Monthly Archives: April 2015
My name is Desiree, but I could very well be a number. I could be reduced to a number. I could be given a number. I could be a number. Anyone could be really. Maybe my birth date is my “inmate number”. Maybe we are all in some sort of prison. Actually, I believe we are all in some sort of prison, with glimpses of freedom that comes in so many forms. I am the wife of an inmate and I am not the wife of an inmate. It’s tough to tightrope walk that fine line between citizen of the world with a husband who just so happens to be an inmate, and an inmate groupie, someone who actually enjoys the prison experience. I don’t believe I was ever the latter, but I also don’t believe I could truly be so far removed from the prison that I could detach completely. It’s kind of like being handcuffed to my husband with a chain that is hundreds of miles long, the key has been lost, and we manage our separate and very different lives yet are still inextricably linked to one another by heartbeat.
I saw this interview, recently, with a woman who is married to a man who was on death row, but has since been released. She said that she never fell in love with a murderer, that she didn’t want any affiliation with “that lifestyle”, and that she was “educated”, therefore somehow above the prison mess. This woman has been married to her husband for over a decade, so I’m not sure how she could ever not be affiliated with the prison wife life, even long after the release. I felt like I both identified yet loathed this woman’s choice of words about being the other half of a whole in a prison cell. There is that tightrope again and I’m balancing precariously, leaning into the wind and hoping I make it across. I am tiptoeing yet moving like a bull in a China shop. Here I am. I am both a snob who doesn’t wish to be identified with the prison system, a woman who truly feels alone, even amongst others in similar circumstances, and I feel solidarity with some women in my shoes. Maybe this is what that woman feels like too but maybe she has embraced the detachment from prison that may be physical, but that will never truly leave her. When you spend that much time dedicated to a lifestyle it challenges you so much that it must change you, and you will always have the memory of that. I don’t care how many years it has been since, how educated you are, or how much you think you’ve left it behind.
Me, personally? I don’t like prison. I love my husband but I do not enjoy going to prison, having my privacy obliterated, and I don’t hold onto some train of thought that makes prison desirable or fun. I don’t like it. Maybe I am a snob. Maybe I am solo. So many maybes but maybe is all I have because aside from my steadfast and loyal love for my husband, my world is full of maybes, waiting, tightropes, barbed wires, locked doors, and numbers. So many numbers.
I love this quote. I read it somewhere online a while ago. It is by an author named Jack Kornfield who interprets the teachings of Buddhism in his work. Anyway….
That really is the trouble. We often think we will have later or tomorrow or next week or “some time” to make things better, to tell the truth, to act on things we want. Being married to someone in prison makes you realize how precious this moment, right here right now is, especially when you’re faced with such a small amount of moments compared to being with someone out in the world without the push and pull of incarceration. When you’re faced with limited interaction, the uncertainty of the next connection, you start to realize that the present moment is the right time to love hard, to be honest and raw, and to truly love in the moment.
I used to take my moments with Jeremy for granted so much and it makes me sick. I think for a long time I thought he would always just be there when I was ready to love him(and he was), not realizing that I had wasted time not really enjoying every encounter we have, every embrace we share, every spoken and written word. This man loves me and he seizes every single opportunity to make that known and I have taken that for granted in the past. There are days, even now, when I am tired and irritated about my life but I am brought back into the present moment by my desire to immerse myself in this gift the universe has given me: unconditional love. I have never really known what that meant until I loved this man. Unconditional, time transcending, mind blowing love. How I know I have something truly special: prison seems to be such a small part of the equation despite playing such a large role.
I try to seize the moment, both in the life I lead away from prison, and also in the presence(whether that be in person, on the phone, or in a letter) of my love. When something is funny, I throw my head back and I laugh like I’ll never get to laugh again. When something is sad, I mentally dissect every last corner of that sadness while he watches me unravel and strives to help me find answers right then and there. When I have something to say to my husband, I say. I say it all even when I don’t want to because there may not be another opportunity to give the gift of honest presence. I hold hands and kiss like that will be the last time because it might be. We all are on borrowed time. How much? No one knows, but I want to use my borrowed time to send my heart off to its home again and again.