The guards opened the door and a man walked in with the same terrified look, a look worn every time he came to visit her in prison. He tried his best to hide the stress behind his eyes. But she had a gift of feeling him. His best days, and especially his worse.
She smiled and hoped he couldn’t feel her like she felt him. He smiled back.
Nice to see you again, handsome.
Beautiful. It’s my pleasure.
They took a silent moment to take each other in. the smallest details that those who’ve either spent a lifetime together or who’ve only met for a single minute became apparent. She still loved looking at him. He had started to grey at the temples and she would never get tired of studying his aquiline nose and clear honest eyes. “The most beautiful man in existence“, she had said like a damn fool to her girlfriend after she’s spotted him waiting for his drink to fall from a vending machine. She needed nothing, not a drop of courage or push, to go straight up to him and ask with all the weight of the world, “won’t you come out and play tonight?“
He looked at her and tried to block out the plexiglass that separated his hands from her soft skin and saw how pretty she looked. He had thought that she would disappear from the women who he had fallen in love with after the judgement, but every time he came it was as if she was being preserved back into the dark hair girl who would have never let him say no as he waited for his Coca Cola to drop from a machine in a dark hallway. He could feel a shift in his life the day she took one step forward so close to him that anyone watching would have thought that they weren’t strangers at all, but longtime lovers. He looked at her light eyes and saw warm whiskey, gold flakes, dark honey. She had gotten pale in prison and lost all the weight gained that comes with just the comfort of living. Young and refreshed was the only way to describe her who he wanted more than anything. He missed her. He missed his wife.
You cut your hair?
She touched her hair in response and for a moment felt embarrassed that he had caught her in a shameful act of trying to look good for him in a place like this. After that she placed her hands firmly in her lap remembering that this was the life of a married women in prison. They must try their best to look good for a man who can only get a glimpse of you through the shadows of a prisons reflection.
Do you like it?
I love it.
He didn’t love it. but he would have told her the sky was red if it had made her feel better. He remembered when she lay sleeping in their bed and her long aubern hair fanned out on the white sheets and pillow, a mess of spun gold and a sleeping angel. She slept so quitely it scared him. He couldn’t resist leaning down to bury his face in her hair and kiss the line of her jaw and neck. She had cut it all off. That was okay, some memories stayed locked in the memory. Days of her long silky hair would expire only after forever.
How are you, sweets?
When someone asked her “how are you?” she wanted to punch them in the face, give them a slap, or pull their hair. Depending on her mood, of course. When her husband asked her she just wanted to cry. When he asked her if she was happy it was even worse. Happy? She wanted to tell him that all she wanted to do was go to sleep and never wake up and that the only thing that was keeping her away from the blades she could get from kitchen duty, was him. She wanted to tell him that he should find a wife who deserved him. She wanted to tell him to get lost. Not because she didn’t need him anymore, but that she hurt more than anything to know that such a beautiful human being like him could love such a thing like her. He deserved more.
I’m happy. Always, happy. And you?
She always told him she was happy but he could see the hate shine brighter than a full moon in the blackest sky as she pronounced each syllable. Hap-py. Ha-te. He didn’t blame her though. He didn’t know what she was going through because she had never been the one to complain. She dug it out, made it the best even though everyone said it was the worse. But still the stories he heard about this place, the way the guards carried themselves left him uneasy knowing his angel was stuck in quicksand. He felt sick when he saw his lovely intelligent wife buried inbetween these walls. He dreamt of the day she would come out. How she would feel and how he would feel. It’ll be far from now but it won’t be never and that’s one thing that wouldn’t escaped his consciousness. One day she would be his again. One day…those two words brought him paradise and torture at the same time.
I’m great, beauty.
She felt so ugly. The uniforms were as bad as she imagined and the underwear she wore could have been a parachute, the bra two sizes too big. Socks would be forever stained. She fantasized about the day she would walk out of this hell hole. Just another 4,837 days to go. But she would walk out. She would run right in her lovers arms. Her family would be there and she would thank god for making her see what life was really all about. For now she was stuck with an imagination of her first day of freedom which ran over and over like a broken record, skip and repeat.
Have you been working out?
He had started working out when he met the other women. He remembered the first time he came to visit his wife after he had started the affair. He was worried that CHEATER would be written all over his face and body the moment he walked into that tiny room with a plexiglass covered with stains and nicks from other prisoners visits. But she hadn’t know, and he hadn’t felt bad. Because he still loved his wife and would do anything for her. This side thing was exactly that, just a thing to do in the mean time. Of course he wished things had been different… The other woman would eventually find someone else and fade away like smoke in the air. She was small time. His wife was his lifer.
I started doing Judo again with some of the guys. You look like you’ve lost some more weight. They’re feeding you enough?
She was sure he was fucking someone else. He would say little things that could only have came from another women. And she just knew it… but never once had she spoken one word about it. Let him live. She was in prison, not him. It didn’t help when her brother had sent her a letter in the mail saying he saw her husband bowling with a blonde who looked half her age. She couldn’t eat much after that. It was hard to eat when you had to compete with a younger, more beautiful, and freer women. She also knew that as long as she was locked behind these walls, bars, and authority, she would never be able to be a wife or lover to the one person who she had made a lifetime vow to. Vows meant nothing in a place like this…
I’m eating all the food I can get.
They looked at each other and without saying a word thought about the first time they had sat down at a table in a park barely knowing one another and knowing without a doubt that the person sitting across from them was extraordinary. He fed her a brownie. She played with the palm of his hand. They talked, not a single beat missed.
One moment passed and then before they knew it the next came and they stared at each other from opposite sides of a plexiglass. She brought her hand to the glass and he pressed his palm against hers.
I don’t want you to leave.
I don’t want to go.
…Anything to feel your lips on my neck.
…Prettier every time I see you.
You’ll come back?
Have I ever not?
After their 30 minutes of visitation was over they both walked their separate ways to completely different lifestyles. But in all the differences the rhythm which their hearts beat to never strayed from one another. The same stream, the same frequency, the same chemistry that would keep them as one when the rest of life tried to make them two.
At the moment, all they had was time. Even if time was an enemy, it would only last for a little less than an eternity.