Thursday, 16 November 2017

Burn, baby, burn.

There she is.

I'm dragged out of a sound sleep, as his headphones are put over my ears. Ben lifts me up out of my warm dreams, Rob Zombie's voice crashing through my ears, Hands of Death, I think. How fitting. Ben is relentless, Ben is hunting. His hands are warm and hard, pulling me inside out, breath against the top of my head, chest solid against my face. My legs are wrestled out of his way, one on each side of his hips, knees bent back agonizingly and then he's inside me. I cry out and he is gone again as I am turned face down, headphone readjusted, music turned up, hand over my whole face to keep me quiet. He pulls my hips up into him and I close my eyes again. So gloriously painful. His chin comes down against my back, lips against my skull but I can't hear him thanks to the music. God only knows what beautifully terrible things he's telling me he's going to do to me. His mouth is against my shoulder abruptly, teeth softly pressing into my skin (not to bite, but to brace) and I feel his legs widen, taking mine so far out I feel like they might snap off and then I'll be the best girlfriend ever. I cry out anyway and his hand flexes, fingers reaching over my forehead and to each ear. He only holds me tighter, higher and I start to become afraid that he'll drop me from here.

But he's not going to let go, he's going to brace us both with one elbow. Oh my God.

The next hour is a delirious repeat of that song, over and over while he remembers where he is and who he's with. I am turned back over, dumped on my back, headphones pushed back on, scraping my face, as he bends down between my knees that dangle over his shoulders, his hand left over my mouth. I scream and twist against his face but he doesn't let up for even a second, scooping one hand underneath me to push me up against him. The harder I struggle the harder he holds me until I soar up over the atmosphere, unable to breathe, and then and only then does he let me up. His face is thrilled, the rest of him is tense and ready to go. He forces a kiss, says Sorry with a laugh before the headphones are put back once more. He drops his weight on me, at once driving so hard I wonder if I'll die this way.

That would be fine.


I can't hold on. He's too hard. He's too fast. He's not giving me or himself any breaks and fear tingles through me. Tighter. Harder. Rougher. I start to wonder if he knows it's me still, or if Ben is fucking his demons into oblivion so they might leave him alone, violated and ruined in one wide swath of darkness here.

But then he slows to a crawl and I am flooded with victory as he rips the headphones off, kissing my ear, kissing my whole face. Bumblebee, I'm sorry but you just looked so appealing sleeping so deeply, I couldn't help but help myself to you. And he laughs softly once more, asleep before I can reply.

Lochlan stirs sleepily from my other side. Jesus Christ, What the fuck was that? with pure admiration in his thickly dreamy voice and I fall asleep with a huge grin on my face. My lips were stuck to my teeth when I woke up this morning, proper.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ménage à triage.

We're not even going to dignify the news that the DeLeo brothers have chosen a new life support system singer for Stone Temple Pilots when they should have pulled the plug after Scott died. You would think Chester also dying would have confirmed their inner doubts. Jeff sings flat. His voice has little power, frankly. But more importantly this is not what STP fans want. The band was more than the sum of its parts. Maybe the DeLeos could resurrect Army of Anyone instead? I hear Richard is free, and that album (self-titled) was a freaking masterpiece.


(I had a laugh when I chose my title for today's post. A ménage à trois means a threesome. Ménage avec triage means a house with a yard. Ménage à triage to me means this love triangle needs help. This is somewhere in between. The love triangle (square? ...hexagram? in this house needs work. You get it. Nevermind.)

August has thawed. Maybe since Lochlan managed to wrangle my heart back into place though it hardly fits for all the patches and frankenparts that make it up now. Maybe since it appears that I did navigate this seminal anniversary without losing my shit (yet, hence the word seminal) August figures it's safe to make contact.

Just saying that makes me feel alien and unwelcome.

But here he is in all of his dark-blonde wavy-haired flannel Newfie glory, a sight which never goes unappreciated (stop it, Bridget).

Hey, Princess. 

Hiya, Wolverine. 


Nevermind.  You just quoted a cheesy line from Wolverine. We laughed out loud at how badly Hugh Jackman delivered it before Logan happened and was so much worse I forgot Wolverine until now. 

What are you talking about?

Nothing. Nevermind.

Want to talk?

The question is, do you? 

That's why I'm here. Will you make some coffee? 

You're the one with the gorgeous Breville. 

You've got the press. He smiles and all of my guns hit the floor.

This talk wasn't for me, it was for him, as he says he didn't come with us to Tahoe because he couldn't, because he was dealing with his own marking of this, the tenth anniversary and he wanted to think on it, that I am as much his memory of Jacob as he is Jacob's memory to me and it's not a beneficial relationship because it's parasitic instead but that he wanted to try harder to get us both to a good place where we can help each other instead of ripping each other to shreds.

I thought you were tough as nails. 

No. I'm one of your butternauts. 

Everyone's a butternaut, deep down. 

I'd rather be tough as nails. 

No you wouldn't and I wouldn't like it if you were. 

Being here works better to keep us on track. 

So I'm banned from the loft?

For now. 

That's fine. There's lots of room here. Because I'm incorrigible and I never learn.

He gets it and laughs but changes the subject. Any concerns right now? Today, based on the past two weeks? 

I dump my brain out on the tiny glass table between us. Pieces fall off the edge and roll away under furniture but the big pieces will keep him busy for now. We'll find the rest later.

He frowns. Sam know about all this? 

I would hope it's pretty obvious just by looking at me. 

Mostly it is. 

Can you fix it? 

In time I can but for now we'll have to patch it up and see how that goes. 

Well, hurry. It's starting to hurt again. 

I'll do my best, Bridget. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


You know that feeling when you forgot to do a laundry load of delicates for two weeks straight and yet it's too cold to go commando, and for the first time in forever that's an important thing to point out?

Well, it is and I'll tell you why. I forgot to wash all of my lingerie and there's enough of it that I just kept pulling things out to wear and not even thinking about it until this morning. When there was nothing to grab. So I shrugged and grabbed my jeans anyway. But then I headed downstairs and no. Turned around and came back up. Too cold, can't stand the feel of denim against my hips. Hate it. Contemplate a dress but no. It's windy and stormy and pouring rain, need jeans and a huge sweater. So I raid Lochlan's drawer and find a pair of white trunks at the bottom. They're like his boxer briefs but with shorter legs. As close to boy shorts as I can find. I pull them on but they're too big so I pin the sides and that does the trick. It used to do the trick between towns when I'd run out of clothes and it does it still today.

But then we're outside and Lochlan dares me to jump into the roiling sea with him. A hard reset, he calls it. Baptism on the fly is what I say.

Fine- I start to say, and then hesitate.

Take off your stuff, he reminds me. You can't surface in jeans and a sweater, it's too much weight. We always strip down to our underwear. And I'm wearing his. But he doesn't know. And they're pinned which for some reason is even worse still.

Maybe later. I'm freezing already.


The fuck is that. I'm not afraid. Fine. Let's go. Odds are I'll be in first. I strip out of my clothes and down to just his underwear. He sees it and begins to laugh. Almost doubled-over, still fully dressed.

What the hell, Bridge. This is hilarious.

I'm out of clean things. 

So you're wearing mine? But they're too big. Holy shit. 

Stop it. I cross my arms over my chest, not because I feel exposed, but I'm damn cold. You have two seconds to strip or I'm jumping alone. 

The only thing that would have made this better is if I stripped and you discovered I was wearing your underwear. 

I'd like to see you try. 

Not sure I could get a leg hole past my knee. 

You do have big knees. 

And I have an arse, unlike you. 

Last one in is a chickenshit. And I run and I win, hitting the churning water while I think he was still unbuttoning his flannel shirt. Then he hits the water mere seconds later and surfaces before his hair is even wet. He looks like a lion, slightly angry, slightly bemused. Like his face can't decide.

You have to wait for me. 

I knew you wouldn't be long. 

And he grins. You've got to wear my stuff every day. It's freaking hot. 

Not from where I am right now. 

Want me to piss in the water, to warm you up? 


Monday, 13 November 2017

Making Amens (sic).

This morning I brought up breakfast in bed for Lochlan. He's done it for me, I do it a little differently. Hot chocolate, fried potatoes, sausages, soft boiled eggs and toasted bagels with honey. Tin plates and mugs, camping forks and flannel napkins with tea lights on the tray to make it rustic and appealing. He woke up slowly with a smile on his face from where he was probably dreaming about fire. It's like having married Ghostrider, except that he has a face, and such a beautiful, sleepy one at that.

What's this, Peanut? Is there enough for both of us? 

Of course. I settle back in beside him, cross-legged in my pajamas so we can eat. I was starving but I wanted to do something special for him and also avoid any more overhand-mug-throwing because I'm sure he's perpetually ragey at someone, probably Jay today, since no one addressed his fuck-it-I'll-throw-my-hat-in-this-ring offer from the weekend.

And no one will be addressing it. We're just going to leave it to twist in this crazy wind. We could almost surf today in the waters off the beach. It's fierce. I keep waiting to hear the power go out and the generators kick in but so far so good. Hopefully it will stay on. Otherwise I love this weather.

We polish off our plates in short order and I stack the dishes on the tray, moving it to the table. Lochlan buries himself back into the quilts, bringing me with him.

Thank you. That was amazing. I think you should do that every day. 

Maybe I will. 

Can you imagine that life? 

Don't have to. Just lived it. 

But every day?

Well, remember that time you put toast in the toaster without getting off the bed? 

That was extreme poverty. This is luxury. 

Because I made breakfast so far away from where we sleep? 

Yes, exactly. But he's smiling. You do realize the day is all downhill from here now, don't you? 

I hope not. I've planned a pretty exciting lunch too. 

In bed? 


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Jesus complicated.

Sam and I had a karaoke session in his car all the way down the highway to early church this morning, singing along with Wings. Let Me Roll It indeed. By the third go he had all the words down, and by the fourth we were both sick of it and switched to Fleetwood Mac.

And I got another lecture, because he covered for me and he was pissed that I flouted his grace in favour of making a cheap grab at shocking the whole household, as if PJ is an easy mark, lesser somehow.

He's not but everyone is also right in assuming that he's a safe bet, he's easily let off the hook whereas virtually anyone else would be subject to a huge blowup.

And I know what's wrong with me. I know what's wrong with this, but I maintain if there's going to be a fuckup, PJ is definitely the lesser of all evils. I had offers from as far away as Jay. No one wants me with Jay.

And yet Sam is wondering why PJ in the first place? Why not himself?

Because August was busy (August is also angry with me. Seems to be contagious.)

I wasn't busy, Bridge. 

You're a direct threat. 

Lochlan regularly invites me-

Right. He does. I don't. 

I'm harmless. 

No, you're not. And I tell the truth. You're as dangerous as they come. 

More than August? 


Why is that?

Oh, look, we're here. Looks like a full lot today. Ready for your closeup, Preacher?

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hide or lie.

He poured me a stiff drink for breakfast. A Bridget-double, which is one and a half. I drink it like a shot to feel the warmth and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand so that I look tough. I put the glass down on the counter and turn just as he whispers Showtime, baby. 

He pushes me backwards without looking, as I stand behind him without anyone realizing I was there, because Lochlan threw his coffee mug overhand at PJ's head upon coming into the kitchen.

Christ, Padraig. Keep your fucking hands to yourself!

Or maybe keep better track of where your wife is, at any given time. PJ reaches back once more, grabs me by the arm and pulls me out beside him. Lochlan turns pale.

At least I can actually protect her. PJ further risks his skin in this game. Besides, she's my ride or die. Better off with me than virtually anyone else on this point. 

But Lochlan ignores him. Did I hit you with the mug? 

No. I shake my head.

Who's your ride or die, Peanut? 

You are. 

That's my girl. 

She wasn't in any danger with me, but maybe you better talk to Caleb, as she left his place in a hurry and I just ended up being the boomerang. 

I know. PJ. Thanks. Lochlan is still looking at me.

And that's how I escape any sort of retribution in this house. They actually thank me. And then I'm dismissed. He winks at me and with a flourish he is gone. Proper thing, too. If he had continued to needle Lochlan, eventually Lochlan would have turned his ire and attention back to PJ and it would have ended with a quiet brawl on the floor in which they really really want to hurt each other but at the same time, they don't and it's difficult and complicated and nevermind because PJ's already gone. I said I'd take the fallout for my actions and I do, right up front.

Caleb wasn't putting me in danger. He made a comment about me being a party favour so I left. 

And confirmed his assessment. 

Hell yes. 

PJ's had a little too much good luck this year, don't you think?

Sure, fine. Next time I'll go to Duncan. 

You're angry with me. 

I needed you and you disappeared. Again. After you promised you wouldn't. You said you wouldn't break any more promises to me but you weren't there. 

I could say the same for you when you promise to stay put and then I end up sleeping alone. Apparently my ride or die is Benjamin! 

I open my mouth in horror. TAKE THAT BACK! 




He laughs suddenly with tears in his eyes. Jesus, Peanut. If I could pin you to the floor anymore I would. Caleb said you were sleeping. Sam said you were doing fine, every single time I went looking for you everyone assured me I was being a helicopter husband and that you'd be around in a minute but you never showed. I really wish you wouldn't fuck with PJ. It's a conflict of interest. His loyalty is to your well-being, not your flesh. 

I've got news for you, then. My laugh is bitter because I know better.

His eyes flashed brightly in warning but in that flash I was gone too.

Friday, 10 November 2017

In the next Harry Potter movie I'm starring as Hegemony Grifter

(Who wants a Saturday morning crash course on Manichaeism? Not this girl. I get enough of it on a daily basis.

They let me turn on the exterior Christmas lights last evening. The crazy colourful midway ones I wouldn't let them take down, that span at least eight kilometres in length because absolutely everything is covered and you can see our point from space? Yeah.

Sorry (not sorry).

In other news, Caleb earned himself an icy shoulder by pointing out that things have shifted once again, and didn't I see it? First we've boarded up and demolished the concrete rooms in my brain and then we shut out the ghosts in favor of more room for the living. Things are improving. I was able to navigate this time of year without completely falling apart so let's move quickly through the stages here and go back to keeping the drama within the Collective relegated to who gets me on which night.

Which...honestly? Horrified me that he even went there.

Because I don't.

And just no.

Fuck off, Caleb. I used his name for effect. Formal. Distance. No beloved nicknames for you today, asshole. Because a) don't neatly wrap up your dismissal of someone I will love and miss forever, equally as if he still breathed and b) don't highlight my own deviant behavior as if it's a bonus or a treat for you. Don't gleefully benefit from my pain. Fuck you indeed.

And then true to form, I promptly came home and went to PJ's room since I didn't want to disturb Lochlan who is exhausted from being tense for the past while. PJ woke up easily, held the blankets up for me to crawl in and said No funny business, Bridge. I'm an old man and I can't afford to lose any more friends. And then he promptly pulled off all of my clothes.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


(These posts, albeit being from a broken stream of consciousness where I'm not detailing every moment of the day make me sound Bipolar. Surprise! I'm not. We're home and I need to tell you about something. I'll still be in my dark hole dealing with ghosts and their presences and absences but with new music, because...priorities.)

You guys. I found them.

Since the jet had wi-fi, I lost three hours mindlessly surfing and something I always do when that happens is to see if Deepfield ever surfaced after the two perfect albums they put out, the last of which was over six years ago.

Well, guess what? I found a reference to Baxter Teal on an instagram feed from some radio station saying his new band was going to be appearing.

The name of the band is Gravesend. They have an EP out and yep, it's him with a bunch of other guys from other decent bands, but they re-did Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. And it's incredible. As usual the only social media they seem to have is a half-assed Facebook page but I already bought the album on iTunes and damn. Dead and Gone is amazing. Forty seconds into it even PJ was leaning over my shoulder saying Who is THAT?  

Hopefully there will be more from them. Soon.

(Since someone's going to ask, what did you do the other two hours of the flight, Bridget? I'll clear it up early. I ate. Caleb had that plane well-stocked. I ate my way to Lake Tahoe and back. Happy now? I am. First time I've tasted food in forever. Usually I have no use for it.)

(Also note: there are two albums by Deepfield Gravesend on iTunes. Ignore the Celebrity EP. It's so terrible I don't even think it's them, oddly. If it is it should be pulled and burned or rerecorded or something.)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Winter circus.

We're heading out now. We have a two-hour drive, and then a five hour flight and then another hour drive and then we'll be home. Home to see why August didn't come out, home to see if Gage survived alone with the dog. Home. Home where Jake never lived in life but haunts in death in a way I can no longer explain. He's there, I just can't see him. I wonder if I'll stop feeling him in the same gradual way.

I hope not. Death shouldn't be about having to forget to cope with the absence. I don't like this empty hole. Life is a series of distractions and in between that hole digs against me, leaving a painful wound.

Death is a catalyst for change, Bridget. He brought Lochlan back to you. He brought Ben back to life. He brought me to a better place. He brought you your army back. 

Caleb says all of this against the top of my head. I am almost asleep. We packed up last night and then settled in by the fire for one last drink. It won't take long to wrap things up here, a place that is quickly becoming shelter in even the quietest of storms, like this entire week.

Mmmm. He did. 

I'm grateful to him for this chance. I will always credit him for this. 

Credit me. He bailed. 

What if he was never real? What if he was just an angel sent to bring us all back together as a group? 

That makes me a sacrifice. 


Yes. Always the lamb to slaughter between all of you. 

He pulls away and looks at me. He's frowning. Is that what you see yourself as? 

I don't answer, instead tucking my head back down against his chest, holding on tight. He doesn't say any more and I fall asleep soundly until he stirs again and Lochlan takes me over, standing me up, leading me back to bed. I tell him to say goodnight to the lamb and he kisses my forehead hard. Goodnight, Bridget. He doesn't even question it. His arms tighten around me until I can just get in a breath and I fall asleep to the quiet, dependable thud of his strong heart against my weaker, much-repaired one. I dream of circuses in the snow. It's beautiful. Why no one's ever put the two together blows my mind and for just a little while it's the nicest distraction in the world.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Day 3650 without you.

Ten years tonight. The proverbial lifetime. I just want him to walk through the door so I can wish him a happy forty-seventh birthday. Then I want to kill him for doing this. For leaving me stuck in my very own life like a bookmark, holding his place. Unable to reread or even read ahead. This is where I am today. As always. Not a great place but I don't want to move from it in case he comes back. Wouldn't want him to lose his place.

He's not coming back, Neamhchiontach. Caleb says it softly, to eleven-year-old Bridget because that's where he bookmarked her.

I don't believe you, she says belligerently in return, lower lip stuck out for extra stubbornness, while the rest of them look nervously at the ground, wondering if she'll run or seek refuge among them. It's always one or the other.

Monday, 6 November 2017

It's snowing.

Give me a name
Something to save
(This is beautiful.)

If you look at me straight-on today you can see right through me. I'm made of tissue paper, easily torn, easily destroyed and I can't find my strength, can't stick to something stronger.

Yes, you can.

Lochlan is smiling at me. He's standing in knee-deep snow, hair wild, ice packed in around every crease of his jacket and jeans. When I woke up this morning I came downstairs to an early birthday party. We're not celebrating the end but the memory that lives forever. There's a huge cake in the butler's pantry. There's a Ben in the living room. There's a Sam, a Duncan, a Dalton, a Christian, an Andrew, a Schuyler and a Daniel too. Ruth and Henry are outside playing in the snow with the aforementioned redhead and PJ too. There's a Batman bringing up the end of this parade and I watch it go past my eyes with wonder. They all arrived while I was still sleeping and now it's a woodland party. Tiny white lights are strung up in the timbers, up the staircase and all over the dining room, the outside of the house and the trees as far as I can see.

The chef is here early so that he can be sent home early too. He's making a half-dozen shepherd's pies, one of Jacob's very favorite foods. And fresh pickles because he loved those too.

There are presents on the sideboard, but they're not for Jacob, there's something for every one of us. I think that's Caleb's work until closer inspections shows me they drew names. Someone put my name in and Caleb's too. Bless them.

And every time I waver and begin to crash to my knees from the weight of this memory, old and new, someone reaches down and brings me to my feet, holding me up, keeping me going.

Every time. Just like they always have.

Jacob would have liked this, but he didn't stick around. I'll be eating his share of food tonight, because I can. Take that, Preacher.

I hope in our next lives he's here for these good moments. My loves took a sad event and turned it into something beautiful. They do this a lot. It's worth sticking around for.

I have to go. I was just invited to the snowball fight. We aim square and pack them hard. No one is ever off limits. If you're hurting you're alive, or so they always say. If you can manage a two-day party it doesn't get any better than that, does it?

What are you waiting for? Caleb's smile is new, satisfied and hopeful all at once. He wanted to be on the inside so badly he would have done anything. Now he's here. Taking a place I didn't think he'd take but look what he brought to me. Look at this.

(Like I said, this is beautiful.)

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Jesus Devil.

When I woke up the fairy lights he put up around the bedroom were still on and a fire crackled gently in the woodstove. I sat up to see that he was in the big overstuffed chair across from the bed. He leans forward, sniffs, wipes his eyes with his hand and takes a sip of his drink.

Go back to sleep, Neamhchiontach. 

But his eyes are red in the strange light and I tell him to come back to bed. Why is he up? What's going on?

I'm just watching you sleep and thinking about how awful I've been to you. 

In the past-

Your entire life. 


Please, Bridget. Go back to sleep and just let me wallow in my misery. This is my penance.

This should be your redemption. 

I don't deserve grace from you, Neamhchiontach. Let's head home while this trip is still a good memory for you. Before I continue to ruin everything. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

He promised me nothing and I took it.

Good evening from Lake Tahoe. We arrived in the middle of a snowstorm and made it safely to the lake house with only a couple of harrowing moments on the road. The driveway was plowed, all the lights were blazing when we pulled in and the house was warm and well-stocked with everything my heart desires and a chef who will be visiting twice per day to cook for us while we are here.

The lake looks cold but beautiful from my vantage point in the master bedroom or from the hot tub on the deck. He's had heaters installed outside for my comfort and all of the generic cabin-themed bedding has been replaced with vintage inspired patchwork quilts in washed ivory and tea-stained hues with furs layered on top.

He's listening.

We had a whiskey toast and then some simple cheese toast for dinner, light since we arrived so late. I had a hot bath and an early night and slept until noon today. No dog to wake me up, no sounds of the house stirring with music playing or loud deep-voiced laughter to rouse me from my dreams.

And surprisingly no Diabhal on this trip. Just Caleb, somehow anxious to make sure I do nothing at all, and anxious to add nothing to my anxiousness overall. Today all we did was watch the snow fall and watch a couple of scary movies on Netflix.

What would you like for dinner this evening, Bridget? 

A Monte Cristo. With a pickle on the side and french fries. 

Always with the Cristos. 

They're so good. 



Done. Any dessert? 

Naw. Maybe an Irish Coffee. 

And then more sleep? 

Yes, please. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

Hibernaked/The violent circus.

Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
                   ~Oscar Wilde
Today is a cutting-wind kind of day. A whitish-gray bitter sky kind of day, a day to stay inside kind of day with fresh coffee, darkened rooms with a fire going, tiny white fairy lights on for the only light besides. A day for homemade cinnamon buns and a hot turkey sandwich dinner planned for later. A day to rest. In pajamas or not. I chose naked. While hibernating. Hence hibernaked. My new awkward but appropriatedly inappropriate portmanteau for this snowy Friday. Hello. Welcome to my weird.

(Besides. Gas went up again. We're walking everywhere from now on, so we may as well hunker down. Gas is 1.45 a litre. That means it'll cost almost three hundred bucks to fill each truck so yeah. Nevermind leaving the house ever again. Like, ever. I can have groceries air-dropped. Schuyler and Batman can work from home. Sam will have to beam into his church to do Sunday service and gosh, I guess Caleb will have to buy ice cream to keep at home instead of driving up highway 99 for the good stuff. Do they do Skype AA meetings? Nevermind, Ben knows them by heart. And our next concert isn't until February so we can ride this out I suppo-

Wait, what?

I still can't hear anything. I had my face melted off last night and I'm not even sorry. I went in thinking I might die and emerged baptized brand new in liquid metal, arms full of merch because goddamn.


Four bands in one show meant a five-hour concert. A terrific value for forty-five bucks a ticket in the first place and we got our favorite tables so bonus awesome. I got a seriously affectionate pat-down and a drink order within seconds so double bonus.

But then...then...Avatar happened. Oh my God, where have they been hiding? (Sweden, if you're wondering.) They were incredible. Death metal at it's finest but with a circus bent. No one told me. I squealed through their entire set, when I wasn't being hammered into the floor by it, I mean. They had costumes! And makeup. Thanks to a quick Youtube search I was expecting Mercyful Fate when we went in and left a new hardcore fan. Jesus. Why the fuck does the internet hide this stuff from me? Hail the apocalypse indeed. Also dreads. Forgot how much I love dreads.

Then Of Mice and Men happened. They were the most straightforward of the night. No costumes. No makeup. Just a band out to prove they are still heavy even though Austin is no longer with them and Aaron is doing the clean and the dirty vocals almost at the same time. He could manage it all just fine. They didn't do any power ballads, which slay me every time but I gather they wanted to prove something and they did. Also headbanging in unison is my new favorite thing. Not to do (are you mad?) but to watch. SO awesome.

Hollywood Undead was the outlier. Kind of a heavy-pop party sound with so much rap I was But they were charming enough to make it work by working the crowd so hard we didn't even realize how much fun we were having until they were done. The masks are cheesy and the fact that every women is a 'bitch' in their songs (Just. NO.) hardly distracted from watching them play off us and each other with lightning speed. Solid show.

But then the curtains opened on Maria and the blood girls and Travis (who I think is nailed to the front of the stage possibly, I need to go back and check) and I cried. Whoops but yeah. Fangirled so hard you would laugh at the pictures and video I managed to get. It's shaky and jumpy and awful but I didn't care. But honestly the whole set was too short, too smoky and too theatrical. They could have fit three more songs in rather than have huge props to change out, as Ben pointed out, through his own melted face hole. However they sounded so fucking good live and were a band I never expected to see in person that I instantly forgave the technical downsides of their set for their sheer perfection. They played Burn. And Whore. Win.

We were home by one-thirty this morning. My face is never going to grow back. I have a pentagram hoodie now, which oddly fills a hole in my wardrobe I didn't know I had but did until now. And I'm happy that I survived and didn't stay home like I threatened to yesterday. Music is transforming, restorative and life-changing. I bought some more tickets this morning for another show.

We love you, Vancouver! indeed.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Okay I can't do two big concerts in a week. Help.

I feel as though I've finally reached that level of je ne sais quoi where we have enough champagne to furnish a wedding reception still but not a bandaid in the house. I always wanted to be one of those moms, believe it or not, who didn't plan everything within an inch of its' life.

Come on, kids! We're out of food, let's go to McDonalds! 

But I've never been that kind of mom. I'm the mom who has enough groceries stocked to outlast the end of days. Seriously. If the toilet paper supplies in any given bathroom fall below twelve rolls in the cupboard I get apoplexy. So while it's no big deal to run out of something for most people, in this house it's downright uncharacteristic.

But I have bandaids now and I finished fixing the dishwasher by putting a chair up against the door and then climbing underneath it. I also reversed my technique and attached the spring to the linkage first and then into the hole in the track instead of the other way around. Done and done.

I did my smoky eye three times before Ruth offered to do my makeup for me and I refused because she'll use a thousand products and frown that something doesn't work on me because she doesn't have the miles of laugh lines I do. I settled for mostly lipstick and mascara, as always. Don't fix it if it isn't broken, I always say, but that's a lie. I usually say Fuck, I should have exploited my looks harder twenty years ago. And then I remind myself it will be dark. Also my earrings hurt. Gah.

I tried to give Henry instructions on dinner and he said he'll be fine.
He'll eat all of the chocolate in the house, stay up too late and try to take Friday off. Not sure I disagree with that plan.

PJ is at the door, whining to go already. Like a puppy. He loves metal. Goes to every show he can catch.

Ben is asleep somewhere and so not ready yet.

Lochlan isn't even going.

They're still calling for snow.

And I just found out the set times. In this Moment goes on at 10:50, because I forgot about Hollywood Undead so now it's four bands instead of three. That's at ten to eleven. Very much past my bedtime, as I've been up since four this morning.

Wish us luck. (I mean, this is a dumb thing to even discuss but I'm from Halifax, the city that thinks it's doing okay if they get one big rock show every eight years, and there was a void growing up where we didn't get any bands worth filling a stadium for. At all. Okay Bon Jovi came in '93 and '94 and Aerosmith in '94 also but that was it. In Vancouver you could go to three huge shows a night and still have to miss things until you figure out how to clone yourself.)

I wish I could clone myself right now.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


I would've loved you for a thousand years
I would've died for you
I would've sacrificed it all my dear
I would've bled for you
Till death do us part
You were unholy right from the start
I was never a Judas Priest fan but I love Rob Halford singing with Maria Brink on Black Wedding. It's a campy, raunchy metal romp with a blistering sample of Billy Idol's White Wedding bringing up the conclusion of every chorus. We're going to see In This Moment tomorrow night and I'm SO excited! Especially since Burn is on the setlist. And Whore. And Sick Like Me. Did I mention how excited I am? Because I can't wait.

I'm listening to the setlist while I've almost got the dishwasher fixed. There's a broken spring in the door. I almost had it but then the door fell on my head and now I have little birdies singing In This Moment songs in tinny little radio loops around my head and I had to crawl away from the kitchen and lie down for a minute.

Then I figured it would be better to wait for someone to get home, since I'm bleeding (the hinge chewed up the back of my hand too) and I'd feel really fucking stupid if I was crushed to death by a fourteen-year-old dishwasher on the eve of a really good rock show.

So yeah. I'll wait. Got a band-aid? We're out.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

End of harvest.

Today marks the beginning of the dark half of the year. Boy, does it ever. This week I've finished a Drawlloween and an Inktober that Christian found online and we spent the month filling our sketchbooks. I accepted a short trip invitation from the Devil and I helped Henry finish his Halloween costume in record time. I baked six loaves of flax bread. I had a beer with Duncan. I helped PJ paint the back door.

And it's going to snow on Friday.

 I have mini-chocolate bars but we don't have trick or treaters thanks to the gate and the signs and the general unwelcomeness of the front of the property and so instead we will pop some more of this leftover champagne and continue the Samhain party as it were. Caleb says he bought me a present to mark the occasion and because I accepted his offer to not be at home wallowing on Jacob's birthday for the first time in history. I don't know what it is. I hate surprises.

I need a coffee.

Monday, 30 October 2017

The best thing ever? Group hugs for happy reasons.

(I'm so tired. So, so tired so if I leave a pile of trailed-off sentences and typos here, please forgive me.)

Last night we threw a really nice six-year bash for Daniel and Schuyler's wedding anniversary and now I'm seriously considering having a monthly multi-case delivery of champagne because sometimes life calls for it repeatedly and those cases are heavy. Pumpkins are heavy. History is heavy too and yet I carry it everywhere I go.

Caleb cleaned up from his party in record-time with a lot of help and I set to work recreating to beautiful patio from the night of Daniel and Schuy's wedding, complete with pumpkins stacked everywhere (not carved), scarecrows and candelabras with lit candles and tiny white and orange fairy lights strung everywhere. We had champagne bottles to pop, flutes to fill, a pancake bar and carrot anniversary cake for dessert. We had their playlist from their wedding on the stereo and I even put a bowtie collar on the dog, who may have peed on a pumpkin at the end of the night but I'll give him credit for not biting the fronts of the pumpkins like he usually does, leaving little tiny teeth marks everywhere.

The happy couple renewed their vows for their six-year milestone in front of Sam, who did not hold his shit together this time and cried freely as he officiated. Uncharacteristic for him, probaly feeding off the incredible passion and intensity with which Scuyler and Daniel tearfully recited their original vows to each other, with an updated portion at the end of each. God. Not a dry eye in our house. I would be so jealous but I am too busy being happy for them. I love them so much. We did not last two nights straight like we did at their original reception bt we made it until midnight and then we had to literally kick them out of the backyard to go home and continue their celebration. I passed them a new bottle of champagne to take with them, and Ben physically barred them from trying to help and they finally agreed to go with many more hugs and tears.

If only we could always be this civilized and loving, this fun. Happy anniversary to my boys, you set the bar very high indeed.

Now I have to go, for we're still cleaning up and Ben is shotputting pumpkins faster than PJ can save them for carving.

Sunday, 29 October 2017


Well, that was a show for the ages. We saw Roger Waters last night and honestly in hindsight we should have gotten a private box for it but there weren't enough of us going. That lack of numbers oddly quelled the hype a little, and I wasn't as excited as I would have been until he walked out on stage and I was all ooooooh. This is the voice Lochlan introduced me to with such reverence way back a million years ago.

The visuals were incredible. The sound was incredible. We didn't leave with ringing ears for the first time ever but at the same time I heard every word. It was amazing, probably more exciting for those down front and on the floor but I am too small to stand on the floor for shows, I learned that lesson years ago. I like being in the rafters with the unruly crowds, though last night they were massively unruly and impolite to a likes of which I haven't seen before. In any case it didn't distract from the too-long Trump diatribes, projected visually for three songs straight, the giant floating pigs and moon-balls or us crying through virtually every song, especially the encore, which was Mother and Comfortably Numb. 

Gah. What a night.

We fought our way out of the arena, through the bar crowds for Halloween weekend and back to the point with perfect timing, as Caleb was seeing out the remainders of his own evening. Masquerade masks and champagne flutes littered the patio, and he looked very handsome in his tuxedo with his dracula cape from many Halloweens ago across his shoulders.

He was happy to see us, asked if we didn't mind if he cleaned up tomorrow, as he was very tired, and apologized for the party ending so early that we missed it entirely. I tried to give him a poker face but defaulted to surprised delight and he smiled and said he was too old for the hijinks of our past, that if I wanted to come and see him tomorrow I was welcome to. But that he needed some sleep.

I'm so conditioned to go to him I was actively disappointed. I can't explain it (well, I can, actually, but I won't). He kissed our cheeks and gave me a spooky laugh, which I love when he does, and he was gone.

Then he was back three minutes later knocking on the side door. I was still in the kitchen. He presented me with a sealed bottle of champagne and a new platter of charcuterie that hadn't been touched. Leftovers. Enjoy. Celebrate a bucket list item that I know this show was for Loch. 

Thank you. 

Don't mention it. Hey, Neamhchiontach. 

Yes, Diabhal? 

I know that you were expecting something else entirely but as I said I'm trying. 

You're doing well. 

It isn't easy. You look beautiful. 

I have spilled beer and smoke all over me. It was a rough crowd. 

I don't worry for your safety with Lochlan anymore. 

The 'anymore' part reminded me of who he is, and I said goodnight and went inside.

We didn't touch the champagne. We'll save it for New Years (it's the REALLY good stuff) but we ate the entire platter of cheese and meat because I was starving. Bad pizza slices are $7.75 at the arena and they're not worth it. So there was only one thing missing from the night and that was hearing Fearless, my favorite Pink Floyd song and a soothing lullaby for the ears in the face of endless danger. Lochlan used to play me to sleep with it and I miss that sometimes. I think I always will.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Welcome to the machine.

Tonight is going to be SO busy. I slept in until then after waking up at eight to let the dog out so I feel somewhat rested, it's just going to be a bit of a marathon. We're going to see Roger Waters downtown and then coming back to finish the night at Caleb's small Halloween soirée (sigh, not even linking to them but they never end well for me), which he commandeered the use of my studio (currently empty) along with the back patio, the driveway and his own house. Perfect spot to entertain a hundred aging lawyers and their impossibly vacuous trophy third wives, without a soul going inside my house. The doors will be locked, but surprisingly some of the boys aren't going with us to the show tonight, having seen Roger Waters previously so they'll be home to keep watch.

Lochlan is already losing his mind. I think he's probably the world's biggest Pink Floyd fan and so he is stoked to go tonight. I'm just trying to figure out what to wear, unless I just come home and do a quick change into a party dress, since no way in hell am I dressing up for a rock show. We've had this discussion before, Internet.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Very important points.

An undercurrent of mild anger runs through the point today as the entire Collective feels betrayed by a dream, as if they would or could try and somehow control my love life to their own end, as if they direct every action made here in order to serve a purpose.

I try to indicate that pots and kettles are usually black, unless they're stainless steel...or enamel and that honestly how haven't they controlled every aspect of my life from puberty onward, the strongest examples being when Lochlan broke up with me and I was virtually given to Cole, to Ben stepping in and taking over when Jacob flew. I know damn well Jacob was an outlier and they were pissed that I didn't stay within the group but all's well that ends well, I guess or something close to it.

But also! Lochlan is weirdly touched and has been losing his shit just about every time he looks at me. Because I was so relieved that it was a dream. Because I don't want to join the dead. Because I don't want to ever leave the collective again. It's easier just to listen when they tell you not to put your hand in the fire so that you don't get burned. Instead you can step right into it whole-bodied and be renewed.

Maybe it marks the very first time I have elevated the living above the dead. Maybe it marks a change. One that lets them breathe easy. One that just lets me breathe.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Someone to watch over me/All the best drugs.

Warm hands touch my skin, fingers running up my arm to my shoulder, under my chin, over my lips. A thumb against my bottom lip pulls me out of my dream but I don't open my eyes. I feel breath against my forehead and a quiet voice, deeper than the rest whispers against my temple.

I'm here, Princess. 

My dreams are trying to pull me down as I launch up toward the light at a thousand miles a second, bursting into the sunrise with a gasp for air.

He's here. 

He's HERE. Shaggy hair, beard and twinkly eyes threatening to spill their tears. Just like I remember him. Just like I wanted him. Back to me.

You aren't real. 

He leans forward and kisses me. Does that feel real to you? Jesus, Bridge. I missed you so much. He is almost sobbing. He's real. Oh my God. Oh. My God. Oh my. God.

Then why did you go? 

They forced me to. 

Who? Who forced you to? I want to sit up but I feel like jello all over. Unlucid, unstructured. Liquid. Fear shoots through me like bolts of lightning, for now everything has to change again. That's the deal.

He settles back up and tells me that my whole beloved army forced him out, made him leave, told him he wasn't good for me, that if he wanted to help me he needed to go. To make something up and make it good, make it about him and that they'd look after the rest. He told me that money, a lot of money appeared in his bank account and that the deal was for ten years, that if he broke the agreement or tried to contact me that they would kill me. That his life would truly be over, that looking in from the outside was better than nothing at all, didn't he agree? That he was warned this would happen if he got too close.

Boy, did he ever get close.

So he did what they asked for my safety. That he's only touched enough of the money to live on, that he looked in from the outside for the entire time, if I felt him.

That he's back now, ten years plus a day later. That they can't touch us anymore. It's done.

I've been alone so long I don't know how to do this but we'll figure it out. He pulls me up into his arms. He's still as big as I remember and I still fit so perfectly in his arms that my heart explodes, taking so much collateral damage with it that I'm a girl in tiny pieces now and the house is blown to smithereens.

I'm sorry. I believed them when they said they'd hurt you. 

They did, Jake. In doing this, they did. Oh my God where have you been? 

But he talks a mile a minute, answering questions, asking a thousand more, about the children, about me, about life, about Sam, who didn't know or so he's fairly certain. I step outside of myself and watch him while he talks. This isn't Jacob. My Jacob wouldn't have gone. He would have killed every man in the room to keep this perfect dream. He would have fought harder, dug in, held on.

He would have held on. Only one man has held on hard enough so that I don't fall and it isn't this man.

I reach out and put my hand right through Jacob's handsome face. He isn't real so I can't say for sure what he would have done because it's over.

He isn't real.

He isn't real and I'm somehow relieved. I don't want to leave Lochlan. Not now that I just got him back. That was a dream. All of it. Reality burns down my days, sends my nights up in flames and sets fire to the past. Reality holds a torch, just for us.

It's a nightmare, Peanut. It's just the pills. You're safe. Just a dream. You didn't have to claw my face off though. That hurt like fuck.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Ten years ago today was the last time I saw him alive.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Copper moon.

If I could throw this lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night and through the rain
Into the half-light and through the flame

If I could through myself
Set your spirit free, I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light and to the day
Last night Lochlan pulled a page out of history and reset my world in the best way. He booked the patio for us and us alone, dragged out the heaters, got the outdoor sound system back out (we put it away last weekend for the winter) and ordered a pizza.

We had a pizza picnic in the backyard, in the dark, just us and the stars and the shivery night. We drank cheap white wine in juice glasses and used paper towels as plates and then when we were through he asked me if I wanted to dance.

I'm still chewing so I just widened my eyes. I'm not sure if he's going to start setting things on fire (honestly, I never am when it comes to that) or if this is a simple waltz around the patio stones.

It's the latter. The former will come later.

I'd love to say we danced cheek to cheek for the remainder of the night but my head tops about an inch past his shoulder so I settled for resting my face against his shirt and he tucked his head down against mine. I don't know what songs he played. Didn't listen, didn't care. All that mattered in that evening was that we were back to ourselves, back to focusing on each other, back to right. Back to us, which is where I belong and what he wants so badly it's easy to fight too hard and wind up on the outside looking in.

And I don't want to look in any more. I want to be there. With him.

Then he called a family meeting, because he figured between the waltz and the wine I would fall asleep only I didn't. I was so alert when I moved you could hear an audible twang.

Just the core group tonight, ensconced in the library. Two weeks and a little bit. Here comes the rough part. Back her up, let her in, keep her safe, let her go. I don't know if he was telling them, me or himself but he lost his place (fucking wine) more than once, stumbling over his own words, or his thoughts as they sprang up like obstacles on what should have been a straight and easy path. I did eventually start to fade and PJ took over from Lochlan, letting him off the hook.

We've got you, he said simply. Both of you. No worries, Brother.

God, I hate that phrase but at the same time it was the best thing I've ever heard. Though I know PJ lies. They all lie. I would too. Caleb never said a single word. He's not going to promise a fucking thing. No one is. Ben never even came upstairs which means his phone is somewhere and he never got the message.

Lochlan waited until we were alone again, safe in our room under the quilts, door locked, oblivious Benjamin sleeping, moving unconsciously closer against my back. Loch lit a single tiny flame with one finger and he held it drunkenly, waveringly between us.

Stay with me and I'll light the way, okay, Peanut? 

I nodded. Yes, Lochlan. I whisper it and he laughs.

That's good. I have to sleep now or I'm going to die. And he's out. Eyes closed, head down, arms tight around me, one hand on Ben. Customary clutch. I broil alive. It would be easy to sleep except after he said that I'm suddenly ice-cold, sober and wide awake.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Your ruthless heart.

All he wanted was a little anonymity
Not the pedestal you needed to control me
Then place the burden on coercive ambiguity
And nominate the ghost you made
To designate an enemy
Sam's disapproval is swift and cutting.

Why weren't you there? You letting him speak for everyone now? You going to get this far only to start over? 

You know what this is. 

And I don't like it. 

I can't help that, Samuel. 

You let him take over, Bridget, and no one will be able to save you. He says it so softly my heart thunks badly trying to listen even more closely than usual.

You can't save everyone, Sam. 

I wasn't talking about everyone. I'm talking about you. 

You're not perfect. 

No, I'm definitely not perfect and I know I fucked up. I was trying to keep you from falling for me. One-sided affection can be dealt with easily enough. If it's both ways it gets complicated. 

There was nothing complicated about it until you took it too far. 

So don't write about me. Don't share things that belong in the dark. 

That's not how I work. I have to put it somewhere. 

So put it on me. He pounds his chest. Put it here and I'll keep it for you. 

Oh, I tried that before Sam, and look where it got me. Tears spill over my eyelids and roll down my cheeks and he blames himself for that too.

That isn't what I meant, Beautiful. Oh, Jesus Christ Almighty. Please don't cry.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Chaos trapped and wrapped inside my skin.

You're free to give in but
Damned if you dare to
Taught to forgive as the hate lies within you
Feel trapped in your skin
You can't comprehend
He who preaches through silence
Denies us our privilege
I woke up abruptly, all bedhead and big eyes. New shorter hair still sticking up everywhere. Pixie's back. Lochlan with his long red curls sleeping deeply. It's the wine. It devastates him. Caleb is awake and sitting in the chair in his room smiling at me ever so slightly. If he looks pleased it's because he is. Amazing how cooperative people can be when they understand you can end their life with one hand. He's strong. I obey. It's pretty simple.

He requested a midnight show with fire and marshmallows. That's why my hair sticks up. I'll have to wash it twice to get rid of the sugar starch from the marshmallows. I am a campfire. I warmed up eventually and Lochlan relented and soon you couldn't distinguish flame from spark. We know our place, know our roles. It's more than bearable, he's made it downright luxurious to be kept and the only caviat is we don't talk about it, don't share it, and don't mind it.

I've been doing that so long I have it down pat. And Lochlan will do whatever is necessary to see that I am to be cared for properly because it's what I have earned so he's up there sleeping on his tightrope with no fear anymore, though it's still a tightrope. If he's here he's more at ease than if he's not with us. That's the rub. I can't let go. I'm afraid they'll pull me apart but cordially, almost politely with each other, a hesitant friendship still being mended and fractured on almost a daily basis. I'm pretty sure I breathe guilt at this point even though I never ever played them against each other and none of it is or will ever be my fault.

Doesn't make it easier though. What does? Sugar in the dark.

Did you sleep, Neamhchiontach?

I nod. I'm starving.

He nods in return. Sugar only goes so far. I'll make french toast and coffee for three. I already sent Sam a message that we won't be in church today.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

I was here.

Little fish, boat's too full, down you go
Breathing in salt and fuel, tiny gulps
Statistically it's commonplace
You're not alone
So end like this instead of shot back at home

Matthew Good's new album, Something like a Storm is out. So good. And if you're wondering why I haven't posted in a week, let me explain.

I did post.

I had five days worth of entries here but they had to go because it's one of the terms of my settlement. We don't talk about it. What happens in Bridget stays in Bridget. If I break the terms of the settlement I don't lose it, but I'd probably die instead. I don't know. I don't want to find out. And Claus isn't employed by me, he's employed by Caleb. Their goal isn't to fix anything, it's just to keep me calm and happy so I don't start to fuss against the invisible chains that bind me to this point. To these men.

Calm and happy is relative. I get to a place where I'm content again and we're good. I got to a place last week where I began to flit from boy to boy, looking for something I couldn't name (Oh he has a name) and I started sliding. Quickly. Lochlan got angry, Caleb got all bent out of shape and we went to hell in a handbasket that is designed for one but held a bunch of us, surprisingly.

It's better now. Seems it goes in cycles. From calm to chaotic. Something like a storm, I guess.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

A breakfast, a lecture, a rescue.

Potato, Potah-to. He calls it a 'talk'. Except all he did was talk at me for one hundred and twelve minutes while I made butternauts and refused to answer any questions I did catch for the first three-quarters of our meal. Self-preservation, as Eggs Benedict with salmon and fresh melon should be eaten in only the most positive of settings and by the end of the breakfast I was forced to take my coffee cup to the bar for refills because he kept sending the servers away.

(At least he tips well, though I could use a tip on very pale people with sensitive skin and red eyes from threatening tears. Big sunglasses look a little ridiculous indoors, on a rainy day. How are you all doing this? I'm not tough enough to not react. I'm not tough at all.)

Not like he gave me a chance to pull myself together as it was. The message was there when I woke up to meet him, dressed to go to breakfast. I did, walking to his glassed-in porch around eight, and he took my arm and marched me to his car, and then we drove in silence, he ordered curtly (knows what I like, at least) and then waited for what seemed like an eternity for the food. In reality it was around fifteen or twenty minutes but try doing that without talking.

Once the food arrived, Batman started talking. He talked while he ate and he never. let. up.

Maybe the Collective isn't working. Really is anything different? August needs to be sent home for good. So does anyone who wants a chance at a normal life. Who am I to keep everyone here at my beck and call-

Wait a minute. What? I have to interrupt. They chose this life-

I'm here, I see how their choices are-

Yes, you're here. What's your excuse? 

I'm not interested in starting a family. I was married before. I've lived. Some of them haven't. 

They're all adults. 

Oh come on, Bridget. They're hypnotized. They're brainwashed. 

I didn't do that. 

This is what I'm telling you. Yes. You did. You did that. You made them that way. 

I stop listening at that point. I haven't done anything wrong. And what he's describing is some kind of selfish criminal mastermind, out collecting souls because she didn't have one of her own. Jesus. Is that what I am? Oh Jesus. I can't swallow this bite of food. I can't hang on to my composure anymore. I can't be here. I don't want to do this.


Leave us. 

The server is sent away just as I lift my cup and I turn my gaze back to Batman. Abruptly I realize he wanted a sounding board to unload all of his own jealousy, wrapped in the most ridiculous discourse of blame and tragedy and that this isn't my cross to bear and I don't need to sit through it.

I tell him I'm going to find the washroom and get some coffee, that I need a moment. I dab at the corner of my eye with a napkin so he has a little sympathy. He nods, softening somewhat, sitting up and fixing his tie.

I leave my cup on the bar, asking for a refill, telling them I'll be right back or they can take it to the table for me and I head down the hall.

Once inside I pull out my phone and wonder who the heck I can call for a drive home. Who's going to be on my side at this point?


Except Ben's phone lives on the dresser perpetually because he forgets to take it everywhere.

Daniel it is. He says he'll leave right now, to meet him outside.

I wait as long as I can and go back out. Batman is sitting straight up. His face is ashen. My coffee is full but lukewarm and I hesitate beside the chair for several seconds before sitting down.

He holds up his hand and a server practically sprints over with a coffee pot and a new cup. The coffee is now too hot to drink, the old cup is removed carefully. This right here is a metaphor for my relationships. Ice-cold, removed or too attentive, too hot. Too immediate.

Happy mediums? Not this girl. Never ever ever.

Who's coming to get you? 

I sip my coffee. Pardon?

Which one did you contact to come and pick you up? 


You can't escape this, Bridget. That's the funny part. 

No, see, the funny part is that you think this is my fault. You all came to me. I didn't ask for a thing. I still haven't asked for a thing or everything would be different. I didn't do this. You did. You all did, and blaming me is a real shit move after all this time. 

I open my purse and fish out a few bills, throw them on the table and tell him to have a good afternoon. That I hope he got everything off his chest. That maybe he should book a time with Sam or with August if he wants to really dig deep and self-improve.

Then I walk outside, head high, just as Daniel is pulling into a loading zone.


Hey. Didn't have time to put on a cape. Sorry.

I don't need any more heroes. Just friends. 

Then I've got you covered. He winks and waits for me to put on my seatbelt. Then we're on our way home.

Friday, 13 October 2017


Guess who's going to see er...Avenged Sevenfold for the second time in seventh months?

Nah, I'm not going for them, silly.

I'm fulfilling a fifteen-year wait to see Breaking Benjamin (!!!!) and I'm so excited about that I could burst. I still remember holding my blackberry up to my old HP laptop when some internet radio site played I Will Not Bow. Ben was in the dining room laughing with the kids and I was sitting at the kitchen table under the dim lights and I recorded it when it debuted online because I couldn't actually hear it over their laughter. It was snowing and freezing cold that night. What a weirdly vivid memory.

I have a BB lyric tattoo (from Rain). I have a son who wants to see them too (Go Henry! Who hasn't seen a live show with us since Robert Plant. Or maybe it was Stone Temple Pilots. Wait. I just checked the master list I keep. It was Rush. The kid's seen more shows than most people).  I have a musical bucket list that's just about complete and we have tickets now for a night in February. I'm excited. You have no idea. Besides, this band taught me the word for what I was doing with their very first hit single: Polyamorous. 

Booyah! *Runs around pool again.*


(My favorite song of theirs is still Breath though. Always and forever.)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

This too.

I get it. If I keep my mouth shut like Sam and PJ do, I get access. At least I'm still permitted to talk to you. Meetings move to your library. Same times. xx

That was the message I woke up to on my phone from August. Lochlan went to see him last night but came home and didn't say much, preferring to wake me up and wind me out instead. I bit down into his shoulder as he gripped my hips against his own, keeping me so close to him I almost tapped out for not being able to breathe but I stuck it out instead. Then he abruptly lets go of me, practically shoving me down as I fall anyway and I sit up and shove him back and he kisses me so hard I think he cracked my teeth. He grabs my face with both hands and tells me he loves me. Then he's gone and I hear the shower turn on a few minutes later. The sun is coming up around the edges of the dark and from out of nowhere Ben says Jesus, you two should be putting out videos. 

People have seen enough. I'm still angry from the arguments of the past couple of days. Still touchy about August. Still smarting from Lochlan's attempts to rule with an iron cock.

Thought you loved his rage fucks. 

I do. 

Then relax. He's just having a moment. It will pass. Usually takes a week or so. You always think Caleb is the possessive one. They're a lot alike, Bridge. 

Don't I know that already. I close my eyes and turn away and I hear Ben leave and then a little while later Lochlan comes back. When I turn over he's buttoning a flannel shirt over a plain white t-shirt.

You're not banned from August. You can see him here in the house for meetings. Just nothing else for now. 

I heard. He sent a text. 

He's good with that? 

Did you give him a choice?


Then he's good with that. 

Are you good with that? 

I guess I have to be. Since you're on a roll, are you going to ban Caleb next? 

He smiles curtly. I might. 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


I'm holding on
I'm holding on to you
My world is wrong
My world is lies come true

And I fall in love
With the ones that run me through
When all along all I need is you
I let the song play on repeat about fifteen times. It was a means to an end.

Shut it off, Bridge.

I pretend I can't hear him.

You can hear me.

I shake my head, tilting it slightly, turning the cup over and over in my hands. It's a camping mug, metal with a painted trees logo from some outfitter company. He threw it so hard the top rim is now an oval shape. I would have thought it should have bounced but what do I know?

I get scared, Peanut. 

Join the club. We're all 'fraidycats over here. It's like a house full of trembling children. 

Don't minimize how this feels. 

Oh, I'm not. If anyone ever put too much importance on feelings, it's me. Don't ever think differently, Loch. 

I don't. He says it softly. Still scared though. 

Well, you shouldn't be. 

Remember when you were little and I would say 'Don't worry, Peanut' and you'd get so mad you'd stomp your feet and practically rip my face off. 'As if that will just make me stop like magic', you would tell me. That's how this feels and I'm sorry I ever told you to stop.



You're sorry you told me to stop worrying or sorry you told me to stop going to August? 



But it isn't easy, Bridget.

Then just imagine being me. 

There's the despair back in his green eyes. He takes the mug from my hand and bends it easily back into a rough circle shape. I forget how strong he is. I forget how weak he can be. I forget how much he loves me sometimes because he can be so cutting, so harsh with his words. I forget that he doesn't mean to hurt me even as he means every last word.

I can stop. 


I can stay away from him. From August, if that's what you want. 

I don't know what I want, Peanut. I want you to be happy, I want you to have peace in all this but when you do and things are going good I wish I could shut it all down. 

So do I. 

You do? 

My friends are using me and at the same time I'm using them. It's unhealthy. No one's happy. I don't know who signs up for this shit with such a sparse return on their investment.

You would call it sparse. Trust me, they find it worthy.

What about the ones I don't go to? Think they find it worth the effort? 

They love you in different ways. I want to keep that division. Maybe it's selfish. We've come so far. I want something for myself. 

You have it. Forever. 

He hands me the dented, chipped cup as he pauses at the door. Tell August you're going to take a break. That he needs to step back for a time. That he's not going to come back and start causing more problems just when everything seems to be smoothing out. On second thought, you don't have to do anything. I'm going to tell him myself.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Told you not to envy anything about this, but you didn't listen either.

I'm outside on the porch, blanket over my lap, PJ's barn coat over my own flannel shirt and jeans. Cold coffee on the railing, new iPad still in the box on my lap. I'm watching the tiny birds look for leftover seeds in the grass. They look weightless, lighter than air. I never wanted to fly, never wanted to skydive, never wanted to sit on roof save as a means to get away from things, never felt the urge to soar above the walking universe.

Hey. I look up and Lochlan's behind the screen door. He's got two fresh cups of what I think are coffee until he comes out and hands me one and I see that it's not coffee at all. It's whiskey.

What are we celebrating? 

Who says we're celebrating?
He looks cross. We're medicating, Bridge. I am, anyway. 

Just say it. 

I can't ban you from him, can I? 

You can limit him. 

He's already limited and it still changed. 

That's inevitable. 

Shut it the hell off, Bridget. I'm not doing this. I'm not on board with this. I said no. I asked you, no, I begged you not to go over there. I beg you to not do all kinds of things and you just go anyway, like I don't exist. 

What am I supposed to do? 

Be normal. 

I snort and burst out laughing. It's not a nice laugh though. It's not happy. It's angry and spiteful. I can't believe you just said that. 

Be monogamous. Cut him off. Cut them all off.

Never have been in my life and who has benefit the most from that? You. What if anyone else had ever said that and shut you out in the cold? 

It's different. 


It's me. 


I'm either special or I'm just another fucking chump you can take your shit out on to make yourself feel better. But if I'm special everyone can't be special too. 

Jealousy is such a shitty colour on you, Lochlan. 

And I didn't raise a whore. 

Yeah. You did. Remember?

He takes his cup and throws it agains the wall. I did, didn't I? My mistake. Then he's gone and it's cold and silent again. The birds have flown away too and I couldn't fly if I tried, my heart weighs a thousand pounds easy.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Might have fucked up really badly here.

The bottom of the deep blue sea
The bottom of the deep blue sea
He's back and he's incredibly angry that Sam went ahead and let the army close up my ghost adventure park, behind his back, behind Joel's, with a decided lack of preparation and forethought, truth be told. It's like they just woke up with this plan. She has her soul, let's nix the spirits while we can, before anyone can object or continue to let Bridget grieve in her slow-motion sort of way, drifting aimlessly through life pinging back and forth between destroying the living and raising the dead.

Ironic, since a huge part of my draw toward him is that he's as close to Jake as I will ever be again. And I missed him terribly, as he went back for three weeks to Newfoundland and didn't call even once.

Not once.

Who's angry?

Hey, if Sam is calling the shots, what do you need me for? He's got me pinned against him, fighting with me to take me out of my clothes while I work to keep them on. Not doing this. No rage-homecomings. We have to sort out the hurt feelings and then we can move on to all the other stupid feelings because hurt clouds everything.

Stop. I struggle with him but he's not listening. My body is so on board with this but my heart wants to fix everything else first.

Not stopping. Ever think I missed you and that's why I couldn't call?

You didn't text me either.

Are you listening to what I just said? Shirt's off now. Goosebumps all over as it sinks in along with the chill from his loft, unheated while he was gone, just beginning to warm up.

I missed you.

That's a feeling. That's an affirmative feeling, August.

One that I hate myself for.

Don't say that. There go my jeans. I cross my arms in front of me for warmth, for protection from his words.

I wasn't going to go there. I haven't loved someone in a long time.

It's not love.

What is it?

I don't know.

Then call it love until you come up with something that makes you feel better. And he bends his head down to kiss Little Miss So Much Trouble he may have been better off staying away forever.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Parental controls + Jesus, since it's Sunday.

(To be kind, this post contains spoilers for A Ghost Story, if you haven't seen it.)

Today was a little slower, a little more deliberate, a tiny bit foggy, led along by the elbow, shoved with a kind hand, coffee (regular, black, not from Starbucks, thank you Christian) held for me, purse held for me too and maybe I should have stayed home from church but I like to support Sam and it seems especially important to maintain a presence, keep the army close (if you will) when Matt is around so he knows that Sam has us and that we have Sam. I know that sounds awful but they continue to be off and on, but barely. This way Matt will someday understand precisely what it means to be a part of this Collective instead of existing alongside of it, something he asked of Sam and was refused. I've asked Matt to consider joining but he remains wary.

I can't say I blame him but at the same time it's a system that works and works well for the others so why not him too?

Ahh, yeah, I know the answer to that too.

But this isn't about Matt.

Last night while Lochlan was sleeping and Ben was sleeping too, I couldn't sleep and so I climbed out of bed and took a blanket and settled in on the couch with the ipad and some headphones. And I rented A Ghost Story. I purposefully broke a rule made for my own safety. I hit the Rent Now button and I watched it. Every minute of it, including the pie-eating scene that took forever, that I understood perfectly as only someone who has lost someone that close would.

I watched the part where he fell off the top of the building. I watched the whole fucking thing without even falling asleep like I always do and then I was really sad that I had done that because I can't un-see it or un-think it so I put the ipad back on the shelf (they're going to know what I did) and crawled back into bed in the dark and pulled and shook at both of them until they were half-awake and in as close as possible and only then did I feel safe enough to take another breath and close my eyes.

What an incredibly beautiful film.

I had nightmares all night. I woke up dreading my own brain and apparently Dalton had been up late also watching iTunes and got the first memo that it was available to watch and sent off a note to Lochlan who read his phone and swore and got up and left, coming back with a little pill and a glass of water. He sat down on the side of the bed and asked me why I seek out the misery like a sea to swim in, like a blanket I can wear.

It's familiar is all I can tell him. I know what it's supposed to feel like. It's comfortable.

He stares at me for a long time. Get ready for church, he finally says, and when I come back out showered, dressed and moving in heavily medicated slow motion I notice the ipad is gone from it's place on the shelf. Not a word from him as he turns so I can help him finish fixing his tie.

I am marched downstairs for breakfast, we're in our finest but we're certainly not at our finest, put in a chair and he fetches juice and a piece of toast. PJ starts to say something and Lochlan shoots him a look.

Sam comes down and kisses my cheek and I confess my sin to him. He gets down to look in my face, wiping toast crumbs from my cheek from eating from the middle of the slice instead of the corners.

Why did you want to do that when Jacob finally received his heavenly reward, Bridget? 

I just needed to see how other people do it. 


It wasn't like that. It was about him not being able to deal with losing her. He was the ghost and he missed her. It was reversed. She moved on. 

Like you have moved on, because it's good for you and it's what Jacob would have wanted for you? 

Usually I would fight that but Lochlan's magic pills dull my defense mechanisms so I nod like a little kid.

No harm done then. I daresay it seems like it would be a beautiful film. Was it? 

Very much so. 

Then don't let it in, just leave it there as a beautiful thing that you have witnessed and take a deep breath. 

I take one and he smiles kindly.

Ready for today then? 

I nod and Lochlan is back, wrapping his hand around my head, pulling it in so he can kiss the top of it. He sits in the chair beside me and leans over. I watched it already. 


So I'd be ready because I knew you wouldn't wait and watch it with me. 


It was beautiful. But very, very sad. I felt like it would be me. And that you would be her and maybe that's how it's supposed to happen. 

It can't. Can it? 

I don't know, Bridge. His eyes are green pools of despair suddenly. He doesn't want to know. Death has gone from a certainty to the biggest, most tangible frightening boogeyman there is and I want to stuff it back into it's appropriate-sized reasonable box and put it back with the rest of the top fears of all time, like spiders, heights, abandonment and very big dogs.

But not bears, because no one's afraid of bears.

How can I be afraid of death but not of bears? I'm not afraid of my death. Just theirs. And they're not afraid of their own mortality either, just each others, just mine. It's unbearable if you let your brain go to those places but sometimes my brain doesn't let me drive.

Okay, most of the time my brain doesn't let me drive. Let's face it.

The coffee was very very good. No milk. The heat was on in church and when we came home I had all the help in the world making the most wonderful Thanksgiving dinner you could imagine, and this time I was sent away with tea while they all pitched in to help clean up.

I asked him where the ipad was when he came to collect my teacup later. He wouldn't look me in the eye. I threw it off the cliff, he said quietly. It was all I could think to do. I'll replace it tomorrow. 

You didn't burn it? 

It wouldn't burn. That's why I threw it.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Thoughts while I watch him eat. Or talk. Or laugh. Or do anything.

We spent this morning having brunch in bed with Schuyler and Daniel while plotting their sixth anniversary celebrating to be held later this month. Ben took up more room than anyone but he also had more ideas and we wound up deciding a surprise party would be better than something they actually plan, and so in between bites of fried potatoes and crispy bacon we passed folded notes back and forth all around our golden boys, who sat back and sipped their very good salt spring island coffee, feeding toast points to each other, getting crumbs all over their t-shirts and their sheets. August would have lost his mind. August doesn't believe in eating in bed. Well, not food anyway.

We got it all planned. 

Ben is good at planning fun things. 

He's been a magnet since yesterday afternoon. He gets stuck inside his head too, down in his warmly lit studio. I bring him his meals on a tray. Sometimes he stops and brings the tray right back upstairs to eat with everyone, sometimes he clears space for us to sit together and he eats quickly and gets back to work and sometimes, on the hardest evenings, he doesn't hear or see me when I come in, and so I leave the tray and when I come back to pick it up it's untouched. 

Then I cry. 

I package it all up and put it in the fridge. I try to remember he's a grown man, if he's hungry he'll eat. If he's really hungry he'll order pizza. If he's lonely he'll come find me. He'll eventually surface, but it gets hard to wait. I'm very happy when he puts down his guitars and comes to just hang out for a few days. It's kind of like old times except there's a lot of time spent in bed eating toast and planning fun things. 

Then I stop crying. 

I know I'm spoiled. You would be too if you had a Ben. Except that he's quite unique and there's only one of him. And he's mine. Still. Yes, I know I'm greedy too. 


Friday, 6 October 2017

Chorus (take her, she's yours).

The sweet surrender of silence forces me to live alone
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?
I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue sea
I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue

Welcome to my cage little lover
Time to rearrange with you baby
Still don't know your name miss honey
Let's go up in flames pretty lady
This song starts with the Devil and ends with the Fire Eater and I wouldn't change it now that the dark comes early every night, now that heaven and hell have collided in my world, now that Ben has ceased to appear at all half the time or maybe he has appeared and I didn't see him in the tangle of limbs, in the breathless blackness. If I reach out it doesn't matter who I touch. I play favourites on repeat, I held my head high and I let them hold me down and we buried the past in the possibility of the future, together.

When I wake up it's still dark. That song is still playing in my head and the memories of the night lie against me on both sides, hands claiming ownership of whatever they touch in their dreams.

I take a deep breath and turn my brain inside out.

And Jacob isn't there.

The next deep breath hurts in realization and I sit up but no one else stirs. I try to catch my breath but I can't. My brain is squealing, pushing backwards against my skull, trying to stuff itself back in, unwilling to reveal itself, trying to keep the corners inside dark and unexplored.

But it's too late.

I crawl out of bed as quietly as I can. Lochlan doesn't move, Caleb sleeps even more deeply, I could walk right down him and he wouldn't notice. I find my t-shirt and pajama pants and I head down the hall to my right, down the few steps, in through another door, where Sam bolts upright. Another light sleeper.

What's wrong?

Had a nightmare, I lie.

He lifts up the covers. He's got a faded church camp t-shirt on and pajama pants too. I climb in and he settles his arms around me, chin on top of my head.

Just sleep. Lochlan will find you in a bit. Everything's okay. 

It's so warm against him that I'm asleep within minutes, running down the path in the sunrise, wet leaves threatening to send me flying, down, down until the sun disappears and it's dark again. I run down the hall, my footsteps echoing off the walls but at the end of the hallway there's no door. It's not here. It's gone. I feel along the wall where it was. There are footprints everywhere. Right here. It was right here. But it's gone and it's place is fresh neat mortar. I can't get in. I can't get in and he's gone.

But I'm right here. Lochlan's voice cuts into the dark softly, like a sharp knife. Right here, Bridget. For you. He takes my hand and I sit up. Sam mutters something about talking later and we leave him to sleep.

Lochlan leads me downstairs. He puts my coat on me, buttoning it all the way, then he puts on his own. We head outside for the sunrise, all the way to the beach. All the way into the water. He bends down and wets his hand and brings it up to my forehead, drawing a cross.

I don't remember what he says, he grins ruefully, but it should work. Then he draws a heart around the shape of my entire face with the saltwater. That's my blessing for good measure. This is your sea. All your memories are here, Bridget. She keeps them safe, you just have to touch her and you can have them all, but you can never come to her without me. Try it now. 

I crouch down and stick both my hands into the ice-cold water. The shock of how cold it is after summer is comforting somehow. There she is. Back to normal. I lean forward until I'm sitting on my knees, up to my waist in the frigid surf and he swears and steps forward but he doesn't rip me to my feet. He waits. I lean forward and scoop water onto my face with both hands. Baptize me ten times over but I'm never going to be new, never going to different, never going to be right, somehow.

I don't care, he says, and he pulls me to my feet at last. Dumbass. You're going to catch your death.

(But I could never keep up with her either. She's so fast.)

Back in our room he gets a fire going and Caleb is gone but that song is still in my head. This time I dream of the fair, Lochlan's warm mortar- and salt-streaked hands clutching me against him while I shiver in my sleep. His talent is magic, mine is ruin. I wonder who's winning?

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Avenged Sevenfold is trying to kill me and other fun Thursday things.

(This is all yelly and scattered because I'm busy and in a rush to go.)


It's the eve of Thanksgiving long weekend and we have run out of bread but who cares? There's a new Stephen King book out that I need to run and buy instead of responsible things like bread but besides that,


Well, they're coming to 'Canada' they say, to be announced next week and yes, for fucks sake now I have to sit through Avenged Sevenfold again. It's as if they are trying to change my mind.


To the band: you better not do that thing where you only book Toronto and Montreal or I'll fucking burn the whole continent to the ground. I've been patiently waiting for fifteen years for a live show. Don't let me down.

And also thank you! Because FINALLY!

Even Relient K came here and they NEVER TOUR CANADA.

David Gilmour and Rik Emmett need to come next and then my bucket list is done, unless Wolves at the Gate or Karnivool hit the road or unless Royal Tusk or Big Wreck come back.

I could go on for days but this is a big one and now I didn't freak out completely when I read they'll be announcing Canadian dates next week. No, I didn't. I may have run around the pool a few times and come back in breathless and sat at the table grinning stupidly. You just don't understand what the, I'm sure Avenged Sevenfold fans everywhere are saying the exact same things, just in reverse.

(*hauls out angsty goth teenage wardrobe to check that it still fits.*)

Okay I'm ready. When's the show?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Summer of '75 I didn't know any of these turkeys, Billy. And my name's not Brenda. It's Bridget.

The only prerequisite to coming to be a part of this Collective is, if you're male, is you have to be able to wear flannel easily, if not skillfully, you need to be able to grow a beard that looks good and doesn't make you look like you're part of the Witness Protection Program (Corey. um..) and you need to be able to sing the entirety of Billy Joel's best and most perfect album Stranger, including the dramatic bits in the middle of Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.

I feel like this is something Lochlan started and the rest of them were forced to catch on quick or be left behind, but then Jacob just showed up and knew all of it too and that sort of knocked us all on our asses but here's Caleb giving it a go this morning out of the blue and he's doing great.

We're polishing silver. I use my grandmother's silver every day and my mom's too. There's a lot of it since there's a lot of us. It's an all-day job. I get to pick the next album and I don't know how I'm going to follow this up.

I'm going to have to invoke Miss Saigon, I think. Yeah. May as well kill each other softly with showtunes and knives you can see your face in.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Do you know how long a drive it is?

You're a hard girl to find. 

Not really. I stand up and stagger backwards slightly, over a tangle of plants. Lochlan throws out a hand to steady me but I'm good, and now he's dirty too.


I'm pulling the rest of the garden before it gives me any more bounty. As it stands now there are five huge bowls of green tomatoes in the house and every south-facing window on the main floor has a sill lined with more. It was four degrees overnight last night, I wasn't going to risk them, but between you and me, I'm sick to death of them. I'm eating nothing but sugar this winter, once these tomatoes have ripened and been dispensed with. I have roasted, fried, pureed, chopped, sliced, frozen and eaten them like candy for four months straight.

Next summer I have threatened to plant a sea of sunflowers. A whole ocean of yellow directly next to blue. Wouldn't it be lovely?

Yes. I think so too.

(Don't mind me, my grocery store doesn't sell pop-tarts, but there's a Wal-Mart in Port Coquitlam that seems to have about eighteen different flavours of them. Everytime someone is over there (because Long McQuade, a music store they like is nearby, nevermind that there are closer ones, they just like that particular one) I beg them to stop in and bring me all the pop-tarts and all the new-fangled flavour Oreos too. Apparently they get their stock from America, where all they seem to have are guns and sugar.)

So I have brown sugar cinnamon and chocolate frosting flavours but I promised myself I wouldn't touch them until all of the tomatoes are gone. I hid them well too so the boys won't find them and eat them first. I can't wait. Literally. They're practically calling my name.

I have bad news. 

What's wrong? 

PJ found your stash.