Thursday, 9 February 2017


My heart jumped a thousand feet in the dark. I went all the way down to get a glass of orange juice when I should have been trying to sleep, and when I walked into the kitchen there was a man standing in the light of the patio door, looking out.

Poem, said Duncan and my heart slowed briefly. Come see this rain. 

I dutifully abandoned my juice plan and went to the big glass doors to see. He was right. It was a wall of steady water, as if we suddenly were in a secret lair underneath a waterfall, like spies. It wasn't the usual rain, instead a windless deluge. Had we been outside we would have been soaked to the skin in seconds.

Wow, I tell him. Cozy though. 

He nods. Depends. 


Whether or not you're alone. 

You can come upstairs, you know. 

Or you can come down with me. You know I like to be alone. He laughs so gently I don't know if he's teasing me or embarrassed.

If you want to be alone I can't come with you. I lob his joke back equally gently, underhand.

He catches it. I don't want to be alone, Bridge.

I follow him through the house in the dim grey light, the nighttime sounds of the house dwarfed by the rain pounding down. It gets quieter as we go downstairs and then loud again once we're behind closed doors because his windows are open slightly. He turns around to face me, pulls his shirt off and then pulls mine off too. His hands come up around my head as he kisses me hard, walking me backwards until the backs of my legs touch the bed. He pushes me straight down and then pulls off my pajama pants and steps out of his own. His room is warm and cozy but I'm a map of goosebumps.

He wastes no time at all getting down to his knees and I twist my fingers in his hair, trying to hold him in one place and pull him up to me at the same time. My back arches off the bed and he reaches up to cover my mouth as I cry out but then his weight is on me. He turns over onto his back, leaning back against the pillows, pulling me in tight against his chest, almost sitting up but far more leisurely and hot as fuck. It feels incredible, unfamiliar and really really good but it hurts too and I have to ask him twice to let up a little. I know they can't help it. He finally ignores me and goes over the edge, drowning in the sound of rain. His hands remain tightened around my hips. His arms stay locked. But his face is a wash of relief.

So sweet, he says.

I nod. You are. 

Stay and sleep? (One thing almost every man has in common, they want to nap afterward forever. It's maddening.)

I shake my head. I need to go get my juice. 

I thought you weren't going to come to me ever again. 

I thought about that. 

What changed your mind? 

You didn't ask. You waited for an offer. 

Lochlan's going to be pissed. 

He'll be fine. 

He's pissed at August. 

I go there too much. 

How much?

Way too much. 

How much is way too much?

More than Lochlan likes. 

I get it. You keep your cards close enough to keep us guessing so what's one more mystery? Okay, get out then. He smiles but my whole face falls. Those words are starting to make me feel so sad.

What'd I say? 

Nothing. Get some sleep. I'm going back up. 

Need me to walk you back? 

I think I'm safe in my own house. 

You think you are. You probably aren't though. 

I didn't ask what he meant, because by the time I thought through his reply his eyes were closed. I closed the doors quietly as I left, making my way back upstairs to the kitchen, where I opened the fridge and drank directly from the orange juice carton. When I closed the fridge door Caleb was standing behind it.


Have a midnight stroll, Neamhchiontach? 

Just thirsty. Lochlan's waiting for me. I turn to go back upstairs.

Does he know about all of the different places you go when you're thirsty? 

Go home. It's late.

Contrary to that view, it's early! Early bird gets the worm, or I guess in this case she gets her Poet. 

Jealousy is a horrible colour on you. 

On everyone.


Then stop making us work so hard for your affection while those of no consequence step in and get it for free.

Maybe this is none of your business. 

What if it is? 

Then I guess you'll have to deal with it because I'm going to bed. Also I'd like my key back. You don't need to be lurking around the house this time of night. 

Then tell your friends to lock the door. 

Great. I'll do that. 

Think the monsters live outside of this house, Bridget? Think again. He opens the door, blows me a kiss and steps out into the downpour. I lock the door behind him.

Second warning, same night. Guess who's not sleeping now?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The space between us.

They don't know my heart
I decided this week that Starset's Ricochet might be my favorite song in the world right at this moment in time. It starts a bit weak but then from 2:30 into the song onwards it's magnificent. My brain screams along with them right through the piano notes at the end.

So beautiful.


He founders for a place to lay his blame. It's heavy.

Good morning, I said to his closed eyes. He's awake. Just 'resting', as he always used to tell me he was doing when I would find him flat on his back in a field in the shade of a half-assembled ride, his baseball hat down over his whole face, curls fanning out like the tentacles of an octopus around his head.

Tell me you didn't just melt my eyebrows off with your dragon breath, Bridgie.

I can't do that, Locket. You're going to look permanently annoyed. 

I think I do that anyway. He laughs, still without opening his eyes. It's only because of your morning breath though. 

I can wake up elsewhere. It was a harmless comeback but once it was out I couldn't put it back. His eyes are now open, the jealousy volcano is filling up and ready to erupt and yes, he looks permanently annoyed.

Where would you wake up? 

On the kitchen floor? So I don't irritate you with my breath. I'm trying to save the mood but it's gone.

You think August pushes you out abruptly, go try this breath on him and see yourself outside in minutes. 

This has nothing to do with Au-

This has everything to do with him! 

I'm listening. I roll onto my back and wait for him to spew his green lava everywhere. I wait to be condemned by it, buried in it, burned in it and reborn from it as new. I have to find the silver for all the hot rocks or it would destroy me too.

He's not helping you, Bridget. He's making it worse. 

I wait. If I defend, I'm guilty. If I attack, ruined. I lie there in the ash and smoulder like the good little firebaby that I am.

He's got you wound up in some guise of helping you but at the same time he takes whatever he wants and then just pushes you right out the door. Sam said you were acting strange before I came in. I refuse to let anyone set you back. I don't know what he's doing. 

Have you talked to him? (Good girl, Bridget, just shut your mouth, oh shut it, baby, don't say too much)

No. He's not going to tell me the truth. 

Then you can't give weight to fears and ideas. That's what you tell me. 

He nods and closes his eyes again. I know. I don't want anyone to touch you but if they're going to anyway I don't want them to hurt you. Your heart or your body. 

No one can hurt either. 

But you're glass, he whispers.

August isn't your enemy, Loch. 

I know, but Jake is, and August is the closest thing to him that I have. 

That's why I go.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Today was the calm before the next storm, getting out and getting groceries, gas and cash while the sun shone. I really really wanted an espresso but I didn't feel like going in to a restaurant and really I don't know if coffee shops do that to go, or if they're all fancy mixed coffees or what have you. I don't get them. I just want a tiny cup of really strong coffee. Actually scratch that, I just want my bed and a little more sleep. I have chocolate though. That will do!

Also Ben got a new medal this afternoon and gave it to me for safekeeping. He gave me a kiss too and said I was worth the fight. He makes me cry. I mean everything does but he is something else entirely sometimes. I kissed him back and he complained about snot levels on my face and so we agreed to wait until later to fool around.

Or he can just go ahead, because like I said. I'll be asleep. Maybe mid-chocolate like that one time I fell asleep holding a cookie and when I woke up the next morning, well, what a mess.

Okay, I lied.

It's happened a few times, actually.

Monday, 6 February 2017

One leads, one follows.

August loves the snow. When I arrive, he puts on all the tiny white lights and starts making hot chocolate. Then I get a hug and he does his signature move where he runs his hand over the back of my head as he lets go, always feeling for the hearing aids.

Rarely does he find them.

Today is no exception so he is sure to not ask questions if I'm not paying strict attention and he never talks as he's walking away. He brings the cups over to the coffee table where I am curled up in front of the gas fireplace, sits down against me and asks how I'm doing.

I take a sip. Real hot chocolate. He melts Hershey bars in milk, adding vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It's delicious. I don't know why I don't have diabetes.

Then I talk for a while. He frowns the whole time. He's thinking. He asks precious few questions, instead letting me spool right up, dumping all of my gears and whirlygigs out all over his brain. His brain picks up each piece methodically, turning them over, sometimes polishing them on the hem of his shirt, sometimes pushing them all to one side with a sweep of his arm as the next round hits.

He's so patient.

And then I am finished. So is the hot chocolate. I wait for his instructions because two is better than one and Bridget won't be getting fixed today anyway.

But he doesn't say anything. He shoves the empty mugs to one side, puts his feet up on the table and pulls me in against his heart, where I let out a shaky breath and close my eyes.

It's almost dark when I open them again. When I stir he bends his head down, kissing my forehead. He tells me to get out. That's his standard operating procedure most days. A little work, a little cuddle, a lot of guilt.

I fly across the driveway in the final light of the day, landing in the kitchen just as boys start to pour in looking to see what's for supper. PJ's already started so I set out plates and napkins and respond to questions as sweetly as I can but I sting all over. I never get used to August's sudden cold shoulders. Not when he was so warm before.

Sam walks in, throws his suit jacket over the arm of my chair and pitches in automatically. He's got his sleeves rolled up, tie still looped around his neck. His Seychelles belt buckle persists, in spite of the four or five plain belts 'gifted' to him since he showed up with it.

When PJ heads to his room for something, Sam blocks my path as I head around with glasses on a tray. I stop short and they slide crazily toward the front edge. Jesus, Sam! I cry. I almost dropped the whole thing!

He takes the tray and puts it down. Talk to me. 

Oh, not about this. 

About anything. You know that. 

Just some issues with August. 

You're playing with fire, Bridget. (Sam has issues with August, as does everyone. August has no issue with anyone save for himself.)

I'm a trained professional, Sam. 

Professional what? Asks Lochlan as he comes in.

Heartbreaker, Sam and I say at the exact same moment.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Perilous normal.

The point is coated in a hard white crust again. I've come to resent the snow, as it covers the seaglass treasures I should be finding on the beach and it mutes my heartbeat down into a distant thump from somewhere far inside.

Lochlan's early, brusque refusal to take me down anyway sent it even deeper inside as he shook the snow off his hair and brushed off the shoulders of his thick fisherman knit sweater. He was outside splitting wood all morning. His hands are rough and fatigued, his arms are aching and he just wants to sit down and have a hot cup of coffee. He hasn't shaved in a couple of weeks and is starting to look like a mountain man. He's putting them all to shame, never stopping or even slowing down. Hardly sleeping sometimes and then catching up all at once. And still with one eye on and one ear out for me as I balance on the icy slopes too close to the cliff or spend too long out in the cold fascinated by the way the snow piles up on the deadened grapevines or the tree swing. I seek shelter in the studio or underneath the big hemlocks sometimes when it's too far to go back to the house for just one minute.

Curious girl, he scolds.

I shrug. When has that ever changed?

Finally he relents and I jump up to run to get my boots, waiting impatiently by the patio doors for him to finish his coffee as slowly as humanly possible and then pull on his big boots again. He never laces them. He grabs our red mittens from the shelf above the coats and tells me not to run ahead (in his mind I've never not been ten years old) and says he's coming.

When we get to the bottom of the steps he laughs and asks what treasures I'm going to find here today. I ignore him and step to the hard white edge of the earth where the solid ground ends and the glorious sea begins.

They're all still here, they just have a blanket today. I bend down and splash water up on the shore. The white crust melts away, revealing shells and two tiny pieces of bright blue glass. See?

Give me your mitts. Jesus, Peanut. He pulls my saltwater soaked mittens from my hands and replaces them with his own. Why do you do these things? 

I look at the dark teal frigid Pacific as I answer. I don't know. I can't help it.

Saturday, 4 February 2017


It's a snow day! Everyone cancelled everything. Some of the boys were just brimming with Superbowl party invitations. Some of them have friends off the point.

Not me. This is my squad. And my squad has bailed on every last one of those invites to stay home with me because I was smart and ran out yesterday early to get junk food for the storm.

I'm glad this whole mess held off long enough for us to go to the show and now we can hunker in and keep the fire burning high and spool up perpetual movies all day, or the generator if the power goes out again. It's gone off twice but we're mostly ignoring the inevitable. I even slept in until nine today and then spent twenty minutes talking on the phone to Caleb while I woke up, while Ben did absolutely deplorable things like lick my elbows and tickle my earlobes (you were hoping for more exciting examples, I know.) Lochlan didn't even notice, he was too deeply asleep. He's weird like that. We got so used to living in close quarters he can sleep through phone calls, video games, movie watching, hair-drying, dish-washing, singing, you name it. But me? Ha. If a feather hits the carpet three continents away? I'M AWAKE.

The chips and dip are calling my name. It's horror movie day! Until the power goes, that is.

Friday, 3 February 2017

With every sinful bone.

Tonight we went to see Relient K + Switchfoot at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. They said it was the biggest show of the tour (venuewise/crowd size) and proceeded to roll out the most incredible show yet!

The venue is beautiful. They fixed the sound instantly after the first song seemed very overly bassy. The attendants were helpful, parking easy, bathrooms plentiful, they had food, spread out merch stands and lots of light. It was general seating so we sat smack-dab in the centre.

And I took my first deep breath of the night. Made it.

Relient K has only played a scant number of shows in Canada ever so I battled the flu and a huge snowstorm to get there. So glad I did.

I didn't bring my hearing aids either. I don't need them at shows. I can't hear some of the between-song banter but I don't find it's been a problem. I'm going to soak it all up while I can.

So worth it. So, so worth it.

They played Deathbed, guys. I cried through the whole thing while I sang along. It was beautiful. Matt played it on the piano and Jon came out to sing the part of Jesus at the end even! They also played almost everything else I love. I don't know how they breathe for all the words in the songs. They were funny and charming and sweet and freaking amazing. Matt Thiessen's hair is a ringer for Lochlan's. I've never seen another curly redhead in person with the big curls like that. Deathbed wasn't my favorite moment though, I think it was a cross between Boomerang and Empty House, which is a little hard to get used to on the album but then live is incredible. Just incredible. And a few times the crowd seemed to surprise them, starting a clap or a singalong and they looked so genuinely thrilled it was touching. They are the modern day Simon & Garfunkel. I'm sure of it.

Then a break. I tried not to yawn. Holy. Two shows in six days. I'm not good at this. I'm getting old.

Lights went out again. YES.

This was my fifth Switchfoot show. It's a record! Most times I've seen a band live (sorry Benjamin) but I don't think I'd want to miss them if they came.

So much more polished than a decade ago for our first show of theirs at the Garrick. That first show was a lifetime ago for me, and probably for them too. They didn't have a setup, just their instruments and their heart. They've gotten bigger each time since. Now they have a super high-tech light show, video monitors and a perfectly timed professional show that's heading into U2 territory at this stage of their trajectory. Wow. Most of the songs they played came from the new album, Where The Light Shines Through (Matt came out to join Jon for Live it Well!) and still they threw in some great surprises from yesteryear like Gone and Love Alone Is Worth the Fight. They did an epic acoustic Hello Hurricane around a single mike. I don't cry like a baby when they sing Dare You To Move finally. Took a lot of shows for that to happen.

I got an awesome Burn Brighter Than the Dawn t-shirt. I also got myself the coveted Relient K Blue Jays shirt.

What a great night. Thank you to both Switchfoot and Relient K for becoming a surprising but welcome soundtrack to a life I thought I should maybe drown out with noise but now instead I want to listen even harder than before. While I still can.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Good news.

This morning. THIS MORNING. 

Ruth got accepted to university!


I'm so proud. Especially after we forgot to remind her to add her academic awards to her resume. Sigh. Guess with the honour roll it's overkill but WHATEVER I'M PROUD.

So proud. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Sorry, not sorry. I lay in bed most of the day watching Stop A Douchebag on Youtube and eating grapes until I felt sick so I have nothing to report.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Purple laver + grey cloud.

Lochlan said I smelled like a perpetual blend of smoked sea salt and bulletproof coffee with an undercurrent of lilacs. He said I did good, but he's happy I'm home and we slept hard last night on the giant hockey-arena sized bed, looped in against Ben, a rescue ship on a stormy sea if ever there was one, which is somehow surprising in light of Ben's long history as the sweetest, meanest dry drunk you ever met. He's mellowed beyond the pale in the past few years though. Probably because of the stress of being with me. Or maybe just because they're all hitting that fifth decade one by one and it's like a switch being flicked sometimes and then other times you can see the indignant teenage stubbornness flare up and flame out in a whoosh. It's still there. It's still them.

I know why I smelled strange, I spent hours on the beach yesterday. It reeked of seaweed and petrichor and I love it so I stayed. They had to pull me away physically (it happens sometimes) and then as soon as I could get away again I went back and finally Lochlan came back down with one of the big lanterns because it was almost dinner time and getting dark.

Want me to bring the sleeping bags? He laughed.

Can we??? Thought the rest of my dreams were going to come true for a minute there.

No, Peanut. It's going to drop to the minuses tonight. You thought you were cold last night, you'd never make it. 

I'm never cold with Lochlan. Ever. He is fire incarnate.

I smile at him and somehow he knows what I'm thinking.

Come on peanut. Let's go up. 

After dinner Ben appeared and didn't go back downstairs and at ten-thirty sharp we went up to bed. I kept looking at him, a stranger who rarely shows his face before the waning hours, a night owl in a house full of reluctant morning people. An enigma.

Thought you might need me, he shrugged. Also since you weren't here last night. Lochlan and I have decided we're in love. He smiles dramatically.

I look at Lochlan and he nods. We'll see if we still have room for you. 

I stand there waiting until they're both in and Ben turns the light out and I stand there in the dark. What if they're serious? What if I lost my place?

Then Ben turns the light back on and says, Get in here, Bee. You know what Loch and I have is superficial. It's all based on looks. 

What about me? Isn't that based on looks too?

There's not enough of you to look at. Too small! And he laughs and turns off the light again once I've climbed over Lochlan to take my place as monkey in the middle. Funny how we increased the size of the bed so much and I still have no room.

Your hair smells weird. 

It's the beach. 

Nothing ever changes, Peanut.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Woke up in Sweden. Send the plane.

(It actually stands for this: Please Try Something Different.)

When I opened my eyes from the latest coma (we don't call it sleep when it's drugs any more than you call it rainshine when it's sun), there are the hemlocks peeking down at me through rainwashed skylights. There is dark grey everything and there is my unintentional but somewhat mostly welcome (except when he isn't) new/old boyfriend (who may or may not be the devil) with breakfast in bed for me.

He told me I slept adorably. I was cold so I put on my Hello Kitty pajamas and curled right in against him before realizing that I probably played right into his deeply buried fetishes without even trying.

Not sure if you ever noticed his dresscode rules? His preferences for me being so specific? I have to dress up. Very high heels. Very sophisticated clothing. He likes my hair above my shoulders (it's. almost. touching. them. finally.) and prefers our time together to be mostly formal activities or very very extreme adult ones.


Because child-Bridget excites the fuck of him and I don't want to awaken that monster. I think he has a hard enough time with it as it is and so he has all these rules to keep himself in check and protect me too.

God forbid I show up in jeans and a t-shirt with a long braid and Oreo crumbs in my teeth.

God help me if I wake up in pink pajamas.

God save the Queen? Fuck that. Save the princess instead. For once.

But he seems like he's in control and he has a tray with coffee and lemon bread and blueberries so we make short work of it and then I point out I have to get going.

Thank you, Caleb says to me.

I told you I can stay a couple times a month if-

Not for that. For being comfortable enough to be yourself (I ain't the girl in the stilettos. I ain't anything, actually.). I'm working on things. (Oh, he knows exactly what is wrong with him.)

I nod. Suddenly I feel like it might be difficult to leave.

Go before I keep you, he whispers.

And I'm gone.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Dinner and a kick-ass show.

(For all of the alarmist emailers: the pills can reduce anxiety and regulate sleep. If I can do those two things in my life I'm fucking gold. For the rest of you? You're swell. Thank you for coming.)

In at two last night, naked and makeup-free and fed (not in that order, mind you) and in bed by three. Far too late with a busy week ahead but also a whole lot of rare fun. We had an oddly smooth evening, with a whole host of luck (last parking spot in our usual lot, last table in our favorite pub, a perfect view in the ballroom (for the Ascot Royals and Big Wreck!), too many drinks though it didn't affect a thing, no lineups, no sound issues, no fights. No weirdos. No glitches. Just fun. And my eyeliner stayed sharp all night (thank you to Kat Von D). My lipstick did not (F-you, Dior). Not in the least but I threw it in at the last minute and had I been smart I would have used one of my twelve hour workhorse reds (like duh, Kat Von D liquid or my almost-gone Lorac but no. So yeah. Not so polished so I just pretended I did a nude lip on purpose. Honestly? No one fucking cares except everyone loves my blue-red matte lips when I bother so there's that. 

Boys are weird. They're like 'you don't need makeup' and then when I wear some they're all 'hey girl'. 


I'm so tired. 

Tonight I'm going to bed at eight.

Maybe seven. 

Saturday, 28 January 2017


Fell asleep in the hot tub last night. I was reading and I felt my eyes get heavy and I put my head down on my hand against the side and just closed my eyes for a minute and Jacob swam up into my face and screamed at me when I went under. I surfaced with a shout of my own and looked around in the dark.

Okay, so I am crazy.

Also sometimes the narcolepsy gets bad. It seems more related to mental than physical things so when I feel stressed I check out faster and more frequently.

The doctor said it's probably a sign for me to slow down. I told him if I slow down any more I'll run at bullet time and look like a flipbook from afar.

He prescribed Ativans, Ambiens and something else that starts with A that I already forgot. Great. Zombie spring. I get to dole out my own comas instead of Lochlan holding all the cards, or in this case, all the pills.

But I can't take anything right now. I'm making lasagna and salad for dinner and then I'm supposed to go to a thing that STARTS at ten-thirty pm. Masochism at it's finest. Hope my eyeliner and my bra hold up. I hate both, truly I do.

Edit: Alprazolam! This one sounds like fun.

Friday, 27 January 2017


Lunch was leftover macaroni and cheese with cut-up hotdogs and forbidden glasses of pop. We ate outside in the sun (heat lamp on above us) and smiled at each other. Lochlan kept smiling into the sky and then he'd smile back at me and I burst out laughing finally for his funny faces.


This. This is nice.

Yup. It is.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

To see her was to love her. Or something.

We had a full house last night for Burns Night. Didn't have haggis but we did have bagpipes (I love Ben. Have I mentioned this?) and a few of us (not naming any names *cough* BRIDGET *cough*) had far too much Scotch whisky and should have gone to bed long before it was unreasonable.

Batman told me in confidence that he doesn't know me. All he knows is that he made a grab for a brass ring in the shape of a girl and what he wound up with exceeded his wildest dreams and also disappointed him beyond belief.

I don't know about you but yes, after hearing that I started drinking from two glasses at once. It's always lovely to here that you've disappointed someone. You know, beyond their wildest dreams. What do you even say to that? Thank you? 

You drink.

He clarified that he thought we would have a relationship past what we have now. Instead he is shelter in a storm. By choice. He keeps close in case I need him. Maybe he's hoping he'll be the rebound guy someday but outward he admits only to feeling gratified that I trust him and welcomes my attention when he gets it.

It was formal and I shut him up by pouring him another.

Eventually he left and Caleb said Godspeed as he went out the door.

Well, there's a word. 

What do you mean, Neamhchiontach?

Sam is smiling. Oh noes, he says. Here she goes.

My brain is tilting. I wonder what speed God travels at. Fast-forward? Supersonic? Or maybe it's slow-motion. God-speed. More righteous than regular speed! Oh! I want to learn this! Then I can whip around at Godspeed and make everyone happy faster. Except Batman. I think he resents the hell out of me. 

Bridget, you're losing it. 

Never found it, actually. Is there an opposite to Godspeed? Like Devilslow? Well, that makes perfect sense come to think of it-

You're cut off and you're going to bed. Lochlan's almost as drunk as I am. Think I'm bad? Wait until HE starts talking. Say goodnight, Bridget. 

Goodnight, Bridget. And Godspeed! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Shouting into the void.

I spent all morning signing things. Listening to things. Watching things transpire. My baby lawyerlings were well-organized and knew to bring me coffee with a quarter teaspoon of plain white sugar and a drop of cream every couple of hours. They knew to take all my weird-coloured pens away from me before we started and they physically winced when they heard of the interest lost should we cash out early*.

*(Three times I opted not to cash out early because honestly it isn't worth the loss and I can wait. The paperwork is drawn and dated, and it'll be ready to invoke the day certain things come due.)

(I can overrule Batman.)

They brought me a sandwich for an early lunch break. It was not a Monte Cristo but it was good anyway. There was a pickle with it. More coffee and as I watch Caleb sign things and talk to his brokerage and banking advisors it occurs to me that he's aged more in the past five months (since the wedding) then the past thirty years and I make a mental note to ask him to come to dinner.

After lunch I sign some more things. Then finally we're finished. They have a list for me. Today's transfers and the list of those to come, plus several ventures that haven't come to fruition yet but will soon and those are mine too. Caleb also got a raft of statements after the fact and in the car, I asked if I could see them.

Why, Bridget? He hands it all over, somewhat wearily. It isn't defeat, maybe it's just resignation in his manner that's making him seem far older than his years today.

I want to make sure you kept your full share so I don't wind up having to be your sugar momma. 

He's amused. Speaking of which, there are precious few ways in which I'll be able to fulfill that role after today. 

You'll have to pay me in affection, then. 

Something tells me that's worth more to you than everything we put down on paper today.

It is. You should know this by now, Diabhal.

The smile did not leave his face the whole way home. Maybe he (after all this) puts his values on the same way I do each morning, one leg at a time.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Crimson thieves, wasted knights.

When I went to bed last night in tears the kingdom was in flames, angry words preceding fists, endless wrong swallowing brief happiness whole.

When I woke up, my tears had dried on my cheeks and the world was new. Lochlan slept with his hands around my head. Ben had one hand on Lochlan's head and his other arm under and around me, holding my back tight against his chest. There was one extra arm was flung over Lochlan from his other side, Sam's caramel curls mixed with Loch's red, barely visible above the quilts.

My tiny kingdom, surrounded by water on three sides, with the most beautiful army you ever saw was still standing. They put out the fires, smoothed over the harsh words and made good on the promises they levied as proof of their worthiness, words that hold more value than strength, here. I capture it all with my hands and place it into my heart, warming it.

The army rests today.

The war is over.

For now. 

Ben lifts his head and asks if I'm awake. I nod and he squeezes me into his heart. Hearts within hearts. This is perfect.


I don't want to leave this. 

Me neither. Go back to sleep then.

When I wake up next they're gone and it's only my blonde head that remains. The kingdom is cold and barren like a bad dream and I get up and cross to the window to count trucks.

They're all still here.

The sea still surround us.

We are still hearts within hearts.

I wasn't dreaming.

Monday, 23 January 2017

CFO vs. CEO.

(Nice to know he has my back. I suppose he's already had my front. Except this time he wants to make sure nobody gets fucked over. Where's the fun in that?)
There's something inside you that isn't right
There's something that haunts your dreams at night
There's something that you have lost
And you're bringing it down
You're bringing it down
On top of us
Batman was in the kitchen when I came back from seeing the kids off to school. I could feel something just emanating from him but I didn't know what it was.

Why did Caleb ask about payment for university, Bridge? Where's the money he gave you?

(It's tension.) Offshore, I guess? Maybe overseas? 

He reached out and grabbed me by the arm and said we needed to pay a little visit. I cried out and PJ got up and Batman whirled around and told him to sit the fuck down and out I was marched, across the slippery driveway half off my feet, up the steps and into Caleb's kitchen.

Where's her money, and why doesn't she have control of it?

Caleb looks at me and Batman shouts at him not to look at me. And to answer him. Now, please.

Caleb says it's invested. That since I don't need it for day to day expenses he may as well make it work for me. That after already transferring several accounts the paperwork was monumental so as investments come due Caleb is changing them over.

You need to let her choose a proxy.

She knows I'll look after it better than anyone. I worked for this. She's comfortable with me. You should all take your cues-

She has GODDAMN STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. She only thinks she loves you because you fucked with her until you broke something. I want everything signed over to her by the end of the week. You're retired now, right? Something to keep you busy. 

I think I'll leave it up to Bridget to deci-

She can't make these decisions. I just told you. I will take control of it alongside Lochlan and PJ until she needs or wants it. Does Lochlan have his funds?

He does. She's going to lose a lot of interest if I pull it now-

Then make up the difference. This isn't her fault, it's yours. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Busy/Not busy.

Distracting. Sam paired his new ray of colors belt buckle with a grass green knit tie, which made him look like an adorable cartoon character, the businessman in a Scooby Doo show or something like that.

I went to church this morning (inside because rain again but at least it's almost warm) with Caleb and Christian and didn't need a hymnal (sometimes the hymns are really old and I know all the words), accompanied by my raucous headache and jittery hands from mainlining three more cups of coffee before we left to try and shake it, giving up and downing a handful of Tylenols instead.

Caleb drove, Christian followed in his own car because we had plans to go out for lunch after. At the last minute I invited Chris to join us but he was headed home to sleep off the God, as he put it and had some work to do that didn't want to see him out half the afternoon. He rarely leaves the house and works all the time it seems. I'm not sure if that's good or bad but outwardly he seems content and well-adjusted. He's never asked for much and he's very set in his way so I leave it at that. After Jacob flew Christian turned very slightly inward, noticeable enough but he never wants to talk about it. He and Jake were the Adrenaline twins with their rock climbing adventures and he no longer does that, doesn't snowboard, doesn't run unless I invite him along and maybe I just worry too much but I worry about the stark introversion of the entire Collective without end, most times.

I would say it isn't normal but then again nothing about any of us is, and that's why we're all together.

Our favorite lunch place was packed and so we found a different place but it wasn't private enough to talk much past pleasantries. Caleb asked about Ruth's university submissions and our plans to pay for it (Ben has asked to do that and has been squirrelling away money for years for the children, even long before we were a thing, which God bless him for that because Cole didn't have a dime) and how she's dealing with the pressure so we talked about that, mostly. He knows of Henry's plans, they talk constantly but Ruth is incredibly loyal to her father and so busy with her friends she doesn't make the rounds to talk to all the boys (save for PJ and Dalton -her favorites) and is a flash in the pan most days. I was too at that age (almost eighteen). Sometimes the boys would grab me out of thin air as I rushed past and asked me who I was again. It would make me laugh but it also made me sad, and I remind them often that once she gets settled in her future she'll be back with more time to spend. I think most of the time every last one of them is a proud father in some capacity and I love them for it.

Caleb kept his boundaries and his promises too and we were full and home by the appointed hour, and now I need a nap because this headache persists. I have a volunteer cuddler for it too, since Lochlan is still in bed sleeping. Perfect.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Sam walked into my bedroom this morning (I got to sleep in), put his Poland belt buckle on my night table and kissed my forehead.

Keep it safe, he laughed.

What is that? I stare at his new buckle. It's shiny and colourful. Almost a rainbow.

The flag for the Seychelles. 

Of course it is.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hustler for life.

I'm been up since four-thirty this morning. I've had three giant mugs of coffee and five chocolate-chip cookies. The rest of the day should go well because I'm on a jittery roll.

I opened all the shutters on the windows, let the fire go out in the woodstove and the sun is pouring into the great room presently. It is part of the kitchen but is separated by a huge island and a table too so it was totally meant to be a sunroom. Only it's hardly ever sunny here so mostly it's a cozy area where it's perpetually warm and safe.

Sam is stretched out on the couch like a cat. The sun has turned his hair to gold and he's soaking up the warmth as I type. He was the first to come to me to negotiate a price and a timeline for me to do his taxes. Getting the jump on the rest, I hope, he said and I was so dismayed at the thought of having to do everyone's taxes again this year (they don't trust outsiders) that I doubled the price on a whim to try and dissuade him.

Ouch. Inflation?

Yes. Of course. I wink at him. Do you want that time slot or not? Hurry up, I have a waiting list.

Sure. Just tell me that you'll charge everyone even more and that I get a discount because I'm your favorite. 

I'll charge everyone even more and you get a discount because you're my favorite. I wink at him and he laughs.

Right. I get it. 

I hate taxes, Sam! 

But you're really good at it and I don't understand it at all. 

The fee is negotiable by the way. 

Wait. What? How? Umm....

Not like that, though, that thought is useful. I mean I'll cut your bill in half if you want to pay in goods. 


The belt buckle, Sam. It needs to go. Let me have it and I'll put it away for posterity in a safe place and you can stop being an eighties cowboy.

This...this is part of me, Bridget. How dare you? I'll pay your whole fee. In fact, I'll pay fifty dollars more! But I'm keeping the buckle. Have you always felt this way?

I could care less. I just wanted to see if I could shake you down for a bigger fee. It worked. Imagine by the time I get through everyone in the house, I'll have enough to buy myself a new car this year after taxes are finished. 

Or you could just ask Caleb for one. 

Where's the fun in that?

This is not my post, it's an early-morning squeal.

There's something inside you that isn't right
Dear Lord. Starset has unclean vocals in their new album, Vessels. Lots of them.

*Dies happy*

Told you it wouldn't take much.

('Unclean' means death metal screaming, not dirty words if you have no idea what I'm talking about. We call it Cookie Monstering. The fact that I need to explain this MAKES BRIDGET SAD.)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Talking to a different ghost.

(Known her forever but it's like we just met.)

Back to the sea early today. Well, late enough that the children were up for school already (in a blur of honour roll certificates found crumpled among science papers and the excitement of graduation photos/shoes/dresses/tickets/fundraisers and college applications, mind you) and the men (it's time to stop calling them boys) had scattered to the four corners of the house and beyond.

I avoided the rocks as promised, hugging the cliff as I make my way left to the beach, slowly. When I get past the boulders and down to fine peagravel and sand I march right up to the tide and crouch down, sticking my hands in the water, flat, palms down. Up to the bracelets is as far as I can go else I'm facefirst in the seaweed.

Hello again. I'm here.

The cold saltwater (my blood, I swear) stings a cut on my hand and whitens my skin as my bluer, undiluted blood beats a hasty retreat back to my heart. The draw threatens to pull me in but it's only teasing.

I did it, I tell her. I made it back to him. She pulls back in blind surprise, before rushing at me for a brief frigid embrace. I stand up and take two big steps backward so the water doesn't flood into my rainboots. Eventually I learn the lessons I am meant to. It just takes a long time.

I go into the driftwood house. I sit on the little shelf-bench and look out the doorless doorway. The Pacific ocean is framed perfectly here. I watch the tide become higher. It won't be all the way in until dinner time but it was lowest while I slept in Lochlan and Ben's arms through the darkest hours. She's already busy covering the treasures she dropped on her hasty middle of the night retreat, knowing I'm awake and searching. I don't mind. She'll do it again tomorrow and every day after. And I'll be here to see it. I'll be here to collect them.

I'll be here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Garage fire.

Twelve hours of talking, sleeping, sorting, and listening later and we've come back to where we're supposed to be. Loch is the love of my life. I know it. He knows it. Hell, everyone knows this. It's always been this way, since I was ten and my heart started doing that weird lurching thing every time I saw him. I've strayed along the way but I always come back.

I'm assured that my misguided loyalties as well as my attempts to leave the collective by marrying Jacob (AKA running away from the cult just as I've run from everything else all life long) are long forgiven and not taken personally. Loch promises me I didn't break his heart when I said that so quickly yesterday, so assuredly. His heart was already previously broken by everything else I'd done since we're bent on making sure life is an eye for an eye. He broke my heart at fourteen for the first time and just about every minute since yet here we are with two partially-fused, tangled-together, strangely-timed beating hunks of bloody romance and we're fucking thrilled. We kept score but we're happy to be here.

Fucking thrilled.

At least I am. He probably shouldn't be. I told him he got a raw deal with me and he corrected me and said he got everything he ever wanted in me.

I tried to listen more than I talked. I tried to hear him, really hear what's in his heart, interpret his words, listen to what his soul wants, what it feels. This sounds so cheesy, I know, but I tried to be better and it feels good to know we didn't have a catastrophe over a fleeting thought, that we can allow for space to make mistakes. God knows, we're so good at it.

I don't want him to end up like the others. I don't want to be a burden on him. I don't want drama and confusion and 'arrangements'. I like our big bed and our routines and our time together, just us and with Ben too. It just feels like I'm where I'm supposed to be. With Lochlan. Always his shadow. Always his view. His sounding board and his comfort. His muse. His prized possession. As he is with me.

I wouldn't trade Lochlan if Jacob came back to life tomorrow. I would tell Jake that he missed out. That he fucked up. That he bailed when I needed him. He bailed when LIFE needed him and that means he no longer has a place. It would hurt but that's what I would say. I can miss him until I'm blue in the face from holding my breath crying but at the end of the day I'm where I belong. Always with Loch.

(And sometimes with others but that's totally casual and completely sanctioned so whatever. Shut up.)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

On being the antagonist of your own story.

(I need a mouth with a time delay.)
There's no dreams in the waves
Only monsters
and the monsters are my only friends
A very early trip down to the beach this morning heralds the end of the snow and what we're going to officially call 'spring' here on the west coast. Heavy rain that has no end in sight resumes, washing away the remainder of winter like it was merely a streak of dirt on a pristine surface.The stairs are clear, the beach is unfamiliar after such a lack of contact that I don't even know how to greet the ocean suddenly, stepping forward shyly like it's our first date.

Hello. I bend down and check the water temperature, sticking my hands in up to my bracelets.

It's freezing cold but clear. I stand back up and head over to check on the condition of our little driftwood house and the breakwater. There is still a thick layer of ice on the dock so we'll skip that side completely. The house stands strong. I go inside and check to make sure the little piles of seaglass are still inside. The boys leave them for me to collect and bring up to the house, offerings I can't bear to touch or alter in any way and so they stay right there, safe and sound.

Are these offerings to the ghosts? 


Are they attempts to bring some permanence to your surroundings? 

Jesus. You sound like August! 

Your life is never stable and it's my fault. 

My life is like the tides. In and out. Up and down. Exactly how it's supposed to be, if that's how it is.

That's a defeatist view. 

A realist view. That's your fault, if you're looking for blame to shoulder. 

It's not good to talk back to the love of your life-

You're not the love of my-

And I stopped and looked at him with horror.

He stood in place but closed his eyes so I couldn't see his expression.

He finally opens them again. At least if I'm going to be second best it's good that it's to someone who isn't here. How did he get so much weight, Bridget? How did he take that place from me?

He saved my life. 

Lochlan looks at the sky. Pain is all over his face. Agonizing realizations crush simple conversation into a tidal wave. Forget knowing how to swim. We don't stand a chance.

I suppose I should be grateful for that, he said. And I am. Truly. But I plan to replace him. 

Am I worth it? Because I'd like you to do that but only if it's worth it in the end. 

Oh, it is. You have no idea. I'd walk through fire for you. 

I'm pretty sure you already have. 

Then we're well underway. 

I'm sorry, Locket. It's not like I can compare. It's like when one of your children asks you who your favourite is. There isn't one-

I get it, Bridget. I guess if nothing else I'm glad you're honest and not lying through your teeth about where I stand. 

There's nothing to be gained from it. 

And then you evaluate the merit of telling the truth. I taught you too well. Some days I wish we could start over and then I wouldn't have to stand here arguing with a mirror. 

Well, that isn't nice at all. 

Maybe it isn't, but that isn't your fault either. 

(Update: he's not fooled by my rash declarations. I'm crushed by them but he insists it's just kneejerk loyalty to someone who isn't here to fight for himself, and that I don't really feel this way. I like his interpretation, mostly because he promises me I won't feel like this forever and that he was there before and he'll be here after. Forever. Happily ever after. Unlike Jacob.)

Monday, 16 January 2017

(Someday I'll be) Saturday Night.

(Let me just cover my eyes and blush like a fucking fool here. We're not going to discuss this in house but DAMN. It was fun.)

Sitting on his lap, he pulls me forward for a kiss. A very gentle kiss. He laughs into my mouth quietly. His arms slide around my back as he holds on tightly. So good. He presses me to his chest and I close my eyes.

At least stay tonight until I fall asleep.

Maybe. I promise nothing as he exhales against my throat. It gives me goosebumps.

Better than nothing, he whispers. Behind me I hear Loch get up and walk out of the room.

Caleb watches him leave and takes his cue. Are you okay with this?

I nod and he lies me back flat. He begins to unlace my dress, smiling quietly to himself. Like he's opening a present. I smile back at the devil. So far so good. He swears and gives up quickly, instead lifting the hem of my dress up from the bottom. I arch my back and he pulls it off my body gently, swearing softly at what he sees. Tattoos in vintage lingerie. Beautiful delicate lace and satin in colors to rival the cashmere from before.


Yeah. Hey? Isn't it beautiful?

Yes. I like it.

But then it's on the floor and he's busy fighting muscle memory. Instead of letting history run a familiar scenario, he's trying to start over. He wants this to be new. No mistakes. No loss of control or emotions. No winners, no losers. Good experiences only.

I cry out and Lochlan comes back. He turns to go out again and Caleb calls to him. Come in. Come here. Hold her.

Something flashes across Loch's face that I don't recognize and he responds, joining us. The night becomes a blur and I am shaking when I finally untangle myself from them. They keep reaching for me though and I can't do anymore. I fall asleep with one arm around Lochlan's neck, in a spoon with Caleb, Lochlan's free arm thrown over us both. He's up higher than we are so his arm is mostly against my cheek. The music keeps playing from the living room and I fall asleep hard. I'm not bitten. I'm not ashamed. I'm thrilled that Lochlan came back and didn't leave me here alone. I'm wondering how long it will hold. Lochlan's generosity. Caleb's temperament. My bravery. Pick something.

I get my first answer at three-thirty when sleep is abruptly broken as I am lifted off the bed. Surprised, I cry out softly. Caleb pushes me up against the door and shoves himself into me so violently I can't breathe. He drives hard against me as I hyperventilate, trying to catch my breath around his fingers, his hand over my mouth. I try to peel his fingers away and he takes my hands, pinning them high up over my head with his left hand. His right hand is underneath me, holding me up and I can't help myself.

Come for me, Doll. Come hard. Right now.

I always follow his orders and this time he's right behind me. His fingers lift away from my mouth so I can breathe again just in time to ride the wave of adrenaline and he keeps me there forever until he joins me on that wave. He gently slides me down so that my feet touch the floor. Lochlan is sitting up. He wants you now, Caleb whispers into my hair from behind me now and I go back to Lochlan, who puts his arms out, pulling me in, pulling me underneath him, back to holding me so tightly breath is going to be the one thing that doesn't come easily tonight. Lochlan's not going to be shown up. Not tonight. He turns me over and then lifts my whole body up so I'm still pressed against him, head back against his shoulder, eyes closed as he picks up speed against me, one hand jammed down underneath me until I'm seeing stars. I practically keen and he matches the sound, putting his head down against my back, pushing me down on my face as he leverages his weight on me while his hands pull my hips up hard against him. He finishes as all nice guys do.


Best for last.

We have another toast, this time with bedhead and I can hardly hold my glass for my hands are shaking too much.

Time to go. Lochlan smooths my hair back down, kissing the top of my head. He dresses quickly and then pulls my dress down over my head and laughs at my surprised expression when my face pops out the top.

It's good to be on the right side of things again. Caleb shakes Lochlan's hand and then impulsively pulls him in for a hard hug. Lochlan hugs him back but it's hesitant. Guarded still. Even after this.

Caleb pulls me up and gazes at my face. Go get a little sleep, Neamhchiontach. You've made an old man very happy tonight. 

Yeah, he is, isn't he? I look at Lochlan who waits at the doorway for me. Relief is on his face mixed with a little guilt maybe. And there's some incredulity in there as well. This is the way he looks when he wakes up every morning in a cuddle with Ben when he thinks it's me. It's the most adorable thing on the planet and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Come on, Peanut. We need some rest. 

Thank you for bringing her, Caleb tells him.

She brought me. 

Thank you for bringing him, then. Caleb says to me and I'd laugh but I'm too tired now.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Truants and rogues.

My nightmare is death, it's running out of time, leaving hearts broken, harsh words spoken or worse, nothing at all. My dream is a rush of panic to fix it all before it's too late.

Too late is one of the most frightening, disappointing phrases in the English language. You should have been faster, worked harder, made a better effort to get it all done before time was up.

Time is always up. That's the one sureity we're given in life. Death. We're running toward a finish line. It does not matter if we run slowly, fast or detour to a different track entirely. It's still there. Way up ahead. Waiting for us.

When I get to the finish line I want to have been loved, and I want them to know that I love them. All of them. With everything I had.

That's why, to answer PJ's question when we rolled in just after four-forty-five this morning. I am so tired this morning I'm hallucinating and didn't even attempt to go to church. I told Sam I'd get struck by lightning anyway, if I tried and he started in with some attempt to tell me God loves me most when I fight the hardest and I turned around and pointed out God doesn't love me at all so let's bail on these miserable charades. Sam didn't say anything else but went off to probably give a sermon about being disappointed in those you put on pedestals and why you probably shouldn't do that. They're going to let you down but don't worry, you're not off their list because they're insatiable, incorrigible and ruined already. You won't even have to take blame with you when you go to them. It's built right in.

I need coffee. More later, maybe. Everything's fine. I'm just so fucking tired.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Buckingham Nicks.

I traded my Converse All-Stars, green nail polish, ripped jeans and a sweater five sizes too big (Cole's) for Louboutin stilettos, mascara by the pound and a dress so snug PJ's been staring at me unabashedly now for upwards of twenty minutes.

I can see your heart beating, Bridge. You sure Lochlan's okay with this? 

He's fine. I smile really big so he knows I'm lying.

I'll stay dressed tonight in case you need me. 

Did I ever tell you you're my favorite?

If I was you wouldn't be going over there. 

Don't, Padraig. 

And you wouldn't be wearing that. 

Enough. Please. 

Enough what? Lochlan comes in. In a dress shirt. He refuses to indulge in Caleb's rules for my dress so he's pretending we decided to dress up tonight because we're a team. We are. Doesn't matter what we wear. And we always will be. Like Lindsey and Stevie. No matter what, no one ever pictures one without the other. At least I don't.

We're going to have drinks in the library and see if the evening holds. That's it. No promises, no expectations and no plans to see it through until morning because if Caleb woke up here there would be hell to pay and I'm pretty sure I covered that bill already.

With his money, though.

(I'm not stupid. Just crazy.)

(If he stays I'll kick him out around four. That's usually when Ben comes to bed and space or not, that just won't work.)

Friday, 13 January 2017

All your dreams are on their way/Feeling small.

He's been working out the piano to Bridge over Troubled Waters this morning. I'm in tears. It just moves me. No other reason but that. Sometimes music does that. His voice is perfect for it. Lochlan has a soft small range to work with and mostly sings falsetto. Higher than most. Accent fumbling through the sounds. It's beautiful. It's the perfect opposite to Ben.

Like everything, I suppose.

Last night Loch had just grabbed me up to himself, remarking not kindly that he hasn't seen me in days and maybe I should take a break and then Caleb rang around and he had a point and the timing was terrible but we went over anyway. Just a nightcap. See where it goes. Lies. Promises. Despair disguised as impatience. The night grew long, the glasses emptied and Lochlan put his head down in his hands and prayed to God to save him. The whole thing just ground to a halt. Caleb tried his best to fix it but it wasn't being fixed on that night so we left, maybe with all three of us in tears at some point but it was a good thing we stopped when we did because he was losing his mind and Caleb was losing his control and I was uncomfortable and out of place, feeding off their tension. Torn between my fierce loyalty to Lochlan and whatever the fuck this other thing is becoming.

We came home and had incredibly angry desperate love, Lochlan yelling at Ben to just stay out, Jesus, just cut him a break here. It wasn't fair or nice and he made his amends this morning after fixing our broken love last night. He voiced his doubts, we counted up fears and concerns and then we invited the devil here instead. Tomorrow (Saturday evening). We'll start over starting over. Over again. We'll get it right. We'll sort it all out.

If we don't we will chip away at it until we do. It's an unfinished masterpiece, my heart. It needs a lot of work yet.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Did it work, Princess? Do you feel like yourself again? For what it's worth, you felt whole to me.

The irony in knowing I felt the same way about him, that he felt whole right up until I found out he was gone leaves me ignoring his questions as I fight instead with the tears. He's not going to get the better of me now. I've come too far.

Did you know Sam is just trying to help out? They're trying to claw up as much of you as they can, because it means less of you for Caleb. I thought you weren't naive about this but I was wrong. Hope they enjoy their tiny pieces of you.

His bitterness (he never liked Caleb OR Loch) wakes me up abruptly and I force myself more tightly against August, who sleeps easily, propped up on pillows, clutching me gently as the bed sways from where the ghost got up and walked away. When I press into him his arms tighten and he wakes up, his voice raw and thick.


Bad dream. 



What'd he do? August asks quietly.

He's angry about Sam. He thinks Lochlan recruited Sam to keep me from Caleb.

August opens his eyes and rolls them comically.

I don't think Lochlan is smart enough for that. Besides, the timing is fucked on it.

I'll tell him you said that. 

Please do. Think about this. If he was, it could backfire just as easily. I still think he's-they are-, hell, we all are-only trying to make you happy. Besides, you can't subdivide human emotion. But you can explore dissenting voices from a source you use as a sounding b-

Isn't that what you're all trying to do now? Subdivide me?

No, Bridget. We're not. Get some sleep. I'll keep the dreams away. And he closes his eyes again while the bed swings gently. He falls asleep mid-shhhhhhh against my forehead, and I fight brief panic, feeling out his heartbeat over my own, using it to lull myself to sleep again too.

It works.

No dreams this time and when I wake up August is gone and there's a note on the table.
Taking Sam for lunch to talk. Stay here til I get back.
    -X A

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Grace sets you free.

I turn the box over in my hands. It's dark. I can't see my hand in front of my face let alone the contents of the box but the Devil told me my soul was in it, that he's kept it in here since I was a little girl, that he never trusted anyone else with it for a second because flighty, free-spirited magical people who feel this deeply aren't trustworthy or responsible (all lies) and so he thought it would be safest with him. He started this off, tripping me as I ran and then steadfastly refusing to pick me up or stop and thus began the pattern of tripping and falling on my face for the rest of my life. I've broken teeth and I've broken hearts too in the process. It seemed like it would never end.

But is it over or is this just the beginning?

I can't ask the expert. Sam, the only person hellbent on seeing me get somewhere. As everyone else was demanding I stay in one place Sam was putting me through the paces, making sure I came out the other side of the grief for Jake and for Cole, learning to live around and through it, instead of in spite of it. You don't get over it, you learn to live with it. It becomes a big part of you but not every part of you. Then he taught me how to swim, sick of seeing me saved, excused or helped (A marked contrast to when I fall), making sure I could do it myself. I got a pretty mermaid as my badge, to hang in the window I look out each morning as a reminder that some things I can do myself.

Sam finally came crashing down all around me, giving in to his needs the way they all do, eventually. I can't figure this out. I don't recognize it. Now I can't ask him about it. Understand?

Do I put this thing back wherever it's supposed to fit and pick up where I left off? They said I was still a child, they said I was stuck there fast, someplace vague between nine and seventeen, with events to mark the days tied up like knots but no way to chart the path. Becasue I'm not a map, I'm a tangle, a string frayed on both ends and almost worn right through the middle but tied tightly around them nonetheless.

I never felt like there was a hole inside, just more of a distant ache for myself, for this thing that's supposed to be worth so much that they would give up each other for me, only to watch me turn around and fall on my face again, getting up only to run the other way.

I hope I can do this. Figure out how to put it back. Make myself whole. It's a start, maybe.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Cliff Hangers.

I didn't get to sleeptest the new feather bed last night because I didn't come home.

I had every intention of coming home but then as is tradition with narcoleptics I found myself a little tiny bit relaxed and closed my eyes for JUST A MINUTE and...


Out like a match in a windstorm.

Something about the closeness of the boathouse walls. Something about the darker atmosphere. Something about his heartbeat lulls me into a calm that will put me under in seconds. He said he didn't have the heart to send me back just yet so he put his head down against mine and closed his eyes too and when I opened my eyes it was morning already and wow, my neck was so stiff I was in tears before I stood up.

That caused an issue because he wasn't about to let me head back over to the house crying, sore and disheveled.

I need to go. 

Bridget think about this. I don't want to spend our lives moving two steps forward, twelve back. He's going to misunderstand. Ask him to come over so he can see for himself what the night was like. 

I nod. He's right. That's it. I can do that. Makes more sense than being shouted down while telling the truth due to some sense of duty or honour or just plain offence.

I call Lochlan.

I fell asleep here. We were watching the waves from the couch and I just went out and now my neck hurts and I'm worried about how you might feel and-

I know. 


I checked on you. 


Yeah, you were both asleep so I came home. 

I'm sorry. 

You coming home? 

Come and meet me? 

Give me two minutes to get my boots. You okay?

It just feels weird. 

I understand that. 

I know you would. I'm sorry.

I'm not mad, Bridget. 

I hang up and Caleb turns around. There's the box again.

Before he gets here, there's something I want you to have. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Go big and go home.

The feather mattress toppers for the new giant bed were delivered this morning.

So...comfortable...can't lift a finger. Holy COW.

Why didn't someone tell me these things existed?

I'm never leaving this bed again so YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME.

(Take turns, please. Jesus. Don't all show up at once. Or...well? I guess it doesn't matter anymore.)

(I know. Incorrigible. Snort.)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Good in snow.

The Devil approves.

This is why I have you decorate, Neamhchiontach. This is inviting. 

I don't know if he's being ironic so I thank him for the compliment nonetheless and usher him back down the steps. We have church.

Why does Sam insist on his early service being so early? 

Because if he does it late less people come. People like to get God out of the way early and then they free themselves up to do other things. Half of my sentence comes out in an unrecognizable yawn and I laugh because I can't understand myself.

Sam seems very busy lately doing other things. 

My gaze is a warning. I don't say a word.

Interesting that he can lead you to sin and then redeem you all at once. One-stop shopping. 

Caleb. Please. 

No familiar nicknames, no casual teasing. My formality is a second warning.

What is Lochlan doing, Bridget? 

You'll have to ask him. Maybe things are smoothing out. Maybe he's able to release his hold just a little. He's relaxing. I don't know. Like I said, ask him. 

(Don't ask him if he spent last night clutching me so tightly against him while he slept that I couldn't breathe and didn't care and he lashed out with a fist when Ben tried to untangle me but he was mostly sleepfighting and didn't know so Ben settled for wrapping a hand around the back of Lochlan's head and spooning behind me. That seemed to calm Lochlan back down. I didn't die overnight. I was still breathing this morning but I was flushed and overheated. I woke up not even knowing where I was for all the lush colors I forgot about while I slept.)

(For the curious, everything else in the house is white. Jesus. Five shades of white paint. White carpets and rugs. White trim. White white white. Matches the snow. Hard to keep up with when you have a black cat and ten people with impossibly dirty fingers living in the same place but I try my best.)

(I should learn to stop telling stories in parentheses.)

I might, Caleb says.

I've forgotten what we were talking about.

When we get downstairs Ben is ready. Lochlan is working for Batman today and forgets Sundays are church. He hasn't liked church since I was ten and we went to ad-hoc open-air tent revivals, lead by whoever felt the need to spread the Word. Those were confusing to me, riveting only in a sense that I couldn't understand people's devotion to something so seemingly intangible. They told me I would get it when I was older. That I would feel it. I'm still waiting for that day to come.

Ready? Ben is holding his keys and wearing his boots.

(The ground clearance of the R8 means it is staying home now until the snow and ice is gone. Caleb says if this keeps up he'll go back to driving a Bentley. I asked why he doesn't just get a truck and he said he wasn't a savage.

Just a snob, then. 

Probably, yes. I'm not a truck person. 

No, you certainly aren't.)

We are ready, I tell Ben and we grin at each other. I know the minute he turns the key in the truck the full-volume Amon Amarth (best hair in the business) CD I had playing when we came home last will fire up and blow Caleb's horns right off. I can't wait.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The four-poster field of dreams.

He smiled that smile when he came into the room. He is leading another by the hand. They look devilish and sweet. Lochlan puts a finger to his lips and walks right past me with Sam. Sam leans over and plants a soft kiss on my cheek.

I don't understand but I don't look a gift horse in the mouth either. Lochlan was afraid I would get closer to Sam and now he's engineering it firsthand. He's being affectionate with Sam to a fault. Lochlan is neither gay nor is he even bisexual but he's feeling the love. Maybe it's a crush. Sam is crush material if I ever saw it. He and Lochlan have a lot in common. They're both shorter than the rest. Sam's hair is almost curly, it's wavy and rumpled perpetually. They're both fair and thoughtful and super affectionate to me, and maybe Lochlan finds God through people. He once said any faith he had was in me, maybe he has some in Sam too.

He's here with us, isn't he? Lochlan reads my mind. He says it quietly, with mischief.

He's showing him what we've done. We changed the lighting, hanging almost a dozen electric Turkish lanterns in shades of greens and turquoise and copper, some by the bureau/closet area, some over the cozy little couch and chair nook, and some on each side of the bed. We updated the curtains and pillow covers in rich shades of teal and green velvet and we...added to the bed. We added a double with extra length to the extended king that was already in place. Ben himself made a new extended width frame so the posts keep it all together in one huge expanse and I tripled the curtains draped over copper rails. Now we have an absolutely beautiful room with space for everyone. Or anyone we invite. Or anyone who happens to show up. Now Ben can sleep sideways, if he wants and still has room to stretch his arms over his head without them hanging off the bed. Sometimes we get turned around.

(Go big or go home, Fidget.)

Bring the Reverend or bring the Devil or maybe bring them both. I can do whatever I want. Or I can keep it all to myself with just Ben and Lochlan or maybe nobody but Bridget. I can make sheet-angels. I can dream for miles.

I wasn't dreaming last night though. I was awake throughout. Sam left shortly before sunrise and my dreams wore out my brain to match my body. Which was good. I needed it.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The new Friday.

All these broken souls
They never make me whole
They don't know my heart
All these broken souls
Each one more beautiful
They don't know my heart
I'll send out my soul
To worlds more beautiful
But they won't know my heart
It's the darkest part
Another song off Vessels, the new Starset album and I am set for a cozy day of waiting for snow and learning to knit. I already helped take down the final exterior decorations and begged (and won) to leave up the carnival lights. Because lights.

The snow never came. The wind picked up a little and briefly the sun made an appearance and so we ran outside with shovels and a hoe and chipped away more of the ice on the steps leading down to the beach. Slowly we will make it safe again, as we have half of each step clear now so we can go down single-file, but that's less than ideal. It's supposed to rain heavily on Sunday, and that should finish off the rest of the snow and things will be back to Pacific Northwest Normal.

(We don't have salt. I have a dog and I don't want salt in his paws and it's also bad for the vehicles/concrete/brick/planet in general. The mad rush and riots of Vancouverites in the news trying to get precious rare road salt makes me laugh. SHOVEL. And if you can't physically shovel but you can run up to the firehall and shovel salt into a bucket, well then me. I don't know. The whole thing seems like a bad joke.)

Whoops. I promised I wouldn't editorialize but really having come from the two other (massively wintery) places I have lived this is...well, okay, nevermind.

Lochlan built a huge fire when we came back in. What do you want to do for the rest of the afternoon? His cheeks and his nose are pink from cold. He looks adorable.

Lets go get burritos and bring them back and watch Russian horror movies.

He only hesitated for a second at the strangeness of my request and then he smiled. Get your coat. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

When your brain doesn't tell you where it's heading.

(My 0 to 60 isn't measured in miles, it's in how quickly I can go from heartwarming to heartbreaking. August told me that once.)

I look like some sort of gentle torture victim today. I have a fine eczema rash almost all over my body at this point and four of ten fingers have cracked from the cold. I'm also covered in feathers, having drew the chore today of changing beds. That's eight king-sized beds, three hours of laundry and a lot of physical labor. You can't bounce pennies off flannel but I don't know a soul who doesn't appreciate climbing into fresh warm bedding at the end of the day. On PJ's day for beds he opens a door, fires a armload of clean sheets toward the bed and the sleeper must do his own hard labour putting it all back together again.

Maybe I do too much? I don't know. It's in my nature to spoil those I love but in the long run it's better to torture them. I should roll them in feathers too. These pillows leak something fierce. I can't find any holes in the outer casings though so maybe it's just a funny and annoying thing that very good pillows do. Ben bought these and then he bought some for everyone else too. I would roll him in feathers but he would just eat them.

Why are they sticking? PJ wants to know. He's been judging me all morning as I struggle from room to room with a big bundle of clean sheets for each bed. He's clucked and tsked and shook his head and he started to roll his eyes until I threatened to pluck them out of his face and replace them with dryer balls.

He found that funny. I guess he didn't think I was serious.

I put moisturizer all over. I guess it didn't finish absorbing yet. 

You're tarred and feathered. 

Yes thank you. I can see that. 

It's a fitting punishment, I think. 

I've never done anything wrong in my life. Recently, I mean.

Christ, Bridget. You asked Santa for the Devil. It probably doesn't get more wrong than that. 

I'm sure there are things that are worse. 

Like what? 

Pulling bed-changing duty and not actually doing it. I throw his bundle of sheets at him and let him make his bed by himself. I'm itchy all over. I need to go find a bathtub full of oatmeal and painkillers. Or maybe just tranquilizers because all of these feathers are freaking me out and I keep expecting to turn a corner and find Jacob standing in this house, wings and all.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


I'm not a good person, Neamhchiontach. 

Somehow this seems disingenuous. He has cake. How bad can he be? (Asked the little girl who was only taught to be wary of strangers and had no idea she should ever be afraid of her friends.)

He doesn't wait for me (or her) to answer and instead keeps going.

If you don't mind, I'm going to cut our visit short this evening. Lochlan will be here at nine to collect you. I've already filled him in on my intentions and he's probably as relieved as you are. 

I came here above duress. 

I know, and it's encouraging but in order to rebuild trust we need to have time and not rush. 

The end justifies the means, you always told me. 

I was wrong. 

He sliced two generous pieces of cake and asked what I would like to drink. It took me a minute because he is the king of ordering for me, guessing that he knows me well enough and I pause before telling him whatever he has is fine. He counters with orange juice. He does know me. We work on our respective plates and he outlines a future I didn't think I'd see in this lifetime or even the next. Utopia without black holes to fall into. A support network bordering on incestuous if only we were related. I guess some of them are so it counts. A do-over. When I get to the last bite of cake he asks why I believe him, where the blind faith comes from in the face of a monster such as himself, why I trust him from the outset after all this time.

That's easy. We are growing old. My children are the ages now that he and Lochlan were when they made their plans to take over the world and honestly knowing how fragile life becomes after losing husbands and little brothers and faith too it's easy to see that there isn't time left for anything but finally setting things right.

That sounds naive and pretentious at the same time, Bridget. 

It's the sugar talking. 

Then we laughed until we cried. I got a hug. Not an ominous one, not an I'll see you later one jagged with threats, but just a hug. I felt a little hope in there and a little bit of regret but more of the former than the latter coming off the Devil in waves. I don't think he's going to blow this chance. Everyone else does but I know him better than I know myself. Kind of the same way he knows me.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A date with the Devil. Hope he has cake.

Caleb calls me out into the snow at 6ish this morning. Everyone's stirring. I bring my coffee and have boots on and pajamas. My hair is sideways and I jam it back behind my ears. Lochlan rolls his eyes as I go out the door and wonders out loud what he wants.

Caleb is holding a small box. He looks at it while he tells me that he understands that I am afraid, that he hopes to change that some day. He apologizes for asking for a good faith visit with him, telling me that he is thankful I was able to bring about the reconciliation between himself and his best friend, that his friendship with Lochlan is important to him and it is not contingent on nor is it tied to his relationship with me, but that he was hoping to be on close terms with us both. With everyone.

I nod and sip my coffee.

Are you alright? 

I don't know. Maybe. I look at my coffee. I'm freezing. It was -4 on the readout of the weather station in the kitchen and I didn't wear a jacket.

Go inside, Neamhchiontach. Maybe we can talk later. It's your call. 

I nod and he leans down and lands a kiss against my forehead before I turn to head up the steps.


I turn back. Yes?

You asked for me. That was the catalyst. What gives?

I know. It happened so fast. I thought it would be a longer fight. 

Was it a test? Are you disappointed in Lochlan? 

I am never disappointed in Lochlan. I look at Caleb now. My chin is up, my expression stubborn.

It's a fair question. 

No it is not. 

You forget-I'm part of this now too. 

I know. 

Will I see you this week? 


Seriously? His face morphs into this huge excited eighteen-year-old's grin. I never could resist it.

Eight good? 

Eight is fine. Maybe just come over for dessert and see how you feel. Okay?

Okay. I feel weird and now I'm frozen to my bones, so in I go. Once inside I realize I didn't get to see what was in the box. Probably tonight. Maybe it's my soul. I was even smaller than this when he took it.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Most days.

Ben and I spent the afternoon trying to do handstands and walkovers into the snow of the pool. It's back. It's weird being here in the snow, I can't get used to it and Ben can't do a walkover. He can run and do a back flip into the snow easy but I was afraid he would break his neck and asked him to stop. In turn he said I looked really freaky walking like a circle in slow motion back flips with an arched back and only my hands and feet touching the ground.

They teach that at the circus? He asked.

Summer camp. I could do it before I got to the circus, I told him.

When we got too cold to stay outside we headed toward the patio and Caleb appeared like a vampire. Ben was conciliatory, giving me a shove in the Devil's direction but I came back to Ben on his downswing.

I looked the Devil in the eye but my mouth went dry and my hands started to shake. Ben and I have plans to spend the afternoon, sorry. 

Caleb made an oddly gracious reminder about good faith promises and then a hasty exit and Ben stared at me until we were alone again.

Bridget, did Caleb somehow force you to ask Lochlan for a truce? 


Because for someone who wants her freedom to go to the Devil you seemed more than a little afraid. Has Lochlan addressed this? 

I'm not ready, that's all. I didn't expect them to sort through this after so long. 

You bluffed. 

I didn't bluff. I think I just...overshot. And now instead of an open promise I suddenly have an extra rich clingy boyfriend. 

Oh MY GOD. HAHAHAHAHAHA (See the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer? At the end when Drax goes DO ME NEXT HAHAHAHAA. Yeah, that's Ben.)

What's so funny? There's Lochlan back from Batman's early. Great. Ben's going to twist this because it's funny to him.

Your wife is afraid of her new boyfriend and may have bluffed, thinking you two would never make up but then you did and she doesn't want to go to him. 

That's not what's happening. The longer we go in between the harder it is. I don't know if I can trust him. Or you. Or anyone for that matter. Or Ben. Especially Ben. I regard him with narrowed eyes.

This is bullshit. Lochlan says.

Yes it is. I agree.

What do we do? He asks. He's cold. He just wants to go inside.

Nothing. I'll find my courage tomorrow maybe. Or the next day. 


It's fine. Really! 

But they both look at me like I'm crazy, which is nothing new either.

Sunday, 1 January 2017


We met on the plains of Point Perdition just before eleven, instantly had an argument and retreated, lighting the fields on fire behind us so we wouldn't be followed. The power went out, the generators kicked in and the snow fell so thickly it was like cotton from heaven. We opened some champagne, toasted to a new year and Caleb briefly appeared again, this time at the side door, no harm no foul, to wish us a happy new year and invite us for brunch the next morning. We agreed sometimes a rocky start is better than no start at all and left each other on good terms. Well, most of us did. Sam had his feelings hurt somehow and tried to magnify that into a reason to keep the very quiet tiny party going but I bailed on the blackness all around and fell asleep with the dog at my feet, safe in my bed before one. When I woke up at three the lights were all blazing again and everyone (Ben is the late night ringleader) was mostly awake and still talking, watching movies and generally doing this otherly-human thing of staying up super late. I can't do it. I'll barf. But I did get up early this morning and put away most of the Christmas stuff, started some laundry and made myself a huge mimosa with the rest of the champagne. In a double-sized A&W mug I found in the cupboard so I should have been useless by brunch but no. I was just hungry.

(I think they all thought it was going to be a repeat of 2012. I don't think we're there yet. I don't think I was ever there to begin with.)