CORRUPTION AND THE BUBBLE
By Mary Wright (me)
It takes a bit of getting used to, to be in a bubble that floats, in which air comes in, but you are not heard. Where everyone can see you, and judge you, but you cannot respond – only looking like a mime if you try to. To say when I got in here would mean I would have to do a lot of math, and I’m not even sure I could even count that high, anymore, let alone add to that high of an amount. A year, at least, maybe – since my visitors slowly change over time, and I hear them talking.
It’s all much like a montage to me now, me blinking my eyes, and pushing back my long hair, and listening.
A couple months in here, and they are wearing winter coats, and hats, and scarfs, and gloves. They are talking about how cold it is out, and about their kids having days off for school.
More months. Lighter jackets, sweatpants, sunglasses. Kids counting down the days until summer, parents talking to parents about where they’re going on vacation, how they’re going to get their daughter or son to read their summer reading without much trouble on their part.
A month or two more, and now few visit to see the woman in the bubble, the one that is captured to be shown an example of – this is what happens when you go against what the government says – a year – yes, it has to be about a year by now – of public humiliation and lack of privacy.
It’d be more of a chore if my see-through jail cell was smaller, and that, at least, I keep in mind to keep going – to keep putting on my smile, even though mentally, I’m worn out.
What I’ve done, I still believe in. Just because they’re saying there’s a law against now, doesn’t mean that that law should be a law at all.
One day, a young girl comes in and looks at me. I mutter to myself something; I don’t even know what it was, anymore. I am used to no privacy now. When I look at her, a shine of understanding comes upon her face, and I realize that she can read lips. I am not good at it, but a one-sided conversation (on my part, for a change) is good enough for me.
I tell her that she should find out what it will take to get me out of here.
I tell her of all the days I thought that I should give up, but had nothing to ‘end it all’ with, of course.
I tell her that to fight, means that things will change.
I am currently now forty years old, if I remember correctly. I have two kids, I think – Camden and Tyler. A husband? A wife? I do not remember which, and sexuality had been such a far concept for far too long.
I continue ‘talking’ to the young girl. The next day, I find that there’s a bubble next to mine, with the young girl inside it. I am distraught. I am crying. I can’t stop sobbing.
Finally, I look up, and she tells me that she is twelve years old. Her mother told her to fight for what was right. Her mother was going to have testimony, and go on all the news shows. They will get the young girl out.
A few days, or maybe a week, pass. The young girl is treated at the same level as me, and I am outraged. Throughout that time, we talk, and not many people show up to visit us.
I tell her that my crime was owning a gun. That the government wanted to have all of them. They wanted all the power.
She said she stole some money from a police officer. I gave her a very unsuccessful and unsatisfying air high-five.
We must fight against what’s wrong, I tell her. You can do more than I can, I say.
But you are an adult, the young girl, whose name is Caroline, tells me.
I am worn down, I have grown up believing that the government is here to protect us, I tell her.
But they’re not, says Caroline, they’re here to hurt us.
See? I say, smiling at her approvingly, You’re smarter than I am, already.
Caroline gets out after a few months. I know it’s a few months because the visitors change clothes again. The mother, how kind, tells the news that I should get out too.
“No one should suffer, expect those who are corrupt,” The mother said.
Even after I got out of there, even after I found myself with my feet on the ground, and the government off my back as long as I ‘promised’ to not break any more laws for the rest of my life, I knew that that statement would apply for decades to come.
But that young girl, Caroline. How strong she was. She would follow her mother, yes she would. She would help make the world right again.