It was bound to happen.
Bink adores Rose. She had promised to visit again very soon. She wasn’t allowed to without contacting Rose’s parents.
And therefore, her own.
Who knows how long it might have been, without this incentive? But one Wednesday afternoon in late February, having not spoken to any of us apart from Rose since the previous November, Bink contacted Shaun at work again.
Wed, 26 Feb 2014
I’m coming to see you this evening to talk about visiting Rosie. I’m bringing Jay [Gatsby] - not to influence the conversation, just to make me feel better. We'll bring sleeping bags.
How Bink has dominated our family!
For the rest of that afternoon the emails whooshed back and forth between at least five of us. (Serena had long asked to be excluded from communications about Bink: she found them too distressing.)
How to make her feel welcome without inviting him. What was most constructive, and fair, and helpful.
Should the meeting be in a public place, to make her more comfortable?
Would she come at all, if Gatsby wasn’t welcome.
After a dozen or so of these:
I'm not sure email is the best medium for discussing this issue. Please could we form a committee so we can talk about it properly?
Good idea. I’m not quite sure of the correct procedure for proposing that. Could we form a committee to appoint someone to look that up?
(Ben, piss off.)
Most pertinent of all perhaps, how to get a message back to her? Lost though the love wasn’t between us, we didn’t want Gatsby driving all that way, only to be left on the doorstep.
But Bink doesn’t really do being contacted.
I tried everything. Not answering her telephone. Of course. Or responding to texts.
I was adamant – I don’t think anyone disagreed – that we mustn’t contact her the easiest way: via Gatsby.
This was between us and her.
We were absolutely not playing that game.
All we could use was the medium she had.
We would love to see you. I will be free from about 7 pm and Anne earlier.
Sad to say, Jay is not welcome here. Is there anyone else who would make you feel better? For instance, Christian or Ben? Alternatively we could ask [Helen her therapist; or her best friend] or Alex, though obviously we can't answer for any of them until we've asked them. We would like to do all we can to make you feel comfortable.
If this will make it difficult for you to get here without a lift, Ben can pick you up. He is free to leave Bedford at 4.30; assuming you are [at Gatsby’s] and the traffic isn’t too bad, he would probably reach you at about 6. Please let us know what you would like to do.
You don't need a sleeping bag, of course. We will happily make your room ready for you.
All our love,
Shaun and Anne.
Rev S Atkins
No reply. Knew she wouldn’t receive it.
So I threw the Yale lock on the front door, to prevent Gatsby from just walking in.
Both of them.
I’m really sorry, Gatsby, but we haven’t got time for you this evening.
Stunned. Shock. Haven’t time?
(Haven’t seen Bink on her own for a long while. This is just family... surely most people could have worked this out?)
His next comment said it all.
Turned to little Bink. Utterly confident in her answer. Without him there to protect her. Against her evil family.
You surely don’t want to stay, Bink?
Through and through.