Sunday, 31 December 2017


I took down the other post. Too personal, even for me. Too self-depricating, too sad for a beautiful day. Instead I've decided to just keep my resolutions simple.

I'll keep my boundaries, be kinder to myself, paint more, write more and eat a lot better, if I can. I'll drink less, get more accomplished and focus on the blessings instead of the curses, which is not something I come by naturally but is definitely something I can work on.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Weirdly formal, formally weird.

Now that the laptop is fixed (thank you Lochlan!), the ramen cravings have been satisfied, the main floor is vacuumed, laundry, errands, recycling and garbage is caught up, sundry decorations are all put away (trees and lights are still up) and Ruth's room looks more apartment, less bedroom (massive rearranging), I can relax.

Long day that started late and I'm not a huge fan of vacuuming at eight o'clock at night but I had to pull everything out of the front hall closet in order to fit a second shoe rack in there because there are too many shoes and it's getting ridiculous and with boots too for the snow it's beyond unorganized. I didn't realize how much until I got back into the truck to come home from lunch and saw that I had one black and one brown Doc Marten boot on. Oh great. Hope Ruth didn't plan on wearing hers because I have her left. Whoops.

So another rack and everything has a place now, but there was also a months worth of dried leaves in the closet. And a dog gate. And a scooter that's too small for anyone but me to ride and I don't want to ride it. And a baseboard from the castle in the Prairies but don't ask about that. Or maybe I've mentioned it. I don't remember.

Everything has a place now. Even the baseboard.

So I sit down with a drink (vodka and coke. The Russians left a huge bottle of Stoli as part of our gift and it doesn't fit in any cupboards. It's weirdly tall and thin and so we..drank it. Because I'm too classy to leave a bottle of alcohol sitting out or standing in the pantry but I'm not classy enough to save it or give it away.) and guess who comes strolling into the kitchen?

The Devil.

Who immediately decides he doesn't have to abide by the spoken rule that New Years Eve is off limits and invites me to go out with him. On a date. Dressed up. On a borrowed yacht. All the monte cristos and champagne my little busted heart desires. Fireworks. A clear cold night. Cuddles. New resolutions, made on the water I was born on, fused in salt, carved in the stones at the bottom of the sea.

I pick up the bottle and just drink straight from it because that sounds like a GREAT time and frankly I can be bought (but not by the Russians, because I sent back most of their gift to me with a lovely note explaining that I can only wear jewelry if it's from my husband and of course they understand but Fabergé is beautiful indeed and I'm very touched that they thought of me and to take care. In reality I'm peeing myself with fright because they might be offended) but Lochlan can't and his idea of New Years Eve is a roaring fire and snuggles and sleeping early and easily, maybe a whiskey, probably a meat pie and some cake and I'm sure there will be flannel involved and right up until Caleb said Fireworks on the water I thought the flannel + fire would be the best thing ever but..

Wait. It still is. It always will be. I've done both and the fire in the hearth wins every time.

Thank you but as I said I already have plans. 

Bring him. 

It's not a threesome kind of night. I burst out laughing. God. I'm an asshole.

You could change your plans. Or we could do a bit of both plans. 


Just tell me what you want to do. 

I did. And I'm sorry but you're not invited. (I'm touched that you thought of me and take care but please oh please don't be offended.) I'll see you later this week maybe. We can do something fun then. 

I don't want to be alone. His face. Oh my God, his face. Guilt renders me desperate.

Catch a flight home? 

Too late.

See what Ben is up to? 

He stares at me.

Batman is watching all the Star Wars. I think a few of the guys are joining him. Beers and pizza. We might even stop in. 

I want to ring in the New Year with you. Neamhchiontach. Please. 

I'm sorry. 

What will it take to change your mind? 

I take his hands and he covers mine with his while he waits for me to speak. Nothing. I'm sorry. You agreed readily to the plans we made this holiday and even with regret I'm not changing them. I'm looking forward to a quiet night with Lochlan, I'm in need of sleep and less stress and I'm not going to fight about this. I draw a line in the air with my mind. A very rare and precious boundary. And it holds.

New Years Day. Can I treat you to a late brunch? Like last year? So I can look forward to the morning?


Just you. 


Okay. I'll see you before the evening though so I'm not going to wish you a Happy New Year quite yet. 

Of course. 

This is Sam's doing? These..boundaries?


Holding your ground? 

Yes. My resolutions are finally set. I'll tell you a few on Monday at brunch. 

Can't wait to hear them. 

I can't wait to try and make them stick. Hey. Speaking of which, what are yours? 

I'll tell you on Monday too. He smiles, just not with his eyes.

I'm not doing anything right now if you want to watch something with me. A movie or something? 

I'd like that. His eyes finally smile too.  Mind if I pour a drink? 

Be my guest.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Here's to the radical reformation of the sixteenth century! (And other stories for a rainy Friday afternoon.)

Annnnnnd back to Chrome, which half-loads every webpage and eats the other half and mostly doesn't quite work but Lochlan won't fix it.

In my next life I'll be a luddite. A pilgrim. An Amish..person. A Hutterite. I can bake and build and sew worth my salt. Technology? Fucking hell. I don't know my iOS from my elbow. I put a new hard drive in this machine on a dare but now I can't update to High Sierra. I can't turn off the updates though so every morning I hit a button that says "Try Tomorrow".

Indeed. Think I will.

This machine unexpectedly turns itself off every half hour or so. But I love this Macbook. It's eight years old now. Kind of like me, emotionally only this thing has no emotions, it's just cruel. But it's a lifeline in a strange way. All my words are in it. Well, the ones that aren't in my brain, I mean and after spending half a day trying to fix it I'm stuck leaving it the way it is. I just don't know.

I don't know how to fix it, I don't know what's wrong with it. I don't know what I'm doing and at this rate in about a week I'll be one of the little old ladies at the Apple store tables learning how to download an app or check my battery life. Not even kidding.

I can turn off lights with my mind though. Explain THAT.

Update: Lochlan finally took a look at it. Maybe he felt sorry for me, more likely he's worried I might figure out what else I can do with my mind, as I clearly haven't unlocked my special powers yet in any meaningful way, but like my rare anger, God help us all when I do.

But I have bad RAM as it turns out, and so we're going to get a couple of new sticks and get the inside of my laptop all cleaned out and it's like he found his patience again or maybe he was just that impressed that I invoked a wish to join the groups that eschew technology and never asked him for help. It's a Christmas miracle.

I know. You love it when I whine about my laptop.


Thursday, 28 December 2017

Records were meant to be broken, just like prayers are meant to be heard.

I've been trying to write my resolutions but I can't seem to get anywhere. I don't have to show them to anyone, don't have to read them out loud, don't even have to adhere to them if I chose not to but I've been putting off writing them the same way I put off going out this morning. We needed gas for the truck, needed groceries for the house (I hadn't been food shopping since the 19th if you can even believe it and we were out of everything), needed cash from the bank and had to drop off a chair that we were getting rid of.

I just can't seem to get moving. Life seems to be a slow-motion quicksand. It's just the time of year, that dark period right after the first day of winter when you don't observe the days getting shorter again quite yet and it's cold and dark seemingly all the time. I can't tell this to August or he'll drag out the SAD light and park me in front of it for days even as I tell him: It's just that time of year. He knows it. The fuss and excitement of Christmas comes to a squealing, grinding halt and you stare down the inevitability of a new year and all of the expectations it brings. Dancing? Champagne? Wool pajamas and a roaring fire? Skating on the pond? Board games and pizza? This ties in with those pesky resolutions. Should they be deep or shallow? Thick or thin? Obvious or profound? Maybe a little bit of everything? Maybe nothing at all.

Maybe they should be what I want them to be. Maybe they should just be what they already are to me: half unobtainable bucket list and half flighty bullshit promises. PJ said to write down the first things that come to mind. Sam tells me to keep a list that will make me into the best person I can be. Caleb says to shoot for the moon.  Lochlan says to be good.

Why again am I doing this?

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Lochlan wrote another poem about my reluctance to celebrate New Years. Enjoy.

The new year comes knocking
So fast and so loud
She holds to the old one
So stubborn, so proud

It begs her attention
"So shiny! So new!"
She scowls with her mouth
"As if that will do!"

"I'll cling to the old one! 
I'll keep it right here! 
One thing is always easier than the unknown
and that's fear! 

So take away your new things 
your loud 'Auld Lang Syne'
I'll be right here
I'll be perfectly fine!"

Dear Peanut, it's coming
Whether you like it or not
So unclench your fingers
There's no strength you've got

To stay mired in the past
When you could come see what's new
I promise you'll like it
We'll be waiting for you.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

I don't post on Christmas Day and other fun things you seem to forget in a fog of nutmeg and gingerbread.

Santa found me. So did the Devil, the magician, the best friend and the Russians! Jesus. I am spoiled. The children are spoiled. The boys are spoiled. The dog was spoiled. Actually, if anyone else feeds the dog 'just a taste' of what we're having, they're going to lose a hand, as he has a sensitive stomach and is already farting out the Ghosts of Christmas Past while he sleeps at my feet. Then I get blamed for it, believe it or not and the Ghosts of Christmas Present get all judgey and holier than thou.

But it's okay! I'm done my three days of cooking (as we now have enough leftovers to last us to Friday), every dish in the house is in use, and the recycling has already tripled. Lord help me. I'm about to finish off the bottle of wine started last night on the front porch with the Devil as we played Two Truths and a Lie, and then I'm going to sleep for fifteen more hours and Christmas will be finished, Sam will have his well-earned week off (just like Santa) and we will plunge ahead into the ever-popular and overly-incendiary New Years.

It all goes by so fast.

Merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Fixed it.

Give me my WISH! 

I fairly screamed it at them, my inner nine-year-old shining so bright I thought she might step out beside me. They stopped, unbelievably, pulling each other up to stand in front of me like two schoolyard bullies who just discovered the other was taking their turf, only to be reminded neither one of them can lay claim to it.

Which is, I suppose, exactly what's taking place here. Originally it was an agreement that started as 'they' and morphed into 'I' through a combination of jealousy, teenage indignation and ego and I'm trying to shift it back to 'they' with a heavy emphasis on 'him' because he used sweetness, magic and imagination, romance and beautiful promises to get where he is. Caleb chose to use force.

And so here we are.

It's now Christmas Eve and I sat up abruptly at six in the morning, sun not yet awake, head full of terrible nightmares and both of them sleeping soundly around me, Lochlan on my left, Caleb on my right, the remains of the night a distant, melancholic memory of a game of tug-of-war, forced generosity and burying hatchets so deep we are scarred for life.

The more the Devil digs in the harder the Magician holds and that's not a bad thing, in all honesty. My inner nine-year-old would tell you that without hesitating. She would tell you triumphantly that she got her wish after all and then she would promptly burst into tears.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

We're getting bad at 'Solsticing.

When I opened the door Lochlan looked up in surprise. He was propped up against pillows on our bed, reading glasses on, hair wild, still wearing jeans and a long-sleeved thermal t-shirt. He had both lights on and was reading, a glass of untouched whiskey and his phone at his side.

The book hit the floor and he was in front of me in seconds. Everything okay? 

Yes. I got sent home after dinner with my present. Look. I open the box and try to show him the float but he's sorting out everything before that.

What happened?

I relay the evening to him as his tension visibly exits his body and then he pulls me in close to hold. The box juts up painfully against my collarbone and he finally takes it, placing it securely on the bureau as he turns and takes his shirt off.

So no nights?

He wants things to get better. I think he's really trying. 

That or he doesn't want your little germy self making him sick too. 

Could be. 

He smiles so languidly I think I might cry as he starts in on me, taking me out of my things, kissing my forehead (worn smooth again, Christ. I wish they'd kiss other parts), gently leading me back to his side of the bed, picking up the book and putting it on the shelf below the drawer, taking off his glasses, then turning off the lights, plunging us into the warm dark of the solstice interrupted, an event I will still forever hate and one he reluctantly celebrates. He twists me away from him and then pulls me back in close, my back against his chest, wrapping his arms tight around me. With his breath against the top of my head and his arms like that, keeping me pinned hard into him I find an easy rhythm to match his and we finish the night the way he wanted but couldn't hope for. When Lochlan lets go just enough for me to catch my breath he waits barely a heartbeat before pulling me back in, his mouth against my ear.

Finally got what I wished for back in 1980. 

We've done this a million times, Locket. 

No. I wished for him to not touch you anymore. 

He hadn't touched me yet, though. 

Sure he had. You just called it affection. 

Still do. 

I know you do. My new wish is for you to stop doing that. 


He laughs. So, so relieved that you're home where you belong. 

Yeah, me too. 

If you're not okay with going there, we can stop-

It's fine. It's just tough sometimes. 

I can only imagine how hard it is. His arm tighten again and he's asleep in seconds, a soft purr of a snore rising from his uncongested face. I'm jealous, as my nose is blocked and I'm going to sound like a chainsaw.

But I can't fall asleep.


This morning there was an envelope in my coffee cup. Inside a beautiful lace-cut page with Caleb's handwriting.

Tonight. It's not Christmas Eve yet. 

Oh, well, there he is. Right where I left him.

I'll go see him. Any hint of tenderness in Lochlan's very being just let out with an audible snap. There goes my solstice wish. It was nice while it lasted. He reads my mind. Yeah, funny how that works, isn't it?

Friday, 22 December 2017

Salt + smoke.

To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Every time I see him my brain goes into emotional recall. My heart lurches forward effusively, recklessly and my body hesitates, somewhere in between, torn between my heart yelling GO GO GO in one direction and my brain signalling flight the other way. I usually hesitate too long, just long enough for him to notice, the bloom of shared memories clouding his vision, his plans, everything with the dim light of darkness that we try to outrun but never seem quite able to.

A walk on the beach culminated in a formal, unfamiliar toast by the sea, by the bonfire he surprised me with, by words I haven't heard him say before, watching him struggle in a way I haven't seen before. It was sobering, a feeling the champagne couldn't smash its way through and didn't even try, flooding in to cover his words before harmlessly washing back out to sea, drawn up with the tides. Caleb took my hand, picked up the bottle with his other hand and we came back up from the beach in the dark, the bonfire drowned in its own flames and saltwater.

He didn't disappoint. We lit the big copper lantern that hangs outside the stable, just where you turn the corner in the driveway and come down the hill toward the houses. Then inside where he had a fire already going, smells of pot roast and woodsmoke mingling beautifully throughout.

You smell like salt.

Salt and smoke.

Salt and smoke. It's intoxicating.

I stiffen perceptibly. He notices but does not remark, covering easily. You sit up here and I'll get dinner together. I offered to help but he wouldn't have it and soon we were taking our plates outside to the tiny glass table underneath the patio heater.

He had a blanket draped on the back of each chair nonetheless and the Christmas lights on that trailed along the railing and then down along the fence too. Magical. Tealights in shells were scattered all over the table, all over the floor and along the railing. Dinner was indeed pot roast, potatoes and mushrooms in earthenware bowls, along with some big hunks of multigrain breads and whiskey in tumblers. Water too. Another toast and we dug in.

Jesus. You need to cook more. My mouth is full but holy cow. This is wonderful. So good.

He laughs. I'd be delighted to. A look passes between us and I realize it's getting very late to match the very dark. I'm not cold but that vague unsettled chill remains that I can't shake, that undercurrent of excitement mixed with dread. I know how late it is. I know what this night is.

You're cold. Let's head inside. Are you finished? Did you want more bread first?

No, thank you. I'm perfect. I smile but not with my eyes. I try, but not all that hard. We stand up and I try to help him with the dishes but he won't let me.

He smiles back, disappointment crashing in to fill the void where hope was, just momentarily. His eyes are hard. The wall is going up. I can almost see it from here.

Get the door for me? 

Of course. 

Once inside he leaves the tray on the counter and pours fresh drinks for us. My whole being is thrumming already from anxiety and firelight and alcohol. My blood sugar soars to the surface along with a flush that buries my summer freckles behind a pink cast.

We take our drinks in by the fire and he gets on his knees in front of me as I sit down. He has a box. It's a cube, actually. The size of his hands.

Open it.  

I stare at him.

Please, Bridget. 

I take the box but my eyes remain on him.

I think you're going to love this. 

What is it? 

Open it. 

I unwrap it and take the lid off. Inside is a glass fishing float. It's the most beautiful shade of palest teal with dozens of tiny air bubbles. It's thick. It's perfectly round and weathered just enough to be real.

Where did you get this? I breathe.

I found it on your beach. 

This is the holy grail of treasures. This is what I look for and I only ever find tiny rounded shards of sandblasted glass.

You didn't! When? 

Just before Halloween. 

So beautiful. 

Like you. Singular. Incredible. 

I shake my head. The knot of dread remains in the pit of my stomach, like it always does, even as I hold this beautiful glass ball in my hands.

Take it home and show Lochlan. 

Should I get your present? I thought we were waiting until Monday. 

We are. I wanted to give this to you alone. I'll see you tomorrow, okay? You can tell me what everyone thought of it. 

You don't want me to come back? 

Unless there's something we've forgotten, our solstice celebration is complete, I think. 


Bridget, I told you I want this new year to be different. I want everything to be different.  Now for Gods sake, get out of my sight before I change my mind.

I check the dread that turns to relief, welling up, spilling over so he can't see it, I finish my drink in one go and I pack the weight carefully back into the box for the trip across the driveway.

Goodnight, Diabhal. 

Goodnight, my Neamhchiontach. Enjoy your treasure. 

But his eyes. As blue as the glass, as sad as the sea. On impulse I run back and kiss him on the cheek.

I'm glad you like it. Now go. Please. Hurry.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The naiveté scene.

The fear is not mine
The fear is not my end
Though you attempt to keep me in it
The weight is not mine
The weight is not mine alone
Though you pretend to comprehend it
Caleb chose Yule this year to spend over the holidays. Solstice. The longest night. He's been talking of it quietly to me all week. A walk on the beach at sunset to say goodbye to the light. Lighting the copper lantern by the woods to see us through the dark. A fire already laid in the stove to light when we return. A hearty feast with beef stew, bread and wine to close out the evening. A quiet exchange of our fondest and most fervent wishes for the new year as a solemn marking of this change into the beginning of the cold season. Lighting the tree. Exchanging presents. Seeing each other through the night until the sun rises again so long from now.

It's already beginning to grow dim already as the moon chases the sun back over the horizon while the Devil chases new traditions into our lives wrapped around old ceremonies, played out simpler once, though much the same.

He pulls the stolen lighter out of his pocket as we all stand in a circle in the woods in the snow.

Where did you get that?

My uncle left it in our truck, Caleb says confidently, flicking it several times with the typical surety of a fifteen-year-old who's seen it done a few times but only ever lit matches before now.

Mom's going to kill you. Cole is sure he'll be the victorious brother, though he hangs on every word Caleb says.

So what do we do now? Lochlan has his own lighter and so he finds this amusing but he watches the flame, hypnotized as always by the way it dances.

Are we supposed to sacrifice a fair maiden? Christian asks, not totally unseriously.

All eyes turn to me.

I'm not a maiden. I'm only nine! It's really cold and my boots are leaking. My toes are about to fall off but I have to wait for them because if we're this far down the path I'm not allowed to go back to our street by myself. I have to wait for Lochlan or Caleb to bring me. Unless they sacrifice me, then I won't have to go home.

No, dirtbag, we're not sacrificing Bridget. Caleb winks at me as he gets down and starts a tiny fire on a rock that isn't snow-covered, snapping small branches off, adding them to a pile along with some homework pages he had in his back pocket. Today was the last day of school. He gets the fire going and then passes out slips of what's left of the paper. We all have to write down one thing we want to say goodbye to in 1980.

I take the proffered pen and turn to write against a rock that sits just outside the circle. It's wet so the pen doesn't work very well.

I fold it up and wait for Caleb's instructions. Each of the boys throw their slips into the fire one at a time, watching them burn before moving on to the next. Finally they get to me and I throw my slip at the fire but the fire is hot and very tall now so the paper falls short, opening as it lands a foot away from the flames.

Caleb picks it up and reads it silently before folding it back up and putting it into the fire. His eyes meet mine.

Rob asks what it says.

I'm the firekeeper so I can see them but they're supposed to be private. Caleb tells him with bravado. I don't think she'll get her wish though. He's not looking at me anymore. He's watching Lochlan, who is staring at me from our curve in the circle, probably wondering what I wished for, not realizing that it would take so many more solstices to come true but my hope for this year is that my nine-year-old's wish finally has.

What was your wish that night? I snap back to the present as Caleb comes back into the room from sorting out a couple of details with Lochlan. Namely when I'll be returned and confirming what Caleb doesn't get (Christmas eve through Boxing day) because he gets tonight and tonight is somewhat sacred to the Collective, something we've observed every year since.

That we would spend this night alone together. I think tonight we can celebrate the realization that our wishes came true at the same time. 

Until one of you throws a punch, you mean. (My wish? That Locklen and Calib stop fiteing. Ha. The spelling skills of a grade five student who daydreamed instead of working in her practice book.)

Right. Until then.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Named for the most beautiful time of year in Newfoundland and rightfully so.

I couldn't handle today so I tried to soothe myself. I had a broiling hot bubble bath this morning, a leisurely breakfast of coffee and fruit with cheese, I read three pages of my latest book (Hoffman's Rules of Magic) and messaged Lochlan a hundred and fifty times but he'll be out until past lunchtime and can't come home earlier because there's an emergency at the job he doesn't have, concerning the work he doesn't need to do. I glared at Schuyler when he breezed through, and I turned down Daniel's offer to take me to get my nails done. I'd rip them off. I'd bite them anyway. I can't self-soothe, I don't know what I was thinking.

I got halfway to the boathouse and abruptly changed directions, cutting off the bottom of the driveway and heading straight across, to the garage. I went up the outside steps and knocked gently.

August opened the door after a minute, wearing yesterday's sweater and pajama pants. He was still sleeping. He looked as if he was forcing alertness and held the door wide so I could come in.


Let me make it, I tell him as he does a quick circuit cleaning up dishes and books from the living room.

Go ahead.

Don't clean up on my account, I tell him as I stare down the Breville. Hmm. I don't even know where to begin here.

I'll do it, Bridge. Have a seat.

Why are we formal?

Today or in general? You and I or people nowadays?

You and I today.

The weirdness that usually follows the confirmation that someone has moved up in the hierarchy, I guess. They become a pariah and we become the losers.

And where do you think you are in this?

He laughs. I'm supposed to keep the questions coming.  Not you.

Does Sam bother you?

Of course not. But he refuses to acknowledge his roles. He chooses at will and when in one mode he'll deny the other even exists. That's dangerous.

Or is it naive?

Probably that, yes.

You can talk to him.

No, if I do he'll assume I feel threatened by him.

Oh. I'll talk to him then.

He'll discount your observations as defensive or unqualified. August makes an apologetic face and then collects the two mugs to bring over. That was fast. I take a sip.  Oh. I might not ever leave. But then that would cause more problems.


No, it's perfect. Thank you.

He settles in next to me, throwing one arm around me, holding his cup with the other. I get a kiss on top of my skull and that's the signal he gives for me to unleash the beast that is my mind all over the floor so he can pick up pieces and small glittery bits, turning them over in his hands, holding them up to the light, bringing some into focus while pushing others away. It's a puzzle and he can do it in his sleep. Better than Jake, better than Lochlan. Better than Sam. Better than Claus and Joel combined.

And certainly better than Bridget.

After I finish I settle in, letting out a long breath and he starts. Rearranging things out loud, thoughts, memories finding new places to rest, shining new lights on old things, finding a way to soothe me that I can't replicate without him. His accented voice turns into a constant lull, like a hum and my eyes get heavy, chin reaching my chest, finally at peace with everything. For the moment. For now.

He stops talking and gently takes my cup, bringing me back to wakefulness.



You should go home. Loch's truck just pulled in.

He's home?!

Yeah. Go see him and get a nap or something. You're both exhausted lately. Then send him over for coffee later.



Thanks for being here. For the record you still rank over Sam. Maybe over me too. Talk about haunted. My self-disparagement is costly and always shows so dreadfully in my eyes as I speak of it.

We can all be even, August says. Ever the diplomat. Ever the constant. Ever the rock from the rock and we love him for it.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

As soon as they find out you don't need them they want you more.

So you were just fucking with him. 

It's a firing squad, and this time I'm in front. Apparently my awful brand of sarcasm is indistinguishable from my wide-eyed truth, which is weird because I couldn't lie if I was at gunpoint, which I'm not, technically (well, today, anyway) but still they leapt to Batman's defence and I was soundly lectured for my flippancy.

He walked into my house unannounced. That means I'm allowed to mess with him-

Is it fair?

Life isn't fair! His jealousy was sending him on a bender, I had to shut him down-

By making it worse?

Better than trying to plead my way out of a moment that was none of his business and-

Yeah, about that-

JESUS CHRIST. I say goodbye to everyone the same exact way and suddenly it's an issue. 

With Sam it's-

The same exact way. Think about it. I'll wait.


I'm not going to defend my actions to the lot of you. I stare them down, a steely ten-year-old's gaze withering them as they stand against the flood of memories that come rushing back, threatening to knock them down and pull them out to sea.

He's just lonely, Bridge. They soften it, remembering, shouldering their weapons. I can breathe again. I'm not going to die today. Not for this, anyway.

I can't help him. I'm not allowed to help him. You all worry about Sam, Jesus. Sam is the least of all the elephants in this room. He's not even an elephant. He's...He's...I don't know but it's not an issue. 

Sam salutes me lazily. Gee. Thanks?

You know what I mean! 

Don't fuck with men's hearts, Bridget. Nothing good can come of it. 

Fuck with mine and this is exactly what you get. You ask for things and then get angry when I give them to you. You tell me not to touch them and then tell me it's fine. I don't know which end is up. 

I told you, you decide what you want to do. 

And then you all judge it. 

No, we...

'We judge you'. Just say it. I'm here right now living it. 

Not going to go into Christmas fighting with you. 

And I'm not going to be his panacea. If he's lonely he can come here and spend Christmas with us. That's his call. Otherwise don't make me feel guilty. He was fine to shove me back to Cole when he was the only one who knew for so long. We have a long history that has nothing to do with any of you so maybe just leave it lie. Okay?

Sorry, Bridge.

Yeah, sorry, Bridge. A chorus of quiet affirmative absolution rises and I walk out into the sunrise. Alive for another day. The balance here is tenuous and poorly weighted. If you ever thought my emotions ruled this point and all who live here then you failed to consider the virtual tide of their emotions, their immediate instinct to protect each other in addition to me. Adding that to our combined and separate pasts, it makes for some long days, some hurt feelings and one hell of an incredible peace when it all levels out again.

I head across the lawn as the sun comes up purpley-pink behind the woods. It's freezing and rain threatens the dawn but I don't have my coat. I follow Batman's lead, barging into his house via the french doors off his kitchen, where he sits with a cup of coffee and his iPad, quietly reading while Jay makes some toast for himself.

I'm sorry, I blurt out, not even waiting for privacy.

No, I'm sorry. I have no right to claim ownership over you without doing the heavy lifting. 

That was my thinking. 

I could change that if you-

I shake my head almost imperceptibly and his face hardens. We have a distance between us that no amount of touching while ever bridge. I sharpen the only arrow I have left, found in the grass on the way over here. I hold it tightly in my fist as I drive it straight through bone, plunging it into Batman's cold heart. Sam's got it covered.

Monday, 18 December 2017

When your 'good' shoes are wet from the rain so you marry someone in your Chuck Taylors.

Not me. I didn't get married. I'm already married. This was Sam, who headed out to perform a quickie Monday home wedding to kick off someone's Christmas holidays and he did it in his brown pants, a belt buckle with a skull on it (who lent him that?), his darker brown corduroy jacket and bright red Converse All-Stars. Lows at least. So that you can see his sky-blue socks.

I straighten his collar as he kisses me goodbye.

Good luck, I tell him.

Love you. See you after dinner. Ish. 

I nod and he's gone. He gets weirdly nervous before weddings so he practically ran out of the house. Good thing.

Did I miss something? I turn and Batman is standing in the patio door. He's holding a book that belongs to Gage and my scarf that I left in his kitchen. Also, presents. He's holding a stack of flat presents.

Sam was leaving? Did you need him for something? He has a wedding at two. Just text him though and he can reply when he gets there-

The kiss. 

What kiss?

And he said he loves you. What is going on?

If you didn't come here to be nice-

Where's Lochlan? 

Downstairs helping Ben-

Oh, I see. 

What do you see, exactly? 

A year or six or ten of falling for Sam, maybe

Or not. Hard to fall when I've loved him all along. 

So what happens now?

Nothing. Jesus. Where have you been?

Under a rock, I guess. I didn't know you were a thing. 

We're not a thing. We have a thing, but we're not a thing. 

What's the difference? Is there any?

Right, yes. Come in and shut the door and I can explain it to you and then you'll get it. 

It's like we are, then?

We're NOT-

You know what I mean. 

Okay, yes it's like that but different.

How, Bridget? How is Sam different?

Well, for starters it's way more often. 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Glad I'm not a Puritan, and other Sunday reflections.

(I watch a lot of movies when I'm sick, okay?)

I haven't been going to church much and this week Sam quarantined me, saying I could miss the candle-lighting and the Christmas carols in advance of next week's Moon & Stars (outdoor) Christmas Eve service so that I don't make the rest of the congregation sick with my cold, now a roller coaster of really great days and really bad moments mixed together

So I stayed in bed and watched The Witch on Netflix and wow. What a lot of hype. I will give them a couple of points, as the sound design was epic and the tension so tight you could twang it like a fork, but the heavy-handed puritan babbling that never stopped (obviously hugely central to the plot) and the ending people describing all over the internet as a 'big payoff' were just not cool.

They could have prayed less and explained more in actual dialogue. I watched it with headphones and I didn't know why the family was banished until I read a synopsis but apparently the father explains it in his prayers. Great. I guess I need BETTER headphones. I can't see how being in a theater or having perfect hearing would have helped in this case, especially after polling my friends with perfect hearing who saw it and also had no idea what they did to be banished because they couldn't hear the details either.

Also the ending is not a big payoff. It's not a twist nor is it the least bit satisfying. I kind of honestly spent everything after the first ten minutes staring at my laptop in horror because it fires off on all cylinders, letting you know that in exchange for that quiet suspense you'll bear witness to a whole host of uncomfortable and sometimes beyond violent exchanges that will leave you wishing you never saw it. It just isn't good enough of a movie to justify the shock value and I want my ninety minutes back and the ending is a predictable cop-out of the highest degree.

At least it was free.

But then again, so is Jesus. And I promise he doesn't actually demand that level of devotion. I'm pretty sure that was the scariest part of the movie to me. Seriously.

(Presbyterians are going to email me their rage now, you watch.)

(Also: when did Netflix start cutting the credits off completely before bouncing back to the splash screen? Shame, indeed.)

Saturday, 16 December 2017

The porgs! I need more of them! (No Last Jedi spoilers, I promise).

Payback was this morning, when I woke Lochlan out of a sound sleep.

Let's go see Star Wars. 


Oh, come on. If we don't someone will tell us what happens and it will be spoiled. 

Yeah. You're right. 

So off we went for a sub-eleven in the morning show. Who eats popcorn at eleven in the morning? We do, that's who. I didn't even have coffee today. I'll just have two tomorrow.

Glad we didn't wait and have the plot spoiled, now that I'm on the other side. I would have spent the whole film waiting for the spoiler-parts and instead got ambushed with how good it was, how well it fit in to the timeline and how glorious one particular shot was that took my breath away.

But now it's done and it feels like Christmas is upon us, because there's always a Star Wars movie in the holiday somewhere.

It's playing now and it's worth the trip in spades. I couldn't say that about the last four Star Wars movies so take note.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Bitchy McSnorkynose (I didn't make it up, that's what he said when he didn't know I was coming down the steps behind him since I'M UP NOW, LOCHLAN.)

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me ressurect
Right before your eyes
Lochlan managed to sleep for twenty-odd hours and he was up at the crack of some miserable hour raring to go.

Want to go out for breakfast, Peanut? I want to sleep. I feel terrible, as I think Matt brought his cold to the point. I snorgle a response from under water and Lochlan laughs. Jesus, he's so fucking loud and chipper I may have to sleep elsewhere just so I can get some rest.

Later. Eight. Or ten.

But...eggs Benedict.

I hate you.

No you don't.

Bring them to me here.

Do I look like your servant?

You brought me breakfast in bed last time.

That was last time. I'd prefer not to be apart for a while.

What's a while?

The rest of my time off.

Why is this?

So you don't get ambushed by the others.

Ah, you talked to Matt?

In a way, yes.

Did you talk with your fists again?

No? Why would I do that?

It's how you and Caleb talk to each other.

That's different. We're heathens.

What is Matt?

Some outsider who hurt Sam.

Is this where you finally admit you love Sam?

If I do will you come to breakfast with me, Bridgie?


Hey, I can carry you to the truck and you can eat in your jammies.

Jesus. Should I call you 'Daddy' while I'm at it?

Fuck. I hope when I come back at ten you're less cranky.

Promise. (he said TEN! GOODNIGHT!)

Thank fuck.

Great. Now I'm wide awake. Yes to pajamas in restaurants and yes to extra hash browns, please.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Two truths and a man.

(Inwardly I felt as panicked as he looked. Outwardly though, I was ice.)

Matt's here. He seems to be a hallmark of the seasons changing these days, as he and Sam refuse to commit but can't be apart. This is maddening and heartbreaking and yet it's exactly what happens when there are complications in a relationship.

Complications like...bees.

You've been with Sam for almost a year now. Matt lobs it gently toward the water as we walk. It's a flat sentence and so it skips once, twice...three times before sinking below the surface.

He's keeping track.

I wait for him to drown me in the surf, taking me out of whatever imaginary competition or obstacle he thinks I am but he walks on, picking carefully over the rounded wet rocks that force us to consider each step we make with an undeserved concentration.

(It's a metaphor. Roll with it.)

I don't respond. I wait. I'm a good listener when you need me to be.

What is he to you? What are you to him?

Comfort. Faith. He's a constant. He's a lighthouse.

You've got ten guys who could fulfill that role. Why'd you have to touch Sam?

It's a broken question from a broken man.

He touched me first. 


You weren't there for him.

I was working.

You don't put work first in this life. Maybe Sam and I have seen that and we know it. Maybe you're just learning it now.

What does the future look like, Bridge?

If only I knew.

He stares at me. Why do they all stare at me? How do I do this if you're in the way?

I'm not in the way.

Yeah, you are.

Then I'll move over.

What if I want you to leave and not just make room?

Sam made his wishes known over and over and you ignored them. The one thing I'm not going to let you do is hurt him. We just finished fixing him. 

Oh, is that what you think you've done? 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Got what I wanted. Thanks Santa! (I mean Schuyler).

Lochlan came home early this morning. I swear he would have outrun the plane had he been able, and when I made it to arrivals he was in a flat run toward me before I saw him, almost knocking me over when he reached me. His carry-on meant we didn't need to wait around and we were off. I handed him his truck keys, grateful he wasn't too tired to drive, and he offered breakfast if I hadn't had it already. I had, and he ate on the plane so we settled for drive-through coffee which I promptly forgot about and it's still out there in the truck because I don't get coffee on the go, I can barely handle it at home where I'm not moving.

He looked tired but had a productive trip and then shortly before lunch he went to see Schuyler for a rundown and Schuyler gave him the rest of the year off (!) and a health Christmas bonus too (!!), for going on such short notice and fixing everything.

Lochlan was fixated on the bonus but I was ecstatic at the thought that he now has almost three full weeks to not think about anything, not do anything and just enjoy Christmas with Ben and I, as Ben is going to work less, though still some and really besides Lochlan coming home that's the best news of today.

Well, that and I remembered what a latte was finally so I didn't order one by mistake and then go aw fuck! 

(They're half milk and I don't have milk unless it involves Lucky Charms.)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

He doesn't want anyone to think he's a big softy. I don't honestly give a shit.

(I'll write about him if I want to write about him.)

Daniel and I split a bottle of wine while Schuyler and Benjamin made pizza for us and then after a few spontaneous carols Ben said we were heading out. That surprised me as I brought my pajamas with me and my phone charger but I didn't protest. He said we were going to take a walk so I could sober up. We hugged the boys and left them with most of the pizza for leftovers (a total surprise since Ben is a bottomless pit) and off we went, hand and hand into the night, heading out their front door and up the road, the long way around in the fog.

He put my hand in his pocket with his hand still around mine for warmth. He walked slow, so I could keep up. I was warm, flush with the glow of too much Shiraz and not enough food but this wasn't a dinner about food, it was about company and it was nice to have a normal dinner party and it was nice to leave it on a good note.

I don't get to see you so much these days.

You don't surface much. 

Sorry, Bee. Big projects. That's why Loch-

He's not even home. 

I know. I took a break so you wouldn't be alone. 

I'm glad. I squeeze his hand and he squeezes back.

Lochlan's back tomorrow?

Yeah. Hopefully. Unless there are problems. 

Naw, he'll be back. 


That's why I didn't let you stay next door. I wanted you to myself for a night. 

All you have to do is as-

I can't ask Lochlan to give up more than he has, Bee. 

Ben, you don't have to-

It's tough. You know? I gave you back and I wasn't ready. 

I'm right here. 

Stick around okay?

I'm not going anywhere, Ben. 

We don't talk to each other enough. We don't tell each other I miss you. We should. 

I woke up this morning half-crushed by his arms holding me against him. His skin wasn't cool as usual. Instead it was broiling. He didn't sleep like a vampire, he slept like a Jacob, he didn't disappear in the night or in the morning and it was like the first days when we were trying to sort out being together when I thought it was forever and he thought he was a bookmark. I still refuse to see it like that because every time he's around we fall a little deeper, we find our way back.

Don't disappear when he comes home. My plea is sleepy but clear in the dawn. Don't leave again. 

I won't, Bumblebee. I'll be here.

I mean all the time. 

When am I supposed to work then?

You were supposed to stop. 

I didn't stop, did I?

No, you didn't. Instead you vanished into thin air, which is a pretty incredible feat considering how big you are. 

And you're still drunk. How do you remember these conversations so well?

I have to concentrate so hard so I can hear you so they just stick in my brain like toffee. 

Sounds delicious. 

No, it's very noisy and I don't like it but it's the way I am.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Plus none.

There he goes, swinging from nice back to not, from acquiescing back to making the rules, from being sweet and kind to making sure I've earned all of these bruises as punishment for whatever it is that he maintains I've done.

Which is nothing but tease him slightly and it was more than enough to send him into a tailspin of dark misery that he saw fit to share and I needed to run from and didn't because we have a trauma-bond.

Hell, yes we do.

Caleb keeps vetoing every single thing I suggest, after he asked me for a Christmas list. Every single thing I offer he counters with something outlandish, expensive or inappropriate. Finally he throws up his hands and asks me to stop, that he'll find something and that I'll like it.

Just because.

Then why did you ask me? This is so stupid, I think I've decided it's the hill I'm going to die on today.

Because I thought maybe you might be reasonable. 

My suggestions are reasonable for what you-

Oh, please finish. For what I am to you? Think hard before you answer, Neamhchiontach, for I like to reward you not for what I am to you but for what you are to me. 


Hell. Yes. 

Too bad you can't buy your way out of this. 

It is. 

Well...too bad! 

Oh, I see we're just going to slip into some childish frustration now. 

Best I've got. 


Okay, I'm leaving. 

Why leave when we can fight our way through dinner?

I already have dinner plans. 


Danny and Sky. We're making pizza. I'd offer to bring you along but they specifically said threesome. I say this just to watch his ears  light up and burn. They said nothing of the kind.

(It's implied, though.)

Does Ben know you're going? (Lochlan is away. Yesterday's sweetness was a going-away party. Not for more than a few days but I am well-supervised for his absence and I miss him enough to cry already.)

Yes, of course. Now I'm just annoyed.

Maybe I'll send them some instructions and they can talk you into something nice for Christmas. They appreciate the finer things. 

Good luck with that. 

Good luck with your dinner. I'll watch for your return. 

Don't bother. I'm staying for a sleepover. 

The face he made was enough of a Christmas gift for the next fifty years of my life. I grinned back.

Adios, Diablo. 

Don't throw Spanish in on top of everything else, he whispers.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Absent frosted Jesus.

I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta say thank God for that
I'm torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I'll fall apart or stay intact

With tired eyes I stumble back to bed
I need to realize my sorry life's not hanging by a thread
At least not yet
Lochlan started a fire and came back to bed early this morning, then left once again, returning with cane-sugared doughnuts and very good coffee spiked with Irish cream. I woke up then, when my body sensed the sweetness level rising in the room exponentially.

We ate our breakfast while watching The Legend of Frosty the Snowman on his iPad, and when it was over he asked if I wanted to get up and go to church or stay in bed maybe through lunch, that we could probably find another Christmas movie to keep us busy or if not maybe something else to do besides. I grin with my sticky face back at him. We should probably stay in and finish off these sheets, I'm thinking, because there's sugar everywhere.

He nods. I'll let Sam know we won't be in church.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A commune (you know, like Alcatraz or the Hanoi Hilton).

Bridget this is work that has to be done. It's as much for your privacy as it is to maintain our investment in this property. You saw the assessment. We're sitting on a goldmine here and it's only going to increase in value-

I have a question. 

He looks startled but recovers quickly. Go ahead. 

What if I wanted to leave? Could I?

What do you mean? 

It's an easy question. 

Jesus. People we don't even know come here and put these ridiculous ideas in your head as if you're a prisoner here-

Am I? 

He turns and looks at me for a long time and then takes both my hands in his own as he sits against the back of the island. We're at eye level when he does this.

Bridget. It's safer for you if you stay with us. We'll look after you. I've explained this over and over again. I've showed you what happens when you go out on your own. This is just the way it works. 

So what you're saying is no. That I can't leave. 

You're not a prisoner here-

What would you call it? 

A brotherhood. 

I thought we called it a Collective. 

Only in front of you, Neamhchiontach. 

Good to know.

Friday, 8 December 2017

(Already reimbursed and everything.)

The round table (core group) meeting got a little heated last night and I may have pulled rank, deferring the whole renovation plan until the spring or possibly later, (however long I can stall. Like forever is perfectly fine with me.) much to the unchecked relief of virtually everyone except Dalton, who once again wandered into the room in his pajamas and asked what was going on.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

We can simply get a contractor instead. 

Not for this. 

I stared out the window while they debated. My own reflection stares back from the dark, surrounded by lights. Ransom was an error. Based on name alone they shouldn't have hired him, but he came well-recommended and was brought in from out of province, which was why he was always here. He had nowhere else to go, in town just for this project. They should have let me hire someone based on interviews instead of just forging ahead. They don't know men the way I know men, and he walked in with a keen overreaching awareness that I picked up on instantly and then revealed his hero complex way too soon. I am a liability, I don't need any others and he scared me with his interest right off the bat.

It wasn't until I pointed that out that they scuttled the plans. Apparently wanting to leave the bones of the house alone wasn't a good enough reason, but being afraid is.

Maybe we can paint, I offer to the groans and exasperated expressions around me. Lochlan snorts and gets up. Yeah. Maybe we can paint. 

But later in the dark when he leads me upstairs he asked me what went wrong. He wasn't there, all he has to go on are everyone else's deductions on why Ransom isn't coming back.

He was pushing his way in. He asked me if I was being held here. He could see the marks on me. 

Maybe there shouldn't be marks on you. I wouldn't have acted different if I in his shoes. This looks insane from the outside, Peanut. It only makes sense to the Collective. No one we bring in to do the work is going to behave different. 

Then we need to present it differently. You and I will book the work and the brother-in-law will deal with the deals, because there's no reason to have PJ and Duncan and Ben at the table. We'll just go over options with them privately. 

So we goofed. 

Yeah, we goofed. 

No harm, no foul, Bridge. 

But his words were the same as Ransom's and they make me think, as Lochlan pulls me down into his lap, forcing my arms around his neck and my head tightly into the space between his shoulder and his jaw as his hands slide around my hips in the dark.

Am I being kept here? Is everything okay? If it doesn't look right the outside world, does that make it wrong?

It isn't wrong, Bridgie. Lochlan reads my mind as he loosens my deathgrip from around his shoulders, pushing me away and down on my back before coming back in close so that he can hold me in his arms. It isn't wrong.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The rescuer.

I was up early (Lochlan had to go out early to work and I couldn't sleep after he left) so I went over to August's to see if he was up and making espresso (he was). I figured I could beat the crowds, if you know what I mean.

I was wrong.

On the way back, blowing down the heat of my cup, I ran smack into Ransom, who was exiting his car. I didn't know he would have to be onsite every day or I would have already vetoed this, but they can't get the changes sorted out so until they do, my kitchen seems to be their office.

We haven't been formally introduced. He extends a hand as his own name rolls off his tongue as if he's used to impressing women. That surprised me slightly but I don't acknowledge it. Instead I tell him my first name and shake his hand briefly.

So you are the owner of this beautiful property. They talk about you constantly. I'm actually having a little bit of a hard time sorting out the dynamics in this house. 

Such as? 

Your husband is Caleb? I was under the impression that he lives there. He indicates the Boathouse.

I was under the impression that you're here to oversee the new designs and coordinate with the contractor. Not ask questions about my personal life. 

I just wasn't sure who was officially in charge of this property.

That would be me. 

But Caleb is responsible for payment. 

That's correct. 

Have I upset you? Look, I didn't mean to, I was present for some of the conversations about the property and it went from confusing to impossible to tell who lives here and who does not. So I'm there trying to take direction from six different people and none of them actually live here. I need you to sign off. 

They live all here. Well, across the five different buildings.

How many families? 

Just one.

Bridget, I don't know what I've walked into here-

A design job? A big renovation? If you don't want the work or it's a conflict of personal morals or something you can be excused-

-Are you okay? Are they..keeping you here? Do you need help, is what I'm asking?

She's fine. Oh, there's Schuyler. My perpetual guardian angel. Always close at hand.

Ransom is staring at Schuyler. Is Caleb in charge or isn't he? 

He's financing this, so yes, he is your boss.

Bridget, go inside. Oh, there Caleb is now. I think the question period is finished for now. 

Ransom turns to look at Caleb and his face breaks into a goofy smile. Hey, no harm, no foul. What did I do? Get too close to her? I'm just trying to find the chain of command here. 

I told you on the first day who you would be dealing with. Bridget is not on that list. 

She's the property owner-

Then we'll make sure she signs off on all of it. I'm a lawyer, I understand you need to cover yourself.

That was the last I heard, as I came back inside, followed by Schuyler, who left Caleb to deal with Ransom.

I take a sip from my cup but my espresso is cold. I make a face and Schuyler matches it as I put the cup in the microwave for a minute. 


Avoid him. 

I've actually been trying to! I didn't expect him to be here at eight-fifteen in the morning.

True. He won't be here much longer if he keeps up this curiosity. 

I'd be beside myself trying to figure this out if I were anyone coming in. They can't help it. It's extremely unusual. 

Schuyler stares at me so long I begin to squirm. Finally he speaks and it took so long it startles me. You're right, Bridget. I'll give him a cursory explanation and see if it resolves his interest. But you stay away. Might want a little break from Caleb too. Ransom only asked you if you were okay because you're covered in bruises. 

I'm fine. Just clumsy. 

Jesus, it's me you're talking to, Honey. Don't sugarcoat it, I don't have a sweet tooth. 


For girls. 

Oh, liar once more. I grin as he calls me a brat and shoos me out just as Caleb and Ransom come in to start work. Don't have to tell me twice. I'm gone.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


Ben wasn't so keen to be found and distracted and so he shared the wealth and brought me back to Caleb's where I was held down by one and spun out by the other before they traded places and spun me back in. Then Ben went back to work and left me there to sleep but sleep was full of nightmares, bruises and that weird brand of shame I can never seem to shake, though it's been years and I don't answer to anyone outside of the Collective anymore.

Caleb slept like a baby.

Funny, that. The more violent he gets, the easier he sleeps. The true mark of a monster, I guess, though if you put a mirror in front of us and asked us to point out who the monster is we would both probably indicate me.

Ben is angry that I even registered Ransom in the house. Told me not to get into it. Then Caleb threatened to fire him and call in a new architect. Apparently they're a dime a dozen around here, if your dime is platinum and crusted in gems. But I don't want any architects, let alone Ransom, he can just live on the fringe, like Ben.

Except I miss Ben. I shouldn't after last night but I still do because he was moody and quiet and thorough, hurtful and a little bit rougher than I wanted, though maybe it wasn't about me. It might not ever be, and that's okay too.

Caleb was just rough because that's the way he is. Always wants to put on a show, refusing to show any side other than the purest of evil just in case someone finds further weakness in him. Aside from me, I mean.

So today I asked for breakfast in bed so I wouldn't have to deal with Ransom at all.

And I got it, but of course that meant a couple more protracted hours that I wasn't home and when I did get home (when Ransom left) Lochlan was waiting and ready to take his piece of me, carving out most of the shame and ego I brought in and leaving me with more of the former and none of the latter. He said I should be there going over the plans so I know what's happening (this after telling me yesterday I didn't know what I was doing so just stay out of the way) and also if I could stay put that'd be great. I pointed out I was with Ben but Lochlan asked if Ben even knew where Ben was these days and I didn't answer because I knew it was a rhetorical question and then he unrolled the plans across the island and just like that, the subject was changed.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Writing without talking (here is what you missed).

We celebrated Ben's birthday last weekend, on Sunday, not Saturday because he was working downtown and couldn't extricate so at the last minute we moved the whole thing to the next day and had a lovely celebration. This was part of my Saturday-frustration but I wasn't about to blame him for anything other than being a workaholic.

He is forty-seven now and does not want to be detailed here day-to-day. He's mellowing and would sometimes like to fade into obscurity and sometimes not. It varies depending on his moods but he is happy, healthy, loved his presents and his speeches too and ate almost half the cake in one go. I make two now, since one is never enough, but that's probably too much. He's as mercurial as anyone and worse when he doubles-down on a project. I can't pull him away and we both wind up irritated by just about everything. Him by my whining, and me by his endless working.


Ransom. Architect. Here doing some work on the house because apparently it's not good enough so they're doing so major renovations. Like, MAJOR ones. Last time I checked it was my house but even Lochlan (you thought I was annoyed you should see him) pointed out my standards end at a 100-foot-square camper and I can't see past the end of my nose to understand things like flow and usable space and multipurpose areas. That I settle for nothing and am too happy about it. That I should try harder to live the way I want to live and not the way I remember it.

This is total bullshit. Someone just wanted to throw my OCD into overdrive because it's not bad enough. Let's just rip the side of the house off and have crews in here all through the holidays.

But that's not the point. The point is that every morning now when I come downstairs Handsome-Ransom is in my kitchen looking at plans with the boys and he'll look up and greet me with much attention. We grin at each other and he'll watch me go and pour my coffee to the point that he usually has to be prompted to return to his conversation.

Just what I need. Another man.


Caleb just bankrolls whatever they want as long as they frame it being for my benefit.

This will give you a little more privacy. 

I'm fine.


I said I was fine. (Just don't look too closely, large parts have been blown clean off.)

He sighs. Where's Ben?

Good question! 

You're more than welcome to stay here while the work is completed if you'd like the quiet or if you're having issues with Ben-

Who said I was having issues?! FUCK.

Ben's right. Your ire ranges from white-hot rage to insolent emotional immaturity. 

I'm...emotionally immature?

Very. Yes. 

Do you know how that comes to be? 


No, really. Do you? Because my brand of it comes from trauma at a young age. Do you remember what that was, Diabhal? 

Shocked into silence, he turns and leaves the room. The conversation is over. I need to go find Ben anyway to find out who authorized them wrecking this stupid house to try and make it better. The only way we could make it better would be to fix the people who live in it. Namely me.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Little blonde clown.

I've decided 2018 is going to be the year that I. start. not. giving. a. fuck.

Yes, I know, I've probably said it before, something something blah blah blah have more fun/worry less. Then I worry more, fold myself into a tangled ball and hide out the days exisiting or surviving instead of living.

I'm afraid of a lot of things. Not like Sarah Paulson in AHS: Cult who screamed like a banshee every time she saw a fucking clown (I LOVE clowns, but not Pennywise, he bores me, overrated, you know this) but afraid of weird things that send my heart plummeting into black dread and my body into fight mode.

(Note? Don't spoil Cult for me, we haven't finished it.)

Because I don't run. No, I'm stupid like that. I go after that fear because how dare it try to do that to me. How dare my fears try to leave me unsettled, get the best of me or just plain make me afraid. They don't get that right. I fight like something you've never seen. I force myself to do it. I march right up to it and demand that it be fixed right now so it isn't scary anymore.

Except for elevators. I haven't figured out how to make them back down yet but I take one if the stairs aren't handy. It's terrifying but I do it anyway because that's who I am.

Or something.

But yeah, this year I'd like to become someone who sort of doesn't give a fuck, doesn't give a voice to the fear, doesn't care if she's tired, doesn't worry about every little thing, doesn't hide and then come out swinging, doesn't worry about it.

I've earned it.

I won't bother listing the fears. Some are valid, some are earned. Some are ridiculous. Some are unfathomable and some are tiny but powerful. They all hold the same weight to my battered brain and I'd like it better if they didn't hold any weight at all. 

Sam calls this determination one of my fleeting moments of courage, in which I'm going to change my world with my Big Plans, only to be the same as ever. I'm not sure if he can see my capabilities better from up there or if he's trying to goad me to actually follow through. You'll have to ask him.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

A girl, a fix, a prank.

I got part of my wish last night, as August put his Spotify account on my phone. At any given time now I can see what he's listening to, and since I don't have a poker face, I fear that just about every time I look at him from here on out he's either going to be treated to an expression of pure surprise or sheer disappointment, as his musical tastes have always been more than a little strange for a man his age.

We went for a walk out out in the orchard, now laced with a huge chaotic array of those carnival rainbow bulbs, because why not? We did so with some mulled wine and it was perfect. Well, except for the subject matter, which involved a plan to navigate the holidays with as little upset as possible, as that familiar helplessness and frustration came up yesterday that signals a decided lack of self-care, a focus on the negative (but I made a list of the good things!) and a disappointing ignorance of just how good things are.

Suitably stung, I nodded. He's right. He's always right but at the same time I feel an undercurrent of annoyance. I didn't ask for this, it was facilitated to me. My good fortune in life is a debt paid for unspeakable reasons that began long before there was ever any Cole, any Jacob to be worried about and he addresses that too, before I can abandon the walk in a flurry of misery.

Ask for help, Bridget. Before things reach that point. 

I know. 

But do it. You know it and you keep silent. 

It's hard. I want to be capable. 

Capable people know the limits of their capabilities. 

Oh, then I'm not capable at all, nevermind. 

He laughs. Sure you are. As capable as you can be for you. 

I look up at him. In the dark cold if I close my eyes and focus on the accent and not the man, I feel like I could touch heaven if I jumped.

Don't look at me like that, Bridge. 

Sorry. I didn't mean to. 

Jesus. What you're 'capable' of is dismantling the strongest of men with your very being. 

Wow, Augie. See? That's the problem. I don't want to dismantle anyone. 

You can't help it. 

I could go live in a cave. 

You could, but it's going to get awfully crowded, since no one's going to let you out of their sight. Get some sleep, okay?

And with that, we are at the side door of the house and he opens it just as PJ is coming down the stairs. They give each other one of those violent man-back-clapping hugs and then PJ holds the door for me, locking it behind us as August heads back across the driveway to his loft.

Any luck?

Yes, he gave me his login.

Oh, the games are ON now. 

(Supposedly on Spotify you can change the music on another user if you have their info on your deivce. Don't worry, we're not mooching the songs, we're just going to try to brainwash August into slightly heavier music. PJ already hooked me up with my own IHeartRadio account for the all-Christmas station I've been playing when I'm driving.)

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Ballad of Highway 99, Part II.

(Excuse the rant, but I'm entitled, once in a while. Or if you want to put it a different way: I'm entitled so once in a while I rant. Yes, first world problems. I understand. Skip the emails, seriously. I get it.)
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?
I woke up like this.

Frustrated and slightly overwhelmed as I watch my to-do list pile up and I have taken to hard slashing, cancelling everything I can cancel, trying to group errands, getting things done early or strategically putting them off and generally trying to put myself in everyone else's shoes so I don't rip their heads off.

I drove for two hours last night in the pouring rain of an inky black night only to arrive downtown, thinking I was off the hook for driving for the weekend only to realize it's Saturday and what a gift it would be if I could get a few things done today to make the week ahead easier. Plus, Henry abruptly needs something and I have to go out anyway. But where we live you don't go out for one thing (unless it's food). You go out for a few hours and do everything while you're there, because it's a hell of a drive home.

I'm sure they chose this remote place because it is most like home. And yes. It is in a way. If you squint and make everything super blurry and way smaller. And the shopping matches, because there isn't any here either, and what should be a twenty minute drive to the shopping centre has never taken a mere twenty minutes. More like forty-five. Each way. Which isn't bad per say but I make that drive multiple times a day sometimes and this time of year, between the weather and the Christmas rush, it's particularly awful.

But I got Henry's shoes, the new security lights for outside (three of them have failed in the past month. I guess their life expectancy is seven years), and mailed all of the parcels that are going home. So I felt better making that drive home, knowing I've just saved what would have been half of Tuesday, freeing me up to do other things.

Like get ready for Christmas. It's a battle not to constantly feel overwhelmed but I somehow do. Yes, I have help. Yes, I have a list and a plan. Yes, I have the means. Yes, I started in September.  But in my rush to make the season perfect the only part that isn't is me and I don't know how to fix that either. I wish it would snow but only Christmas weekend. I wish I could not have chores, but chores wait for no one. I wish I could cook better. That's so dumb but it's true. The thought of dealing with a turkey again makes me tired. Also slightly grossed out because I only stopped being a vegetarian eighteen years ago and I still can't figure out bones.

I want to sit by the fire and drink whiskey and read a good book. I want to listen to Christmas music but the IHeartRadio app scares me and I'm bored of my own supply of Christmas music that I own, or that Ben has sung, sometimes with me. It's a little disconcerting to be singing along only to hear your own voice out of the blue over the stereo. I want Lochlan to have some time off (yeah somehow Schuyler and Batman both have him booked up. He was going to retire. Except, true to Loch, he can't sit still. Maybe this is a good thing?). I miss him though.

I want to walk in the woods and sleep in, eat brunch and watch holiday movies. I want to stop moving.  I could. Boy, could I ever. There just never seems to be any time left over. Everything is so fleeting and then we're up and off once more. Tomorrow Ruth will need some obscure art supplies and we'll run out of orange juice and John or PJ will need a watch/pair of boots/truck picked up and I'll be up there on the highway again.

I'm starting to hate that road, but it runs East, and for some reason that makes it okay. At least every time I leave my house, I'm one step closer to home.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Waiting for a King Tide.

I'm ready.

I'm ready for the dock to be underwater and the sea to come up and try to reach me, throwing up foam and salt, an icy slap from out of thin air. I'm ready to be banned from the backyard, the cliff, the beach (which will briefly disappear, as it always does at high tide anyway) and the steps. I'll remain inside where it's warm, turtleneck unfolded up over my mouth, nose pressed against the window, trying to commit that particular elusive shade of teal to memory. Still failing to do so, I'll be lured to the fire instead, to the flame, if only to pass the time between oceans.

I finished all of the off-point Christmas gifts today. Now I have to organize, wrap and ship them. Everyone is getting a small painting (by me) and a jar of pickles with their gifts (also made by me) and I hope everyone likes them. They'll all be shipped to the other ocean, the one that's a slightly lighter shade of teal, more grey for the Atlantic to the Pacific's green undertone.

Colder, still.

At least it's brighter there. Here in the dim petrichor air we grow mushrooms in our hair and squint at the lights because it's so dark, so wet. So miserable. I don't know where the perfect place is, but I'll know when I find it. Trouble is, I'm not really looking, so how can you find something you're not even really searching for? Home is where the heart is, so I guess right now one piece is downstairs in the studio, one is in the boathouse, one is in heaven and one is on the highway on the way home, with take-out for lunch.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Not long.

I was digging out rubbermaid bins from the storage room yesterday. The storage room sort of doubles as the control center of the house. The alarm box is there, the modem, router and printer all live in there and if you keep walking (it's very narrow), at the back of the room I have neatly stored holiday decorations in bins as well as a good stack of moving boxes (Lochlan conjured up a nomad in me I can't seem to get rid of) and an entire bureau full of DVD and Blu Rays. Or is it Bluerays? I don't know, I'm not down there to look.

Anyway. I was backing out of the room with a bin in my arms and managed to smash into the alarm box with my right shoulder. It hurts something awful now, I have the biggest most colorful bruise and I'm pretty sure it chipped a bone, which means I have an orphan unattached bone shard floating around under my skin that will probably work its way around and stab me in a vital organ.

I was telling Lochlan about it when he asked how I got the bruise. I have no filter, I ended with a dramatic reenactment and death scene and everything.

How do you even come up with this stuff? 

Well, what if it does? 

I'm sure you'll know if that happens. 

Well, I had a bit of a headache earlier so I think it's going straight for my brain. If that's its master plan just know that I love you. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Midweek Jesus (Because Sam was adamant that I not call this entry 'Hump Jesus')

Did Christmas change or just me?
We spent the morning decorating the church. Sam humored me and let me put the radio on over the PA, which meant I turned it to 105.3 FM, which is Vancouver's all-Christmas station. Deep and Crisp and Even, indeed. Eighty full percent of the time it'll make your ears bleed. But twenty percent of the time you'll be knocked off your feet by Elvis or Frank Sinatra or someone really good so when Ali & Theo came on, I begged Sam to give me the other mic and we could karaoke our way through trimming the tree.

And by golly, he was game. 

(He does a good Ali to my Theo, that's for sure. Then Kelly Clarkson came on and he just TOOK THE FUCK OVER. Go Sam!)

It made short work of the rest of the boxes. Singing does that. He was also game to chuck the remaining multicolored trashed decorations from years past and buy all white decorations with the modest holiday budget increase he got from head office this year.So everything is red and white, rustic and understated and woodsy and beautiful.

He had to rip the microphone out of my hand though, as usual I will tell you I freaking hate karaoke and then close the place down.

Now I get to decorate the point. I've got the all-clear. December starts on Friday, after all.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Places you didn't think you'd miss so much, but you do. Like people.

The best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life came from a little hole in the wall place called Vietnam Village in Corydon Village proper,  just up from Daly Burgers, a place we adored but tonight was a date night, just the two of us.

We ate our meal and then the coffee was made and brought to the table to brew. In a few moments the owner came back and showed me how to place the filter upside to one side and give the coffee a stir, as he had poured a layer of condensed milk into the glass before placing the drip on it.

It wasn't as sweet as you might think, only rich and wonderful. I think I'd have a future as a bulletproof coffee fan, if only not for this amazing creation that outclassed butter-stirred coffee by an easy mile.

I think it was as much the surroundings as anything. It was a hot summer evening and the sweat rolled down my back inside my sundress while Jacob played with his truck keys, watching me. We were the only people in the restaurant, because it was almost too early for dinner, but almost too late for me to be drinking coffee. We people-watched through the window, a breeze from a nearby fan not quite reaching us, until I finished the glass. Jacob went and paid our bill and then we stepped out into the prairie night, as anonymous as the rest of the world, but just as visible too.

Monday, 27 November 2017

The world needs more princesses.

We flew Mark in for the weekend. Daniel and Schuyler got coordinated tattoos. All the way down their forearms in each other's handwriting: Schuyler's says I won't let you down and Daniel's says I will not give you up. They're lines from Freedom! 90, the song by George Michael.

God, they're so adorable it makes me want to cry.

Cue an endless dancefest, because why the heck not?

The lovefest continues today too with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing their engagement. Squee! A royal wedding is on the horizon this spring. I love weddings. The bigger the spectacle the better, though not for me personally. I preferred small intimate ceremonies. Sometimes no ceremonies. But I'm a raging monarchist and I'm SO EXCITED.

You wouldn't think it was a Monday, and no, I didn't get any more tattoos, though Mark touched up a few spots on my knuckle tattoos. He tends to come out about once a year for a vacation and we make him work. He said my knuckle tattoos aren't holding up that well and I reminded him that duh, they're now a year old, plus I do the lion's share of cleaning, cooking and wetwork, as it were. He laughed at the description and pointed out that maybe the lion should do his own share and then he'd still have the honor of having his name inked on my left hand, LOCH, though before Mark arrived it mostly said lu l because that's all that was left. But I am fixed up and reclaimed and ready for my wedding invitation as a citizen of the commonwealth.

Wait, what? I can't go? That's fine. I'll watch it on Youtube and I'll be there with bells on.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Medium, mystical Jesus.

What are my birth cards? 

He's watching me with fascination from his bed. I'm struggling to get dressed under the spotlight. I brought my church clothes with me because I don't want to miss it two weeks in a row. He doesn't mind. He's not making any move to get ready, so far. I fight my stockings, clipping them in a crooked fashion. No one besides Caleb is going to see them anyway and when we get home after lunch I can change.

The Tower and the Chariot, I believe. I'm a bit rusty though. 

And what do they represent for me. 

Sexuality, violence, control. Bravery, danger. 

You're kidding. 

Actually no. I'm not. You are indicative of an unstoppable force. No matter what the obstacle or the cost. 

Jesus. He thinks about it while I button my dress. He thinks some more while I put on my over the knee socks (church is cold) and then while I button my tall boots. He thinks while I put my jewelry back on and when I stand in the doorway waiting for my dismissal.

How do I change my fate then, Neamhchiontach? 

You can't. That was Lochlan's point when I was young.You act outside of it and you'll still come back around. You just fight it until you can't anymore, I guess. 

What does that mean for us? 

There is no us. My fate doesn't include you. 

And I'm gone, running flat out through the rain from the Devil back to God. Back to Sam. Back to Lochlan, who isn't going to church either, I bet. He doesn't go all that often, since the church and Lochlan share a mutual distrust of each other. It's no surprise, as the church has no use for spiritists and they have no use for the church.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Telling fortunes, telling truths.

He turns, checking behind us, always looking over his shoulder. Never believing he isn't going to look just this time only to see the past catching up with us, as it has been stalking us all along. Only by laying down huge swaths of fire has he been able to throw it off, force it back and cover our tracks in the process.

Close your eyes, Bridgie. It's so bright and beautiful, I don't want you to love the flames the way I do. He presses my head tightly against his chest with one hand. I don't want you to see this. 

And I don't look. This is one thing curiosity doesn't try and override, like everything else. I screw my eyes shut tightly and press my face against the flannel of his shirt. I can feel his heart pounding but it's strong. I feel safe. I feel the heat from the flames but I'm not afraid here, in this place with him.

Did she tell you your cards? 

Yes, but I think she lied. 

What are they? 

The Wheel of Fortune and the Magician. 

She didn't lie, Bridgie. 

But you're the magician! 

I am. It's fate, Peanut.  

What is the Wheel for then? 

It means our luck is going to change. Big time. 

I hope it doesn't. I want everything to stay the way it is. 

It can't. 

What are your cards? Did you ask her?

The Star and the Strength.

What do they mean?

It means I witness perfection and resist the urge to improve it. At the same time I have to keep the balance of power  of nature in check. I can't force things or relax them. When I figure out how to combine them I will realize my true self. Or something like that. I'll be lit from within. 

Aren't you already? 

You can see this. I don't know it yet. 

Do you believe her? 

She's just a messenger.

Oh. Well then now what?

We stay close together and live our lives as predestined. 

But can't we change them? Our lives? 

Sure, you can act out of turn or live counter intuitively to your intuition but that isn't a good idea. It's better to stick to your path. It has your name on it. 

But what if I didn't?

Then bad things will happen. Why risk it?

Friday, 24 November 2017

Somewhat fixed.

Did you miss seeing the white, plain blog from last night? Lucky.

Okay. This design is hella minimalist but at least everything works. The sharing buttons are back (! I don't know how) and the header isn't missing, though it's not quite there yet. Patience, people. I have the technological skills of your average newborn. Ruth even gave me some pointers yesterday and then told me to google some tutorials, realizing that she didn't have the kind of time required to teach me everything.

Sigh. I will make it look better eventually but it's readable and that's really the main point here.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Yes, I know the blog is broken.

Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
This is a round up
This is a low flying panic attack
Oh I fucked up now. In an effort to switch back to Firefox (yes, roll your eyes. He said switch to Chrome, so I switched to Chrome and then he said switch back to Firefox so I switched back because I always wanted to be like the cool kids) I realized my blog looks narrow and outdated (I started it fifteen years ago when 'aesthetic' wasn't a word anyone actually used) and hey, I'm only running a fever of a thousand degrees, sneezing lava on people, and unable to keep anything down, as it were, now's a perfect time to start fucking with HTML.

Did I mention I don't know any HTML?

Right, so I *think* the blog is wider and more pleasant, though it depends on who you ask. If you ask Chrome it's all the way across the page. Ask Firefox? Naw, fam. Ask safari and it's somewhere in between. My header is now missing because I managed to resize it but then couldn't reupload it. Firefox crashed but saved my work so now there's nothing there. Whoops. And I know I checked off to have share buttons for twitter, etc., at the bottom of each post and yes, it's still checked off but are they there? Nope.

And my tech-guy who knows everything about everything won't help me. Why? Oh he's mad that Duncan and I went down to Duncan's den to play Xbox (yes, who DOES run out of Netflix? We did, that's who) and I got very dizzy so I dragged myself to go lie down. I couldn't go far away (Duncan was babysitting, you see and why give the hen to the fox if you're so concerned) and I didn't want to crash in Duncan's room so I picked Dalton's (he wasn't home) (at first) and then Dalton came home, found me fast asleep in his bed, apparently stood there for a good fifteen minutes debating what to do before saying hell, no and going upstairs to get Loch.

Apparently Duncan had gone to his own room to sleep too and Lochlan thought I was with him when confronted with a closed door when he came looking for me, and didn't both checking the next room, where I was. Because that would be too easy.

Yes, I'm still stuck on the fifteen minutes thing too. Debating what? Do I even want to know? These are the things I think about while changing beds, as I pulled maid duty in spite of still being sick. That is the price I was given for borrowing Dalton's bed for the evening. The price I pay though will probably be much higher.

I'll get the header back up when I figure out how. Wish me luck, I think I'll need some today.