IT LOOKED LIKE beer o’clock in a city pub on a Friday afternoon. Suits, noise, movement. But it wasn’t. It was 9 am in a suburban courthouse on a crisp April morning. So many men in suits, blokeing around, smiling, shaking hands, patting backs. Solicitors, prosecutors, perpetrators. I couldn’t tell the difference. They were lit by the sun shining through the large round skylight above. Some suits were broader than the shoulders under them; others were worn like a second skin. My ex-husband looked comfortable in his, talking to his lawyer, ‘I can’t believe it…there’s no grounds…mental problems.’ I felt the muscles in my body tighten, snapping back into familiar places.
I moved to where a police officer sat locked inside a glass booth, a ticket seller for an exclusive show. Without eye contact she repeated my name, louder than I would have liked and turned to the second page of her list. She ticked my name off, then pointed with her pen to the glass purpose-built room behind her. Another police officer, solid and focused on the men pacing outside, punched a code that opened the double-glazed door. No one looked up as I entered. It closed automatically behind me and my ears found it hard to adjust to the instant silence.
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