It wasn’t official, or even informal
he became my boss, or at least immediate superior
in the same way kids become leaders
no official anointment, they just do,
and once established, status remains.
I was new, and eager to please –
may have been a solution requiring a problem.
However it happened, he just became
I never pondered or
even absorbing or adopting some of his
women, ethnicities, religion, unionism.
Even when the tongue that seem to have a bad word for everyone
I still admired him
for his singularity,
even after I had left.
Ebb and flow
our paths diverged – diametrically – polar opposites
the wisdom of three decades plus
a little man, with testes descended swagger
and puberty-passed moustache
tough talk passport to pull up a barroom stool
and sit with deep voices who might otherwise ridicule him.
I didn’t know him then, or before,
but I knew those who did,
all said, he had it all –
top-class professional :
pretty wife and two beautiful children,
and had been really something in his youth.
The high school boy all high school girls wanted,
and maybe some older :
athlete, scholar, handsome, good guy.
Good friends went to see his wife afterwards
the six-year-old had a drawing to show them –
a road and a tree :
“ if daddy had this, it wouldn’t have happened.”
The coroner agreed,
adding work pressure, and alcohol, in that order.
Deb, never Debbie or Deborah
Deb, short. Businesslike. No frills. Almost masculine.
Which suited, tall, lean, short dark hair, jeans at uni
shorts when cycling,
never a dress or skirt
eight years older – “ 7 ½”
a lot when one is 20 and the other 27 ½.
She come to uni as an adult student
we were doing maths together
it was said, in mathematics,
mathematicians were third best, behind
physics and philosophy students.
So I guess we were fourth best
as both were doing corequisite
she for economics, me chemistry.
She was vague about the brackets of high school and tertiary –
“ lots of things, shop work, bakery, fruit picking,”
nothing long, or false start career, or travel
un-urgent years waiting for opportunity to knock, or be found.
Perhaps a decade of piecework
wrote a varied and eclectic address book : contacts –
happenings – she just knew and
was always good for info, gossip or a blend – including
predicting impending arrest for a crime baffling all.
That year of our closeness, was the year our country torn itself apart
protests and riots in the streets.
We took full part but
she always knew where … and where not
and who ….. and who not to, and kept us safe.
It took more than 20 years
for the missing years to click.
She was gone then – long,
but memory shifted the facts
holding them up to the light until
forensics became intuition became knowing – she’d been a cop.