Received a call just before
A stranger's voice on the line
At this time of night no less
I'd ordinarily hit "decline".
For some reason I answered
Assuming it a friend, with a dry "why the hell are you calling?"
My tone soon shifted when instead of laughter
I heard the sound of a young girl, bawling.
Apologising profusely, "sorry, wrong number!", she said.
I assured her it was ok, she could talk, I could wait.
She soon started pouring out her poor young heart
And the circumstances leading up to her present fate.
She said she'd thought she was calling her friend's mum
As her last port of call was her best friend.
She wanted to say goodbye to her, one last time.
She'd decided for her it was "the end".
I managed to keep her on the line...
Validate her fears and uncertainty, assure her of being heard.
I asked her calm and intentional questions
And shared honest anecdotes, parts of my own life in small words.
I asked her if there was anything particular I could do to assist
I reassured her again she was safe to speak.
I cited some myths that serve as barriers around getting help,.
And how asking for it was no sign of her being worthless or weak
I suggested she stay on the phone whilst I gave help a call.
Checked several times she was certain she'd like me to, she attested she agreed.
I remained on the line until help arrived, and assured she was fine.
The Samaritans rep thanked me for "doing such a brave deed".
My deed wasn't brave at all, that's the thing!
Bravery would involve me inserting myself into that position.
It was mere accident, a mistake, a misdial that it was even me,
And just fortunate if anything I was available to listen.
The perplexing part of moments in life like this
Make me question our entire existence, determinism and fate.
The parallels of possibilities that could have played out if she had only called
A different person, a switched-off phone, or I'd still been studying late.
All things. All scenarios and interactions, big and small, often make me imagine
Piles of hypotheticals, a tonne of how, what if, and why.
Studying it deeply wrecks my brain and body, but Ignoring it makes me ill,
Yet thoughts of our amazing universe, existential minisculity, and mortality all make my heart and eyes cry.
I don't know where this leaves me,
Or this poem, or that girl, or the entire Earth!
Just the blessing we're burdened with by our affliction
Of being complexly human, in a inexplicable universe, right from the moment of our birth.