Miss Understanding

The New Berwyn Maximum Security Correctional Facility waiting area stank. It was an oily smell of sweat and dirty diapers cut with disinfectant. The waiting area was crowded with mothers, wives, and children, all black and brown, most have sat for hours on crappy buses to reach the prison from the city. Alice bent her head to smell her own wrist, to take in the scent of her bergamot lotion. Jonas liked bergamot. She had researched the police photos when they had raided his apartment. Her lotion was the same brand as his. She couldn’t make out the scent but she knew she just knew Jonas would be drawn to warm citrus and fine tea. Alice inhaled. Her slim nostrils flared and her eyes fluttered slightly thinking of Jonas.
She knew her man. Alice looked down her nose as the others in the waiting room. She pitied them. Her Jonas, she liked to think of him as hers already, was unique. Her Jonas was a gentleman, a gentle soul really. Yes, he hurt people but—Alice pushed away the thoughts of the Anderson family and old lady Rodrigues, the heavy garbage bags, the empty crib. Yes, he hurt people but only to protect himself. Bob Anderson would have snitched and Inez well she was old like really old and Jonas needed capital to disappear. Jonas had to disappear. Alice sniffed at her wrist, drank in their scent. She smoothed her pencil skirt and hope the smell of these people didn’t cling.
The guard led them to the visiting room. Fear made Alice walk slower, made her heart beat faster. She wondered if Jonas would like the beating of her heart. She knew there were other women. Jonas was a celebrity. His case was in newspapers and magazines. Jonas had been on Dateline. They tried to paint him as a run of the mill monster focused on his so called victims. Alice knew sheep were meant to be shearedAlice also knew she had something to offer more than the ghoul groupies who wanted to send nude pix to the latest boogie man. Jonas means dove did any of those trollops understand that, know at his heart Jonas was peaceful.
Alice understood. The sad-eyed women and noisy children surged forward. Alice hung back a little keeping above their penny dreadful melodramas. She clutched her pearls surprised by the weight. The guard directed her to a seat. The smell was worse in here. Alice crossed her shapely legs, adjusted her cashmere turtleneck, and clasped her hands on an elegant knee. Her heart’s pounding drowned out the other mundane conversations.
Like a wounded lion, Jonas walked towards the Plexiglass. Alice blazed at the sight of the chains. They would pay for that. Jonas sat. Flushed with embarrassment, Alice looked at her kitten heels. His voice sounding just as she knew it would commanded her eyes.
“They said I had a visitor. A Ms. Charlotte Coulborne. A writer with a podcast who wanted to tell my story. She looks a little like you,” Jonas said.
They stared at each other. Alice stretched across the counter and pressed her hand to the glass on her wrist a small blue dove tattoo.
“She looked like me.” Jonas matched his hand to hers. They laughed together.

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