Friday 13th March 2015 [Cont]
Try this exercise.
If you want to feel a little of what it was like to have Bink home at last, that day, try this with a friend. If no one is to hand – or you are embarrassed to share the experience – your own reflection in your bathroom or bedroom will have to do.
You have an urgent message to convey. The house is on fire. Or there are burglars with knives coming through the window. Or you are very, very frightened for any reason you like. A huge spider. A ghost. Extreme and excruciating pain.
You must communicate this. You must tell the other person. (Or your own self.) You are desperate for help. The urge to speak is almost overwhelming.
In fact, it is overwhelming. So overwhelming that you can’t use words. Or gestures. Or sounds.
You may open your mouth as if to speak. You can jerk as if to gesture. Your throat might emit glottal stops.
Try it. Now. For just a few minutes.
See how distressing it is? How exhausting?
Then imagine it for hour after hour after hour.
Day after tortured day.
I had never been in the presence of mutism before. It is quite unspeakably – of course – distressing.
My little group had been praying for Bink for barely weeks, in all her years of pain. Already, God had answered our prayers in a way I hadn’t dared hope.
I had been so worried, so frightened that somewhere deep in my heart, in my desire to help my daughter, I wished harm on Gatsby. In order to have Bink free.
Some accident... some illness... some mishap.
And now she was free without any harm coming to him at all. That I knew of. At the time.
I arrived in Cambridge at lunchtime that Friday, as requested. She was almost ready, waiting for me, as promised. She was coming home... for a few days, at least.
She and Gatsby had simply fallen out.
Perhaps this could have been predicted? When a relationship is that destructive, to both, perhaps it is bound to implode?
Or perhaps it can drag on for years and years and years, doing damage to all in contact with it.
The downside, of course, was that they could fall back in again...
That evening we sat together round the kitchen table.
At Bink’s request, we’d invited neighbours over for a bottle of wine and a crackling friendly fire. Followed by an impromptu supper.
Somebody said something and suddenly we were laughing again, as you only really can if you have Ben at the table. So much that I thought the room must burst its seams.
The next moment, quick as an eel turning, she couldn’t speak. Couldn’t smile, couldn’t communicate, could only look intently at Alex like a captured mute pleading silently for help from her only friend. I had been warned of this, and told the only thing to do is hug her... but she became very agitated at the gesture of a hug.
After her call at 1.30 that morning I hadn’t slept again at all, and was tired enough to shoot myself.
The boys sent me to bed.
Much later Alex came and got me up again because she was able to speak once more and wanted to say goodnight.