Monday, 31 August 2015


A little too familiar. A little too late.

That's all I could think as he stepped forward and used the stopper to draw lines of perfume on me. One from shoulder to shoulder across my back. A short line below each earlobe and a stripe across each wrist, over the scars, the white lines that intersect my life like a highway to nowhere. He replaced the stopper in the bottle (shaped like a big glass candy bow, don't you know) and then bent his head down against my left ear, inhaling deeply.

This. This is you. 

(He hasn't really found a scent he likes since Cartier discontinued Delices. So I mostly wear Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf. This is their new one. It's called Bonbon.)

(He is very picky about scents.)

Have you had time to think about things? We put our arrangement on hold after I tried to cancel it completely and he refused to let me. His argument? I don't have a choice. I agreed once upon a time to preserve this plan without input. Only he can cancel it. I can't quit. I can only be fired.

He wouldn't fire me.

I could burn his house down and stick a knife in his chest and he still wouldn't fire me.

And yet I'm not allowed to be smart in front of his business partners.

I'm not allowed to be anything except for quiet, delicate, submissive. Obedient. Fierce. Placid. Helpless. Wild. I'm not allowed to want certain things or ask for anything or refuse anything. I'm not allowed up. I can't leave. I can't have the ties loosened and he won't take the gag out. I can't plan for the future because there isn't one. Time is a loop and I smell like sugar.

No, I haven't really had time yet. But I have.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

When the power is out all you can do is have sex and eat all the food in the freezer.

Oh and watch the rest of season one of True Detective, because as you know, we're preppers and we had power because we plan ahead.

Jesus. People are so unprepared. Even when I had three dollars to my name I kept a box on a shelf with water, canned foods, snack foods, candles, matches, flashlight and a big sharp butcher knife. Just because you should always be as prepared as you can be. No excuses.

Extrapolated for Bridget-inflation that box is now three generators for three houses, weapons I will not discuss, and enough food, drinks and lights to make twenty people happy for inside of two weeks, if need be. We have more than one storeroom. We are ready.

I'd run out of condoms before anything else.

Ha. No I wouldn't.

Anyway, we're fine. I didn't post yesterday because I was really busy, because we were out in the R8 shopping and had to dodge multiple snapping trees and horrible drivers to get home. It took three hours instead of the usual thirty minutes but that's okay.

Sugar Baby status fully reinstated. More on that later.

Right now I'm attempting to procure a fresh box of pocky sticks from next door because someone got in my stash in between emergencies and left me two boxes. Two. There were two CASES there when I put them away in the first place.

I made a note to fix that when I go for groceries.

In the meantime, Lochlan is feeling better (the rain and wind took away the smoky air) and Ben is now sick with possibly pneumonia. But! I stockpile medicines too. First Aid supplies and even suture kits. Because like I said, I'm prepared.

It's a shame you can't stockpile mental health resources for emergencies though. I don't even know where I would begin.

(PS. True Detective was terrible. It was a mashup of the movies Se7en and Silence of the Lambs with a grey filter and a forced-mood soundtrack that made me want to claw my ears off. Aside from a few shining snippets of dialogue from Matthew McConaughey's character (who then repeated himself ad nauseum, ruining the profundity of it all), it just pushed too hard for edgy bleakness and didn't do anything different OR groundbreaking. At least it was only eight episodes.)

Friday, 28 August 2015

I'll tell you what I mean. I'd rather have metal for breakfast or cold, greasy coffee. That's what I mean.

(Rambles Schambles. This is why I don't drink coffee anymore.)

I lost a bet this morning and was subsequently duct-taped to a chair and then had the new Justin Beiber single played for me while I screamed from the blood pouring from my ears-


Actually it was far too soft to be injury-inducing. It was boring and incredibly innocent-sounding. I never met a twenty-one year old in my LIFE who sounded like that. I thought it seemed more like something he would have put out at thirteen or perhaps eight. It doesn't match his baby-gangster image or whatever fashion he seems to be doing.

Argh. I hate popular culture unless it's about something I actually like.


Once I was released from that chair (and the Justin) I spent the remainder of the day in church singing the soundtrack to Miss Saigon (I can do light but it has to be GOOD) at the top of my lungs while I scrubbed the coffee maker and tried to whip Sam's office into shape.

I was paid in coffee. Sam forgot what it does to me, I guess. You could tell already though, couldn't you?

I decided it was going to be a bulletproof coffee day too, which, without actual Internet (cheap fucking church) led us to beliebe (HA. That's not a typo, apparently it's a tweenage verb) that it was coffee with a spoonful of butter in it.

Well, THAT undereducated guess led to an hour and a half of making butternauts who would cling hopelessly to the rim of the cup before melting into the hot coffee itself, all the while making these amazingly quiet little screams of despair.

No one can save you, Butternauts! I told them, since I was the giant in my imaginary play. I like that kind of power. It makes up for everything else.

Oh and it only rained for three hours so far. Fuck.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Short and sweet today but not like me. Today Loch said I was 'tiny and whiny'. Hey if the shoe fits..

Louis Armstrong is singing from the record player on the front porch and every window and door with a screen door is wide open today as we celebrate what should be the final day of fucked-up overly-dry overly-hot weather and things get back to normal with dark endless heavy rain, for at least a week, maybe more. Perfect for sleeping, if I could ever sleep though it's so nice to wake up to the sound at two in the morning and know I can just fall back to sleep for a few more hours.

Well, sometimes I can.

But not always. That's okay. Bring me the rain.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Everything I know about death I learned from a fourteen year old boy.

My stomach growls and I want to laugh at it out loud but when I look to him for the shared amusement he hasn't looked up from the ground. He's sitting on the top step in front of his house and I am marching in small circles around the lawn, crunching leftover piles of snow under my black patent mary janes. My tights are wet up to the ankles and my coat is too short, leaving me to freeze in my Easter dress that is too thin for early spring in Nova Scotia but it's dark blue and that's better than a lighter color on a day like today.

Lochlan's grandfather (who practically raised him while his hippie parents came and went, travelling the world) died four days ago and the funeral was this morning. Now the cars line the streets since everyone came back to their house afterwards for a reception and the boys are wandering around the neighborhood in suits and ties. I take the pins out of my hair. It was in a ballerina bun which makes my head look tiny, baseball-sized. My mother said people with lighter hair should cover or pin it up because these are dark, dreary occasions and then she sighed and looked at my father and asked if I really was old enough to go to this, that maybe nine years old is too soon.

Too soon for what, Mom? I asked her.

Goodbyes. She smiled gently.

No, it's fine. Besides, I'm only going to be floral-support to Lochlan. 

She snorted trying to hold a laugh in as she corrected me. That's moral support, Bridget. 

What do morals have to do with it? I asked but she shooed me out because she had to get ready too.

They are inside with the rest of the grownups drinking coffee and eating church-squares and the boys are at the ball field throwing snow and I am keeping up sentry because I can't imagine being anywhere else. What if he needs me? What if he wants to talk?

You can go. He says abruptly.

Do you miss him? I mean...already? 

Yes. Now go home, Bridgie. 

You think he's still around somewhere? Like hiding? 

No, he's gone. 

Gone where?

To heaven. 

You think there is one? 

Now isn't the time, Bridgie. Go home. 

But I am getting more and more hungry, exasperated and cold. Why can't you just explain what happens so I don't have to keep bugging you every time your grandparents die? 

Because it's not my job! He shouts it and tells me again to go home. It's the first time he's ever scolded me. I don't know what to do with this. He's been a bit of a jerk since he turned fourteen and I don't like it one bit.

I c-can't. My parents are inside your house and I'm h-h-hungry! I start to sniff and my eyes are watering but at the same time I'm attempting to seem like I don't care about his outburst by stomping harder on the snow patches until my slick-bottomed shoes make me wipe out on the lawn. Now my tights have grass-stains, my bum is wet and I'm shivering for real.

He jumps down off the step and picks me up. Come and we'll get some food okay? Then maybe we can watch TV downstairs until everybody goes. 

But the minute we got down to the basement, plates and glasses balanced carefully on a tray which he put on the coffee table, he fell apart. I threw my arms around him and told him I would hold him until he felt better.

That's the thing, Bridget. Death doesn't get better. It's just a hole that's there forever. And every time someone else dies it makes another hole, and another, until there's nothing left of you either. 

I didn't sleep for a week after that. I had this vision of God swinging by and punching a hole in Lochlan with a big apple-corer-type device and I was determined to protect him and yet terrified it might take only one hole to kill him off, and I wondered if that happened if it would make a hole in me.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Burning Van.

She's naked on the phone
Watching them back
No eyes just their stupid grins
They long to be liberal mannequins
And in their tiny room
They eat Chinese food
And they don't call their wives
Cause the girl in the window is
Pressing her breasts
Up against the window pane
The guy they're after
On the floor below her
Is cutting cocaine
Higher than the building
I really really hate it when reality comes in, tripping all over my daydreams that I leave all over the floor (in spite of being asked repeatedly to pick them up and put them away so no one will get hurt) and then starts to bitch and moan about having stubbed toes on the sharp corners of my thoughts and hopes. What the fuck is that? Did you not see the Do Not Disturb sign? Next time at least knock before you interrupt the life I want in favor of the life I have.

Guess who isn't going to Burning Man?

I mean, unless there's a bunch of people here who want to have a burner party with me because I glued LEDS on fucking EVERYTHING and really this wardrobe isn't fit for anywhere else that falls under the heading of reality. Maybe I will wear some of it to the celebrity grocery store. The creepy butcher will like it. I actually stopped going to that store and drive to the Superstore instead these days. They have Japanese candy.

On the upside, the boys owe me BIG TIME because I spent five days straight cooking and stocking the RV only to stand aside as it pulled away from the driveway this morning without me.

Without Loch too, who turned and smiled so goofily at me with a big mix of half-relief and full-regret going on I had to laugh. I've seen that look every time the show run ended. He didn't want to go home but he was sick of it all. It's the definition of bittersweet, his face is. 

 We switched our tickets over to Gage and Andrew who are both fucking crazy and will love it, having gone way back in the day. They promised to take a billion pictures and not touch each other in the touchy camps.

August and Sam had this great eleventh hour epiphany about me. That was great. Sam will do fine. They do great independently of one another when it comes to care and feeding of my feeble brain and outward nightmaring, I don't know why they butt heads when they have to do it together but they sort of made up this morning and it was nice to see.

Duncan said it won't be the same without me there. Especially in the touchy camps.

Sigh. I should have gone. 

Look, I'm trying to spin this best I can here. The stars did no align this week, nothing fell into place, it's all jammed into various unsuitable, opposite-shaped positions that do this life no justice at all today.

I didn't even get to see Lamb of God and Slipknot this week. I was supposed to.

I need to start organizing the new plan, which is a joint birthday party for Ruth and Lochlan. A Sweet Sixteen/Grifty Fifty bash. He remains touched but not disappointed by my efforts overall to make fifty something amazingly special.

(Please don't find it weird that I don't gush about Ruth turning sixteen. I'm still following the original plan to not trot out much info about my kids for higher viewcounts.)

Truthfully a whole host of factors kept us off the RV, the most important of which was how hard a time Lochlan has been having breathing in the smoke from the air quality/forest fires all around us (a new feature bug in him since his accident inhaling a shitload of fuel into his lungs while eating flames on his birthday last year ) and how bad the dust would be for him at Burning Man if he's this bad now.

The second factor was the severity with which Caleb came down on my poor little head with just about every ace up his sleeve that he had. I'm not sure exactly why he didn't want me to go, I mean other than the possibility I might touch Duncan, though, NEWSFLASH, I touch Duncan all the time.


I hope Caleb's picturing that. right. now.

I have to say I love Ativans for breakfast though. I'm so level you could hang a picture with me. I'm fine. I'll be asleep in about three minutes. Prime time deliverance indeed.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Thanks, Matthew.

I feel like I'm losing for money
I feel like I'm losing for free
I feel older than the dead angel on my shoulder claims to be

I feel like we're drinking and driving
I feel like we're running into walls
I feel like swimming in your apathy as a kind of parody
For miles and miles, miles

I feel like somebody's missing
I feel like somebody's missing
I think somebody's missing
Matthew Good lives near Lochlan's mother. I ran into him once. We were both walking our dogs. We're the same age. I wanted to grab his sleeve as he passed and he stared at me waiting to see whether I recognized him or not. His gaze was so intense I was staring back nonetheless and since this was almost five years ago I wanted to tell him that I spent the winter previous sitting in the car in the garage with the motor running listening to his songs while tears ran down my face but I don't suppose that's the sort of thing anyone who writes music wants to hear. Even though it wouldn't have gone like you think. It would have gone more like this:

Matthew, could I have a moment of your time?

Of course. Of course. Cute dog.

Thanks! Yours is too. She a Burmese mountain dog?

No, just a mutt (we laugh and the stranger-ice breaks, plunging us into sudden tepid familiarity).

I wanted to thank you for your songwriting. Honestly there were days when your music was the only thing I could feel.

Tell me about it.

I'm a widow twice over. Sometimes it's hard to feel at all anymore and sometimes I feel everything and you have many songs that just seem to reach inside and squeeze my heart in a hug, but a crushing hug that makes my heart bleed at the same time. Like it feels better even as it hurts.

Maybe you should be the one writing songs. I'm sorry for your sadness but I'm glad if I could help somehow. Is it getting better? Are you alright?

Sometimes. I won't keep you from your walk but I've awfully glad I got a chance to meet you and thank you in person.

I'm glad I got to meet you too.

He gives me a mega-awkward but very tight hug without anything bleeding except for my mind and then we walk in opposite directions. I look back at the end of the block and he's standing on the corner watching me. I turn and tuck my head down, trying to carry my composure before it falls out onto the sidewalk and when I look back on the next block he is gone.

I should have said something.

(But at the same time interrupting everyone else's life so they can spend a moment feeling bad isn't what I set out to be. These things I am learning, only some of them seem like things I already know.)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Migraine breakfast, narco lunch, bathwater dinner and I'll try again tomorrow.

Well it's full speed baby
In the wrong direction
There's a few more bruises
If that's the way
You insist on heading

Please be honest Mary Jane
Are you happy
Please don't censor your tears

You're the sweet crusader
And you're on your way
You're the last great innocent
And that's why I love you
Softer music on the stereo this morning while I eat a banana and drink coffee, an ice-pack on the back of my neck and another on my forehead. Ben sits with me. I'm maxed out on medication and loath to top up in case I wind up with the cycling rebound pain I get when I take too much too soon. If I were less afraid of everything or less perfect in my personal morality I would snort some coke off the counter and call it a day, sleeping until early in the week as the world reduced itself to undone chores, post-binge filth piling up around me like a photoshoot from VICE. Fake as fuck and yet designed to make everyone currently sober wish they could just let go of their white-knuckle grip on life for five fucking seconds. Only life isn't a magazine, life has teeth and those teeth are sharp if you fall behind long enough for it to catch you and eat you slowly, one limb at a time.

This might be Ben's fault. Reformed junkies addicts rockstars have trouble sleeping and so he wakes me often in the hours where my sleep is deepest. He has to reach way down and fish around in the dark to find me and when he does my head breaks the seal, pain flooding into my skull. He feels bad but he also can't help himself sometimes. Rough as he can be, big as he is, he never leaves marks and so I don't think I mind, I just can't reconcile it with this. This pain. This day wasted on gingerly breathing, feeling my way around for oxygen, functional and yet not functioning. He's suggested we have a blisteringly hot bubble bath when we're done our coffee. That helps a lot, actually. Maybe I can relax enough to fall asleep again later if I can convince Ben and Loch to have a Saturday-nap.

Maybe it will go away. Like Jake. Like Cole. Like the Devil because I pushed back and I'm suddenly glad for these little lightning flashes of courage mixed with exasperation, everything colored with my endless selective integrity that actually makes me laugh even as I'm ashamed of myself most of the time. The keening that never ends inside my brain and seems to get loose all the time anyway, that noise that seeks out affection like a homing beacon, landing on the first savior it sees.

So coke would be better by far. Maybe in one of those edgy magazine photo shoots.

 I don't even recognize myself without sleep any more.

You're still you, Ben confirms upstairs as I look in the mirror and I turn to look at him, putting my back to my own face, which sounds painful in it's own right but it's kind of a relief.

How do you know? 

Because you're always inside out and you make no effort to hide that. Why don't you stay put while I go run the bath? Sit quietly with the ice pack. I'll come get you when it's ready.  

Friday, 21 August 2015

Black Rock doubts.

I'm the first person who will balk at playing Left 4 Dead with the boys and then be the first one rushing into the melee to hack away at zombies without pausing to follow the instructions of the leader.

I'm the one who insisted we stick with the midway, with the rides where it's safe and open and daylight and then dragged Loch behind the curtain into the circus and then the freak show becoming a somewhat extremely-local cult favorite for a few summers there. We had a good run.

I'm the one who tells you I'm not impulsive and then when you blink next I'm hanging off the ledge where I tried to jump because I realized I could so why not?

I'm the one with the fear. Fear of strangers, fear of familiars. Fear of crowds, fear of remote locations. Fear of deserts, fear of the open ocean. Fear of people on drugs because they're checking out on me, fear of those who are sober because they can dial me in.

I'm the one insisting we pack dried fruit and vitamins while the rest of them expect to exist on an unsteady diet of pickles (pickles? What?) and frozen tacos. Lochlan wants to bring whiskey. I say that's a bad idea with August and Duncan in the program. I'm the one wondering if I'm too old for this or maybe too uptight and August keeps telling me I'll be fine 'once I'm there'.

He's right.

I'm always fine once in the middle of everything. I am always okay. Sometimes I turn out to be legendary in my shift from hesitant wallflower to impulsive, direct centre of the known universe.

I suppose this is a bad thing, but I'll call it a good thing right now. It gives me comfort for what is an incredibly daunting endeavor: trying to bring a baked birthday cake all the way from Vancouver to Reno in a smallish RV that is already packed to the rafters with ten days of food for four people. Too much food but I'm a just-in-caser.

I'm excited as fuck. And now that we have the food sorted out and cooking planned for half of next week it's time to figure out what the heck I'm going to wear. Loch opened our bags on the bed and then looked at them for several minutes before heading to the closet and taking out one of his top hats,  putting it beside the bags.

There's the important stuff, he said and I could see that the fear is a little bit contagious. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

I'll give you a crown.

Loch and I rewatched Sense8 over the past few days. He's holding on tight but I'm holding on tighter. I'm disgusted by myself and sad that the little girl from the Midway is a puppy following the wrong owner half the time, only because she was busy looking at the backs of his heels thinking it was the right one without ever once looking up to see that the hair was the wrong color and this wasn't her owner after all.

(Oh, here, I'll save you the trouble of sending me those gentle, condescending emails reminding me no one 'owns' me. I know this. It's a perfect metaphor, though, don't you think?)

For this television show I'm always vaguely disturbed and mildly horrified by the birthing montage, with its graphic shots of babies crowning. I've only seen that in real life with cows and I'm not sorry about that. Lochlan said it's amazing to see a baby come into the world that way and then take a breath for the first time. I bet it is. I had two cesarean sections, nothing pretty, beautiful or profound about any of it but I actually don't harbour any real sadness or lingering regret over any of it because it was necessary for survival and so there you have it. I'm fighting tooth and nail to be here because I'm a goddamned fucking masochist.

He downplayed it and said I'm just messed up.

God love this man for he's perfect. He's ripped everyone else's face off but left mine intact so that he'll still recognize me and on we go. We can't figure out how to make life easier so we're going to be reborn in the desert next week (with the bugs, yes I saw the news) and then hopefully we can start over.


We're good at that.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


I am a magnet for all kinds of deeper wonderment
I am a wunderkind
And I lift the envelope pushed far enough to believe this
I am a princess on the way to my throne

Destined to serve, destined to roam

Oh ominous place spellbound and unchild-proofed
My least favorite chill to bare alone
Compatriots in place they'd cringe if I told you
Our best back-pocket secret our bond full-blown
I arrive late and the champagne is warm. The Devil apologizes for this, saying he thought I would be on time. I was going to apologize but then I asked myself why and out loud I asked, Why champagne? What are we celebrating? Violence? Stockholm syndrome?

He looked at the floor for several moments before picking up his glass, drinking the contents and refilling it for himself. Then he passed me a glass as well and said we were celebrating his realization that he has a problem. That he thought all along that he was only leaving marks on me if he broke the skin when he bit me, that he is horrified, destroyed by this.

I let go of the glass and it shatters on the floor. Champagne goes everywhere. I shake my head once as if I haven't heard him properly. No way could I have heard him properly.

What is it? 

You're 'destroyed' because you leave bruises on me and didn't realize it? How could you not see the damage you've been doing since I was a little girl? Who's destroyed here again, exactly?

You come to me willingly.

You threatened to take my son away! You always use what means most. You started with Loch and moved on to Cole, then Jake and then the kids. What am I supposed to do, defy you? Then what? What happens if I don't do everything you order me to? Tell me because I'll take it now, whatever punishment you think you can dish out. Let's get it over with RIGHT NOW. 

I never had a plan, Bridget. I just wanted to be with you but you keep passing me over for someone else. Anyone else. Everyone else. The only way to control you is by exploiting your worst fears. 

At what point would a sane person have realized that someone doesn't want to be with them and move on?

If you had ever refused me I would have but you gave in every time. 

Because I was twelve and you told me you would kill Lochlan if I didn't. And then you told him you would kill me if he told! How are we not supposed to take that seriously? We were children. I believed you. I believe everything you've ever told me and so I did I was told to do.

But I didn't have to threaten you every time. Only when you resisted.

That doesn't make you any less scary or give you permission to act surprised that your actions leave permanent damage. Is this just another ploy? 'I've changed, Bridget. You'll see' to keep me home? Well, fuck you. We'll talk when I get home from my trip. We fucking fix one thing and break another and there's no need to keep going in circles. I've done my time. I'd like to be happy now. 

You faked it?

Faked what? 

Your contentment with me. Your peace with our situation. 

I fake everything now. It's the only way I can get through the fucking day, Diabhal. You can clean up your mess. I have to go pack for my trip.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Let me see you.

I shrug and unbutton my dress, letting it fall to the floor. PJ gets up and leaves the room. Matt follows.

Oh, Neamhchiontach.

I shrug.

How do you feel? 

I look at the floor and shrug again. I'm okay. 

This is not okay, Bridget. I didn't realize you were so badly injured. 

I stare at him blankly.

It's not okay, he repeats to the young child.

This is what you do, Diabhal. You and Cole.

I didn't realize my strength. 

You've seen me before. 

Not like this. Not covered with bruises just from my touch. 

Then you've been blind to match my deafness. 

His eyes fill up and he puts his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes. How do you hide them?

I have full coverage body makeup for when I cover my tattoos. It works on these too.

Doesn't it hurt to touch them?

Yes. But that's the game. 

This is not a game, Bridget. 

Sure it is. You bite, you hurt, then you retreat. I'm used to it now. You're like a snake.

Put your clothes back on.

I listen, picking up my dress and shrugging back into it as I button it up at the same time. A modicum of dignity from a man who allows absolutely nothing, ever and suddenly I have his full attention? I don't buy it but then again I don't care anymore. Loch tried to kill him, Ben isn't thinking it's all that big a deal really, the kids are mad that I wrestle with these giants and I just don't even care. I got my Cole-time, I made everyone feel things and yet it backfired because I'm supposed to feel things and I don't. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Lampblack and baby blue.

Baudelaire said that humans were deluded if they thought they could wash away all their spots with vile tears, but Baudelaire was French and therefore knew nothing about hygiene or shower gel.
    ~The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language

I woke up in a daze yesterday morning, staring out the patio doors into the sky, more than a little surprised that he let me come back without a fight. And then Lochlan woke up and looked at me and yelled WHAT THE FUCK, Ben bolted upright and stared at me and then they looked at each other for a whole half a nanosecond before jumping out of bed, throwing on yesterday's clothes and running out the damned door. Loch headed to kill Caleb, and Ben to stop him, or perhaps to help.

Loch doesn't listen. He makes all these concessions to my face and then he goes right over my head.

And then I looked in the mirror. I looked as dazed as I felt. A little small. A little vacant. Perhaps no one is home. I had a nosebleed that stopped just before my lower lip and a strange linear bruise that begins in my hairline, blackens my eye and the bridge of my nose and ends on the opposite cheekbone. I had finger-tip bruises all over my neck and shoulders. My chin had the outline of a single hard bite, not enough to make it bleed, just enough to leave a perfect imprint of the Devil's perfect teeth on his little prizefighter.

I wondered what the rest of me looked like so I took one big step back to look.

Oh my God.


No one killed Caleb, but only because they reminded Loch he agreed to my behavior.

I don't have to like it, he growled. Duncan has been sitting on him for the better part of an hour.

If you did, you'd be as sick a fuck as the rest of us, Caleb told him from behind an ice bag. Lochlan had planned to kill him, using his fists to break through his face and then once inside he would have systematically destroyed the rest of the Devil for ever after.

The Devil can't call the police. I have enough to secure all sorts of worse scenarios if he does. And we're going to work on what instructions I follow and what ones I relay to the others and they changed the code on the alarm and didn't tell me what it was. Now they'll know if I leave, and apparently that makes everyone feel better. Batman called Caleb a coward and a thug and PJ isn't speaking to anyone but the kids again, who were told I had a wrestling match with Ben and fell off the couch and hit the drum kit and they believed us. Ben asked to take this on, taking whatever disappointment they feel as his own penance for whatever it is he thinks he didn't do that wasn't enough.

August and Sam are going to shift their focus working with me from grief to self-worth and familiar-danger. PJ is going to try to be civilized to everyone concerned, the majority of the boys are trying very hard to mind their own business, and Lochlan is going to let this go.

I can't. I see what he did to you and I can't get it out of my head, he tells me.

Good, then you can have a lobotomy too, I tell him. It's always better when you have company.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

CXC/This is how they raised me.

Swift punishment yesterday as I was given a time and told to be there or he would make everything go away.

Including Henry.

Including Cole.

He loves to exploit my addictions and my fears, reminding me how fucked I am. That's why we live like this in the first place. It's not only because I can't manage my grief, it's because I can't manage my drive.

I sneak out at two-forty-five and he is waiting by the side door. I'm not even capable of navigating my own driveway now? His concern is that I'd just walk off the wrong side of the cliff instead of facing the consequences for being disrespectful to him and to his brother's memory in front of someone he has to do business with. Big business. It's a smaller, more compact offense if it were a cleaning person or Luke. But he's trying to buy some more property. His reputation has to be flawless.

Good luck with that, I tell him as he grips my elbow and steers me roughly to the boathouse. Once there the door is locked and I am shoved down the hall. The door is locked after we enter his room and for good measure he turns off the lights and ties me down.

Hello, Cole.

He calls me Baby Girl and I realize I don't have to give up a thing, I can still be their sugar baby and I'm not going to be punished so much as rewarded, so much as given a little time with the original number-one ghost and that no one's going to tell me I'm crazy, or making a mistake or wallowing.

Don't hold back from me, Bridget, he instructs and he finally lets me loose. Eyes blue-black, hands rough. In the dark the devil becomes the ghost and the hunted becomes the haunted. Cole looks so beautiful here in the dark. He is predictable and violent. He is affectionate and sick. His moves are deliberate. Just enough to hurt. Just a little bit, building on tolerance, biting back tears. My limbs shake as my hands explore. He smiles in the dark endlessly, as if it's carved upon his face while he encourages me. Just a little more, come on. Do this for me. When I explode into cries of relief he refuses to allow it, covering my whole face with his hand, turning me down and holding me there.

 By the time he is finished with me, ready to go back inside my brain where I keep losing him, I am destroyed and thrilled with it. But he pushes me hard once again and just as I start to break he pushes a little harder, making sure I do and then he backs off and returns to his gentle clasp, slowing to a crawl, affectionate to a degree that might just make me question everything I think I already know.

It isn't punishment, he tells me, shaking his head. Just memories.

He bends my head all the way back to kiss my throat and when he lets go and I look at at him again he has changed back. His hair is darker, eyes are lighter and he is bigger. Reality mixes with dreams and makes the color of night. Hope mixed with faith and buried in selfishness ends any chance of change for any amount of time and he fires up again, this time in flat-out brutal greed. This time when I go to cry out there's no sound, only his harsh breathing in my ear. He slides me back down until I am pressed against his chest and he laments how long six weeks truly was without me this way, in the grand scheme of things and that there most likely isn't anything I could do that could make him love me less, including withholding my love from him.

It isn't love, I tell him, shaking my head. Just memories. 

Even better, Caleb says as he stops smiling in the dark. He leads me back out into the early sunrise, unlocking doors, stopping to turn back and kiss my shoulder, kiss my cheek and then at the door he stops, not planning to go any further but watching to make sure I go the way I'm supposed to.

I turn back. What do I tell them?

Tell them I'm taking care of my brother's wife. 

I turn again to head across the drive. The response is futile but accurate. The fallout will be swift but it's still worth it. You can cut out sugar but it doesn't mean you'll lose your taste for it. I can cut out Cole but I still want him just as much as ever. I guess everyone wishes that could change. Sometimes I do but then again sometimes I don't and I'm fine with things just the way they are.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Oh hey then! Real estate agent shows up and I'm there in cut off shorts and a shirt that reads WHISKEY POLE ROCK AND ROLL, the words stacked up like shame, regret and invisibility-cloak-wishes.

But he laughed and declined to call attention to it, instead asking if Caleb was around. Caleb was coming down the steps of the boathouse and saw me and started to smile but then he saw my shirt and his whole face dropped like a stone. I made a mental note to thank Dalton again. I love this shirt.

He greeted the agent with a familiar handshake and offered tea in his kitchen. Then he variably dismissed me without an introduction.

So I introduced myself as his landlady slash sister in law slash submissive.

He laughed and said sister in law is correct and would I be a dear and go find Ben?

Ben's out, I tell him proudly.

PJ then. 

He's with Ben? 

We'll see you later then. 

Oh, I'm not busy. 


I get it. You're embarrassed. Okay, gotcha. I pull two pretend guns and shoot at him and then turn to head back to the house.

This is your family? 

My brother's wife. He died a while ago and I look after things for her. 

Oh, that explains it. 

She's a bit uneven with her moods. 

I understand. Well, you're a good man. 

HE'S THE BEST! I yell across the driveway, because fuck you too, Diabhal.

End of an era that began before I was even born.

You know when you're fussing around cleaning up the kitchen and very slowly you realize one of your husbands is trying his damnedest to keep his composure but his eyes are involuntarily turning pink and his nose red as he sniffles and clears his throat to indicate he's fine, it's probably a cold?

(What? This doesn't happen? Or you mean you only have one husband? I never know. I try to keep you in the loop and make this seem like it's all regular and everyday but it probably isn't. I don't know any other poly/communal people in real life. Committed ones, I mean. I don't know anyone who lives like we do. Maybe that means we're extraordinary or maybe it just means we're weird. I'm fine with either. Let's move along now.)

Lochlan? What's the matter?

He turns the iPad around so I can see that Pink Floyd is officially over. The band he lives and breathes by who unofficially went their separate ways years ago, and then Richard Wright died and mostly finished them off shortly before we moved out here. He still listens to them every single day, having begun long before I met him and then afterward using their music as a lullaby when I would be afraid of the dark (or the light for that matter). Fearless and Wish You Were Here in particular and oh, rats, my eyes are stinging now.

This happens with alarming regularity too. All the greats are moving along, dying or frankly getting old and wanting to do other things and sometimes gearing up thinking they can bring back the good old days only to discover it's exhausting and times have changed.

(Ben, for example. Ben keeps finding this out and he's only in his late forties. These guys are in their late sixties and seventies. Holy!)

Loch composes himself at last and wipes his eyes on his sleeves. Allergies, he mutters, and he heads outside to see to the woodpile. Fall is coming so the last of the pile from the previous year will be moved to the side of the house to make room for the next years'. And his neck and shoulders will double in size again and sue me, I really like that.

I go to the sideboard and fetch his headphones for him just as he comes back for them. I smile and he smiles back. They had a good run, they've given me a good soundtrack. 

Half beauty, half madness?

The way everything should be, love. He kisses the top of my head and out he goes.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Leave him alone.

I'm not your child
I'm not your paragon of just
I am by other means damned
Just who do you think I am?
Last night over drinks, Batman pointed out that maybe Sam was right, that the obvious solution would be to keep Duncan home and bring Sam instead. August staying away would never happen, he lives for this week out of every year (in spite of the fact that every time it ends he swears he's never going back). Duncan pointed out it's not his job to make sure everyone is comfortable with something he didn't plan but was invited to, and maybe if everyone has a problem with his presence here we should deal with it now. Chairs were scraped back across the patio as more than four of them stood up at the same time. Fighting words. Challenges laid out.

I stood up. So gracefully I knocked my chair over and everyone looked at me and I told them that this has nothing to do with their issues and that I'm taking Loch to burn on his birthday and so help me if they ruin it for us or more importantly HIM, they can go back to living in their shitty walk-up apartments and come visit here and there if I invite them.

I've never invoked the look-around-and-be-grateful-for-what-you-have-because-of-me tactic but at the same time it seems like if there's a war to be had they'll all sign up for it before they even realize what they're fighting for.  I know my reminder was far less than fair in the slightest. I was tired and fed up with the arguing and with everyone trying to either go or keep us home and it's just getting dumb now. I poured my drink on the lawn for Jake and Loch protested wasting the good stuff and I said my goodnights. I never heard a more morose and regretful chorus of goodnights back, peppered with some casual apologies that will be extended upon today, I hope. Because if you're going to say sorry, there shouldn't be anything offhand or serendipitous about it. It should be formal, deliberate and heartfelt.

Like me.

Who probably has no business going to this thing at all but I'm going to try anyway. Getting out of my comfort zone on the freak show took the same weird extension of courage. I'm not there yet but I will be soon and it would help if I had some support.

(I haven't even graced Caleb with an acknowledgment of his outright refusal to allow it. He doesn't get to choose either. This is ours and I'm not discussing it anymore with anyone, until it's time to pack.)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Break one thing and fix another.

I followed Sam right out to his car this morning, my pajamas still on, teacup in hand. He played Red and yanked the air conditioning up high and didn't say much as I sat and sipped my tea. He parked at the church and I followed him right into his office and sat down across from him and I took another sip and he laughed and asked who he should call to come and get me, because he had work to do and I was not only distracting but possibly gossip-inducing since I was obviously in pajama pants, a hello kitty t-shirt, no bra, messed up pixie hair and bare feet.

Um. Can I take your car and then come and get you later? 

Not today, Princess. 

(God. Rip my heart out with your Jacobisms, why don't you?) Okay, then PJ will probably be free to come. Or Loch. I looked out the window and when I looked back he had softened a little further.

How about this. We'll talk for thirty minutes uninterrupted and then you will be sent home so I can get on with my day, alright?


Though we could have sorted this out at home.

You wouldn't talk at home.

I didn't realize it was a huge deal. I don't think it's a healthy place for you to be right now?



When will it be a healthy place?

I don't know.

What if you went instead of August?

He sat back and took my teacup with him, taking a long sip, staring at me over the rim of the cup. That might not make it any better.

It's all just one big seething ball of jealousy, then, is it? Our collective.

Sometimes. I think it's inevitable, though some of the designs on you seem far more parental than romantic.

How do I sort out which are which?

You seem to be doing okay.

Yeah, until I get blindsided by a fatherly request for a one-off or something. You guys need to deal with your shit. 

A dynamic involving one woman we all adore and a dozen men is a recipe for disaster no matter how freewheeling or understanding we all are or proclaim to be. 

I daresay it doesn't extend to a dozen but thanks for making me seem like the whore-ly grail here. 

I daresay, Bridget, it extends far far beyond that and you just have no idea and oh my God the words you make up. 

My language goes well with my make-believe world, Sammy. 

Was reality so bad? 

Not until Jacob declined to remain in it. Once it blew apart there didn't seem much point in playing functional adult anymore, did there? I shrug. He's skating all over thin ice and I don't want him to break through right now.

I think you should go but with Ben and Loch and maybe someone less...volatile. 

I need a head shrinker on the run, Sam. That's a hard limit. 

Well then what about me? 

You said you weren't a good choice-

I'll bring Matt. Can we still get tickets? 

Oh, I can get you a ticket. 

You know people, right? 

No, but Batman does. And anyone he doesn't know Ben does. Or Dalton. 

See what you can do and I'll talk to Matt. Now who can I call for you? PJ? 

Loch's outside. Have a good day, Sam. 

You too, Bridge. How did you know Loch was outside?

I felt him get here. It's just a thing. 

That's a powerful thing, Bridge. 

Tell me about it. 


Oh, it's not God. It's me. I do this. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

That time Sam and Caleb stood on the same side of an argument but for different reasons.

Ha. Caleb has forbidden me to go to Nevada. That's ironic considering how many times he has taken me there, albeit not to Burning Man but to Las Vegas.

In a fun twist of fate, Sam also threw his dissent into the ring where we shone a spotlight on it, wondering what the hell it was. The crowd held silent before a collective gasp heralded the confirmation that yes, Sam is jealous of August and this isn't anything we didn't already know. Same show, different town every night.

Funnily enough, Caleb doesn't have any issues with August. His issue is with Duncan and I'm not all that surprised. Duncan makes everyone nervous when it comes to me. Well, everyone except for Dalton, I guess. And Ben who really isn't picky as long as I'm happy and I'm all, Jesus, Ben. Don't say that. You'll probably regret it forever. 

Ben insists that he wouldn't but preferably he would like to watch.

Watch what? I ask innocently and he laughs and tells me he hopes we all have fun.

Me too. Even though it seems like my reputation will probably arrive before I do. Great.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Virgin burn (Black Rock Baby).

Lived for lies, lived for tales
Lived for good and hit the rails
Love you boy with what I know
Hid that love up with my bones

Found the fire in the rain
Burning drops drowned all my pain
Listen to the oceans brawl
I’ll find you and then I’ll crawl

Pierced your arrow through my heart
Wanted me, now want me gone
In your hiding you’re alone
Kept your treasures with my bones
For Lochlan's fiftieth birthday this year, I'm taking him to Burning Man.

In three weeks.


We're freaks and it's fitting that the year we can go the theme is Carnival of Mirrors. I have always wanted to go. He was always on the fence about it so I pushed him off and got tickets after Christmas and played dumb until a couple of days ago when he started making noises about maybe going to New York for his birthday this year, since it's a big one. So I had to cough up my plans before he bought plane tickets.

August and Duncan have been helping me all along. They're going too. Ben isn't sure but if he does decide he wants to go Duncan will give him his ticket. If he doesn't want to go we'll make it a friendly foursome. Or something.


I've spent six months openly, verbally wishing I could go just to keep up a front and it WORKED! And now my head can happily explode. He was rather stunned and then so incredibly excited about it,  that for the second time in my sweet life I've pushed HIM out of his comfort zone instead of the other way around (the first time was this whole plural marriage thing but that wasn't me, Ben talked him into it).

It's going to be amazing.

It's going to be surreal.

It's going to be really, really dirty. I'm used to dismantling, cleaning and (let's face it) burning most of August's belongings when he comes home from BM each year. Wait until it's multiplied by four.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Still in bed. Busted out a Relpax (?) sample that says if the first dose hasn't worked in two hours, take a second. That doesn't give me much confidence at all. This is why I hate triptans.

This is also why I hate being a guinea pig. And headaches. I hate headaches.

Psycho Circus.

My phone went off at five this morning.

Ben grabbed it right over my head and answered with a swear word I've never heard used in quite that way. He grunted a bunch of confirmations and then repeated a time. Then he hung up and left the phone on his bedside table. He said to stay put today. That he was going to go help Caleb out for a bit and he got up right away.

He came back and woke me up later to say goodbye and I asked him what the hell he was doing. He said Caleb needed me to do a couple hours of work early and that it was important so Ben said he would do it, calling him on his urgency. Ben used to be an insurance agent of all things. He can find his way around an office. He wasn't concerned.

I think he wants me though, I told him and Loch's arm tightened around my hips.

Then I'll wear lipstick. Where is it?

I smiled. There's seventeen or eighty of them in the drawer in the bathroom. 

Any particular color I should look for? 

Something like a blue-red? Go big or go home, Benny. 

I would love to stay here but I'll be damned if he's going to summon you this early. Time to teach him a lesson. I'll just go with full makeup. Want to help?

Oddly I want to see what you can pull off on your own. 

He came out twenty minutes later looking like the fifth member of KISS. Lochlan took one look at him and burst out laughing so loudly I'm pretty sure we woke up everyone with our howling and I lunged for my phone to take a picture, which I promptly sent to the whole group with the title of Caleb's EA for today.

I forgot Caleb was on the group chat as well and he replied Lucky me

With a sad face emoji.


Sunday, 9 August 2015


Just when I think a dinner date is a death march or a life sentence or a big scary thing I should run from (I need large flashing cues) Caleb pulls out all the stops. The ones labelled charm, chivalry and Good Humanism and is sweet to me. Beyond sweet. Somewhat fatherly almost (SO CONFUSED).

He was good through dinner. He said he suspected I may be pharmaceutically enhanced and so he did not order wine or anything else, we had lemonade. And he asked me what I wanted so he could order for us. He asked for a short walk along the boardwalk after dinner and then he suggested an early night, that we both were tired and could use the rest and he released me into Loch's fiery gaze and protection at the stroke of nine o'clock.

Loch promptly poured us both a big scotch and we took them to the bathtub, Loch more riled than ever because when Caleb is nice and easy to deal with he is scarier than ever. But he wasn't scary, it's more as if he was disheartened that I was not looking forward to it and disappointed that I was afraid and so he made it as appealing as he could but cut it down to two hours/just a dinner in order to appease everyone involved.

Boy, that makes us wary. We trust few by default but it's easier if you don't play games in the first place, right?

This morning the money was in my account for Henry, With an equal amount for Ruth. He never fails to provide for both children when permitted to do so which is sweet and so I called him to thank him for being prompt and generous and kinder than usual last night.

I can be anything you need. 

Ha. Even you can't pull that off. 

Try me. 

Be Jake then. I hung up and wished I hadn't said that, because a) he probably could be and b) it's damned disloyal to Ben and Loch to feel this way all the time.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Pentobarbie Doll.

Good morning! Sense8 got renewed for a second season, Lochlan wasn't the least bit upset about sleeping alone (he didn't anyway) the night before last and Caleb's envelope was for tonight so...uh..I need a disguise and an alibi and possibly Nembutal.

(Oh and for those telling me Sense8 wasn't that great after seeing one or two episodes? Finish it. Profound and fun as fuck. And I'm NOT a Wachowski fan, truth be told.)

Caleb's request coincides with our monthly co-parent meeting in which we coordinate schedules, split costs, report on concerns and fill each other in on anything and everything concerning Henry. We make sure we're on the same page at all times, with regards to meals/friends/activities/rules/downtime and behavior.  We check in formally and nail it all down each month, every month. His idea was that we should have fun doing it. Get dressed up, have a fancy, multi-course dinner and spend the evening instead of sitting on hard stools at his kitchen counter going over dentist receipts and calendars under bright lights, a chore so far in this life.

It's hard to argue with that but in this house agreeing with the Devil about anything brands you a thief and a traitor and someone who should have her head examined. 

It has been. 

My head sits on a platter in the living room, if you're wondering. A living specimen being perpetually dissected, debated and debriefed. I won't need to bring it since it's usually busy or broken anyway. I was planning to float it in a barbiturate looking glass so that instead of having feels I could just have fun for once.

Of course it's wrong. Of course. But this week life I seem to be on a roll with doing things that way.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Psychic connections.

I'm watching Sense8 for the third time with Daniel, who wants to lie in bed in the air conditioned goodness of his and Schuyler's love nest and while away the hours in front of the television. Schuyler works a lot, Ben is completely disengaged and Daniel feels a little lost so I came to keep him company, trading my wet bikini for his pajamas in the safety of his walk-in closet and then snuggling down beside him in their bed where it was cool but so warm at the same time. He didn't want to show his pretty face today and so he doesn't have to. Sometimes he slips on the edge of his life too and we tie in and keep him from plummeting further. Lochlan is especially good with Daniel and maybe that explains why he's good with Ben too. But Loch is busy today so I'm it.

(Sense8 is perfectly amazing, by the way. A life-changing program. I adore it. It's on Netflix. It's worth the watch. Multiple times.)

We need food, Bridge. 

Chocolate and cuddles fix everything. I throw my arm across his chest and put my head down on his pillow.

So how do we get food if you're snuggling with me and I can't get up?

Call PJ. He brings me food in bed sometimes.

Over here?

Worth a try. 

He calls PJ. PJ answers and says fuck no, dude. 

Well, who else can we call? 


Schuy is receptive and promises to bring home takeout after work. Then he spends so long sweet-talking with Daniel while the television show waits on pause that the screen goes to sleep and then I do too. So warm. So worn out. Swaddled in almost-Ben. I can limp through the rough patch. I can make it. Just need one of Danny's mental-health days. Tomorrow will be better.

When Schuyler came home I was still out. They took their food to the dining room and ate, leaving me to sleep. They finally flagged Loch down and pointed out I wasn't going to be woken up if it wasn't an emergency and then they came to bed eventually and left me there still to sleep, the monkey in the middle. I woke up at seven-forty-five this morning and Daniel was up, in clothes with wet hair and Schuyler had gone again.

You missed some incredibly curry, little miss. And goddamn. I always forget how cuddly you are in your sleep. It's like spending the night with a magnetic octopus on speed.

Well, there's a description. 

I won't even tell you what Schuy said.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

(When I fall asleep at night I make up micro-stories in my head to keep it busy. This is one of my favorites.)

Love showed up just as my eyes were getting heavy. It was long after dark and I had little strength to show for myself. An ambush, if you will. At such a young age, one wouldn't think it would be possible but it chose me and I wasn't about to hide behind anyone.

A fight, it cried. To the death! On the count of three!

Three. I postured and angled and pretended to be a worthy adversary but truthfully I let it win. The terms of the fight, the prize, as it were was that it would control me for the rest of my life.

And it has.

I apologize for nothing. I played the game and I played it to lose. I have lost. The wounds it left will never heal. I am riddled with holes and will wear them proudly.

Was it worth it? You bet. If I had it to do over again I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Redefining happiness.

Love of two is one
Here but now they're gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on
When I came down this morning in my pajamas I found August and Lochlan sorting out (Don't Fear) The Reaper. Trading lines because it's very hard to sing it alone. They pick a song a week and perform the shit out of it to the point where everyone begins to complain but I love it so much. Any relief from Wednesday's turn toward a new song will be swiftly dashed by Saturday morning when the repetitiveness begins to wear on everyone.

Does Lochlan care? Fuck no. He's the Pied Piper and we're the townsfolk and I don't think that's ever going to change. The only difference is he doesn't pass the hat here, he trades in absolutes only. Shelter, food, affection, acceptance, patience and redemption.

What else is there?

Oh, there are other things, I think to myself as I look at my phone. A new message from Caleb and the only thing on the preview window is a picture of an envelope. He's joined the twenty-first century at last or maybe he was just too frustrated to waste time finding a real envelope to use because he doesn't have an assistant anymore to replenish his supply.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

August forth.

It feels like fall today. I am underslept, overmedicated and uncharacteristically clingy-feeling, as if I want to hide away, stop the world, gather arms close around me while I close my eyes and sleep for a whole day, maybe two until I can answer that stupid question without inexplicably tearing up.

How are you, Bridget?

It seems like such an innocuous thing but to me it's always a homing beacon or an invitation to say way more than fine in return. License to be honest. To be raw. A fork in the road that says Deal with how you feel right now and if you're successful we'll give you the map to the next part. That's how August plots out his counseling, you see. Each thing you deal with is a point on a map and the map is your life and he wants you to heal all along the way. More than once I have thrown a whole stack of papers up into the air and walked out, insisting that I am lost, that I'll never find my way back, and that he'll be waiting by the side of the road for a while still, I'm probably in a different but parallel universe. Go on ahead. Leave me here. I understand. 

But August asks me to shelve the drama I am concocting and to embrace the glorious east-coast-imposter wind as it ruffles through our hair, the sunlight as it dapples the leaves and and the cooler temperatures which promise level-headedness and easier sleep tonight. Things to look forward to, Bridget, he implores me and I know damn well he's right but I threaten the two days of sleep anyway as an unattainable reward. As a plan that I'll never fulfill because interruption is king. Distraction is the rule and Bob's your uncle. 

Wait, that isn't my phrase, it was August's, as he imitated Gage, who always says he can eat the whole _______ (whatever I put out for dinner) and Bob's your uncle. 

But what does that even mean? I ask, curious because I love words and I'm just beginning to figure a few of them out. 

He can't explain and he finds that funny and we all laugh because it's so absurd and yet I still feel like the sadness is right there on the other side of a door in my brain and if it gets windy enough the door will fly open by itself and I'll have to deal with what's on the other side so if it's all the same to you I'm just going to stay right here for a little while, spot marked on the map and when it's safe I'll move forward. 

Or not. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

(The sign had said 'For tune tell er' and I begged him for the answer. Which tune? Tell her what? Please explain, Lochie!)

Sometimes I think I just need to be reset. Not a single issue with my kidneys since I came back from the east coast or maybe the giant harsh antibiotics I finished in June did the trick. The younger Russian doctor is pleased and doesn't even bother mentioning his father's friends who do plastic surgery. Instead he takes my blood pressure, an action that makes it go up just by virtue of me looking at the cuff.

Stop moving, he commands and I am still.

One-twenty-nine over eighty-eight. He says blankly.

Is that good or bad? 

It's okay for now. I'll check again next week. 

He takes out the ear pieces and begins to pack up his bags. Mother of miracles,  I have a prescription for a new drug for my migraines that actually works. It's an NSAID. For all the triptan-pushing doctors in my life do it's nice to let them know a huge burst of potassium flooding my system at just the right time works better than anything I've ever tried. It's called Cambia and the only way I can remember that it is to call it Coheed & Cambia, which is dumb but if it works, then who cares?

Caleb figures I get the headaches because Ben picks me up by my head. I point out that's only been the past five or six years, I've had headaches since forever.

Well, it probably doesn't help then. He glares at me. He's worried and he's jealous and really, I can't help that. I have my own problems.

Don't let go
Don't let go
Don't let go
Don't let go
Don't let go
Don't let go
Don't let go

I climb up the steps and into the little camper. Lochlan follows. He smells like oil and sweat from fixing the motor (again) and he's filthy but he didn't want me to go home and go to sleep without seeing the finished result.

What do you think? He shows me the tiny kitchen area, pops down the table from the wall, and then steers me across the body of the camper to the 'bedroom' which is close enough that if the table is down you can stick your hand out and touch it from a lying-down position in bed. It's cozy and claustrophic and...and....PERFECT.

The bed has a beautiful crazy quilt on it. Which I'm one-hundred percent sure he stole from his mother's linen closet and will never admit it because I've seen it on their clothesline before.

Ooooh! The quilt! 

I knew you would like that. He smiles.

It's so neat in here! I want to live here!

Well, if all goes well, we will. He smiles more shyly now, like he has a secret. His eyes are almost black in the dark and he puts his arms around me and squeezes. What else do we need? 

A plant. 


No, a spider-plant. 

Okay. I will leave that up to you. We can put it outside on nice days and in the window on rainy ones. That's what I think he said, anyway. I don't know because he was kissing up my shoulder to my neck to underneath my ear and my heart was beating so hard I didn't think the camper would be able to contain it much longer. I wrap my hands up in the front of his shirt and brace for the full-body tremors as he reaches the sweet spot just under my jaw that almost makes me invariably burst into flames.

Oh. Yeah. That's it. BOOM.

He stands back up straight and welds our foreheads together. Green-eyed transfer of confirmations all around. This will happen and it will happen here. Soon. As long as we can hold out but soon.

My newly eleven-year-old completely unformed brain is yelling NOW NOW NOW NOW but only on the inside of my skull.

I wonder what his sixteen-year-old brain is yelling at him?

A head-on kiss feeds the fire and I no longer care about thinking or anything else for that matter. I'm glad breathing and heartbeats are automatic or I'd be dead right now. His strong hand comes up and holds my head just under that sensitive ear and he pulls away. I am breathless and ruined and so so happy to be alive right now right here. If this is love then I'm set. I never want to feel anything else or do anything else but be right here with him.

(Gosh. I wonder what he's thinking?)

But then he tells me and I don't have to wonder anymore.

I love you, Bridgie. 

But at the age of eleven I wasn't even sophisticated enough to know how to respond to this and so I whispered Yay! right into his mouth and he laughed and kissed me again and it took me days and days to remember that you always say it back and so I ran to the camper on a Thursday, late for dinner, rain pouring down, soaking me before I made it from my driveway to his. I threw the door open and he looked up and smiled from his seat on the floor, fixing a stuck cupboard door and I crossed to him, getting water everywhere and I threw myself down in his lap and kissed him hard.

I love you too, Lochlan. 

The grin he flashed still remains the biggest one I've ever seen him make.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

It's barely sunrise and my legs are already rug-burning as I am pushed to the floor and then brought up halfway up by Ben, his hands wrapped around my whole head, bringing me in close against him in a vice-like hold, keeping me there while he moved and I was held still. I dig my thumbs in against his hips and square my own hips until he throws his head back, making the most unholy groan, squeezing his hands together around my head.

 I don't fear for my life, just my skin. He takes a step back and lets go of his hold on me all at once. I rock backwards away from him, landing on my hands and knees. He rushes back into the hold, pulling me up to a standing position using my head, smoothing my hair and smiling down into my face like I was his greatest experiment and then he becomes very serious.

I'd like to kiss you but I don't think I'm going to. 

Lochlan laughs from amongst the quilts (where we thought he was still sleeping). Me neither. Possibly not for days. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015


I had an early morning walk with Sam, our sweaters and a thermos of coffee to share. Down on the beach so he could administer private Saturday-church and after church counsel to me in his own unique way. He's very good at what he does and contrary to popular Internet lore, not interested in sabotaging or slandering Joel, nor is he trying to win points with me. He never pressures, we just wind up in the same place and then he steers me to see things I wasn't even looking at before. I don't think it's self-serving and I don't know if you can judge him based on arguments you haven't even heard but I love the fact that the Internet tries to be protective of me now.

Sam makes me cry sometimes with his words. With the fact that he had a front row seat for all of Jacob and I and yet he doesn't use it as ammunition. He worries. Maybe I don't blame him for that, maybe I do but he has his own thoughts about me and I don't agree with all of them and yet he is loyal and true and my dearest friend if you're counting the ones I can talk to without censorship. I know that sounds weird but they all have their own loyalties and preferences that get in the way of objective advice and constructive criticism, or they are fairly blinded by their own inner preoccupations with me or with each other. 

I know. Tough crowd. 

I did not say this collective living would be a walk in the park. It's a walk on the beach but a rocky, windy one. I have to take my time and hold tightly onto hands as they are offered and watch where I'm going. 


Internet rumors are swell, aren't they?

After leaving Sam I spent the remainder of the morning with the geniuses at Apple (swollen MBP battery and fucked up logic board that magically started functioning right there and then, dropping the price from a thousand for the repair to two hundred!) and then came home and threw myself in the pool where I floated face down until it got dark.

So I missed all the drama where you decided that since I was gone for half a day several things must be happening. For instance:

  • I am pregnant.
  • Ben is drunk.
  • Ben has left.
  • Ben is a specific Ben and you think you know which one.
  • Lochlan is drunk or has left or is just an asshole, in case I didn't know.
  • I am sleeping with Sam.
  • I am sleeping with Duncan/Dalton/Daniel or August. Batman, John or Andrew. Gage. Keith. Matt! WTF. COREY. 
  • I died and no one has my password to tell you. 
Except none of those things happened! I was just face down in the pool. Internet, you make me laugh. And you make me cry.