“I can’t believe they granted you a conjugal room,” Susan said.
Bill was busy setting the candle light and pouring wine. “And they gave me alcohol too,” he replied, “maybe things aren’t so bad.”
Susan pulled out a chair, sat down, and looked him square in the eye. “I’m not having sex with you, Bill,” she said, “besides, I’m already seeing someone.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“Because it’s John.”
Bill looked down at the ground and shook his head. “Goddamn it,” he uttered.
“There was no good way to tell you,” Susan said.
Bill walked over to the window then glanced at the small Christmas tree in the corner. “Well Merry Christmas to me,” he replied.
“But I did bring you a gift,” Susan said as she dug through her bag. She pulled out a picture of him and his grandfather at Mount Hood some 15 years earlier. “I know that this was the last picture of your grandpa before he passed,” she continued.
Bill took the photograph and turned his back on Susan. He was silent as he recalled the memory of that day. After several awkward seconds, Bill spoke up. “I haven’t seen this picture since the day it was taken.”
Susan said nothing.
Then Bill turned around. “Why John?” he asked. “Don’t you two have a history? Isn’t the government watching you two like a hawk?”
“Maybe,” she replied, “but I don’t care. I think we always had feelings for each other.”
“But you guys aren’t up to the same old shit again? You just got out of prison for Christ sake!”
“I don’t think I should discuss this with you right now.”
“You are! Fuck. I hope they don’t have this room bugged!”
Susan threw up her arms. “Let’s drop it,” she yelled, “I was hoping this would be a happy visit. But obviously you’re not mature enough for this conversation.”
Bill began drinking directly from the wine bottle. “I guess not,” he replied.
The two uttered nothing for a few minutes. Finally, Susan stood up. “I don’t think I’ll be coming back,” she said, “you seeing me probably isn’t good for your rehabilitation.”
Bill didn’t reply.
“I wish you luck in the future,” she continued, “when you’re released, if you know what’s good for you, please don’t reach out to me. Do you understand?”
Susan knocked, then a prison guard unlocked the door and let her out. Before she exited, she turned around. “Merry Christmas, Bill,” she said, then departed.
Bill held the bottle of wine in one hand, and the photograph in the other. Then the prison guard stepped in the room. “You still have access to this room for a few more hours,” the guard said, “do you wish to stay here?”
“No,” Bill replied, “please take me back to the cell.”
TO BE CONTINUED…