Heart 02




Over to you.

Remember what happened to you last year? Well, it’s happened to me.


Amelia, I’m out of control. This man, boy, has totally reshaped my reality and I’m infatuated. I’m 20 years older than him and want to be 20 years younger. I’ve lost the plot here: take over.

I’m learning about love from a teenager.

Can you take this case? It’s a standard review of a voluntary worker. I’m seriously out of my depth and have lost all objectivity. Meet him at the unit. Meet him when he’s with the client ‘Sarah’. There’s something there, between them.

Sarah is 21, horribly contorted, can’t speak, lies on a trolley because they can’t fit her into a wheelchair, smells bad, yellow teeth (she won’t let people brush them). Sarah looks at least 10 years younger and probably has only a couple of years to survive. She’s a physical wreck without a real diagnosis, but this voluntary carer, Mike, sees her so far out of our medical paradigm. Here are his answers to my last interview:


  • I used to come here as a thing – you know – voluntary work.
  • You want to do stuff – put back into the community.
  • Sarah … Sarah. Yes, she’s what keeps me here. I know she’ll die soon. I just want to be around for her as much as possible. I think she likes me.
  • Ugly? What has that got to do with anything? Beauty just flows from her.
  • Love her? Love her? How can you not? How can I not? When I look after her at her house and her parents are out, I have to take her to the toilet and help her there. What greater honour can you get? Don’t you see? It’s a … thing … breaks all barriers. Honour … intimacy, needing help … giving it…
  • You know … don’t tell the staff this … when I take her for walks – I lift her off the trolley. We sniff grass and flowers: I take her shoes off and dip her feet in the stream some times. We’ve done butterflies and stuff too.
  • Look, I’m an artist: life is so hard. My weeks are so awful. Sarah is the way I cope.
  • Because she needs gentle. She taught me gentle. Sarah made me bigger – deeper
  • It’s her smile. She doesn’t do words. She smiles. Right, it’s not the smile you get from ordinary people – she’s not ordinary.
  • I don’t know … it’s like being smiled on by an angel. Sorry, don’t know how to say this, but Sarah comes from a better place and takes you there.

Sorry, Amelia. Cope.



©Gary Bonn 2016