No matter how exhausted I was, no matter how discouraged I was about the situation and my relationship, I wrote those letters faithfully for a very long time. I wrote about the mundane details of my days, I copied song lyrics, I drew him pictures. For a very long time, I just kept writing.
When I couldn’t think of anything to say, I would sit on my bed with my blank notebooks open in front of me, my pen poised above the blank lines. In the beginning, I wrote to fill the emptiness in my heart and life that his absence left. Towards the end, I wrote to keep him appeased in the hopes that he would stop keeping tabs on me, that he would give me a chance at a normal life.
My money started to dwindle away between the collect calls and sending him $100, sometimes $200, every week or every other week. After he got out of prison I was angered when I found paperwork, receipts, showing what he had purchased from the prison commissary. Most of the money was spent on snacks, which I understood, he was always adamant that he was wasting away in there. He also spent money frequently on batteries for his radio and on paper and envelopes so he could write to me. I don’t know why it upset me that he always needed more, more money, but it did. It made me feel bad that it upset me. Everything about the situation upset me.
Sometimes he would write the most beautiful words to me. He would tell me how lucky our child would be to grow up in a home with two parents who loved each other. He would tell me that he would do anything to protect us, that he would always take care of us. He just knew we would be happy together and he had me convinced as well. Now as I sit and stare at the scar on my knee that he gave me a few years back not long before I left him, I can’t believe how naive I was back then in the beginning.
Sometimes his letters were painful to read because for a long time, I missed him a great deal. Mostly they were painful to read because I never really believed a word he wrote. I was terribly lonely and afraid of the future. I was afraid of every decision I would soon have to make. I was afraid of letting him down. I was afraid of everything.