(June 2014 Secure Female Facility (SFF) Hazelton)

What I’ve learned is that FREEDOM is not about being unlocked and unwatched.

Freedom is a series of things enjoyed, despised, earned, given without restrictions, and so much more.

Cold, peeled mangoes sliced lengthwise or in fat cubes; juice springing freely over my tongue and slip sliding down my throat.

Arguing with someone I choose to be around and not fear being locked away while I am already locked up.

Peeing in a separate place from where I sleep and eat. Peeing alone as opposed to having someone on my right, left, and down the way from me. Ditto for pooping.

A very tiny sundress, with spaghetti straps and high, high strappy heels that click on the concrete as I walk my fast walk through the city.

The sound of the Metro approaching and the lady’s voice trapped in the box forever announcing, “Doors closing.”

Regular flavored Bubble Yum bubble gum bursting with so much sugar my teeth ache just remembering. Blowing bubbles inside of bubbles and the kids clapping and screaming, “More Auntie, more,” because I am so silly and can blow bubbles inside of bubbles, even though I am long past grown up.

Shrimp Tempura sushi from the Japanese place just off of DuPont Circle on 19th Street. Maguro Tuna over rice that melts on my tongue and stings from too much wasabi sauce.

Hugs from E that cover not only my body, but my soul.

Waking to the “beep. beep. beep.” Of my coffee maker announcing with its sound and smell that it is time to get up and drink my Café Du Monde coffee—all the way from New Orleans, but purchased cheaply at the Vietnamese grocery store in Falls Church Virginia.

Pho Ga. Cha Gio rolls. Vietnamese coffee. Pork grilled over noodles laced with fish sauce.

Red wine. Red wine. Red wine. Red wine. Red wine. Red wine. Red Wine.

Staring without reason or need to do otherwise at my books living their lives on my lovely bookshelves.

Long, endless walks through independently owned bookstores. Touching, stroking, and smelling the books. Lingering over beautifully designed covers, allowing all worldly cares to disappear.

My son’s voice. My son. It is not enough to say. Touching my son is freedom.

Fat brother showing up, unannounced demanding beer and food.

Baby brother’s lazy way of being that just eases everything and allows me to laugh without inhibition.

My niece’s voice. My niece. It is not enough to say. Touching my niece is freedom.

Short, extra dry full fat cappuccinos.
Baking in a real oven.
Laughter heard by those who love me.
Crying alone.
Singing aloud.
Freedom is a prayer without hope, because the prayer is already answered.

Amme Voz


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