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.


  1. Oh lovely. It must so so hard for you. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses lovely

  2. Oh, what a difficult visit. I got so wrapped up in the story!

  3. It must be so frustrating not knowing where you stand.
    I don't think I could have been unemotional about it. I would have just cried.

  4. You're such a writer! I must be hard waiting and then not even knowing if he'll be the same Eden you knew and loved before x


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