Friday, September 21, 2012

Bound To The Moment

When he got locked up, he knew it was my fault.  He never failed to remind me, if he wanted some plastic toy from Kentucky Fried Chicken or a new shirt from the skate shop, he somehow twisted every particle in the air between us and then that inner itch began to tickle.  That subtle and yet overwhelming wave of guilt that worked its way in from the extremities until its firm grasp was tightening around my chest. 
I spent 6 years trying to make up for one sentence said to the wrong person. Six years trying to dig my way out of sorrow and regret with money. Shirts, shoes, cigarettes, cds, concert tickets, milk, orange soda, hot dogs, art supplies, a silk screen press, heroin, lots and lots of heroin.
I worked and he spent as he wanted and I knew it was all because of that one sentence blurted out at dawn in the police station. One damn sentence condemned him as a felon forever. A string of words put him in minimum security jail for two months.
When I first saw him in that bright orange cotton pajama uniform and had to pick up a telephone to talk to him through the glass in the visitation booth, I thought I would crumble. I ran around town meeting with lawyers and bail bondsmen, I looked for an apartment and picked classes for the upcoming term.  I went to his court dates wearing the purple paisley skirt he liked and every gemstone I owned for protection. I put the red garnet ring his mother had sent me on my left hand and walked into the courtroom, knowing I had put him there, knowing I needed to get him out.
I did what I could for him, depositing extra money into his ‘inmate account’ so he could buy extra food. I went back to my job and saved money for his bail, I accepted the collect phone calls and then worked like hell to pay them off. 
When he was sentenced to two months I went to visit him faithfully every Sunday. He had been placed at “the farm,” the low security building by the city dump. It was a one story facility without fences or barbed wire, there were cats and peacocks that roamed the grounds. There he was issued white linen pants and a thick jeans jacket. We were allowed contact on those visits and he had me smuggle in cigarettes under my jacket, which I always hated to do.
He got a job in the kitchen and I was impressed when he told me he made a mini mountain made of melon pieces and parsley. I thought that he found ways to make even the worst of circumstances beautiful.  He became the resident artist and drew pictures for the wives and girlfriends of other inmates.  On Valentine’s weekend he presented me with a drawing of a sleeping mermaid with her arms wrapped around a heart-shaped moon.
I would arrive early on Sundays and be one of the first people in line, which was the way I insured we would have the full visit time of two hours. We would kiss and I would wear a skirt and sometimes he would touch my clit and I would leave there sopping wet.
Six months after he got out our troubles really began.  The heroin became a necessity. I lived with the fear of death or jail. I wanted to save him, I wanted to be with him, the guy who drew and made me laugh, but I had not seen him in years. 
I kept trying to make up for my initial wrong, but it just never worked- he only got worse. He was out of jail, but I had never left that one moment, that damn sentence, those few little words.

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