Father Wounds Lay Deep (Part Four)

It was two weeks until I would be married.  I thought of my dad sitting in jail...

 

Just five years earlier I rode with my brother along the I-10 corridor.  Billboards shouting at me.  Low income houses lined the freeway with dirt in place of grass as the backyard.  I made small talk with my brother as I awaited that first visit.

I didn't know what exit we'd be taking to get there.  I thought the jail was removed from all civilization.  Then, the trucks blinker went on & veered off just before hitting downtown Phoenix.  The side road seemed like an eternity, when suddenly we turned left into a rather long entrance. 

Everything was dun like the desert scenery.  Willy parked the truck.  We crossed the road & entered into a small waiting room.  It was the size of some rich person's walk-in closet; except, it wasn't filled with clothes & shoes.  It was packed with family members awaiting to see their loved one. They were primarily mothers & grandmothers, some children & wives.  Small lockers lined the left-hand wall with one small bench to sit. 

Those spots were taken.

The deputy sat behind a bullet-proof window opposite the entrance door. 

Willy had briefed me about not having any wallet, purse, jewelry, keys, pencils, pens--nothing on my person.  He told me there would be a locker to place any valuables in. 

"What about when we go in?  What happens then?" I asked.

"We'll walk through metal detectors.  Dad will be sitting at a table & we'll sit across from him," he replied.

"What if I break a rule?," I asked. (I was so nervous I would break a rule & the guards would take me down)

"The officers will let you know of the rules & they'll be posted on the wall, " he assured me.

 

On my seventh birthday I remember thinking how terrified I was to be sitting at the mission in Yuma, staring at a bunch of men who looked like the last time their skin touched soap was before Reagan took office.  They scared me.  I sat behind my dad on the bench & they all sat on the pews facing me. My dad gave the message that night.

 

As I watched the families waiting to be called to see their loved ones, I wondered how many times they had done this?  Was their son a repeat offender?  Was their husband or boyfriend at the wrong place, at the wrong time?  Were they working hard, pulling double shifts to support their family & put money on their inmate family member's books? 

What I did know was skin color didn't matter there.  Or fear of someone judging me, my brother, or my dad, because we all had compassion for one another.  There was a nod & a look which communicated, "Your stories are safe with me." 

 

It would soon be time for Willy & me to walk through the detectors & find my dad in a black & white chain gang uniform.  It was like I was seven all over again, except my dad was sitting in the pews.

 

My wedding was two weeks away & I was nervous, because I didn't know if my story, my dad's story...would be safe with everyone in attendance.

Continue to Father Wounds Lay Deep (Part Five)

 

You can read the previous writings found below:

Father Wounds Lay Deep (Part One)

Father Wounds Lay Deep (Part Two)

Father Wounds Lay Deep (Part Three)

 

 

Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.