I was informed by the prison guard that I had a visitor.
I was hoping it wasn’t D…. I was taken down to the visiting room, and told to sit in the room with all the other prisoners who were eagerly waiting for their love ones.
I absolutely hated this place. I hated the rules and regime. I was also quite embarrassed to look at the other prisoners, I didn’t know why and although my crime was trivial in comparison, it did nothing to the situation.
So I waited, not sure which direction the visitor was coming.
Then I saw her. …
Some girl whom had lived in mummy’s block, she wasn’t someone I associated myself with. There were two sisters, the older sister whom was my age, was almost like a church girl. This sister was a tear away. I always felt I was better than her, and I’m sure she knew it, she was always and out of prison for theft and all sorts. Here I was in prison with her.
“Was I cursed?”, yes I think so!
Then I saw them, my children, AND MUMMY..
They ran over to me, I recall being afraid to hold them, not sure why, but part of the reason was I didn’t want mummy to see me broken. I was trying to be strong and if I held them the tears would fall too easily.
My eldest asked me, “why you not coming home mummy”
“Why you here” so many questions. I lied..
“I am at work, I said.
“I have to make you lots of money to buy toys, We don’t need toys mummy, can you come back home” my eldest said. Such vivid reflection even after all this time brings sadness.
I don’t actually know what mummy told them, but my excuse would be better; eventually I grabbed hold of my baby son, and held him so tightly. I noticed he had a very deep cut in his forehead. I knew it would leave a scar, my girls said. “Granny didn’t take him doctors. Yet again mummy was using her own remedy. The scar looked like it needed stitches but she never took him. I knew he would be scared for life. <!–more–>
Mummy then looked at me, as if to say. I have them now. She then said to me “the stone the builder refuse would be the head cornerstone” I didn’t understand what she meant, and I didn’t asked. We hardly spoke mummy and I, but something told me this was far from over.
Mummy had taken the children to see me, because the solicitor told her to. It wasn’t because she wanted to bring them. I guess I knew that but desperately wanted her to love me. Well, visiting time was only thirty minute. When it was time to go my baby son put down some screaming, he stretched out his hands he screamed. He kicked his legs he screamed. He tried to climb out mummy’s arms, and screamed some more. I recall feeling helpless, but at the same time good that my baby son wanted me. He will never love you like me, I said.
My heart was pounding in my chest as the guard led me away, while my girls looked on. I remember laughing with the judge, so my baby girl could see I was happy. Far from it, and I’m sure the guard thought I was going mad. Well, at least my girls went home happy. I’m sure my eldest daughter had an idea what was going on, but until today she has never asked. So if you do read this my eldest.
I was in Holloway Prison.
Mummy didn’t say much as she went to leave, she knew she had won.
I knew it too…
On my way back to the cell. I cried again. I cried till I was weak. My sons scream still rang in my head, I was taken to my cell and fell asleep. There was nothing else to do.
Prison life was unbearable apart from the black girl I met in my cell, she looked out for me, and because she was popular in the prison. I was left alone. My best friend was able to visit and would try to get all the comfort I needed, her face would always be telling me she was sad, but we never spoke about my time inside.
After 28 days arrived, I was taken back to crown court in the same big White van; Strapped in like a caged animal, which made me feel sick. I was still numb, but I knew I had to stay strong.
When my case came up, I had no energy, I felt sick from the drive and from being five months pregnant. I do know that a report was written by the doctor to say, I was not a risk to anyone, that I should never have been sent to prison, that I was also pregnant, that I was hormonal, that I did not pose a risk in prison and I was on good behaviour. Good behaviour! I found that funny, as I felt I had been on good behaviour all my life. It just never worked in my favour.
The judge ruled that I was free to go home, but the full hearing would be in three months, “I would be eight months pregnant then”, I thought.
Was I going to go back to prison?
The saddest thing for me is I was released from prison by the back door, discarded like rubbish. I crept out the backdoor of the court, and stood up on the street corner looking left and right hoping that no one saw me. . However, just to make life harder, I saw my best friends mate, a guy called Tony. He was seven feet tall, weighing around 530 lbs rough guess, but not far off. He was just passing the courts. When he saw me he grabbed me and held me tight for a few minutes.
I really needed that hug. Was this God again or coincidence?, from reading scriptures, I realise God doesnt give you what you want he gives you what you need. However, at this time and Yet again God, was in the distant memory. Bad move.. As I found out later….
After leaving prison I knew It was time to get back to reality.
It was September 1988. …I arrived home by myself and quickly got back into my routine. D had already moved out and was living with his girlfriend, no wonder mummy had the children. He was living life. Luckily I didn’t know that much people so not many people knew, my name was in the papers but no one knew me. Sadly I lost my college place, but I manage to keep my job as my neighbour told them I was sick. I still had my best friend and my neighbour who provided a tremendous amount of support. one-day, my best friend turned up unexpectedly, she had several large bags of shopping, it was surprising as I had not even asked. But she knew what I needed. God bless her.
After a week, I received the dreaded letter I was expecting. My mummy was fighting for custody. This time she had a good excuse. I was so sad, my children’s lives were so unsettled, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I was desperate to be happy but it looked like happiness for me was an impossibility. She was desperate to get my children. I just didn’t know why?
I sat on the chairs and stared at the letter. Not again, really. The fight was back on, I was having my own pity session. This time I was pregnant, on my own, freshly out of prison, young mother of four children, court case pending, and where I could go prison, working weekends. my future was very uncertain. Enough was enough.
Well so I thought.
A week after getting my letter from mummy, I sat watching the news… There was a major hurricane in Jamaica, and it had hit St Thomas hard. WHAT!!!!!!! ,,
It was the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin, until Hurricane Wilma surpassed it during 2005.
In total, Hurricane Gilbert killed 433 people along its path (45 persons in Jamaica) and caused about $7.1 billion (1988 USD) in damages over the course…
That was my hometown, my father was there, was he ok?, how could I find out., I tried to scan the news frantically to see if I recognised anywhere in Jamaica, looking now with grown up eyes. But I couldn’t see anything. There was only one thing to do.
I called her and I asked. “I just seen the news about Hurricane Gilbert. Have you heard any news”.
“YOUR FATHER IS DEAD” mummy said.
Ok I said, and hung up. I recall sitting back on the chair. Shocked, everything was going in slow motion, I closed my eyes and allow the news to sink in. My beloved father was dead. The last time I had seen him was at the age of seven, I was stolen…brought to life of misery.
My father was dead? The words seem unreal. I turned on the news again, IT WAS VERY REAL. There was devastation in Jamaica, I wondered if he felt pain?, did he think of me before he died? Did he still love me? especially as he had his new daughter.
I had no tears left, I couldn’t cry. I was in shock….