She used to be radiant, effervescent, bubbly, call it what you will. That was before. Her self esteem was high, she was enjoying life. Happy just to be alive.
It was a lot more serious here, behind the barbed wire, the uniformed guards, the high walls, the vicious attack dogs. One day slowly dragging into another. Bored beyond belief. Nothing to do, and all day to do it in. Sitting alone in her prison cell, staring at the freshly painted white walls, knowing full well it would not take long for them to become covered in less than polite graffiti once again. She looked about her cell, that had been her home for quite some time, and may be for quite some time to come. The stainless steel open toilet, no privacy, of course. Two bunks and a sink. The two foot square window, with the toughened glass, high up the rear wall. Too high and out of reach to see out of. This was home, for the time being.
She lay on the top bunk, grateful at least that her prison cell mate and she got along, reasonably well, at least most of the time. But she like everyone here, who wasn't in for life was just counting down the days to freedom. Whether she may end up back in a place such as this again, was certainly up for question. What would life hold for her on the outside. Would it be any better, she often wondered. She often contemplated the crimes the other inmates she came across had committed to have landed them in such a place. But she had learned the hard way, and had the scars to prove it.
Best not to ask inquisitive questions, here, of others. If they wish to share aspects of their lives they will, and if not, well……..Grateful at least the battleship grey heavy cell doors were left open throughout the day, so the guards could keep an eye on the inmates. Prisons are surprisingly busy places throughout the day. With inmates coming and going, new arrivals and departures. Some attending court, a chance of freedom. Others attending hospital for illness, or as a result of an overdose, or a violent assault. Mealtimes. A lot of movement. Prison guards rushing at times to various incidents to be dealt with. But come night time, eight pm, in prison terms, the doors were banged shut with a resounding clank. Half an hour later, lights out. This was human brutality to her. No television, no internet. No privacy. Then the screaming, of the many others trapped, the mentally unstable, the swearing begins. A nightly ritual. The feelings of being trapped, unable to escape. Her freedom in the hands of others. These were the times when her breathing became rapid, fast. Her fists clenched as she twisted and turned on the top bunk. Trapped like an animal, she so wanted to break free.
Not surprising so many others had turned to illicit drugs and medications to escape, at least in their minds. A relief for some, for sure. She had turned to religion, at least it was a chance to interact with people from outside the prison population. It was a change from the ongoing boredom to attend the weekly meetings of the Jehovah Witnesses who came every Sunday. They seemed quiet pleasant, decent people, and she certainly did enjoy asking them the hard questions, on God, on life, injustice, redemption and retribution, which they at times struggled to answer.
At times, in the semi darkness of her cell, out of fear, loneliness and fragility, she had softly approached her cell mates bunk, and sat and watched her as she slept. She had a deep beauty, it was evident beneath the brutal harsh exterior she wore like a mask throughout the day. A mask of protection, as was needed in such a place. Signs of weakness, jumped upon instantly, and for the duration of the prison term, making prison life a lot more uncomfortable than it had to be.
It was the fear, it was the seeking of human comfort. It was that emptiness in the soul, that finally brought them together. That first soft touch, so welcoming, so soothing, for both. She did not fully trust her, as she knew little of the reasons she was in this place, so she was always weary of her. But the desire, the need for human comfort. To be held, to be loved, had over ridden such concerns. Together they planned his downfall, as they held each other softly, in the darkness of that brutal locked cell. They laughed as they imagined how it would play out. He had stolen her effervence, her radiance, the brightness that once shone within her.
But slowly she could feel her radiance, her joy, at living life, even in a place such at this, returning. She had from time to time found herself actually laughing, and smiling. Gestures which had long being absent from her life, when she was involved with him. Maybe she had concluded, life has a funny way of working out in the end. Out of some chaotic situations, some good can come. She had found, if not love, at least comfort with another. There joint plans of revenge, and his proposed forthcoming glorious downfall, giving a reason for living, to continue to press on for freedom.
Whether their future plans would lead to be imprisoned again, was yet to be seen. What was needed for now was much patience. Some say revenge is a fool's game, but to her, nothing tasted sweeter.