The Love Prison Made and Unmade by Ebony Roberts

The Love Prison Made and Unmade by Ebony Roberts

Author:Ebony Roberts
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2019-05-31T16:00:00+00:00


27

April in Michigan is still winter, but I couldn’t wait any longer to see Shaka. Newberry is only five hours from Detroit, and even in winter weather, the trip felt doable.

This time, I made the trek with Maggie. Her husband was locked up and she’d gone on one of the bus visits I’d helped organize for families two years earlier. We became quick friends. When I told her about Shaka, she listened. She was the only person I knew who understood.

We planned a three-day trip. Gas prices in Michigan were among the highest in the country at the time, averaging around $3.50 a gallon, so we decided to drive my fuel-efficient Saturn instead of Maggie’s old minivan. The day before, I went online to check the weather. Rain mixed with snow, it said. Temperatures were expected to be near freezing. Damn. I stared at the computer screen. I thought about the trip in January I’d canceled. All those emotions came rushing back. The sadness. The guilt. I’ll just be careful, I thought to myself.

It was cold and gray when we left Detroit Good Friday morning. The rain waited for us in Traverse City and poured out of the sky. Once we got over the Mackinac Bridge the rain turned to snow, and then back to rain. I slowed down and tapped my foot on the brake. I could feel the ice beneath my tires. The oak and maple and spruce trees were just beginning to bloom and formed a canopy over the two-lane highway. The sun peeked through the branches but not enough to keep the snow that was now slush from freezing.

I inched through one small Michigan town after another, past farms and lonely gas stations, past small brick houses and big old wooden houses that had seen better days. I drove with my hands on the steering wheel at three o’clock and nine o’clock, my neck and shoulders and back knotted and tense from worry. I heard Shaka’s voice, “You grow stronger and more committed.”

“You good?” Maggie asked.

“Yeah, I’m good. I’m just going to take my time.”

“That’s right. We’re in no hurry. We still have a couple hours before visiting hours start. He’s going to be so happy to see you.”

“Girl, I’m not gone know what to do with myself when I see him. It’s been six months. But it feels like forever.”

“I know. That’s a long time. But now that’s behind you.” Maggie was encouraging. That was her way. She was a preschool teacher and had the biggest heart. She would take a carload full of women with her whenever she visited her husband and write letters to the parole board when the young men from her hood came up for parole.

There was nothing but trees and open land for miles and then I saw a Pizza Hut, a McDonald’s, and a gas station. The small-town trifecta. Just past the McDonald’s was our hotel. I relaxed my arms and loosened my grip on the steering wheel.

“We’re here,” I sang.



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