really fucking cold out. 

You know who's probably cold?

He can't feel it, Bridget-

You know what he probably feels?

You gotta stop this, Bridge-

You know who can't stop because he's doomed to a life in the hereafter?

I fucking give up. He takes my arm and somewhat not gently pulls me down the hall to the library. He tells me not to move and he leaves. Then he comes back ten seconds later with Ben's ipod and headphones. He scrolls through the music until he finds what he wants and then he pushes me down into a chair, drops the headphones over my ears and presses play. In the seconds before the music takes over he says I can wait there for Ben. And if I need anything just holler.

I nod to let him know I hear him and then he pauses and smiles just a little. He runs his hand down my cheek and then the smile drops off his chin and he leaves, locking the door behind him.

***

Three hours later when I was blissed out on metal I couldn't even decipher (so much Finnish yelling) PJ unlocked the door and peeked in.

Safe? He asked.

Safe, I nodded.

The calm before the storm though, Bridget. I'm going to have to staple you to the back of my shirt. 

That actually sounds like fun. 

And it doubles as a Halloween costume! 

We high-fived each other, and I was free to go.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A round world with hard edges.

Corey is outside tossing the football around with Henry, who brought his school pictures home today and looks more and more like a muted, scrappy blonde version of his father every single day. He's as tall as Lochlan finally and has my incredible streak of pure stubbornness so I'm sure Caleb's pride in regard to his son is tinged with regret that he didn't find someone more passive or docile to procreate with.

I do what I'm told, I remind him as he stares with dismay at pure attitude emanating off the glossy portraits. I love these pictures. Henry is getting so big so fast. It seems like yesterday we were kicking snowballs all the way to school in the minus forty bleak sunlight.

Come on, Henry. You're going to get frostbite. 

No I won't, Mommy. The school's right there! 

I watch from the steps of the boathouse. If I step down any further I won't be able to see over the fence into the backyard. If I step up higher I'll be cozily in the arms of the Devil, who stands two steps above me, a hand on each rail.

Corey doesn't go easy on Henry. No one does. They're going to make a man out of him. They've never coddled him a day in his life at my request because I can teach him to be thoughtful and empathic, gentle and respectful, they can teach him to be tough, to stand up for himself and to take the hard knocks and keep on standing. Then we switch and do it all again so he doesn't have any illusions of gender stereotypes.

He will be a Good Human.

The football hits Henry square in the chest, knocking him back a step and his face knits in irritation as he turns to go and get the ball. Corey calls him a name that isn't remotely kid-friendly. Caleb lets out a long hiss of a breath as he watches. He steps down further so he is right behind me.

He's a beautiful child. Thank you for bringing over the pictures. 

No problem. But he's not a child anymore. He's a man. Same as you all were at that age. 

If only. Caleb chuckles. They weren't men. They were goofballs with raging hormones and temper issues. Nothing has changed. I hope Henry fares better.

I nod. He's amazing. They both are. He knows I don't mean Corey. He knows I mean Ruth.

Corey clocks Henry in the head with the ball next and I grit my teeth. Henry's grown too big too fast to factor in easy coordination so he's a bit awkward yet. Standard operating procedure will be to beat that out of him, just like they did with each other. Hard lessons and rough plays all the way.

Henry calls time and then just as Corey turns away Henry drills the ball right into the backs of Corey's knees. Corey yells MotherFUCKER, giving me a helpless look. Henry laughs. He holds his own. He's one of them now.

He's just not allowed to swear yet.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Naked pretenses.

I woke up because it was hard to breathe. There's Lochlan, in my face, all of his weight pinning me to the bed. He seems comfortable. He smiles. You're staying right here today because I'm making you, Peanut. Oh. He's going to assert his authority without any clothes on even.  

Why?

Because I can.

What about church?

Sam can pray for your soul. You don't have to be present. You have connections. 

The kids-

It's Caleb's day. 

Ben-

Has already gone. 

I have some things I want to do. 

He grins. They can wait. 

I have to pee. 

Nope, he laughs.

I try a different tack. People will be looking for me! They know I'm here-

Nice try, Bridge. 

I give up and he remains there. Kissing my eyelashes, nuzzling his nose up under mine. All low and quiet. Content.

I have to wreck this. Just because I need to win and I really want to get up.

Locket? I'm...so.....so hungry. 

Oh come on! So not fair. He lifts off and throws his weight down beside me. Why you have to play THAT card? 

(Loch has massive PTSD from the summers when we didn't actually make enough to eat properly and had to steal instead. He calls it battle fatigue though.)

Because I can. 

Wow. You win. But I will return! He shakes his fist mightily.

Right, okay then. Want some waffles?

Oh yeah. That would be good right now.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday drive-by.

Going out for brunch. Ben kept his meetings up while he was with Duncan but he said we could go to breakfast when he gets home from his regular Saturday meeting with Sam. I'm ready and have my laptop in the front hall on the floor so I can keep my boots on and wait for him here. Eager? Me? Nope. What are you talking about?

So point forms because I hope I'm in a hurry.

  • Charlotte Ronson beach spray is no more? I'm crushed. It smells just like Parlee Beach Bridget, circa 1977 and it made my waves curlier and even kept the pixie from doing that General Zod thing in the front. I'll be crushed if it's gone. Thanks for the warning, Sephora. Anyone know if Bumble & Bumble Surf spray is any good? I'll have to try that next. 
  • Ruth and Henry dismantled and hid the components of Ben's bagpipes. Teenagers have zero appreciation for profound moments. For two people who can seemingly stay up all damn night online these two sure like their sleep. 
  • Caleb has indeed started suggesting I travel with him to Dubai in November. I'm suggesting he take Lucas instead. Luke seems to like to travel, right? And he likes Caleb so win-win, I'm thinking.
  • Lochlan described me to someone as an Indigo Child. I haven't heard that term in forever. We listened to a speaker talk about it on the circuit once in the early eighties and he never. let. it. go. If you open a book to the definition my picture is there. Probably with all of my other labels too. Are borderline indigos only partially blue? PJ asked that this morning like he was being clever. Nice. Loch snorted but shot him a look. Who likes labels? Freaks certainly don't.
  • Joel and I watched The Town that Dreaded Sundown. It was fantastic! He's been gifted an open invitation to watch all new-release horror films with me. Just like old times. It's a trial run.
  • I'm alternating The new Slipknot album (.5 The Gray Chapter) with the new (to me) Asking Alexandria album (From Death to Destiny) twenty-four hours a day here. Both incredible works of art.
  • I'm going to be the new Slipknot album cover for Halloween, in fact. I love it. Keep in mind its supposed to rain heavily, I have no plans and the kids are too old for trick or treating at last. I'm not even giving out candy and I'm not going to the Devil's little party. I just want the outfit. It looks warm and comfortable.

  • For those who asked, yes I am watching American Horror Story: Freakshow (though I'm a little bit behind now) It's a bit twee, campy and shocking. I like it so far though I thought it would be more in line with what I experienced. Thankfully I've never had to deal with a murderous clown, though the familial bonds they tout are true to life. So far so good. I still think Murder House is the uncomfortable masterpiece of the series though Coven may have stolen my heart overall. Who knows though? I'm excited to see the rest of this one, in spite of my upfront misgivings because the subject matter is so close.
Ben and Sam are home. Time to go for food. 


Friday, 24 October 2014

Flickering light.

Ben came back late last night and figured the best way to announce his return was to pick up his bagpipes out of their case and play Mull of Kintyre at two in the morning in the front hall. He managed to rile Sam and PJ a little (HA). Lochlan went down to say hello and I didn't wake up at all which only proves to me that holy fuck my hearing is only getting worse again because I'm a light sleeper and a heartbeat will keep me up if it's too strong.

I didn't actually wake up until Ben was in the room and I realized I could smell kerosene.

He reached into my dream and plucked me right out of it. Don't know why but I was glad. I was sitting in a field in the mountains with my goat (metal) while bagels grew like flowers all around me in so many different varieties. Except that when I got up close what I thought was cheese were brains and the poppy seed bagels weren't covered with seeds, they were covered with ants. I didn't want to get close to the blueberry ones, let me tell you.

So thank God for Ben's timing because I was done with that dream anyway. Also, don't eat Dairy Queen for dinner unless you want to sleep weird.

(He isn't a monster, by the way. The kids have an inservice today so no school, sleep in instead.)

When he had me close and awake and he said Hi, Little Bee and I said Arflugenkurp snop fleerbock or something, he laughed and said Duncan is settled in, everything's okay. I'm home now and then he gently dropped me back to the hillside where metal goat turned to stare at me while he chewed the grass.

At least the bagels were gone this time.

It was nice to wake up to Ben's face this morning too. Even if he somehow managed to wrap himself around Loch during the early hours of the morning. His chin was on the top of Lochlan's head and they were spooning something beautiful. I was shoved to one side with my goats. Either my dreams take up that much space or they missed each other something fierce.

Let's go with that because it's sweeter.

:)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

(Parent-thesis.)

It just feels like forever is crashing down on me
(Ben, Christian and Dalton are still in the states with Duncan. Word is he's not cooperating much. I'm glad I wrote that cheque for his treatment so he can be paid to be an arse.)

(Right. So in amongst Christmas shopping (fuck off, I have a SHIT TON of people to buy for) and the usual incredible load of perpetual chores/grocery shopping and boy-wrangling here I'm not doing so hot suddenly. I keep thinking it's a blip but the days are dragging on and the fluttering has reached maximum...flutterage. Jacob used to notice before I even did but he never took his eyes off me. Lochlan took a few days. I had to swear at him enough and then he stopped and thought, the hell?)

Come on, he said. Bring your coffee. Take my hand. Let's go for a walk.

He asked questions, prodded for some good memories. He let me cry without being impatient or frustrated. He stuck out his hand for mine again and didn't let go. He didn't say anything disparaging about Jake save to remark on how amazing it was that Preacher was able to wade so deeply into an established collective and do nothing short of take over, stealing the girl out from under everyone's noses.

How did you even fall in love with him?

I don't know. That's my short answer to soften it. I think Jacob was a blinding, intense light and I chose to engage in epic romance for a short time period which was better than choosing not to.

But I can give you legendary romance. (Short answers don't work well with mind-readers.)

But you cut it with reminders and lessons and caution.

It's hard, Bridgie. Sometimes you're equal, capable, adult. Sometimes you're not. I have to defer to the little girl on the inside. She...she needs me.

His composure gets drowned by the surf. He throws his arms around my neck. Who needs reassurance now?

I'll always need you. No matter what, Loch.

I thought he had taken you from me forever.

Almost. The truth. It hurts but there isn't any point in sugarcoating these memories.

He lets me go, wiping his eyes with the back of one hand. Jesus. I feel like I'm fighting a war.

No one's going to take your place, Loch.

Tell that to Benjamin.

He knows.

Then tell Diabhal.

He blows smoke, that's all, Locket.

Don't underestimate him.

Don't underestimate me.

Thanks for the reminder. There you go, being an adult again. Does this mean you're ready for some distractions?

Such as?

Some breakfast maybe? I'll make it. Then maybe a show. 

Breakfast would be good but no show. You're supposed to be recovering!

Bah. If I was still on the road I would have been back to it already. I wouldn't have had a choice.

But that's the point. You're not, so you don't have to rush it. Get better. Take a break. 

There are no breaks here, Bridget. If opportunity knocks you have to take it or it tries a different door.

This isn't about fire anymore, is it?

A prize for the little girl with the balloon!

I don't have a balloon. 

I can fix that too. 

(Dammit if he didn't take one out of his pocket and blow it up on the spot. And then he did his trick where he makes it float up over my head on a string. When he asks how it's floating and I say, I don't know, how? he'll reply in a very high voice that it must be the helium. )

(I no longer ask how he does these tricks. He rarely tells me anyway. He refuses to dispel the magic.)

(Lucky? Yeah. Very.)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Places everyone.

I wanna go home
I wanna sleep in my own bed
I want a normal life again
Is this the end?
Is this the end?
No matter how hard I try
All I know is the road
All I know is the road
It was a bad day, that's all.

There are lots of them for me. Sometimes I fake cheer or at least usefulness until I feel better, sometimes I refuse to get out of bed, and sometimes I ask for help. Sometimes I can't breathe, I get these paralyzing full-body aches and it feels like it happened a moment ago instead of almost seven years. I wouldn't wish those feelings on my worst enemy (the one who lives in the boathouse).

I understand I can't bring Jacob back.

But I still would if I could. Know that I won't apologize for that. I probably should, but I wasn't done. I need more time. I didn't get a chance to plead my defense or touch him one last time. I didn't get enough. He got too much. He was overwhelmed. We should have helped him the way we help Duncan. The way we help Benny. Or me. Or anyone who struggles now, even a little bit. Every major change brings about a renewed effort to keep the group tight and transparent and supportive, even as we sometimes stretch and rail against things like brutal, cutting honesty or the lack of privacy or the absolute unwillingness to drop even the most innocuous things in case they turn out to be important.

If someone asks for help, just give it. You don't need to be an expert. You just need to be there.

I know a lot of people, both within and without the collective have suggested that I would be better off out of this environment. That the drama created within this dynamic is more harmful than less support might be.

Just no. I wouldn't be better off. I wouldn't even take the risk to find out anymore. It is what it is and we'll get through everything together from here on out, Duncan included, as soon as he finishes his program. I never said we were perfect or that this is some idyllic utopia. It isn't. It's difficult and sometimes hard to see the purpose of until times like right this very second.

I wouldn't trade it even for Jacob. So know that too.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

He would be forty-four in a couple of weeks. I should be buying birthday presents and planning a dinner. Not lying here wishing I could bring him back.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Clairbuoyant.

Reluctant telepathy. That's the superpower I want. I've never answered anything different when asked because I'm too curious to settle for something flashy like invisibility or super strength. No, I want to know what you're thinking because I would guess it's never what you say out loud. No one is that transparent except for me and I'm exhausted, burnt out and spent for it.

I'm clear and ruinous. I let it fly, no matter what the thought, feeling or hope. It just pours out. No filter. If only you were all the same. We would all be dead. No survivors, no regrets.

I think they were looking for an excuse to send Duncan away. He'll be back in thirty-four days with conditions. Big conditions I don't think he'll be able to keep. I don't get a say. I pointed out it wasn't a good time to be sending away one of my primary minders and I was told that he should have taken that into consideration before he made himself a threat.

The fuck.

He isn't a threat but right now the only issue is he's drinking and he won't stop so he needs help. My needs are secondary. There are others who are here to look after me. Maybe the same people who should have been working harder in looking after him.

If everyone would just say what they think instead of swallowing the truth, have at the good and bad without burying their feelings until they explode under pressure, shooting up in the middle of nowhere, an unplanned surfacing, then we'd all be better for it.

No we wouldn't, Loch says. That would just make everything worse.

(Edit: Duncan hasn't been banished from point or kingdom. He's going to be entering a treatment program. I didn't think I was that vague. Long day.)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Off-plumb.

What you don't see that delineates any huge romantic gestures by Lochlan from any of the ones perpetuated by Jacob (that I have detailed exhaustively here already) or anyone else for that matter, is the fact that while doing said gestures, Lochlan is/was usually lecturing me at the same time.

For example? When the flowers began to bloom and I realized he planted them all around our lot, I tried to go out and visit them. He told me to stay out of the mud. And not to touch because dinner was soon and he didn't want to traipse all the way back to the water trailers so I could clean my hands (again).

The Romanian coffee thing? He took it and poured it out when I had drunk only half. Because caffeine, Peanut. You're only a slight of a thing and won't sleep for the rest of the week otherwise.

(There was no goat involved. It would have been so metal if there had been though.)

His parental tendencies interfere with the romance of it. This is his struggle now, to supersede his natural tendencies to baby and control me in favor of just enjoying the hell out of me now. Clearly I survived, albeit scathed, into adulthood. His brain can't shift gears though and that leaves us a historical, incestuous mess.

He will tell you he is not parental, that I am insulting. It's not an insult. He wants to take care of me. He always wanted nothing more than to show me the magic of the world from the safety of his arms.

So mission accomplished.

But still he never sleeps.

***

Sam did Jesus Beach today. That's what we call his outdoor services at the waters edge whereby he warns his congregation at the beginning of each season that certain Sundays they should dress down and he makes them hike out to the beach and does his sermon there, in the wind, the rain, whatever. It's beautiful. He comes back to do a pre-lunch, later service for the people who don't want to/can't hike though. Two services every Sunday and one on Thursday nights. He's getting a couple of extra people finally, he's grown the church to a size that has exceeded all expectation and we joke that he's the little pastor that could. He's been proactively busy without Matt here. It bothers him but he's sticking with keeping busy and he and New Jake and Dalton have been busy helping to build when he's not writing/studying/working.

He seems content and a little more centered now. He's my twin but he's far better at self-preservation and control and not at all impulsive in the manic sense. Mentally healthier, is the term someone used. But I'm not insulted. Like Lochlan, I simply try my best and sometimes I might not try at all but at the very least I can't be put out if someone calls a spade a spade.

I know my limits, my strengths and my weak points. I just can't guarantee which of them I can deploy purposefully on any given day.

I wish to be like Sam when I grow up maybe. Friends with Lochlan in a capable way that leave him confident that I can manage without his hand-holding but still in touch with my emotions enough not to go stiff in order to get through an emotional experience.

It will never happen but sometimes I wish it would. In any event, the romance seems to be the thread that decorates and strengthens every aspect of my life. And love isn't a fleeting thing, it's a foundation all on its own.

***

Jesus Beach couldn't save Duncan this morning. He went with me but he did it half-drunk and I drove and didn't talk because he's falling into the same hole over and over again as he stands there wavering, insisting that he went and learned and he's still learning how to put up warning signs that there's a hole there in the first place.

On the way back to the point he sat and stared at me. Flask in one hand (Jesus won't mind, he assured me) and leaning up against the inside of the passenger door of the truck he tells me,

Sam would go straight for you. 

Yes, I know, Duncan. 

Would you ever marry a preacher again? 

Not on your life. 

I wouldn't let you bet anything against my life, Bridget. I worry you might be bad luck. 

Might be?

Probably are. 

When we get home can I have some of what you're having? 

No. 

Nice. 

You're far too pretty to have a drinking problem, Bridge.

I have enough problems anyway. 

Yes, you sure do. Sorry I'm one of them. I aimed to be better. Some days it's too hard. 

Maybe you need to write more poetry. 

Maybe you need to fuck off, Bridge. 

We didn't say anything else on the drive home. That seemed to be lots. I handed him off to Ben and disappeared to cry in the laundry room, where PJ was all caught up and said he didn't need me and that was kind of the last straw because I feel that way a lot lately.

Duncan came and found me later and asked me not to take his crap personally. I'm sure someone ordered him to do so, probably PJ. Maybe Loch. Hopefully Sam, who had watched Duncan take sips from his flask during the service and had already 911'd the boys who didn't attend. Duncan said he's not all that proud of his recovery efforts because he wasn't doing it for him, he was doing it for us. The rest of the boys and me and the children and trying to be good and perfect and nope. Not working.

I gave him the same offer I give everyone who complains about life in the collective sometimes getting overwhelming. Forgiveness if you leave. Understanding if you can't remain. Financial help if required. Emotional support and affection until the end of your days if you just come and take it.

But he said he doesn't want to go, he just needs to figure out how to navigate this stage of his life, because cool will only get you so far, and he thinks this is the end of the line.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

No fair fights.

Lochlan is not impressed. I'm recovering from a cold. We could have been seen, maybe by the Devil even. Ben isn't known for being gentle, what if I got hurt? On and on and then he makes a pointed comment about not needing to parrot random acts of romance from the movies to make me swoon.

Burn, baby.

Ben didn't like that comment. He said he's trying to do things differently because yeesh, if he brings me home a bouquet of wildflowers, he gets a story from me about how, once upon a time when we were on the midway circuit, Loch planted a garden of wildflowers around the camper and on the last day as we packed up the final flower bloomed, the garden complete.

That if he serenades me under the moon? He gets a story about how Lochlan lit the sky on fire and then pulled some acrobatic stunt in which he throws me up over the moon and then catches me on the way back down, with a double twist and a hang to thunderous applause.

If he makes me a cup of coffee? Yeah, Loch probably traipsed all over Romania for a square of organic muslin in which to filter hand-picked beans traded for a card trick in a boxcar from a traveler from Sumatra. The coffee tasted so good in the shadow of a Transylvanian sunrise. Oh, and I didn't like it black so Loch milked a nearby goat, probably.

He's not that bad, I tell Ben.

Oh he's not bad at all. He's the golden boy. I'll never win, Bridget.

He never held me upside down and dunked me in the snow.

Really?

He never lay beside me until I woke up and stayed until I could breathe normally when...Jake...

Yeah. Ben thaws a little. His chest puffs out a tiny bit.

He never wrote a sort-of famous song about me.

I couldn't use your name.

I knew who you meant. Everyone did.

Yeah. I bet he never fucked you on a beach or a motorcycle, or even-

Hey, let's not get carried away.

Jesus Christ. I don't even get that?

Sorry?

Man.

Thirty-nine years! You can cover a lot of romance in that long a time period, Ben.

It's not over yet. 

I thought we were all in this together. 

We are, I just want to be the Alpha Romeo.

That's a car, Ben. 

Not the way I mean it, it's not. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Up against the cliff in the driving rain. Ben's coat weighs us both down but he hasn't noticed. He has one hand around my throat and the other under my thigh and he is determined to be spontaneous and surprising even though he said through gritted teeth that he just. wanted. one. single. minute. of. private. time. and every syllable was a thrust into the dirt for me, pinned between the rocky face of the beach and the giant. When he picked up speed I worried briefly that I might die but he readjusted his hands, letting go of my neck and scooping his other hand up under my other leg so now there's no turning back at all. My shoulders erode the earth and my ear gets scraped by a rock as he butts his head against the cliff above mine, shielding me from this strange mini-avalanche that threatens to do nothing, actually. His shoulders in the big coat shield the rest of us. No one can see us right here anyway and I don't even think anyone's home. I set out on offer of a slippery, rainy walk before high tide and wound up peeled out of most of my clothes.

Conventional and Ben are two things that don't go together. Good, because I've never been conventional except for once and that was a lifetime ago with a different giant.

He finds that beautiful sweet rhythm that always manages to send me off just before he follows and then his breathing is harsh, his hands steel cages. My head starts to pound. He stands me down at last in front of him and he smiles, looking at me with my sweater down to my knees again, bare legs and untied boots. My leggings are in his coat pocket. My underwear, I see with dismay, is on the ground behind him and he's stepped on it. I grin and point and he laughs and nods without looking. I'm going to leave it there, too, he threatens.

I won't leave it there. I'll collect it as soon as he gives me my pants.

But he's not rushing to do that either. Here, take the coat, he says and shrugs it off, wrapping it around me. This coat is a waterproof parka of a security blanket. But it's also a XXL blanket I can't actually lift. I stop in my tracks, deadened by the weight. He laughs and scoops me up, coat and all.

I'm pretty sure my ass is hanging out of this arrangement and it's cold.

Ben does not care.

Does Ben ever care?

No. No he does not.

He tells me to stop complaining or he'll put on The Notebook when we get to the house and I start to protest but then I realize he is trying to teach himself romance, using the movies for material. Here we are out in the rain again because he's had confirmation that this is Out There and Romantic and Breathtaking.

He didn't put the movie on. He got the coffee maker set up and then scooped me up again and carried me upstairs where he decided that a hot shower with the lights off and the doors locked was an even better place for us and round two almost actually did do me in. The hot water offset the ache in my muscles and the full-body soreness that took over before I could pretend I can be his match in all things.

The hot water ran out eventually though and he wrapped me in a towel and picked me up yet again and I haven't actually walked much today and am hoping to fix that when he abruptly pulls me in tight to his face, a foot and a half off the floor still but eye to eye which is nice when he needs seriousness.

But then he changes his mind.

What is it?

Just...nothing. You're beautiful. 

My head is freezing. 

Want your underwear? You can wear it on your head. 

What were you going to say, Ben? 

Coffee's probably ready. Let's go have a cup. I'll start a fire. 

Someone's rubbing off on you. 

No. I lit fires when I was a kid too, you know. 

I didn't mean-

I know, Bridge.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tongue in cheek.

In a cruelly wonderful twist of irony, I left my drama on the point today to go run some errands and wound up lurking near the set of reshoots for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Yup. Charmed life, I tell you. CHARMED.

Came home to my very own west coast millionaire who doesn't have a helicopter (he leased a plane for a while once though) or three homes (wait a second LOL) or a red room of pain (it's..wait for it...grey) but he's always angling for a waiver that lets him use me however he pleases and I demur so hard I think I've broken things. No one's going to make a movie about me though. This blog will have to suffice. Though it's less of a blog and more of a diary. Strictly writing. No comments, buried in the internet wasteland just like E.L. James' fan fiction before she started reading Saltwater Princess.

You never know. Maybe it happened. Maybe no one's ever heard of me. I'm fine either way. I wouldn't have picked Jamie Dornan to play Caleb but dammit if he isn't pretty cute.

Jamie..not Caleb.

Well, Caleb's pretty cute too.

Okay, shhh...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Acolytes and Adulation (back on the horse, the reprieve is definitely over).

(The five year break was when Caleb disappeared into his firm on Bay street and made his mark. Driven, focused, he put his personal life aside completely. I had asked him to let Cole and I have a shot at fixing our broken marriage, raising our kids and being a family without his influence. Not only did we do worse than fail, he slipped and started living the life you see in the movies. Fast cars, spendy glass palaces and hard drugs. Under duress he'll admit that the drugs were the only thing that worked to make him forget about me. I can only imagine. I asked for them once to forget about Jake. Caleb didn't disappoint. And I have brain damage now.)
I will fail you
To the core
He wasn't doing anything different but he was tense. So tense I could have bounced quarters off the space between his shoulder blades or even his forehead if I had dared but I never take dares when they come to the Devil. They find me and take me first.

I asked him quietly to tell  me what was wrong and he struck out so fast I couldn't even catch the cursive reply. The marks remain on my skin. It stung because I was trying to draw him out and he erased my efforts instead.

He rubbed his hand across the back of his neck, looking exhausted.

Is everything okay? English this time. No endearment, no tenderness. Professionalism. He's more used to it and it gives him the lead to respond in kind.

I haven't slept. That's all. Let's finish up so I can send you back to jail.

Jail is the main house today, I'm guessing. Do you want me to stay?

Of course, he snaps back so fast I have whiplash and I wasn't even very close. Jesus. I'm being verbally pummeled here and I don't..

But I do.

He is a lot like me. Conditioned to thrive under heavy affection and absolutely ruined otherwise. Bereft. It's a lot like grieving except with grieving the hole never gets filled. No one can cover that place, it just gapes and waits for you to fall in blindly and drown.

And I can't abide by that. I won't. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Even him.

(Advocate, defector, thief.)

(Little liar.)

Come here. I whisper it but Caleb is already right there and I put my arms up around his neck and he just crumbles such a tiny bit my ego picks up speed and slingshots right around Mars, coming back and skidding to a stop just at the atmosphere of earth to see what's next.

His arms slide tightly around me and I am lifted off my feet. Jesus, Neamhchiontach. Were we always doomed?

From the start, I think. Confirmed. Some people exist in the prison that is their own mind and will. Me. Cole. Caleb. Jake. Ben. Lochlan. We're not here by chance, we're here because we're all the same.

Find out how much he would take to let me have twenty-four hours with you. He lets go and I'm cold suddenly.

Cale, it's not up for discuss-

Find out. Or I'll just take you anyway and deal with him later. Go and come back. Now. Quick.

If I go I won't be able to come back. Besides, you're still on notic-

Then you're staying right here. He comes back to me and takes my face in his hands. I don't do well without you. Not at all. I always think I can but it doesn't happen, Bridget. And I don't know what that means but I don't like it anymore. Things are never going to change so just give in. I'll try to make it work, I won't make it hard on you but you need to give me something. I'm at your mercy here. 

I have to go. I can give you a hug, I can't give you anything more than that. I can't stay here. I'm sorry.

I was halfway across the driveway when he could articulate a response. He yelled my name so loudly I flinched hard enough to lose my balance and Lochlan stepped around from the back of the camper, wiping his hands on a blackened cloth, looking half worried and half scared shitless.

Now what the fuck have you been up to, Peanut? 

Nothing, I tell him. Brain damage, I told you.

(I forget, Locket, but I tried to hug a demon because he has feelings too but it always hurts too much and then I just want to cry because I don't know what I'm supposed to do here. Give me a job. I'm big enough to help now. I promise I won't get in the way.)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Play it pretty with a pat on the back.

This could be the first time in the history of me that Lochlan hasn't shared a cold with me. Not sure if it's out of sheer stubbornness or just the luck of the draw but he's regained full use of his lungs.

How do I know?

About an hour after my parents left for the airport and the kids left for school and Matt made his way out again too, Lochlan started singing Woman. I thought it might be a one-off, but nope. He's doing the whole Hysteria album here. Without music. He's up to Pour some Sugar on Me and he looks so cross when he does this song. I used in my one and only pole dance in public which I will never do again and don't know how I did in the first place but money's nice and Bridget's not, I guess.

I only shimmied a little when he started, I swear.

He broke into his own song and said Stop it, and I laughed and obeyed him because damn. Just keep singing and as usual, I will follow you anywhere.

Ben looked even crosser. Ben isn't going to sing Def Leppard. What the fuck. It isn't even actual metal, he says.

But he liked that shimmy.

Loch's moved on to Armageddon it and I have a ton of stuff to do today and still don't feel well enough to do it. All my thanks this giving went to PJ, who is as good of a mom as anyone these days, and I'm very grateful for that. I'm grateful Loch is feeling good enough to sing so fucking loudly and I'm grateful that Ben didn't find this holiday with parents so hard, because he has us and we're his family now and I'm grateful I'm not feverish anymore so they can stop with the Ebola jokes at last.

(And also I'm really sorry to all those I love getting on planes with bad colds today because of me.)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Should have made a turducken.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a really bad cold and there are seemingly dozens more people here than I can comfortably or uncomfortably manage. We're having our big turkey dinner and epic Warcraft Monopoly tournament today and so on that note I think I'll just throw in the towel here and not attempt to liveblog the holiday or the weekend or me being sick again. The Leafs lost but the Canucks won their season openers so just nevermind and I'll see you Tuesday.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Did I say normal?

Batman, Caleb and my father are in the driveway looking at the vehicles.

Mom and PJ are in the library teaching Duncan how to knit.

Ben is still asleep (SURPRISE, I know).


Friday, 10 October 2014

Surrogate wife/Youngest child.

Sam is darling. I'm not sure how I feel about him right this second. I feel like he latched on to me, messed me up more than a little bit and basically decided I was going to fill in the gap for Matt's absence.

Sam knows better. I say that often because it's true. He does. So this sort of hurt. However. He's rejected whatever new light he saw me in and he's back to being himself so maybe I'll bring it up later in our weekly porch jazz session, complete with coffee and vinyl and affection that labels us friends, not possibilities. The way I want to keep it. As adorable as he is and as much as sometimes I think he understands me better than anyone I've ever met in this world, I need to keep this dynamic the way it is. And I've never considered anything else.

***

On that note, because things get really weird sometimes,

My parents are here.

Which means a three-day reprieve from table/fist/food-throwing, verbal wars and misappropriated affection. We do commune-lite when they are here, which isn't often. They think it's lovely.

Even Lochlan kind of let out a breath like he could relax for a bit and just be normal. Because it's so much fun to pretend.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

One of us.

Matt got home early, having switched his flights so that he can maximize his time. He walked in through the front door at exactly 5:10 this morning, setting off the alarm and making the dog go apeshit. He yelled Honey, I'm home! and turned on lights and the coffee maker as he made his way around the house before looping back to his wing, where Sam (an incredibly heavy sleeper) was still far below, in dreamland. The rest of us are up and grudgingly waiting to greet Matt and where is he now? In bed with his traveling clothes on (gross. It's one of my issues) with his arms wrapped around Sam and Sam's face was absolute ecstasy and I thought See, Sam? This is how hard it is but I didn't say it, I just turned and decided if we're all up early I may as well make french toast.

***

He brought presents! Keep Calm, I'm the Queen t-shirts for the boys (yes, all the boys) and a beautiful teapot for me, because I have a tiny little black one that dribbles all over the place when you pour from it. This one is not drippy and also bigger. Because we always say we should drink more tea and less coffee and then we don't because there's not enough room. He bought a new Poland flag for Sam too. It's becoming their in-joke. We'll always have Poland, they say.

***

Last night Ben fired up Netflix again, stripped me down to nothing and forced me to watch Nicholas Sparks movies. I don't think we're compatible anymore.

***

Caleb sent flowers and the card said Just Because you're my Neamhchiontach in someone else's handwriting and Lochlan set them on fire. Someone should write a movie about my romantic life. They could classify it under horror. I would watch it and cover my mouth in shock, completely forgetting it's based on a true story until the credits at the end.

***

My throat hurts exponentially. I'm pretty sure it's psychosomatic. I always seem to get sick once the kids settle into routine and the weather changes. It's still 20 during the day and no lower than 10 or 12 at night and the furnace isn't even on. I may or may not have worn shorts this week more than once but my Blackcomb hoodie has always been close by too.