I couldn’t believe that after being held against my will in this terrible place for 18 months I was actually willingly going back in. After the hour long process of checking in, and standing with my hands over my head while a security guard waved a metal detector in front of and behind me, I was in. I had not seen or spoken to her since I’d left. We had gotten into a huge fight right before I got out, because she was basically trying to f*** up my life even more. She kept telling me not to go home to my family when I got out. She gave me her cousin’s address and told me I could stay there and sleep on the floor until she was out too.
But I wanted to see my family, and try to patch things up with them. She told me they weren’t important. That they were part of a life that didn’t exist anymore, and that going back to them meant that everything that we had together was just for killing time. I was furious. I didn’t understand how she could think that, that she wasn’t important, that I didn’t actually love her. I loved everything about her. We snuck around and stayed up late at night giggling like two little girls at a sleepover, which in some ways was exactly what we were. We made a pact to stay clean and get out on time and get married, and I would be a housewife and she would go into business.
My thoughts were interrupted by a guard tapping my shoulder and telling me I could go into the visiting room. I sat quietly in the hard plastic chair, and watched as all the women filed into the room. When I finally saw her, and she looked just like I remembered; tiny frame, freckles that looked like splatter paint all over her pale skin, and long, blonde hair in dreadlocks. When she saw me, her eyes turned angry and resentful, but there was relief in them too. She brought her hand to her mouth and started chewing on her fingernails, a nervous habit I had always found repulsive. She walked over slowly, her too-big black boots slapping against the tile floor. I watched as she sat down across from me, pushed her thick hair out of her face, folded her hands on the table, looked me straight in the eye and in a clear, quiet voice said, “Hi.”