I scratch a tally on the wall, not minding the navy blue paint bunching under my nails. Nine hundred and fifty seven days left. NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN DAYS. I should’ve killed him, and then I wouldn’t be here. I’d be free, Mexico maybe. If they did catch me, at least I’d be sitting here for something I’m sure I did. Instead I’m sitting in this dark cell, dimly lit by the light in the hall. My cell mate is standing by the bars looking like a lost puppy. She looks over her shoulder at me with a smirk on her face, shaking her head.
“Still counting?” She says while tying her two sleeves in a knot at her waist. “As soon as you think you’ll taste freedom, they’ll find a way to rack five more years on your sentence.”
I ignore her. Everything that comes out of her mouth is negative. She’s been in the penitentiary most of her life. What she doesn’t understand is that it’s her fault. No one told her to go around and ‘shank’ people. I’m not stupid; I know not to get myself in to any trouble. A guard walks through the hall, doing his daily patrol. He looks at Gina and tells her to get back. She does as she is told and gets on her bunk. Once the hallway is clear, she gets up and goes back to the bars.
“Isn’t your husband coming to see you today?” Gina says in a slightly sarcastic tone. She’s well aware that my husband is the reason I’m sitting in this shit hole.
“No, my son is coming to see me. What visitors do you have today?” I reply. Gina never has visitors. Her daughter comes once a year and that’s only on her birthday. She sits down on her bunk, glaring down at the floor. I must’ve hit a nerve. That would be a first.
The guard comes back, but this time he opens the cell. Other inmates are walking through the hall. “Let’s go.” He waves us out of the cell. I get out of my bunk. I follow the rest of the women to the cafeteria.
For me, prison is just like high school. The different cliques, rumors and there is always fighting. The people that have been here the longest are the most respected. They are the ones nobody messes with, rather it be out of fear or sympathy. Of course, everyone taunts the newbies. I’ve been in that position. Day one was and still is the worst day I’ve had since I’ve been in the pin.
I sit at an empty table with my breakfast. Nine hundred and fifty seven days until I can get some real food. I sip a little of my orange juice and look around. Word is there’s a new girl. I want to be as alert as possible. I’m sure somebody is going to beat her down. They sure whooped my ass on the first day. A tray is placed on the table. I look up. It’s the new girl.
“You mind?” She sits before I can answer.
“No…not at all.” I say, even though I do mind. She’s going to bring all the attention this way.
“I’m Ranae.” She extends her arm. I’m skeptical about shaking it. Don’t want people to think I’m forming clique with the ‘new meat’.
“Janine.” I partially smile. She pulls her hand back once she realizes I’m not going to shake it.
“Nice to meet you.” Ranae responds. She’s very pretty. Light skin, shoulder length hair, hazel eyes and dimples. She’s also very thin, like a model. I wonder what she did to get herself in here. I made it a habit not to ask people how they got here though. As far as I’m concerned, it’s none of my business and I don’t want to be scared half to death with the answer.
“You don’t look like a killer,” Ranae states.
“Uh…thanks? Neither do you.”
“Well, looks can be deceiving. So don’t trust everything you see.” She picks up her spoon and plays with the grits on her tray.
Tanya, a.k.a sucker punch, gets up and starts to walk to our table. Dammit, can’t I go nine hundred and fifty seven days without getting in to some drama that doesn’t even involve me? “What’s going on here?” Tanya sits next to Ranae. She stares her up and down then shoots a look my way. I look down. Nine hundred and fifty seven, nine hundred and fifty seven…
“Well, I was talking to my buddy here about how looks can be deceiving.” Ranae answers.
“We aren’t buddies.” I shake my head while still looking down.
“Looks like punk ass, doesn’t want to be your friend.” Tanya responds. I forgot to mention my nickname is punk ass. How I got that name is pretty self-explanatory. I look up to see Ranae’s reaction.
“Punk ass?” She repeats. “Hmm…you should do me a favor and punk ass here a favor and back the hell up off me.”
“You’ve got cojones, little girl.” Tanya points at her.
“Little girl?” Ranae questions her once again. She’s getting herself in too deep trouble. I watch closely as Ranae places her spoon on the table. She takes the cup of orange juice off her tray.
“Look...” Before Tanya could get the rest of her threat out, Ranae slaps the tray right across her face. Tanya falls on the floor from the impact.
“You look,” Ranae says. “I don’t like to repeat myself and I don’t like people on my back, and I’m not a little girl.” The guards rush in and grab Ranae. She looks at me. “Care to be my friend now?” Everyone in the cafeteria turns their attention towards me once Ranae is taken away.
© Copyright 2017 Poisonous Thoughts. All rights reserved.
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