It is Thursday, 8 December 1988. I drive my silver Volkswagen Golf GTi from my three-bedroomed maisonette in Hackney, east London, to drop my son Andrew off at Sebright primary school. I drive to work at Stonham Housing Association, in south-west London.
My work role as a special needs housing officer, is part of Positive Action Training in Housing (PATH), a training scheme that promotes ethnic minority job prospects in housing. I started in September 1988.
At work, I am busy doing nothing. I make endless cups of tea like I am addicted to the stuff. I cannot sit still for long either. Guilt seeps in and I stay on for a little longer to catch up.
I am the only one left in the office except Angela. The silence offers me a clear headspace and time to get work done. I feel I am making progress. I am on a roll and want to keep this up.
I make a phone call to Adrian, Andrew's dad, at his workplace in Hackney, so he can pick up Andrew. A man answers. 'Can I speak to Adrian Chambers, please?' I ask.
'Hold on,' he says.
I hold on for ages. I chew the end of my biro while I am waiting.
'Hello,' a different man speaks this time.
'You need to ring a Sergeant Busby,' he says.
'What? What do you mean, what are you talking about? ' I say, getting more irritable by the minute.
'You need to ring Sergeant Busby,' he repeats. 'Here is the number.'
'Hang on, I need to find a pen, OK, go ahead.'
I feel a knot in my stomach as I look at the number I have written. I cannot think straight. I do not know whether to leave and fetch Andrew or stay. I ring the number. I ask for Sergeant Busby.
'Hello, is that Nicole Moore?' he asks.
'I need to talk to you as a matter of urgency,' he says. 'I'm afraid I can't discuss the matter on the phone. It's important that I see you. Where are you now?'
'What's all this about? Why do you want to know where I am?'
'I'm sorry but I can't speak about the matter on the phone. I have to see you face-to-face.'
'Unless you tell me what this is about, I am not telling you where I am,' I say.
I hang up the phone. Angela picks up on my tension and offers to call the Sergeant. I watch her intensely. She nods and says, 'Yes, I see, yes, I understand.' I pace around the office until she puts the call on hold and says, 'It's really important that Sergeant Busby sees you now here in the office, I'll wait with you.'
'What about Andrew?' I ask. Angela mentions this to the Sergeant and he tells her he will arrange for an officer to pick him up from After School Club and meet me at home later. Angela passes on the school's address and hangs up the phone.
'Shit, this must be serious, what's going on?' I say.
'Cup of tea?' says Angela.
'No thanks, I've been drinking tea all day.'
I continue to pace around the office for what seems like an eternity. My head hurts; obscure thoughts fill my mind. I mull over the possibilities. Adrian was driving legally, but maybe he had been speeding ... no, that cannot be it.
At 6 pm the office buzzer forces Angela and me to search each other's eyes. I'll go and let him in,' she says, breaking the spell. I sit at my desk, hearing footsteps, no words though. I gaze at the door, making eye contact with a male and a female officer. I sense the seriousness of their grey and grave faces. I quickly turn my eyes away. They both walk closer and are standing over me.
Copyright 2016 Nicole Moore. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.