On Doctor's Orders

Entry by: Wren

27th January 2017
20th February

My psychiatrist has asked me to keep a journal. I told her nothing ever happened to me.

“Just jot down your thoughts and feelings.” She said.

This afternoon a thick fog crept up from the loch and surrounded the house. I felt marooned.

27th February

He said he was doing a survey of the wetland birds. He wore a funny woolen hat and one of those camouflage jackets that anglers wear. He had binoculars too, of course, and some kind of telescope on a tripod that he carried on a shoulder strap.

Our house has wonderful views over the loch. It’s why we moved here – that and all the space for the girls and Tyson to run about in.

He said that the little jetty at the bottom of the garden would make a good vantage point. I was happy to let him go down and have a look. He said he would come once a month, if that was alright. I had butterflies while I watched him make his observations and write his notes.

27th March

It was such a cold day that I invited him in to warm up. It’s so long since I’ve had some company. When the girls were little I used to take them to a playgroup in the village and chat with the other mums. But now that they’re at school I can go the whole day without seeing a soul.

I was surprised how young he was when he took off that awful hat and jacket. I couldn’t help reaching up to straighten his hair. He laughed and blushed. Tyson growled and barked, so I shut him in the utility room. Clive says it’s good to have a guard dog since the house is so isolated, but I find him a bit of a handful at times.

I heated up some soup and he let me look through his binoculars. He said his name was Robin, which made me laugh, since he was a bird watcher.

24th April

Robin said that he had been climbing a fence to get a better look at a Kingfisher when he cut his hand on some barbed-wire. There was blood everywhere. Tyson was going nuts – they say the smell of blood does that to some dogs- so I shut him away again.

Of course, as a mother I have all the first aid gear - the antiseptic and the plasters. It was a bit of a mess. I offered to run him up to casualty to get a tetanus jab and maybe a couple of stiches. But he said he wouldn’t think of bothering me further.

It was nice that he was so grateful. The girls seem to think it’s my role to chauffeur them about and pick up after them. And Clive treats me like a skivvy.

29th May

What an awful start to the day! The alarm didn’t go off and Clive was late for work. He snapped at me, as if it was my fault. I had to hurry the girls along and decided to give them breakfast in the car on the way to school. Charlotte spilled milk on the back seat. Then it started to rain and I got drenched walking them from the car to the school gate. Running back to the car I tripped, ripped my tights and skinned my knee.

I had just got in, when Robin knocked on the door. I had forgotten he was coming. When he asked if I was alright I burst into tears. It felt so comforting to bury my face in his rough jumper. He rubbed my back and said “there, there…” I can’t remember the last time Clive gave me a hug.

He cleaned my knee and put a plaster on it. “Role reversal!” he said with a wink.

26th June

The first day of the school holidays and for once it was warm and sunny. Even the Loch joined in, reflecting the azure sky to pull off a convincing impersonation of the Med. I blew up the paddling pool for the girls and pulled a lounger out of the shed. Since we are going to Majorca in a few weeks’ time, I decided to get a head-start on the tan while the girls splashed about with Tyson.

When Robin appeared around the side of the house, Tyson started to bark and growl. The girls pulled him back by his collar, laughing and calling him a bad dog. I shut Tyson in the house and brought out a big jug of home-made lemonade. I had pulled a sarong over my bikini, but I could feel Robin looking at me. It was nice to be admired in that way. Clive never gives me a second glance.

Robin said it was great we had House Martins nesting under the eaves. He told the girls how they build their nests with mud and spit. Clive moans about the mess they make.

31st July

Six years in a row we’ve come to Puerto Pollenca. Clive didn’t even consult me when he booked the holiday.

“I like it here.” was how he responded when I said it might have made a change to try somewhere else.

The girls sided with him, saying how they love the hotel pool and the beach – but they’ve never tried anything different. I don’t even know why he comes on holiday. He spends most of the time on his Blackberry. When he does peel his eyes off the screen, it’s usually to ogle one of the girls who sunbathe topless. As if they’d give him a second glance with that gut.

I realised with a jolt that Robin would be visiting our jetty today. I wouldn’t see him for another four weeks. It felt like an eternity. I got a G&T from the poolside bar to calm my nerves.

“Bit early isn’t it?” said Clive, as if he hadn’t already sunk three San Miguels.

I picked up a little pottery robin in the flea market. I thought it would cheer me up, but it just made me miss him more.

28th August

I’d only intended to have a bit of fun flirting with Robin. I put on the daringly short new dress that I had bought to show off my tanned legs. But as soon as he walked through the door I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. I think I was as surprised as he was.

We made love in the guest room. It didn’t seem right to use the master bedroom. He was so…well, enthusiastic. Clive makes love to me as if I am another chore to tick off his “to do” list. I think I rank somewhere between putting the bins out and taking the dog for a walk.

After he had gone I let Tyson out of the utility room. He ran straight to the guest room, barking and sniffing. I put the sheets in the wash, but he was agitated all day. Clive took him for a walk when he got home.

“Big dogs need lots of exercise.” He said.
"I’ve been training him. If anyone threatens you, just say ‘Kill Tyson’ and he’ll go for them!”

25th September

Robin wouldn’t come into the house. He’d obviously prepared his little speech. I could hardly take in what he was saying. How could he think what we had done was wrong? He wouldn’t come again, he said. He has swapped his survey area with a colleague.

I reached out to him, but he pulled back, turned away and walked down toward the loch.

It felt as if the whole World was retreating from me. Not just Robin. I threw myself on the sofa and couldn’t stop crying. Tyson jumped around me, whimpering and barking. I told him to be quiet. That I wasn’t well. But nothing would shut him up.

“I’m ill Tyson,” I told him, and put him out into the garden.

26th September

I felt like I was in a dream when the police called, as if the fog had somehow got inside the house. One of them, the man, said that they had recovered a body from the loch. It was awful. I asked if there was a murderer about, but they said most drownings were accidents. He said that there were animal bites on the body.

“They may have been inflicted post mortem, of course.” He said looking over at Tyson. “We’ll have to wait for the pathologist’s report.”

The woman asked if Tyson was ever let out unsupervised. I told them I had let him out for a couple of hours the day before.

“He can get under my feet.” I said.

27th September

It was a shock to read Robin’s name in the paper. There was a grainy photo under the headline “Naturalist Drowns.” It seemed like part of the dream.

28th September

The Police came again. They asked me if I had seen Robin on the day he died. They went down to look at the jetty, when I said he used it. The pathologist told them that although he had drowned, the animal bites were consistent with someone trying to defend themselves. They took Tyson away for tests.

Clive was furious when he got home and wanted to know why I hadn’t stopped them. I kept crying and so did the girls. They’re upset about the dog, of course, and they all think I am too.

29th September

I found his funny wooly hat in the reeds. I washed it and dried it and put it away in a drawer with the newspaper cutting and the little pottery robin.

30th October

The new ornithologist knocked on the door today. He has kind blue eyes. It was such a cold day, I invited him in to warm up. It was nice to have some company.