I’m training new hires at work and we are at the whole “getting to know eachother” stage, in between tasks.
“So, what does your husband do for a living?”, my trainee Lisa asked me when she had moment.
“My husband? Oh he’s in prison”.
Just like that. “Yep”.
Silence. Whispered apologies flew freely from her mouth and I tilted my head back and laughed. I am not offended, I tell her not to apologize, and the questions begin to fire in rapid succession.
My other newly trained co-worker stands up from over our cubicle work wall, our daily division, and says “what?!”. She laughs a nervous laugh.More questions, now from two women I barely know, are moving into my mind space and I am answering without hesitation.
“Wait, what?!”. “When did you meet?”. “How did you meet?”. “How long have you been married?”. “Can you kiss him?”.
Story telling time. Work phone calls. Story telling. I keep saying “I know. I have quite a story”, and the questions continue. Somewhere over another cubicle divider I hear my other coworker say “your life is like a miniseries, not a story”. Collective laughter.
“What does your mom think about this?”. “What do his parents think about this?”.
“That must be some next level true love right there”.
Sex jokes, laughing, sheer curiosity. I am distanced but I also want to hug these women for some reason. I am received well. My story, excuse me, “miniseries”, is received well.
They settle. They give me weird but empathetic looks. One calls me wild and lovable and the other, who overheard my conversation with my husband on my cellphone, says I am really nice to him but it’s only because I haven’t lived with him. I laugh.
These curious outsiders have a glimpse into my life and I am okay with it after. I don’t feel invaded but I feel satisfied that I have given enough but not too much.
I should have just said he worked for the prison but my mouth rarely has a chance to connect to my brain before it lets loose the truth.
Lisa leans in and tells me her girlfriend met a guy in prison who spent more than 20 years locked up. He is out now and her girlfriend is marrying this guy and she is really happy. She smiles this deep, warm, motherly smile. She pats my shoulder and we move onto the next work task.