flatten the curve

My boyfriend likes to be on the bottom. The bottom of the swimming pool that is.

When we go swimming at the local pool we sometimes end up sharing one lane, with me swimming on the surface and him gliding along the pool floor. He likes it down there as it’s nice and quiet. I like it too. I like that due to our difference in speed he tends to glide along underneath me at different points during each lap. I like that when we are moving in opposite directions it still feels like we are connected. I like the bubbles he blows out as he passes underneath. I like when he comes up for a lap along the surface and we’re swimming directly towards each other, it’s like a game of swim-chicken except there’s no concern about who will move as we both know he’ll wait until the final moment to take a sharp inhale and dive below, scooting underneath me like a playful sea-lion pup.

As you can imagine, this all gets much trickier in the shallow end! Yet, passing in the shallows is my favourite; because we’re closer. We are trusting that the other is going to keep on their path, flatten their stroke, stream-line their body, get as close as possible without actually touching. Sometimes I slide my hand along his back to give myself a little push along and because ultimately, even while swimming, human touch is important. Being close is crucial, narrowing distance between the me and the you is the most instinctual act of all: intimate, friendly, healing, necessary.

Our last pool swim was a few weeks ago. With all UK gyms and pools now closed due to the new treacherous super-virus we are missing the pool, missing our swims. During our last swim we knew the pool was closing that night and knew it would be our last swim for an indefinite amount of time. As my sea-lion-man went gliding along the bottom of the pool that night, a few metres beneath me in the deep end, my desire to reach out to him was heightened. As pub doors close I feel thirstier. As restaurants shut up shop I feel hungrier. As my 70-year old mum started her self-isolation with my brother backing down her hallway without a goodbye hug because he just received a call from a colleague with symptoms, I feel her sudden tension, palpable across the globe.

Flatten the curve? Yes. Of course. We must flatten the curve of this virus; stay at home, follow the guidance, protect lives.

And. We must also flatten the curve of isolation. We must maintain connection. We must realise that connection is akin with, yet not dependent on, touch.


stay side by side;

glide along the bottom, float along the top

aware of each other in arms reach

flatten your stroke, streamline your body

allow the water to hold you up

distant yet always connected

even while moving in opposite directions

We must ultimately trust that this cruel game of virus-chicken is in no way stronger than our connections, patterns which run deeper than touch.


Who do you find adorable? Or, what do you find adorable? Or, where?

Also, why?

“I adore you.”

“She’s so adorable.”

“What an adorable house.”

“Oh my god, that puppy is friggin adorable.”

I’ve started to notice a certain feeling when I use the word ‘adorable’, an uppity energy. For example, an adorable person makes me want to jump up and hug them, ruffle their hair, praise their sweetness to the world. Adorable puppies beg to be squeezed. Adorable houses ask for every nook and cranny to be explored and lived in; every window seat to be read on. There is a certain reverence to it, and a spark; it’s hard to sit still with adorable.

The word ‘adoration’ is Latin in origin – ‘adoratio’, meaning “to give homage or worship to someone or something”. Over time and though cultures, this worship has taken on different forms. The Ancient Romans would perform adoration by raising their hand to their mouth, kissing it and then waving it in the direction of the adored subject/object. Initially this was an act reserved for paying homage to the Gods, then the monarchs received the same recognition.

It seems a kiss was symbolic of adoration across cultures, also being used further throughout the Middle East, whereby Persians would kiss the knee of their adoree, often a prince, and then fall to the floor, kissing the ground and striking their forehead on the earth. This painful version has the taste of Martyr-adoration.

Of course by now you will recognise the common custom in Western Europe also involving a kiss – a kiss to the sovereign’s hand, a gentleman’s approach to that person whom he adores or worships; a custom fading.

So, what of adoration now?

Who do you find adorable and how do you adore?

A quick Google search of “adorable images” would suggest that rather than gods or princes or any deity or sovereign, it would appear that we now pay homage to puppies and kittens. Should we survive the current environmental mess then the next generations may very well believe that we made dogs our gods and cats our royalty. Can I make a leap to suggest that we have come to worship nature, all souls and beings. But in particular, puppies and kittens.

Okay, fair enough. Carry on.



Quiet Night

There’s such a quiet emptiness around, that almost anything at all could fall into it.

The possibilities of fullness are endless. Also, the possibilities of nothingness are frighteningly never ending: an eternal abyss.

Of course, nothing remains a constant. Eventually the emptiness will be filled, whether by accident or intent. A thing, previously outside of the emptiness will fall over, knock itself in, like a magnet, find its new place; its new begin.

Then chaos will commence:

desired chaos;

a shift

a shadow

a light

There’s such a quiet emptiness around, that almost anything at all could fall into it.

Ode To A 6 Year Old

Raffy pic

Like a child I’ve turned my back on darkness; refuse to look at loss. Instead, I choose to play.

I want to make pretend trains from recycled cardboard boxes, power them with fart noises and leave trails of homemade fluoro goo on all the armchairs.

I want to jump so high on a trampoline that my skin scrapes the sky and my bounce sends you flying high in triple, your delightful squeals matched by mine; we bond. You fall and roll to one side, then just as quickly back again; unpredictable.

In the summer heat of the afternoon we lay on our backs in the cool of the lounge room, faces upturned. We photo-filter ourselves into scary dragons, light-filled faeries, alien heads; your giggle so infectious.

At 6, your giggle holds all the wisdom; your heart so huge you can’t contain it; an over-excitement, a shared joy.

When we have to say goodbye, we cannot bear it; we giggle and wiggle away.

Like a child I’ve turned my back on darkness; refuse to look at loss. Instead, I choose to play.


For RJB and all my little people far away xx


Intersection of Politeness




“behaviour that is respectful and considerate of other people; the practical application of good manners.”

As you drive into Frome, the small town were I live in southern England, you will come across an intersection I have taken the liberty of naming The Intersection of Politeness. To locals it makes complete sense and epitomises the generous, compassionate nature of the town. Visitors however likely call it The Intersection of Oh Shit Have I Paid My Car Insurance. It has no roundabout, no stop sign, no lights; it simply relies on the great British tradition of over-politeness. It is my morning entertainment and my morning coffee; the moment I truly wake up on my drive to work, smiling and wondering who will turn into the oncoming traffic first, them or me.

It has started me thinking about politeness, and over-politeness, and the need for direct eye contact.

A little bit of explanation. As Bath Road heads down a hill towards the town centre, you can choose to turn right into Welshmill Road, usually a straight-forward driving scenario. At other similar intersections if you were turning right you would give way to the cars driving straight ahead in the opposite direction, waiting for a gap in traffic so you could turn right, right? And, if you were turning out of Welshmill, you would give way to all overs on Bath Road, waiting your turn in simple T-intersection-rule fashion. Right?

No, incorrect. This is not the way to function at the Intersection of Politeness.

You see, the thing is, traffic is so heavy (by Somerset standards), and the people so generously polite, they don’t want to leave you sitting there in the intersection for too long, blocking up the street. People turning right into Welshmill sometimes sit and flash their flights at those turning right out of Welshmill, indicating for them to go first. People minding their own business driving straight up from town sometimes flash their lights at those waiting to turn in front of them to go right into Welshmill, indicating for them to go first. And sometimes, people flash back at those who are flashing at them, in a ever-increasingly-confusing-handball-of-politeness, resulting in nobody really knowing who is going first, or what the traditional rule was to begin with. I am starting to lose all sense of traditional road rules, like my muscle memory for driving has become irreversibly confused and can’t find its way to the indicator lever. Once I saw three cars all turning simultaneously at the “wrong” time, weaving between each other, musically avoiding a build up of cars amongst three sets of flashing headlights.

It’s incredibly dangerous and incredibly beautiful. It requires a consideration of your fellow drivers which is unprecedented, and you have no choice but to join the game, simultaneously increasing your own generosity and consideration of others. Every flash of a headlight is like a gentle voice whispering “oh no, please, you go first, I insist”.

Once, confused and not yet properly awake, I accidently backed into the car behind me. The woman behind saw that I had been waved on through, yet I lost my nerve and as she crept forward I rolled back to wait “my real turn”. Of course, I jumped out of my car to apologise and check for any damage. She remained in her car, and as I approached her window, she rolled it down and from under dread-locked purple hair she waved me away with a smile and a “don’t worry about it”. Like flashing her headlights at me through her kind eyes. I drove away and checked my own bumper for damage later, somewhat confused about who had even been at fault there.

A great deal has been written about the great British etiquette of politeness. If you are from a straight-talking country as myself this can sometimes take some adjusting. A week after moving to London, my friend’s Facebook status pleaded: “Say what you mean London!” – a frustration understood by expats grappling with situations when politeness progresses into over-politeness. Perhaps we Australians are a lot more rule-orientated than we like to believe. We like to know that all the players on a field know the game plan and will turn right at a T-intersection when it is their turn, regardless if they sit at that intersection for half an hour with nobody letting them in, barking obscenities at the rude thoughtless others creating “all this bloody traffic”. When left without the rule book we sometimes are also left without our manners.

But the rulebook here is manners.

There is some noise within the local community to fix the intersection. I understand the safety aspect, but I don’t really want it to change.

The Intersection of Politeness is my daily experience of kindness, when someone lets me go first. It is my daily reminder to be generous, when I choose to let another person go first. It encourages me to pay attention to eye contact and to read situations beyond the rules, to make judgements about what is fair and reasonable, regardless of what “should” happen. It is my practical application of good manners; my chance to be quintessentially British without the need to open my mouth to speak. Mostly, it is my morning entertainment and my morning coffee; the moment I truly wake up.

Life Un-Looked For


“occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way”

Synonyms – chance; accident; more lucky; fortuitous; unexpected;

unanticipated; unforseen; un-looked for; coincidental.

I recently had an encounter on an airplane which the other person later referred to as serendipity. More about that in a moment. For now, let’s lose ourselves in the idea of serendipity. The word itself is fun to say. Try it. Serendipity. There is something enjoyable about the way the end of the word – dipity- clicks together, just like there is something enjoyable about serendipitous moments.

The meaning of the word developed within a Persian fairy tale: The Three Princes of Serendip. Serendip is the ancient Persian name for Ceylon – modern day Sri Lanka. The three princes were brothers, wise heroes who “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”.

Serendipity therefore involves two components for discovery – “accident” and “sagacity”.

Accident refers to the unplanned, the chance, the external elements, the parts we can’t control, life un-looked for.

Sagacity refers to the sage within us, the deep insight, wisdom, astuteness, the internal elements, our engagement with the moment which adds depth to an event otherwise insignificant.

So, is there serendipity in your life? Accidents and Sagacity? Was my encounter with a stranger on a plane journey serendipitous?

Due to factors out of both of our control, such as randomly allocated seat numbers, other strangers wanting to swap seats and even me making a last minute change of a flight, I ended up being sat with the same person on two separate flights. We kept pretty good company, laughing and tangentially talking our way through the flights. To borrow a term from Fight Club, my ‘single-serving’ plane seat neighbour quickly became a friendly confidante, someone to get to know. It met the definition for serendipitous: “discovered by chance” and “happy” and “beneficial”. It was indeed a fortuitous chance encounter; life un-looked for.

Or, was it actually life being looked-for? Perhaps we were both looking for a chatty travel partner that day, so were astute to the opportunity when ‘chance’ presented itself. Accidents and chance encounters could easily pass us by, and remain simple random acts of coincidence until we engage with them sagaciously; staying astute to the moment and see it for what it may be – serendipity.

To notice these moments we must have space in our lives. Space to notice, time to engage, and indeed space for fate to enter. My previous twelves months have involved very little time for chance, instead involving over-planning, a demanding scheduling, coordinated multiple Outlook calendars, too-tight deadlines, pedantic word counts, early nights, intense structure, order, just holding it together, spontaneity smothered. Is this sounding familiar to you?

So, 2019 – time to create space, play more, plan less, spontaneous more, open up and allow accidents and sagaciousness in; let’s follow in the footsteps of the Princes of Serendip.

Time for life un-looked for.

unfamiliar textures

Unfamiliar textures

Underfoot and disappearing

Fingers dig deeper;

Holding hope in

Unfamiliar textures

A friend and I climb a travelator to a rooftop lookout, exploring and encouraged by views of snow-capped mountain peaks, familiar peaks, their beauty always eases me and awes me.

I run towards the lookout, along a thin ledge I’ve walked so many times before. I used to know this ground. Half way there I look down. The sandy, snowy ledge has dropped away ahead of me. I cant go forward. I swivel. The sandy snowy ledge has dropped away behind me. I cant go backwards.

A chunk of the wall I lean into falls away; I look down to watch it plummet.

Don’t look down

Look up

Look up

My arms have never been my strongest asset. I’ve relied on my legs to stand me up, not my arms to pull me. Now the ledge and the wall I cling to make their texture known – firm, but yet it’s sand; crumbling: impermanence surrounds me.

I look up

My fingers find ledges which all need testing, a small curve on an overhang above me seems to block me from the flat mountain top, keeping me from solid ground. I can see that is where I need to be, above me, if I can lurch my entire body up and over the overhang.

I will need to rely on my arms

I will have one chance at it

I will need to not look down

Crumbling sand will need to hold me

These unfamiliar textures. Distrust sits in my stomach. Safety is so close. I don’t have long to think. More sand falls to the sea. Up and over is the only option. Others are busy, distracted. I have only me.

My biceps must propel me; upwards; against gravity

I’m paralysed

I take a breath

I must trust in me

Up and over

Where Are You Really From?

dinnington 4

“Are you trying to find yourself?” said the Somewhat Distinguished Englishman sipping his pint at the other end of the bar.

I put my empty cider glass down and tap my finger on the piece of paper on the bar mat, directing his gaze towards it.

“No, I am trying to find anything connected to these people.”

The Friendly Barmaid re-joins us, “she is tracing her family tree. Do you know the Bennetts?”

To my surprise Somewhat Distinguished starts to nod slowly… “yeah, horse traders I think”.

The barmaid and I exchange glances, raising our eyebrows. Somewhat Distinguished has just confirmed what was said to me by one of the other village residents mere moments before I went into the pub. There is only 65 residents in this hamlet, and I’m very quickly meeting them.

Wandering down the main street (lane) I had come across a 92 year old man wearing a high vis shirt and stuck in some brambles. I stopped to help him pull the thorny branches off the calf of his trousers, then mentioned my search for the Bennett family. High Vis Mike said that my ancestors from nearly 200 years ago had remained living in this area and were well known horse traders, transporting horses from Wales to this tiny village in Somerset, England – Dinnington. They would break in the horses then sell them for a tidy sum. He pointed to a house ahead of us, saying they had previously lived there, and gossipingly told me the current occupier is a drunk, so “be careful”. I could barely believe it! I had stopped in the village with a few names, dates of birth and a date of marriage. Now I was standing here looking at my ancestors’ family home, every crumbling gorgeous stone of it!

High Vis Mike then complained about the increase in traffic in the village, saying “you used to be able to walk the cows down here no problem” and wished me well, before going back to trawling through the bushes along the side of the country lane. I left him to it and wandered into the pub.

The Friendly Barmaid had listened attentively as I relayed my story of family and meeting High Vis Mike. She tells me that High Vis Mike owns half of the land the town sits on, and probably owns the house he said the Bennetts had lived in. Well, there you go! High Vis Mike kept that quiet.

So, after mentioning that the Bennetts were horse traders, Somewhat Distinguished Englishman pondered some more, adding that recently two men in the pub were talking about the old Bennett family. He then added:

“Yeah, the Bennetts lived in my house apparently, long before I brought it.”

Oh! Somewhat Distinguished is High Vis Mike’s accused drunk neighbour. Of course. The current town gossip starts drawing me in as much as the search for long lost family. I venture on, with:

“Oh, was one of the men talking about the Bennetts named Mike by any chance?”

Somewhat Distinguished remains quiet. Almost as quiet at Introvert Beer Drinker sitting beside him.

“Oh no, Mike doesn’t come in here”, contribution from Friendly Barmaid.

“Oh, right.”

I break the silence by returning the conversation to the Bennetts,”so, wow, you are possibly living in my ancestors house!”

My raised eyebrows and excitement isn’t really mirrored by Somewhat Distinguished. I’d like him to invite me into his house, to sit in the living room and connect with the two hundred year old energy of my kin. I sense that kind of offer won’t be forthcoming. It’s probably for the best, me being a single traveller this weekend and not knowing a thing about Somewhat Distinguished.

Other people trickle into the bar and I return my attention to my surroundings, the Dinnington Docks pub, 350 years old, serving up local and international beers, cider of course, and good pub grub. As Friendly Barmaid had said, my ancestors would have drunk in this pub. I look down at the barstool, knowing it can’t tell me much past twenty years ago. I look up at the wooden beams along the ceiling, wonder about the centuries of secrets they hold in their grain…Bennett secrets? I do like to daydream.

Friendly Barmaid and Introvert Beer Drinker had suggested visiting the local church for family information. A good idea. I’m tempted to stay for more cider and see what further stories unfold. However it feels like we’ve reached the end of the Dinnington Docks chapter for now. I’m sure there is more to know of the local relationships with High Vis Mike, but I head to the church.

The headstones in the church yard are too old to read, mottled stone of wind-worn letters and dates of birth erased. The church doors are locked yet I wander through the grounds. It sparks my romantic side, imagining Edward Bennett and Anna Pitcher being bonded within the strong stone walls, amongst the soft greens of the surrounding hills on 22nd January 1857. Anna had lived in nearby Seavington St Marys, a few miles away. I choose to believe that their romance required long walks along country lanes for late night rendezvous, rather than being a family-land-business-female-ownership transaction. Like I said, I do like to daydream. I even imagined marrying there. It felt like my church somehow, familiar.

The sun was starting to dip behind the hills. Maybe I’ll come back to Dinnington Docks for the Sunday Roast, see if I can “find myself” with a scampi and chips.


dinnington 2



I’m not clear what to write about. The fragmentation is real.

To not know what to write about is a tragedy for a writer, really.


So, I tell myself: Just write. Just keep walking. Just move. Just write.


Write about the year gone or the possible year ahead.

Write about the contradictions.

Write about the sudden urge to return home;

and the confusion which comes along with that.

Write about missing those afar;

and connecting with those you love nearby.

Write about all the weddings of the year:

and all the love and faith

Write about being cut open, cut out, sofa-bound and drug-induced.

Write about the care of a friend who cleaned every fork in sight for days.

Write about the heart-hope;

and the hopelessness.

Write about loss.

Write about clear blue seas;

and Greek cheese

Write about celebrations and making it to 40!

Write about eating watermelon on deckchairs with sand between your toes

Write about sunshine;

and tossing footballs in the sea

Write about snack beers and rude cocktail names.

Write about returning home;

and leaving again.

Write about the people you wish you could take with you.

Write about having two homes

Write about knowing where you need to be;

and feeling fragmented anyway.

Write about knowing;

and not knowing.

Write about all those books you’ll never read

Write about the ones you did.

Write about your friends who lost loved ones this year.

Write about your friends who bravely face dementia;

and creating new memories together anyway

Write about friends.

Write about puppy sitting

and paddle boarding

and entrepreneuring

and shamanism

and hot tubs

Write about badminton

and pickled eggs

and fermented foods

and limoncello

Oh, and definitely write about the whiskey!

Write about your friends afar:

exploring, moving houses, raising kids

Write about hugs

and dancing:

Yes, really, write about dancing;

especially the robot dance

Write about songs sent between friends late at night to sooth the soul

Write about the soul;

and all its twisting and turning and reaching and stillness

Really, write about stillness;

and movement

Write about walking

Yes, write about walking: and where it may well lead

Write about 2018 being the Year of Walking.

Write about your friend’s shoes left in a bag on your living room floor

Write about shoes

Write about those walking boots left in a loft bedroom above the kitchen with the aga in the farmhouse all those years ago;

Write about believing you’d return to them

Write about moving on;

and then circling back on yourself: a grief repeated

Write about counselling

Go on, I dare you: write about counselling

Write about family

Write about the patterns which we learn to live by.

Write about brothers and mothers and fathers: while you wonder what they’re up to today.

Write about buying those expensive pyjamas from Fat Face just because they have sloths on them and your brother used to call you Sloth.

Write about siblings.

Oh yes and definitely write about all the cousins!

Write about those handwritten letters from that aunt who you need to reply to

Write about Autumn.

Really, its all about autumn.

Write about that favourite tree, that one in the centre of that large roundabout on the A36

Write about roundabouts;

and why there are so many in England

Write about England

Write about saying hi to strangers because you live in a small town

Write about the cobbler who fixes your shoes for free

Don’t however write about Brexit

or Russia

or Trump

or North Korea

Write about the alternatives to such

Write about creating change

Write about Choose Love

Write about your urge to do more:

and wasting time on Facebook

Write about the end of the day when your head hits the pillow and you hope you’ve done a job good enough.

Write about pillows; how good are they?!

Write about if you use the word duvet or doona

Write about how it doesn’t really matter:

and then write about how it does

Write about cultural differences

Write about being more polite

Write about tangents


Basically write about anything

Just Write.


Just Write

and walk

and dance

and sing

and poet


Just keep moving

Love and Horror in the Office


(Trigger warning: contains child-abuse)

Jaws drop, heads lower, expletives bounce off the personality-free walls of the Local Authority office. Not a single Social Worker in the room can believe what they are hearing, and behind the curse words are distressed hearts. You see, trauma travels between and within us.

It’s 4pm on a Thursday and two Duty Social Workers are in the midst of a search for a foster carer for an eight year old girl who needs to come into care that same day. A Safeguarding Manager across the aisle is on her mobile to the Safeguarding Social Worker out at the girl’s house. Other workers at rows of desks carry on their phone calls or writing reports. It could just been seen as a ‘typical day in the office’.

The dropping jaws and pierced hearts are in response to overhearing the Manager’s conversation, a one-sided debate which implies that the police want to take a different legal route to get this girl into foster care, one other than immediate removal.

The lowered heads are silent statements of “what more evidence do they need?!” The referral was harrowing, inhumane, heart-breaking. An eight year old girl locked in her bedroom, made to toilet in a litter tray, forced to scrub it clean, every door inside her house locked and alarmed, light-globes removed, punishments of endurance. Dark, horrific prison; a faeces smelling bedroom and urine stained little girl, quiet yet articulate, with too-thin legs. This: her family home, her only experience of what life is.

Every worker in the room had felt their skin crawl, their stomach churn, and there was multiple responses of “I’ll take her home”, the urge to wrap her up in a comforter on a safe sofa immediate around the office.

And yet, questions by the police as to whether to issue emergency protection orders the same day?! They have their legal logic. Still. Jaws dropped, expletives bounced.

The Duty Social Workers continue their phone calls to carers to see who could take her in tonight. Their day had already included placing two babies, and a so-far fruitless search for another eight year old who needed to move placements. The list of twenty or so other children in need of care, but not so urgent, sits untouched. The babies were safely en route to their temporary homes, and the focus shifts to the search for the girl. The Manager is heard supporting the field Social Worker to challenge police view, with clear questions of whether back up is needed in the field, are the family looking like they will “kick off”? The office inhales and holds its breath.

The Duty Social Workers simultaneously listen to the Manager’s conversation so they stay updated, while needing to block out conversations so they can focus on finding a safe bed. Emotional and strategic multi-tasking at its best. They begin the child-carer matching-tetris game…considering carer experience, location, other children in the house and their needs. They attempt to unwrap practical barriers and pull out their best negotiating voices. Another worker begins an out-of-county search as Plan B. Nobody wants this girl to move too far around the country, but available carers are thin on the ground.

The Placements Manager is asking for updates every half hour, as he will need to give approval to fund an independent fostering placement if no Local Authority carers can take her. One of the Duty Social Workers feels the heat of her other cases breathing heavily down the back of her neck, solicitor emails with updated court deadlines fly into her email inbox and she turns off her email notifications to lighten her own breath.

The office chocolate tin is quickly emptying.

If you walked into that office, all you would see is ordinarily-looking adults sat at computers, typing away or on the phone, the occasional blue or bright pink hair in the sea of auburn, brown and blonde. If you could mute the room like a television you could be fooled into thinking that these folk were pen-pushing, paper-shuffling, risk-avoidant, pension-waiting, Local Authority clock-watchers, abundant cogs in a paper-chain of red tape.

But they are far from that.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, if you lift the volume, these people are agents of love in a world of horror; people who face others’ pain daily and come back for more, their motivation strengthened by the simple fact that they may be able to do something to help girls like that, anything at all. Like, by working with the police to remove the girl to a safe place, or by calling every possible foster carer until a warm safe home is found.

This time, the Duty Social Workers get lucky, the third local foster carer called can take her, at least for a week while a longer term option is found, and extended family members considered. The police issue the emergency order, and the girl is driven to a foster carer’s house later that evening. She is somewhere tonight where they will offer her a night light if she wants it, clean sheets as a basic, and the chance at recovery.

The office exhales, and heads lower this time in relief.

This little girl is somewhere safe tonight.