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...


  1. I'm curious if you've written ahead or if you write as you go?
    Great work. :)

    1. A bit of both Lydia. The flashbacks I write ahead, but the present day entries are written as they occur.

  2. I feel as though I am reading a novel. Great writing!

    Natalie :)


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