I guess there’s a level of comfort most people have when they feel safe, free of judgement, and just free to be themselves. I’ve never known Fuquan the street guy. At 19, and now at 33 he’s always been a cottonball as far as I’m concerned; silly, googly eyed, relaxed….just overall a free spirit. Unlike much of the company he’s kept, my presence allows him to set the tough guy image aside and let his inner nerd/geek fly free. I don’t require him to be rough and rugged, or to live up to whatever persona he had on the streets. Any of his extra curricular activities were far removed from his dealings with me, so while I don’t doubt that he will FUCK YOU UP if need be, its not a side of him I’ve ever been exposed to then, or now. In discussing expectations and fears about this journey, I made it clear that despite his environment, I expected him to always seek the path of least resistance in his daily interactions with other inmates, and prison staff. The time he’s facing is long enough, I rather it not be filled with lock-ups, or revoked privileges, or God forbid more time added. 5 years into his sentence when I came along, he assured me that that was already how he’d been operating anyway so him getting in trouble behind a stupid decision, wasn’t something I needed to worry about. 

Seeing him in handcuffs for the first time a few weeks ago was so surreal to me. I mean I know he’s a prisoner, and I know this is the procedure but despite that, it still felt like too much. “Is this really fuckin necessary?” is all I could think, he’s not gonna choke one of y’all flimsy ass guards up so relax *deep sigh* They saw a criminal, I just saw my bald-headed marshmallow sitting across the room and I couldn’t do anything but mouth “I love you” and smile🙁. That day … Not even the day, but those moments, seeing him bein escorted around like a savage play back in my mind from time to time and all I do is smh, I hate it. 

I guess its the same for other women and families enduring this journey with their loved ones. They know the sides of these men that are vulnerable and harmless. Its crazy, seeing these big, muscular guys walk in that visit area and literally melt….when they see their wives, children, friends etc. We are taught to believe that the incarcerated population isn’t capable of giving love, nor worthy of receiving it, and its so far from the truth. I guess its the price they “pay” for their mistakes. 

Despite it all though, my guy is my guy….since our reunion, he hasn’t given me a reason to look at him as anything other the person I know him to be; a flawed man, unapologetic about who he is, and consciously working to be a better person for his family’s sake. And I’m sure its the same for most of the women & families with incarcerated loved ones. Sometimes it takes having everything we love snatched away for us to really appreciate just how important it was/is. And while we hope and pray that it won’t take a prison sentence for that realization to set in, sometimes that’s how it goes. We don’t love them any less though. Frustrated? Yes. Angry? Most certainly. Confused? Helpless? Yes, and yes. But wallowing isn’t really the best option so we press on with our rainbow of emotions in tow. Loving our prisoners despite society’s constantly urging for us to leave them by the wayside.❤️

P.S Sorry for the wait😔