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'I won't accept that Joe.' Abbey looked up at me. A stubborn look on his face.
'You can't refuse it Boss.......'
'Mmm.......that's it Joe. I'm the Boss......I can do anything that I like.....within reason. And one of those things that I can do, within reason, is to reject your application for the cancellation of your employment with the NSW Police Force. You'll find that in the Manual........I can, within reason, and for reasons that I think are relevant and of import to the decision, and of benefit to the organised running of the Force, reject your notice of severance of employment. You're too good a Dee to throw it all away. You've got what.......another twenty, twenty five years of good service that you can offer the Force. You only buried Penny a couple of weeks ago.......let it rest for a time. I'll approve as much time off with or without pay, what-ever you prefer, but I will not, under any circumstances, accept your resignation.......Does Marge know of your decision?'
I nodded lamely.
'I didn't think so. She'd've drawn and quartered you, if she had've known. Go home and think about it, OK? It's quiet in here actually. For once. The Gods must be smiling. Enjoying a scrumptious meal or something........give yourself a chance, Joe. Give yourself a chance to get over it. OK?'
He made a show of tearing my Resignation Application in two and stuffing them through his Office shredder.
I slumped out of his office and walked quickly to my desk. Slouched into my chair. Looked at nothing. A spot on the farthest wall of the office opposite my desk. Suddenly rose and walked from the Office taking the Lift to the sixteenth floor Cafeteria. I sat outside in the sunshine half asleep with my eyes closed. I didn't hear her walk up or sit down opposite me until the feeling of a shadow blocking out the sun alerted me.
'You want to go down to the Coffee Spot. Their coffee is a darn sight better.'
I nodded my acquiescence.
Perhaps I should have gone to see her straight after Penny's funeral. Or even sometime during Penny's slow decline into merciful peace. I had seen her on quite a few occasions throughout my career when I felt close to the edge. It frightened me more than anything else. That I could stand with my toes curling at the edge of the abyss.......it scared the heck out of me that the tunnel at times was just a bit too long with only a dot of light to aim at and even that appeared to be waning.
'We'll grab a large latte and take it up to my rooms. Sit and talk about the weather. The surf. Or the cricket......or how you are feeling right now......'
On the way down in the Lift, I turned to her. 'Did Abbey ring you?'
'Yes. About four months ago in fact. He was worried about you......'
'I am obviously a high priority then.' I quipped.
'That's something I doubt that you'll ever lose. That self-deprecating sense of humour. It's good to see that you can still retrieve it at times like this. Yes......yes you are. I've been keeping tabs on you, don't worry about that. Have you put in your resignation yet?'
'Yeah......this morning. He ripped it up. Put it through his shredder.'
'Good for him......I'd hate to lose my most complex patient.' She smiled a warm smile.
I spent three hours in her Rooms. Slouching in an oversized chair. Standing against the wall. Walking in circles. Laying on her couch. Most of the time with tears in my eyes. Not wailing but sobbing softly. I was perished at the end of the time. She didn't end the session. I did. My chest was hurting. My throat complaining. I'd had enough of the self-analysis. The talking. I got the impression that she had the entire day free for my benefit.
I promised a re-visit later that week as I walked from her Suite with its glorious view over the river and the park . Self-conscious of the fact that my face would surely display my crying for hours so it seemed.
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: