In just over a week I`ll be driving back out to Ely to visit Jeremy for our first contact visit in nearly 10 months. I can hardly believe it has been that long, that we will be reuniting physically in the place where we had our first “date”.
Right after my 18th birthday, back in 2003, I got a visiting application from Ely State Prison that Jeremy requested be sent to me. I meticulously filled it out, nervously looked over it again and again before sending it. I was approved a month later and had convinced my mom to drive me over 500 miles to a prison in the middle of nowhere. My anxiety got the better of me the night before and I had a minor meltdown in the hotel room. I paced, and cried, and wondered what I was doing so far away from home, why I had asked my mom to drive me so far. I had let my younger brother and friend come along as well and I got the support I needed in that moment to get a few hours of sleep and wake up the next morning ready to face a seriously nervous heart and stomach.
My mom pulled up right in front of the prison and my body got out of the car while my mind floated elsewhere. I was on auto pilot and I wanted to throw up. I had declined my mom’s offer to accompany me into the gatehouse to sign in as I just wanted to gather myself for a few seconds and I didn`t want to talk to anyone. It wasn’t the prison I was scared of. It was meeting someone I had grown to love over the years that I had never met in person who just so happened to be housed in a prison. That combination made my thoughts spasm. I almost feel like I mentally blacked out because I can hardly remember signing in that first time, or walking up to the visiting room, or waiting at a table for Jeremy. I remember very little about the beginning of that first visit at all except that we hugged and it was comfortable and he tried to kiss me and I backed away. He wasn’t upset at all. He gave me a smile that suggested curiosity and determination to love me, to know me, to know my reservations.
One thing I do remember clearly, though, is being nervous. Nervous, nervous, NERVOUS!! I could hardly talk at the beginning. I didn`t even want to move. I know my gaze was shifty, and my hands were clammy in his. He asked me why I was nervous and I was quiet. He laid his palms flat on the table in front of me and out of nowhere started to flip flop one of his hands in a crazed manner and then started laughing. I remember letting out a shocked scream and then a squeal because he had scared me. Of course, I started to laugh as well and he said “that’s crazy hand”.
To this day there are times when I`m being sad or bratty or unreachable and crazy hand makes a random appearance for the sake of centering my thoughts and bringing me back.