Late autumn into early winter, 2015
We had been praying for Bink, as a group, for a year that December. I thought life had taught me not to believe in prayer – interesting, then, that I still galvanised a group to pray for her – but looking back over that twelve months it was astonishing how much had changed.
She was living at home. No longer seeing Gatsby. Much better than she had been.
And how much hadn’t...
Ben had a new friend. Fortunately, working in a medical field.
I believe the very first (or possibly second) time she ever came to the house, we tested her sang froid to most people’s limits.
Christian has Type 1 Diabetes, and (specially in those days, before we’d got used to the fact that he needs several meals a day, unlike Atkinses who need can survive on one meal in several days) made a rare habit of life-threatening sugar-crashes.
Bink chose the same evening that Christian conked out cold on the floor in a near-coma, to grab a knife and threaten Alex with it.
No connection between those two events whatsoever.
Just, Bink was in a panic, needed the emergency services, last time an ambulance had been called for her she’d been compulsorily chemically conked out herself so understandably didn’t want any para-medics anywhere near her, and thought threatening her brother with a foot-long knife was the way to get the police instead.
Ben walked in with his new friend.
Run, I said, thrusting my purse at them. Sainsbury’s on the corner. Chocolate and orange juice.
I couldn’t go because I was on the telephone to the police.
It was, Serena said, greatly to her credit that she never turned a hair. Or asked why.
Just returned in under two minutes with the necessaries to save Christian’s life.
My life is studded with memories of Bink and crises.
Bink outside in the rain, in late November, standing on a garden chair, screaming and screaming till the police came. All I really remember is her feet, soaking wet, just socks on.
And Alex, calm and explaining that there are simpler ways of getting help than drawing a knife on someone.
And Bink explaining, much, much later that evening, that she couldn’t think of any other way, on the spur of the moment.
There is method in her madness – in everyone’s madness, presumably – and some sense: Alex is the one person you could draw a knife on, who wouldn’t go mad himself.
How wearisome it all is...
And Serena saying, if Ben’s new friend can cope with Ben’s brother-in-law having a sugar crash and Ben’s sister drawing a knife on Ben’s brother and Ben’s mother shoving money at her and saying, run for chocolate! and no other explanation given... well, she will make a good friend of the Atkins family...