On 7th October 2010, my friend persuaded me to leave the neonatal unit for one night and to accompany her to see Birmingham Royal Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet at Sunderland Empire Theatre. She told me it would be a good break for me and a fresh change of scenery and momentary release from the intensity of my sudden day to day life. Besides, she had never been to the ballet and no one else would go with her.
The ballet was good. I didn't take it in awfully, except to tell you that beforehand my friend flirted outrageously with a waiter, during the dancers danced in probably the right spots and that after my friend kindly stayed up until the early hours despite having to get up for work the next morning, listening to me repeat myself over and over, wearily going round in a cycle of doubt, fear and more fear. Maybe she was pacified by the romantic story we had just witnessed, or most likely, maybe she was just an exceptionally good friend.
After we had got back to my flat, late at night, we sat on my kitchen step with hot drinks. And then more hot drinks. We talked, a little about Romeo's tights (she was fascinated by the skin tight nature. If I was being harsh, I would say more so than the ballet itself) and a lot about Wriggles, who lay a few miles south in a plastic box sleeping soundly with now a whiff of oxygen.
I had still not formally decided that I could never let her go and severed any links with social services, but was increasingly becoming terrified at the thought of almost deliberately losing her. I had already contended with her life being snatched for medical or scientific reasons, and yet she had pulled through. I could not loose her again, could I? Even if it meant giving her less of life than I wished? Even if it meant a poorer life with just one parent? That evening, my friend listened to me yet alone wonder out loud if I could ever do "right" by her. And then I knew.
Panic like I have never known before began rising through me and I could feel myself becoming quite hysterical at the notion of saying goodbye, whether for short-term or potentially life. I had spent weeks of tears, wondering what the "right" thing to do was but suddenly I didn't care about right or wrong, or materialism, or life styles or chances or statistics. I just knew that I didn't have it in me to ever leave her again. I knew that whatever the future held, I would just deal with it.
And so, I did.