Thursday, 28 February 2013

Stop, Drop and Roll: Fire safety techniques for children.

Don't say I'm better off dead,
Because heaven's full and hell won't have me.
Won't you make some room in your bed?
Well you could lock me up in your heart,
And throw away the key.
Won't you take me out of my head?
He dozed hard. Head thrown back, turned to his right side, face expressionless save for the slight creasing between his eyebrows. Focusing on napping while the house is quiet. I stare up at him. My instructions were not to leave the space I'm in, wrapped up in his right arm while his left dangles over the arm of the couch. He stirs briefly when I reach up and try to flatten the curls on the side of his head. He lifts both arms and settles back to sleep without opening his eyes.

Just a little break, Peanut. Setup's before dinner. Close your eyes, he orders and I ignore that. He always told me I have ants in my pants. I can't sleep during daylight hours. I'm a reverse-vampire. I'm a wingnut. I'm his, he tells me when I can't sleep. Give in to my naps, he cries, laughing. Please God, check out of the afternoon just for a little while, Blondie, so we have enough energy to stay up for the fireworks for once. 

(Those were at midnight. They're highly illegal and set off at the opposite end of the parking lot from where the trailers were, no matter what county we were in. If it's your birthday they would come to you a week ahead and ask your favorite color and that would be the only color set off on your special night. Since I'm a spring baby I got to pick first. I asked for pink, naturally. Lochlan went last because his birthday falls after school starts again. He also chose pink, just for me.)

I reach up again and wrap the errant curl around my finger. His hand comes up around my chin and he pulls my face in to his. Again without opening his eyes. Stop it, Bridgie. Sleep.

But I can't. It's two-thirty in the afternoon and there could be things to do but we're not doing them. We're here on the couch. One of us is chasing sheep and the other is chasing raindrops with her eyes as they roll down the windowpanes in endless patterns. Because it's endless rain.

I'm waiting for the bribe. I can count down to it.

Just let me have fifteen more minutes and I'll draw with you. 

There it is. Things to look forward to. I like those. We sit up at the island with all the lights blazing and draw caricatures of everyone we've ever met. Then he burns the pages, because some of the drawings are, as we say on the circuit, not nice.

It's like midway voodoo, something you don't ever mess with.

Similar to Lochlan's naps, I guess.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tell me how it ends.

Ben was slightly more receptive today.

He offered up the whole afternoon, my Maple Leafs plush blanket and the theatre door locked until dinner. I could pick the movie. We would snuggle and eat popcorn and drink ginger ale and burp really loudly without saying Excuse me. Nude.

So I picked Magic Mike.

I'm surprised he hasn't gone back to his vow of silence.

And I missed half the movie because of being naked and being near Ben and...oh darn.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Yup. Fucking magical alright.

You said you envy me? Why, exactly?
I get nervous, perverse, when I see her it's worse
But the stress is astounding
It's now or never she's coming home

Oh (She's the only one that makes me sad)

Hard to say what caught my attention
Fixed and crazy, Aphid attraction
Carve my name in my face, to recognize
Such a pheromone cult to terrorize
When I came downstairs this morning, Lochlan paused midway through drinking a glass of orange juice. He then proceeded to stare at me as he finished the rest.

Then he came over and put his hand on my shoulder, digging his thumb in right where the tender spot is (it hurts) at the base of my neck, in case I'm distracted (I'm not) and then he bends his head down until our eyes meet.

You're not making this a fair fight, Peanut. Why don't you spill some of their secrets and make it even, at least. He's all accent and earnestness this morning and it's hard to be cold. I close my eyes.

Because he would take you down with him. 

I'm not the bad guy. You make me seem like the bad guy. 

What? When did I ever say you were bad?

This. This stuff. When I open my eyes he's waving his phone at me. There's yesterday's journal entry on the screen. I close my eyes again.

That doesn't say you're bad. It said I was an adult and that I can make my own choices and that when I had enough I came home. 

Also my fault. 

I don't like it when you're-

Like the rest of them?

Yes. Exactly. Like the rest of them. 

You know, Peanut, you can close your eyes and wish really really hard for the early days on the fair circuit when everything was fucking magical but that was the first thing to disappear out of your life and try as hard as I have, I can't bring it back for you. I would love to, I swear on my heart I would do it if I could but you won't let me. I don't think it's ever going to be there again. 

His eyes are glassy when I open mine. I yell in his face. Don't say that! 

Oh, Jesus Christ. It is my fault. All of it.
He let go and backed away and then turned and left.

Lochlan, come back! My plea was met with silence. Absence. Resignation.


I don't chase Lochlan, instead I eat breakfast and text with Caleb, who is asking a thousand questions a minute. He has to have my record of employment and final cheque ready for noon. That's when I'll come get them. I quit. He's going to use a temp agency until I come back or he actually retires. Both answers are never so he'll be temping it for a while. I hope he has insurance, most places don't enjoy sexual harassment the way I do.

He doesn't even know where I keep his cheques currently. This is going well.

I thought you had a handle on life. 

So did I, Bridget. But please know that at all times I had your best interests at heart. I didn't want you to wind up penniless and hungry and cold. That's what life with Lochlan would have been like. 

I hate you.

I put the phone facedown on the counter and leave it there. He changes his stories to suit the colors of the day like my mood ring. It's turning black faster than I can warm it to blue today.


I go downstairs to see what Ben is doing. He's barely unpacked his guitars. He bought new cables and didn't bother unboxing the old ones. His studio is a godawful mess, worse than ever and he seems happy as a clam to sit on the floor (stool still packed) and strum away. The outlet is behind a wall of boxes. He's unplugged until he decides to get busy.

I ask him if he wants me to collect some boys and help him resettle the room. He is noncommittal.

I ask him if he wants some breakfast. He doesn't know.

I ask him if he knows that everything in my life was supposed to be fucking magical.  He doesn't answer. I slam the door but stay standing in one place, pretending I have left to see what he does.

He keeps on playing.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Hostile witnessed.

Maybe you should let sleeping freaks lie, Princess. 

You mean you should. 

He was the circus freak. What does this have to do with me?

I was in the show, Jake. 


With him. Just...oh...a few years ago. The whole time he was there, give or take a week. I came back early but he followed.

 The freakshow. The fucking circus sideshow, love?


What did In the show? 

I walked the wire while he threw flaming hoops around me, I lay on a bed of nails and he would eat fire and then kiss me and I'd light candles with my breath afterward. Um......he did slow burns on me.  I also filled in for burlesque nights sometimes and we did private gigs. I got to lecture a few times too, even

Jacob sits down heavily on a chair that's already stacked with books. They slide off the chair and onto the floor but he doesn't notice. He pushes his glasses up his nose and tries to wrap his brain around my words to insulate them from all things good and clean.

Private gigs? What are those?

Uh..private shows. Mostly we did his act at private parties.

The fire routines?


Jesus, Bridget. What else? 

We put on a show. Okay? If people paid enough we would do all sorts of things. 

With the customers? 

No! Jesus. Never.

I don't fucking believe this. 

It was a lifetime ago. 

Apparently not. You said it yourself! Just a few years ago! Like yesterday, I bet. 

I didn't know you. You can't be mad at me for this. 

I can be mad at him. 

He was trying to make as much money for us as possible. 

By whoring you out.

By keeping us in demand. I was never out of his sight.

What made you stop doing it?

He changed. He couldn't cope. He got very dark. He's not like that and it really freaked me out. 

And when you came back did he return to his usual self?


Did he ever ask you to go again? 

Yes. But he said things would be different, that he wouldn't exploit our relationship for money ever again. I didn't go again though.

Jesus fucking Christ. I feel like I'm looking at a little stranger in front of me. 

I'm not. 

The hell you aren't. 

Would you have felt differently if you knew this about me first? 

Hell, no. 

Then don't act so outraged. We did what we had to do. We made a lot of money and we learned alot about ourselves in the process, about people in general. 

I bet. 

Shut up, Jacob. 

You first, Piglet. And next time I ask you something very serious please lie through your teeth to me, okay?

I can do that, but I don't think you'd like it any better.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

He took it up when he realized that I was afraid of the dark.

He's out there in the night, on the stones with torches lit. All of them tonight to protect him from the cold. His fire goes up into the air lighting up a circle around him that highlights his drive, his underdog efforts, his true heart, content to reveal the flaws and hopes in tandem so that there is nothing hidden, nothing unsaid, nothing perfect. Just our harsh, burning reality in a most unreal sea of fire and light.
I wasn't watching you perfectly still
I'm near perfectly dazed
Out of our hollow and into a space
Fire and water and space
Yeah further and further away

I find you watching me turn out the light
I find you turning to stone
You lost control when the air became thin
You say you always pretend
It's always the way in the end

And you and I are thoughts in the minds

Up come the dark lines and further away
Logic is out of control
I wasn't paying attention at all
I was just counting the gold
Yeah I was just caught in the cold

And you and I are thoughts in the minds
You and I
You and I

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Brash tacks.

Civilization is the lamb's skin in which barbarism masquerades.
                                         ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Batman is all apologies, no growl. He sipped his coffee and listened to me prattle on for an hour this morning over breakfast and then he finally looked at his watch, rolled his eyes and said he had a few things he had to say before he took me home.

He signaled for some more coffee and I drank it while he talked and then he looked at his watch again and swore in its face, saying he needed more time that he didn't have. We walked out under the grey paintings and the glass, the rainy lavender-charcoal colours muted in the clouds, the whole room giving off a vibe of austerity and severity and cold. I hate it but he likes the discretion he is afforded in a meal, content to leave the servers on the sidelines completely until he signals.

I wanted to take out my sketchbook and draw the orchids, draw the rainclouds, draw the silver service but he does not appreciate drawing implements at the table. He believes meals are conversation times and nothing more. Not sustenance, because he hardly eats either, and not habit because once he called me at four in the morning asking me if I wanted to go for lunch with him and seemed surprised when I corrected him to ask him if he meant breakfast.

He didn't. He hadn't eaten dinner yet and so it was obviously lunch time.

Oh, I see.

He is feeling very incredibly surprised that I have had such a profound effect on him. I'm not. Not anymore. Maybe I'm older and wiser or maybe just dumber but I truly think half of the effect they pin on me is their own competitive streaks running through them at breakneck pace. Fight or flight. Win or lose. Get the girl. Be the man. Win the war. Whatever. I don't think I have testosterone running through me or maybe I do but not in the same concentrations because I don't think there's any winning here, just a lot of trouble most would love to forget.

Except that they can't.

And so moments happen like last week when Batman asked for his own...arrangement, because maybe he deserves something for being there, for helping out with resources Caleb could only dream of. Because Batman is rich and bored and used to getting what he wants.

Except that with a girl like me, what he expects he will get and what I can actually offer are not the same thing. I may be submissive but I will not bend to your charms based on bottom lines or net worth. I can't be wooed with diamonds or trips or simple charm. I can't be explained.

He is learning that the hard way. I stood in his suites a week ago while he stood at the other end of the room assuming the fact that he had taken off his shirt and asked would be enough to sway my loyalties.

It was not enough.

Standalone, physically, it would have been enough. He is lovely. So lovely I would change my mind if it weren't already made up like a bed at a hotel with new guests for the night. We already danced this dance. I can't take it any further than where we brought it back to years ago and it makes me sad that he sees what everyone sees suddenly when they look at me.

Someone to fight over. Someone to take advantage of. Something to save.

But I only live for love now and I don't love him.

And so tonight I took the bourbon outside and the bitters too and I made Old Fashioneds with Duncan, on the freezing cold patio, and we toasted to the lovesick with desperate hearts, to favors with payback implied and then he asked how he was supposed to blame any man who looked at me and didn't instantly fall in love. I threw my drink into the grass and told him because people should have standards, and I am at the bottom of any conventional list of those. He drunkenly shook his head and grinned and pointed at the sky, telling me I could probably have the moon if I just asked for it.

I asked him about the concept of love for love's sake, without expecting anything except love in return.

That's a myth, Bridget. Someone always wants something. 

I don't want anything back. And I won't trade what I have for anything more than what I need. I just want to be loved.

Then you're the myth. How does that feel?

What great problem do I explain?

Why some people can live on love and others set out to destroy it. 


Yes. And now I need one of those drinks because I'm depressing myself. 

You know what you need?

A drink. Jesus, Bridget, don't you say anything else or you'll just wind up hating me too. 

I passed him one of the four that I made and watched him drink it in one gulp. He put the glass back on the line and told me I was unequivocally and utterly doomed.

I know, I nodded and drank a drink as fast as he did. I've actually heard that before.

Friday, 22 February 2013


What is that? May I see it?

Sure. It's a card for Daddy's birthday. He said it's a big birthday this year so I started early. 

This is really cool, Henry. Daddy will love it. 

He likes everything I make. I could do a bad job and he'll still tell me it's the best. 

Because it is. Just because you made it for him. That's special in itself. 

Do you think he's going to have a good birthday? He told me he's not going anywhere, that he wants to make some plans here and spend it at home. 

Isn't it better if he's home?

If he wants to be.

Maybe you can spend the day with him. 

He said the four of us would do something special. 

Did he?

Yeah but he didn't say what. 

I see. 

Is it okay if we do that?

Of course it is. We're a family too. 

Like a family within a family. 


I want it to be a really great birthday for him. He seems really sad lately. 

Does he?

I think he's lonely. You don't work there anymore so he's by himself a lot.

Henry..did he tell you to tell me that?

No. Do you think he'll be mad that I did?

Not at all. I just wondered if he told you directly. 

No, I just feel it. Sometimes I feel what people are going through before they say anything. 

I know you do. It's hard, isn't it. You get that from your father. He can do that too. So can I. 

Can Ruth?

Not really, Ruth is a little more cut and dried. 

What does that mean?

She doesn't put much value in feelings? That's not exactly what I mean though. She waits for confirmation of how people feel. 

She's logical. Like Lochan is. 


Which do you like better? My way or hers?

Oh, that's not fair. I like all of it equally because it's what makes you you and it makes Ruth who she is. 

What a diplomatic answer, Mommy. 

Gee, thanks, buddy. I do my best.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I was actually going to name Ruth Allegory but they talked me out of it and so I named her after a chocolate bar instead.

I am an ocean, I am the sea,
There is a world inside of me.
Lost in the abyss, drowned in the deep,
No set of lungs could salvage me.
Save yourself, save your breath,
The tides too strong, you'll catch your death.
So breathe for me, just breathe.

There is a Hell, believe me I've seen it.
There is a Heaven, let's keep it a secret.
Let me get something straight. I'm not considering any of his proposals. I asked Caleb for his latest one (when it's ready) purely for amusement purposes. Because I'm horribly curious and difficult and weird. Because I get off on his anticipation.

Lochlan was angry we came back but Lochlan doesn't make me flinch in the same way some of the others do. I've known him too long, too well to be surprised by his emotions unless they are of the devastatingly touching variety because he keeps those under lock and key, doling them out when he's run out of the others. He understands why I turned tail. He gets that the arrangement we have here on the point is unique and incredible and worthy, that it features that built-in safety net one should always check for before letting go. Not just for me or for Ben but for everyone involved.

At the end of the day nothing I do surprises anyone anymore, least of all him. This is what happens when your life is a circus. When you are raised and loved by a bonafide carny. Nothing is ordinary. Everything is extraordinary, colorful and amped. Unpredictable. Everything is an adventure, bad or good. Everything hurts and bleeds and rejoices all at once. You laugh and cry, live and die, lie and tell the truth all while making plans to do something else. You blink and the lights and the speeds blind you, sucking you back into a whirlwind of chaos that never ends.

It's why Lochlan is so practical. Because our life is not easy, lived the way we have lived it. He tempers the chaos with logic, routine and rules designed to keep the compass in hand when you don't know which way to set sail.

He serves as an anchor in a bottomless sea.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


PJ is single again.

Christ almighty Jeeeeesus.

God bless him, he finally decides it's serious, admits that he does really really like her and moves out. He gets a real job and she promptly turns into someone else, asking too many questions, giving herself away, bemoaning his new address which wasn't nearly as prolific as his former one on the point, that his job was not as high-profile. She asked how much money he made and so he dropped her on the spot.

Better now than later on, my friend.

Small comfort. I tried to hug him and he pushed me away, telling me I don't know what it's like to be alone. Telling me a whole bunch of other things I won't even repeat here so that in case he wants to save a little bit of face to have someday it will be there for him to wear.

It was very hard to stand there and listen as he took my flaws and spelled them out one by one, choosing to spread the hurt around as much as humanly possible. And I took it because he's hurting and I'll do anything to help absorb that pain so that it doesn't soak into him and scar him for life. I took it even after Ben swung around and told PJ that if he didn't cool it he would flatten him.

We get venting. But not with human punching bags. Off limits.

And then he talked about going far away, because the children want their fathers and they want Ben and I had to go through the reasons why the children still live and breathe through PJ's presence in their lives but I understand if he can't do it anymore because there is a selflessness in what he has done for us that I'm not all that sure I deserve. There will be no act greater than the effort PJ has made to see that we were looked after even when we couldn't look after ourselves.

I'm not even sure if it was an argument or simply a air-clearing talk. I'm sure he's staying and just needed to hear why he should, so I made sure he knows he's wanted.

He laughed bitterly and told me to go inside, that my freakish talent in making everyone fall in love with me isn't something that can be learned. That he isn't loveable. Or worthly. He's not a catch.

And so I threatened to flatten him myself if he ever talked like that again. I told him I often contemplated marrying him in between husbands because we would have been so normal, and so ridiculously cute and BOOM.

I got him.

I made him cry.

The sad part is I knew he would cry and I did it anyway, because it's true.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Perogies. Best for aim and little mess afterward, except when they explode. Which is everytime the boys threw them overhand.

So the boys are now cleaning the dining room.


All systems go/Never waste the cake.

Some very very good things about today, since things are going to settle back down fairly quickly now, I think. I hope.

No, I haven't spoken to Batman. Batman is very mysterious. Hell, I didn't even know he was divorced until he asked about a neighborhood downtown and I extolled the nearby shopping for his wife and he said she wasn't coming. That was years ago and I still don't know much about him other than his motives and even those are sketchy. Similarly, Caleb was not as punitive as I thought he would be when we tricked him and left. Nor was he punitive when we returned. I lasted less than a week. I think he's thrilled so it's a thankful non-reaction, which helps lighten the load I carry right now.

Duncan came home early by ten days. Because he's loyal and knew things were getting rough. And because he's devastatingly handsome in a two-weeks-without-a-shower roadie kind of way. God love him because I didn't actually linger in the hug I got. He is already asleep. The useless fuck. I am so happy he's home.

And PJ. PJ came back! I found him outside on the front steps slowly trying to explain to my children what an ass he has been and how you should never try to change to impress someone, that if they don't love you for who you are then they aren't the one for you.

Clearly he is the one for us because we'll take him even though he appears to be single, unemployed, homeless and...drunk.

It's going to be a lovely night. Lochlan has taken PJ downstairs to deprogram him get him in a hot shower and fix him up emotionally and then we'll feed him a little crow and watch him eat it, because we're all horribly sadistic like that and want to make him suffer for what he did (pot, kettle, black, eh, Bridget?)

Then maybe we'll tell him all the trouble we got into while he was gone. Because he didn't believe Henry, and Ruth said she wasn't even going to try to explain to him because he's messed up and probably needs sleep and a food fight and then he'll feel right at home.

So Ben is making dinner.

Because Ben has some sort of bizarre hierarchy (in his head) of foods that we make that work best for throwing with minimal collateral damage, beginning with mashed potatoes and ending with cake.

I'm not throwing my cake, I like to eat it instead.

I've learned to eat it pretty fast.

I'm so far in the doghouse right now I can't see daylight.

He laughed. Yes. Yes, I think you really are. That was quite an operation you embarked on there. Dragging everyone with you, no less. Did you prove your point? Was it worth it, Princess? I told you what he was and you didn't listen.

I look at my shoes. Sometimes..sometimes Batman seems less scary to me.

Less scary?


That makes me so profoundly sad. There is no reason for you to fear me, Bridget.

 Sure there is.

I've spent years now trying to make your life easier. Trying to give you what you want and take as little as possible in return. What could you possibly find in me to fear?

Everything. I shrug, looking up at the house to where Lochlan sits on the top step cleaning and refilling his lighter. Within eyeshot from now on. He's barely speaking to me because we came back here but I will abide by his rules without question.

I wouldn't hurt you, Bridget.

Yes, you would.

He looks at Lochlan too. Lochlan stares back at Caleb openly, thinly-veiled hatred in his eyes.

Is that what he tells you?

No. You've shown me. You have hurt me. Coming back here was as hard as leaving.

You belong with me, Bridget.

No, I don't.

You need to stop fighting it.

I don't. And nothing changes. We'll go around in the same circles, fight the same fights, dance the same fucking dance and destroy each other one little bit at a time only I'll be long gone before you even show any wear because there is less of me to lose.

What if we change the rules again?

What do you mean? I stand up. Loch has made a beckoning motion toward me. I'm not going to delay.

What if I made up a new proposal for you that ends your fear?

Oh, go for it if you think you can pull off the impossible. You know where to find me when it's ready.



With the redheaded guard dog out front?

That's the one.

Sunday, 17 February 2013



Really glad Satan didn't take the offer so we can have our house back.

No worries. I'll figure the rest out later.

Someone please tell me where the cord is for my macbook. ARGH.
When Ruth said she was relieved to be back here on the point I think I knew it's where we are meant to be. Does that make me horrible? Probably. I didn't uproot them overnight, though. We planned and plotted and schemed and fretted and even with my doubts I went ahead with everyone's blessing but one.

And then I came screaming back in the middle of the night and oddly once again there's a small fraction of the collective who are unhappy and the rest are almost convinced the whole thing was a dream.

Batman said there would be no strings and then he tied us up so tightly I couldn't breathe. What was supposed to bring relief brought a different sort of misery. Evil I can handle easily became evil I don't recognize or understand.

And I've done it before so it comes as no surprise. When faced with a choice between Batman and the Devil, I'll pick the Devil every time.

The mediators think I'm insane, I suppose but Caleb had already complained loudly about the transportation issues involved in collecting Henry for his time, and the issues with breaking down a perfectly good extended support network. Everyone had questioned our isolation in the woods coupled with Ben's issues and the need for the reassurance that came in living close to one another, as unconventional as it may seem.

And Lochlan even doubted that I would do as well away from the ocean again, though he is beyond angry today. Again, his angry is a tsk and an occasional unchecked shout and nothing that I can't soothe with some effort. He will blame everyone else before he gets it through his thick skull that I fucked up, because you can't fuck up when you're twelve, and that's as old as I will ever be to him.

So where does this put me? Squarely in the failure to thrive box, the loser corner, back to the starting line. It has nothing to do with fear. Fear sent me away. Courage brought me back. Living with the Devil is easier than living without. Facing Lochlan's epic frustration and perceived betrayals is better than letting Batman take a bigger role when it's too late to change the play.

I'll take the fall for all of this. And I'll do it with an ocean view. Some things just can't be replaced.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


Caleb took one look at me this morning and smiled sadly as I sat across from him over breakfast. What began as a breakfast meeting ended as a rescue mission. Which is why my life is this way. At the end of the day, when everything goes dark and everything's gone wrong I have nowhere else to turn.

I was warned gently four times to keep my composure, that we were in public. He picked up my hand and held it so I wouldn't continue construction of butternauts with my knife and fork instead of eating the smoked salmon and caviar in front of me. I would build little armies and then smash them and laugh but the laughs were ending near tears even though I tried to separate the two.

Pyro's right sometimes, Beautiful. You are a lot of work. 

I think he said I was a piece of work, Diabhal. 

That too. Let me make some calls. We'll have you guys out of there by sundown.


Just what?

Make it as easy on the children and Ben as possible. 

Ben should be looking after you and maybe if he was this wouldn't have happened. 

He can't. And Lochlan-

I know. That's why I'm happy to take control on his behalf. But Lochlan is so out of his league right now it's almost comical.

But you're not-

Don't, Bridget. Don't you dare ask for help and then try to limit my efforts. Not now. Not ever again. I told you [Batman] owned all of it. I told you he would come looking for his pound of flesh from you but you were too busy running from me. I am not the enemy here. I never was. I never will be. I can make things tough for you or I can make them easy but when all is said and done you are my Universe. As are the children. Our friends. But you are my life. You're my responsibility now.

I squish another butternaut. Caleb reaches over, ripping the knife out of my hand, throwing it down on the plate with a clatter. People stare at us as we stare at each other.

It will be okay, Princess. I will look after you.

Composure asked for her check and fucking left.

Friday, 15 February 2013


The worry stone and an old copy of Treasure Island were all I had left when I came home. Taller, thinner, darker. In cutoffs because I had grown and my jeans were way too short now. Pinstripe painter's jeans now ragged shorts, pinned up tight around my waist, covered by my pink halter. Hair tangled into a low braid. White at the end and frothed caramel at the top and I have to focus very hard not to curse when I speak, because I get used to giving Lochlan my uninterrupted stream of consciousness whether he likes it or not and I've picked up some rather colorful phrases along the way. I've picked up two other languages and I know how to do teardown on five out of the seventeen rides. I know how to lie and I know that you can speed a Ferris Wheel up until the screams come out involuntarily.

But it isn't safe, like so many things.

I know now that Caleb is evil and I know that Loch is somewhat either prevented from or unwilling to stand up to him and I don't know why for either but I know that I'll never go back to the Midway show, maybe someday we will do something else but for now I'm sort of glad to be home even though everything is different. The sky looks different in the colors it shows. Food tastes different, as if I don't need flavor anymore and everything I draw is dark and angry.

I don't speak until I'm spoken to. I'd rather read or just sit with my headphones on and stare out the window. I go out with Lochlan for more milkshakes or sometimes to the movies but he always has a ton of homework and I've been failing math all through junior high and should be doing homework but I've lost interest.

Chris sits with me sometimes on Saturdays and tutors me in math when I wait outside the shop for Lochlan to be finished work and he asks me what happened that changed so much this time and I just say nothing and ask what's different. He tells me I'm moody but I tell him I'm just tired.

I should tell him I need help with this but I don't.

I should tell somebody something but I can't.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Aperture photometry.

In the middle
Under a cold black sky
The sun will only burn for you and I
Not sure today if I am ruled by the living or the dead, my thoughts a thousand miles away as rough hands lift me up, razor burn stinging my skin. Taciturn is on, and all I can think is how much Jacob would have loved this song. I could play it for him now but I've lost him in the move and I suddenly realized this late the other night when I went looking for him and came up empty.

I resumed my descent, falling faster still through the dark in the cold night air, reaching out for purchase and finding nothing so I tuck myself into a ball instead and scream with my fingers over my ears. Lochlan makes a grab for me and it holds, ripping my arms out of their sockets as he bears my weight so easily. He grabs my fingers, my hair, pulling me up, hand over hand. When I'm up on the edge he lets go in order to breathe and I slide right back over the side, falling down to the bottom again.

This time when he pulls me up he doesn't let go. Because this one learns from his mistakes and corrects them and atones for them for all eternity. 

His chin presses hard against the top of my head as my skin absorbs his heartbeat. He steps back and begins to methodically remove off every single thing I have on. My earrings. My shoes. Rings. Sweater. My defenses. My thoughts. My defections. Deflections. He smudges my eyeliner with his fingers and tucks my bangs behind my ears.

Now you're you, he says. Now you're mine.

He pulls my chin up until my lips meet his and I don't let go to breathe either. Not anymore. He takes my hands in his and pulls them behind my back, keeping them there, his arms around me, my collarbone pressed against his chest, our hearts fused through bone and flesh like lightning, only slower.

That's what this was like. Lightning in slow motion. I can finish his sentences, pull thoughts from his brain and comfort him like no one else can. He stands in front, torch held out to keep back the monsters, one hand keeping me close against his back. Never too far away anymore but still keeping up the appearance of efforts to teach me self-defense, self-reliance, self-confidence, none of which actually exist, fear and bravery all tangled up, resulting in epic, choking anxiety that has destroyed anything else I ever had. Sleep and affection bring the only sweet relief from what is otherwise life with my breath held.

His lips follow a line down my cheek and against my throat, his head ducked down, warm curls tickling my eyelashes, soft lips tracing paths he knows by heart. He lets go of my hands and tucks his arms under mine, pulling me in tight against him again. I put my arms up around his neck and he lifts me up and carries me back to the darkness but it's okay because he's with me and he will fight for my breath on my behalf and when he turns and gives it to me I will gulp it down and beg for more.

The hours move slowly while we watch lightning strike and rings roll into corners across the darkened floor. The minutes crawl by as we watch each other burn.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Red velvet cake and scary movies.

Bring me home in a blinding dream,
Through the secrets that I have seen
Wash the sorrow from off my skin
And show me how to be whole again
I've just learned that I have a huge crush on Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Sue me. He looks damn hot in the middle of an exorcism. And I had to find a new movie star to drool over since neither Robert Redford nor Paul Walker seem to make very many movies anymore. But now Jeffrey, see, he's a very busy man.

I've also discovered that iTunes and I are still mortal enemies. Starting with removing my sidebar and then telling me I was not authorized because I'm now using a different Macbook. Fuck you, iTunes. Lochlan doesn't want to hear about my struggles anymore. He told me to look up the solution myself. I made the 'loser' sign on my own forehead and told him Jeffrey would have done it for me. He said Who? and went back to his reading. He tries to force my independence in the dumbest ways and then he'll still open my can of pop for me every pizza night without me even asking, even though I've been able to do it since around the age of thirteen. (I still can't finish a whole can. That hasn't changed since I was eight.)

I found out that August spent months trying to get someone to listen to him about me and they didn't take him seriously. That makes me angry. That deserves a whole post, just not tonight. Another day when I can write it down without losing my mind in the process.

I remembered today that if something goes wrong we are here on our own now. No army to rush in and fix things. No cooler heads will prevail if Ben and Loch get into it. Don't know why I didn't remember this before. I suppose I was in a little bit of a hurry, running screaming from the Devil because I was on a collision course with hell.

I noticed that Sam really needs someone to talk to and what do you know, so do I, so he is hanging out pretty much around the clock. When I asked him what he thought of the house he smiled and said it felt good. That it's a happy house. A cozy house. A step in the right direction. Then he told me he and Matt were working on things. That they were talking and that he feels better about the direction they are going in but maybe he's a bit of a cautionary tale unto himself.

I heard from New Jake. Batman says to be warned, that Jake might do some goonage as required since we are somewhat isolated out here. New Jake called to see how I felt about that. I didn't know so I invited him over for dinner instead. Apparently I don't know the meaning of isolation. Everyone's right here, what are you talking about? We've had more dinner guests and sleepovers than ever before and we've been here a whole four days.

I was assured by Ben that he's not going to go off on Lochlan here. That things are already different. We aren't all stretched so thin or forced to extend to allow for so many extra souls to look after. We're suddenly a tiny little family and we're going to stick together. So far so good. A lot of affection passes between these two. I daresay they missed each other while Ben was away. I have to fight for turns in hugs sometimes. That is so not fair but so awesome too.

I heard that PJ is not so happy, that he is second-guessing a lot of things right now. I sent him an email telling him I wished it was a phone call but since he won't answer my calls I wrote down what I want to tell him and he can read it and think on it or delete it and from here the ball is in his court, so to speak. That I'm gone. That we succeeded in getting out from underneath the devil. That it's okay if he wants to still be friends, he hasn't burned this Bridge (literally). That I miss him so much and I wish he was still wanting to be a part of my life. I didn't mention the children missing him. I wasn't going to play the guilt card right up front. He knows, I imagine. I don't think he's heartless yet. Soon, though if things don't change.

And I am hoping for a fun day tomorrow. It's Valentine's Day. Plans are as listed in the title of this post. Because I'm an incurable cake fiend. And I like ghosts and monsters too.

And love.

Gotta love love.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

So cold when I'm with you.

Me, I'm on the outside, tell me fade away
Drop me down but don't break me
In your sleep

In your sleep, inside
It's in your heart and mine
Whole sea is dark
It's in your heart and mine
You deserve more than this. He's walking through the house, hands in his pockets, murder on his mind, no doubt. I took the flowers Caleb brought and put them in a vase with some water. Surprise. Housewarming treats from the Devil. Red roses and a moment alone, a moment I have dreaded since we sprung our departure on him at the very last second that we could, given our circumstances. Given the fact that he is Henry's father and has to be kept informed.

I think you have that backwards. I am nervous but pretending I can hide it from him.

Do I? I don't think so. You could have had everything, Bridget but instead you chose to indulge your inner carnival freak and trick your way out of one predicament right into another. Typical. You and Lochlan are so full of good short-term ideas without regard for the long-term consequences of your actions.

You wouldn't give me everything. I remind him quietly.

He turns around and stares at me. Bridget. Oh, there it is, another warning.

I shrug. It's true. If you had given me what I asked for, things would be vastly different.

Not for me, they wouldn't and if you think I don't see that con coming from a mile away then you better practice your tricks a little harder. It would serve no purpose to indulge your whims-

Oh, just yours?

He stops his offensive and speaks softly. No, Bridget. I didn't want you to leave.

You just didn't want Lochlan to win.

His whole face lights up in total, unabashed surprise. Oh, but he hasn't.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Today is the first day of the rest of my something or other.

Christian called me at nine this morning without any specific reason to.

Come for breakfast, I told him.

Naw, Bridget. You haven't even been there twenty-four hours. Relax. 

I miss you guys. 

We miss you too, girlie but on the other hand, I don't have to put on pants now if I'm not going anywhere. 

Just admit it, you're a nudist. 

Okay. I'm a nudist. 

Nudists have to eat too, you know. 

I don't want to scar the kids for life. 

Then put on pants before you come over. 

I promise I will do that. But really I just wanted to say thank you. 


Batman's two dudes had me here and set up in under an hour. I felt useless. 

Enjoy it while it lasts. I hope you helped. 

Of course. I felt weird standing around. 

Nice having privacy? 

Sort of. 

It's okay, you know. 

I know. Are you okay, Bridge?

Yup. It's just a little quiet. 

Have Pyro practice his guitar chords. That should be noisy. Holy hell.


Truth. Or even Ben. Ben's pretty loud. But at least he can play.

He did play a little already last night. 

How's the sound?

Terrific. Great acoustics in the kitchen. 

Awesome. Hear from PJ?





You coming for lunch then if you won't come for breakfast?


Okay gotta go. I'm starving and I need toast.

Okay then I'll see you soon and I'll harass you then. 

I hope so. I'm having withdrawals already.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Fortunes told.

Now I think I get it in a way that I may have not understood before.

Money, I mean.

Batman had a team of trusted people come in and work to unpack all of our things last night, working until the house was ready. They used photographs and instructions and common sense and they got everything right.

It was more than a little surreal to come in this morning and find my power cord on the desk, plugged in just waiting for my laptop. To open the drawer in our bathroom and find that stupid box of dental tape that I hate because it cuts my gums still in the plastic organizer box, same as it used to be in the house on the point. My favorite lipgloss? Sitting on the counter beside my wooden hairbrush. Where it always is.

In the living room I noticed the wooden articulated figures we use for life drawings still in their obscene positions together. I walk over to the stereo and press play and the CD is still Footloose (1984, not the new one. Geez). Mike Reno is singing. I had taken that CD out and put it away, but it was in the stereo when they did their inventories so here it is back in the player now.

I open the fridge. It's stocked with everything I buy, even though we did a magnificent job at using up all the perishables and giving the rest to Daniel to finish up, since we were the first ones to go.

I couldn't be the last. I just couldn't.

I didn't expect the move to be this painless. Is this how people live? I don't live like this. I rent rickety, questionably-safe U-Hauls and I sign contracts I don't understand and I hope for the best and am always surprised in the end. Always. I go into debt for things that should cost less and I sell the small remaining fragments of my soul to the Devil for the rest and I'm suddenly not supposed to do that anymore but I don't see how that's going to work.

But I really like this new house.

It's smaller, more inviting. The lights glow in warm yellow tones at night and the woods are dark and lovely and peaceful all the way around. There's no wind. There's a driveway and space for two vehicles. There are four bedrooms, as I told you before and at my request the fourth one was made up for when Duncan and Dalton come back. They'll stay here with us for a few weeks while they find a new place. Everyone else is organized but they are flexible enough to want to wait until they are back in the province to look in person. I can't blame them for that. And the added people around me will make this transition a tiny bit gentler and less abrupt.

It helps. I'm a little fish out of water otherwise. I really don't like change and this one was slow and steady overall and the least difficult of every one so far.

The kids like the house. They like their rooms. They like that they can bike on the road. They like the promise of the deep dark woods and they like the idea that they will have to answer to three adults instead of twelve, most of the time.

Ben likes the house. He's very big in it, ducking through standard doorways, taking up huge amounts of room. It's like things were in the castle, only those rooms were smaller still. Lochlan is himself here, relaxed and calm. Certain, somehow as if he is the fortune teller instead of the woman with the skirts I spent so much time with on the road, as she sometimes babysat me for a sixth of Lochlan's pay. He says things will be just fine. She never said that. She warned me that I had a face that would ruin all those who gazed upon it. She called me Medusa. She swore at me in a language I didn't understand and she refused to ever do my reading again.

Now I get sandwich-hugs more than a few times from my loves, both of them surrounding me with their arms. Three musketeers now for real. No help, no backup, no distractions. Just one big fuckup, one little fuckup and a dreamer who can't clear his head long enough to see grey, instead seeing black and white, putting rules to all anomalies until things run straight again without surprise, and then he works to maintain that total control with a huge helping of magic, fireworks, wonderment and ridiculousness on the side.

Yeah, we'll be okay.

And there's cake. Which we didn't have but they left one anyway. :)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Scratch-and-dent sugarbaby sale.

I'm sure it's the right decision. I just worry about you so fucking much, and I worry about you being away from the water again.

Lochlan has his hands in his pockets. He's cold. The wind is endless this morning. We're on the wrong side of the fence on the dangerous part of the cliff, watching the action far below as Christian and Schuyler remove the bronze plaques from the rocks far below. It's low tide. It's the only chance we'll have to collect them. I'll leave the trees we planted. I have peppered the country clear across with little memorials here and significant odes there but currently ghosts are not on my mind. I have to dial in my focus on the living.

The living stands with his hands in his pockets, zippo in his fingers, probably. He's in a fine dark-grey v-necked t-shirt that cost me more than he would want to know about and his army green cargo pants. His rarely-worn silver chain is tucked inside his collar. He looks slight. Pale. Always a little too thin but stronger than his build suggests. His confidence picks up where his appearance leaves off. He never seems strong but he is. He just likes to be busy. He hates being parked in front of a computer and will be using a standing desk when he starts working nine to five again soon. Regular paycheques for a regular mortgage.

We wanted normal, we're going to get it.

Ben is sleeping in. Still worn out. Still taking up the emperor bed which will be dismantled next  and so I should go in and get him up but Lochlan wants to make sure the others come up safely before he leaves, so I'm not allowed to make my way back to the gate into the safety of the backyard. As long as he can see me that is the safest place, even if it means I remain perched on this ledge in the wind.

I should be across the driveway making my apologies in person but Caleb (generously and without hesitation on the phone) volunteered to host a sleepover and movie weekend for the children. He's maybe as afraid to be alone again as I am to leave him alone here but at the same time when has he ever made things emotionally easy for me? That's right. It happened the last time we forced a logistical separation. So that's what I'm doing again.

 (In case you wondered about him being alone here? He's received more than one lucrative offer for the whole property and is currently mulling over terms. Maybe that was the catalyst as much as anything. The minute he bought the other house developers came out of the fucking woodwork. He won't be left behind.)

Against my wishes we're checking into a hotel downtown tonight while Batman's people unpack the new house literally overnight. Once they are finished we will have brunch downtown and then head home. To the new home. It was the one final service Batman offered and then pushed for.  

Make it as painless as you can while you can, Princess, he told me and so I nodded and signed off on that too.

In the meantime I am gulping down lungfuls of salt air like it's the last thing I ever breathe.

Friday, 8 February 2013

I could pretend he's not as scary as I make him out to be but I really have to stop lying sometime.

(Ben is home. Ben is beautiful and I cried and cried as if when I blinked he wouldn't be there anymore but he still is and I didn't sleep last night I just hung on to him like a velcro monkey so please excuse whatever rambling stupid crap I'm about to put down here.)

If there's one thing I'm fairly good at, it's learning from my mistakes.

Stop laughing. Okay, please? I'm trying to live gracefully here. I'm trying to figure out how. The collective as a commune does not work. There are too many egos and not enough boundaries and zero privacy. We were so busy holding each other up we didn't see we were holding each other down. They spent so much time watching me that they had none left to spend on themselves and when PJ moved out abruptly this week I guess it was confirmation that by taking apart what we built they all might have a chance. That if we all remain here nothing is ever going to change.

I don't need a safety net THAT big. The one I have works just fine.

We bought a house shortly after New Years. A beautiful little new house up in the woods. Far off the beaten path but oddly closer to everything we need to get to. No longer will I have to go venture down the big scary highway for over an hour to grocery shop. No longer will I have to ask four times what they said instead of the usual two because the wind is roaring in my ears.

There's no private beach. No driver. No support network in the new house. It's all ours and we'll either finish ourselves off or...thrive, maybe. Only Ben, Lochlan, the children and myself will live there.

Caleb will be fine, I hope. I realize I may have broken his heart along with his patience but it was necessary. The pressure he was putting on me was so tremendous and so I just kept planning and planning and not telling him anything and then I chickened out altogether and told him in front of the facilitator as we sat for our quarterly meeting as a blended family.

The look on his face.

Further confirmation that this is the right step.

The children are very excited.  And we don't need to live within Caleb's means. We did not earn them.

(Can you tell I'm inwardly freaking the fuck out over his reaction? Or lack of one? I couldn't tell him or he would have prevented me from leaving and I have to go. I can't stay here anymore. He's crushing me.)

We want normalcy.

Well, as much normalcy as a nuclear polyandrous family can have, that is. Lochlan is very happy. He's so freaking happy. There's a lot of talk that he did his magical brainwashing and I'm just a puppet. This is not true. It just isn't so stop. You're going to hear different all through this but it isn't him, it's me.

I'm going to escape the Devil with twenty days to spare.

I'm going to keep looking after my boys, no matter what, just more like in the way we used to when I had the castle. If they don't visit me every single day there will be hell to pay, but it isn't anything like the hell we're in right now.

Batman and his amazing team of miracle workers helped orchestrate this. I do apologize for pretending we were on the outs but I had to in order to keep Caleb in the dark. At no time did I choose Caleb over Batman. Neither one is mine to keep but at least Batman has marginally more self-control and a better view of the big picture.

Caleb has tunnel vision and at the end of the tunnel is me.

I'm not his vision, for fucks sakes and I play him thinking there will be no repercussions. There are always repercussions. I just don't know what they are yet but as bad as things will be with him, they will be better for everyone else.

It'll work. You'll see.
Swim out on a sea of faces,
The tide of the human races,
An answer now is what I need.

See it in a new sun rising
See it break on your horizon
Oh, come on love, stay with me

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Grifters by choice.

Today I....

I....disbanded a whole commune.

By myself.

No, that's a lie. I've had a lot of help. A lot of help finding homes, collateral, spending money, protection, support and all sorts of other things because this was (IS) bigger than just a move. This was like brain surgery. This...was really hard, I've been working at it for months.

It was necessary. It was...time?

I'll talk more about it once I find all my stuff. Namely the power cord for my macbook.

The lesson to take away?

Never con a con artist, for she learned from the very best.

(I'd write more but Ben comes home tonight and I need to go find a pretty dress and tidy up and make sure I've got something ready for him to eat right away. He's always starving after a flight. Too nervous to eat in the air.

He'll smell like airplane fuel. I like that part. It means he's tangible again.)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

My fault.

Okay, then.

This morning the boys are singing Heartbreaker. En masse. Daniel's got the falsetto. I'm kind of worried about this bunch now. They know too many awesome eighties songs in full.

Oh, wait.

I did this to them, didn't I?

Your love has set my soul on fire, burning out of control
You taught me the ways of desire, now it's taking its toll
You're the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasy
The invincible winner, and you know that you were born to be

You're a heartbreaker
Dream maker, love taker
Don't you mess around with me
You're a heartbreaker
Dream maker, love taker
Don't you mess around
No no no

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Shifting my dream for one chance to breathe
And the blue in my eyes fades out.
My time ran out and I'm home now.


Monday, 4 February 2013

On moving heaven.

Ben didn't know I was coming to see him and so when I was shown into the reading room, as they call it, he was standing in front of a shelf trying to choose a book. I walked up behind him and stood there peeking out around his right side as he picked up Hemingway and then Brown and then finally pulled out a Lee Child book, a Jack Reacher novel to be exact and I waited until he was a page or two in and just starting to turn on his heel to take the book with him when I said,

I hear Mr. Reacher is only an inch or two taller than you are. 

He spun around far too quickly for someone so large and dropped the book on the floor.

My first thought is What the fuck, beard?

My second was He is fat. I love it. 

My third I forgot because he pulled me right off the floor and up into his arms and CRUSHED me like a little fucking bug but it was fine because that hug lasted something like twenty-five minutes and only when they came and got us did he finally let go.

As far as I know the book is still on the floor.

So Ben is sober, fifteen pounds heavier and seriously unshaven. His hair is still short though and freshly trimmed. I guess they have a barber but he said it's cold outside and he's doing a lot of walking so he grew a beard. There is snow here, I might grow a beard too.

He told me not to grow a beard.

The more he talked to me in that sweet only-for-Bridget way he has of addressing me the more my resolve dissolved and the less stoic I became. It was hard to remain angry. It was hard to keep my distance and hard to talk about things like how our plans are coming along at home when all I really wanted to do was stay in his arms and let the world disappear.

I'm still here. I can't leave. I don't want to go home without Ben so I'm trying to move heaven and earth to have him moved closer to home or something. I need a little luck now. All these resources at my disposal, I'm finally going to utilize a few of them to get what I want, which is a little help in keeping the promises Ben made to me because he had a hard time keeping them himself. I can manage it. I promise.

I might be tougher than I look after all.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Inner pedagogue.

There are things I don't tell you as I narrate life in twenty-minute or four-minute or twenty-four-hour increments here. Just because I'm good at recounting (or is that recanting?) conversations form thirty years ago doesn't mean I'm necessarily good at anything else.

So while I sit here waiting for the plane, let me talk about some stuff that maybe isn't so relevant, exactly.

(I'm on my way to see Ben.)

Because he won't talk to me over the phone and he's not in a position to come see me, I'm going to see him. Thank you to Batman, who once again intercedes when he sees that everything is wrong and everything isn't going to get better on its own. I don't want to go right now. I'm fighting the flu. Things are understandably good with Lochlan and August, strained with PJ and Caleb and...nonexistent with Benjamin.

Batman told me I was fearless as I slammed around the room throwing things in a bag, extracting promises that I can fly home first thing in the morning, telling him he just can't keep barging in and changing everything in my life. He stood with his hands in his pockets admiring my tenacity and complimenting my action. He said I was so annoying. He said I looked pretty when I cried.

At that point I knew for sure he was full of shit, for when I cry all the color pours out of my eyes and runs away and I flush like a little baby tomato. It isn't pretty. It's saturated misery. I shrivel up and blow away. And the worst part is? Tears are sort of the beginning of every emotion now. From joy to surprise to frustration to helplessness to love.

So fuck it. That's not fucking pretty. That's just...dumb.

But I packed and I sat in the passenger seat of Batman's car and I said goodbye to Lochlan for the fifteenth time, and Batman pressed the button and put my window up too soon and Lochlan turned away because he works for Batman now and what are you going to do? And we drove away and now here we are and I'm sitting here thinking Huh, I should write in my blog. 

But all I can think about is to point out that the only hobby I have left is writing. Which is also work but I didn't tell you I am painting again because it's probably a phase. Or how much I still love collecting meaningless and meaningful things, only so long as the meaningful things are very big (hearts and loyalty and forevers) and the meaningless things are very small (keys and sea glass and....cake) and that I really really am not feeling well or brave enough today to go anywhere at all.

I'm not brave. I'm afraid.

But I'm doing it anyway.

Okay so maybe I am brave.

And now I gotta go.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Stanley Park, possibly my favorite place in the world.

I found a really cool shell today at Third Beach. B for Bridget!

Roughly yesterday, or thereabout.

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes
The liquid in the glass goes around and around. It's making my eyelids heavy but the conversation terrifies me to the point of permanent wakefulness. I raise my eyes up to watch him as he stares out the window, holding his own empty glass.

The scorched earth policy was my plan. Ruin you so that he wouldn't win.

I nod. I'm fascinated when he lays his thoughts down, naked and uncensored, covering themselves fruitlessly in the glare of so much sudden attention.

How am I doing? He turns with a smile and I return to staring into my glass. Bridget. It's a warning to pay close attention. I ignore him and continue drowning in the fumes. Straight Canadian whiskey and I could light my breath on fire from a hundred yards away. How close are you going to get?

I look up and smile. The truth is the only escape I will have from the Devil and yet I made a promise. We buried the truth in the cornfield at the end of the fourth row on the inside, away from the highway. In the pitch dark. In the dirt, digging with our hands and we chose to leave it there instead of redeeming Lochlan and crucifying Caleb.

Because we had to. If we had a choice we would have chosen it, as it were. As Lochlan told me while I stood there and cried because I wasn't old enough to understand why this was so frightening, only that it was and we had to make it go away. Everything is simplified, dumbed down and covered with dirt, turned over and packed down hard and left forever to rot in the ground.

But secrets don't rot. They just fester and linger and wait.

You're going to ruin us all, Bridget and through us the children too. We're tied together now and if one of us sinks, we all drown.

I wish Caleb would shut up now, I'm worn out. I finish the drink and stand up.

ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? He crosses to me and wrenches my wrist. I drop the glass on the floor and nod up at him. He softens marginally and I can respond without flinching so hard. He likes it when I react to him with fear. I maintain that I can't help it but he certainly can.

Leave the sleeping dogs. Leave your failed attempt at young love to the past. Leave your giant addict husband to his altered reality and come to me, Princess.

You are...

What? What am I?

So fucking completely delusional-

My quiet effort at speaking back to him is rewarded handsomely, just as I hoped it might be. I'm not afraid of Caleb. He's too smooth to be as frightening as Cole was, too in control to ever be out of it, too hopeful still to go too far and I know precisely how far he will go and I learned a long time ago that I can take whatever he gives me.

By midnight Caleb goes to refill our drinks and the knock on the door is less of a knock and more of a battering ram. I walk down the hall without my shoes and Lochlan is in the kitchen, in Caleb's face.

Lochlan drops his argument when he sees me. I am twelve, standing in the doorway in a dress that's threadbare, slightly too big so the ties are wrapped twice around my waist and knotted in the back, and my too-long bangs are in my eyes. I am covered with scratches and razor burn and the daze in my eyes leaves them unfocused. My eyes and lips are swollen and I have seen too much for such a young age.

He crosses to me and takes my hands. Come on. I need to get you out of here.

The secrets don't go anywhere, Locket. You know that, right? They wait for us.

He looks at Caleb and then back at me. Don't you listen to him, Peanut. He can't hurt you anymore.

Caleb's voice is sharp and sure, cutting through the whiskey like a bright light.

That's not true and we all know it.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Sleeping on wheels (circa 1983)

Is this long-term, staying on the road? How can we keep it up? Will it last? I it something we can do for a while?

Sustainable, Peanut, that's the word you're looking for.

Is it sustainable?



Because I have no expectations and very basic needs.

What about me?

You have pretty basic needs too, Bridgie. Food, shelter, safety. Education. Fresh air. Vitamins. A really good wide-toothed comb for all that hair of yours.

No, I mean do you need me? Am I part of your basic needs?



You ask too many questions.

Just answer this one and I'll stop.

Why are you part of my basic needs? I feel better when you're around and something's missing when you're not with me. I worry about everything that has to do with you and at the same time you teach me things about myself. I'm selfish. That's why. I just need you.

Goodnight, Locket.

What? Was the answer good enough or are you angry? Just goodnight? No comment on my commentary?

If I say anything I'll cry. That reason was a thousand times better than I thought it would be.

What did you think I would say?

Oh, some dumb thing about me being easy to spend time with because I mostly learn and don't talk back.

Yeah, no, that's not a good answer. And for the record? The one I gave you doesn't even begin to cover it. There aren't enough words I could teach you or enough ways to convey exactly what's happening here. Soul-mates comes close.

We're not soul-mates.

Oh really? Then what are you to me?

I'm your muse.

No, the circus is my muse. She's dirty and exciting.

Wow, from awesome to asshole in fifteen seconds flat.

I'm the best at what I do.

Yes, you are.

Goodnight, Peanut. 

Night, Locket.

Hey, Bridget? 


I love you. 

I love you. 

You're supposed to say 'too'. 

No, then I'm just returning an offering. My way means I am confirming my feelings to you independent of your own and it's a random coincidence. 

Okay then. Sweet dreams. 

You too, Lochlan. 

You used 'too' right there! 

'Sweet dreams' is not nearly as profound or important a declaration as 'I love you', now, is it? 

If I had said you don't talk back would you be doing it right now?

Of course.