Mugabe walks up to the UN podium stiffly, like the terrifying spaceman taken over by the Vashda Nerada in Dr. Who last week. I know I know…this is possibly not the most academic when it comes to serious political analysis but the Vashda Narada in Dr. Who live in the shadows, are deadly and are called the piranhas of the air, reducing anything that comes in to their path to bones and dust. A comparison has to be made surely. They have taken over and have feasted on any humanity left in Mugabe’s silk suit encrusted body and now are going on to reduce Zimbabwe to a pile of skeletons. . The walk gives it away.. (You’ll thank me for this when the truth comes out…)
I am very tired. Last week was difficult indeed. Someone I don’t know very well but am fond of, is very ill with a severe psychiatric disorder. I had imagined myself going to their house and helping her cook and clean whilst her partner finally got a break and went to work. I imagined I could ease things, help her rest let her poor battered boyfriend rest. I saw myself all sensible, coffee and cake, matronly ableness.
I was a being a bit of a twit.
Her illness makes her very paranoid and her thoughts go in basic circles that won’t release her. She is terribly frightened. Everything is personal; ‘ideas of reference’ I believe this is called. It is not possible to make a call, source a help line, talk to her boyfriend in front of her without making her more anxious. ‘What are you doing? What does it mean? What are you doing? What does it mean?’
She won’t let me help in the kitchen. She won’t eat properly, wash properly; she is hardly sleeping at night and not able to rouse herself in the morning. Her partner is exhausted and has taken so much time off work he worries he may lose his job. .
My presence causes stress but on Wednesday I get her to eat breakfast and then I run away to look for a local Citizens Advice Bureau. I find that there was one…but it shut 6 weeks ago due to lack of funding.
‘What do people in trouble, in confusion, do now?’ I ask the nice woman at the empty building’s reception.
‘Take leaflets…errr…that’s it really.’ She says. ‘I can offer you a solicitors appointment in August.’
I don’t want to but I head back to the house and the woman is a little more composed. We go and pay her rent; we go for a walk in the park and endlessly and on and on and around and around I try to reassure her, telling her over and over again what is happening, how people are trying to help her. She can’t believe anything I say. She is so frightened. Her partner comes home and I bolt.
At my older sister’s house, the vicarage in Staines, I sit with my back to the beautiful garden feeling sheepish and stupid. She watches me, saying nothing, as I rattle on angry, worried, defensive. I run out of words and she lets me come to my own understanding of the implications of the situation.
I become quiet. There is nothing more to be said.
My sister hugs me.