There is a small, yellow sticky note on the back of my ID card that says “#10”, and I laugh when I see this. They must have had too many people forgetting what hook number their keys were on because they give you a number for your keys and then a number for your ID and then a table number and you need to know your inmate’s “back number”. All the numbers, all the time. My husband is a number and so am I. Wait, what day is it? More numbers. I communicate with the correctional officers through numbers and procedures and being civil, but….. I want to scream most of the time when I`m at the prison. I want to scream and I want to cry and be impatient and rip up that stupid little yellow sticky note. I want to throw that shit into the air and do a mic drop before walking out. Confetti all over that ugly prison floor. But I don’t do this. I wait in line and I smile sometimes, but mostly I think I must appear tired, because I am. Tired of numbers and lines and figuring out which hook my keys are on. I’m tired and it’s not the kind of tired that a nap fixes. What number are my keys on? Oh yeah. Ten.
“Your sweater has holes in it”. I don’t hear the officer searching me the first time she says this, because I’m literally thinking that my keys are on ten because I forgot that there is a yellow sticky note on the back so I’ll remember. “Holes?” What she means is that it’s a conservative open front knit sweater and you can see a little bit through the knit and I’m wearing a tank top under and God forbid someone see a small portion of my shoulder. Peekaboo! I mean, this is important stuff. This sweater may be the downfall of the prison. There are probably people smuggling drugs in and you can see the outline of that woman’s vagina her pants are so tight, but she’s worried about the “holes” in my sweater and I’m worried what number my keys are on. So, I guess we are even in our stupid worries.
Keys on ten, holes in my sweater, have to run back to my car to change into another, less hole ridden sweater and I honestly consider getting into my car and driving away from the prison. But they have my ID with that yellow sticky note still and I can’t leave it behind. Plus, Jeremy is waiting for me because they already called him before they told me that my sweater had holes and that I should know better(oh really?). So I go back to the prison. I`m kind of dragging my feet, trying to put on a brave, non annoyed face. Gave up my keys for a number again, through the metal detector once more, no more holes in my sweater, shake out bra again and now my boobs are out of place again, open my mouth, get frisked, take off my ring, please. Oh my watch too? Okay. Here you go. Oh, it’s ok to put back on? Thanks for letting me do that. Still no drugs here. Just someone wanting to get into visiting to see her number at table 24. I tell Jeremy my key and ID numbers, in hopes that one of us will remember.