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.