August Bank Holiday 2015
The effectiveness of the Good Cop Bad Cop approach is that you never know where you are. We all love to let down our guard, relax and open up with someone we can trust.
Then wham! The Bad Cop clobbers you when you are vulnerable.
Sane Girl Mad Girl.
Is Ophelia nuts? Is Hamlet? Look how lovely she is: how lucid, he.
Drowned in a pool. Running a rapier through an arras.
Very few people (I imagine) are mad all the time.
That summer, at the end of August 2015, we had a family party.
Would Bink turn up? Would she stay?
We have all, every single member of the Atkins family, known what it is to hope, and hope, and hope. Each one of us, at some stage, has probably thought he or she has personally had the breakthrough that has turned Bink’s life around.
So you learn, or try to, not to hope too much.
(Or, like Alex, you are born Aspergic so you have objectivity sturdy as a hollow oak all around you.)
Not something I am very good at.
She turned up, to that party, in a stunningly fitted red dress she had bought specially for it. Charmed everyone. Was completely sane.
And then went back to Gatsby.
Wham. Mad again.
Take this week.
I am full of hope. She has rung me three times in four days. Been entirely articulate each time.
Rose’s French exchange friend has been here for a week. Yesterday was her last day. We had long planned to go to Cambridge, see Bink, go on the river. Bink can take Rose and her friend into her college, and use a college punt.
But she wasn’t up to it so we didn’t.
Yesterday. Rang. Are you all coming to Cambridge?
See? Completely sane.
It was too late for me to change my plans, so I put Rose and her friend on the bus and spent all afternoon wishing I were drifting down the Cam.
She’s now told me of this brilliant shrink she believes in. He heads up treatment she thinks could be just right for her. I will spend many dozens of hours, over the next weeks, battling to get her referred to it.
Full of hope.
That September, 2015, I wrote to her prayer group:
I had a dream. Funnily enough it was quite a happy one, at the time. We were at a fair. Bink was there, excited, happy, buying things: she had just bought herself a smart little tan leather jacket, which suited her; she bought herself some little plastic children’s games, on sticks. She was happy. She was with us. She was smaller than Rosie.
And she was a child. Not a real child, not in a child’s body, but in her adult woman's body, but with a child's mind. I thought, “This is how it's going to be now, from now on.”
I also thought, “Other people have disabled children born to them, with learning difficulties. She could have been born like this. Get used to it.”
(Yes, but their children don’t tantalise and torment them with occasional glimpses of brilliance...)