One year ago today, I was ending one of the hardest weekends in my life. You know that Timehop app? It kindly reminded me yesterday what I tweeted. “This is going to be some of the hardest hours of my life.” I remember the exact moment I sent that tweet. I was getting out of my stepmom’s car, outside of Northampton County Prison. I sent that tweet before I handed her my phone. Visitors are not allowed to take their cell phones up. Visitors are actually not allowed to take anything up, except for the badge they give you. It tells the guards upstairs where the inmate is that you are visiting.
The last time I saw this building was when I was walking away from the courthouse. It seems to come up all blurry now, but I will never forget the sounds. My mom yelling my name, asking me why they were doing that to her, the sheriffs telling her to calm down, the creaky floor beneath me, and the soft kiss on my cheek from my stepmom. A few people hugged me in the hallway and I had the feeling that I needed to get out. The tears started to flood my eyes without warning. I think I only cried for a few moments. Then my body went into shock. None of it felt real. I went completely numb. I walked and breathed, unconsciously. Driving wasn’t an option, so I sat in the passenger seat, smoking more cigarettes than imaginable, and begun suppressing the memories and feelings, hoping that one day, they would cease to exist.
The elevator ride took forever. I was accompanied by a woman visiting her boyfriend, wearing eight inch stilettos, smiling away as if this was normal and another woman who looked completely terrified. As for me, I assume I looked cold and emotionless because that’s how I needed to be. I exited the elevator and turned left to head toward the female wing. I passed rooms with tables and then glass windows, with phones hanging next to them. Just like the movies. I got to the last window and saw her, sitting there wearing a green jumpsuit. I expected to sit in a room and talk face to face, but we were separated by glass, making it feel like worlds apart. But in the end, we were worlds apart.
The second visit was a little easier. I didn’t have to fight back tears the entire time I was there. The following days got a little bit easier, and I started to hurt a little less. But as John Green wrote, “that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt”, the pain never truly goes away. Sometimes it randomly creeps up on you, but something more important comes along with that reminder. It does go away and life goes on.