Sunday, 26 March 2017

I got a big huge round beach blanket this weekend. It's a green mandala with a pom-pom fringe. I love it to bits. It has not been beach-tested as of yet because the rain showed up early and thwarted my plans and it hasn't let up since.

I can wait.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The early bird gets shut down.

Good morning. I've crossed over from mildly sleep-deprived into fully narco-haptic now, and am being watched like a late-stage dementia patient for doing things like trying to put the honey in my purse instead of in the cupboard and trying and failing to remember Ben's name when he greeted me today with the sun.

They don't take any of it personally and so Sam asked me to name three things I am grateful for this morning. I start it all off the same way, every time, by naming names and he stops me seven names in, because I can't count today either and maybe my tiny little twisted buns are too tight. Maybe my leggings are too tight. I think my skin is too tight. Fuck it. I get to the end of my list and glare at him. He says Name other things besides us, because his name was in there too.

I'm craving Pho. I think that might be a good birthday lunch this year. 

That isn't gratitude, but I'll indulge you. What would you have for dinner then? 

Ramen. 

(Because noodles. Bowls and bowls of noodles.)

Breakfast? 

Coffee and cold pizza leftover from birthday-eve. 

I like the way you snuck another request in there. 

Gotta compound these things, Sam. 

What do you want for your birthday? 

Someone to come and Feng Shui the house. 

You're serious. 

Incredibly. We need it. 

Okay. I'll uh...what do I do? This is not in my....uh...sphere of influence. 

Easy, silly. You pray for a Feng Shui master to appear. 

Like magic, then.

No, like faith. 

What's the difference? 

HA! EXACTLY. 

I think you need a nap. 

I just got up!

I think you're sleep-talking. 

That would actually be cool. 

Not from my point of view. 

Your 'sphere', you mean. 

Go back to bed, Bridget.

Friday, 24 March 2017

A little reminder because it's getting harder to read your emails again.

Pallbearer's Heartless came out this morning, in the wee hours and is a fucking MASTERPIECE. Best listened to on a windy rainy cliff with good headphones or in a car with a good sound system, driving down the highway in the darkness.

It's one of those kinds of albums and it's perfect unlike your dear Bridget, who may have broken the mold. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, it just happened when I woke up and couldn't move, so I cracked some pieces, not realizing that it was too soon. I wasn't finished. Wasn't ready. Wasn't complete or whole or as perfect as the rest of you, the rest of them.

From down here your horses are too high, your derision cuts too deeply, your words hurt when they should bounce off, and that's how I know. My skin should be thicker, my brain should have abilities it doesn't even understand, like pronunciations, map-reading and navigating mean people. I should be able to function as more than a comfort object, more than comfort, period. I should be independent and free. I should be smarter. I should be capable. I should be better. 

I should have waited a little longer, but I was curious, like I'm always so fucking curious about every little thing and so I went exploring and I keep getting burned, cut and flayed alive on things that would be a scratch and then on the other hand I can accept very hard, very difficult and very bad things with a grace few people possess. So I've heard. So I know now in a way I didn't before.

So I'll take my gifts (and massive, unforgiveable flaws) and you take yours and don't read anymore if all you're going to do is try and pass judgement on a life you actually know very little about. This is my world and I'm happy here. Go find your own.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A classic.

Outside in the sun today. The bike was loaded onto a truck. Screw rail freight, it will ship singular, covered in a larger truck all the way to New Jake. It's insured up the wazoo and GPS-chipped as well which is new to me but Batman assured me no expense will be spared. 

Bye Sunbeam. Bye the biggest personification of New Jake that ever was. I'll miss the bike but I'll miss the man more. 

Stop wingeing. 

Stop telling people what to feel! I glare at Loch and walk past him into the house. 

He's mad because I was at Caleb's yesterday and he will forever be mad because he's Lochlan and that's how he works. 

That's fine. I'm too tired to deal with things today. Only I recognize what the crushing exhaustion means. I see it coming from a mile away. So I blow a kiss at the shiny pale green bike and exact another promise that it's going to be just fine and that's how that story ends, with a flatbed disappearing through the gates and a scowling redhead on the patio steps.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The princess of diminishing returns.

I think the rain shortcircuits my brain. This could be a good thing. Or maybe just a temporary thing. Either way I'll take it, along with this morning's steady diet of coffee, whiskey and Devil, a sleepy handsome man who decided when I was getting ready to leave, that hell, no, you're not going anywhere and offered up a lazy breakfast if I promised not to put my dress back on.

I countered that I would stay another two hours if he put on a fire.

Done, he said, but he didn't take his eyes off me.

Caleb is back in control today. Last night after the hard feelings had been softened and the house was rightened he admitted he was a bit stung, that I've hardly seen him, that August gets all of my free time that Lochlan doesn't use and that I've all but ghosted Caleb as of late. He was gracious in accepting my protests that I've been busy, that it wasn't on purpose, and he's seemed to temper his possessiveness again. It's never going to go away completely, it just comes in waves, knocking us down, dragging us out to sea before dumping us back on solid ground.

You hungry?

Starving, I admit.

Cheese toast for two? I'll get the bread, you go borrow some cheese from your house. 

How did you even run out? 

Neamhchiontach, I didn't know when you'd be back so I didn't buy any. It's been three weeks. 

Three weeks without cheese? That's like a national emergency. 

No, three weeks without you. 

You're keeping track?

Of course.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Guilt and company (Day won't last).

I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep

I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all
Oh my God. They went from 'He was leaving soon anyway' to Caleb pointing out that Schuyler must have been watching me too, in order to see New Jake's actions. They started a shoving match in the middle of dinner clean-up and went to floor so fast I dropped my favourite serving dish in my rush to break them up. I went to block Caleb and wound up getting clocked on accident. Ben plucked me out of the fray and I ordered everyone out.

Caleb was back fifteen minutes later when the dust cleared, apologizing profusely. It's not his fault. I should learn not to throw myself in front of their fists but I always hope it'll help them find their self-control. It rarely works in time.

And I wish everyone would stop apologizing. First Sam for bringing New Jake here in the first place and then Batman for keeping him here. This blew up in my face. Truth be told I have moments here and there that scare me. I can't protect myself from them and they've taken advantage of that fact more often than not. Every. last. one. Starting with Caleb or maybe it was Loch and ending with Schuyler, who decided he knew what was best. He couldn't help it. No one can. This is what happens. And now we wade through the fallout and hope it doesn't poison us. Either way, they found their catalyst to finally get New Jake off the point. They'd like all Jakes off the point, in all honesty, while I go around behind their backs collecting more. I don't know what it is about men with that name or maybe men in general but as we all know, I'm not right in the head.

That's how Batman put it, but again, he was always jealous.

Of what, I don't know. I slept with New Jake ONE TIME, over a year ago. I've been sleeping with Batman off and on for twenty five years.

But that's not important. What's important is that someone crowded in on THEIR Bridget and God fucking forbid.

Same thing happened in high school when I tried to get back at Lochlan for breaking up with me by sleeping with the captain of the football team (Hi, Blake). They lost their goddamn minds and I was dispatched into Cole's care for the rest of his short life. I don't know how to live outside of the prison that the brothers made for me. I really don't.

In order to keep my sanity and my guilt in check and due to my need for closure at all times, I've opted to take on the role of sugar mama for a week or two. I've already drafted a severance package for Jake, as well as letters of recommendation from the boys, grudgingly or not, and I've pulled a few strings in his new (old) location that will see him get a nice cushy job being his own boss but for better people than us. I transferred some spending money to him and I said I was sorry to him so many times he finally told me to stop talking and that he was fine, that it's fine and he was indeed leaving soon because staying here was killing him.

That's how it works, I told him.

I see that now, he says, and he thanks me and hangs up.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Healthy as fuck.

Lochlan stirred my oatmeal this morning, alternating a splash of hot water with a few circles of the spoon until it was the way I like it. Solid but not dry. I don't like soupy oatmeal. He makes it perfectly. Which is good considering he won't let me make it in case I burn myself. Ruth and Henry have been making their own oatmeal for a decade.

Where is he? 

Don't worry about it, Bridgie. 

Working as a proxy and a partner for Batman, who is on his way home as we speak, Lochlan went and disposed of New Jake, who admitted under God knows what sort of duress, that when Batman is away, Jake quietly stalks me. I think Jake figured they would help him if he owned up to it right away. His mistake. Had he made up some shit about coming over and then hesitating when he saw my car not start, thinking I would think I was being saved preemptively they would have stood down but he didn't do that and now he's gone.

I'm envisioning concrete shoes and an undercover of darkness heave into the sea from the wrong side of the cliff or maybe the Russians driving up and he is dispatched into their trunk and taken away and probably chopped into little pieces to be fed to their enemies.

Such a waste.

Stop it. 

Hmmm? 

We sent him back to where he came from. 

We? 

Collectively yes. We. He was a problem before yesterday. He didn't fit in anyway. Outsiders don't fit in. 

Because we're incestuous. 

Yes, that. And remember not every person is a good person, Bridgie. 

Not every stranger is bad, either. 

By default? Yes, they are. 

He's probably safer than most supervillains. 

I'll agree with you on that. 

So what did you do with him? 

Booked him a month's stay in a flat, bought him a plane ticket and told him his stuff will be with him in a week, bike included. His flight left an hour ago. He is not to contact you or come back under any circumstances. 

Swift justice. 

I'm not Jacob, Bridget. People don't get second chances on my watch. 

I did. (I like to disarm them every chance I get. Don't you see that?)

He sits down heavily across from me with tears in his eyes.

Jesus, Peanut. Why do you have to start every day by bringing me to my knees? 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunbeam.

We were falling away
You left me with a bittersweet taste
But when I send my heart your way
It bounces off the walls you made
Ricochet
I was already late for church and so I told them all to go ahead and I would catch up with them. To save me a seat. I couldn't get the zipper of my dress up, couldn't find the earrings I wanted to wear, couldn't find a second shoe, slammed my finger in a bathroom drawer, couldn't keep up with text messaging Caleb, couldn't shake the headache and figured if nothing else I would hit the Starbucks drivethrough and then sneak into the sanctuary and sit in the very back if it came down to it.

But then my car didn't start and everyone was already gone. I gave it a little gas and tried again and then I got out and opened the trunk. It looks....well, it looks like it's not going to be something very obvious and my skills are completely limited to seventies muscle cars or seventies trucks anyway. I know nothing about a flat-six.

And all the trucks are gone. There's a motorcycle and a jeep in the garage and I have no idea on earth where the keys are.

So I try again.

I leave the lid up and try to turn it over again and nothing. Not a whimper. Not a gasp. Not a chance.

Well, shit. How come this only happens when no one is around? But then New Jake comes around the side of the house. He asks if I am having problems.

It won't start and everyone's gone. Can you jump it with your bike?

Why not just ask Batman for his car?

It's fine. I'll just message Lochlan.

No one's home?

Church started ten minutes ago.

Ah. What about August?

He's there too.

Caleb?

There.

Really.

Why?

Just wondering if you were alone.

My intuition abruptly snaps to attention. Your house full?

Batman's in London, remember? That's why I wondered if you would just ask him for his car. It's not being used.

Oh. Right. I forgot.

Or you could play hooky and come over for a early brunch.

I can't. Thank you.

You have other plans? He smiles, running his finger along his lip like it's a gun. Shoot me, please.

I ignore the question and stare at him.

I have coffee, he offers. Come over for an hour. Then go home.

It's a bad idea, Jake.

Those are the only kind I have, Bridget. He smiles again and I feel like the heat of his grin could melt steel. It probably does and I'm too stunned to notice.

He steps closer and I look up at him. Don't turn into trouble or they'll find a reason for you to go.

Not their house.

Their girl.

His eyebrows go up slightly.

You don't get to decide for yourself?

There's a hierarchy.

How do I get on that list?

Wait around a dozen years. Make yourself invaluable. Beg for me. I don't know. 

I'll beg if it means-

I got this, Jake. Thanks. Schuyler's voice cuts through the tension with a blade that's sharp and loud.

You're still here!

I have a blistering headache and I sent Daniel ahead with Gage.

I have pills for you if you'd like.

I would, actually. Bring one over? I'll make sure you get a coffee. He stares Jake down until Jake mumbles a quick exit and is gone in a flash. Meet me in five in my kitchen, Schuyler tells me, following Jake. I'm glad I'll miss whatever's next. Schuyler never suffered a fool for one minute in his life. Not sure how he ever dated Ben but it explains why they didn't last.

I run up and find the good stuff in the drawer. Percocet. Probably expired but something is better than nothing for Schuyler. They never did a thing for me.

Schuyler takes the pill from me gratefully, swallowing it with some cold tea when we get back to his house. Then he turns and smiles and asks me if I wanted to know why he came out.

Yes, actually.

Your car. When you tried to start it, did it turn over at all?

No, it just clicked. 

How would Jake have heard that from three houses away? 

I don't know, my hearing is broken. 

My eyes aren't. He was in your backyard watching you through the fence. And I fucking caught him. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Bee Keeper.

You, you and I girl
We can share a life together
It's now or never
And tomorow may be too late
I used to sit in the front seat of the truck, doors open, dirty feet up on the dashboard, sweat running down my neck and back, trying to sleep in the shade while Lochlan worked in the hot sun setting up the foundation amusement rides (the wheel, bumper cars, haunted house). He could do some of it single-handedly but he liked the company. He would sing along with the radio. Easy-listening. I used to listen to him sing and wish my name was Amanda, after the song by Boston. Then I could be someone else. Someone who was so wanted they got a song written about them. A slow-dancing song. The bridge he sings with passion. It would be twenty years before he would helpfully point out he sang about us and hardly registered the fact that the girl's name in the song was different.

That's not the important part, Peanut, he tells me, wiping my face and neck down with a clean handkerchief when he comes over to check on me. Where's your water? I had a Tupperware tumbler with a lid with a spout. It was yellow-green. I lost it in the field somewhere an hour ago when I put it down and never saw it again for all the grass. Oops.

I thought you had it, I lie.

He frowns. You're getting dehydrated. He leaves my range of view and then comes back with all the problem-solving skills of a sixteen year old boy. Here. Drink some. I just opened it.

I take a sip from his can and make a face. Warm bitter beer. I can't have this. I'm eleven.

It's liquid. Finish it. I only need fifteen minutes more and we can go. 

I drink it all after he disappears again. It's got a strange acidic bite after each long swallow. It tastes like really old coffee. It's terrible. But then it's good. Five minutes later it's empty. Chicago is playing on the radio now and I turn and fire the can in his direction. It misses by a mile. I feel dizzy and weird and kind of crazy.

Hey! Locket! 

He looks up slowly, smiling under the curls. Three minutes, Babe.

I don't have three minutes. I have to pee. 

See those trees? He points to the fence on the other side of the field.

Yes?

Go over there and pee. 

Really?

Yes. No one's around for miles, Bridge. I'm it for the early set-up crew.

It'll take more than three minutes to get there. 

It's twenty minutes drive back. Add that in. Also, you're trashed.

Oh yeah. Thanks. You gave me that beer. This is your fault.

Be careful, then. I'll watch you.

I will. I weave all the way across the field and find a tree to hide behind while I pee. It involves taking my shorts and underwear off, because I learned my lesson years ago and have wished to pee standing up ever since. I thought it was something that would work when I got older but it's still impossible to do just pulling everything down. I lean around the tree and Lochlan is facing my direction but I can't see his expression. He's too far away.

I finish, redress and walk back. On the way I see a little hill with a row of tinier pine trees a hundred yards over from the path I originally took. They're only as tall as me so I head over to see if there are any robin's nests in them. I love finding the tiny speckled eggs. Usually I get held up by someone to see them though because I'm small.

I can't see much so I duck between the trees to check out the other side. Except that I can't slip through and instead run right into a mass of crawling feral bees that I didn't see in my rush to explore. I take a step backwards and trip and fall on my back, trying to get away from this huge buzzing cloud. I cry out and a bee flies into my mouth and flies back out so I clamp my eyes and mouth shut and put my hands over my nose so they can't fly into my head. I can feel them landing on my hair and my arms and my feet and then I feel air rushing around me and it's suddenly so much warmer than it was even with the afternoon sun. I open my eyes and Lochlan's waving his lit torches around me. He looks down and says Move, Bridgie and I get up and run. There are bees in my hair, bees in my clothes. Bees everywhere.

I run until I reach the truck and then past it to the dirt road. He's right behind me, torches held back behind us, just in case. He drops them to the dirt, leaving them to burn out and checks me all over, up my shirt, down my shorts. Under my hair. He's swearing. He's scared. I look into his face and the adrenaline and beer make me laugh. I start laughing so hard I don't know if I can stop. He stares at me in amazement.

Not a single sting. 

Nope. 

How in the hell, Bridget? You were covered. 

They like me! I gesture. It's genetic. (My grandparents had bees on their farm, but organized in hives.We wear gear around them. This is different. Vastly different.)

Thank God for that. I was trying to figure out how I was going to take a drunk eleven-year-old into a hospital, covered with bees. 

What a vision. 

What a vision indeed. I found your cup, by the way. It was beside me the whole time. Next time I leave you home. 

But I can't make memories with you if I'm sitting in the camper. 

We have our whole lives to make memories, Peanut and they'll be the best ones you have, bees and all.

They already are, I tell him and he kisses me. Harder than usual. I bet this is how Amanda feels. Who needs a song? I've got a Lochlan.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Underwhelming on purpose.

It felt like a Saturday today. Out of the ordinary. Unreasonably cold and mostly rainy with a few pockets of cloudy in between. I didn't leave the house. I didn't venture out of my comfort zone. I don't think I woke up, though I know I'm responsible for the half-pot of coffee that disappeared between eight and eleven, though it did nothing to bite into this headache and even less to eradicate the exhaustion. It's been a long difficult four weeks, truth be told, with one or two left to go. I would say that I need a vacation but no one wants to read that, so instead I'm breathing deeply, having an Lagavulin in honor of Saint Patrick's Day, turned down a few offers of company and am about to go put on my pajamas and share a pizza with Lochlan and Ben in our bed. 

Which is kind of perfect and exactly what I need right now. I hope to be asleep before ten.