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She Forced Herself to Smile

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She forced herself to smile, staring through the glass partition into the eyes of her four year old daughter. Meaningless chit chat filled the air, words dancing around the truth, no sweetie mommy won’t be coming home today either. Rebecca was only two months into her 36 month sentence, no chance of early release. Drug deal gone bad, wrong place wrong time; however you look at it the reality of where she is doesn’t change. Her daughter, Alicia, will be seven years old by the time she is released from this hellhole of a place she now has to call home.

Alicia rambles on; something about a new painting she has hanging from the refrigerator door but the words enter her mother’s ears in a blur. She tries not to even imagine the life she is no longer a part of, her eyes locked on the tight curls of her daughters brown hair that sits perched just above her eyes. A slight dimple hides next to her gap tooth smile that peeks from behind her lips stained blue from the candy she gnawed on the car ride over. Alicia’s tiny hands grip the telephone tightly as she confides in her mother how she had hit a boy in her Sunday school class, expecting the worst she held her knees to her chest waiting for her mother’s scolding. Rebecca, now snapped back to reality with tears streaking her face, could only muster a weak attempt at a smile. Telling her daughter that nothing she ever did could make her love her less.

“Times up!” a guard screamed from the doorway. Rebecca slowly hung up the receiver, holding her hand up to her daughters on the glass that separated their two worlds. Turning her back to the only one she loves she stumbles back into the maze of concrete borders and steel bars that hold her freedom captive.



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