Parenting & Other Life Stories


Memoir Excerpt

The following piece of non-fiction is a short excerpt from the memoirs I wrote a few years ago during NaNoWriMo. Editing is taking way longer than I expected but it is because I am doing start-and-stop editing. Anyway, here is a short piece which I have provided a name for the purpose of posting today, “Anonymity.” Feedback is welcome in the comment section below.

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The first time I entered a courtroom I felt as if the yellow stripe on my pants flamed like a mark of embarrassment because I was self-conscious of my role and I felt awkward in a foreign environment. As was required of a police officer entering a court room, I bent slightly at the waist to show respect, but my eyes remained fixed on the room before me. Although a modest sized room, I felt as if it spanned out leagues in front of me. It was a dull coloured space filled with wood banisters, podiums, and stale air. There was nothing surprising in this room, but a mild feeling of disturbance moved through me like flowing water.

I was aware of what brought me duty bound to the courtroom. The small drops of blood on the floor, the scent of stale cigarettes and liquor, the slurred words of her story, sounds of crying, and the image of him running remained fresh in my memory. Although this trial was about their story I felt enmeshed in it and responsible for ensuring it didn’t happen to her again. I felt as if being called to provide testimony was somehow a reflection of me.

In my mind I whispered to myself the answers to the initial questions that would be asked of me when I took the stand. It was as if I needed to reassure myself of my name; today I wouldn’t be just my regimental number. I was equipped with the only weapon I was allowed to carry on the stand: my small work issued note book. It was heavy in my pocket with the scrawl of my bubble printing flowing in black ink over the numbered pages. It was their scribbled story and it was casting a body of light on me and I was trying not to absorb it.

I never testified that day. Instead, I felt a wash of relief as the judge reviewed the file. All the evidence I had meticulously complied was rewarded as he announced to the courtroom that it was excellent police work. Who I was or wasn’t remained an unspoken anonymity…

By Shari Marshall – Posted in 2019

3 thoughts on “Anonymity

  1. I like it Shari. Hints of the blessings and burden of having a job that takes you within the influence of people, families, friends and foes where of necessity you must engage, act and be prepared to testify to the facts that sometimes, you alone will sense. If I ever needed such engagement from a LEO, may God send me someone as sensitive to the human condition as you..

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