CHAPTER I - ON MY WAY
I spotted a short girl with scars all over her face. She spoke with a deep criminal voice and I didn’t want her noticing me watching. I overheard her talking to another tall gal about what to say during the medical evaluation.
I took that to heart and realized that it might be easier on me if I did the same to some extent. I took account of my surroundings as the shock wore off a bit.
“Look,” she said at a hissing whisper, “Your life is not over. Just cool out. It’ll be okay, you’ll see.”
We were led out of the elevator and told to walk with hands in pockets, no talking, keeping our right shoulders to the wall the whole time. I noticed repetition was a big part of the jail system, probably instilling order among these chaotic, wayward women housed here. I had long given up the notion that any second someone would pop out and say it was all a gag, maybe a new t.v. show, but that never happened.
Finally, I started walking the perimeter of the room really looking at people. I seemed to start to accept my fate and didn’t see them as dangerous as first thought. They all looked like they’d done a lot of bad things.
More time passed. I wandered over to another corner and sat quietly crying and looking sad. Next to me there was a pretty, longhaired comely girl, who looked no more than 18. She turned to me and asked, “Hey, you want to talk about it?”
I gladly accepted her offer and began telling her what happened. She listened attentively and couldn’t believe TJ had the nerve to go so far, but he had, and there I was in County Jail ready to be put in a cell. She told me what went down with her, that her boyfriend had put her in jail for attacking him during an argument. She was so sweet looking and pure faced. It was hard to believe she had done anything wrong. It was then I noticed the other women drawing their attentions to us, wanting to hear more about my story again. So, I related the tale again, more women gathering closer at rapt attention, some asking poignant questions about both Albert and TJ. It was then I realized that I could take the situation and make it better for me by playing the role of the storyteller, which I was always very good at.
I took her advice to heart. She had red dyed hair and other than the scars, upon closer inspection, her face was smooth and unblemished. Her beady eyes showed criminal hardship. The woman claimed to have every sickness and condition known to mankind, and was on all sorts of drugs, prescription or otherwise. She was quite vocal about it as she pranced and preened around the cell to anyone who would listen.
It was way past 2:00 AM in the morning when the deputies came and separated us into smaller groups. I was put in a smaller holding cell with some of the women I’d read palms for. I felt an immediate identification with the others like I’d known them and had met them at some function. We were wearing the same garb, the dark blue County outfits with white boat shoe sneakers and socks. In a funny way, t united us in our plights.
“I take Ativan and can’t be in any enclosed areas or I’d have an attack,” I answered.
Do you have thoughts about killing anyone?” The last one through me for a loop and I almost answered otherwise, but didn’t in my moment of clarity. Krista and TJ came to mind of course.
Through my tears of loss and gratefulness I asked if she wanted her palm read, but she declined. That ended, and I was led back outside to the holding area where they split us into smaller groups. I found that most of the women I was brought in with were smiling at me wanting to talk more about my story with Albert & TJ and how it related to my case. The deputies seemed adamant about making us shut up and move quickly though.
I thought back to yet another letter Albert had written me and cried quietly:
Thank you for being my friend! It is so rare in my life. I was wishing for years to meet someone like you. I love that you live so close, and transcendently we have so much in common. I wish I could be a bridge for you in your trials and survival. I love that you are an evolving spirit in your own right, and I think I can learn a lot from you. I can image us having enormous fun and mystic experiences that could rival Adam and Eve, but we have a lot of work to do on our paths. I can see you have that higher wisdom which knows the difference between the finite and infinite. So I say to you that I am entrusted to myself to be such a guide to all life save my own temporal limitations. Temporal limitations are tough! For example: Your DNA scares me, and makes me think I would not wish to have children with you and since I wish to have children one day, that precludes as getting married, and since you need a husband to share experiences to survive, I need to cut you free of any expectations of me supporting you. However, I can also imagine that if we truly become soul mates, I could bare the risk someday and marry you. Until then, let’s just be the best of friends, even if in secret. Love Albert
“The right palm is a cross reference,” I said knowingly. I held up both of China’s palms, she seemed to enjoy the attention. “It confirms information I read from the other palm.” Some nodded with understanding, other’s pretended to know.
“I’m not feeling him any longer.” I remembered calling him in my mind many evenings after TJ had gone to bed, and before I knew it, he’d call leaving his signature one ring.
“Can’t you tell me?” She smiled brightly, showing crooked, but clean teeth.
“Doesn’t work that way,” I shot back, sounding like a professional.
“I’d just taken a hit from a crack pipe in my room when the cops were banging on the door,” she explained easily. “They caught me red handed, and could smell it.”
We actually began a small jogging routine up and down the steel stairs around the second landing, and back down to the bottom over and over until we were exhausted and the stale, re-circulated air had gotten the best of us.
As I sat in the jail talking to my new friends, I thought about all the notes he’d leave his parents via his bathroom, most saying he was skipping being with them, or not going to work, which started to bother me, especially one day when he refused to leave his room until his Uncle Curtis, his mother’s brother, left.
I did notice that after I told my story that first evening the majority of them were swinging toward Albert and I, and he would pop out of his fragile, recluse stationery mode he was currently in and step up to the stage to save me. Unfortunately, as the second day kicked in at the jail, it looked like that was not to be the case. But I held onto the hope and memories I shared with Albert, and the shear fact that he would allow them to carry him through like I was trying to do, making it a happy ending love story.
We also had our distractions. Every now and then a certain handsome deputy we nicknamed “Butt Boy” would saunter in and do a count, which paused talk in there. Sometimes he’d walk in every 10 minutes just to wander around to the various groups of girls lounging in the day room and on the landings. It was a medical observation pod, so that was typical to see guards there. We knew they were watching us closely. But the women liked this particular deputy because he posed for them and enjoyed it. I could tell that right away.