I love theme parties. The theme for jail visits is “Modest Dress,” defined by the Jail Administration as no visible shoulders, cleavage, knees or toes. No sweatpants, nothing tight. I’ve discovered that they only seem to notice stretchy-tight — tailored-tight doesn’t read the same way– so I dress the way sluts did in my mother’s day: pencil skirt, satin blouse with buttons and darts. I put heels in my purse and wear sneakers because I have to take two buses and two trains. Jail is a large imposing building in the middle of nowhere.
At the main entrance to jail there are lockers for purses, coats, wallets and keys. I give my ID to Officer Hunk, who is 6’4” and bass-voiced and all the ladies flirt with him. He checks it against Darling Boyfriend’s visitor list and hands me a receipt in triplicate.
He’s awfully pale from being indoors. Behind him is the unit where he spends all of his time. It is two-tiered and looks like on TV.
The counter is on his side too and we perch on it, our legs side by side, shouting to be heard through the grate in the frame of the window. Visits are 15 minutes long but if there’s no one waiting they can be much longer. It’s up to Curly to decide which visiting bay to shut down and when. Curly has a little crush on me so while the guards chase out other visitors Darling and I are left alone. We talk about what we’re reading, a trip we have planned for Vancouver this summer since my mom thinks he’s there now. I notice anew that he has the most perfect ears and artistic hands. These observations are accompanied by achingly physical recollections of private moments. We get ninety whole minutes together but eventually the knock comes. It’s hard to leave but best to exit promptly. We blow kisses, mouth ‘I love you’s. I leave jail grinning.