Our baby was giving Bink new hope before it was even born.
When she came out of the Florence Nightingale Unit, she said the only aspect of her personality not destroyed by her illness was her abiding love of children. (There came a time when the vindictive daemon had a devastating crack at that too, but that was many long and hard winters ahead of us.)
She looked to the birth of her new sibling as to a world newborn.
She had seen, in a shop in Wimbledon, a bear bigger then the turkey Scrooge bought the Cratchits. It was a staggering £130. Show me a newborn who appreciates a teddy thrice the size of Tiny Tim, and I’ll give it back to King Kong before he misses his little treasure.
But Bink had set her heart on it.
For some reason now long forgotten, Bink was no longer studying further maths and physics as two of her four A level subjects as she had been Before the Unit, but had substituted Latin and Greek along with her English and single maths.
And B the U nobody ever had to motivate Bink to do anything: she was as driven as the snow in Narnia. If you wanted to introduce Mohammed to the mountain, there was no need to kick the holy prophet out of bed. Just put Bink behind the mountain.
All that fierce resolution had evaporated along with her health and happiness. I found myself urging her all the time. I can’t believe she’d lost the will: it was as integral to her essential Binkness as her whacky humour and incisive logic.
But powerful-enough chemicals can dissolve almost anything, including a person.
I did her a deal. Obviously £130 on a teddy bear is just plain loopy. But £30 an hour on a Greek tutor, if you could afford it, was pretty good value even in 2003. If said Greek geezer got you through a chapter of your text book in that hour he was probably cheap at the price. I can’t remember how many exercises there were to a chapter (half a dozen, perhaps?) but to my mind, £1 for the completion of a Greek exercise was pretty good value. To hers, £1 for an evening’s work that she had to do anyway was an absolute bargain.
She nearly did it, too. By the time I went into labour she was only about half a dozen exercises short.
I let her off the rest.
I was a bit too occupied to insist.
In the present day, matters have been coming to a head in the Atkins ménage.
Last week, Bink asked if I would be willing to attend her therapy session in the Priory. Pleased though I was to be invited, I had a pretty ugly hunch what this intimated.
She was beginning to drag her feet. More accurately, to panic.
She couldn’t go into the Priory without performing numerous whacky rituals on her room, otherwise she’d never be able to return to it.
And she couldn’t perform the rituals because she wasn’t well enough.
She was as trapped as the sinner who can’t be saved until he isn’t sinning any more and doesn’t need to be.
I shoved my anger in a bottom drawer, smiled beatifically (for someone hiding a seethe of anger in a bottom drawer) and said, of course I would.