“Will you just talk to me, please?” Nicki asked, following me around the room as I tried to get ready.
“No, I’d rather not.” I yanked the cheap plastic jail comb through my hair, in an attempt to look somewhat presentable. “Why though? Is it because of the kiss thing?” I rolled my eyes and walked to the opposite side of the cell. Aside from the fact that she almost broke my teeth then embarrassed me in front of the whole pod, that was not the reason I was stressing.
The trouble with being in jail is, if you happen to be trapped in a room with a psycho girl who won’t leave you alone, there’s really no escape. You can only walk in small circles for so long.
“Look, Tiff, I’m sorry. They switched my meds and I’ve been feeling a little crazy, I didn’t mean -“
Her voice made me nauseous.
“Okay listen Nicki, I’m getting sentenced to 15 years in prison in less than an hour, and I have to walk in there with a black eye, so, with all due respect – you are the least of my worries right now.”
I finished getting ready and headed out of the cell to line up for court. I stopped at the door and swiveled on my heels to face Nicki. “And by the way, I saw you snort the Xanax that the nasty prostitute with no teeth brought in here. You are an idiot“, I walked away before she could reply.
I overheard the girls talking about how some girl smuggled Xanax in, in her…Um…Lady parts. It happened all the time and honestly, had I known how simple it was I probably would have done it myself. I had a whole bag of pills sitting at my house the day I got arrested. I thought about that bag often, filled with longing and anger at how it is going to waste just sitting there. I wonder if Chuck ever found it?
“Johnson. Durbick. Smith. Langdon, line up – you got court” Miss Flower yelled the names off of her clipboard and one by one the girls lined up behind me. Some of them were excited, some of them were quiet, and I was basically shitting my pants.
We all lined up facing the wall with our legs spread and hands up. They shackled our hands together in front of us, our feet together, then attached a chain from our waist to our arms and legs.
As we jingle jangled down the hallway toward the van, I couldn’t help but think about all of the times I’d watched movies with shackled prisoners. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d be one.
As I stepped up into the van, my eyes grew wide as I realized the back 4 rows were filled with men. Other prisoners. Holy shit. I hadn’t seen a man in about 60 days. The guys began smiling as we entered the bus, and I immediately reached up to fix my hair, suddenly feeling self conscious. I looked really stupid when my hand got jerked back down to my waist, I forgot I was shackled. Damnit..
“Aright, we got a 15 minute ride. If anyone talks, you’re going to lock. Ladies, if you turn around, you’re going to lock. Am I clear?” Miss Flower said. Everyone let out yesses and yup’s as the bus lurched forward.
I stared out the window and watched as the trees blurred by. I took in every sight, every color, every sound I could. Because I didn’t know if I would ever have a chance to see the outside world again.
You don’t realize how many things you take for granted on a daily basis, until you no longer have those things. We passed a McDonalds and I remembered all the times my parents had taken my sister and I to eat there. I would trade my soul for a Big Mac right now.
We all entered the courthouse in a straight line, and everyone in that building stopped what they were doing to take in the sight of the chained criminals.
I could tell they were studying us, sizing us up, imagining the kind of people we were and the terrible things we must have done. I stared straight ahead, careful not to make eye contact.
I used to wear fancy clothes like these people, I used to carry a briefcase and have a real job. Drugs had taken me from their side -to this side, the dark side, in an instant.
“Aright, everybody, in here. Except you Johnson, you’re up first”
I was led to the court room, same as last time. My attorney was already waiting at the podium for me, which meant, we weren’t going to be able to talk about what the hell was happening.
As I approached the podium, he leaned in. “They have 2 options for you, 6 months jail, 3 years probation. Or 4 months jail, 6 months residential treatment, 3 years probation. Which do you want?”
He whispered this to me, so that when the judge presented my options, I would already know which to pick. I’m fairly certain that he is supposed to tell me this shit ahead of time, so that I could have time to ponder, however I was just relieved that somehow, the courts dropped it from 15 years, to this.
“You have about 30 seconds” He said, glancing up from his watch.
I didn’t need 30 seconds. I knew what I wanted to do. I could be free from jail in 4 more months. I could be back out in the real world, living life again. The thing is, if I didn’t take the rehab, I would be right back here in no time. Wearing this same jumpsuit, being told when to eat, what to eat. Going to the bathroom in front of 6 girls. I couldn’t do it again.
I needed to get my brain fixed. I needed help. There were 2 paths laid out before me and depending on which I chose, would result in a completely different future.
“I want to go to rehab”
“Are you sur-“
“I’m sure, I want to go. I’m going.”
My attorney looked surprised. I’m assuming it’s because most people would have chosen to be out of jail as soon as possible, they would have chosen freedom. But even though this meant 8 more months of being told what to do and when to do it. To me, this was freedom. It was my only hope of freeing myself from this addiction.
The court presented my 2 options, just as my attorney had said. He told them my choice, the judge responded “Very well, then“, and I was ushered out of the court room. That was it. It was final. I no longer had to worry about my fate.
For the first time, in a long time, I would now be able to just – relax. I no longer had to obsess about the future, pray for my attorney to call, question other girls about their experience and what I should expect.
I could just be present in the moment, and ride out these last 60 days in jail. I had nothing but time on my hands now.
This is when the fun really began….