Every day this week (well, not so many, it is only Wednesday), as I get close to my home, I have seen a young woman. She is standing next to a stroller in which there is a small child...or a big baby...hard to tell as I drive past.
She is standing in the exact same place every single time. Twice she was looking up and today she was smiling, blowing kisses and waving.
And, I knew why she was there. On the upper floors of that building, actually a whole bunch of buildings, is where prisoners are housed. It is the downtown jail. A temporary place whilst your trial is going on and I think they hold people for other reasons which I cannot remember right now and I am too tired to look up.
But, that woman was patient and so willing to be there so that at the right moment, she would be able to wave and blow kisses and love to whomever managed to be at that window.
I have no idea who she is, although I am pretty sure that she does not live on my street. I noticed her the past two days, but when she was there today I could not help but wonder what her story might be.
I would like to think that she is a young wife, and that her equally young husband is incarcerated because something that he did long before they met and he fell head over heels in love with her, has finally caught up with him.
It was a stupid crime in a long line of stupid criminal mistakes that he has made since he was barely into his teens. It is not a factor of running with the wrong crowd, but more that he believed that being an outlaw was cool. It gave him status in the neighborhood because he was daring and he had lots of money to flash around.
Then, at some point he came to his senses, ended his association with those people, got a job and tried to live a decent life. He even tried to make amends to his victims, doing it anonymously. He told himself that doing it that way was better than not doing anything at all. And, because he did not have a record, he was able to get a decent entry level job, where he did excellent work, another part of trying to make amends. He received a couple of promotions and raises and was doing well.
The reason for his turnaround can be credited to his grandmother. But, that is another story.
He had been clean, sober and law-abiding for almost a year when they met. She knew nothing about his past and he made sure that she did not find out. Well, not until six weeks ago when the police came to their apartment with a warrant for his arrest.
He may have left that old crowd behind, tried to forget their activities had been his as well. but they had not forgotten him. And, when they were caught during a long string of home invasions their own homes and those of their relatives were searched. Many stolen items were found and they faced a whole shitload of charges. In the process, they implicated him in many of the robberies.
So, there he is. On the upper floor of the downtown jail.
And, there she and their child are. On the sidewalk below. Waiting and watching and hoping for that moment when they see daddy. They smile and wave and blow kisses and love. It is just a moment. It has to be enough. Until tomorrow.