Friday, 25 October 2013

Two little weeks...

Third night in a row, home alone.
It's not something I do... alone...
I'm not quite sure what brought it on, was it perhaps the audible expression of my goal - to learn how to be alone?
Or more likely, it's him. 
I hate how much I love him. 

He's been in touch recently. He reached out several times, actually, I just didn't want to talk about it. It started with some messages from his brother, filling me in, and letting me know he was thinking of me. He was relocated to another prison, he was closer now. But I couldn't do it, I couldn't visit. I'd come so far in the last few months, I didn't want to feel so powerless again.

Then he started writing to me. At first it was just some casual conversation, touching base, making small talk. But then came the letter that changed it all. The letter that took me straight back there. The letter that reminded me of the power that he has over me. 

He explained why he did it, why he cut me off. I always thought that he kept me on a pedestal... I know him too well. Have you ever felt like that? So innately connected to someone that often you don't even want to voice your thoughts for fear of sounding ridiculous? 

He wanted me to take this time to find myself. He didn't want to weigh me down. He felt, that after being in a relationship for so long, I really needed to let my hair down and just BE ME. He also claimed that I was too good of a person to be visiting a criminal in prison, and that he was embarrassed by his situation. He wants to do better, to be better. 

But the thing is, so do I.

I felt strong. I had the upper hand. 

Then he started calling.

He gets out in two weeks, you see. The sound of his voice made my heart skip a beat. Just like the first time we reunited, time and distance has made no difference. The invisible rope that ties us together is as strong and sturdy as ever. He wants to see me. He calls to try and get me to agree to dinner as soon as he's out. And I hesitate, every time. Not because I don't want to see him. I want more than anything to have him hold me in his arms. But I'm scared. I'm so scared because I love this man more than I've ever loved anyone even though I know that I shouldn't. Because if I let him in and it doesn't work out then I'll be faced with a big fat 'I TOLD YOU SO'
from everyone. 

I'm scared because before, I had a safety net, I was married.
Whatever happened with Eden didn't matter, I had a husband to fall back on.
But now, it's just me. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Booty Call

Eden stopped calling.

So I stopped visiting.

I stopped writing. 

I started living.

At first the silence was deafening. I stared at my phone, begging it to ring. It took all my strength not to contact his family and ask about him, not to write to him to let him know I was thinking about him. Before long, I stopped carrying my phone everywhere with me. I stopped waiting for his call. I accepted that I had been incredibly foolish, devoting so much time and energy to a man who obviously didn't want me. 

I needed to feel wanted. Adam still wanted me, but I couldn't go back. I felt like I had already disconnected myself from him, that going back would cause more pain than pleasure. So I did what any red-blooded woman would do in my situation, I made a booty call. 

Gareth was an old friend who I hadn't spoken to for a while. He was married when we used to hang out, but I had a sneaking suspicion that he may have wished he wasn't when he was around me. I had a feeling that he and his wife may have split, so I sent him an email, simply saying hello. After a brief exchange he let me know that he was in fact now single and that he would love to catch up with me. I had caught him, hook, line and sinker. 

He arrived at my place with a few bottles of wine. We sat and drank a bottle, catching up, before calling a cab to head out for dinner. I could tell Gareth wasn't handling his break up too well, he wanted to talk it over and over, asking questions and trying to figure out what went wrong. He was anxious, he was fragile, but most of all, he was over the moon to be in my company.

After dinner we grabbed some cocktails and sat on a couch. 

"I have to tell you something." He stated.

"When we met, I was so happy. You were so beautiful and fun and amazing, and you were married. So we could be friends, and there was no issue, because we were both married." He was moving closer and closer to me as he spoke. I couldn't believe how easy this was. We decided at that moment to head back to my place. 

As we walked from the cab to my door, Gareth tried to put his arm around me. It was awkward, he was obviously way out of practice, and I laughed at him. We poured some more wine and sat on the couch. Then he took my glass from me and set it on the table, turning to me and asking in a very matter-of-fact way,

"Can I please have a kiss?"

Gareth was a little older than I was, and I found his gentlemanly approach very amusing. But it also made him seem vulnerable, it made me feel like he NEEDED this night with me. So I kissed him.

"Wow, that was incredible!" He was blown away. This was exactly the ego stroke I needed, so I pulled him back towards me and kissed him again. We made our way to the bedroom, stripping our clothes off as we approached my bed. Suddenly this 38 year old man was like a 17 year old school boy, eager and excited to be having sex for the first time. His enthusiasm was just what my self esteem needed.

But then he became needy. He wanted to hold my hand, to stroke my hair, to cuddle. I realised I'd made a mistake. What I was hoping to be a booty call, he was hoping to be the start of something new. I just wanted him to break my drought and go home.

For the next few weeks he called, emailed and messaged me constantly, begging me to see him, telling me how I made him feel alive again, that he wanted to make me happy. I couldn't believe the difference, I had an ex-husband and a lover who made me feel starved for attention, and here was a man desperate to give me his attention but I just wanted him to go away. I tried to tell him over and over that I didn't want anything from him, but he still wanted to see me. Eventually I had to lie and say I'd met someone, it was the only way to get him to leave me alone. 

And just like that, I feel free. I don't need Adam. I don't need Eden.
The power is in MY hands now.
I'm not longer a fragile woman at the mercy of a man.
And I love it.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I Don't Miss Him

*Present day*

Two weeks. That's how long it's been since Eden last called me.
Three weeks. That's how long it's been since I last saw him.

I find myself wondering if we'll ever have a chance... if we ever had a love. I've almost forgotten how it felt. Almost. I don't think I could ever truly let it slip.

At least I'm not on that emotional rollercoaster any more. Now I've accepted that this is how it is and there's nothing I can do about it. Nothing but wait. And occasionally visit.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so they say.

I rarely see Adam now, but for a brief interlude when we exchange the children. You'd be forgiven for forgetting that he exists at all. I don't miss him. I spent almost half of my life by his side and now that we're apart, there's no void. There's no emptiness. I don't miss him. 

At first I considered that this might be because I've been so preoccupied with Eden... but two weeks, no word from Eden, and it doesn't change how I feel about Adam. Or don't feel. Adam wants to work things out, Adam thinks we should be together, but if there's no void without him, then I don't see the point of being with him. If there's no void without him, then what value did he bring to my life in the first place?

We only get one shot at life. I want a love that leaves a void. I want a love that leaves me pining and yearning and needing someone. Not a love that leaves me feeling sorry for him. Obliged to check if he's alright. Sad that he's sad, but not willing to do what he needs to be happy.

I'm not sure if this is a reflection of me as a person, or if it's a reflection of our relationship.

I'm going to see Eden. I need to feel his arms around me. I need to look into his eyes. After our last visit, when I just felt off beat and sad, I need reassurance.

Because although I don't miss Adam, my God, I miss Eden.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Too hard, too much?

*Present day*

I left the office and headed for the motorway. After only one trip, I already felt used to this drive. The alone time in the car was almost enjoyable. The independence felt good.

There was something different this time though. I wanted to go, I wanted to see Eden, but I didn't feel as excited as usual. I felt down. I felt like this was becoming a burden. Like I was in a long distance relationship with someone who wasn't putting any effort in. Like I wished, just once, he could make the trip to visit ME. 

I was driving to a small town about half an hour from where Eden was, a friend was staying at a relatives for the night and offered me the couch. I pulled up outside the house just after 8pm. The quaint, fibro cottage looked small and cold and yet somehow still inviting. I think this was because of the warmth of the people inside, I knew that good hearts would be greeting me.

We chatted in front of the heater with tea and Iced VoVos. I felt welcomed and at home, and my somber mood soon lifted. As I snuggled into my sleeping bag on the couch, I mulled over the speech I was hoping to give Eden. I can't do this anymore. This is too hard. I need to think about me for a while. I started to feel like a terrible person. I promised him I wouldn't do this, I promised I wouldn't flee again, I told him I'd be here for him. I remembered the last time I gave him that speech. I remembered how he felt, and how I felt. The pain was indescribable. But how long could I try and be a friend to a man who I was in love with?

After breakfast we sat in the warm country sun, soaking up its rays. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. I spoke with my friend about country air, country hospitality, country atmosphere... It was just idyllic, I didn't want to leave. But the purpose of my trip was not to have a holiday, it was to see Eden, so I went on my way.

I pulled into the carpark feeling concerned. There were so few cars there that I wondered if I had the right day. The visitor centre reception was almost empty, but for one woman waiting patiently. After about 15 minutes a few more visitors arrived, and this prompted the guards to bring the drug detection dog out for a quick search. I was fascinated to see the dog park himself at a woman's feet. She had a slight rock and roll look to her with her mini skirt, singlet, boots and messy hair. The guards escorted her into a room for questioning, and only minutes after came out and asked the woman at the desk to call the Police. I felt disappointed that I wouldn't see what happened, because at the same time I was taken in to see Eden.

I didn't wait long, he strolled out looking tall and tough in his white jumpsuit. It always amazes me how a prison inmate can look so handsome and well groomed. He had kept the beard, and his hair was a little longer than usual.

"I love your hair longer! You look... less... mean?" I stroked his head and smiled.
"I'll have to cut it then." He joked.

We were off today, Eden and I. I'm not sure if he sensed my mood, or if he was perhaps in one of his own, but we were off. We sat quietly, occasionally filling the silence with small talk. My planned speech sat on the tip of my tongue, refusing to take the plunge. I wondered if Eden was also holding back, trying not to say what was really on his mind. For the first time since he was locked up, we ended the visit early. Inmates aren't allowed to use the bathroom during a visit, so when Eden said that the can of Pepsi Max he'd consumed had got the better of him, I accepted the early mark with gratitude.

The drive home was long and contemplative. I didn't doubt my love, but I did doubt Eden's. And as long as that thought lingered in my mind, I wasn't sure I had the strength to keep going. But then I thought, if I were to tell him now that this was too hard, and then in six months time, if he were to call me on his release, I'd be eager to see him. I'm always eager to see him. So then how would it be fair of me to pull the plug when it was hard for me (again) only to dive back in as soon as it became easy?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

He just gets me

*Present day*

"People kind of, give up on you when you're in here, you know?"

When Eden spoke the words I really did know what he meant. I had considered that it would be easier to walk away than to be a good friend to him during these nine months. I could see how someone would want to give up. It plays on my mind sometimes, why am I doing this? Why am i putting myself through this? The emotional investment, the ups and downs. The financial investment with all of the driving and nights in motels. My husband and children, not to mention the rest of my family. Why was I doing this?

The answer is simple. I love this man.

I don't think it would be fair to dismiss him because of a mistake he made before I came back into his life. I think that the timing will test our love, and if we fail, then at least we'll know. At least we tried.

But some days it is SO HARD. Some days I don't know if I can keep going. I had one of those days last week. I hadn't heard from Eden for a few days and I was a wreck because of it. I hated that I was doing this to myself, I didn't want to be this person. I felt weak. I felt pathetic. Then he called. I could hardly speak to him, all of my energy was spent trying to hold back tears.

"What's wrong? You sound upset?" He asked.
"I don't know. I'm up and down." Was all I could muster. 

After a few attempts at getting conversation out of me, he gave up, said to enjoy the rest of my day, and that he would call me during the week. I felt broken.

For the next few hours I worked like a zombie, mindlessly flicking between screens on my desktop, not absorbing anything. And then my phone rang, and it was Eden again.

"I'm so glad you called back." I said softly.
"How could I not? You sound so down, what's going on?" He sounded worried.
"I don't know. I can't articulate it."
"It's not like you to be unable to say something. Why don't you write to me then?"
"Because I'm afraid I've already said too much."
There it was. I was feeling overexposed, vulnerable, and I hated it.
"No way." His response was firm and reassuring.
"Promise. Would I be calling if you had?" I found comfort in the tone of his voice. It was like a hug through the phone. "It's like before..." he continued, "Well, it's different this time, but, things have never been easy for us..."
"We'll get there. One day."

Eden proceeded to tell me the things he wanted to do when he was released, like go out for a nice seafood dinner. He said that one night he would sit down and make a list of all the things we should do together. Then he told me about his week, making jokes in attempt to get me laughing. I had to giggle when he said he'd made friends with a big, burly gay man, and that he had taken some baby oil into his cell and asked for a massage.

He knew just what to say. He knew how to make me feel better.
When I saw him last, I was telling him that I felt like a stalker, tracking him down and then following him across the state as he moved from one correctional centre to the next.

"You're not a stalker. I've known you for... well... I just KNOW you..."

He was right. He knows me. He just gets me.

Monday, 15 April 2013

I want to have your babies

*Present day*

Eden walked into the visitor centre with a noticeable air about him. He was angry. I stood to give him a hug and then he took a seat beside me. He was complaining that he didn't have time to finish his shower and brush his teeth because he had to get three different guys to cut his hair after the first one stuffed it up. I laughed at his vanity.

"Stop being a sook!" I nudged him in an attempt to loosen him up. It worked.

This correctional centre was different. On each table was a laminated A4 page with guidelines for inmates and visitors. I had read it while waiting for Eden, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Eden picked it up and started reading. A sentence a few lines down the page jumped out at him.

"Inmates may hug and kiss their visitors on arrival and departure, but there is to be no other physical contact for the duration of the visit. You better behave yourself or I'll kiss you and they'll end your visit!" He joked.

"I'll take it, I'll take what I can get" I replied. We laughed.

"I can't believe you came all the way here!" He smiled. "How was the drive?"

We chatted about the drive, the motel, the town. I told him what I'd gotten up to since I'd seen him last. These visits were getting easier, the conversation flowed and there were no awkward silences. We sat close together, our legs touching under the table. As usual, it didn't take long for the conversation to lead into a discussion about 'us'.

Eden was telling me about a female guard who may just have a thing for him, and how he could use this to his advantage. I made a joke about his ability to turn on the charm to get women to do things for him, and suddenly his tone changed and he looked like a wounded puppy.

"Don't say that. You said something like that before..."
"I know exactly what I said." I interrupted.
He was referring to the statement I made about him having me around because he knows I'll do anything for him.
"But how can I not feel that way? How can I not be paranoid? I have no idea what's going on in there!" I tapped his forehead as I spoke.

"I have no idea what's going on in there either. You don't understand what it's like in here..." He tried to explain. I felt like I'd heard it all before, so again, I interrupted...

"You think I haven't thought about the fact that your feelings are probably amplified by these four walls? That you'll get out and discover all of the other fish in the sea? I have a feeling you're going to walk out of this jail and break my goddamn heart!"

"I don't want to..." He said softly.

"I didn't want to have this conversation today. I came without questions or intentions..." I wasn't lying, I really just didn't feel like doing this dance.

"I know. We have to talk about it sometime though." Was his reply.

"Look, to me, it's simple. There's either something between us, or there isn't! It's that easy. So for now, can you just enjoy the pleasure of my company?" I smiled a cheeky smile.

"I am. I do. I really do." And just like that we moved on.

We started talking about age and how time was passing us by. It was a conversation we had frequently, brought on by the number of years since we parted company. So much had changed since then. Eden mentioned how we was feeling a bit down about the fact that he always wanted children, that he wanted to be a young Dad and that he only had one biological child of his own.

"I've just... always wanted a son... you know?"

I nodded as I listened, but I could hardly speak. I offered a few encouraging words about him having time up his sleeve, but it was the best I could offer. You see, only the week prior, I'd been wondering whether or not Eden wanted more children. I didn't feel like I could ask him this, and I was afraid that if his answer was no, I'd have some serious thinking to do.

Before long visiting time was over. We stood and he kissed me on the cheek before pulling me into his arms. We hugged for a few minutes.

"You smell good." I said, lightly pressing my lips to his neck.

I stepped back and he came toward me again, kissing me on the cheek for a second time.
"Drive carefully, I'll call you to make sure you get home ok." And with that he left.

The following day the whole reproduction thing was playing on my mind, so when he called me, I couldn't help but share my thoughts. I told him how I too had been thinking about children but I was afraid to tell him. I told him that so often he brings up things that are on my mind because he and I are so in tune.

I had carefully thought out what I would say. But as soon as I started talking the words came flying out of my mouth and I'm certain it sounded more like:


Carpe diem I guess.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Empowered, liberated, free

*Present day*

I felt a combination of relief and excitement as I pulled into the small country town. It had been a long drive and I was happy to be able to get out of the car and stretch my legs. Surprisingly though, I felt no fear. I'd never stayed on my own before but I was unusually confident. I could do this. I needed to do this.

I parked my car and walked in to the reception office, which was also the entrance to the restaurant. Two couples were sharing a meal at a table straight ahead, and as I walked in they joked about who's 'turn' it was. Then one of the ladies stood up and came to greet me with a warm, inviting smile. I instantly loved the place.

I was directed to room 17 and offered breakfast. I politely declined, explaining that I hoped to catch up on some sleep before departing. I wished the group a good night and walked off to find my room. I turned the key and pushed the door open, fumbling for a light switch. I was nervously expecting to find a slightly dirty, scary looking room remnant of one of those movies where people die in motels, but it was beautiful. A crisp white queen bed featured in the centre of the room, desk and flat screen TV in front of it. A couch and a table were conveniently located to my left, ready to receive my overnight bag and purse. Straight ahead was a vanity with a door on its left leading to the large shower and toilet. It was perfect.

I undressed and headed straight for the shower, which was hot and hard and just what I needed. As I pulled on a singlet and some underwear, I poured myself a glass of champagne to celebrate my first solo trip. I felt empowered, liberated, free...

Typical of a night before visiting Eden, I found it impossible to get to sleep. I was annoyed, the last thing I needed for the long drive home the next day was to be sleep deprived. I woke far earlier than I needed to, and when it became obvious that there was no chance of going back to sleep, I decided a slow morning would be a good way to start the day. I relaxed and took my time getting ready. I had a cup of coffee, did some stretches, and eventually headed for reception.

It was a gorgeous day in the small country town, and I had a little time up my sleeve so I had a bit of a look around on my way to the correctional centre. I could get used to this place. I drove to the jail, parked my car, and walked down to the entrance. I was greeted by to guards and a sniffer dog, and asked to line up so the dog could perform a search before I entered.

On entry I immediately noticed how much smaller the reception here was. True to its country town location, there was only one short counter to complete the visitor slips, only one small window with an elderly clerk behind it, and a tiny corner of lockers shoved off to the right. There was barely room to move, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the other visitors. And here, the most noticable difference, was how friendly the other visitors were, no one was a stranger in this room.

When the guard called Eden's surname, I headed into an enclosed room for questioning and scanning. Security here was not lacking. Once cleared, I was ushered through a door into an open and empty courtyard. And then nothing. I looked around, and laughed out loud. Another visitor came through.

"Where the hell am I supposed to go?" I asked her, still laughing.
"Come on love, this way!" She responded, and I followed here across the courtyard and through another door. I was directed to a numbered table where I sat and waited for Eden.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Road Trip

*Present day*

I keep sending myself back on this emotional rollercoaster ride, not learning anything from the journey already travelled. 

Eden was relocated to a jail far, far away. He called me a couple of times to let me know that he was on his way there, then that he'd arrived, and that it seemed ok. And then for four days, he didn't call. The rational part of my brain knew that it was likely he didn't have any money on the phone and possible that they had a lock in day. The irrational side wondered if he was just over me already. But the invisible rope that ties us together had a more powerful pull than my irrational brain, so I booked a visit to see him.

I considered doing the entire trip in a single day, which would mean nine hours of driving for a two and a half hour visit. I decided that a night in a country town was just what I needed, so instead I booked a room at a motel near the jail. I was apprehensive about a night in a motel alone, but thought it was a safer bet than the long, solo drive.

Friday came and I still hadn't heard from Eden. This made me all the more eager to see him, and I was both nervous and excited about the trip. I pulled into the service station right before the highway to get some fuel when my phone rang. It was Eden.

"Hey stranger..."
"Hello. How are you?" He replied.
"I'm good. Where have you been all week?"
"I didn't have any money on the phone, I used the last of it to call you on the weekend and they only let you put more money on once a week here." He explained. Irrational me took a back seat.

"Do you miss me?" I felt needy and emotional.

"Nah." He laughed. I called him an arse. "No, really, I do hey, I miss you." He said seriously. "When are you gonna make the trip all the way out here to see me?"

He had previously told me that he didn't expect me to travel that far, that he knew it was too much. I hesitated, I wasn't sure if I should surprise him.

"Uhmmmm... now?" I said rather slowly.

"What? Are you on your way now? YOU'RE CRAZY! WHAT?" He was over the moon, laughing in disbelief. 
"Yeah, well... I wasn't sure when I would be able to come and I'm free tonight..." 
"You're crazy!" He sounded very surprised, and I was starting to feel offended.
"Well, you could call me crazy, or you could call me nice?" 
"YOU ARE AWESOME!" He declared. "Seriously, you are such an awesome person, I really appreciate it hey. I really do." He was so genuinely happy that my heart started to swell.

After a week of feeling sad and lonely, again a simple six minute exchange and I was on top of the world. He wanted to see me. He was excited I was coming. He wasn't over me at all. We quickly chatted about our weeks and every now and then he interjected;

"I can't believe you're coming to see me!"
"I was kind of hoping to surprise you, but now I'm glad I got to tell you so at least you'll be in a good mood for the rest of the night!"
"You're not wrong. I'm glad I called." He replied.

I filled up my car and pulled out of the service station, entering the highway with a smile from ear to ear.
I was going to see my love, and he was stoked.
What more could a girl want?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Nine Months

*Present day*

When I found out that Eden was sentenced to nine months, I was relieved. I thought that nine months would be easy, that the time would pass quickly. It was better than a year or more, right?

Two months into it and I'm feeling quite depressed. Nine months doesn't seem to be passing quickly at all. I miss him so much. I hate that our contact is limited. I hate that I have no control over it.
I just wish he was here with me.

My mind bounces back and forth... while he's locked up, we're really bonding. This is a wonderful opportunity to re-establish a friendship. But what if the SOLE reason we are bonding is that he has no one else to talk to? If his feelings are amplified by those four walls? What if I'm just a prop to help him through the nine months, and as soon as he's released back into the big wide world he'll dive in to discover that he's more interested in all of the other fish in the sea?

"There's no one else." He said to me at one of our visits, without me even having asked a question. Sometimes I honestly think he can read my mind.

I'm confident that he'd never lie to me, and the fact of the matter is that right now there isn't anyone else, but that doesn't mean there won't be in the future... I've felt like this before, the last time we were together. I was constantly afraid that he would find someone else, completely aware of how hypocritical that was, considering I have always had someone else. 

The other week I received a phone call from another inmate, someone I didn't know. Eden had asked him to call me to let me know that he was locked in and wouldn't be able to call me for a few days. It was a really sweet gesture, it showed his thoughtfulness, he didn't want me to think that he just wasn't calling me. When I visited him that following weekend, he asked me:

"Did he tell you what I said?"
"Just that you were locked in because they found something in your cell." I replied.
"Haha, he didn't say it! I said to him tell her I love her!"
"No, he didn't say it."

I've been kicking myself ever since. Rather than have the courage to discuss the fact that he had just tried to tell me that he loved me, I brushed over it and kept on talking. I think part of me was annoyed that he'd chosen such a sneaky way to say it, instead of just telling me straight out. The poor man can't win.

Mostly, I wonder what would have happened if he wasn't in jail. If he didn't get locked up, then where would we be right now? And I think that's the scariest thought of all.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A seasoned jail visitor

*Present day*

Third time visiting a Correctional Centre and I felt like a pro. There was no fear, no hesitation, I knew what I was doing. Not even the crowd of other visitors at the gate intimidated me today, I was a seasoned visitor now. The female guard checking my ID was familiar, Eden had mentioned she'd given him a hard time before. I made small talk with her, even told her a joke, she laughed and ushered me in. I was a vision of confidence.

The sun was shining so I decided to sit outside to wait for Eden. A toddler waiting to see his father was playing around me. He was no stranger to the place and this made me sad. What kind of life was this poor child being brought into? His young mother was sitting nearby and paying little attention to him as she told her friend about getting into a fight in a shopping centre because another girl had given her son the same name. I found myself drifting back to Judgementville. I'm not one of you.

The warmth of the sun made me feel drowsy, I'd only had a couple of hours sleep. It seems to happen every time I visit him, the night prior is spent tossing and turning as possible conversations run through my mind. 

Finally, he appeared. 

"It's hot out here!" I complained as he bent down to kiss me on the cheek.
"Do you want to sit inside?" Eden asked.

I followed him in and we sat in the corner. There was something unusually sexy about him today in his bottle green polo, tracksuit pants and Grandpa-like velcro shoes. 

"You've got a bit of facial hair going on!" I remarked as I leaned over, stroking his face. I realised that usually when I see him he's clean shaven, and this rough look was quite a turn on, it really suited him.

"I'm growing a beard, do you like it?" He smiled. "I think it makes me look a bit more mature."

He was different today, he was happier. We joked around a lot and several times he sat back and laughed loudly, I hadn't seen him do this for so long. It was nice. I'd been worried that this place was getting him down, I was so glad to see him in good spirits again. As we talked, I realised that these visits had become like dates. We were getting to know each other all over again, and it was nice, really nice. In some ways his jail sentence was a blessing. We couldn't get caught up in tearing each others clothes off, we were forced to establish an emotional connection before even considering a physical one. As much as I wished it wasn't the case, I could see the benefit. 

He talked about moving in with me when he's released and it made me uneasy, he hadn't been so direct about it before. Then when he mentioned his desire to travel again, I let him have it.

"So what am I then? A stop off? Someone you can use on your way through and then you'll just ditch me? Thanks for everything see you later?" I said in a sarcastic tone.

We were back and forth for a while, he explained his need to clear his head, I explained my need for clarity and honesty. And then finally he said the words I had been wanting to hear...

"I never said I wanted to be alone. You could come with me, I just didn't think you'd be able to?"

I tried to keep my cool, to not let him know that I had been desperately hoping he'd ask me to join him. I honestly don't know whether I would go or not, but I wanted him to want me to. I wanted to feel wanted.

I realised that it must be hard for him in there. Stuck in a cell for 16 hours a day, only able to talk to me via brief phone calls and visits for a couple of hours each fortnight. He only had my word that I was spending my time alone, that I was no longer with Adam. He had, after all, only ever known me as a married woman. And considering his turbulent past with his ex, who had cheated on him and conceived a child while he was in jail, I wouldn't blame him if he didn't trust me.

"Do you trust me?" I asked.
"Yes." He responded without hesitation. 

I smiled. We were making progress. 

"I had a couple of beers last night." I teased.
"Stop it. I'd kill for a beer. Told my little brother to have one for me on his birthday. That'll be the first thing I want when I get out." He replied. 
"The first hey?" I looked away as I asked the question, feeling a little shy.
"Well, the second. Easier to do that in the passenger seat than the first thing. You are picking me up, aren't you?"

We laughed. The guard announced that visiting time was over. We hugged for a few minutes before he kissed me on the cheek. As I walked away, he called out,

"Hey, send me some of that stuff you've been writing about me!"

"I'll send it when you kiss me properly." I winked and exited the visitor centre.

Monday, 18 March 2013

A change in tune!

*Present day*

The calls dwindled over the past two weeks. I rolled a few explanations around in my mind...
Maybe he's calling someone else? Another girl?
Maybe he's pulling back because of our last visit? Did I push him too hard?
Maybe he's in trouble...

On Tuesday my phone finally rang. In a very brief, one minute exchange, Eden explained that he hadn't had any money on the phone, and that he would call me first thing in the morning. And then two mornings passed, and my phone didn't ring. I was starting to wonder what kind of games he was playing. I was starting to forget about watching my phone altogether. 

Friday rolled around and I heard from him so early that I was actually still in bed. He sounded over the moon to finally hear my voice and we spent the six minutes trying to quickly catch up. He explained that they had been in lockdown for two days. He wasn't playing games at all, the man is in jail for Pete's sake, he doesn't have the liberty of phone calls at any time... He asked what my plans for the weekend were and I told him that of course I'd be visiting. I could tell from the sound of his voice that he was smiling. 

It really felt like the tables had turned. EDEN was the one eager and desperate for more. Something had changed, perhaps absence had made the heart grow fonder? Rather than being confusing and misleading, Eden was quite forward, and he asked me a very direct question that caught me off guard.

"Is there room for me at your place?"

Six minutes isn't a very long time. I would have liked the opportunity to explore the question further, to ask why the change in tune, but instead I just kept on talking. I think perhaps I wanted to wait until the weekend to have this discussion face to face. I think perhaps I wanted to see if it was a passing comment, or something that had been on his mind.

Suddenly the weekend couldn't come soon enough.

But if you want to know how it went, you'll have to pop back on Friday!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

How do you do it?

Do you remember that day on the park bench?

What was I doing? Was I plucking your eyebrows?

I remember sitting on the table, you on the bench seat, your face in my hands... I'm sure that we were trying to behave ourselves, but it didn't last long. It never does, does it?

I could only sit so close to you for so long before my lips started wandering, before your hands started wandering... As I slowly and softly covered your face in kisses, your hand gently made its way up my skirt...

I often think of that day, of how we felt in that moment.

The park surrounding us fell away and we were completely alone as you pulled me down and I wrapped my legs around you.

Never before had I felt such passion, such desire, such urgency...

Just as things really started to heat up, we heard voices approaching, and while you laughed, I curled up into you, equally embarrassed and disappointed, hiding my face in your chest.

No one else has met that girl, the girl who's willing to get frisky on a park bench. There were times when I wondered if she existed at all, if maybe it was all a dream.

But then I saw you again. And I climbed on top of you, with the blinds wide open for anyone who wanted to see.

How do you do it Eden? Is this what all girls are like around you?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013



As much as we thought we were discreet, we were always so risky. We let our love consume us, and we would sometimes forget that I belonged to someone else.

I was at work one day, sitting down eating my lunch. Eden came in, he was wearing a white shirt and a white hat, he was so incredibly handsome in white, it really suited him. We had a quick chat and made plans to catch up later, and then he turned to walk away.

"Hey!" I called after him.

He turned towards me, I looked around to see if anyone was nearby, if anyone was watching...

"Give me a kiss?" I needed to feel his lips on mine.

He laughed and shook his head, he knew it was risky, he knew I was asking for trouble. He quickly kissed me before turning and taking off.

On another afternoon we snuck out to the carpark. We stood behind the building where we thought it was highly unlikely that anyone would see us. I was standing on a ledge so that I could be level with his face. His arms were around my waist, mine around his neck. Nose to nose, we talked about what he was going to do that afternoon, about meeting up later on. I remember softly kissing him as we spoke... It wasn't the hot, fast chemistry that we were used to, it was gentle and sweet... it was lovely. I'd give anything to feel that again.

Later I discovered a security camera pointing right at the spot we were standing. 

This place was like a community, a family. All of our customers were regulars, everyone knew everyone. Although we weren't bombarding them with public displays of affection, the fact that Eden and I were inseparable was evidence enough. They would see us at each others workplaces. They would see us on the street. They would see us at the local shopping centre, the beach, the football field... Not holding hands, not hugging or kissing, but always side by side. 

Adam worked locally as well, and it was well known that he was my husband. It didn't take long for some big-mouthed do-gooders to ask him how he felt about his wife shagging the resident bad boy. Adam knew about Eden and I, so it wasn't like he was surprised by the customers coming in to chat to him about my affair, but he was humiliated. It broke my heart, how could I have put him in that position? How uncomfortable and awkward and embarrassing to have to face that at work.

We both quit or jobs. We didn't return to the area, it was easier to just move on, it was better to leave it there.

Occasionally I would drive through that suburb when I was on my own. It reminded me of Eden. Of our love. I would drive through in the hope that fate would bring us back together. But the only thing that brought us back together was my own determination, my perseverance.

Should I take it as a sign, that after it took a deliberate act to reunite us, he was so quickly taken away from me again? Snatched right out of my hands after only a handful of encounters, our contact now limited by observant guards and six minute phone calls...
What a cruel twist of fate.

Friday, 8 March 2013

There's Something About Adam


I raced home from work with a silly grin spread across my face. I jumped out of the car and ran into the house, leaping into the kitchen where Adam was standing. I could not contain my excitement, I was over the moon.

"They picked me! They picked me! I got the promotion!" I shouted with glee. 

Silence fell upon the room. I was met with a blank expression. 

"Awesome." He replied flatly as he turned his back to me. 

The mood was instantly shattered, what was meant to be my celebration quickly turned into fear, had I done something wrong? When I questioned Adam I was accused of bragging, of being insensitive and too proud. You see, several weeks prior, one of Adam's colleagues was offered a promotion. A promotion that Adam hadn't applied for, he wasn't even interested in it. But the fact that I was offered a promotion just weeks after what he perceived as his own rejection, made Adam feel resentment towards me. I apologised for being so hurtful, I felt like a terrible wife.

Sadly, this was the story of my marriage. Years earlier, I missed my own University graduation because Adam had something else he wanted us to do that day. When my degree arrived in the mail, I was so proud that I framed it and hung it on the wall. When Adam came home from work and saw it, he laughed.

"That's a bit up yourself, don't you think?" He said as he parked himself in front of the TV, beer in hand.

The moment our first child was born was the proudest of my life. Our beautiful daughter arrived after a long, hard labour. I had pushed on through it without a single complaint or drug. I caught our baby in my arms and pulled her to my chest, amazed at my own achievement. Adam looked at both of us, bloody and sweaty, and with a look of indifference, he stood and said;

"I'm going home to have a shower and a sleep."

And then he walked off, leaving our brand new baby and I with the hospital staff. She was barely a minute old. You see, Adam was so tired after all of that work. All of that work sitting and reading his magazine while I laboured on my own.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Another day, another jail

*Present day*

I wandered through the room and took a seat by the door. It was wet outside and a nice, cool breeze drifted in from the courtyard, providing a little oxygen in the otherwise stifling visitor centre. The cold, hard steel chair was more comfortable than the stools on offer at the last jail I'd visited, and I sat back and took in my surroundings. This place was so different; older, dirtier, and far more relaxed. There were no fingerprints taken, no retina scans, no searches or removal of shoes. A quick glimpse of my license and I was ushered into a room to sit and wait for Eden, no fuss, no delay. 

I wore a dress this time, even though it was a cold and rainy day. Eden used to say that he loved my legs,  and I wanted him to know what he was missing. I contemplated how I would say hello to him. Should I stand? Should I kiss him? Would he kiss me? The room was slowly filling with more and more visitors, and one by one the inmates were appearing from a door over my right shoulder. The coffee machine hummed and sputtered as people deposited their coins. And chips, every visitor seemed to head straight to the vending machine to buy some chips, which I found slightly amusing. Unlike the terror I felt last time, I was fascinated.

Suddenly I was startled by a gentle poke in my side, Eden had snuck up behind me. Before I even had the chance to greet him, the guards called out to him and gestured to a table in the corner, right underneath the security camera. Eden was annoyed, none of the other inmates were allocated a seat nor were they forced to wear a fluro pink wristband. I sat facing him, pleased to learn that the chairs here were closer together, that I could comfortably rest my legs against his. I just needed to feel him, even if it was only knee to knee.

"I don't know why they put this on me, or why we have to sit under the camera!" He remarked. 
"It's not you, it's me, they know I'm trouble." I joked.

I'd had only a few hours sleep the night before, tossing and turning with a thousand thoughts running through my mind. The things I wanted to say to him, the things I hoped I would hear... it was all forgotten as soon as I saw him, and again I just stared at his face. All I could think now was how much I wanted to reach forward and kiss him. To plant my parted lips on his. To feel close to him again. A few things were holding me back;

  1. I wasn't sure about the rules regarding physical contact with inmates
  2. Fear of rejection
  3. The desire to appear less eager, to play harder to get
We chatted about everything and nothing for over an hour, some of it banter, some of it deep, and some that had me blushing and shifting uncomfortably in my seat. At one point my car was mentioned, and Eden made a sly comment about the size of a car being important because of all of the mischief you could get up to in it. He often dropped little 'inside jokes' like this referring to the sexual adventures of our past. We never needed a bed, we would make the most of any environment; the car, the park, the movie theatre... And Eden never missed an opportunity to remind me... and every time he did I felt a pang of yearning...

I was trying to read into every word, every touch. He occasionally touched my legs as he spoke, he made remarks that I might interpret as an implication that he would stay with me when he was released. But then Eden started to tell me about his plans to travel next year, to spend 12 months finding himself as he journeyed around the country with a stop off overseas. His ambiguous comments resulted in my patience quickly fading, so finally I interjected...

"Am I supposed to wait for you? I feel like all I ever do is say goodbye to you. I feel like I can't catch you." Surprisingly, I wasn't emotional or angry. I was very matter of fact.

"You caught me once before..." He replied.

"I hate how you do this. I've told you everything and yet you've told me nothing. I don't know what you want."

"I don't know what I want! My head is all over the place! I still have 8 months in here. I'm worried about my kids. I don't know what I'm doing! I don't know where I'm at!" He looked down, reluctant to meet my gaze.

"I can't help but wonder if you just like having me around because you know I'll do anything for you."

"Why would you even say that?" He looked offended, shaking his head and turning away. "You don't know what it's like in here. What I think I want now might change in two weeks. I don't know..."

Once upon a time, I had no doubt about Eden's love for me. He wore it all over his face, he expressed it not only with words but with his touch. But now, I honestly had no idea what he felt, and I wasn't sure how long I could keep guessing. I think it's time that I accept that he doesn't love me, not the way I want him to, and that my role in his life is to serve as his friend.

An announcement came over the PA system, asking us all to wrap up our visits. Eden stood and I hesitated, unsure of how to end it. But then as he wrapped his arms around me, his touch said so much more than his words, and again I felt... lost... in him. We held on for what felt like an eternity, but I couldn't look at him. If I looked at him, he might kiss me. And if he kissed me, then I wouldn't know what it meant. So I turned and walked away.

He reached out again, pulling me back towards him. I realised that I finally had the upper hand, he was reaching for me, rather than the other way around. I let him hug me again briefly, pulling back, still not allowing my eyes to meet his. He came forward again, kissing me on the cheek. I turned and headed straight for the exit, feeling like a stronger woman.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Of Truths and Lies

*Present day*

My phone doesn't leave my hand, not even for a second. On a daily basis it rings, Unknown number flashes across the screen. No matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing, I answer it. Always at his beck and call, even while he's locked up. I run to find some privacy as I swipe my finger across the screen, I know that I have at least thirty seconds while the automated greeting plays, before I'll hear his voice.

For a moment I considered that he only calls me so often because he has nothing else to do, that perhaps he doesn't call because he wants to speak to ME specifically, but rather he just needs to speak to ANYONE. But then I think back to the weeks leading up to his return to jail; when he would text me on a daily basis. And then I remember how it was eight years ago, when we were inseparable. When we couldn't get enough of each other. And I think to myself, yes, we sure have something special...

Eden was telling me about the Correctional Centre that he's currently in. He doesn't like it there, but he'll be staying there until after his appeal, when he'll be relocated to spend the remainder of his sentence at an older jail. He told me that he was looking forward to moving because he will be able to catch up with a mate. A mate who still has 17 years left of his sentence. 

"17 years?" I asked. "For what?"



"You're friends with a murderer..." It was more of a statement than a question. I was trying to process it in my own mind. 
"It's a long story, I'll tell you when you visit."

Michael's words were now rolling through my thoughts: What will you do when he gets out and he makes another bad choice? A bad choice that might put you and your family in danger?

Suddenly I'm sitting on that fence again, the fence of judgement. I don't know this 'mate'. I don't know the story. But I'm scared. I wonder what I'm getting myself into.

Then there's Adam. Part of me feels like a horrible person for pulling the wool over his eyes, he has no idea that I've been in constant contact with Eden for over a month now. But I know how he'll feel if he finds out. From experience, I've learned that honesty isn't always the best policy. If you haven't ever had an affair, you wouldn't understand it; but telling your partner is a selfish act, you do it to relieve yourself of the burden and they are left with the ashes after the fire. I won't do that to him again.

I have moved out of the home we shared, I've told Adam that it's over. He wasn't entirely surprised, he knew that we had problems and I have mentioned leaving several times over the years. I guess I have come to the point where I know that if I could do this to him then I shouldn't be with him. He deserves a woman who CAN'T lie to his face about sneaking off to visit another man in prison.

A man who considers a murderer a friend...

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Enter Michael, the Archangel

*Present day*

Like Clarke Kent or Peter Parker, I seem to have developed a secret identity. On the surface, I'm a hard working wife and mother, but behind the scenes I'm... something... to a prison inmate. I haven't yet quite figured out what I am to Eden, or what Eden is to me, and I don't think I will know until he's released.

It's been surprisingly easy, I'm shocked at my ability to hide the evidence, to lead two lives. But I am a communicator, I like to talk things out, and the lack of talking has resulted in a plethora of thoughts invading my mind. It's difficult to focus on anything else with so many questions flying left and right, knowing that only time will reveal the answers. 

When you've been with someone so long it can be difficult to talk to others about your relationship, everyone knows you as one half of a couple, rather than as an individual. I don't want anyone to feel like they have to choose a side, I don't want to impart the responsibility of my secrets onto a mutual friend or a family member. This is my burden, and mine alone. 

Michael the Archangel swooped down from the clouds, taking me by surprise. Humorous, intelligent and easy to talk to, Michael is like a more sensitive version of Han Solo. An impartial party, completely objective because of the fact that he doesn't know Adam or Eden (in fact he hardly knows me), he has quickly become my confidante, my counsellor. We've only met in person once and already I've revealed my secret identity, and although this makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, I'm also feeling relieved. Michael's unbiased point of view and thought provoking comments are helping me find clarity. Michael need only to ask me how I am and I'll completely divulge my truths, eager to hear his wise words. But at what cost?

I can't help but fear that I'm adding another dimension to the saga that is my life. Could my act of opening up to someone who is practically a stranger, and a married man at that, be just another step in my downward spiral? What is it that makes someone turn to an online friend before turning to a real life one?

But the strangest thing of all is my imagination. Whilst I'm prepared to accept that Eden, on his fifth stint in prison, is a sweet, loving and perfectly safe man, a small part of me has toyed with the idea that Michael is possibly a deranged serial killer who hunts down vulnerable young women on the internet, taking his time to woo them with his witticisms and charm, perhaps seeking to secure an invitation to discuss my troubles over wine, at which point he'll cut me up into small pieces and dispose of my body bit by bit across the west Australian coast line...

Or perhaps he's just a nice guy...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

He loves me, he loves me not

*Present Day*

It had been 42 hours since my last call from Eden and I was going out of my mind. I needed to know what was going on. I called the Correctional Centre to ask if by chance he had been relocated. I was advised that he was indeed still there. I felt slightly better, though a nagging voice in my head was still whispering
If he loved you he would call...

I decided that it was time I distracted myself, sitting by the phone was not working out for me. I plugged my earphones in, turned the music up as loud as it would go, and got stuck into some work. I started to feel better, I'd been thinking about nothing but Eden for days, it was a relief to finally switch off. My phone rang a couple of times, the first my mother, the second my friend, and I happily chatted away and thought nothing of it. When I hung up from the second call, I received a text informing me that I had a voicemail message.


Sure enough the voicemail was from Eden, and there was no way I could call him back. My heart sank right down into the pit of my stomach. I couldn't believe I had missed his call. I tried my hardest to focus on my work again, but I just couldn't, I was so disappointed. 

I headed into a meeting and sat there staring at the papers in front of me. I was rude, dismissive and irritable because it was the last place I wanted to be, and my colleague was the last person I wanted to be talking to. Then my phone rang.

I picked it up and ran from the room, ducking straight into an empty office and closing the door. 

"Hi!" I practically shouted at the end of the automated Correctional Services greeting. 
"Hey! How ya goin? I tried to call you earlier!" Eden sounded as excited as I was. 

He explained that the previous day they had been in lockdown, so no one was allowed out of their cells, and I couldn't hide the happiness from my voice, I was overjoyed to hear it. We talked quickly, trying to fit as much in as we could in the six minutes we had. And yet he still said none of the things I wanted to hear, and I still said none of the things I wanted to say.

I hung up the phone and skipped back to my meeting. I apologised to my colleague, took my seat and spent the next 30 minutes being very polite and productive. A six minute phone call and I was on top of the world again.

He may not have said it, but he doesn't need to.
I just know it, I've always known it, since the day I met him.
There's something magical about Eden and I.
He loves me. I know he loves me.
Doesn't he?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Call me my love, please call me

*Present Day*

I lay on the living room floor with my eyes closed. I was so tired. A drunken night, an emotionally draining prison visit and the long drive home. My children played around me and I could feel myself drifting off to sleep. I couldn't resist the darkness, it felt like so long since I'd had any rest.

I heard my phone chime and was jostled awake. Feeling slightly annoyed, I ran my hand along the carpet, searching for it. Holding it up in front of my blurry, half asleep eyes, I was confused. It said I had a text from Eden. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, was I dreaming? He couldn't text me from jail! I opened the message and tried not to gasp in surprise, Adam was sitting in the next room and I didn't want him to ask me who it was. It was Eden's mum.

"It's Dawn. Did you see my son today?"

That was all it said. I froze. We'd only met once, many years ago. I could feel my breath catching in my throat, why on earth was she contacting me? What had Eden told her? I tried to sound as friendly as I could in my reply. I figured she might be worried about him, she might want to know how he was.

"Hi Dawn. Yes I saw him, he looked really good. Much happier than the last time I saw him."

We exchanged a few texts before she said,

"Thank you. I hear you have 3 children now?"

Oh... She remembered me, she knew who I was... The married girl who broke her sons' heart. I'm a mother of a boy myself, and I know how I would feel about me, if I were her...

Three days later my mobile rang, it was an unknown number. When I answered it I heard an automated greeting  advising me that I was receiving a call from the Correctional Centre. I jumped for joy and ran outside. Of course it was Eden, calling just to hear my voice. He explained that it took a couple of days to have my number added to his list. I told him about the messages from his mum and he was quite angry. He had asked her not to turn his phone on, I think he was worried about what she would read in there. Suddenly, so was I. Eden had kept all of our messages. ALL OF OUR MESSAGES. If she saw the way I spoke to him... oh dear. In my defense, Eden was the only person who I'd ever spoken to like that, he managed to bring out a different side in me, and the thought of that side being exposed to his mother sent a shiver down my spine. He ended the call quickly so he could phone his brother and tell him to give his mother a message.

The following day, he called me first thing. Over night I had rehearsed all of the things I wanted to say to him but as soon as I heard his voice, I forgot every word. I was too smitten. I told him that I had posted him some socks because I was thoughtful like that. He called me again that day, before he was locked into his cell for the night. We didn't really talk about anything in particular, but it was nice anyway.

The problem now is that he's set a precedent. I haven't heard from him today and I'm going out of my mind. I can't focus on anything, I just sit here, analysing all of the possibilities. Perhaps he's been moved? He did tell me that there will be no warning, he'll be taken to the truck and shipped off to another centre. Perhaps he's in trouble? Perhaps he ran out of money? It's quite expensive to call mobiles from in there. Should I send him some money? Then the fear hits me. If I'm not careful, I could become that person... maybe he doesn't love me... maybe he just loves the way I love him... The way I would do anything for him...

I like to think that I know him, that there is no way he would use me. But there's a little voice in the back of my mind that says maybe, just maybe, 8 years and several prison visits have changed him, hardened him... Maybe I don't know him at all. And the longer I wait to hear his voice, the louder that little voice in my mind gets.

Call me my love. Please call me.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

14. Secretville Part Two

*Present day*

Part one is here

We found the table with the number two marked on it, as instructed, and sat down.

"How've you been? What you been up to? You look half asleep!" Eden laughed.
I explained that I was terribly hungover which made him green with envy. Seven days without alcohol was apparently hard work, the first thing he wanted when he was released was a beer. Nice to have goals I guess... 

Eden explained that he was in maximum security because he'd threatened a guard. I just stared at him while he spoke. Not even the security guards, bad haircut and white jumpsuit could make me think he was dangerous, he was still my sweet, loving Eden.
"I don't get it. I don't see it. Maximum security? You?"
"You'll get it one day." He looked away as he replied, seeming slightly sad.

When he explained what had happened, I understood. I knew where he was coming from, and in my short time there, I witnessed it first hand. Some of the guards were patronising, condescending, arrogant and downright rude. Not one to be intimidated by a uniform on a power trip, Eden had given a guard a piece of his mind. And for that he was dangerous. Apparently. He explained his view that security guards were usually the fat kids who were bullied in school and out to get their revenge. He was so insightful some times, as I looked around the white-walled room at the guards I could picture each of them as a tubby, unpopular teen.

I gazed into Eden's eyes while we were talking. They were so clear, I felt like he was looking right into my soul, I felt that if I didn't look away, he was going to see something that I wasn't ready to share. I was also overcome with desire. His beautiful, sober eyes may have aged over the last 8 years, but they still consumed me. How on earth can he still have this much power over me?

I was hoping that my visit would be a surprise but it turned out his brother had told him I was coming. I hadn't considered that when I messaged his brother on Facebook to ask if it was ok if I visited. Inmates were only allowed one visit each week and I didn't want to get in the way of family. Eden said that he'd checked with the office a couple of days before to make sure that I'd booked in. He also mentioned that he'd been dancing in his cell that morning. I guess he was excited to see me after all.

He mentioned that he'd received my letter and I blushed a deep, ruby red. The problem with words on paper is that sometimes you don't realise how much you're revealing until it's too late. I wished I hadn't sent it, and I told Eden this. He smiled, "Obviously you had to get something off your chest." He always had this uncanny ability to make me completely spill my guts and I hated it. I wished I could keep my cards closer to my chest.

"Did you have a date for Valentines Day?" I asked, trying to make a joke.
"Yeah, I did!" He laughed as he turned towards an inmate at a neighbouring table. "Hey Danny, I gave you a Valentines present didn't I?"
A tall, thin guy with dark hair who looked to be in his mid 20s turned towards us.
"You sure did, sweetest thing ever, little present left on my pillow with a love heart and all!" They both laughed.
"So you've got friends in here then?" I asked.
"Yeah, heaps..." Eden began to tell me about a few of the people he knew and what they were in for.

I looked back at Danny, intrigued. On the surface, he appeared to be a nice guy. He had a friend and girlfriend visiting him and a toddler who appeared to be his daughter. A friendly family man, it seemed. I had to remind myself that I was in a maximum security Correctional Centre, that he was in a white jumpsuit because he was considered dangerous. I couldn't help but wonder... on which side of judgement did I sit? Did I look at Danny, a perfect stranger, and see him as a criminal, a trouble maker, someone I didn't want to associate with? Or did I consider that perhaps he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps he got into some trouble and will get out and start fresh? Everyone deserves a second chance, right?

When he talked about life in prison it almost sounded like a holiday. He had a 3 bed cell to himself with a plasma TV. He'd had a bbq in a courtyard the previous day. He knew this place, he'd been there before. He  was told that he'd be moving to a minimum security centre a few hours away and although the distance would mean fewer visits, he was optimistic because that centre had more exercise equipment, a better bbq area and a better working program.

As our time together drew to a close I started to feel awkward. Sometimes it felt like all I've ever done is say goodbye to him. The visitors room was mostly empty by now, the vacant steel chairs and tables made the room feel cold. We stood up and walked towards the centre of the room. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me to his chest and I held on so tight.
"You're going to have to let go..."
"I know..." I sighed.

He headed back to the guarded door on the left and I was escorted out to the right. My fingerprint was scanned and I was told to wait for a guard. After a few minutes a guard arrived, unlocking the door and escorting me back across the court yard. I re-entered the holding room and scanned my fingerprint for the final time. Then I stood there, confused. A guard had his back to me.
"Excuse me? Can I leave now?"
He unlocked the door and let me back into the reception area. I grabbed my things from my locker, collected my umbrella from its hiding place, and scurried back to my car, wondering how soon I could come back...

13. Secretville is a lonely place

*Present day*

This whole 'keeping secrets' thing is quite a lonely business. But there are some things that are too hard to share. Too hard because you're afraid of judgement, you're afraid that people just won't understand. Or maybe, you're afraid that they're right.

Eden was sentenced to 9 months in prison. NINE MONTHS...

He didn't speak to me on the day of his court case and it broke my heart. The instant he pulls away from me I'm like a greyhound on a rabbit, I run after him as fast as I can... I respected that he had a lot on his plate that day, but now that it was over there was no holding back.

As I drove to the Correctional Centre to visit him, my mind was racing. Not a single person knew where I was. What was I doing? He probably didn't even want to see me after the letter I'd sent him. Who does that? Who writes a heartfelt love letter about a stupid fairytale romance and then follows it up with a prison visit?

I was told to arrive half an hour early to allow for processing. I looked at the time as I parked, 9:45am, exactly half an hour before my visit. I was petrified, for several reasons. 
  1. I'd never visited a Correctional Centre before, I had no idea what to expect
  2. There was a crowd of other visitors there, rough looking people
  3. I had no idea if Eden would want to see me or not
I waited at the counter for instructions. After a few minutes I was told to head around the corner and fill out a visitors slip. On my way I discovered a bathroom and realised I needed to go, so I quickly ducked in. There were girls at the sink with their make up and hair straighteners, trying to make themselves perfect for their partners. They were obviously accustomed to jail visits, and this made me uncomfortable. I'm ashamed to say that I judged them. I'm not one of you

I picked up the visitors slip only to realise that it needed Eden's identification number as well as my own. Both of the numbers were written in my journal. My journal was in the car. I ran out to my car, it was now raining. I ripped the page out, grabbed my umbrella and walked back inside. Finally I completed the visitors slip and dropped it in the tray. After a while I heard them call out Eden's surname, but it took a few minutes to realise they were referring to me. At the counter I was asked for photo ID, then they finger printed me, took a retina scan, and finally a photo. I felt incredibly intimidated. I was trying to hide the fact that I was shaking like a leaf.

The old guy behind the counter was very accommodating, he explained how the lockers worked, telling me that I had to leave ALL of my things in there because the only thing I was allowed to carry into the visitor centre was change for the vending machine. As I put my things in the locker, I realised there was no way my umbrella would fit.

"Don't think I'll get the umbrella in there!" I joked to the girl next to me.
"Oh no, you can't leave it, it'll get stolen, I learnt that lesson the hard way!" she replied.

I looked around and saw a baby change room, so I hid my umbrella in there.

Then I had to wait again. And wait. And wait some more. I didn't understand what was going on, other people were being ushered in and yet I had to sit and wait. Finally, they called me.

I was briefly scanned, searched and questioned before being let into a holding room. Once in the holding room, I had to be identified again via fingerprint scan. It was all starting to feel like too much, I was wondering if it was worth it. But there was no turning back now.

Finally the door opened and I was led across an open courtyard to another door, about 150m away. Once inside the next door, I had to wait AGAIN. When my name was called they scanned my fingerprint AGAIN before asking if I would prefer inside or outside.
"I have no idea." I replied flatly. 

To the right was an indoor/outdoor visitor area that looked very relaxed. The inmates were dressed in green, they laughed and played with their guests. To the left was another area that looked more institutionalised. The inmates were all dressed in white jumpsuits. They were more serious, more closely monitored. To my surprise, I was told this was where I was going. 

I walked to the door, now absolutely terrified. I looked up to see Eden across the room, he was behind a door that was guarded by security, he smiled when he saw me, and I instantly felt relieved. I was safe now.  Once the security guard on my side let me through, the guard on Eden's side opened the door and he came towards me. He grabbed me in his arms and held me close.

To be continued...

Continued now, I just finished it! Here!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

12. Memories


It's funny how we remember different things. I remember the things that made me love him. He remembers the things that made it so hard. Or maybe they're just the only things he needs to talk about.

Eden and I went to the supermarket to get some things. I remember walking down an aisle, and turning to see him casually eating a Cadbury Cream Egg. He held it up to my mouth, and giggling, I took a bite. I loved that about him, his carefree attitude, his confidence, his love of chocolate. We went back to his place and he cooked us dinner. I remember sitting on the kitchen bench in my work clothes, watching him, thinking how lucky I was to have this man in my life. I wanted him to leave the food and come and kiss me, but he would only allow a quick kiss because he was so focused on cooking me a nice meal.

I remember taking a shower and shaving my legs. It was so strange to feel so comfortable making myself at home. I walked into the lounge room where Eden was lying down watching TV. I joined him on the lounge and before long the TV was nothing but background noise. I couldn't keep my hands off him. We went to bed and made the most of our night together. I always found it hard to sleep next to him, it was difficult to switch off. I'd stare at his beautiful face, the rise and fall of his chest, I'd hold him close, wishing that I never had to let him go.

I remember laying on his bed, on my stomach, looking up at Eden standing over me. A look came over his face, a slight grin...
"What?" I asked.
"You're just so beautiful." He smiled at me.

I always wished I could have seen myself through his eyes. No one had ever spoken to me like he did. No one had ever loved me like he did. Sure, Adam loved me. But Eden, he adored me. And the feeling was mutual. 

When I think of these times, these everyday occurrences, I remember how I felt back then. I remember me, I remember him, I remember US. And I pine for it...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

11. Another Goodbye

*Present day*

Lately I've been feeling like a paranoid stalker. In my tiny little egocentric mind, I felt like Eden was my unicorn and I was chasing after him, wondering why I just couldn't catch him. 

We caught up last week, I went to see him at his place. He was different. He didn't sit next to me. He wasn't hungover. He was on edge... It took me about 10 minutes to realise that it wasn't me at all, the poor guy was just so overloaded with stress and drama that he was struggling to remain composed. 

He had some things he needed to do so I offered him a lift. Once we were in the car, he relaxed. This was how it used to be, just the 2 of us driving around. We laughed, we reminisced, then I dropped him off, he kissed me on the cheek, and I went to work.

I woke at around 7am the following morning. There were 2 text messages on my phone from Eden asking me to go and see him, the first at 3am and the second at 6am. I was worried about him, it was the eve of his court date and maybe he wasn't handling it as well as he made out. But I had to go to work.

At 1130am he called me, he sounded... defeated. I dropped everything, I grabbed my things and went to his place. He walked out, shoulders slumped, with red-rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks. I hugged him and took him to my car. We drove around, picking up some of his papers and clothes, before going to grab some lunch. Sitting in my car with him, everything came flooding back, for both of us... We talked about how we used to drive around all the time, how we used to just laugh and have so much fun together, we always enjoyed each others company.

And then he said something. Something that shocked me.
Something that I wish I could hear over and over again...

"You and I would have been married pretty quickly I reckon, if you weren't already..."

Married. I often wondered if what we had was one sided. I wondered if I was only appealing to him because I was unavailable. But he wanted to marry me. We only knew each other for 5 months.

We talked about love VS lust. Eden was the type of guy who spent a lot of time thinking about things. He'd been thinking about us and wondering if maybe I never really loved him, maybe I just lusted after him. But our relationship was always more emotional than physical, the physical side was just a bonus. We loved being together, we opened up to each other, we were inseparable. Thick as thieves.

"Do you remember that night when we were laying in bed and Adam called you and he said he was at the beach?" Eden asked.

I knew exactly what he was talking about. I'd forgotten about that phone call. The second time Adam threatened to take his own life. I'd wiped it from my memory, but as soon as Eden mentioned it, it came flooding back. It was around 3am, Adam called and told me he was by the water and wanted to jump in. I talked him into going home.

Eden was a good man, and the phone call really shocked him to his core. He felt terrible. He didn't want to be responsible for someone feeling that way. The fact that he'd been thinking about it now made the puzzle pieces start to come together. Coming back like this, right before his court date, bringing back not only the good memories but the bad ones, I was really messing with his head. He didn't want to go through all of that again.

I pulled up at the bus stop. I told him I was afraid that I wasn't going to see him again.
"I can't do this right now. I can't commit to anything. I've got so much to sort out. When you need me, I've got your back, but right now... I just can't..." Eden had trouble finding the words.

I took his hand and looked him in the eye. I always struggle to make eye contact with him because there is so much feeling tied to it.
"I'm not asking for anything from you. I don't expect anything. No promises, no commitments. You've got shit to sort out, so do I. I just need you to know that..."
Eden cut me off before I could finish.
"I know. Don't say it. I know."

We kissed. He got out and walked away.