Yesterday and today.
Bink is remarkable. For a junkie.
(Her description on Sunday. Not one I’ve used of her before, I don’t think.
Last week she said we – she and I – must tell each what we’re angry with one another about.
Go on then, I said yesterday afternoon, as we sat outside the Fort St George after Shaun and I had attended the funeral of a friend’s father.
You first, she said.
Well, you seem to have been the only person in my life who knew the damage drugs would do to me. And yet you didn’t prevent it.
Oh Bink! Oh my dearest dear Bink... Did I not try? Did I not do everything in my power? Do you not remember? The hospital lied to us, said we had no legal powers to protect you, it was fifteen years before I knew.
I have no idea why we didn’t challenge this. I am so sorry...
Of course you wouldn’t, she said quickly. How on earth would you know?
Don’t you remember how I shaved off a tiny sliver of each pill, more each day, after you came out, till they were nothing?
Yes, she said, but afterwards. When the GP put me back on them.
I don’t remember afterwards. Why can I not remember?
I’m sure you knew, she said.
I don’t remember.
And the cannabis, I said. When your friends, your shrink, your therapist did nothing to warn you off it, I told you over and over, most emphatically...
But why did you never sit down and explain?
Because I know nothing about drugs.
No, you don’t, she said.
I’m not a scientist. I told you all I know. That mind-bending drugs – legal or illegal – would wreck you.
But how did you know? How is it that you are the only person who knew?
Grandfather, I said, was a head master for many years. He worked a lot with children and parents. No one more so. He has a profound belief in what he calls a mother’s instinct. Perhaps we really do know more than anyone else. Perhaps we are connected, in way no father, no man can ever be.
Your turn, she said.
I had no idea how angry I was, until Bink gave me permission to be.
I don’t want to go through it all again, here, now, with you.
I didn’t stop for about half an hour. Shaun nodding off in the heat, by the river.
I was angry with Granddad, I said, for putting the booze before you children. But I didn’t know whether he could help it.
War-traumatised. Signed up at sixteen. Rose’s age: a child. All his friends blown to bits before his eyes.
Never had any help.
Never would have accepted it.
Booze his only refuge.
But you? I said.
You sit there, smoking a cigarette, knowing we hate it.
She put it out.
Bink I love you.
Who else would have let me be so angry, and not retaliated.
Are you still coming to my play tomorrow, I said.
Yes, she said.
Bink never makes a commitment.
But yes, she said.
She will be here this afternoon! She is bringing friends to my play: it is on again! (Please come, if you are nearby. https://bedfringe.com/events/stagewrite-bedfringe-2019-2/)
I must sign off. Buy clotted cream. Make fresh scones. We will sit in the garden. She is coming for the night, for the first time since Christmas.
Later, over the telephone, we were discussing someone else. Someone who has wronged us, and is asking for forgiveness.
For what it’s worth, she said, I only give forgiveness if I believe the wrong has been acknowledged.
See how I justified myself, and you didn’t?
You are far better than I am, after all.