People don’t like ugly people.  People definitely don’t like ugly situations.  People don’t want to see ugly …and when all you’ve got is an ugly situation raring around inside of you, well, it feels like you are invisible. When you have enough ugly in you, you can almost see people glaze right over the unpleasant bits.

The cell door was yanked open by a guard. I shot up from sleep, disoriented, sniffly and tangled in the blanket they gave me. I looked at the guard waiting for instruction.  The guard looked away and in entered a woman in street clothes. The guard slid the door shut locking me in with the stranger.  I thought she might be new here considering the outfit of jean shorts and a red gingham top. Maybe she was on her way out? I wasn’t sure. I was still trying to wake up while gathering my blanket and book moving to the far corner of the bench.

The stranger was chatting away as if she knew me. Peppy, perky and talkative, this stranger lady looked more like a lil’ Abner cheerleader than a criminal. She headed straight for the toilet in the cell. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but I knew that I was going to figure it out while looking away and at the wall.

I iced over the potty situation as she spoke to me while she doing her business.

She told me she was leaving and driving three hours north and needed to go now. She said she had to turn herself in at another facility there. I finally had the courage to ask her what it was like in the real area of the prison. She said she was on “three” and it was okay and very loud. As she stood and washed her hand in the sink, she said that if I should find myself on “three” to look for a woman named Valorie and give her a message.

I looked right at this lady at this point, she looked back at me through the little mirror above the sink. She said if I found this woman to tell her that Latisha was able to transfer out. That this information would make this Valorie woman very happy and then the stranger turned to me and smiled, “she is a nice lady and needs a friend.” She said this in a way like she was happily making a referral to a waxer at a spa or something.

I nodded and said if I encountered her I would give her the message. Happily the stranger smiled at me and chatted more as she rapped on the door to get the gaurd’s attention. The door slid open, the stranger smiled at me and flittered out of the cell as quickly as she entered.

The guard did not look at me, I guess I am here for more time. The door slid shut. I peered at the clock through the cell door window. It’s past midnight now. I had been in here for seven hours.

And damn it if I had put my “bed” away, just to take it back out again. Good for me, that it was just a blanket on a concrete bench.



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