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All That Summer She Was Mad

by Caroline Davies

All this summer I have been Ginny’s jailer. The doctors say her condition is not that serious — bipolar disorder they call it. I disagree with the doctors. I am frightened for her and of her. For better, for worse and this is definitely the worst it has ever been — never known her so bad. She tells me the birds are singing in Greek. That is the trouble with a classical education it develops the mind and intellect at the expense of all else.

I look after her at home although it is harder than anything I have ever done. Keep asking the doctors ‘isn’t there anything more you can do?’ Don’t want her sectioned, that is the trouble. The only solution they can offer is to have her locked up in some secure unit for the mentally disturbed. I don’t want her to end up there. I have to force her to take her drugs though. At least with the cat I can force its jaws open and flick them in. With Ginny I have to coax and cajole. The threat of a secure unit usually works.

Thank goodness the office don’t mind me working at home.

The doctors offered a new drug last week. Had to agree to take part in a clinical trial. I’d agree to anything to have the old Ginny back. I want my old life back too. It quietened her down. She’s stopped raving — don’t know what else to call it.

We have breakfast together. She doesn’t throw anything at me or shout. She wants to go out into the garden to plant bulbs, how lovely it will be to see them coming up next spring. I’m reading the Sunday paper watching her at work, her hands in the soil. This feels good. This feels like a normal life.

I can’t see her anymore. No need to panic. She is probably further down the garden. I make myself walk. The door of the potting shed is open. A note is pinned to it. ‘Gone to the River’.

I’m running now. Out of the back gate and on to the footpath. Can’t see her. Damn how could I have been so idiotic? All that talk of spring just a decoy.

The grass is too long and I keep slipping. Slow down. Mustn’t fall over. Where is she? Where the hell is she? The bridge. The old wooden bridge. She is going to jump.

“Ginny. Wait.” Can’t get the breath to speak.

“Whatever is the matter?”

“I thought.” Gasp for breath.

“I thought you were going to do something stupid.”

“Kill myself? Like my namesake?”

Her throat is long. I can see all her teeth as she laughs and laughs. The bitch. The note was a trick. I lunge at her wanting to smash the triumph off her face. The side of the bridge gives way leaving a splintered edge. She is still laughing when she hits the water but it doesn’t sound like laughter anymore.

Copyright © 2006 by Caroline Davies

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