On balance, it was just as well I rang the police.
Breakfast time, Facebook message from a friend, Bink is here. Sleeping. Safe.
Odd thing: I had said to her hostess the previous evening that his was the only place where she could end up. I couldn’t think of anyone else she still knows.
Why didn’t I contact him? I’ve no idea. Too tired and confused, presumably.
She had told him, after staying with him for twenty-four hours, the police seem to be trying to contact me.
(So she can receive calls and texts... If not from me.)
Obviously the same bright blue spark who had rung me after midnight. Sent her a bunch of messages from a withheld number, with no number to ring back on.
So her friend made her ring 111, to tell them she was safe. And then in the morning he sent me a message, so we’d know too.
You can ring me any time, he wrote.
Thank you, I replied. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.
I’ll ring you.
She had turned up on Tuesday, cheerful and happy as if paying a social visit.
How long are you staying, Bink?
Probably take you three years to get rid of me. Ha ha.
No, Bink. You can stay a couple of nights.
She does this, every two or three years, he tells me. Just send me a text if she’s missing. Save you ringing the police.
Why why why why why?
She had the perfect set-up.
Kind people to live with.
In Cambridge which she loves.
No demands on her.
Perhaps that’s why, Serena said.
I’ve done anger before. (So rude to the hostess who is giving up so much for her. Just walk out: no word. So wasteful and unkind to us. To everyone.)
Doesn’t get you anywhere, anger. Except that it’s a lot more bearable than grief. Similar squandering of energy, though.
Serena is angry.
I honestly have no idea how much she can help it, I argue.
I heard snippets of her conversation with Alex, Serena says. Most of it seemed to be, Do you think the police can find me? How can I ensure they can’t?
(So that’s why she rang him. Wanting to know if technology could trace her.)
You don’t do that, Serena says, if you just need a bit of time to yourself.
No, I agree. You tell your hosts, I need a bit of solitude. I’m going away for a few days. No need to worry about me.
You only do that if you want to cause disruption. She’s doing it to get attention, Serena says.
But she can have all the attention she wants!
No she can’t. You’ve only been talking to me for two minutes and already you’ve had to break off to take a call from Grandfather, upstairs.
At which point Serena breaks off for far longer, to respond to her toddler and instruct her au pair.
What is she running from? What does she want?
Even Bink doesn’t have any answers.
And God isn’t telling.
I want to shake her.
No, I don’t. I want to go and see her. Take her out for tea.
Say, Bink, wake up!
You mourn the loss of the past. But you’re throwing the present away. And with it, the future.
Will she see me? Will she just run further, if I try?
Given the text she sent me today, I doubt if she’ll have anything to do with me for a while. We’ve been here often before, too. Seems to come completely out of nowhere.
Will I ever be able to say, this is Bink’s life to throw away? Can a mother, ever?
Will I ever be able to give up?