Sunday, 28 May 2017

Death of the party.

Too hot. Can't post. Spent all day in the pool. Have a rash from the sunscreen, a rash from the sun itself and a rash from the chlorine. Have a rash from Caleb's stubble. Have a rash from the Strawberry slushy. Have a rash from heat. Too hot. Can't post. Too tired. Going to take my rashy self down to sleep in the hanging chair naked with no blankets because it's cool down here in the studio and I can just curl up like a cat and have Ben for company. It's only 7:15 pm. Figures.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Marching on.

Gregg Allman is this morning's heartbreak, dead at 69. This is why I don't Internet, folks, and as much as the boys tried to shield me I was told and this sucks, when your favorites die. It fucking sucks. Not as much as people you touch every day but they touch you in a different way, through music and it's still hard and I wish I could hit pause on the whole world sometimes because as I always say, it's fucking fleeting.

The Allman Brothers are a perfect soundtrack to an outdoor dinner, a perfect relaxing blissful break from whatever stresses you have when you just want to relax and not worry. Go see, if you don't already know. Go listen. Listen to Brothers and Sisters album and tell me you don't agree.

(Or search here. There are at LEAST eleven mentions on SWP.)

If there's going to be a void in my universe every ten days I swear I'm just going to disappear so I never find out, so I can't be sad, so I just won't have to feel like all of this is eventually for nothing. Sometimes it seems as if we were put here to swing wildly between euphoria and despair and it seems perfectly rewarding and unbelievably cruel at the same time.

And yet on we go.

(Jacob would say Onward and upward. I'm changing it a little. I'll be changing my last name soon too. It's time.)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Adams family.

My hands are rough,
My fingers cold,
And your heart's so young and so naive,
To ever feel,
For a moment that I might dare to believe
Today I get the pleasure of my favorite beach towel coming back to me, having spent the past five months in the linen closet next door because Daniel put things away and it looked like a regular turquoise towel when it's folded.

When you unfold it, it's a mermaid wearing a narwhal mask. It's so obviously mine. So out to lunch and raucous and pretty too. Vivid greens, purples and turquoise make up the main colors. Ben brought it back for me from Rhode Island and it was instantly the only towel I would ever use again when at the beach or pool.

It went missing last winter and I resolved to go find a copy at all costs. Ben said we could go any time. But I don't lose things. Well, I lose my heart. My soul. My...mind. Stuff, then. I don't lose stuff.

And I'm right because it came back to me.

Daniel said he was going to put it on the shelf in the pool shed and I would wonder how it came back but Schuyler told him to bring it over right away instead so he did and I'm glad. I threw my arms around Daniel and thanked him and Ben walked in just then.

Oh, I see how it is. 

Daniel laughs and said he found the towel.

Ben points out Towel Day was yesterday and Daniel nods, happy he remembered when he's perpetually preoccupied.

I love watching them together and want more of it so I jump back in.  Swim tonight? You bring the house, I'll bring the house and all the outbuildings?

Deal. Daniel gives Ben a quick hug and heads off. Ben wraps the towel around me and then picks it up by both ends like a hammock only I'm in the middle.

Weeeeee, I laugh. It's a swing! 

It could be. But you've touched my little brother and now you must be cleansed in fire, Ben says with a thick accent.

Gotcha covered, Lochlan says and he walks in, not at all surprised at the sight in front of him. I know a guy. He winks.

Found my towel! 

Awesome. You want to leave it inside so it doesn't get burned? 


You heard the man.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Teenage wasteland.

Henry wanted a cup of coffee with his breakfast so I made him one and now I'm flying sheets for sails, ready to do whatever needs to be done because caffeine is my cocaine, apparently.

He took one sip, made a face in spite of the generous amounts of milk and sugar I included, and handed it back, telling me I should save it, I can have it later.

Ah, my son. Six-foot-one, an almost-sixteen year old trapped between childhood lemonade and overly-strong coffee like a caged animal suddenly faced with being free. Sometimes with him I feel like half-parent, half lion-tamer which makes perfect sense if you knew Jake. Those similarities I won't allow myself to see anymore, as Henry is his own person, not the image of anyone else. He will grow into his own skin eventually.

I hope I grow into mine somewhere around that time too.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Withering dance.

This morning at the grocery store I discovered Firework Oreos. They have Pop Rocks in the icing.

Then I promptly forgot all about them when a decidedly hasty senior citizen with a motorized scooter beeped instead of asking me to move or saying excuse me. He beeped at me and I was so surprised I stepped out of the way and forgot to buy my Oreos. I mean maybe he did say something and I didn't hear him. Not like that hasn't happened a million times but John was right beside me and he almost jumped out of his flesh at the beep. His hearing is perfect.

(This is how I die, I bet. Someone will yell Duck! in the middle of a huge action scene and I'll turn around and say What? and get blown to smithereens.)

So fuck it. I hope they still have them next week because I won't be going back until then. Once a week is about all I can manage, even if it means taking two people with me and buying a thousand dollars worth of food that barely fits in my house and will actually be gone in four or five days, not seven but we fill in the gaps with take out a couple of times a week and sometimes meals are sporadic affairs anyway.

I shop like I'm starring in Eat, Pray, Love these days anyway. The weather reports are coming in that we're going to have a hot dry summer and so I'm buying a lot of olives, smoked cheeses, proscuitto, fruit and vegetables to eat raw so we don't spend the summer filling up on red meat and endless potato salad. Don't get me wrong, I love potato salad but not only is it finicky to leave out for any length of time (you really can't when it's hot so it's not a nibbly dish, as Duncan would say) it's heavy. It's not the kind of thing you can leave on a table by the pool and graze on all afternoon, in other words.

Lochlan said the only things missing from my plans are champagne and caviar.

Caleb replies, with perfect ironic timing, Who says those things are missing? 

And all I could think was Perfect. I guess we're all set, then. I hated the heat last year and I still hate it now but if they're not going to let me spend any time in the ocean, then once it gets really warm I'm going to have to buy an ice maker and aim it into the pool. I can catch cubes in my drink and use the rest to keep the caviar (and the potato salad, because lets face it, it's delicious) cold all damn day.

(PS I don't fucking eat caviar unless there are no other options. I eat cotton candy, corn dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches mostly. Monte Cristos if I can find 'em. Don't worry. You can take the girl away from the Midway but you'll never take the Midway away from the girl, in case you thought I was getting pretentious. More like pretend-ious. Come on.)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The devil and the deep blue me.

Today in marked contrast I have close a dozen large hovering shadows, including one baby preacher who insists he isn't trying to alter the hierarchy of the Collective itself and one devil who confirms that he is always trying to change the pecking order, because that's his legacy and not even Sam + God can stop him, if Lochlan can't.

He already did, I tell Caleb, with seawater pouring down my chin. I've turned into a mermaid with webbed fingers and endless kelp for hair. A huge fin. Good luck catching me now. 

But he has me by the wrist and he won't let go. My fin keeps floating up to the surface. It hurts.

No more pills. 

Right. No more pills. I tell them whatever they want to hear when they get bossy and demanding. Later on when they're begging me in return I get it all back and then some. 

No more jumps. 

No more jumps. I roll my eyes and lean away from his grip and he snaps me back so I know who is boss. 

Bridget, what has gotten into you? 

The Pacific, and she's a fierce competitor. 

Competition for what?

My heart. 

I thought we had your heart. 

Oh, hell, I don't even know where all the pieces are at this point. To illustrate my point, I watch as yet another tiny chunk breaks free, escaping from its cage of bones and floating slowly up toward the light. It's like pouring glitter into oil, slow and beautiful. 

I turn back to address him but abruptly he yanks me down, pushing himself upward, finding momentum to chase that tiny piece. Except that he's not a merman, or even an angel. He's just a man, and he has enough.

(He has what I gave him and that's what he'll get.)

You're wasting your energy, I call after him and seawater floods back into my lungs.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Baseball metaphors and sneaky grief.

I took a deep breath and jumped over the edge, a slight unnecessary running start out of habit. The cliff rushed by me in a hurry and I was plunged deep into the icy water at the end of my travels, a shock to a system that finds little shocking anymore. I open my eyes under the surface and Jacob grins at me and waves. I rocket to the top, swallowing seawater along the way. I always have had issues with water I can't see to the bottom of, as if something might grab me. And there he is now. My own personal boogieman, disguised as my much missed and always beloved former husband.

I'm not dumb. I know it's a trap. A trap my brain is conditioned to set, as ordained by the memory thief in order to feel useful.

He takes my legs and shoves me upward, toward the light and my head breaks the dawn. I start coughing up water and do a slow circle around, three hundred and sixty degrees. My legs tread a frantic tide, my hands shake. My dress billows up around my shoulders and I wait for my throat to stop spasming before I set off for what seems like such an easy trip around the point, back to the beach when the boys are in the water. Alone it's a thousand miles. Alone it's dark and Jacob is under there somewhere even though that's ridiculous.

A huge splash behind me and Lochlan's red curls are hardly wet when he surfaces.

We cooling off the hard way? And without a buddy? 

I needed a shock to the system. 

So I'll let you rewire the taillights. But I won't tell you how. It'd be safer than flinging yourself off this fucking cliff every time you have a bad day. You don't need to know how it feels, Bridget. You only have to not follow him down. You follow me instead. It worked before.

And with that he turns and begins to swim away, knowing me well enough to know that I will panic and keep up with him out of fear.

You weren't there. 

Sorry I had my head in an engine. Trying to finish this one off so we can get ours. He's still flipping campers like mad. Each one he says is ours. He lies so easily sometimes it worries me more than I worry myself.

It's not your fault, Lochlan. 

Oh, I know that. Sam wasn't paying attention. 

We're not speaking all that easily. 

Oh, really?

Nothing major. I just bumped Diabhal back to third and relegated the baby preacher to the outfield. This time he noticed. 

I can speak with hi-

No, I'll talk to him tonight. 

I'll be nearby. 

I know. 

Better? Refilled your veins, heart and lungs? Think you can go a couple days before you do that again? 

I shrug as I shiver. The water's fucking freezing. I don't think I'll do this again for a bit. 

We have a pool. 

It's not the same. 

Don't tell Caleb that. He spent a fortune on it for you. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

On drowning that wanderlust, once and for all.

Christian yelled out the window around seven-fifteen.

Can you guys keep it down? 

Because with a mighty scream, I went booking across the backyards and jumped into the pool. I won the race, as I'm even lighter when I haven't eaten breakfast yet and have always been a fast runner. All Lochlan had to do was grab his unicycle from the garage and he would have been there an hour before me.

Also someone forgot to turn the pool heater up and my whole body went into space-horror-movie cryofreeze before my feet touched the bottom of the pool.

I surfaced still screaming. I drank too much water on the way back up. My stomach is going to hurt something fierce later on. It will anyway when four o'clock rolls around.

Lochlan surfaced swearing, just as Christian's window opened.

Sorry, we call. It's cold. 

Andrew appears behind Christian and Lochlan pokes me very gently in the back when we see him at the same time.

We'll be quiet! Go back to sleep, guys. 

And so we commence our whispery early morning swim. It's already fifteen degrees and sunny and so we're going to take advantage. Besides, we have to get everything out of the way early today. Today the final Ringling Bros. circus performance is being livestreamed online. We're going to watch it all. I had an offer to go in person but I didn't want to ugly-cry through what should be a happy event so I will do that in the comfort of my theatre. We'll hook the computer up to the projector and watch it on the big screen.

It's the end of an era, and I'm sad it's over. This is the one show everyone aspired to end up in, and now I never will.

Ah well, Peanut. It's all good. We did a lot of shows too. 

Not over forty-eight thousand of them. 

Maybe four hundred and eighty, all told. 


Seasons change, Bridge. But he has tears in his eyes when he says it.

Don't be sad, Locket.

Naw, it's just the water. I've made my peace already. 

I don't buy that for a minute. If ever anyone was made for that life and so terribly uncomfortable in this one, it's Lochlan. Maybe that's the reason we didn't go. Not because I will ugly-cry but because he will.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Freak pizza.

The shame is all mine as the jokes began around dinner last evening. Both kids were out, we were making homemade pizzas, and Caleb finally came downstairs. A few softhearted shoves as he ran the gauntlet and they have decided that I wore him out, that I'm like Sleeping Beauty except if you touch me, you're the one who falls asleep for a thousand years, or until there is food nearby.

Sure enough, he ate like five slices of pizza while Dalton made gentle jokes about working up an appetite and being hungry because Bridget's not enough, no meat on her bones. I made a mental note to show him otherwise, but not today because today my bones are worn out and we're in a good place. Everyone is in love, everyone is content. Ben is super good and content and finds life funny again. Sam is a little detached, his usual hesitance, though this time it's not borne out of self-consciousness but out of a need to feel useful and I don't know if he does right now. Too much of any good thing and I get into a headspace where I get blinded by touch and then I'm no good at all and he loses every ounce of his perfect objectivity and we're useless.


Lochlan took back his easy ownership, his alpha-male role, finding a second piece of pizza, eating it folded with one hand, the other looped around my neck. I was already finished my piece. Gorgonzola with ham, pineapple, mushrooms and black olives, washed down with a glass of white wine. I also eat one of PJ's left over crusts, which he hands to me with a wink. I pretend to glare at him before Caleb makes his goodbyes and heads back across the drive. Once he's gone, Lochlan physically relaxes in a way that still bothers me since it's so much different than what he says out loud. He turns me in close so I am standing between his knees. He threads both arms around my back and kisses me on the nose.

Okay? He whispers so no one can hear him. They're all talking about cars anyway. The food is almost gone and everyone is scattering back to their long weekend comfort zones.

I nod and he kisses my forehead, rubbing my back with one thumb as he holds on tightly.

What about you? 

I'm okay. I don't think he sounds convinced. Forgiving the Devil is a tough road to walk but we're still walking it. He pulls me until I am resting against him, head over his shoulder, arms around his neck and he just stays like that forever.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Good place.

I swear to God. A long weekend even peeks around the corner and there's Sophie, arriving like a queen without a court because she has nothing better to do than hunt for her perfect future in my front fucking yard.

God, I don't hate many people outright but I hate her. I don't know what Jacob saw in her. He was never shallow enough to settle for perfect. I wonder if she's maybe only a shell now being run by an alien life form here to detail how we do polyamory, how we do communes.

How we do life after Jacob.

Maybe she turned cold, bitchy and singularly-focused because he died. Maybe she has regrets too.

But she can't have Caleb. And once again he leaves me to deal with her. He isn't home. Later he will message her with his excuses, whatever lets himself off the hook. So she rings my bell to ask if I can let her into his house.

Why would I do that? He's home. Maybe he doesn't want to see you. That's what he gets for not protecting me from her.

I heard through the grapevine that you're together now.

I shrug. What grapevine is that? 

People talk about you, Bridget. I know you like to pretend you can get away with anything you like here but people still talk. Supposedly you have two husbands and a boyfriend now? 

I have, like, five boyfriends. Your grapevine blows. 

I thought she was choking and I was going to watch her die but then she found her verbal footing again and asked me if I could have Caleb call her when he was free, that she's only in town until early Monday morning.

Did you leave a voicemail for him? 

Yes, but-

Then if he wants to call you back, he will. 

You can't have them all, Bridget. 

I don't 'have' anyone. They're not toys, Sophie. They're grown men. And I don't know why you keep showing up on my property since Caleb has a phone and he has email too. I'll suggest now that on Labour Day, you stay the fuck away because next time you come around harassing my family I'm calling the police. 

He's not your fami-

Oh yes he is. 

The door slammed in my face right then, and in hers too I supposed. I looked to the right and there's Lochlan with his arm out, standing just behind me in the front hall.

I wasn't going to wait for teeth and claws. 

Well, you're no fun. 

But boy, you sure are! I think she thought you were still going to be tiny helpless Miss Mess and instead you were a snarling ball of...of....protective awesome. 

Protective awesome? 

I don't know what else to call it, but it's long overdue and I am proud of you. You stood your ground.

I hear a car door slam and the engine roar to life and she's gone again. I'll find out who keeps leaving the gate open later.

I grin at him. I'm proud of me too. 

Though your boundaries are completely misguided and fucked up. 

But I'm getting better at it, right? 

Don't get ahead of yourself, Bridget.

Because I have no boundaries. Caleb is upstairs in my bed, sleeping in today. Because it's Friday and it's a long weekend and I can be tiny helpless Miss Mess whenever I damn well please.