Calm Carl

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Erica and the 18 hours

Were you not there?

Did you not see?

I’m sorry I just assumed you were.

It began calmly, just a passing comment really. “I think it’s started.” Is what I heard.

Calmly, that’s how it started.

A mellow fear, creeping calmly across my nervous system.

Stopping me from falling over.

Checklists in my head, slowly being ticked.

Helpful voices, drifting through the thickening fog.

That was my mind.

Nothing was happening to me.

But my mind was busy.

Should you, could you?

How could I help?

Should I, can I?

I tried to feel your rhythm.

And join you.

Share each moment, feel your pain.

I timed each movement with your words.

And smiled with the fear in your eyes.

Then it began again.

A new serenity entered the space.

A new joy that brought it’s own light.

And made you separate.

Which I knew might happen, could happen.

Did happen.

But I wasn’t really ready.

And I faltered.

Stumbled blindly, feeling useless.

Unable to make the slightest difference.

But love shone through

And took the pressure

So I had a breather.

Just a break, a little nap

But the experts

With their knowledge

Said that you were; doing fine.

It changed, well, not really, it continued.

Truth be known. It got more intense.

Slightly deeper.

But the experts said you were: doing fine.

So I continued calmly.

Watching, listening, checking lists.

Rubbing, pressing, fetching, waiting,

Staying calm and smiling widely.

Ignoring all my worries.

Denying all your pain.

Never showing any fear.

At least I didn’t think I did.

Then the experts

With their knowledge

Decided you weren’t; doing fine.

Fifteen hours had passed already.

A change of scene

Would do you good.

I can’t remember if there were sirens

But I remember

How sure you were

On what to wear, and that you

Were going to walk


All those stairs.

And you did

And I walked in front

In case you stumbled

Then you realised where you were

And that was funny

But we travelled in style

Nervous as kittens

The calmness was leaving

You were relinquishing



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image illustrating Erica and the 18 hours

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