Friday, 22 September 2017

Lochlan is strumming Ben's guitar, humming. He nudges me. Sing it. You know the words. 

You don't know the words?


You don't know the words to Hotel California.


Wow, Lochlan.

Why does that surprise you?

I thought that was like...some sort of preset. Like everyone just comes with the lyrics already in their heads.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Shame? I left that back home in my boyfriend's bed.

Caleb was all bluster, no fuss, affectionate to a fault and I was sent back intact, lovingly and sweetly, with apologies for his temper tantrum no less, as he struggles with his new role as formerly malevolent, now benevolent, once evil, now kind, used to be bad, now better-than-ever boyfriend. In order to keep his permissions and not wind up sanctioned, them be the rules and he has to stick to them.

So he talks dirty but then it washes off, which is good because he wouldn't have wanted to leave it badly and I'm glad he didn't leave it badly because I'm in New York.

Yes! The big Tomato.

Just when I give up on my wanderlust and doom myself to haunt the point forever someone charters a plane and ta-DA! Ben may have come back early because he was worried but he still has back-end meetings that he couldn't do from home and he didn't want to fly back to London so the compromise was New York.  Lochlan and I have tagged along to keep him company, which basically involves sending Ben a lot of nude photos of us from the hotel while he's in meetings.

Don't worry, I always crop out my head because no one's EVER going to be able to identify me by my tattoos. Right? RIGHT?

We're here until Tuesday. That's a lot of room service. That's a lot of nudes.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

He barely made it past the week and other dumb things that are probably none of anyone's business.

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave. I've...seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to d-

BRIDGET! Come inside before you get soaked!

It's been pouring all night and I love it. It's freezing cold. It's the perfect night for Rutger Hauer's final monologue in Blade Runner and yes I fell asleep during my third screening of the movie but not for any of his scenes, the last of which is a masterpiece of acting and reminds me of someone.

He was amazing. I cried. I hated every other part of it though and I went from being kind of sort of vaguely excited to see Blade Runner 2048 to thinking I hope something else is showing so I can skip it and go down the hall to watch something drippy and sad. Maybe Ghost Story will finally hit the theatres here. Not like it has yet, I am still waiting.

(Nevermind. I just checked and it went up on iTunes YESTERDAY. YESSSSS.)

I reluctantly sweep my eyes around the deck for tiny origami animals or Daryl Hannah in the throes of whatever and head back inside. Caleb hands me a newly-filled glass of red wine and leads me back down the hall. It's so dark. He turns back and I almost don't see him, bumping lightly into his arm. He takes my glass and continues forward. It's like he forgot who was with him. Little Miss Clumsy.

Little Miss Sub.

Little Miss Guarding Her Soul With Everything She Has In Case Last Week Was A Trick.

He hands the glass back when we reach his doorway.

I'll show you things people wouldn't believe. He grins.

Pretty sure you have already. 

His face falls. It was a joke. I swung and missed.

Maybe we went too fast. Maybe you need to learn your lessons more slowly. 

Maybe you aren't allowed to play those games anymore. 

What if you want me to, Neamhchiontach? 

Then I'm supposed to talk it out. With one of my proper counselors.

August isn't here. And I don't think Sam really wants to hear those kinds of things. Especially not now that he's moved that much closer to you. So distracting. 

Claus on Skype. Joely. Lochlan if I have to.

You can't talk to them about this. We can just roll it back a little, just for old time's sake. Remember your words, Bridgie? 

Gingerbread. Wenceslas. Toboggan. (He very purposefully chose three-syllable words so there would be no mistake, and holiday words so that I would remember them at such a young age. And then he chose to very purposefully never ever hear them.)

Don't you miss it? Don't you miss having such an easy, specific plan, having it all spelled out for you so all you had to do was show up and follow my rules? 

Can the maker repair what he makes? I trace a raindrop down the window. I'm not going to answer him. I don't want to do this. He grabs my hair and wrenches my whole head back so I'm looking at him and I gasp at the familiar expression. I haven't seen it in ages.

If you don't stop quoting that fucking film I'll do more than just ignore your safe words, Bridget.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

End of the fire ban.

This is why I love fall. Rainy bonfires on the beach, boys in sweaters, my rainboots, hauled out of the very back of the front-hall closet and passing around a bottle of whiskey in the half light like back in the old times, except now it's a forty instead of a pint. Now someone walked in and picked it up off the shelf and paid for it instead of begging Caleb's good graces. Now I still only come up to their armpits or shoulders. Now we're still thick as thieves.

My flannel shirt and jeans isn't warm enough and Lochlan sends me back for a coat just as we reach the gate. I frown and stomp back across the driveway and then break into a run, up the stairs, catching my toes and landing on my hands and knees on the top step, then picking myself up and running through the kitchen and down the hall into the foyer and grabbing the first coat I see, which is John's green carhartt jacket which is far too big and heavy but that's okay too. I shrug into it, zip up the front and run back, grabbing the rail on the way down the steps this time.


I run across the driveway and Lochlan laughs. Ready? Think you could have found a bigger coat? 


Off we go. Down the slippery steps. I get the rail and his hand. He gets my hand and his uncanny balance. We don't need to rush. They've always kept their promise over the years. They never start without me.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Everything you were ever afraid of.

We went to see It yesterday afternoon (thank you rainy day empty theatre, so empty I didn't have to book it), and as the world's biggest Stephen King fan I have to say,

I didn't...hate it.

It was actually pretty good, although the horror parts were not that good. Too campy, too silly, not scary, very weirdly done.

The children, however and their relationship to one another was masterfully done.

I think that's what I love about King stories. Half the horror is some real-world psychological dread but it's softened by some campy bullshit easy-horror, almost diluted to make it something you can swallow. So the campy rotting skeletons will probably kill and you and what a relief, hey, because at least now your fear of the dark/being alone/death/whatever won't.

(Now I patiently wait for Joyland, Doctor Sleep and Revival to be made into movies because I think they'd be fantastic. Much as The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon will forever be my favorite of all time I daresay it wouldn't make a good movie because so much of it takes place inside her head.

(which is EXACTLY why the movie of my life is going to flop someday too.)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Let me ramble, I'm actually typing in church so I can't edit.

This morning Sam stood up at the pulpit and told the congregation the parable of how he helped participate in the emancipation of an incarcerated soul. How he held that soul in his gaze, naked and unprotected, how he rushed to perform the rites of baptism the moment that beautiful soul was reunited with its rightful owner. How he vowed to protect that soul for the remainder of its time within one of the most precious living entities he has ever touched.

The tips of my ears were burning so so ferociously I had visions of Lochlan leaning over and lighting a cigarette off one of them, except that 1) we were in church and b) he doesn't smoke anymore.

I could see the expressions on people's faces as they wrestled with his words. Was it a metaphor, or perhaps a warning. Was it from the old testament, maybe, or maybe something from a book or from a dream and he was going to use to to talk about Jesus. Maybe he was going to use it to remind us to be virtuous in case our souls leave or get stolen. Maybe it's true and Sam's crazy. Maybe that girl he lives with gave her soul away.

(Hey, maybe it got taken by the Devil when she was a child as a warning. As a prize. As a punishment.)

Caleb sat up stick-straight during Sam's tale, expressionless, rigid. I wondered if he thought Sam would name names or call him out properly by his rightful name to fight the ultimate war but Sam went the other way, softening until he was mush, unable to continue, trailing off with a hand indicating the hymn number written on the chalkboard.

Sam does not have his shit together since this happened. Which is to be expected. When Jake found out Caleb actually had possession of my soul his reaction was much the same.

I imagine he'll be pleased now to know I'm one hundred percent physically intact.

I imagine he'll still be completely crushed to know that I'm still batting a good sixty, maybe only fifty percent tops emotionally.

Not like it matters. You can lead a girl to her soul but it won't fix much of anything.

Abruptly Caleb picks up my hand and kisses the back of it.

Okay maybe it fixes some things.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


I couldn't open the big double doors today, it was too cold. I did take my breakfast out front though, to eat in the morning sun while it hits the front porch. After that it's in shade for much of the day. Plus it was where my Lochlan was, replete with fresh coffee and an old guitar.

You eat? 

I nod in a lie and hold up my own cup. I can't manage walking, plates and cups. I'm not all that coordinated so I poured a coffee and came out. I'll leave the cup and go fetch a muffin later.

He approves of my lie and puts the guitar away. For the record, I didn't ask Ben how long he would need in order to ration his time, I asked because I was trying to give him time, but I also wanted time and didn't want to crash his reunion. He offered the two-hour mark. I didn't demand it. 

I nod. I don't think he needs the validation here in daylight but he seems to. Not like we could sort it out last night. The bed was kind of crowded, as Ben was already long asleep when we went up and Sam stuck around so late we didn't send him home at all and everyone (even the dog) slept in a little bit, just enough, on a cold sunny Saturday to take the edge off the week, to fade the bruises from some days with harder edges then necessary. Sam talked me back from the anger, Lochlan gave me a soft place to hide, and between the two of them I didn't end the day the way I spent it at least and I feel better.

Can I take my bride out for breakfast?

Yeah. That would be really nice. 

Get your bag, honey. I'll put the guitar away. 

How did you know I didn't eat? 

I know you. You can't walk five feet with a plate and a mug at the same time.

Friday, 15 September 2017

My uncle died this morning.

He was the only one I've ever had, to be technical, though my grandfathers' brothers were all uncles by default as per tradition until they all died but I was so young when that happened it didn't seem so final the way it does now and I've spent much of the day in a fog, vaguely teary but mostly angry as that's how grief is for me now. Why the fuck do we even bother with stupid shit like buying tires and weeding the garden when we're all just going to die. Why pay the power bill? Why take my vitamins?

It's all just going to end abruptly and without warning and then someone's going to have to make a round of phone calls and once everyone is duly notified you stop and take a breath.

Then your brain does that awful thing where it runs down everything you remember about that person, neatly packaging it up for you into a little compartment, labelling it with their name, and it puts it in a dark corner where you won't trip over it, and it says to you quietly,

There. We'll just leave this here for you. 

And you wonder how long it will be before you forget the sound of their voice, or what they look like. And your brain tries to interrupt all those destructive lines of thinking with comforts about heaven, that you'll see them again, that there's a reunion to look forward to, but you know better because first you get to spend another fifty or sixty years on earth (if you're lucky ooooh boy next person who says that to me better be getting a head start.) buying tires, taking vitamins, and coping with death.

Like a good girl.

I hate today. I hate the fact that I didn't see him over the past many years. I hate the fact that I can't be peaceful and comfortable with death instead of seething with quiet rage over it, as if I could conjure up enough anger and make it go away somehow, as if I could scare it off.

As if I could just make it wait, because I'm not ready for any more of it.

Not yet.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Boy logic.

What if we're all just sleeping satellites?
Why do we drift so far from home?
Why do we wake ourselves from paradise?
Where we will never be alone
The drugs are a volume knob and it'd be nice if someone turned it down a little, just so I could hear myself, just so the noise could die down just a little, just so my heart would stop crawling out of my chest (we need to watch that NO YOU NEED TO FIX IT HELP ME IT FEELS WEIRD), just so I could make it past morning hellos and actually make plans or do something other than sit and look out the window, forgetting to blink until my eyes fuse into shards of stingy glass.

I'm sitting in Ben's lap, as he holds his hands up against my own. He's a mirror, a mime. Every time I move mine, he moves his. His eyes smile at me along with the rest of his face. It's a group effort and I can't get enough. His eyebrows are half-circles, his eyes bright stars, his nose spreads out just enough to lead to the wide spread of his perfect mouth. He's been shaving every day and he always looks a little strange without a beard but it makes his eyes all the more intense. That's not a bad thing.

Lochlan tried to ration my time, Bee. 

Did you throw down to sort it out?

No, I let him give me a time and I agreed to it. 

I slide off his lap and fall on my face. Ben's logic sometimes leaves me speechless.

Come back, he pulls me upright.

I thought you weren't going to let him pull alpha. 

He is the alpha. And frankly he needs this. Needs to feel like he's in charge or what does he have?

I look around. Everything. 

Tell a man he can have his wife back when you feel like it and see if they feel that way. 

I'm not into girls.


I don't want him pulling that on you when you've been away forever. 

It's fine. 

Then why did you tattle on him?

So you would be aware, in case you weren't, of  just how much he loves you. I think as open as he tries to be deep down Lochlan is a little boy who doesn't want to share his ice cream. 

Don't say that. He loves you. 

Not the way he loves you. 


No. It's okay, Bridge. 

I know. I much time do we have? 

A couple hours and then I asked him to come hang out with us.

Then why in the hell are we still talking? Take off your clothes.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


I still have hope
Though it failed me so
And now I’m weak where I once was strong
Time’s moved on
All that was is gone
My stronghold is
I live to long
I would have woken up in a panic but in my dream I smelled airplane fuel and I knew before he lifted me up that he was really home.


Tightly I went into Ben's arms with a kiss so that he would know that I was fine, that we were fine. I didn't see at the time and wouldn't until he let go that his other hand was cradled around Lochlan's head. Lochlan slept deeply and didn't wake up at first, didn't smell fuel, didn't notice a six-foot-four dark-haired man come in a week early off his trip because he didn't like what he read and didn't want to be away any more. Two weeks was enough. It was suppose to be three and a bit. I couldn't even talk about it.

My arms flew around his neck. I might not let go until Christmas.

So much has happened. 

I see that. 

I can't see anything. It's too dark. 

Leave it dark. I can see. 

You're a vampire. 

And you've got to let Loch sleep sometime, Bee. He needs it. 

How was your flight?

Too long. 

Did you come back alone? 

No. Everyone's back. Full complement army now, Bridge. Something you probably should have waited for. His eyes flash in the night as mine adjust. I hate to get right into it but I don't trust Caleb's motives for doing this now. It was one of the only cards he still held. 

He's getting old. That's all. He's trying to fix things because we want to do right by each other. Lochlan mutters it from his pillow. He puts a hand up and Ben grasps it tightly in his.

You trust him? 

I don't know. But I wasn't going to refuse the offer. 

Ben looks at me and I shrug.

No, I don't imagine you were. He stares into my face for so long I start wondering if it would be rude to break my return gaze and go back to sleep. I'm not good at being awake. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm just going to involuntarily close my eyes any second now if he doesn't offer a little more sleep-

Let's sleep for a bit. I'm wiped. I just wanted to get back. I wanted to be here with both of you. He throws his arms around both of us and crashes down hard onto the bed and we laugh and leave him in the middle without another word, crowding into close together. I'm pretty sure they were both asleep in seconds and I wasn't far behind. Best two hours of sleep I've had in a while.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Part II: Somewhere along the way it all got mixed up together.

I woke up free. I woke up with salt crusted on my hair, my eyelashes, and on Lochlan's beard. Our clothes were stiff and we smelled like the ocean. We had slept for ten or thirty hours. We slept until we no longer felt so tired. His hands are rough around my head and he wakes up when I try to move.


I sit up and realize Caleb is here too. He's dry and clean. But he's here.


When we burst back into daylight we went running across the yard. I did a cartwheel and then a backflip right off the cliff, starting off so gracefully in the night, so acrobatic before reverting to Bridget-rusted-chicken just as I caught sight of the edge. Doubt poked me, wondering out loud if maybe I wasn't fast enough, if maybe I hadn't kicked out far enough to clear the cliff successfully.

But I had, and I hit the cold water and I woke up alive. Complete. Lochlan surfaced, clutching me, Sam a second later, almost beside me, pushing me back under before I could catch my breath, drowning me in a quick baptism for my own good, shouting about the father, son and the holy whatever just as I started fighting him to breathe again.

Spirit. That's what I surfaced with.

And he laughed as he asked the boys if they would lift me up in prayer, supporting me as one of God's own.

They answered, shouting back in shivering unison and we were already swimming around to the beach.

(Sillies. I'm not God's. I'm theirs.)

When we touched solid ground Sam put his arms around me and said a prayer into my hair so fast I couldn't hear any of it. He put his thumb on my forehead and drew the shape of a cross and he smiled as if I had been saved.

Well, you have, he nodded and handed me over to Lochlan who honestly gets credit for all of this and may or may not have been twisting Caleb's arm so hard he's been squealing for months and Lochlan finally went past humane this week. Enough.


No, this isn't going to be the status quo, yes, you're going to put it all back the way you found it. Jesus, this has gone on long enough. Let go already. Make her whole again. Leave her be. Let her come back. Undo all of the horrible things you did to her and help her already.

And we didn't think Caleb would agree to it. I didn't think he was afraid of Cole too. It makes me sad. I reach down and touch his face from where I sit. His eyes open.

Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. 

I haven't been sleeping, just waiting. But he looks drained.

I'm sorry. But it wasn't his to keep. 

They're going to seal the door this afternoon, Neamhchiontach.

Who is?

Your army. 

Let them. 

If they do this Cole is gone forever. 

He's been gone since I left him, Diabhal. 

Caleb turns away from me, and then nods to the opposite wall. I give him his dignity. He doesn't deserve it but I'm gracious when I don't have to be and cruel when I feel like it, just like everybody else. He turns back, slams a gentle kiss against my salty forehead and tells me he'll see us in a bit.

And then he's gone, which is good because I need to think. I need to feel what it feels like to not have him fragmenting pieces of me, fracturing off my soul to keep like a prize after destroying my childhood in a way I never expected, taking my plans and my hopes and twisting them into something dark and strange and making everything different. I need time with Lochlan, apart from the endless attempts at sabotage, from within, from without.

Is this why everyone always says 'this is the first day of the rest of your life' after something very important happens? 

Yes. This is why, Peanut. Probably never truer than today for you. 

Do you think? 

I do. 

I would have thought that was the day after Jacob died (THWACK painfully still as my heart refuses to acknowledge that word and his name in the same sentence even after all these years).

That was heartbreak. This is healing. 

Is there a diff-

You tell me, Peanut. Tell me if you feel different and you'll see that you already have the answer.

Monday, 11 September 2017


He gave her enough Ambien that she should sleep until Thanksgiving.

She's not asleep though.

How can you tell?

She's tense. 

But I am asleep. I'm drifting in and out. I'm reacquainting myself with my life, filling her in on everything she's missed. And then I fall asleep and lose my place and have to start all over again anyway but that's okay, it's not like she's paying attention anyway. She was always so easily distracted. By lights and colors. By stars. By the smiles of the boys. I don't know if I'm in any less trouble than I ever was but at least things will be easier to manage. 

Or so I was thinking but then another wave of sleep hit me and knocked me off my feet like high tide. I didn't get up until dinner tide and then I couldn't string two sentences together anyway so they topped me up and sent me back.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Part I: Purpose-built.

(They say I have the best imagination in the world.)

Enough liquid courage to not even feel that anymore, to feel nothing at all and he took the crowbar out from between his teeth and jammed it in between the door and the frame. It's a door that's been locked up tight for over thirty years and I don't know why we listened but we suddenly realized we don't have to listen, we never really did and so we don't even have to ask for a key.

Hold him back, I hiss over my shoulder. 

We've got him, they tell me. I hear struggling and then a thump and then silence. 

I look back into the dark. I can't see my hand in front of my face back there. 

It's fine, Bridge. They whisper. Let's get this done. 

He pushes forward on the bar and braces himself but then pauses and looks at me. You ready, Peanut? 

Am I ever. I nod. Or maybe I'm just shaking. Hell if I know. I motion with my hands. Do it. Yes. Come on. 

He pulls back with all of his weight. The door splits somewhere in the middle. The lock holds but the wood doesn't and the door comes apart at the joints. Inside it's blacker than the hallway behind me. A cold rush of air hits me full on. It weighs a ton. 

He holds out his hand. Let's go. 

I take his hand and follow him in. 

His left hand is lit up in flames. He holds it out in front of us but we walk so quickly we overtake the edge too many times to count, tripping over the light, finding a hard darkness. It's slowing us down. He stops for a moment and takes my right hand, kissing the tips of my fingers. 

Trust me? We need more light, Peanut. 

I nod and he ignites the tips of my fingers too. I hold up my right hand and now we're a two-headed flaming monster coming to eat the dark. We're invincible. 

The air gets colder and heavier still. Dead leaves begin to crunch beneath our feet and suddenly everything looks familiar. 

The hallway. 

It's just a different hallway leading down to the concrete room where it's always fall. It's always cold. The leaves are always dried and brown and the stones are always wet and slippery, treacherous and dark. 

And everything always ends at the same door. Everything always seems to begin here too.

Only Jake doesn't live here anymore. I didn't have the heart to leave him down here when they stopped letting me come down here. It isn't a real place but it's dangerous all the same. 

Oh my God. 

He's left it with Cole-


I turn the wheel but it's rusted shut from being closed so long. Lochlan throws his weight against it and finally it turns and the door swings open slowly, just enough for us to slip inside the room, one at a time. Lochlan starts to light up again and Cole lets out an unholy scream and then I do too. 

Put them out! He doesn't like the light!

Lochlan won't look at me though, he's only looking at Cole. Cole's wings are out. Defensive positioning. Full black wings now grown to a full fifteen or seventeen-foot span. A little daunting. He's always been a little daunting. A lot intense. Frightening in a way I don't even recall being to this degree.

But he's not looking at us. He's looking behind us.

I turn and there's Jake.

White wings out to counter. Good versus bad. Light versus dark. Heaven versus Hell. I look into Jacob's blue eyes and he smiles so wearily at me.

Get what you came here for, Princess, but hurry. 

I panic, because I don't even know what to look for.

But Lochlan's already halfway there, circling around Cole.

Bridget, come and look at this.

Cole is still raging at Jacob and isn't paying attention to us. Which is good. I can't stop shaking. I feel like Caleb sent us on some kind of wild goose chase for kicks. Go rile up the angels, he probably thought. Go let them tear you to pieces, he probably hoped.

Lochlan points to the wall. High up in a nook, carved into the jagged concrete surface sits a small wrought iron cage. It's only about a foot tall, maybe less, round with a tiny door on one side and a hook on the top.

There, he says.

There's nothing in there, I tell him, disappointed.

Watch it, he says, holding my shoulders, keeping me trained on it.

I watch.

Lochlan, I don't- And then I see it. The smallest displacement of air. Almost like there's an invisible bird in the cage and it just fluttered its wings.

He turns his face to stare at me. I've never seen a look like that.

I'll be back. 

He'll kill you! 

We have to get it. 

I have to get it. 

No way. 

It's the only way. Just stay here. 

He turns but there's Jake.

Jake smiles at me again and wraps me in his wings, walking directly behind me. Bulletproof. Cole-proof. At one point I felt like I was and now I am again. It makes me sad but I have a job to do. I reach the cage but I can't lift it. Jake can't touch it either and so I open the door of the cage, reaching both hands in. Instinctively I close them around the roiling fluttering bit of air I feel and a tiny soft feeling pushes against my hands as they close, like a bird. I press my hands against my chest and then the feeling goes right inside me and I feel warm. I feel like I'm going to cry. I feel like me again. I feel like I no longer have to make that odd distinction between twelve-year-old me and now-me ever since. I have her back. My soul. The one part of me Caleb has kept from me ever since that night up until now.

This is the reason I have this army. This is why I needed all this. Everything has been building up until this moment and now it is here.

I turn and look at them.

Did it work? PJ looks so tense he's a human land mine.

Of course it did, says Andrew. Look at her!

Duncan smiles.

Lochlan bursts into tears and Jake puts a hand on his shoulder. You all have to go now. He'll find out soon that his treasure his missing. He points at Cole, who has retreated to a high corner.

We hurry to get through the door again. Once in the hallway, we're met by Caleb, who is sombre and pale.

How is he? 


I just took the very last think he loved in this world. 

He's not a part of this world, I tell Caleb, and you shouldn't be either for this. 

That's why I returned your soul to you. It belongs to you so you should have it back.

You should have come to get it yourself. 

He won't let me near it, Bridget, I've tried. 

I just stare at it. He's probably right. And Jacob would never have helped anyone but me.

I hate to interrupt this, Sam says, but I need to get her baptized. The sooner, the better. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

On the piper paying me.

It's a gift. Don't open it now. Do it later, when you have a little quiet. 

The envelope is white, a simple laser-cut lace pattern gracing the flap on the back. The front is completely plain, save for my name, written in Caleb's loopy penmanship.


This is new.

I nod and he gives me a hurried kiss on the forehead and a shove inside the opened back door, home. I tuck the envelope into the pocket of my skirt and forget all about it, sending it through the washing machine this morning. And then the dryer too.

I bring it to him just after lunch today as it is a hard little paper egg and I can't get it apart so I guess we have to start over. I doubt it was cash, he usually just scribbles a line or so to check my account or not even, sometimes he just lists a reason, and I have to embark on a financial scavenger hunt to find the actual 'gift'.

This is my fault, I shouldn't have asked you to wait. Just a moment. I'll make up another. 

He disappears down the hall to his office. I follow.

Can't you just tell me what it says? 

Honestly, Neamhchiontach, this gift is one that involves a rather large amount of humility on my part and I would rather not be present for any of it. I'm trying to do things I should have done a long time ago.

I frown. What are you talking about? 

He takes a deep breath and lets it out. You'll understand shortly. Have Lochlan there when you open it, maybe. Yes. Make sure he's there and make sure he's with you when you go to collect. That part is very important. If he can't then you'll have to come back for me to go with you. Promise me. 

I promise-

Now go. Another envelope, another shove and I'm left in yesterday again.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

On paying the piper without first hearing a sound.

I'm busy trying to plan a birthday party for the upcoming cool rainy weekend, but the Devil won't let go of me. He has the air conditioner turned up high and the smoky sky makes everything dim under the skylights so his room is a cozy getaway, all dark grey sheets and dark wood panelled walls. It's not a big room, the only things in it are his king-sized bed, a single square nightstand with two large drawers with a huge glass lamp set on top and an entire wall that unfolds to reveal a closet. No walk-in closet, just a row of suits and technical gym gear and flannel and jeans. No ensuite, since the bathroom is directly across the hall. It's a simple, minimal but luxuriously-appointed executive guesthouse for an exceedingly complicated man. I don't know how he lives here so happily sometimes but he loves it.

Payback is going to be exquisite for Lochlan's private birthday party Saturday night. I just had to have a lot of technical help behind the scenes. I'm not exactly technical, and also asking for a lot of help while telling people they're not invited was tremendously tough and so I threw in a Jesus birthday brunch for this upcoming Sunday after church with every bell and whistle I could ring and blow to soften the slight and it worked a treat. It's going to a busier weekend than last weekend, in a completely different way and I'm excited but also in a completely different way. I've been plotting this for a while and I can't wait. 

I really have to go, I tell the skylight with its yellowy mustard-pines framed in the ceiling above. 

Caleb's arms tighten around me and his deep-sleepy and at least still somewhat-kindly voice says Not until I'm good and ready.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The day asked for payment in blood and instead I offered six quarts of fresh dill pickles and first semester's tuition. I offered the imaginary lunch I forgot to eat (shhhhh), smoky skies that make me almost happy to forget to breathe and when the day isn't looking I inch a little closer to night, and to the next day which brings a promise of clearer skies and cooler temperatures.

Summer has taken on all the characteristics of a stubbed-out cigarette butt at this point and I'm done. Bring on the endless rivers, the raindrops, the dim, the petrichor shoved so far up my nose there's moss mixed in with my hair. Bring on the Vancouver jokes, bring on the ark, bring on the rainforest proper, bring on the mountains eroding in tiny rivulets down into the glacier beds and beneath those the icy clear lakes. Bring back the blue and green beauty. Bring it back to life. For Gods sake, I can't wait to put on a sweater. I can't wait to be cold. I can't wait to wear my raincoat everywhere. I can't wait to need a blanket. I can't wait for my deoderant to work again. That alone would be nice because wow.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Being a grownup means you can save your birthday for the weekend.

Everything's happening at once today and I'm pretty sure a bunch of breathless Happy Birthdays tossed out at Lochlan after the bazillion degree heat of yet another sleepless night into another smoky morning on the surface of Mars means we'll reschedule when things are less hectic.

And we will.

But it's still his birthday.

It's also the first day of school.

And it's really really freaking hot.

Raincheck to be issued this evening, blank date inside.

(Also OH OH OH American Horror Story: Cult starts tonight. Don't disappoint me, fuckers.)

Monday, 4 September 2017

Stones for miles.

It is the calm between birthday storms and I need...a Red Bull? Another espresso? Maybe a bump or five snorted off the back of my han-


For fucks sakes, I'm kidding. I wasn't a smart eighteen-year-old, teetering my way through many a Vegas trip high on more than just my stilettos and it was the only time I had the energy to stay up late or not feel tired.

Ruth has a chance to do so much better. To be so much better, as Caleb to her is a second-generation Sugar Daddy and absolutely nothing more than that ever.

She starts university tomorrow. Someone please roll things back. I don't think I was ever actually ready when she walked out the door for her first day of Grade two after we ended the grand homeschooling experiment. And I'm definitely not ready now.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Fragile things that float.

Caleb isn't as calm as I am. I figure out of all of us, I must be the healthiest one. Physically, I mean. Well, except for the parasitic twin that's eating me from my brain outwards. Mentally, I'm the sickest by far.

What did they say it was?

Atrial fibrillation. But I just have to watch it.

Bridget, this is nothing to mess around with.

Yes, I'm totally playing with my heartbeat.

(When I was little I used to think if I held my breath, my heart would sto- Wait. Does it? Does it stop if I hold my breath? I just realized I don't actually know if it does. Great.)

I can call my specialist.

Who is busy and doesn't need you culling favours. My doctor is qualified-

She said to come back if it got worse. Does she know your definition of 'worse' is dead?

I will go back if it gets worse! Jesus! Can we talk about something else? Like how the headaches have been mostly absent? Like how I've got six weeks in on these pills and I'm doing great for once, thanks? Like how this is the busiest weekend of my life coming up and I'm not ready and it's too hot? Or we can talk about how everyone isn't asking the right questions, like 'What can I do, Bridget?' That would be nice to talk about. Yes, indeedy.

Or we could fuck off and go spend the afternoon in bed.

That would mean I would get absolute nothing done.

Not true.

Oh really? What would I get done?

Me. He grins.

I laugh. He's never crass. I love it. Maybe later. (Give the dog a bone) Right now write down eggs and balloons on the list for me, would you?


Unrelated, but I need both, yes.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Pink bunny suits (this is not patronizing, Matt, I promise.) (Not our Matt.)

You're technically second only to Jesus, and Ben is jealous.

Lochlan just snorts, because he's used to this. Used to being passed over for what he calls infatuations and ideals that will pass in time but this time is going on decades now, if you want to be technical, and we are, because I said we are, second word of the day. Look. See?

After all the big scary Pacific Northwest bugs and the fine highwire act of late and staring down fall and the long slow slide into little sleep and crowding ghosts and not nearly enough coffee and searching for radio stations on an overheated horizon I stayed in bed this morning. No rush to get up. No plans until later.

I rolled over and pulled my headphones on. Hit play on a mislabeled CD called 'Deluxe CD 2' because the boys are lazy and when we pooled into what is now the developed world's largest private iTunes library it became a bit of a mess. But there halfway down the page was the biggest midyear Christmas present I've ever seen.

9. Prime Time Deliverance (Acoustic)


The CD is now labelled properly. In A Coma (Disc 2). And Matthew Good is my spirit animal. Though Sam said spirit guide might be kinder, and he would be correct, as Matthew's voice has been like a warm hand on my back where Jesus was nowhere to be found more than once. He's like a familiar face always there in a sea of strangers, a comforting melody in a room full of uncomfortable sounds, a hopeful feeling in a hopeless minute.

So when people say music saved their life, take them seriously. It did. Maybe you don't have to bear the weight, Matthew, if it's a burden. I know you have your own burdens to carry but know that at some point those words you put out there into the ether set to music found their way into someone else's soul and got stuck hard enough to cause permanent healing. It can be symbolic.

(Not infatuation, just profound gratitude, for if I had never spun that radio dial I never would have heard your voice way back when. Kind of like this morning spinning through random lists on my phone. It's fate.)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Tasted the first grapes. Ben broke a tiny bunch off and held them up over my face, and an earwig promptly fell off from somewhere in the middle, unseen, right into my open mouth.

I didn't know I could scream so loud.

After I was done spitting and pawing at my face and trying to throw up, I mean.

You got it, he said, pointing at a lovely splash on a concrete block. I look closely and see a crushed HALF.


You probably ate it. 


They're supposed to be full of protein. 

Cue more screaming.

Ben ate a few to show me it was no big deal. Jesus Christ. That just made the screams compound on top of one another. I don't know what he was thinking. It took almost an hour and the contents of four houses of people running out to the yard to get me from the screaming to the mildly-hyperventilating but-still-can't-speak stage.

We're going to spend the rest of the day sharpening our pitchforks and making as many torches as we can before dark. The war is ON.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Making plans.

School starts in a week. Ruthie has her University freshman orientation, and Henry has a two-hour find-your-homeroom/meet-the-new-admin-faces for Grade Eleven. I'm ready. They're ready. We had a fantastic summer. It was too warm. We did a lot without going all that far. We still have a lot to do. Ruth and Lochlan's birthdays span the upcoming week. I might perish from this heatwave and in between, yes I found pretty much every single thing on Ruth's ridiculous scavenger-hunt of a birthday list that I've been chipping away at since June.

The last thing arrived yesterday in the mail and she works the next two nights straight so I can get all the wrapping done. I'll bake on Saturday. Sunday is family day. She picks the meal, we have cake and presents. She'll pick a day to have her friends over to eat burgers, swim in the pool and watch horror movies if they can find a day clear for all of them with their jobs, university schedules and obligations, and then we take a deep breath and celebrate Lochlan's birthday on Tuesday, but probably Monday instead, since Tuesday is the first day of routine again and will be crazy.

He is easy to shop for. We don't really do presents so much. Never really have. He loves a good meal, a good drink and the speeches we make. He loves fire. He loves the dark. He loves fire in the dark. He loves me, and the kids and his friends and this life and he'll probably be a sappy drunk but we'll celebrate 18 and 52 in style. The way we always do.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Chickens can't swim.

I'm swimming with the Devil this morning. It's forty degrees in the shade and the sea feels like a bathtub. Hardly refreshing though it's not as if we are here for R&R. Caleb swims for sport, for fitness, for endurance. Caleb is one of those super-pro athletes who does everything from long-distance running to triathalons to hockey to cross-country skiing to twenty-eight thousand rounds of golf before brunch. He always has the right gear, it all matches even, he knows all the right terminology and he knows everyone in all the sports and they know him. It's a little disconcerting. It's downright weird but at the same time I like it better than if he were Mr. White Collar twenty-four hours a day. Did I mention he rides as well? Horses and motorcycles. He's in to freaky sex. He likes chocolate and romantic movies. He buys scented candles for when I'm over. He holds the fucking door open every single time.

The guy's perfect on paper.

Off paper, well, I warned you.

I should have worn a spare bikini because it's so hot out but when ocean swimming I wear a Nike tank suit. It's purple and navy and it covers everything and it's highly appropriate and it yet OF COURSE I brought my loud mermaid towel because I'm like that. There are the remains of glitter temporary tattoos on my legs and arms and I'm streaky white after Duncan insisted on the 60 Sunblock and put it on me too thickly.

In other words, nothing matches.

I can't keep up with Caleb anyway. I'm still technically a novice swimmer, but much better than I was and I don't start to panic until we pass the end of the breakwater and I look down and I can't see anything and I start thinking of Cole's monsters and Caleb tells me to breathe, that along here it's mostly clean, dredged bottom, mostly small rocks, like the beach over at Whytecliff. That I know better than to think there are sea monsters for all the deep dives I have done from these cliffs.

But I can't do it.

I turn toward shore and forget all my moves, falling back on a mental paralysis that leaves me paddling like a dog, biting my lip not to cry and wishing I had never come out here this morning, that he's a bully and a savage and that I don't need his shit, that if I have issues after all this time and he can't understand or accept them, then someone else will. Anger slowly absorbs my fear and by the time my feet touch the rocks again I'm okay and he's right behind me anyway, full of apologies.

He follows me right to the rock with our towels.

You don't have to come up. 

I don't swim alone. 

I'll wait here and watch you then. 

It's fine, I think we've had enough for one day.


Bridget, don't be. I understand. I think you did terrific. If you want this is something we can work on. 

You're going to help me learn to conquer my monsters? I laugh.

This one, I can. 

I think I'm good, thanks. Maybe bring John or someone who can keep up. 

Bridget, stop for a minute. 


You did wonderfully. I know it's hard. I'm proud of you. I'm thrilled that you leave a trail of glitter in the water, and that you have a rainbow mermaid towel and that you lose your shit thinking of sea monsters the minute you can't touch bottom. I'm happy you offered to come with me anyway, and I'm touched that you worked so hard to try to keep your shit together when you were freaking out. I want to know if a drink would make it better. Maybe we can each go home, shower, change and meet back on my patio for a nerve-stabilizer and maybe talk about some dinner plans in an hour? 

I nod.

Oh, and for the record. Bridget? I would have preferred the bikini too. 

I don't think it fits you. 

He laughed out loud.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Er...Tarantula Jesus.

We started in the camper and ended in the bedroom because Benjamin came out and he doesn't fit in the camper so we left the door open and were promptly joined by a spider the size of my fucking FACE which elicited no small amount of screaming from me and I may have said the next time I go out there without a blowtorch in hand there will be snow on the ground.

The spiders here are huge. HUUUUUGGEEEEEEEE. Ugh.

On the upside, going in the house led to ice cream sundaes in bed and binge-watching Ozark in the buff and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Unless you ask Sam, who popped in on his way home from church. We invited him to join our naked sugary Netflix binge but he only frowned and pointed out our glaring absences.

Sorry, Sam. Bridget saw a spider the size of her face-

The SIZE of my FACE-

And so she's traumatized so we're having a pajama day to cheer her up. 

I don't see any pajamas, Sam says wearily, tugging at his tie.

I ate them, Ben says helpfully and Sam giggles. Ben grins. He likes being the one who cheers everyone up.

Don't miss next week, it's your pumpkin spice service. The back to school one. 

We won't. I promise as I roll my eyes at his description.

Is the show good? 

The BEST. 

What happened to the spider? 

I'm pretty sure it screamed back and ran off across the lawn. 

Great. So no more bare feet in the grass? 

No, we can still do that, but just remember your pitchfork and torch. 

Okay, gotcha.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A cure for wanderlust.


I'm coming. It's late. I need to get dinner started, I know. I was stalling maybe. I get overwhelmed and then I procrastinate.

No, I was going to tell you, we've got pizza downstairs. 


It's Saturday night, and it's almost forty degrees. You're not cooking. Do you want to go down and eat in the kitchen or I can bring some up for us? 

(Ruth is working and Henry's at a sleepover so it's not like we're willfully bowing out of family dinner or anything).

Maybe we could eat out front. 

Or in the hammock. Take the whole pitcher of lemonade and a box of pizza and barricade ourselves in the hammock for the night.

Why don't we just take it to-

The camper-

The camper.



We smile at each other stupidly because suddenly it's 1982 and all we have in the world is a stupid pizza, some cold lemonade and each other and we're so happy we can't even stand it. He always could fix things. Better than anybody.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Raisin hell.

August is going full-bore today. Not in the fun way, either. He sat in a chair on the other side of the living room and told me I could sit anywhere I wanted. So I curled up in bed with a granola bar.

(My hands just kept on going there, and I wrote granola bard. Now I have this vision of an old hippie standing in the sun with his grey dreads mixing into his beard quoting Shakespeare while he talks to the skull of a baby goat and I want to draw him before it goes away.)

If you could do anything today, what would it be, besides get crumbs in my bed which you know I really don't like?

I would have brunch on the beach, go for a quick swim, finish my book and then come back up, tracking sand all through the house, empty my pockets of shells onto the counter beside the sink, leave all the doors and windows open and the lights on, have a shower, put on a comfy sundress and cook a light supper while drinking a bottle of wine and listening to music. 

How is this different from any other day? 

I lock my doors. Also I don't really like wine all that much.

So security is a concern, and you've forgone the wine for whiskey and water. 

Where are you going with this? 

What's keeping you from doing this? 

No one's up for brunch. Everyone had breakfast, or is still asleep. I can't cook a light supper while drinking wine or whiskey because there's too much work to be done and as hard as I try to track sand into the house by the time I get up here there isn't much left. 

What do you get from that explanation? 

Well, clearly my first-world problems consist of having to exist within everyone else's schedule and being too far from the beach! Way to make me feel like a spoiled brat. I want to simplify my life, not resent it, August! 

How would you simplify it? 

We've had this discussion before. Y'all live up here together. I move down to the beach to my own cabin. I come visit whenever I want. Perfect solution. Okay, are we done? I have to start dinner soon-

Sit down, Bridget. 

I get back into his bed, crumbs and wrapper and all and pull the covers up over my head. I give out a mournful sigh and hear him chuckle. I yell asshole just loud enough for him to hear it.

Let's talk about PJ. 

Isn't that a conflict of interes-

Only if I'm interested, and I'm not-

Oh, wow. I think I'll go home now. Thanks for the granola barb. (Now I'm picturing him stabbing me all over with pointy sharp things that hurt, like he's filed peanuts and raisins into shivs, which, let's face it, that's pretty much what he's done here.)

Bridget, sit down. 

Only if PJ is off the list of appropriate subjects. 

Okay, let me do it this way. Did anyone give you a hard time about him?




What did he do? 

Sent a dozen alternating threatening and disappointed texts to me and threatened PJ physically. 

How did that go? 

How do you think? PJ laughed and put him on his ass. May I please go now?

On one condition. If you want to talk about PJ, you know where I am.

And if you want to stop kidding yourself about how much you love me, same. Because you're not the kind of man who sleeps with someone for kicks, but nice try. Again, thanks for the granola scar (yup, ruined for LIFE.).

Thursday, 24 August 2017

If you're cranky and you know it *CLAP*

Let it rain until it floods
Let the sun breathe life once more
Sam found me on the way upstairs, maybe looking for a little redemption of his own. He put his arms up to embrace me and I put my hands up to block my face, suddenly completely unwilling for the first time in my life to accept another moment of affection in a way that isn't me. I backed up until I hit the wall and slid down until I was on the floor.

Who were you with. It's an order. The longer Sam lives here the more his anger comes out sounding exactly like Caleb.

Because apparently it's never my fault. But I'm not outing anyone today and PJ didn't do anything wrong.

I shake my head. I'm just really tired and I can't do this right now.

Come with me, I'll get you to your room.

I know the way, Samuel. Please. I'll see you later. Look, I've been up all night and I'm just really touchy. I need some sleep and then I'll be human again but I'm at that barf-stage of being tired and it's the least-pretty and I don't need you to see it. Please. 

Can we talk later? 

Of course. 

Love you, Bridge. 

Me, too. He watches as I get up and head upstairs. Once I close the door I let out a huge long sigh and burst into fresh tears. Oh my God why am I so tired? Why did that whole exchange go so wrong so quickly?

What's wrong? 

Lochlan's sitting on the bed. Jeans and a rumpled flannel shirt he was wearing when I last saw him show me he didn't sleep yet either.

Sam just left? 

He slept here. I just booted him. I worked all night on the camper. No point sleeping alone. But when I came back here he was. He laughs but it's bitter. I figured you'd come back eventually but you never did. 


Well, that's a singular excuse I didn't really expect. 

PJ didn't pay attention to the time. 

You were pretending you were Nukes? 


It's fine, Bridge. I used to do that to. When I was with Keira. We actually were a nuclear family for a heartbeat. I'm not upset about it. I didn't think you'd be gone for so long, that's all. Where is he? 


He nods. We should do the same. What happened with Sam? 

He made a move and then got oddly quiet-ragey. 

Sam's having a rough go. Just treat him gently. 

He should do the same for me! 

He does, Peanut. Don't cry. Come get some sleep. You'll feel better in a couple hours. 

I sure hope so. Remind me not to do this anymore. 

I have been for a while now. But he said it so softly it took my brain a while to piece the sounds together, discern the meaning and deliver it to me as I fell off the edge of my consciousness, and I didn't get to respond.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

[Probably NSFW] Choose your own adventure.

Oh my dear
Heaven is a big bang now
Gotta get to sleep somehow
Bangin' on the ceiling
Bangin' on the ceiling
Keep it down
He put the big headphones around my neck, dialed up the music and smiled in the dark.

Come sit on your throne, Bridge,
he laughs.

And then he stretched out on his back, pulling me up onto his face until I had a great vantage point of the stars from somewhere between his nose and the end of his beard.

At some point his left hand came up and pulled the back of my head down and his right hand came up and covered my mouth. The headphones slid off my skull and the world got quiet again, save for my whimpers and cries but eventually those faded too, replaced with competing heartbeats, as they tried to sync up like all the other parts of us, save for our faces. He's too big and I end up tucked into a warm place just underneath the same beard. It's okay though, eventually he dumps me on my face, lifts my hips up and takes a sweet but somewhat degrading turn, always tempered with one hand underneath me, just so it's fair. Just so I'm screaming into his pillow. Just so he gets those bragging rights he can't even share because he's not like that, because this is rare, because we don't technically have a thing.

By the time the stars fade into sunrise, he pulls me back up, untangles the headphone cord which had left me in a danger that I'm not sure he was all that concerned about, frankly, and then pushes me flat on my back for one more go. I can hardly keep my eyes open. The rush of oxygen and adrenaline is sapping whatever strength I have remaining but he is wired. He holds himself up above me, makes it hurt just a little, makes it slow, makes it beautiful, moving to a crawl, even harder until I think I might cry from exhaustion and then suddenly he switches to beast mode and I think I might cry from fear and then he squeezes me so hard up against him I worry I might burst and then I won't cry at all because there will be nothing left of me. Such a rollercoaster of emotions as I am kissed and placed gently back on earth before he stretches out beside me with a mighty sigh and a ridiculously sleepy grin.

He went a good six hours or more over his time but I didn't have the heart to tell him to stop. I didn't have the heart to leave. I didn't have the heart to let go. He represents normal to me. Always has. He personifies what would have been a normal life, had life ever been normal. Had I turned to page 67. Had I taken that offer to just marry him instead of anyone else, that he cooks and cleans and can take care of us in a solid, steady and loving way that is completely different and yet completely wonderful too.

I have to go, Padraig.

But he's already asleep. That's how normal he is.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Daniel called it the Muggle Struggle.


Four days without music because iTunes up and randomly broke. Just...broke and Lochlan did that terrible thing where he snorted, blamed Firefox (which I had just reinstalled two weeks prior after spending a good six months dealing with crashing and blank webpages in Chrome) and told me to fix it myself.

I did. I just did.

It ate around a fifth of my music, removing random albums altogether, not caring if they were ones I ripped/imported, pirated or bought directly in iTunes. I don't know what the hell happened but I put it all back together (finally deleting all of the Ariana Grande/One Direction stuff from when Ruth was in Elementary School) and then did a back-up.

So I should be good for a day or so. Or an hour or whatever.

(Twenty minutes, I bet.)

I break things with my mind. I think it's the electricity. The random emotional energy that spills out because there's too much and it has nowhere to go. That's why key fob batteries die so fast around me, laptops up and spontaneously fail and I can make streetlights turn off just by pointing to them.

It scares Lochlan. That's why he's so brusque. That and he doesn't want to spend any more time messing with my machine after he misheard me a few days ago when iTunes started acting up and he gave me a playlist for every single artist. That elicited a mighty anguished wail. Oh my God. I hate playlists. Well, except for sex playlists. But I can't hear them anyway so nevermind.

(I deleted the playlists, one by one. It took a long time. Jesus Christ. My music collection should not be digital save for the fact that I would have to drive a U-Haul to carry it around with me otherwise. I used to have to stand there for forty-minutes in the morning picking a tape to bring for my bus ride downtown. I was late most days. How do you pick just one? I don't have room to bring extras and the ride's only an hour so there's only time for one album anyway. How can I choose? Every damn day was anguish. Cole would offer to pick for me. I would just swear at him. Nooooooooooo. Just MOVE so I can SEE THE TAPES, FUCKER.)

But this morning I picked up my iPhone and I frowned. Caleb looked at me.

What's the matter?

This feels light. 

He laughed. What are you talking about? 

Sure enough, that fifth of music was missing. But I've put it all back now and the phone feels right again, sitting with the weight of 64.96 GB of music on it. I was ruthless in what I left off, too. I could have loaded over a hundred on it. But once again Lochlan told me it would take me the rest of my life to listen to everything I have on here now and once again I asked him why that's so important while Sam stood very quietly in the doorway.

You can feel the weight of the digital music? 

She's weird, PJ reassures him, as if that answers his question.

Yes, I can and yes I am. Sorry but it's true. But I married a guy who can start a fire by snapping his fingers and that's not supposed to be weird at all, oh no. I get it.

Whatever. It's hot out. I'm going out to plug my phone into the underwater speakers for the pool (tech I adore) and then I'm going to sit at the bottom for a couple hours and see if they notice I haven't made dinner.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Partial ellipse.

Forget pets, boys act weird during an eclipse.

Yes. They do. I just did a scientific study with a small but reliable pool of subjects. And they were weird, trust me. Lochlan woke up this morning in a mood, one of those No-one-touches-my-wife moods, and we spent an inordinate amount of time hoisting the telescopes up to the roof, so much time, in fact that he lost his nerve and wouldn't let me up there once the festivities began, because I'm a child, you see and not just any child but an exceedingly curious child.

(I would have totally looked.)

No, I wouldn't. I would have thought about it but I already can't read the fucking instructions on all of the little bottles of things Sephora gives me so I'm not going to risk my vision.

But would you trust me? I don't even trust me. And so he pretended we were running late making some food to take up and sure enough it was over by the time he realized we were 'missing' it and perhaps some day I'll forgive him but it won't be today.

Nope, not today.

The relief from the others told me it was a group effort and had he not been able to pin me in the kitchen they had multiple backup plans in place just in case.

How curious am I, again?

Oh, right. That curious.

I don't know what to say. Should I be sorry? Eclipses don't happen every day. None of you were there in Grade 1 when I walked home from school with my homemade cereal-box viewer and every ounce of determination I had jacked out hard not to look the last time I was left unattended during one of these things. I think I can be accountable for myself and I think for something appropriately magical it isn't fair that I be denied based on projected fears. No I don't.

Kind of sounds like Burning Man, which starts this week too and I don't know if it took me a few decades but I'm STARTING TO SENSE A PATTERN.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Barefoot Bridge and Jesus.

I didn't wear shoes to church today.

Forgot my purse too.

Grabbed my phone at the last minute and once there, I turned in the pew to see if Loch was coming and Duncan's hand slid up my thigh, taking my dress with it. His hand was so warm I may have burst into flames and I had to give up looking for anyone or God knows what Duncan would have found in his travels. It was by fluke that I didn't go commando, that's how warm I am today. I turned back around and sat down and patted his hand and put it back on his own leg. Then I picked up the bible from the rack in front of me and started pretending to read it earnestly only I didn't have my glasses with me so I couldn't see much for the tiny print. Fuck. I put it back and pretend to examine my nails.

Duncan leans in, pressing his brown curls against my halo of blonde. Sorry, Babe. He kisses my bangs and I turn to look up at him. I meant to get your attention and you turned and I couldn't pull my brain out of it in time. He smiles sweetly, all teeth and I can't be mad save for that fact that we try to be low-key about the Collective in church. Of all places.

Lochlan slides in against my other side, arm around me. What's the smile for? 

Just apologizing. I tried to get Bridget's attention and almost felt her up when she turned to see if you were coming in and she's been gracious in not shaming me into flames. 

That's my job, right? Lochlan laughs. If you kept your hands to yourself- Then he looks at me. Bridget. What? We're not late are we? 

I'm warm. 

Did you bring shoes?


Does Sam know? 

I didn't make an announcement. I'm trying to be subtle here. 

This is like your uniform through the entirety of the eighties, you know. Sundress. Tan, freckles. No shoes. That's it. I'd be surprised if you're wearing underwear.

Surprise. I actually am. 

Wonders never cease. 

I certainly hope not. 

Never change, Fidget. 

I was hoping to improve. 

Nothing to improve upon. Though I don't think we can go out for lunch. No place will let you in without shoes. 


Hell yes.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Fair sanctuaries.

I didn't call his bluff, didn't bluster over for his test or his free pass or his freaky Lochlanish fair-weather ways. I followed him all the way to the house and then veered abruptly left, quietly left, and so I was in the garage, door locked and closed behind me, up the other stairs and knocking softly on the unlocked door down the unused back hall of August's flat in the waning hours before Lochlan even knew where I went. I was hoping he would understand and not panic and think I got snatched by a bear. I asked August to text him and tell him that much and just tell him that I was sorry and August smiled gently and said,

Do it yourself, Bridget. Please. 

So I did and Lochlan just wrote back I love you. 

Because he does and I think he understands.

If he does that makes one of us, at least.

August put on the record player and we swung in place listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer for a couple of hours straight and I gave up trying to stay awake and since August is one of those absolutely perfect men when I woke up from my catnap he made hot chocolate with vegan raw marshmallows but thankfully didn't tell me that's what they were until after, and he fixed us a plate of homemade flax crackers and some fruit to share. We talked a little bit about nothing and about everything too.

He got the Joel-update required so I don't actually have to talk to Joel and then he walked me back across the driveway so I wouldn't get snatched by a bear. Lochlan was sitting on the steps just inside the back door, nearly asleep, leaning against the wall, slack-jawed, eyes closed. He jumped to his feet when the door opened and August laughed. Take him up so he can get his beauty sleep, Bridge. He needs it more than you do. He kissed us both on the tops of our heads and we waited and watched him until he reached the other side of the garage door again.

I need to show you something. Lochlan takes my hand and leads me through the house. We go upstairs, through our rooms and right out to the balcony, where there are candles everywhere, some already suffocated to the bottom and in the center of the tile floor a low table set with beautiful dishes, covered plates and cushions all over the floor. It's like the Afghan Horseman restaurant but here at home. Exotic music plays on the stereo. He's tied tapestries all over the place to close it in. It's amazing.

Had you called my bluff you would have been surprised with a romantic middle eastern dinner for two. Just us. 

Why would you bait me? 

Because you would show up. You don't like being dared so you just take them. You always march right past me and say well, come on. I was a bit stunned when you didn't. 

I'm so sorry. But you could have messaged me and told me the truth when I left. 

I'm not going to guilt you into coming back. 

But all of your hard work went to waste! 

Not really. Ben and I had an intensely romantic dinner together. But don't worry. It was take out. 

I would have loved this. 

Well then, did you learn your lesson?

Did you learn yours?

But we're too tired to be profound or to wait for answers so we settle for crashing into bed instead.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Saturday night's...alright...for...fighting..??

That's one of the other things I love about the beach is how it sounds at night: muted and amplified all at the same time, which is mostly how life sounds for me overall, quieted in places and overly loud in others, only I don't get to pick and it's never the same things at the same time. The surf is loud, pounding out an unsteady beat against the shore. My heart tries to match, tries to prove we're kindred, tries to prove my blood is seawater within but I only end up feeling dizzy and weak in the face of so much directionless power.

It's not directionless. The tide goes in, the tide goes out. It pulls the moon. 'Tis a game to her. Lochlan says it softly, such beautiful words in his quiet lilt. My eyes fill up and defocus and now everything is black. I would find my way by sound, but I don't have echolocation. I would find my way by touch but I've touched the ocean floor and she wants to keep me. I would try not to cry but it's pointless, for words are never just words, are they?

She's a lot like you. 

In what way?

Beautiful beyond words. Bottomless. Playful yet dangerous. And blue. Always blue. He stares at me just a little bit shyly. Words always came easily when he was teaching, never when he was describing what was in his heart. Then he would trip and stumble, picking up speed, dropping letters, doubling back for meanings, making sure I understood what he meant, even as I've never had the same difficultly when I couldn't grasp the language for the life of me half the time in the most basic of fashions.


Blue. She's yours. It's why we're here. Well, she and the Collective. 

I smile quickly and then it's gone off to hide in the dark somewhere.

You can have what you want, Bridget. We've had this conversation. I don't know if you need a reminder or if you're looking for some sort of permission but this entire commune is yours. You do what you want. 

Another smile. This smile says Bridget's about to barf.


I'm not going to spend the next six months watching you set up some elaborate game with Dalton, he your moon, you the ocean. 


Just drown him up front. Bring him back. Get on with things. 

That's abrupt. 

I didn't say it wouldn't kill me. 

Then I'll banish him. 

Then someone else becomes a target. 

Then I'll banish them all. 

You sound like a benevolent queen. 

Who would do anything for her king. Oops. Freakishly loud in a moment where everything else suddenly muted.

He smiles so warmly it's hard to enjoy the cold night air in the tortured state I was expecting. One of the joys of loving a redhead is you're perpetually sticking your hands, fingers, toes, heart and brain into the fire alongside them. Them and their mixed messages.

I love you. But you can still have Dalton. 

What if I don't want him?

No one believes that. 

I don't want him this week. Or this season, I mean. He seems like a

Lochlan throws back his head and laughs. This is why I love you. 

Because I have now almost slept with the entire collective?

No, because when offered something once forbidden on a silver platter you suddenly duck and run. 

I'm going to go for a swim. 

Cool off? 



I don't mean ACTUALLY.

No swimming. Besides, we have plans. 

What did you do?

You'll see. But Dalton's invited so we should really go now. Brush the sand off your bum and put a smile on your face there, bluebird.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Cows is killing me and other fun Thursday things.

Another ride up to Whistler today. Crankworx is going on. It's very busy, dirty and things somehow cost more. Take note, tourists..

Also Cows is catching up with me, as I can no longer eat a cone of their beautiful ice cream, even with Lactose pills beforehand. I spent most of the trip home trying to be beautiful and fragile in the car with Caleb while dying with gas pains.


Caleb was mad anyway because I might have cuddled with Dalton a little bit out loud and since I did that he wondered what the hell I must have done in private and since I'm a lady I didn't tell him anything. I kept changing the subject. He kept changing it back. I shook him down for ice cream and he hardly noticed what flavor we got (coffee) or how bad traffic was for a Thursday or the fact that I rushed him along. He was distracted to a fault with his almost-shaved retribution head, his punishment hair, his eye-for-an-eye.

It will grow back in a couple weeks. It wasn't long to begin with, and he had it fixed professionally from where Lochlan didn't worry about keeping it even or anything reasonable.

When we got back Lochlan was in the driveway.

You look pale. He tells me.

Ice cream, I think. 

You don't do dairy well, Peanut. Never did. One thing a day. 

I only had the ice cream-

Cheese on your sandwich at lunch. 

Aw fuck. That's right.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Dalton fell asleep today in the chaise, his head on my lap. Not a snooze-lite but one of those exhausted bottom-falling-out sorts of sleeps where you might die if it happens in a place that isn't safe but you do it anyway. I did it on a sidewalk once in Atlantic City when I got locked out of our motel room. I don't know why I'm still alive. For how unsafe it was or for the profound rage Lochlan went into when he returned and found me curled up against the door. At four in the morning. In the shittiest part of the city. When he thought I had a key. I was nineteen. I had nothing. Had I had a quarter to call him I wouldn't have had a number to call him at. He never forgave himself for those kinds of terrible moments even as I never blamed him for them. I went out when I was supposed to stay put. I never thought to ask for a key. I never thought to find out where he'd be exactly, or when he'd be back. I never thought to find a safer place. I never thought. I never think.

Sometimes I think TOO much.

At least Point Perdition is safe, relatively-speaking, though that depends on who you ask, and Dalton's arms are warm, wrapped up around my waist. He's not going to let go, even as he's not awake. And I feel somehow anchored, comfortable. Relaxed, even. It's kind of nice. I lean back against the cushions, take another sip of my mimosa and pick up my book. Because there are far worse things than to be pinned by a warm, sleeping man who looks far too much like Casey Affleck (one of my favorites) for his own good or mine, especially by the pool on a perfect late-summer day and for once victory is mine because...


I don't have to pee.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

You can't put a butterfly in a jar.

That was FUN! It's been all fun all the time since I posted yesterday with hardly any time to breathe let alone sit down in front of a stupid computer.

BC Place was great once again. They were stellar for ACDC and they were beyond stellar for Metallica. No lines, no waiting. I wished for my rollerblades a few times. I wished they'd have opened the roof. PJ got me good and drunk early on and when Gojira came on first we rocked our faces off. We were annoyed at the fact that Metallica's 'ad' for watching them warm up remained up on the screen above the camera screens the whole time. Unnecessary. But Gojira stole the damn show with their sweet hardness as they do. I love that band. So so good. The sound was bad. The sun was bright. The band was incredible.

Avenged Sevenfold seemed to be very popular. Can I leave it at that? Okay. Let's do that. Nothing stood out about their music to me but they got the crowd pumped.

Under Ben's beautiful glare PJ went out and loaded up on Gatorade for me before Metallica came on. Lochlan laughed and let it all happen. Dalton let me steal most of his food and lean against him. The host near our section looked the other way while we moved down since the rows around us were empty and then we got more Gatorade because it was so hot and dry in there. I never want to see grape Gatorade again in my lifetime and damn, they make strong highballs but then Metallica came out and blew my face off anyway.

I hoped valiantly, fruitlessly for Sanitarium, and did not get it.

I got so much else though, so did everyone. The sound got a lot better. Don't leave after the encore. They hang out. They talk. It's WEIRD and AWESOME.

When we got home it was almost two in the morning before I managed to pick-axe all of my eyeliner off my face, bring Ben back to earth and go to sleep knowing we had to get up early this morning to go kayaking.

But we did.

And it was even more fun.

I took my boys (on their own kayaks) and I took the dog on my kayak. He had fun TOO. Now I can't lift my arms, I have a broken foot peg someone has to deal with and I'm so tired I would like to cry but too busy having fun to actually cry.

I will sleep tonight.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The memory remains.

God. Here we go. Not sure I'm ever ready for these nights. All of us heading off to the stadium for Metallica. Ben going too. I'm guessing five or six people will recognize him and ask for a photo or throw the horns and want to shake his hand. Some won't approach him (he has a scary resting bitch face), and some will say something shitty about his music or one of the bands he's played in on or some stupid thing and he'll ignore anything negative like he always does and I will feel sad for him and sad for people who feel as if they have to provoke people who hold little allegiance to a flawed business model anymore anyway.

Ben doesn't care if you hate one of the bands he's been in. He hates some of them too. Some of them imploded and tried to take him down with them, some tried to undercut him from the get go. Some tried to climb over him to get nowhere fast, and some were earnest and naive. He's seen everything. So don't be a shit. And God forbid, don't let PJ hear you say something personal about Benjamin. PJ will make sure you leave wearing your beer. Boy, are you clumsy.

I'm really sad Metallica played Sanitarium last show because odds are they won't play it tonight (according to setlists) and I don't know a thing about Avenged Sevenfold except they don't sound like something I'd listen to but that's okay too, we will be open to New Things and hopefully we'll survive. Our last Metallica show (also with Gojira! Hey!) was amazing (HOLY. 8 years ago! and...don't read that entry, I just ambushed myself so hard) so I hope this one will be amazing too.

Wish us luck. I hope to nap between bands.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jesus cukes.

We didn't get much in the way of shooting stars or perseid meteors last night, as the clouds rolled in covering our fresh blue skies turned inky black turned grey and so instead we took to the dry grasses, did a rain dance, which brought a little rain, a little relief and then we came home. Lochlan promptly did that thing where he took ownership and shut Caleb down and then when I was almost asleep, he kissed my cheek and said he'd be back in a bit. He took my imaginary flaming torches and pitchforks and my army too and headed across the driveway and when I woke up he was there beside me, fully clothed, the whole bed slightly smoky, a stupidly handsome still-smoldering grin plastered on his face in his sleep, payback a bitch and all, score settled.

At Jesus Beach in the fucking wind this morning Caleb explained he got this new radical haircut to go with his new car, a fresh start for fall.

Lochlan smirked at the ground, hands in his pockets, nodding as he already knew.

I'm pretty sure PJ and Duncan held Caleb to the floor while Lochlan shaved his head almost to the brain-level (and Caleb looks a little scary now, truth be told) but we keep a crystal-clear don't-ask-don't-tell policy on those sorts of things. I got lots of compliments on my hair and Lochlan's fingers tracing my tattoo on the back of my neck all through the service making me shiver which counts for something.

I do look like I'm twelve though. That is new. I don't understand.

Sam fought to ignore all of us while he sermonized from up front and gave up quickly, eventually working his way around the crowd, touching us, soothing charges, quieting ires, changing things, personalizing things, calming everyone, doing that beautiful Jake-thing where you know you're seeing something special, witnessing something beautiful. By the time we left the boys were back to rights, my lungs were topped up with salt air and our eyes were all squinted-shut from the sun.

 I was actually ready for a nap but unwisely chose bottomless diner coffee instead and then agreed to make pickles and hang out in the kitchen enjoying the blue skies with Lochlan all afternoon because we need to. He wants to. I want to. If I don't we'll be eating cucumber sandwiches until Christmas. Jesus Christ indeed.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Veritas, Aequitas.

Perseids tonight,  Caleb has Darkest Hour cued up in the new car for the late-night drive up into the mountains. Permission not granted, nothing cleared. No lyrics, no direction, with only the piano and guitar from which to take our emotional cues. Shooting stars isn't hard, not with the ammunition we've got these days, but then when everything is dark and we're trying to find our way by touch, well that's when everything goes wrong.

And everything is sometimes already wrong so while I have my sweater and my camera ready, I don't know if I'm actually going or staying home.


Caleb was thinking out loud while I read last night. I had a glass of wine at the island and I was trying to concentrate in spite of his fingers on my spine, on my ears, my lips, my hands, his eyes staring at me. His arms sliding around mine. Doing everything he could to distract.

One more chapter. I want to finish it this weekend so I can pass it on to PJ-

I'm not stopping you. He lifts his hands up in the universal message of surrender and I keep reading.

A kiss lands on my shoulder and I give it to him cold, turning it inward and then twisting it out. I see him smile slightly before I return to my book. He takes my hair, twisting it around his finger. This has grown. 

Mmmmm, I say.

I miss your bob. 

So cut it, I tease. I'm not paying attention. I play into it. I should KNOW BETTER.

Next thing I know, five inches of my hair lands on my book.

I look up into his face with wide eyes. What did you just do?

He shrugs. I think we should let a professional finish this. 

I snatch the scissors out of his hands and leave. A flat run across the back yards finds me in Daniel's room.

Christ, Bridget. 

Do you have a few minutes? 

Caleb cut your fucking hair again didn't he? What is he, four? This is like kindergarten, he gets a pair of scissors and he can't-

Just please fix it. Spare me the lecture. 

Twenty minutes and I have a perfect chin-length bob again. Which is actually far cuter than I remember because Daniel is a better barber than anyone else and does a good job.

But I'm afraid to go home so I kiss his cheek and run back to the boathouse.

Lochlan is going to kill you, I tell Caleb.

Lochlan will probably thank me. For the first time, this has had the opposite effect and now you look younger than ever. He looks alarmed.

You can call him and tell him what you did. 

When he sees you he'll melt. I don't have to do anything. 


Neamhchiontach, you talk about taking bluffs, well, you know you're not the only one. 

I'm not bluffing about him killing you. 

Wait here. 

He leaves me in his kitchen and heads across the drive. Fifteen minutes later he is back. With Lochlan.

He wants to make sure you weren't harmed. 

I'm fine.


Daniel fixed it, I tell Lochlan.

Daniel's very good at it, Lochlan agrees.

I nod.

You look beautiful, Peanut. 

Thank you. I just realized I'm shaking.

Let's go home? 


I stifle the urge to laugh out loud. In Caleb's attempt to be right he just fucked himself out of his night with me. He's good but Lochlan's better.


Ready, Peanut? 

Lochlan has the telescope and the good camera and all of the lenses too. He has a stack of blankets and...CHILDREN!

The kids are coming. And a whole caravan of trucks, and boys and the Devil and the A5 too.

And we're off. I hope there's a million stars to shoot. I hope it's total carnage up there in the sky tonight. It will match what we have here on earth. Perfect.

Friday, 11 August 2017

The single stupidest post ever. Sorry, it's the heat.

I'm googling hysterectomies while I have my morning coffee. Things have changed. Now they can do them through two tiny incisions, one of which is in your belly button, it takes less than an hour, you go home the same day and you're back on your feet within a week, which in Bridget-time is five whole minutes tops.

No, seriously. Remember the whole don't get up or lift things after a c-section for weeks and weeks? RIGHT.

Or the whole pre-surgical valium party where they tell you not to get up (when I had my tonsils out)? WHATEVER.

I'm a bit of a warship when it comes to that stuff and a dandelion seed when it comes to everything else. But I research today nonetheless because I've grown tired of the SURPRISE every forty or so (sometimes twenty-five) days where I randomly start bleeding to death for precisely forty-eight hours straight with a virtually insane week leading up to it emotionally that I of course don't recognize as different anymore because I'm always emotionally insane and I don't know why I'm telling you any of this but if you've had a hysterectomy maybe now would be a good time to tell me the pros and cons? My email is in profile as always. It's time. There will be no more babies. Maybe I should have just done it when it was offered to me after Henry's birth but no way was I ready then.

Hindsight is a fucked-up bitch of a thing. I mean, we'd never have anything to think about if we could see how it all turned out in advance but I could have save myself sixteen years of periods and all that other stuff too.

And then I wouldn't have a blog..

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Blonde & Stormy.

Remember nothing
Let it all go
I dropped his hand as we rushed down the sidewalk, and I stopped. He turned, pulling against the collar of his button-down shirt. Bridget, come on.

Where are going?

Just finding a restaurant.

Well, what's it called? I can help look.

He spins back and gets in my face. Look, I'm just trying to find a place you've never been before. 

Which leaves me grasping for words, as I've hardly been to any of the restaurants downtown and all of the ones I've been to, I've been barred from due to Caleb and Lochlan taking their history to the floor in a hail of fists and feelings.

This looks good. He grabs my hand and pulls me in through a large heavy door. We're whisked to a candlelit table in the back and he rattles off drink orders as he has done a thousand times, except most of those were a long time ago, and consisted of him saying She'll have a small milk, and I'll have a Coke and I would protest and he would say simply Saturday. That's pop day for you, Bridget. Don't argue. 

I never have.

I don't.

Unless it's the hill I want to die on and I don't want to die today. I would never do that to the people here who have fought for my life as if it were their own because it is, so I wouldn't do that. They deserve, he deserves so much more than me. We've gone far beyond fighting this week and into that stubborn stasis where we're just going to wait for things to settle out and it will be okay again.

We've been here before, we'll be here again. I watch him as the food arrives. He's watching me right back, he hasn't taken his eyes from me. His whole face is lined in concern, coloured with doubt and shaded with an ire that makes him seem impatient and rushed but holding back so hard his eyes are bloodshot, focused and worn. His green is darker than mine, like the sea out where it's deeper, roiling in whitecaps, churling in a storm of it's own making.

This is a story about a man who has figured out how to live with the ghosts and the demons and everybody else too but doesn't like it one bit.

We don't speak as we eat. We walk back to the truck holding hands. We drive home in silence. We say our quiet goodnights to those who are still awake and then we head upstairs, his hand on the small of my back as I slowly feel my way up in the dark.

Once inside the room he strips out of his dress shirt and good pants. He strips me out of my clothes too with such careful hands. Then he pulls me under the quilts, wraps his arms around me, kisses me gently and says Goodnight, Peanut. I love you. I love you more than they ever will and so much more than they ever did. Just so you know.