Wednesday, 26 April 2017

"Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots."

This is a battleground, I'm caught in the crossfire
My words are weaponry and I'm waiting patiently
You win the battle now but I will return the fire
'Cause I'd crawl on broken glass
To be the one who laughs last
Ben picked up the dark yesterday and ran with it. The weather cleared and he brought me down to the beach for a windswept, threatening picnic by the driftwood house. He stood on the rocks at the shore and read aloud from Lovecraft. He did his own annotations.

He read until the wind made it too hard for me to hear him and then we ate. Garlic salami, green olives stuffed with garlic, havarti, tiny rounds of thin toast. Grapes. Chocolate popsicles for dessert. Sparkling water. Then he asked what was for lunch and wrapped me in his hoodie.


He laughed and said Funny, that's what I'm craving. 

But we didn't leave.

We just sat there looking out at the gentle waves, watching the advance of the water until I started to feel sleepy and sunburned.

Better? He asked quietly.

So much better.

Good because you see that cloud? That's the rain coming back. I made a deal with it to hold off for a bit and it's waited as long as it can. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


I hung on to today and am navigating it all fake-like and full of bullshit, easy shallow responses to keep from giving away how I really feel, saved only by the wrong people asking the right questions. Change that to the right people asking the wrong questions and I'll be had, found in the depths, a liar and a thief of positivity on a day when I can't see that the glass truly is half full. 

These white knuckles are sore. These black clouds are dark and I'm going to escape upstairs to myself as soon as dinner is done. Before it's too late. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Leaves, Leafs and Mr. Presley.

Now Samson told Delilah loud and clear
Keep your cotton pickin' fingers out my curly hair
Oh yeah, ever since the world began
A hard-headed woman been a thorn in the side of man.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are out of the playoffs thanks to last night's overtime but they had a good run, we all aged and I feel vindicated as the only fan here in a sea of Canucks supporters (you know, the team that didn't even make the playoffs, coming in second-last in the league) and a loyal fan at that.

I stuck my lip out in a pout when their trip ended and that was that. Now I can get on with my life because once they're out I stop watching hockey save for the occasional glance at the scores (every chance I get) or trip through the sports section of the newspaper.

Nothing wrong with that. And Lochlan picked me some almost-dead cherry blossoms, while he barely missed a beat singing Elvis songs at the top of his lungs while cutting branches now that the blooms are done.

He's threatened to juggle chainsaws. I pointed out that we only have one and he says So?, eyebrows raised in mock annoyance. He's not a big fan of hardcore gardening like trimming trees back but Ben is too sick and so Lochlan, a full foot shorter and half as strong has decided to pick up the slack. I'm sure he's plotting to make the offending branches disappear using magic. I don't know how but I bet it crossed his mind. My job involves wearing gloves, standing around for a while far back away from his work area and then getting clearance to drag the branches over into a pile near the side of the garage so he can chop it into firewood later. I offered to do it but he wouldn't hear of it. Cole used to let me split wood when we went camping. I mean, I almost cut off my legs below the knee more than..okay just about every single time but at least I tried. Axes are heavy.

We got the whole thing done. Us and Elvis and Lochlan's great impression of him and impressive volume of memorized lyrics for songs that we were force-fed behind the tents most of the time on the sideshow. Standard fare, harmless overmusic that winds up part of you in spite of efforts to leave it behind. He sang all the way back to the house and inside, only finishing off when I took off my rubber boots and gardening gloves, leaving them on the patio steps where I'll probably forget and come back to find boots full of rain. It only happens every second week or so, so it's not the end of the world.

Coffee? Lochlan asks, as if I'd ever say no to it. The fuck is that.

Yes, please.

Ben was up when we came inside too. He's got what I had, just not as bad, thank heavens. He's good at sleeping though, so hopefully he'll get better quickly. Cross you fingers. At least my coughing is down to only two or three times a day. So glad. My garden needs me. I can't afford to be sick anymore.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Nature vs. nurture.

Caleb is home, just at the crucial junction between not really having it sink in that he's not present and missing him very terribly. I tried to quash it somewhat. I woke up slow with Lochlan. I went running with Dalton. I went up and listened to music with August. I took Ruthie on a tour of the neighborhood where her university is, where she'll be spending all her time this fall. I had a lunch date with Sam after skipping church (I skipped, not him). I helped PJ vacuum out his Jeep. I took all the glitter off my nails and plotted fresh. I had a quick swing in the rain with Ben and we planned some garden things. He's my farmer. He loves working outside in the garden and so do I so it's great. I declined coffee with Batman. I brushed the dog.

And then Caleb walked through the side door and said Hey with a big smile on his face. Not sure who missed who more but his smile spread to my face and I flew into a crushing hug that lasted far longer than most.

He had an easy trip. Luxury seating on the plane, cushy drive to the mountains, and was treated like a King in his castle because I hired people who like to be paid well to do that. A housekeeper and a butler. The cook is on call and the landscaping/maintenance service is scheduled regularly. I'm a little jealous of an empty house that runs better than this one. I regularly destroy myself trying to keep this one clean and the boys help so much but none of us ever seem to be able to do enough but it's not the same. It's easy to spend his money. It's easy to follow his directives and make an operation run like a top, it's a whole other story to manage a commune full of headstrong, passionate people with a common focus but no long term goals. What are we working toward? Utopia? What does that mean and why is the answer different depending on who you ask?

Does it matter? He's home and he brought me a teeny tiny pinecone bracelet made from a real pinecone, dipped in white gold.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Am busy! Lying in bed watching the Relient K live show on Instagram. It's so good!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Catching my death right here.

Before anyone else loses their shit emailing me pointing out what a hypocrite Lochlan can be for raising me the way he did and now demanding I be 'normal' save your words. He's frustrated. I don't take him seriously. Sometimes life is surprising easy for us and sometimes it's uphill both ways. We'll get through it one way or another. He wouldn't wish for me to be normal ever, trust me. There is no fun in that.


It's twenty-two degrees in the shade, slowly pulling weeds in the garden with Ben left me an uncharacteristically warm, sweaty princess (due to the large hat/shirt/scarf I need to shield my delicate and highly allergic skin from the sun. I'm a slow learner so this year the protective clothing will be put on at the beginning, AKA now) and the pool is still empty because we won't fill it until we can go in it regularly.

So ha. This expensive land stuck out over the sea here presented a habitual, comical opportunity as Ben said he could cool me down quick and so he picked me up and just chucked me off the cliff.

And he was right. The water was freezing and my teeth have been chattering since. He came in right behind me and then Sam and PJ came running and jumped (wasting a perfectly good opportunity to throw each other, mind you) and Dalton strolled out to see what was up from the screaming but declined to be thrown or to jump.

Lochlan met us at the end of the beach with big warm towels and some choice swear words for Ben. Apparently it's very bad form to throw someone with Bronchial Pneumonia into the Pacific in April just because it's 'sorta' warm out.

Ben looked at me. How do you feel, Bridge?


See? She's fine. You worry too much, he tells Lochlan.

I mean he does, but still. I might never be warm again.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Woke preachers, absent devils.

Come with me. A little getaway before your birthday. 

Now really isn't a good time. I can't fly anyway with this stupid illness. 

Caleb is stubborn but in the end he took off alone, to Tahoe to see if his house survived the winter and see if anything needs to be done. He wants to turn it into a summer retreat, a getaway for all of us and when we're not there he'll be renting it out. Which always seemed risky to me so to protect his investment it comes with a staff of two and a weekly minimum upwards of a low five figures. That will weed out anyone who wants to disrespect the roof over their own heads. But he is still cautious and not convinced that its worth the risk (me neither, frankly) and so he wants to have a look around and also probably smartly have a change of scenery from Point Perdition, which can be oppressive, suffocating and almost painful.

Besides. I'm in good hands. Sam finally woke up. For real this time! Which seems odd but maybe if Jacob had gotten more sleep he would have been able to handle things better. Pot Kettle Black. It's not like they all don't say the same about me. Sam just smiled when he appeared for breakfast, to much applause, until Duncan said we should leave him alone, that babies need their sleep and everyone laughed and that was that.

I only sleep like that when I'm tranquilized to within an inch of my life.

(I only sleep like that when I'm dead, I think.)

I said goodbye to Caleb at the car that he called to take him to the airport and he said he would call when he landed. He looked so disappointed I didn't almost change my mind but I thought about sending John with him, just for company. Then I didn't. Caleb is a loner. Always has been. He'll be fine. I almost think he has introvert tendencies like me and needs a lot of daily silence to recharge because there are so many people living here but then I remember that's not quite right. That he would love to live in the main house and be a bigger part of the group. That won't ever happen.

So Sam is ready to talk my face off for the next three days and Lochlan's fine with that because he thinks I need a refresher on common accepted behavior as if I'm a normie or someone who's lost their way when in reality I know exactly where I'm going.

To the theatre to watch horror movies and take Jesus' name in vain every freaking time there's a jump scare. That's where.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Never mean but never satisfied, either.

On my back, three in the morning. Lochlan has one hand around my neck and the other behind my back, holding my hands. He gets all fierce and in my face and then collapses his weight onto me.

I can't do this. This is fucked up. 

He sits me up and lets go. Then he pulls me in by the neck again, but this time to cuddle. Whatever lingering want I have will have to be taken out on Ben later. That's okay too.

I could have told you that.

How do I make it so you never need Caleb again? 

I told you! A lobotomy. It's the only surefire way. 

Or I could kill him. Call it a crime of passion. I'd probably be out in time to retire, at worst. If they even put me jail knowing the history here. 

Do you want to take that chance? 

Of course not. Except for most days when I do. 


I'm kidding. Okay, sort of kidding. Okay, not kidding. 

I can't even do this with you right now. 

Then don't. Let's run away. 

And join the circus? I think I've heard this one before. 

He tucks my hair behind my ear. And we were so happy. Happier than we've ever been. 

You'll have to go without me and I'll catch up to you when the kids are grown. 

I wouldn't leave you again. 

Then take this horrible, terrible life and live with it! I motion around the room at the eight-hundred thread count weightless Egyptian duvet. The ocean view. The fireplace. The everything. The difference between our shitty little broken-down burned out camper and the endless fear and relentless hunger and this. 

We sold out, Peanut. 

We had no choice. This is the only way we could have survived. And I wouldn't do anything different if I could go back. 

I sure would. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Off the cliff and on to a mental trampoline.

Lochlan's patience is sometimes so thin I can hold it up to the light, seeing right through it. Other times it's an impenetrable force, a tank, a wall. An endless test. Today it's half and half, see-through in spots and thick in others. 

I mention I need to fetch my sweater. I left it at Caleb's. 

We'll get it later (which is code for 'You're not going back over there alone any time soon'). 

It's my favorite. 

He frowns at me. Fine. I'll get it. Be right back. 

He's disappeared out the door, across the driveway and up the steps before I realize what a stupid idea it is to let him go over alone and I chase after him only to be caught by Duncan, who is coming up the steps and feels like jumping right into whatever's going on. 

Bridget! Are you tied up with anything right now? I'm looking for a captive audience to try that new Mexican place. 

Is that a pun? 

Should it be? I don't know what you're taco 'nabout. 

Oh my God. Not that part. The tied-up and captive part.

Do tell. 

Tell what? Here comes Sam. Fresh off two whole days and nights of sleep. I'm so jealous of him I don't even like him anymore. He looks rested and reborn and there's not a line on his face. 


Duncan bursts out laughing. Caleb's tying her up again-

HUSH, you. 

Bridget- Sam's frowning so big I wonder if I've ruined his face with his disappointment in me. They'll say 'He used to be so cute but then she let him down and his face just...well it's stuck like that now.' 

It's not a big deal and it's no one's business. 

Then why did you need to write it out? Duncan's still amused. Oh my God.

So I could deal with it. 

Which part of it? Rested Baby Preacher is sharp as a knife and ready to dive right in to my twisted brain.

The part where he isn't supposed to hurt me and we're supposed to be healthy but frankly I don't like him any way but the way I'm used to and that's wrong.

Wow. Good job. Usually it would take me a week to get you to say that out loud. 

Huh. Guess I'm cured. 

You? Never. You're just varying degrees of fucked-up. Duncan swats my ass as I resume my attempts to follow Lochlan to the boathouse to prevent the inevitable physical fight. 

But when I look up, Lochlan's coming back across the driveway, with my sweater in one hand. He looks content. Is that even a thing? He comes in to the kitchen and hands me the sweater. Sam and Duncan disappear. Wow. Just like that.

Just got a little blood on it. That will come out with some cold water. Just two spots I think. Here and here. He points and I see his hand is also slightly bloodied. Not much, just a little. 

Damage report. Fuck. I hate this. 

His nose just started bleeding. I helped him have a seat and told him if he'd stop fucking around and keep his promises he wouldn't be cursed like that. 

That's a new one. 

Have to keep it creative, since we're going through the same shit week after week here. If he can't keep his shit together, Bridget, I swear-

It's not his fault, it's mine. 

Right. Anyway. No more. He can have a break and when he remembers how to be nice we'll talk. 

I'm the one who's not nice. 

I'll look after your needs. 

What if I-

I told you. I'll look after it. 

You can't. 

Our eyes meet. He looks tired.

Try me. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

(Everything I lack in style's made up in how I feel.)

I need us undivided, I want this thing to stop
I've had the training to be overwhelmed but I'm not
Empty soul of hate but this isn't my war
Couldn't tell you how it started or where it is fought
This song was running through my head as I woke up, tried to move and couldn't. He didn't loosen the velvet ties before falling asleep and so I spent the night facedown and sideways against his chest, knees pulled up, hands behind my back. Fuck. I say his name and he startles awake.

You need to undo this.

Oh, Jesus Christ. I'm sorry. He scrambles to sit up and turns me away, pulling the bow, setting me free into a world of muscle pain. I cough and bring my hands up to my face, and my arms burn and ache from such a long time. I sit up and he rubs my arms gently but that hurts too. My eyes water and he presses his lips against my forehead.

I'm so sorry, he whispers. Let's get you into a hot shower.

I nod and he finally lets go, standing up. He bends back down and lifts me up to standing. I pull my arms in close and cringe, biting my tongue. My eyes threaten to spill over. Jesus, indeed. Even in our darkest moments he's never forgotten to let me go and I wonder fleetingly if he left me like that on purpose.

He gets right down in my face, reading my mind. I didn't do it deliberately. I knew you would stay.

I nod and he uses his thumbs to wipe the tears from my cheeks. We good? He asks and I nod again but say nothing. The pain is keeping me mute.

Once under the shower he cranks the heat and we stand there while he rubs my arms and shoulders with shower oil. It feels really good but now they just feel bruised and worn.

How are you feeling besides that? He's still right down in my face, eyes focused. It never takes Caleb an hour to construct a logical thought or get his eyes open all the way in the mornings. He's a machine. A machine who's in his mid-fifties now and managed to leave me tied up when he unexpectedly fell asleep.

But I did too, and I didn't think it was possible to fall asleep while in a precarious pose but apparently it is, because I did. We did.

I feel a little better today. 

I watch as he takes the credit and files it away somewhere under the guise doing this for me. Then I blink and he's washing my hair for me.

He's slow and gentle and even uses conditioner after. Then he rinses me down, proclaims me ready for prime time and leads me into the bedroom for my clothes. He dresses me and then I'm steered into the kitchen to sit on a chair at the island while he makes coffee and cheese toast. I lift my arms and they weigh a hundred pounds each. I lean forward and rest my head on the counter.

He turns. Bridget. I think you need to go back to bed. 

I will when I get home.

It'd be easier to stay here. If you go home now Lochlan's going to pressure-wash you, give you a conversational third degree burn, blame it all on you and then assure you it's not your fault. Then he'll give in and offer to take you for breakfast to make it up to you. It will be two this afternoon before you can escape for a nap. Eat a piece of toast and go back to bed. I'll see that you're awake by noon. You need this. Badly. 

(Who needs what again?)

We stare at each other. He's right but I also know what happens if I stay. If I stay he gets more. He gets me under his skin. He gets attached and territorial and he gets to be in control. Give the Devil an inch and he takes everything as far as the eye can see. Give him a moment and he spins it into decades. Give him any hint of encouragement and all of the hard work of being independent of him vanish in one beat of my heart.