Did we note this somewhere? We learned, on 9.6, Sunday, just before Labour Day, that Officer C. is actually Detective C. N.. For 12 years now he has been a child abuse investigator, and for some of those years he was the city’s sole child abuse investigator. 21 years of experience as a police officer total. We learned this after we brought a care card to the police station, I wrote:
Thank you for trying to make a frightening and uncomfortable process easier for me.
Have a good Labour Day.
I meant it. Perhaps it was only his job, and I know, from the standpoint of class we are enemies, but I meant it. That same morning I had ██████ drive me to Rite Aid so I could purchase a card for him. I had the idea whilst working the night into that morning…
It was a weekend—the regular office hours are Monday–Friday, 0800–1800—so there is a panel to the side of the front doors to be buzzed in. But at that moment there was a police SUV outside, a lone officer. As I stood there reading the signs on the door, he called out to me, “Do you need any help?”
“Ah, I, I wanted to give a care card to someone who works here.”
“I’m sorry I can’t hear you.”
“I’m sorry, I, wanted to give a care card to someone who works here, your Officer C.”
“Here, you can see.” I handed him the spring green envelope. He opened it and read the card.
“Oh, that’s nice of you. That’s very nice of you. Did you say the name was C.?”
“Officer C., I don’t know his last name—”
“N.? C. N.? I’m just going to step out of the sun here—”
“Oh, I’m sorry—”
“No, don’t be sorry—”
“Um, he worked with your detective T. on ████, if that helps.”
“Yeah that helps a lot, actually. That’s Detective C. N.. Here, I can put it on his desk for you. Oh, what’s your name? Do you want to write your name on it?”
“Ah, it’s Ant, but I doubt he’ll remember it, we spoke only very briefly…”
“Oh he has a really good memory. I’m sure he’ll remember it. Do you want to write your name on it?”
“Ah, I don’t have my pen…!” It was actually in my pocket, but I realised this only as I was saying it.
“It’s OK, you can use mine.”
I used a planter as a writing surface and wrote my name on it. It was a cheap ballpoint pen. You could tell it wasn’t the nice gel pen I had used to write To Officer C. on the envelope nor the message inside.
“Thank you. That was very nice of you. I’ll put this on his desk, I just have to lock up my car and I’ll go inside. What did you say your name was?”
It was a card with lemons and blossoming white lemon flowers on it. She was very particular about the card, didn’t want to get anything with a message already written inside.
As for the envelope, it was actually meant for a different card, but she liked the green color so much she took it from the other aisle.
Ant went through two envelopes like that trying to get the cursive just right…
I can’t believe she wrote a thank-you card to a cop.
“Y, yes, Ant. If he doesn’t recall, you can tell him that I was the kid with the map and the swords.”
“The map and the swords? OK.”
“Thank you very much, Mister. Bye-bye.”
As we drove off he waved goodbye to me, I waved back.
Officer C. N.… I don’t know, but I think you were a good man.
Something that struck me, as I watched her walk to the police station, was the simple and unaffected way she rolled up the cuff of her trouser leg, too long for her body, and the innocent way she stood in front of the doors, reading all the signs there earnestly. It belies her age…