I was supposed to go and see Jeff next Tuesday, the 7th. I had everything scheduled and set to go, but I woke up yesterday morning and something inside of me said you need to go now. I don’t know why, but I felt as though I had to go. I spent my day yesterday running around doing everything I needed to do in order to leave. I arrived home, packed my suitcase, settled the kids and left around 8:30pm.
I speak with Jeff twice a day. Yesterday morning he called and I told him I was coming. Oh my goodness, he was beyond excited! Of course, I was nervous. I am not the same woman I once was, I am 65lbs bigger. We haven’t seen each other in 10 years, and I abandoned him without so much as a word. I was nervous, afraid of him seeing me, what it could do to him. I thought it may have the reverse effect on him, maybe it would trigger him. I don’t know. The thought of this had my stomach in knots.
I arrived in Corning NY at 2am. I was beyond exhausted. I checked into the hotel and fell asleep almost immediately. I woke up around 7 am and started to get ready, and checked out of the hotel about 90 minutes later. It was snowing outside and just nasty and windy. I packed my suitcase and drove off. I stopped at a Target on the way to grab an umbrella and made my way to the prison. Once I arrived I had this sinking feeling. I can’t explain to you how entering a prison makes you feel. I have always hated this. I hate everything about prison. Most of the correctional officers have a nasty attitude and attempt to talk down to you, it just isn’t a pleasant experience.
I had never been to this prison before. Jeff has now been in every single Maximum Security Prison in the state of NY, some of them twice. But Elmira Correctional Facility was one I never visited. Of course, the jail is up on a humongous hill and the stairs that lead to the visiting area are never-ending. It was 6 degrees outside and I was already running late. I parked my car, Facetime Live you guys and was just trying to get into the prison. As soon as I stepped outside of my vehicle, the K-9 unit approached me to ask if I had drugs on me or in my car. I responded with, “Do I look like I am hoarding drugs into a prison? I am just asking because you stopped me for some reason and it is freezing outside, so if you’re going to search my vehicle, please do so quickly.” They let me go and this had already ticked me off. I haven’t even smoked weed since I was 16 years old and this was only a few times. I was never one who was into drugs. I had with me a small wristlet with my id, money and my phone -everything else I locked up in my car. I walk all the way up the stairs and walked into the check in room for visitors only to have one of the Co’s tell me, I have to put my phone in the car. Now I knew I couldn’t bring it in the visiting room with me, but I assumed you could place it in one of the lockers with my car keys. No, apparently they changed the rules. Fine. So I walked back outside in the freezing cold down a million stairs to lock my phone in my car. I walked all the way back up the stairs in the snow and went to check in. I filled out the paperwork and the same idiot guard asked me if I knew my license plate number. Are you freaking kidding me? I looked at him and said, “no”. So of course, I had to go outside once again to get my license plate number. By this point, I was beyond pissed off, but just clenched my teeth and attempted to smile. I was wearing a black semi off the shoulder sweater but had a gray infinity scarf over it so you couldn’t see the shirt was off the shoulder. Apparently you are no longer able to wear scarves in the visiting room. At this point, I was not taking any chances. I took the scarf off and tucked the shirt into my bra straps so this asshole wouldn’t say anything. I was cleared to visit and walked through several doors until I was placed at a visiting table. The guard who was in the visiting room was actually very nice. He smiled at me and said; “Oh look who you’re visiting” I just smiled at him and asked when he would be coming out. He told me it would only be a few minutes.
I felt as though I was sitting there for hours! I was looking around the room and all of a sudden, I see him out of the corner of my eye. I could only see his back, but I know Jeff. He checked in the officers station, turned around and locked eyes with me! Oh, to see the HUGE smile on his face relaxed me immediately. He came over to me and just kissed me! My knees were instantly weak, and my heart was racing. The spark? Oh my god, it is still there, maybe even more so. He stands back and looks at me up at down and says, “Are you fucking kidding me? You’re so ridiculous mama, you are absolutely beautiful! I can’t get over how beautiful my princess is!” We sat down at the table and he just grabbed my hands and just looked at me. He just couldn’t stop looking at me with this amazing smile on his face. Of course, me being me, I spent at least 30 minutes drilling him, “did you expect me to be bigger or smaller than I am, do I look old, are you shocked, how much weight do you think I need to lose, you’re just crazy and are afraid to tell me I am fat”etc. He just looked at me and kept telling me how gorgeous I was, how he was actually getting nervous because he expected to walk into a train wreck. (I kept telling him on the phone how I was so fat, my stomach hung to the floor and I was 1000lbs.) By this time, I wasn’t even worried about my weight. I was just sitting there with the man who stole my heart 26 years ago, and after everything we have been through, he still has my heart. After all this time, I was still so in love with him. He had both of my hands in his and asked me to close my eyes. As my eyes were closed I thought about so much, just us, the first time he ever kissed me, the day I showed up at Greenhaven and poured my heart out to him. . .and then I felt something on my left ring finger. A string or rubber band or something. He told me not to open my eyes so I kept my eyes closed and just smiled. I was finally at peace. I was no longer nervous and at this very moment I was free. I opened my eyes to find a small piece of pink yarn tied in a bow around my ring finger. He remembered. He remembered my dreams, and Gilgo beach. I couldn’t believe this, this was a very long time ago, but he remembered. Of course he remembered, he always remembers.
He sat right in front of me for 5 hours just looking at me and holding my hands. He was the same Jeff, his body was still solid muscle, his eyes were still hazel/green, his hair was still brown, but he looked tired. I was able to see the damage. I was able to see what I did to him. He was always broken but I came back into his life and spent almost 4 years gluing him back together only to break him again. We spoke about when I left him for dead, and he told me how he is afraid of me leaving him again. He told me he couldn’t handle it, how he just wouldn’t be able to take it and how he can’t live his life without me. He also told me he knows it’s not healthy how I am the only person he loves and how I am his life, but I am the only good thing in his life and how I keep him going. He told me how I make him want to keep living. I try to reassure him by telling him I am not going anywhere, but I understand his reservations. I left him for dead without even a word after promising to love him forever.
I love him, but I am not sure I can save him, I don’t know if his pieces can be glued back together again. I am not sure Jeff can ever be whole. But I am certain I can love him every single day of my life. I have spent years without this man and I have been miserable. Of course our relationship is far from perfect, after all, we are only allowed to see each other with armed guards watching our every move and men armed with ak-47’s standing rooftop, but he makes me happy and he makes me feel alive. He loves me in a way no other man could even imagine loving me. It is not possible. The way he loves me is just different. We are just different. It is like our souls are intertwined or something.
5 hours felt like minutes and it was time for me to go. This is the hardest part. I had my head in his hands and I started to cry. I hate leaving him, but cherish every second I get to spend with him. He is the love of my life. 26 years and counting. . .
This is why I couldn’t go Live when I left the visit. I was a mess, and my emotions were all over the place. I just needed to drive and process everything that just happened. I know this post isn’t too detailed, but it was an emotional day and I am exhausted. Don’t worry, Jeff will be writing his own post for us about our visit. I am certain his will be very detailed. But, I just wanted to let everyone know what happened. And no, we didn’t take a photo. I refused to take a photo fat and now I regret it! Next time I will!