He isn’t an animal. He’s one of the kindest people I have ever known. Now, caged and locked away with only a small window to peak at sunlight.
The double-sided story keeps me up at night. When it’s cold, I lay there wondering into the black if he’s shivering, reliving his part. I want to make him warm.
Faith and a lawyer can only do so much and the wrinkles of the two that love him most are beginning to frighten me. What I see on their surface must be greater inside.
Preserving Optimism is a giant labor while Negativity violently blows at the door. His greatest enemy, though, is Laughter. If she only visits once a day, providing a mere giggle, that’s enough. Without her, I don’t think any of us will survive.
“LINE UP!” Soon, a man who will never know my name or care about why I’m here is inspecting me. He is constantly judging the individuals who dare enter the dungeon, while scanning our every inch. No belts! No earrings! No ponytails!
After studying each loved one, he locks us in a hallway. All we can do is stare at one another, puzzled, wondering what got us here. Finally, the doors release.
Snaking tables lined with a rainbow of men, all dressed in different colored jumpers, wait to grip a familiar body.
That’s when I see him.
His eyes don’t spark as much as I want them to and his tired smile declares it all. He’s not the same boy in here. The room instantly grows loud with hysterics. Our family bear hug feels magnetic as all of us forget where we are.
He’s pale and skinny with a growing beard—looking like he belongs here. At least the blue jumper brings out the color in his eyes.
Babies cry and lovers kiss while the dark faces of security circle the room. A woman guard instructs me to place my hands on the table so she is sure that I am not hiding something. The only thing I’m hiding is the sensation to break down and weep. But I won’t. For him I won’t.
We reach the halfway point and our hour is almost over. Can’t we just take him home? Send him food or bring him outside for five minutes?
After a while, we find ourselves staring at each other not speaking as if to memorize every detail until we come again. Whenever that may be.
When the hour is finished, a hug is all we get. Stretching above the table, we grab as much of him as possible—committing the shape of his body to heart. Then walk away into the world without him. We miss him already.
I love someone in jail.