January 8th, 2020
I had to pick her up at 7:00 AM on Monday. I didn’t dare be late. It is unwise to keep someone waiting when they are getting out of prison.
I arrived at the prison a little early. It was cold and dark. I brought along her dog, her phone, (fully charged), her winter coat, and a can of Red Bull.
The girl was the one who actually was a bit late. It wasn’t her fault. A prison is a bureaucracy like any other. There is no rushing the process of getting released. I had a chance to talk with the guard for a while. He was a good guy. He didn’t like the prison system, but he needed a paycheck. He told me that the best part of his job was releasing an inmate. That was the one procedure that he enjoyed.
She finally showed up, carrying two boxes of belongings. I took one of them from her.
As we headed to the door, the guard waved and smiled. He called out,
“Stay out of trouble now!”
The sun was rising as we walked to the car. I thought that it might be a good omen. A new day. A new start.
The girl sat up front with her dog, Shocky. She played with her phone. It had nine months of updates to process. That took a while. She drank her Red Bull. She kept changing radio stations. She was in sensory overload. After nine months in the slammer, it was all too much.
Once we got to the house, she spent most of her time in the bathroom. I didn’t see her for a couple of hours. The girl was working on her appearance in ways that she had not been able to do for months. Once she did come out of the bathroom, she looked wonderful.
She had to meet with her parole officer for the first time that afternoon. I dropped her off at his office. Her interview with him did not last for very long. We went across the street to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Neither of us was very hungry, so we both took boxes home. On the way back, she wanted to buy a couple things at Target. We stopped there, and she went in by herself.
The girl went into her bedroom once we got home. I was tired, so I laid down for a while. Then I heard odd noises coming from her bedroom. I reluctantly went there to investigate. I opened her door. The girl was sitting on the floor.
She was high.
I asked her, “Are you using?”
She shook her head, but her eyes were wild. She grinned and said,
“Look at my new leggings!”
I saw a can of keyboard cleaner on top of her bed. I took it with me and walked out the door. I threw it in the trash and sat down.
Now what do I do?
I heard twisted laughter coming from the girl’s room. I got up, and walked over there.
She was still sitting on the floor. She was holding another can of keyboard cleaner, and she was actively huffing its contents. I had never seen a person getting high like that before. It was ugly. Apparently, keyboard cleaner fucks a person up instantaneously. Alcohol takes a little time. This stuff…no wait required.
She saw me standing in the doorway. She looked away and handed me the can. Then she cried.
I walked out, and threw the second can away. Then I called her parole officer.
I asked him what I should do. He really didn’t have a clear answer. He definitely didn’t want to get the police involved. She had not done anything that was actually illegal. He wanted her to stay out of jail/prison. I wanted that too. He asked me if I could convince the young woman to go voluntarily to an emergency room, or to the Dewey Center for a psych exam. I asked him what I should do if she balked at this request. He said that then I would probably have to make the 911 call, the nuclear option.
I went to her bedroom. She was lying in bed, crying.
She said quietly, “I’m sorry.”
I nodded. I asked her, “Will come with me to the Dewey Center to get checked out?”
She ignored the question. Instead, she asked me,
“Are you mad at me?”
I shook. “No, I’m not mad. I’m just scared. I’m really scared.”
“Okay, I’ll go.” Then she said, “I threw up.”
“On the floor, under the pillow.”
I lifted the pillow. Puke from Mexican food is never very pretty. It also stains the carpet the carpet rather quickly.
I told her, “It’s okay. Can you get yourself ready.”
“Yeah, but I need to change and take a shower.”
“Go do it. I’ll clean up here.”
Once she was ready, we walked out to the car. She had a bag of clothes with her, in case she needed to stay at the hospital overnight. She stopped on the front porch and asked, me,
“Are you mad at me?”
I put my hands on her shoulders, looked her in the eye, and said, “No.”
“Does this mean I have to live somewhere else?” She was close to tears.
“No. You stay with me.”
“Are just saying that to get me to go, or do you mean it?”
Now I was close to tears. I said hoarsely, “You stay with me.”
It took nearly an hour for us to get to the admissions/intake office at the Dewey Center. Traffic was bad. We sat for a while once we arrived. The girl was examined, and then released. Either she wasn’t sick enough, or her insurance wasn’t good enough. In any case, She wasn’t staying at the hospital.
We walked to the car. She said to me,
“Thanks for taking me. I’m really sorry.”
I turned to her. “Don’t be sorry. You have no reason to be sorry. You’re sick. You don’t have to be sorry if you’re sick.”
When we got home, she changed her sheets, and washed her bedding. We cleaned up her bedroom a bit. I told her PO what was going on. He was okay with how we handled things. He will visit us tomorrow for a home visit.
She turned on Netflix. We watched the biopic about Ted Bundy, the serial killer. The movie was anti-climactic after the day we just had. The girl ate Dove bars, and calmed down. My blood pressure slowly dropped down almost normal levels. We both went to sleep early.
Things are better today, and all we have is today.
Tomorrow anything can happen.