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...