Whenever I sit to write something I hope others will feel or identify with, the following quote tends to guide my thought processes.
“My function in life was to render clear what was already blindingly conspicuous.” -Quentin Crisp
And so, as I sit to write about how I met the love of my life my primary function in ink is to render clear that the two people (one bald, the other topped with China Berry-colored hair) that are seen twice a week in a prison visiting room alternately whispering conspiratorially, laughing with abandon, or lost in gaze at one another, are much more than the sum of the parts you can see.
Those who do see us in blindingly conspicuous prison visiting-room bliss, might also wonder how the lady and the tattoo’d brute met. After one particularly cardio-vascular visit – during which the lady (“Squeek”) and I conducted ourselves like a blushing bag of giggles and googlie eyes – a fellow prisoner asked in jest if I knew something that he didn’t. I fortified his apparent jealousy without hesitation when I quickly confirmed to him that I did; I knew “Squeek”. That word: “Squeek”, I told him, was technically a noun and a verb. And in smirk-worthy fashion (albeit quite seriously) I told him that he could look it up, but that I was keeping the definition of my purposely misspelled “Squeek” all to myself.
So, how did we meet? The mechanics of our meeting are as simple as: I placed an ad online, and she answered it. The ad was goofy and self-deprecating. In it I assured the world that I did in fact have 10 fingers and 10 toes and that, despite these cold Maine winters, I was still a warm-blooded creature. Yes, it was a cleverly disguised kernel of bitterness that often pops when I ponder the hungry prison industrial complex that seems to exist just to suck the societal value out of millions of us who, like you, suffer the human condition as a consequence of birth.
(Deep Breath Pause)
Nevertheless, at the end of my ad I wrote that I still hoped to find that “special she”.
With perfect hindsight, it is both clear and blindingly conspicuous that my life thus far has been both school and training for the day “Squeek” answered my ad. Of course I wasn’t aware that my successes and failures, pride and regrets, joys and heartbreaks, birthdays and grief, despondency and hope, were all just building blocks in a solid foundation for our enduring happiness.
So that’s how we met, Minus the details of how I felt, why I felt it, and why I feel it stronger and stronger every day.
My name is Steven. I’m 25 + 18 and I can think of at least a dozen things I’d rather do than describe myself to the world. But just to be clear: I have 10 fingers, 10 toes, and I walk upright. Technically I’m warm-blooded, but that might well change during these cold Maine winter months… In this medium about the best I can muster is that I’m on the humble, self-deprecating side. Hopefully you want to know more. I write daily. I’ve completed three manuscripts (not about prison) that I seek editing/publishing help with… What else? I’ve got about six years left in here if I keep behaving. Although I seek friends of all stripes, one day I hope to find that special “she”… If any of this clicks, please write…I’m here all day.
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Pen-pals can offer friendship and encouragement to inmates
Family members can reconnect with incarcerated loved ones
Employers can provide job opportunities to inmates upon release
The public can 1) help inmates advance education while in prison, 2) find housing upon release, 3) donate to prison libraries and educators, and so much more