Have you ever received a drawing or painting from your lover that was commissioned just for you, with details that made your heart skip a beat? What about a rose made out of toilet paper, colored with markers, smooshed in the mail, but quite possibly more beautiful than real roses? Locks of beautiful blonde hair from a major hair cut,secured with a hair that tie, that you drag across your neck and collarbones? A stuffed bear made out of t-shirt fabric, dyed with kool-aid?
January 1, 2016
My husband surprises me, more than most people on the outside ever could, with these little gifts, these cherished little oddities from inside the walls. They are all sent with love, these gifts from beyond the gun towers. They smell like prison, they look like prison, they embody prison, they are prison in all of its disgusting yet thriving spirit. I love all these things.
It’s half humbling, half heartache receiving these gifts. You know that someone put time into these items, maybe even love, or some semblance of love. I open these envelopes or boxes and I squeal with delight. I examine my “goodies” and I often hold them against my chest, where my heart is, and I connect my heartbeat to the item that my husband has lovingly sent, convinced it would win him points. And it does. Win him points. Every single time.
I smell these items. I know, that sounds strange, but I want to make everything about the item as tangible and memorable and connecting as possible. I want to feel my husband’s excitement over sending me something unique and hand made and strangely meaningful.
These gifts, these little tokens of love and “I’m thinking of you” are so special to me. They are evidence that I am loved, but perhaps the greatest gift I’ve received from prison is love itself.
Love and a man that does not quit. Love and a partner who cares deeply for my heart and soul and every layer in between. Love and a promise of hope that comes from just beyond the barbed wire and is transmitted by sound waves, infrequent visits, and treasures made by the hands of those convicted and condemned.
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