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ARTS , CULTURE & EDUCATION Time Stood Still By Dean Webb I Dean Webb, Emerging Writer prize winner.


t all started with one phone call. “Have you talked to your wife today?” It was a friend of ours calling from Inuvik, Northwest Territories (NT). My wife was pregnant, and at thirty-


six weeks, had flown from Ulukhaktok, NT, to Inuvik, NT. “No, why?” I asked reluctantly. “She was supposed to come over to our house for supper tonight,” the voice at the other end of the phone replied. My heart immediately sunk. I knew some- thing was wrong. My wife is one of the most reliable people I have ever met. I immediately began to panic. “Don’t worry, I’m sure everything is fine,” my friend replied. But I knew that something was not right, and started to think the worst. My wife and I were transferred from


Kelowna, British Columbia, to Deline, NT, in the fall of 2008. I am a member of the RCMP and this was our first stint in the


North. After serving the community of Deline we transferred to Ulukhaktok. My wife and I were expecting our first born and excited at the opportunity to live in the Arctic. I ran home and checked my Hotmail and


Facebook hoping to have an explanation for why she had missed her dinner date. Unfortunately there was no answer. Just then the phone rang. “I found her, she is here at the hospital and she is in labour!” My wife picked up the phone and


explained that she had been feeling “funny” and had went to the hospital to get checked out. It was after the doctor saw her that it was determined that she was in labour. “Don’t worry, I am only two centimetres dilated. A woman can be two centimetres dilated for a few weeks. Try and get here as soon as you can, okay?” I immediately phoned my boss and


asked if I could fly out of the community on Wednesday. My wife had gone into labour three weeks premature and it was apparent that I needed to get there now. My boss agreed and I booked my flight. It was Monday night and the hours were dragging slowly. I patiently waited for my wife to phone me. Nothing could have prepared me for the call that I received from her. “Babe, the baby is coming.” Time stood


still. “What do you mean?” I asked anxiously. “I am six centimetres dilated, and in so much pain,” my wife sobbed. “The doctor said that I am going to have to start pushing soon.” “I don’t know if I can make it there in


time!” I replied. “I will try my best, but I don’t think that there is anything I can do.” I hung up the phone and began to cry. I


could not believe that I was going to miss the birth of my first child. I called my mother in Saskatchewan. “Hi Mom” is all that I could say. “What is wrong?” she immediately replied. I wiped away tears and explained that my wife was in labour


44 arcticjournal.ca July/August 2011


© COURTESY DEAN WEBB


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