Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Much ado about OJ.

Oh, you sillies.

*I* am the butler.

At least at home. It's become a running joke. Ben and I take turns fetching juice late at night. We really adored having a butler when we stayed in New York but none of the guys here will go for it so we split the job in half.


My silver spoons are not in my mouth, they're all in a drawer, bent by Jacob, straightened by Ben. I may call myself a princess but most of that is simply wishful thinking.

The lot of you, on the other hand, well, let's just say thanks. You're learning. Instead of a hard time about sleeping in Lochlan's bed, you all wanted to know if I actually had a butler here at the new house.

Seriously, wow.

We're making progress.

Circumvention and the safekeepers.

Frail and dry
I could lose it all
But I cannot recall
It's all wrong
Don't cry
Clear away this hate
And we can start to make it alright
So fly away
And leave it behind
Return someday
With red in your eyes

I see you
Cause you won't get out of my way
I hear you
Cause you won't quit screaming my name
I feel you
Cause you won't stop touching my skin
I need you
They're coming to take you away
He left me pinned to his needs for hours last night, held fast against escape. Protests went unanswered. Struggle was met with force. I reached down and grabbed his hair, pulling it. My legs gave out. I kept reaching down until I could pull on his jaw and then he came up and kissed me and pushed me down again.

I was not allowed up until he was satisfied that I had writhed hard enough, until I was completely exhausted. Until I was desecrated completely.

Stick a fork in me, Benjamin, I am so done.

I'll stick something else in you, princess.

Pushed back down, this time on my face. I am not complaining.

Really considering Ben is as sick as I am I don't know where he finds the energy for everything. I thought I was on the fast boat to dreamland last night when he pulled me against his chest in the bathtub but then he abruptly pulled the stopper and let the water drain out. We were zonked and falling asleep against each other.

I was wrong and I'm now missing a few extra hours of sleep to prove it. I just wish I was operating at one hundred percent instead of twenty-five. For myself and for Ben's own pleasure.

The butler brought the best-tasting orange juice we have ever had. Over alternating sips I asked Ben what he said (or did) to Caleb.

Nothing for you to worry about.

He smiled and took a sip of the juice. And then he set the glass down on my bedside table and kissed my forehead and I was out. Dreamless, citrus sleep, oh how I love you.

However the sleep dissolves before I am ready for it to and another day begins with dead silence from the glass cage, and louder silence from Lochlan and Ben. Ben is away before the sun comes up, in true vampire fashion and I take my blanket and wander down to Lochlan's wing and climb into his feverish and empty bed to try and sleep for another hour even though he is gone as well. The house is so quiet and I drift away into a light slumber, this time filled with disturbing, violent dreams. I sit up suddenly, the blanket tangled all around me so tightly I feel trapped.

I think about calling Caleb. Just to see if he is alright. But I don't and I won't. Ben said not to worry about it and I'm going to trust him. I call Lochlan instead.

What did he do?

Bridget? What's wrong?

What did Ben do to Caleb?

Go to sleep, Bridget. It's five-thirty in the morning. Why don't you go down to my bed and snooze for a while. At least until sunrise.



I'm there already, Loch.

I'm happy to hear that. Now, sleep, princess.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Psychic relay.

He asked me to bring his car back and then requested that I come up to his condo for a moment so that he could have a word. I've been waiting for twenty minutes, picking at the hem on my skirt. My sleeves are too long and my fingertips are barely visible but that's fine because it's cold in here, not just because of Caleb's mood. He finally walks in and takes my arm, moving me to his office chair from the comfortable chair at my little wrought iron desk by the window because he wants to pace and yell and accuse and be dramatic but it's okay, I have left already.

Why do you write these things, Bridget?

It's what I have. I am trying to be strong but I have that thick-throated feeling when I'm just about to cry, it's inevitable and I'm embarrassed by it.

I gave you everything.

No, what you've done is pay to ease your guilt.

You need to stop.

I ignore him. In my head I'm running down the steps to Jacob. I'm running carefully, trying to concentrate so that I don't slip. Slowest race ever.

Caleb grabs a handful of my hair in his fist and yanks my head around so that I am staring right at him. My eyes swim into focus with fear in them and he smiles. Oh, I see. Pay attention.

Will you stop, Bridget?

He says it softly, kindly almost. Save for the fact that he is hurting me I would have been moved.

I can't shake my head so I match his tone, equally soft. The smallest voice I have.

No. We've had this conversation before. May I go now, please?

He continues to hold my head along with my attention while he slides the scissors off the desk with his other hand. They are good scissors. Sharpened twice a year. He brings them up close and I close my eyes.

I hear them open and close and I'm not dead. He lets go and I open my eyes.

And then I understand perfectly.

Handfuls of my hair are landing on the desk. On the floor. I no longer care if I'm careful or not, I'm running down the steps now, sliding along the banister, feet almost off the ground. Don't touch me. Don't touch me. Don't touch me.

But he keeps taking hold of huge handfuls and cutting and cutting until my hair is close around my face and then he throws the scissors and they bounce off the wall and clatter to the floor. He has tears streaming down his face as he looks at me and then walks out, slamming his office door. I reach up and touch my head. My hair, my crowning glory of blonde that was almost back to my waist is now chin-length. I look like I did when I was young, when I cut my hair briefly for a change. Cole was the change. I cut it for him. I never cut it again until after Jacob and even then that turned out to be a big mistake and I was back to my mermaid hair as fast as it would grow.

And now it's gone.

I shove away from the desk and the chair smashes to the floor as I run after him. I don't catch up with him until he is almost through the living room at the balcony doors. I land both fists against his back as I call him a coward for running away.

He turns around and I am looking in a mirror, matched tear for tear. Helpless, frustrated rage written all over our faces. He is in shock.

Suddenly I laugh. I didn't expect to but I seem to have all the power. Hold on to it, princess. I put my hands up and touch my hair. It's close to my head. I bet I look like I did as he remembers me best. Helpless and young.

They're going to kill you.

I'm already dead, Bridget.


Because we want to be the ones you love, and because it's the only thing Jake and Cole have in common.

My eyes flash to the sky beyond his shoulder and he turns and throws the bolt on the door, weirdly so, as if I was going to be able to get past him somehow and climb up over the railing and drop to the street below with the high end stores and strange faces.

You don't know me. Don't act like you can do things and not pay for them.

That's just it, Bridget, I can. I've been a monster forever and you let me get away with it. Long before the fallout with Lochlan, long before Cole became your favorite monster. You changed and it's all my fault. I do the work and they reap the benefits. I take the risks and they get the rewards. What the fuck is this? I live in fucking fear but I can't help myself. You won't help yourself. We're all sick. All of us.

You're delusional if you think you've ever gotten away with anything. Look around, Caleb! What do you have?!

I have you. I have Henry. I--My God. Look what I did to you.

You don't have us. You have nothing. Remember that when you feel the need to keep being the monster. Just remember what it got you. You ruined your perfect life and you took mine with you. So everything you have is an overcompensation for everything you wanted and drove away.

It's not over, princess.

It was over before it started. You saw to that quite nicely.

Why are you bringing up the past suddenly? I thought we were over that. You had crafted a lovely tale of absentia for your own brain to swallow, it seemed. Lying to yourself is always a nice comfort against the ugliness of truth isn't it?

I don't know, you tell me.

We belong together, Bridget.

Like hell we do. You can pretend all you want, Caleb but the truth remains and eventually I'll tell it. Just keep pushing me and see where we end up.

You've had some good times with me, Bridget.

Sure, only because the one thing you've ever taught me that I can talk about out loud is that I can use you for my own sick games too. I don't have to worry about destroying my boys, I'll just use you instead, and then you go away when I'm finished. Because you mean nothing.

I can see him crumbling now. It isn't calculated for maximum advantage, it isn't staged, it's real and I don't want to do this anymore.

I'm going. You can see Ben later and explain this shit and clean up your own mess.

He nodded. I have the control again. We hand it off like a baton. I nod and I'm out of there. I walk outside into the evening breeze to John in the Rolls and I wish for my scarf because my neck is freezing. John's eyebrows go up when he sees me and I ask him if he can stop at one of the salons nearby and he does and I come home with a perfectly cute tapered bob and a new scarf too.

I had planned to tell them it was just a whim but then I remembered that feeling of terror as Caleb picked up the scissors and so I will condemn him instead. But he's right. I hardly even mean it and at the end of the day after death, history, cash and love pay out their dividends a haircut is not that big of a fucking deal.

I am still, though. Sadly. The hopes I had when I was eighteen fade quickly now. Like the last rays of sunlight as we drive back up the coast. I am practicing my explanations in my head to soften it already and I'll never know why I protect him from them but I do.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


I stole a sip from his beer as I watched him dive off the diving board. The sun was so bright already and it was only seven-thirty in the morning. I was sitting on the edge of the pool in my pale blue string bikini making circles in the water with my feet. It isn't all that warm yet and I have shrugged into his jean jacket. I'm not sure I like Arizona all that much. I read a book set here once. It was about death.

I stick my legs out straight and evaluate my knees. Carpet-burned from being forced to the floor in this two-dollar an hour motel, they sting from the chlorine. I pour beer over them and dump the rest in the pool. I throw the bottle in too. I don't care about anything this morning other than waiting until Caleb is asleep tonight so that I can take all of the money from his wallet and hitchhike to the airport and go home. If I can find my passport, that is. Flying without it and looking younger than my full eighteen years never seems to go over well.

He doesn't have this problem. He's twenty-six and finished law school early and now he's moving on to a new degree because his plan is to rule the world, or at least retire a self-made millionaire at fifty. No one has any doubts that he will succeed either, and that's what makes this trip so hard to swallow. That he blatantly asked Cole if I could be borrowed for a weekend and Cole said yes and will take whatever payout Caleb gives him for my use and we'll all pretend we just get along great and the minute I get home I will go back to pretending Caleb doesn't exist.

He swims to me and places the beer bottle on the edge of the pool. He frowns and reaches up to pull me into the water, jacket and all.

I was at the deep end and I don't want to swim so I wrap my arms around his shoulders. He smells like soap and chlorine and sun. I place my lips against his neck and rest my head. His arms go around me. He's a good swimmer. I could fall asleep here. I'm not afraid of him. It's been six years and I have grown accustomed to the change in brothers. Like the change of the seasons.

He puts his head down against my cheek and hums. I don't know what he's humming. I am tone deaf.

Fall is coming. That's what I think about instead of his song. Fall is coming and it will be cold soon and I will trade my bikinis and sundresses and boots for jeans and sweaters and I will always run up to you and unzip your jacket and throw myself into it and sometimes you can zip it up again over me and I'm trapped walking backwards with you but eventually you will let me go.

Eventually, he will let me go.

Probably later this year when he gets busy with his new job and his life as a lawyer. Kind of like growing up finally and then he'll leave us alone. I start college soon. I'll be busy. Cole is very busy working already. Yeah, I'll just bide my time. It's been six years. It won't be much longer.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Viral princess.

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Every singer, including mine, should be forced to cover Hallelujah the way Jeff Buckley covers Hallelujah.

His voice is like someone put Freddie Mercury and Nick Drake in a blender and cut it with a cup of heaven.

And I am back from the dead, I think. Yesterday I crashed hard after lunch but thanks to the fact that I seem to be indestructible I couldn't seem to stay down.

Burning up with a fever, I did two loads of laundry (Lying down in between, seriously) and then I cried for Ben to come home early a little, and then I made lunches for today, and then Ben started to yell from downtown to go to bed already and I couldn't because he wasn't home yet so Ruth made tuna sandwiches for dinner with veggies for herself and Henry and Ben walked through the door at seven and I was a mess.

A complete and utter mess, weak and fevered to a crisp. Martyred. Fine, you win, Bridget, you're so tough, now go the hell to bed.

He got me into bed and brought me my beloved orange juice and opened all the windows and I was out. I remember asking about the bugs on my legs and why they were in flames and I also was very fucking pissed off about not getting any dinner (I think he had Captain Crunch. Seriously.) but I couldn't eat anything anyway and eventually the burning went away a little and I woke up to a thunderstorm crashing and I very unsteadily went to the bathroom and then crashed back into the bed and eventually morning came and the fever was gone and the bugs were gone but I feel as fragile as a ghost today.

I wish Ben was home. He always knows exactly what to do and then I feel better.

* * * * * *

The doctor has been and gone. He thinks it's mononucleosis. Lovely. His recommendation? Sleep, Bridget. More than you have been. He also cautioned me not to sleep during the day at all because it would disrupt my sleep at night eventually. So I can thumb my nose at everyone who keeps telling me to take a nap when all it ever seems to do is make things worse.

So there.



I will also work on the martyr part. Thankfully it's only an issue once or twice a year. A TANK, I tell you, I'm a tank.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


The center of my house is where the front door is. There is a circle room with a vaulted ceiling and windows all the way around. From the circle with the big round table and the orchids you can hang a right, which takes you into the great room/kitchen area with the insanely huge fireplace and also eventually to the stairs that go up. That way is toward the water, and overlooks the ocean and the driveway is underneath if you are tall enough to look down toward the ground under the window. There is a counter around the kitchen windows so sadly I can't see the driveway, since it runs beside the house and then around and back up.

If you hang a left from the foyer you can either head downstairs to the lair of Daniel and Schuyler (I wouldn't recommend it, they like their privacy) or you can step through the big double doors into my library. The library faces the woods, and is on the front of the house so you look through the verandah and then beyond and it means the verandah is far removed from the action, so to speak and a bit quieter than spending time down on the patio in full view of the people in the kitchen or great room or being on the balcony upstairs which is visible for miles. (Jesus, the whole world knows when I'm out there. It seems to be my widow's walk.)

In any case, these words are about my library. Not about the extended modern sprawl of this gigantic house.

This library is done. Solid and finished in a way my rickety shelving against plaster and old drafty windows and rickety desk were not, in our old house. This room is temperature-sealed. New windows that open at knee level to provide a breeze but continue on to the ceiling to paint a picture of a rain forest that sometimes invites a deer or bear or hummingbird. The windows continue around two walls, so the other two are floor to ceiling shelves, finished in a California-colonial style which I can't quite wrap my brain around. Soft grey walls. Dark wood floors with the white plushie area rug on top for softness. Bright lamps for reading and two white leather chairs. The books are packed into those shelves and stacked on the floor for good measure. There is a tower on the table threatening to collapse and more behind the door so you can't open it all the way.

It is soundproof as well.

Which means even though Ben has a studio downstairs, many many times a week you'll see him strolling up from the depths of the house strumming his guitar and disappearing into the library to see 'how it sounds'. It always sounds good, Benjamin but this is the quiet room.

He laughs.

It's only quiet if I need to show a card to get in, bee.

That can be arranged.

This is not my pantry, though. It is too pretty. Too bright. Too full of words to quiet my head. Cans of soup and bags of pasta quiet my head. Counting Keebler elves. Staring at the Honor Shelf and the competition as I see invisible words crashing into one another in the air in front of me does nothing but spool me up.

I have tried. I made it a comfortable room. I love the rug. I love the chairs. I love the big pillows on the floor. (Thank you, IKEA, I love you most.) I love the lamps and the windows and the odd California-style lack of baseboards and trim too but what I really love is that the kids can be found draped all over the place reading too. That they are starting to pick and choose from the big book collection and venturing away slightly from English Roses and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I hope they can do their homework in there on the floor or have long phone conversations stuffed into a chair without disruption and I hope that when the rain comes in the winter that I'll be able to hear it on the windows if I sit very still.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Human curiosities

When sleep came, I fell for it. Down, down, head over heels, clawing at thin air, bicycling knees to try and tread the wind.

I landed softly but I didn't know it.

Ben holds on as long as he can but it's inevitable, expected. And then he is holding a shell, the vessel of the soul that has escaped to a makeshift dreamland through some attempt by God to atone for all of the things I have been through.

In my dream I am never too cold or too hot. I'm never hungry and I never covet anything. I am never afraid. Dreams come from heaven, I know that now. Or maybe they are designed to give us a taste of heaven in order to not be overwhelmed later in life, should we be given that reward.

Huh. I must tell this to Caleb when he comes back so he knows what he'll be missing.

In my dreams Ben never leaves and I never have to wake up until I have slept for days. Food arrives via the butler and everything we do is a whim. Music plays at the perfect volume, the perfect song audible but not overwhelming, my soundtrack following me down the road. Life is a circus. My own perfect circus, and that is my secret.

I open my bag and Coney Island is inside. So I put one foot in and then the other and I pull up the handles and in a singsong voice I say:

We're here.

I'm standing in front of the gates and the sun is just beginning to rise. It isn't cold here. The seagulls are competing with my song, goddammit, I'm going to have to speak to someone about that. I straighten the hem on my dress and tuck my hair behind my ears. Time to get to work.

I see Ben at the far end of the dock. He is watching the sea and waiting for me. Too far away to call to, and too far away to walk to, even and so I break into a run. I can't hear my footfalls but I can hear the metal clang of shutters as the boardwalk comes to life. Once the sun breaks free of the horizon it seems as it it calls out to everyone to shake off their own dreams and join us in this skewed reality where tolerance and cash are the only focus, and illusion is the means.

It's like the midway only less family-friendly and sometimes more sinister but I know I am safe. There is no dread. There's no 'careful' here. There are no places I need to be warned to avoid. I am no longer that fresh-scrubbed ruined twelve-year-old girl pulling cotton candy out of her hair and counting the seven twenty-dollar bills at the end of a good week. It's my dream and Caleb can't find me here.

This is the big leagues and I fit in only by virtue of pretty with not nearly enough tattoos and my rampant disregard for public appraisal unless it's of the appreciative kind. Ben fits in because he can make a scary face. That is all. He refuses to swallow fire and we've decided being sawed into pieces is overrated and agonizing.

Freaks. As is.

I reach him at last. His tattoos have been drawn into his pockets as he turns to smile at me.

You made it.

Why do I always start out at the opposite end from you?

I don't know, princess, but it doesn't take us long to regroup.


Maybe that's part of the theme of your dream.

You're right. I bet that's exactly what it is.

Are you ready?

Yes. Let's go.

I reach up high into the air and grab the zipper pull, swinging my legs up over the edge until I am sitting on the ledge high above the pier now. The sun is a huge ball of warm, an orange I can taste, tinged with a purple I can feel. The tangible sunrise is a parting gift I am eager to learn how to extract, but not today.

I open my eyes and Ben is wrapped around me, sleeping deeply, his thumb resting on my philtrum and the rest of his hand wrapped around my head.

We are sleeping on a bed of twenty-dollar bills and all I can smell is cotton candy and decay.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Last night Ben and I sat outside in the freezing cold on the verandah, a candle burning on the rustic little table that I refused to paint and finally it has achieved the weathered grey I adore. His tea grew cold and my red wine grew warm as we ignored our drinks in favor of watching the wind and the moon, his hands clutching the blanket closed that we were sharing. I was tucked down in his arms, his chin on my head, his legs making for more warmth than I could have asked for around mine.

I was listening for Jacob's big windchimes but I can't hear them over the roar of the ocean. I hate to have to ask Ben to move them closer to the house again, because he's already done it twice, but I think I will. What is the point of a noise if it can't be heard?

Eventually I stopped trying to hear them and settled back against his chest and his head came forward beside mine, He kissed my cheek and pressed his ear against mine, rocking me slowly.

I closed my eyes.




Clear as day he whispers in my ear. I hear him every single time.

I love you, Bridget.

I love you too, Ben. Forgive me.

Just let it be, little bee.

Which part?

All of it, for now. You're in my arms. I'm not going to think about anything else right now.


This is what I live for.

Me too.

He pulled back and looked down at me.


I nodded.

I thought you would have said something about my huge dick.

It was on the tip of my tongue.

You know, princess, there are so many places I could take that statement but for the sake of this beautiful night I'll just let it go.


For now.


But later, I-





Sunday, 22 August 2010

Confirmation bias.

(Firstly. If you don't understand polyandry, for the love of God, find another blog to read. I don't need any more emails telling me how fucking provocative I am.)

I went for a long bike ride with Lochlan last night. He got a new suit of body armor for his motorcycle and when he came down the hall fully suited up and carrying his helmet I had one of those moments where I'm just like wow. Just wow. It makes him look tall. Which he is anyway to me at 5'9" but this makes him look taller. All-black suit. It turned his hair to dark strawberry. He had it cut last week and all of his curls are gone.

We drove for hours, it seemed. We stopped in at the market and had fish and chips. Up the mountain. Up to the tinder-dry ski hills on the unsafe highway where one false move losing the edge of the road and you will plunge to your death straight down. We picked fights and took some pictures. Back down. Too fast.

We saw an owl. At once, the weirdest and the coolest thing ever.

We picked another fight and it resulted in Lochlan leaving me standing by the water and driving off. He was back five minutes later, parking his bike and striding over to me, grabbing my hand and pulling me back with him. I opted not to speak for the rest of the trip lest I get abandoned somewhere now that it was getting dark.

(Though, really it's been twenty years since he actually didn't come back for me. I have such fond memories of walking home in the middle of the night, back to the camper/cottage/house. Really I do.)

We arrived back home and I passed him my helmet and entered the house. It seemed so warm and inviting after being outside. Lights on everywhere.

Ben was sitting at the counter. Reading. He put his arms out and I flew into them as he stood up. Lochlan didn't say anything. I felt Ben nod and then he released me and turned me back to face Lochlan. Permission.

Let's sort this out, princess. I had no intentions of ruining this day.


I followed Lochlan upstairs. He shut the door behind me and locked it and then walked away down the hall. I followed. Another door, another lock. I'm amused. He's going to make it difficult for me to walk away from him now. That's funny because he's the one who always walks away. I stand my ground and fight.

Inside of this door he walks right over and kisses me. Hard. So hard I am forced back against the wall. Inside of a minute we are tearing at the layers of clothing keeping us apart. He is kissing my forehead. My cheeks. My lips. My shoulders.

I give him a shove backwards and he brings me with him, throwing me down onto the bed where he pulls the rest of my things off and then takes off everything too. He is flushed. Aroused. Gentler now. He pulls me up into his arms and we are cuddled in the center of his bed. He pulls the blanket up around me because everything in Lochlan's life is super heated and he lifts me up and brings me back down and I almost cry out but I bite his shoulder instead. He just holds me tighter. He is moving us, gently, quietly. That perfect dance. He leans me way back and follows and he is against me now, picking up speed, wrapping his arms tight around me, burying his face against the pillow, against my temple, his breath so loud in my ear. Our legs are tangled.

His hand moves to the back of my head and I am pressed against his chest as he raises himself up slightly. He won't make it hurt, he won't make it violent, ever but what he does do is make sure neither one of us is left wanting anything. His other hand is holding him up and I reach up and pull him back down to me. Slower now, forever now. The urgency has been dealt with, everything else remains. And the memories that keep us apart come crowding back in, extinguishing the moment.

(Just stay like this and everything is okay and tomorrow we will go and play at the beach and then at tent call we'll go work and then we'll steal dinner and maybe eat in bed. And then make love all night and sleep on the sand all day. Pretty please? And no fighting. I don't like it when we fight, Lochlan.)

He is slowing to a crawl now and the second-guess has commenced. His hands come up, cradling my head. His lips find mine. When we kiss our eyes are wide open.

My God, Bridget. I can't give you back to him.

It's a whisper and I have to ignore it. I know that. I have to pretend I didn't hear it and he will pretend he never said it. It's the other flaw in our beings. We can't get along and we can't be apart. I don't know what to do, this is the only answer I have.

I push him away and climb off his bed and brush past him to go to the shower. He reaches for me but I have already walked away from him.

In moments I am drowning myself under the hot spray. Not washing, just standing there. He joins me and begins to wash my hair. He washes my body, scrubs every inch of my skin, gets on his knees to wash the backs of my legs, my knees, my toes. He stands up and rinses me, holding me back under the stream. Holding me close. He puts his head down against mine and the water pours over us. We stay like this for a very long time. Finally he drops his arms from me and opens the door. I am pushed out and he closes the door again. He does not come out.

I dry myself quickly, put my clothes back on, and go back to plant a single kiss on the shower door. Lochlan is facing the wall now, his hands up above his head in a defeated stance. I know he has cranked the hot water up to the maximum now and the steam clouds are billowing out.

I turn on the switch for the fan and I close the door on my way out.

I don't hear him when he says I love you. I never do.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Saturday morning car tunes.

I'm not the only one who sees them
I'm not the only one they keep up at night
I'm not the only one not sleeping
I'm not the only one who's dreaming out loud
Dreaming out
Caleb was by this morning already, bringing fresh croissants and good news and his car! for me to use! He is leaving town for a couple of weeks, planning to return before school begins and more importantly, before Ruth's eleventh birthday.

Don't presume that my choice to keep him close has anything to do with Lochlan or Ben. This is not like that. This is a whole different thing and it could be called coercion or extortion or something but I like to just minimize that and make everybody happy and also it makes missing Cole less prevalent somehow in that he's right here, half the time.

(If I could get August to wear more flannel and spend less time tying his hair back I could have Jake too in some regard but whatever! Let's not go there! It's a beautiful Saturday and Ben is off for the weekend but having worked almost around the clock for the past twelve days straight somehow I see him sleeping all day long, possibly opening an eye around two or three o'clock to swallow a hamburger whole and going right back to sleep.)

I don't know why I'm explaining things to you anyway. Drama comes and drama goes and we keep it to a low simmer and we're incredibly refined. Trust me. In a perfectly-tousled hair and bright eyes kind of way. With money now. So our problems apparently are your reality television show.

Caleb is heading east to attend a few meetings in Toronto and then he'll stop in Montreal to see (ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH) Sophie, and then he'll continue on to Nova Scotia to spend a week with his folks. I sent along my best from us even though I talk to them regularly. I was invited to go, seeing as how Pepper Potts may be making a return appearance and if anyone needs an assistant, it is Satan by far, but I declined because um, no. No trips with him. I don't what the fuck he is thinking. Yes, dear, stay in my life so we all don't go down in flames forever but no, I'm not going on vacations with you.

If push comes to shove I can make things miserable for him too. One of the small comforts of being tortured for so long by the same person is that eventually you discover the little things that drive them mad and you can use them as weapons. It keeps the devil at arms length. And it keeps Bridget safe.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go whisper disgusting things involving Krispy Kreme donuts into my husband's ear and maybe he'll get up and take me out for a second breakfast. He can drive.
In stitches here tonight
We are ripping the seams out
I'm pushing hard to tear it loose
In stitches here tonight
We are ripping the seams
There's something missing
Chilled and lonely in between
Today's musical accompaniment can be found here. Enjoy.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Beauty, undismayed.

Anything to make you smile
You are the ever-living ghost of what once was
I never want to hear you say
That you'd be better off
Or you liked it that way
But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do
He is still drunk and I'm losing patience.

Amazing how someone can be so perfect and then within a half a bottle he is all mess. I am sitting on the steps again and Lochlan is sitting, rather, laying in the chair, his legs splayed out because there isn't a cooperative muscle in his body right now, including his tongue.

He has Band of Horses on repeat and I want to hasten my hearing loss to the point of total silence because it hurts to listen to him humming no one's going to love you more than I do.

It hurts because I have stuck to my guns with the stubbornness of a child but when I look in the mirror I see a little old woman who has been to hell and back so many times she has an elevator named after her.

He still sees that child, and we still carry the burden of our history like a cross, dead weight keeping us from the future. He is horrified by what I have been through but powerless to change it, so he folds himself inward and he continues on his button-down perfectionist way, with clean, unsmudged glasses and his strawberry blonde beard that I have loved since forever that he never shaves off anymore because he sees my protests when the others do and he wants the upper hand. He gives others the shit jobs of giving me bad news and dealing with the less good parts because he didn't want me to project my feelings onto him and it backfired, oh, hell did it ever backfire on him.

So now to make himself look even better in everyone's eyes he's going to spend the weekend lit up like the fourth of July, which goes against his whole better-than-you stance to Ben, but at the same time Lochlan can turn his alcoholism on and off at will. Ben cannot so it's just another thumb of Lochlan's nose.

And in return Ben points out every chance he gets that I married him, that I am his wife, and I made my choice.

But did she?

Lochlan lets the question slide out of his mouth as a challenge and Ben is forced to drop it based on the fact that he was biggest proponent of this new joint venture. Since Bridget doesn't have security anymore, give her whatever she needs so if that means being able to go to anyone she wants for comfort, affection, advice or straight-up hardcore sex then let's do this thing.

Like any red-blooded man, Ben agreed to that. He thought, well, everyone thought that I would marry Lochlan next. That I would just go back to him and Ben figured if he still had access to me that some is always better than nothing at all.

And whoops, I married Ben instead so all of the sudden the roles are reversed and to Lochlan some of me is better than none at all and Ben is all she picked me! Shut this down! Because all of the sudden instead of getting a piece of the action you are loaning out your wife and hoping she comes back to you with her loyalties intact, knowing it's a risk, just like getting out of bed in the morning. He has struggled with that. I have too. I thought they were all insane and that this was the worst idea ever. I thought how dare they objectify me like this, how dare they turn me into a time share, a possession to be fought over.

Then I got over myself. And you should too.

Lose your uptightedness and be free. The world needs more love. The world also needs more vodka but I am almost out.


I am off to spend some much needed alone-time with Ben. I have not seen him much today.

Goodnight, Lochlan.

Goodnight, Bridgie. Who was it who said "Remembering is only a new form of suffering"?

Baudelaire, Lochlan.

Oh yeah, Baudelaire. I should have known.

Yeah, you should have.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Yesterday was more of the same. I careened from one appointment to the next. I had to squint hard to drive. I kept falling asleep on my feet. I think I have the flu. The crushing exhaustion is back even though I am mostly sleeping, it's just not enough.

Like everything, nothing is ever enough. For the boys, for me.

I am making a concentrated effort to be happy. Just because. Because anything else is a waste of time and energy and detrimental to my health. And mental to my detri, ruinous and miserable.

And as much as I love the image of standing in a puddle of dark water with my black umbrella and my black dress, soaked to the skin in my own agony, stitched to a dark cloud with threads of hate and jealousy and rage and grief it's as tiring as your endless fake chippery and enthusiasm, self-improvement and utter perfection.

Maybe I can just sit somewhere in the middle. Perched on the line burning one shoulder in the sun while the other freezes in the dark and everything will be okay. Because I don't do fake-chipper any better than you do deadly darkly honest.

So Caleb stays in the picture.

So does Lochlan for that matter. That's what I need. It's what I would like. The smart thing to do would have been to leave well enough alone but I didn't then and now I can't. And for all the circles we travel in falling out and then falling back in they are constants in a life that seems to delight in ripping the rug out from under me and I told myself after Jacob flew that I would not deny anyone anything any more than I would want any small comfort denied me.

I went to each and every man after Jacob. Each one. All of them. I tried on life with them if only for the familiar, if only I could find that feeling where it didn't hurt all the damned time and Ben and I made a grand and stupid effort to seduce each other and it surprised me. HE surprised me. For all of his fucktardery and foolishness he has a heart of gold and it's in piss-poor shape, just like mine but it's there and it's soft and it's full for me and he comes first. Understand?


Every last time.

I will stand behind his back with my head down and listen to his instructions and follow them carefully whether I want to or not most times. Then I will step ahead and I will soften the blows of history so it is easier for him to live in close existence to the objects of his derision but I can't make them go away because I'm selfish.

I apologize for that but he won't accept it. We keep trying on lives and testing out ideas and we always come back to this because this works, pure and simple and sometimes self-preservation means squeezing your eyes tightly shut and pretending you don't see things if you can't stand to watch. And admitting that you like it if you do.

Sometimes it means living the life of someone you don't recognize in the mirror. I wish the introductions would be made. I feel like I don't know how to act around her, I don't know where to sit or what to say. She judges me. You all judge me.

I still face her. I still face YOU, even though I owe you nothing at all.

And I know my choices aren't always right but they're mine, and I'll take responsibility for them.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


(what did I do about the envelopes? Nothing. And everyone is happy.)
She's all that I see
and all that I breathe
Take a breath and hold her in
as the shadows whispering
Last night around ten, we heard the car. Or rather, they heard the car. I didn't hear a damned thing until the doorbell chimed. Ben, August, Lochlan, Schuyler, Daniel and Sam all looked at each other and then they looked at me.

I stood up to answer the door. They didn't move.

There's Satan. Melting the paint off my front door. It's still a thousand degrees outside and he's in a suit. He's holding one of those fucking grey envelopes and I want to stab him with it. I'll watch him die like I watched his brother die and call it a day on this family.

He looks past me at the six men sitting in the kitchen and asks me if I will join him outside.

Chickenshit. I hear Schuyler say it but it's ignored and I pull the door shut behind me. Ben was standing up just as I met his eyes and then he disappeared from my view.

I sat down on the front step and Caleb seemed surprised. There are two chairs and a table there and I picked the steps. He sat down beside me and I put my head down on my knees. He put his hand on my back. I could feel the imprint of his fingers burning through cloth and then flesh, leaving his prints on bone but I didn't move.

How long are you going to continue with this game? I miss you. I miss having you to look forward to. I miss you lighting up my home with your laugh and with the music you always play.

I looked at him. Curious. Then I started laughing. I couldn't help it. I laughed until my sides hurt and tears were pouring down my face. And then I stopped abruptly, wiped my face with my hands and put my head back down, away from him this time.

You sound like a desperate man.

Maybe I am.

There it was. That hint of fallibility designed exclusively to unsettle me, leaving me vulnerable to his charm. And still I played along by not playing along.

You're lonely.

Yes. I've been lucky to have you back in my life.

That isn't going to change, Caleb.

He stopped moving and held his breath and then spoke carefully next.

I mean in a greater capacity than coparenting.

Look, I'm overruling all of you, this moratorium is done.


I need to get the others.


So I don't have to repeat myself. That's all I ever do.


Be right back.

But I never went back outside. I came in and six pairs of eyes were on me and my heart was thudding so loud it was making me sick and I just nodded and said I was sorry and I went upstairs and crawled into bed fully clothed and I slept. I slept so hard I don't even know if Ben ever came to bed or if Caleb ever left because I got up late, took the kids to the pool and made a concentrated effort to make sense of whatever it is I think I just did. I just need the fighting to stop. I can handle pretty much anything, but I can't handle being the rope in a human tug of war anymore.

Just. Just fucking get along.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Mood kitchen.

I can just see my 'mood' kitchen. You know, the blinds come down, the lights all go out and angry death metal starts chugging so loud you forget what language you speak and then a burned piece of toast throws itself out of the toaster and upon my mercy.

That's Bridget's mood kitchen.

Monday, 16 August 2010

A child among the dead.

I'm coming up only to hold you under
I'm coming up only to show you wrong
And to know you is hard, we wonder
To know you all wrong, we were.
Down, down, down. Calling him. Screaming his name as I slip and stumble down the steps, round the corner and pick up speed racing down the hallway in the dark.


I grab the handle and almost pull my arms off since I was halfway past it and I'm yanked to a violent halt. I turn it, breaking the rusted seal, my shoulders aching from the effort and finally it begins to move. The door takes an eternity to open. Forever. Tears are streaming down my face and I squeeze through into the light and fall to the floor underneath the half-open door and I'm sobbing and I see Cole first since he is on the ceiling and I reach up to grab the door and it moves quicker than I can suddenly and I hear the ringing before the heavy iron connects with the side of my skull. Lights out.

When I open my eyes I am still on the floor and Jacob's face is looking into mine. Cole is on the ground now too, slightly removed from us but still very much touchable from here. Concerned. As he should be. Thanks to my years with him I've discovered it's very incredibly easy to knock myself out now. You would know that, it's a feature of hockey players and battered wives.

What's happened?

I don't know what to do. He won't stop.

(Cole says it with a smirk. Just rewards for breaking his heart.)

Your brother.

The smirk disappears. Jake frowns too.

What did he do?

He keeps asking for me. Every single day. He won't stop.

Ben won't let him near you?


Good. But I don't like his reaction.

Did he pay you?

I don't think I know how to fix this, princess.

Did he pay you, Jacob?

This is a job for the living.

Cole howls with laughter. Sarcasm disguised as mirth.


Jacob stands up and pulls me to my feet. I'm dizzy but I don't care. He walks away until the shadows close around him and I can't see him anymore.

You son of a bitch. You left for money.


Then why did you leave me!

I can't talk about this anymore.

What else do you have to do, Jake? You have plans? What the fuck? Talk to me! Come back here so I can see you!

But he doesn't. Instead Cole walks into the light, right past me, to the door and he looks out into the hall and he turns back and considers his thoughts for a moment. His face is perfectly lined, his hair glossy-bright chocolate in the light. I never get used to seeing him without his glasses and I wonder if when I die I'll be able to hear everything again.

You should go back now, Bridget.

I don't know what to do about Caleb though.

You shouldn't have let him back into your life, baby. You don't know how HARD I worked to keep him out of it. And you just let him right back in the second I was gone. None of them stand a chance. He'll ruin everyone and everything to get to you, don't you GET THAT?

He is screaming at me and I haven't flinched yet. There is no fear in heaven I guess. Oh, please, please let me be dead, this is so lovely.

Are you going to help me or not?

There's nothing I can do.

There has to be some way to end this.

Sure there is, baby and you know what it is.

I do?


I have to kill him?

Let me put it to you this way. There are two ways to get Caleb out of your life. One way is for him to die. The other is for you to.

Jesus, Cole, stop it.

Hey, I tried to kill you to save you from him.

I hope you rot down here.

I'll bring the golden boy with me into that adventure, baby. See you soon.

Fuck you.

He leered in close and I could see the empty black holes inside of those glorious dark blue eyes and I finally felt a shiver of dread. It was gone before I could use it up and wish for more.

That will be the first order of business when you get here. For old times' sake.

All around me the unholy squeals and yells of protest began again and the wind picked up and the chaos began. Everything was moving and screaming and I put my hands up over my ears and I closed my eyes and I knelt down on the cold stone floor and tucked my arms up around my head and I waited. I could feel movement in the air all around me but I waited, still and quiet and finally when there was no more noise I brought my arms down and I opened my eyes.



No answer.


Nothing. I look up and the door is wide open.

I took the clue and I went through it and I ran, just as fast as I did to get down there. Back down the hallway into the light then plunged into the dark again and then I grabbed the railing for the staircase and hit the first step and bounced off Satan, who was sitting there with his head in his hands. Waiting. Maybe sleeping. I hit the ground, landing hard on my back and I pulled myself back up and stood before him but he didn't move. He didn't acknowledge me and I waited and I did not run even though every nerve in my body was on fire to flee. I just stood there with my arms down at my sides, hands clenched into shaking fists, expressionless for all of my terrified curiosity.

Finally he stood up. We are seven inches apart.

I'm breathing through my nose and my air is his exhalation. My entire body is wound tight, like the strings on Ben's guitar. This is the very last place I ever want to be with Caleb. He doesn't deserve to get the chance to talk to his brother or be in the presence of my Jacob. He doesn't get the comfort. He isn't allowed here in my head. Ever ever ever. Go away Caleb. I don't want you here. And still I did nothing.

You don't have to be afraid of me, Bridget.

He whispers it as his arms come up and I go into them.

We've had some amazing experiences together. Haven't we?

I am silent. I do absolutely nothing except hold on to him, my arms tight around his neck. I've gotten good at going somewhere else and that's why he shouldn't be here. This is not his place, this is my safe place. Go away. Go away. Go away.

You don't have to be afraid of me.

He repeats himself and this time he sounds different. I pull away to look at him and he is twenty years old again and I am suddenly screaming like I did the night when I was twelve.

But Lochlan didn't save me then and he's not going to save me tonight. I have to do everything myself.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beyond the Sea.

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet, I know, we'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
And happy we will be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing
Another night, another envelope, this one held back like a starting pitch and flung far and fast off the cliff, Ben staggering back slightly from the momentum. I figured the envelope would land ten feet away on the rocks but he cut it just right. I'm sure it's now wedged between the bronze plaques, exactly where Ben would like to nail Caleb to the rocks. At low tide, no less.

He walked back up the path, up the stairs and onto the verandah and he picked up the needle and put it back at the beginning of the Frank Sinatra record we have on rotation these days. Sometimes late at night we put it on and we dance, but only for a few moments. Invariably Ben will stop, tears at the corners of his eyes, his face completely overwhelmed and he'll kiss the top of my head and then take my hand and pull me inside. The time for dancing is finished.

I have gotten under his skin, permeated his tough shell and broken down the wall of ego he wears as his armor into battle. God forbid he lets me see it ever but sometimes a little bit shines through, like when we dance.

And when he sleeps, for he has finally taken to clutching me against him like a favorite doll, the way I like to be held when I sleep. Absolute safety. No question, no falling, no nightmares. Something he resisted, always pushing me away. Too hot. Gotta sleep now he would protest. I would fall asleep with my lip sticking out a mile wide, pouting into my dreams, tripping over my selfishness.

Things are shifting between us, and it's for the better. Maybe it's the united front. Maybe it's that the tests have been handed out and I have passed and I didn't need to study. They were easy ones. Thirty years of history versus the most difficult human being I have ever encountered in my existence? Natch. The threat of certain ruin and the loss of everything I hold dear versus this giant alcoholic with anger management issues and a motorcycle that is louder than thunder? Anytime. Violent, desperate love from someone with absolutely no experience in love at all?

Got him right here. Not giving him up so stop waiting.

He's the jigsaw man, after all.

The silence from the other side of the city is deafening. The envelopes keep coming as if Caleb is trying to will me to him formally, telekinetically.

That's been done already. Find a new trick, asshole. Bet yet, just stop.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Confetti nightmares.

(The fortune teller saw this in a past life. To a tee. I should have believed her but I didn't because after she told me everything Lochlan appeared, put his arm around my neck and pulled me away, telling me not to listen to the crazy old woman. He said she works for Wegmans when she's not with the show and doesn't know how to spell the future, let alone see it. He laughed and that was the end of that.)

As the breeze blew in against the cliff, I watched a million shreds of silver paper flutter into the sea.

Three evenings, three envelopes and tonight Ben has resorted to sitting on the verandah waiting for the devil in the flesh. You see, last night the devil didn't appear, instead sending John with the car, thinking that if I were to travel with Lochlan I might be more inclined to show up at all.

He would be wrong.

I ran out to the car in my bare feet in the dark after staring at it through the window for the better part of an hour and I told John to go home, that I wasn't going in town, that he shouldn't come back and yet another envelope was delivered tonight around six by a city courier company, wedged in the front gate, insistent on a hand delivery that failed because I refused. John will be here later. Like clockwork. Or maybe Caleb himself will come back because this behavior is unusual. This is what Ben would like to see, anyway.

We refuse because I know what Caleb is doing. He doesn't want Ben there, he wants to punish me for venturing too close to the truth and he wants to punish Lochlan for breathing, by making him watch. Caleb's a sick fuck like that, and he's got an axe to grind that has nothing to do with Ben. (I guess that changes too, now). Oddly enough, Caleb quite enjoys Ben, they get along well.

They get along well but Ben is tired of the fear and tired of the sickness and sober enough (thank you very much) to see the wearing and tearing on his princess. He doesn't care about the past. He cares about the present and he cares about our future and neither of those things is going to be sent three steps back and then stumbled over the low railing into the fires of hell. Not on his watch, not anymore. What he considers to be Lochlan's hold is over. Been there, done that, have a t-shirt and a lifetime of psychological scars to prove it. Maybe Jake's methods of barring the door were of the best intentions until Lochlan and then Caleb somehow got to him (I still don't know if that's true). Maybe it will work better for Ben. Ben can't be bought. He only has three weaknesses. Bridget, sex and mind-altering substances so really, how can his plan go wrong?

So he stood on the porch in his jeans and his bare feet (something new) and a black tank top and he tore those envelopes up into little pieces and they're everywhere, scattered all over the front lawn, in the trees, in the grapevines far out by the cliffs and all over the porch. I imagine the wind will take what's left away overnight.

I wonder if I'll still be alive to check.

You see, when push comes to shove here, my knights go into Protect Bridget mode. That's where we are right now. I am the singular focus of everyone in the house and it's an odd and uncomfortable position. One that cricks my neck and makes my knees ache. Hiding behind Ben, sitting cross-legged on the porch as he sits on the top step, my hands gripping the back of his shirt, my head down, pressed against his back, eyes closed, lips moving in silent prayer in some sort of ultimate sick joke because God does not have the power to save me from Satan and neither does Ben.

No worries, little bee. He can't have you. None of them can. You're mine now. Mine.

I just squeezed my eyes together a little tighter and resumed my prayers to the fallen angels in my concrete room. They will protect Ben for me. The beautiful part is he knows what he's up against, and he wanted me anyway.

Now we wait.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Hollow win.

It was mechanical. Wooden and resigned.

The envelope came on Thursday evening. Not the red one I was expecting for notes on some changes to the health plan but the dreaded dark silver instead. The request for my company, as if inside might be a million dollars and I am the commodity traded publicly for a song few can sing.

I didn't open it. I just left it by the door and I went upstairs and began to dress. Stockings. Stilettos. One of his dresses. Hair up so he can take it down. No jewelry. None at all. The inside of my brain is jello. Alternating the current of thrill with the dread of knowing it could always be the last trip because I stand as the last living witness to his transformation into a monster. I was there, you see? It's my fault.

I turn around to inspect the seams on my stockings and Ben is in the doorway, holding the envelope.

Deja you, princess.

Deja yourself. You ready?

I'm not invited and you're not going.

What do you mean?

The invitation is for you and Lochlan. He knows, princess. He knows we let him back in. You can't go.

I have to, Ben.

We'll figure out something else.

Something else? We've had a quarter of a century to do that. Nothing works. It just makes everything more difficult if I fight it.

Bridget, I haven't had a quarter century to fight it. Lochlan hasn't tried to do anything.

He created this.

I wave my hands around to indicate my life. Panic is rising like bile now. I feel like I'm choking, drowning. I have already switched into Cole-mode now and there's no going back.

Guilt, Bridget. He feels guilty. And the first minute he thinks you're safe he vanishes. What kind of love is that?

I don't know, Ben. I don't know anything anymore.

Me neither but I know this is wrong and I know I'm not going to let you go.

You new guys are so noble.

A condescending voice from behind Ben in the hallway made us both jump. Timed perfectly to arrive in his little 350z to take me away to the dungeon in the sky as soon as I would have had time to prepare after receiving the envelope had I not been ambushed.

Always wanting to rescue little Bridget. Always pointing out everything that is wrong with her. Giving in to so many of her whims and then acting outraged when she won't stop. When you have enough and she still won't stop.

She stops today. Ben says it so softly, I'm still not a hundred percent sure that's what he said.

You know what happened to the last man who tried to keep me from seeing her, don't you? Or have you holed up with your guitar and your bottle so long you don't remember things quite so clearly anymore, Benny? Do you think he left her on purpose? Anyone can be bought. Anyone. Don't make me have to buy you. I've left you in this position because you're not a threat to me. Don't make me change my mind.

In that split second I made a choice to believe that he was lying. Protect thyself. Oh to hell with it.

I walked over to Caleb. Slowly. Heart thumping so loud my gait is wobbly in those stupid shoes. He smiles at me. Victorious.

Or not.

I slapped him.


I came up again, going for more but he grabbed my wrist and squeezed until my bones grated but I didn't cry out because my insides had turned to dust from the doubt creeping back in.

Caleb paid Jake to go and he changed his mind and couldn't live with the guilt.

It all makes sense now. All of it. Every last thing. Every last measure of confusion blown away leaving one final secret. Caleb's.

I waited for him to relax his hold. It took a while. We had a staredown. One that's been twenty-seven years in the making.

There's no statute of limitations on what you did.

There isn't one on Lochlan either. If I go down, so does he, and then you'd be without your fucking Siamese twin. Ben would be wise to encourage you to rat everyone out but at this point they are all so afraid of your head that the status-quo, ticking-time-bomb fragile princess everyone can get a piece of seems like a safer bet, don't you think?

He dropped my wrist and walked out and within the space of a minute I heard the car start up and he drove away.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bridget 4.0, now with gapless playback.

What the hell have I meant
If this how the day ends, I regret
Close your eyes and dream now
The world so far
your heart sounds alone
and I connect

In all the ways I've dreamed you
I chose a song to reach you
But why it's sad again
Only now I see it
Today is a lipgloss print on a cool windowpane, a squeeze of a hand just a memory as you walk away toward the noise and the light and I remain in the silent dark to wait, arms wrapped around the second hand of the clock in an effort to swing forward to speed it up.

Today is a chocolate sugar cone with a hole in the bottom, summer dripping down the steps and across the patio, smeared into rays of blistering afternoon sun and wishes for an ocean of ice.

Today is a note held by a voice that is oxygen to the ears, and then left to fade into a clash of leads and fills, the memory of a melody so familiar that pause fails to take away the sound and my gratitude swells to bursting.*

Today is a text message to herald the beginning of the trip home in the same late sun, the screech of brakes and the wail of the train whistle through the trees starting a slow count to your arrival at the door, somehow timed perfectly, somehow timed to save.

Today is almost finished.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The man who stayed behind.

Eighty-eight steps down, my hand on the smooth pewter of a railing forged painstakingly. Beautiful work. The joins almost seamless but slightly raised so as not to pinch or catch. The scrollwork in each step left unfinished for traction on the ice-cold metal.

I have descended this staircase a thousand times and every time is with a death grip and my eyes glued to that railing for guidance. That railing is the only thing that separates my life without Jake from life with Jake.

I am in bare feet and a slip of a nightgown this time. That's why I'm so cold. My clairaudience for Jacob's voice waking me from a fitful sleep means I have to check on him. Maybe he is cold too. Maybe something is wrong. Maybe he found a way to sculpt himself back to life out of the thimbleful or two of ashes I have left.

In my distraction I stumble on the step and sit down hard, still with both hands on the railing, now high above my head. I have twisted my elbows and the pain from the dislocation flares up white hot and I let go. I rest my forehead against the center post and automatically smooth my gown around my legs. I close my eyes.

A warm arm slides around my shoulders and pulls me in.

I open my eyes and look up. Ben kisses my forehead.

Why are you down here again, bee?

I'm looking for Jake.

He isn't here, baby. Come back up.

He's here. I heard him again.

Come on, Bridget. Let's go back to bed.


I pulled away and stood up. I wobbled on the next step down and four hands shot out. Ben caught my shoulders and two hands came out of the dark and caught my hands. Jacob's glorious crown of gold came into the light.

He's right, princess. You need sleep.

You called for me. I'm here because you need me.

I don't do that, honey. You really should be sleeping.

I'm just staring at his eyes. Out here, outside of the concrete room with the fear of Cole keeping me cold his eyes are different only I don't know how, exactly, they just are. I want to know if he can still do it. Still hypnotize me. Still pull me in and keep me there to do whatever he wants me to do, or make me feel things that aren't real like security and peace to buy himself time to get untangled from my emotional tentacles. He didn't want to drown so he exploded mid-flight instead. You want to talk about dramatic exits? I'll show you a fucking dramatic exit.

I shake my head. I can't think.

I let go of his hands and turned around, giving him my back so he could read the words he has sung and I looked up at Ben. I nodded.

I need to sleep.

Ben took my hand and pulled it up under his arm tightly in hand and we went back up the steps. Slowly this time. He is humming under his breath and I am well aware I have just been spellbound and that's it's for my own good. Bridget functions better vaguely mesmerized, and Jacob knows that. That's why he called for me. Only I need to work out why he still has the same abilities he had before.

I also need to check and see if all of my forks are bent again. Jacob loved to destroy the cutlery without touching it. I wish I could do that.

Oh, wait, maybe I don't.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Four thousand volts.

Well, now.

My grandparents had farms when I was little. Tucked back along the South shore of the province. Low-tech ones, apparently. No hay balers. No power until the forties even. Root cellars. Bee hives. Actual off-the-grid self-sufficient farms.

Imagine my delight tonight when I ran up to the fence to greet the horses and got zapped halfway across the road. Oh, yes. Imagine my dismay when the horse came right up before I could get the gate open and also got blown halfway back to the tree line. And then he came right back and got zapped again.

Tonight the electric fence went live and the horse and I became each others learning curves. I didn't know. I knew it was there but it wasn't live, goddammit.

I left in tears because I didn't want him coming back a third time. Ben warned me not to get attached to them (as if that were even possible) and then laughed when I failed to recognize (and respect) the barrier put into place to keep the horses safe, not hurt them.

I'm calmer now. My elbow still feels weird and my ego is shot to hell but the plan tomorrow is to show up with carrots as a peace offering. And maybe rubber boots.

(Also: my pride is still up there under the apple tree if someone could please collect it for me.)

Closed words and open letters.

Walking along the high tide line
Watching the pacific from the sidelines
Wonder what it means to live together?
Looking for more than just guidelines

Looking for signs in the night sky,
Wishing that I wasn’t such a nice guy
Wonder what it means to live forever?
Wonder what it means to die?

I know that there's a meaning to it all
A little resurrection every time I fall
You got your babies, I got my hearses
Every blessing comes with a set of curses
I got my vices, I got my vice verses
I got my vice verses

The wind could be my new obsession
The wind could be my new depression
The wind goes anywhere it wants to
Wishing that I learned my lesson

The ocean sounds like a garage band
Coming at me like a drunk man
The ocean tells me a thousand stories
None of them are lies

Let the pacific laugh
Be on my epitaph
With it's rising and falling
And after all, it's just water
And I am just soul
With a body of water and bones
Water and bones

Where is God in the night sky?
Where is God in the city light?
Where is God in the earthquake?
Where is God in the genocide?

Where are you in my broken heart?
Everything seems to fall apart
Everything feels rusted over
Tell me that you're there

I know that there's a meaning to it all
A little resurrection every time I fall
You got your babies, I got my hearses
Every blessing comes with a set of curses
I got my vices, I got my vice verses
These are my vice verses
I think I've got it now.

The crazy people are the ones who acknowledge and give voice to their feelings. The sane ones do not. I feel more fear for those who seem like they have it together than for those who have already fallen apart.

You're uncomfortable around it because it hits close to home and you know you're on the verge. Everything could disappear with one false move, your perfectly planned life an admitted departure from what you imagined it would be as you evolved into who you are today.

I'm not sure if I should apologize for the abruptness of your trip here or if I should welcome you in spite of your protests. Be comfortable with yourself. Now that the cat's out of the bag, you'll never get it back in. Just watch it run around.


You'll be okay now.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Little miss patience.

Just. need. to. rant.

I have a huge peeve that doesn't come up often but when it does I want to scream right out of my skin. People who refer to a very short period of time as AGES ago. As in "I graduated from college a long time ago." and they stand there smugly and then when you ask the year they say 2007.


They've been dating forever.

How long is forever?

Like, eight MONTHS!


This is not a long time period, people.

Oh, and today I saw something that was six years old referred to as vintage.

Stab me, please. In both the eyes and the ears.

Jacob's chores.

I can see the stars
From way down here
But I can't fall asleep
Behind the wheel

It's a long way from the
Shadows in my cave
Up to Your reality to
Watch the sunlight taking over
Take me over

I've been poison
I've been rain
I've been fooled again

I've seen ashes
Shine like chrome
Someday I'll see home
I just realized Friday is August 13th.

I don't enjoy Friday the thirteenths any more than I let a black cat cross my path or fail to toss some salt over my left shoulder should I spill any. I have had seven years of bad luck after breaking a mirror and I walk far out of my way around ladders, usually through puddles or in traffic, thank you very much.

I prefer to spend those days in bed with the covers up over my head but someone (was it Ben?) told me once that the bad luck was over by noon, exactly the same way that April Fools Day only lasts until lunch time and then after that you should expect no fooling.

Today went on forever and then it sped up to the point where I had to dig in my heels or be flung off again and I still have fresh bruises from the last time that happened. I did a lot of work and then came home and did some more and now we all get to sleep tonight with freshly washed sheets and clean bedrooms, and the laundry is folded and put away. I'm going to go recruit New-Jake to unload the dishwasher, since he has become somewhat of a...a...barnacle at the table, and then I'm going to convince the children it's time to go to bed, once New-Jake is through crashing around in the kitchen. This boy eats. I've never seen anything like it.

Mondays are not thrilling around her. Survivable possibly, but not thrilling.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Today I stood on the freezing cold dock in the pouring rain and watched Ben and the kids catch rainbow trout. I even uh...casted? a few times but nothing bit my hook because the fish just have this sense when the person fishing is just going to scream and run around in circles once they hit daylight and be unable to calmly detach the hook and throw them back.

She's a killer, don't bite.

Har. Stupid fish. I had a plan in place. Catch the fish and then pass the rod to Ben.

See? I'm not dumb.

You'll be pleased to know I even wore jeans and sneakers and a sweater and no, the current Coach handbag stayed home where it was dry and warm and comfortable. I'm well aware that you were picturing me in my stilettos and a little ruffly black dress with mascara running in the rain holding up a lure by one hand and possibly considering it as an earring or a pendant.

You obviously missed the former part of 2010 where I singlehandedly conquered the plaster, a blizzard, and the second cross-country move on my own, didn't you? Go back and read. I'll wait. Also in there are some terrific gems about failed block heaters, leaky tires and real estate deals suitable for Nurburgring for their speed and handling.

See, the princess is required to be efficient. Because otherwise she wouldn't be able to floss her own teeth or buy groceries for the seven hundred boys she feeds because seriously that would be my preference. I have always said, why do it yourself when you can have a butler who does it for you?

Fine, I say it under my breath, when I'm alone in a room with the door closed, in an empty house on a street devoid of neighbors home during the day and I said it in French. Just once. But the thought is so nice, I sometimes daydream that I do have a butler and I finish a glass of juice and put it on the coffee table and I...I....

I leave the room (instead of taking it to the kitchen! Which I just passed! Efficiency is next to godliness!)

I am so hardcore.

I was fully prepared to shriek and howl and gut the fish if need be and then I was going to use the internet to figure out how to scale it and de-bone it and make it look like the fish at the market and maybe tinfoil? and lemons? could be good or something if the boys really did plan to make good on their refusals to help me.

I didn't have to fret for long. The fish was caught, the hook removed, and it took one look at me, shocked to see that its welcoming committee onto dry land was not wearing mascara or stilettos and it demanded to be thrown back, to be hopefully re-introduced to the shore by people in more appropriate attire next time.

If the butler had caught it, it would have been thrilled.

Told you.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

OH. My goodness.

Ben is on his knees lip-syncing Chicago's Hard to Say I'm Sorry. I'm not quite sure whether to laugh or film this for posterity.

Yeah, film it.

He is so awesome.

Date night.

Candlelight. A cool breeze from the water. Near darkness tangled with soft voices from other tables.

Five hours of Ben-time, my favorite in the whole wide world. His attention, his presence, his focus. His love and his devotion to making sure I had an evening to remember. Everything I wanted. I'm sure had I asked for a bunny to lay us eggs made of rubies he would have found one. I'm not sure how I got this lucky. For the record, I don't need a bunny, I just firmly believe sometimes that he does things on purpose because he can see the outcome long before the realization hits me in the head. He's good with me like that. He just pries my tiny white knuckles from whatever fears I have latched onto and lets me float gravity-free until I find a safe purchase and then he says, simply,


Camembert, wine, bread, halibut. Roasted vegetables. Tenderloin, chocolate, coffee. Endless plates and glasses balanced on a tiny secluded table in the garden of a hole-in-the-wall bistro.


Every bite was a trip to heaven, every time that I caught Ben's eye a nod and a smile because sometimes it seems that life speeds up and we need to just jump off at a soft place and spend five hours doing nothing but talking and eating dinner and then he'll take my hand and we'll run and catch up and jump back on life and find out it's once again moving at the pace we can breathe within.

My knuckles are pink today, the circulation burbling along at a Sunday-morning pace on a Saturday, the skull ring precariously balanced just under the knuckle on my middle finger, my belly still so full I think I may need some sort of good-food intervention. I feel like I swallowed a bunnyful of rubies. Or at least far more Camembert than I am used to.

Huh. Some princess I am.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Fifty yards from my life.

If Deer has gently nudged its way into your cards today, you are being asked to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds. Stop pushing so hard to get others to change, and love them as they are. Apply gentleness to your present situation and become like the summer breeze: warm and caring. This is your tool for solving the present dilemma you are facing. If you use it, you will connect with Sacred Mountain, your centering place of serenity, and Great Spirit will guide you.
~Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Double standards and ghostiversaries.

This morning it's coffee and honey toast at the island. Bare feet. A fresh jar of honey to open. A handful of blackberries on the side. Cartoon noise softly from the living room, where Henry has taken over the entire couch when he should be on the floor at the coffee table with his grapefruit juice and cinnamon-sugar toast. We're the only ones up this morning, after a glorious sleep last night. It was so hot I thought I would melt or be sick. PJ fired up a rare round of teasing me that everyone jumped in on because I'm positively golden as of late, and three hours in the sun yesterday baked me to a brown glow. I don't usually tan (I never stop moving!) and so they were saying I was just dirty, and getting filthier as life here goes on.


I got in some really good comments about precisely how filthy I am, and the subject was respectfully changed once again. I live with a group of men frat boys, I can handle my share of teasing, but I also know when I am too hot or too tired to attempt to stretch my patience and I took that cue and Ben and I went to bed, where I could mercifully strip naked and lie on top of the sheets with the fan blowing directly on my skin.

Of course, with Ben, lying there not doing anything lasts about twelve whole seconds. My point, however, is that once we did finally go to sleep I fell down the well into dreamland and didn't come back until eight this morning, when Bonham wandered in to do his usual nose-poke into the side of my hand/arm/leg to let me know it's morning and he needs to go out.

I looked at the clock. Eight whole hours. I looked in the mirror. Oh! Dirty face -wait tanned but the endless black holes under my eyes seem less horrifying than usual. Yay.

I didn't have to fight to pry my eyes open the whole way down the road with the dog.

(An aside for a lot of people who ask why I don't just leave him out overnight or tie him in the backyard in the morning? I love my dog AND my grass. I don't believe letting a dog out is doing much more than ruining the lawn. So I walk him. He gets exercise and time with me and I don't get a polkadot lawn. Your mileage may vary.)

I am awake. Awake and alive and ready for another day of fun. I think we may do more fishing today because yesterday was an endless game of dumping the children off their air mattresses out in chest-deep water and they would scream and fly off and climb back on for hours. I swam twice.

I lay on my beach towel and closed my eyes to the sun and almost fell asleep and Ben kept watch over the children without blinking because he's a better swimmer anyway and when he wasn't, Lochlan would.

We also might head downtown today for some delicious meals and some more exploring and then spend a little more time just doing little things at home. Ben has to install a peep-hole for the back door and I'm campaigning heavily to have it installed slightly lower than the others, which I need to stand on tip-toe to see through and boy, what a pain that is at my front door, even though the boys have the gate-code to get their trucks/motorcycles/egos down the driveway but not keys to my house because I'm keeping those to the people that live here this time because all emergencies are covered.

He'll put it low for me. I know he will.

I must go now and stand in the shower and marvel at precisely how brown my skin is and I know it's bad and I know I have the crinkle-lines around my eyes and a face full of freckles and once winter comes back and I am pale again I will curse the sun in all its glory but this has been the longest stretch of mild weather I have witnessed firsthand in almost a decade and I plan to milk it, wring it out and soak it up for as long as it lasts. Someone said this area averages five degrees in the winter and I laughed and then they reminded me it's a bitter damp cold and I laughed again, having been raised on the edge of the continent already, thank you, just on the other side. I know bad weather. This isn't it. This is home-weather.

I'm also going to go stand in the shower and marvel at the fact that had Jacob not ruined everything, today would have been our fourth wedding anniversary. Only, you know what? For the first time in a marriage I don't feel like I'm the child.

Oh, well, Ben just walked in and made a terribly pornographic comment about the filthiness of my skin again. I'm definitely not the child.


(He can do that but he's the ONLY one who can, okay?)