Out today, and a child (not mine) was burnt. Scalded with hot coffee. Instinct takes over; clear a path to the nearest cold water and toss her in it. She'll be fine - shock more than damage I think. New (dry) clothes and an icecream did much to repair the damage. Pink knees which will no doubt be a little tender, but looking no worse than sunburn. A complete accident.
She'll be fine.
Me? I'm back at the end of the phone, hearing that there's been an accident. I'm back in A&E, being told that I can't see Goldie as I'm not next of kin. I'm watching a doctor assess her, looking in disbelief at the sheer vastness of her injuries. I'm with her in an ambulance, driving miles over bumpy roads to the nearest burns unit.
I'm trying to split myself in two, needing to be here at home and simultaneously 120 miles away. I'm trying to contact family on holiday overseas, I'm trying to give staff lessons in how a very profoundly disabled individual might demonstrate pain.
I'm watching my daughter inpain more than anyone should have to endure, and without the understanding as to what has happened to her. And I'm standing by her bedside watching her die.
And I'm looking at the damage done by boiling coffee, and comparing it to the damage done by a cooler, but still too hot bath.
I'll spare the details.
But looping, round and round, still images from the week. And I want to fit thermostats to every tap, ban kettles and hot drinks andbaths and open fires and boilers and going outside in sunlight, and ovens, and anything else which might cause anyone to suffer as she did, anything which might put any other parent where I was, watching the damage. And it isn't going to happen; I need my coffee as much as the next woman; I like my baths as much as anyone else, and turning nocturnal isn't terribly practical with small children.
So, deep breaths; move on. Children to feed and entertain and medicate and care for, a house that won't clean itself (I have offered to pay it but it won't listen), distractions everywhere if I can but pull my head out of this loop.
It's there still though in the silent spaces.