Saturday 14th March 2015
How to sum up Bink’s new, surreal state of mind succinctly?
I was reminded of David Storey’s, Home... except that my memory of the play is that you think the inmates are all sane.
Alex, Bink and I were driving to Cambridge on Saturday afternoon for a concert.
I was talking to her about this and that.
Suddenly the atmosphere changed like a Mongolian sky. Balmy summer’s day to evil storm in moments.
What are you thinking?
I’m thinking I won’t come back with you tonight.
I don’t feel safe.
Silence for an hour.
We couldn’t get her out of the car.
The minutes to the concert were ticking by.
No sound out of her at all. No facial expression. Nothing.
With infinite patience, Alex teased it out of her over the next half hour:
I had said something illogical which made her feel we were all as mad as she is.
That evening the mutism returned.
Four of us – Serena, Christian, Alex and I – up till 2.30 on Sunday morning. Trying to unlock the words. Trying to guess, supply the meaning, work out what was trapped in her mouth, stuck to her tongue, to make any sense at all.
If this wasn’t causing you so much distress, Serena observed, it would be a great parlour game.
The right person had to ask exactly the right question with exactly the right words, with no clues other than eye-movement from one to another, an almost imperceptible nod if we get it right and acute distress if we get it wrong.
Then, suddenly, after forty minutes of trying, someone somehow manages to decode the secret – somebody had said something which had upset her – and she could talk normally again.
Until the next blockage which could be only minutes off.
I have used the word heartbreaking too often in this blog.
I had only had four and a half hours’ sleep since Thursday, and was coming down with the ’flu which had put Shaun in hospital.
The next day, Serena said let’s not to do that again.
Stay up half the night. I’ll explain to Bink. Never again. If she can’t speak, she can’t. But we resolve matters by day.
Over the next few days we had conversations like this for hours:
Me: You have my full attention. You wanted to talk to me. What do you want to say?
Bink: You’re ignoring me.
Bink: You’re not listing to me.
Me: How am I not listening to you?
Bink: How I just said.
Me: How was that?
Bink: I just told you.
Me: What did you tell me?
Bink: What I said.
Me: What did you say?
Bink: I told you.
Me: What was that?
Bink: I said.
Me: Lara, give me some help here. What did you tell me?
Bink: What I said before.
Ben: Lara, she doesn’t know what you said before. Can you tell us what it was?
Ben and Me: What was it then?
Bink: Ask me.
Ben: Ask you what?
Bink: Ask me, that.
Both of us: What did you say before? Is that what you want us to ask you?
Both: Ok. What did you say before?
You wouldn’t believe this extend for half a day, but it could.
Like the mutism.
If I thought it profitable to be angry, I wrote to my prayer group, I would be angrier than I’ve ever been about anything in my life before – except possibly Rachel Nickell’s murder – that a “friend” could watch someone get this ill...
And not tell her family.
Over several years.