I walked into the Suffolk County Jail, and went directly to the counter.
"I'm here to visit Jerome Goodale."
The correctional officer handed me a form, "Fill this out."
I remembered the setting all to well.
I looked around the lobby and found a seat.
I read the form and answered the questions.
Have you ever been arrested?
"Yes," I wrote.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
What is your relationship to the inmate?
I wasn't sure what to write. Surrogate mother? Street worker? Employer?
I wrote "employer."
I brought the finished form back to the correctional officer.
He said, "I need identification."
I gave him my driver's license.
He looked at it.
"Take a seat Ms. Wright."
I returned to my seat.
The lobby began to fill with young black and Latino men and women.
The men dropped off money orders for the jail's canteen.
On the way to the counter, they shook the hands of the dudes they knew.
The women waited to see their boyfriends.
And I thought about G-Man.
The correctional officer called my name.
I walked toward the counter.
"How long ago was it when you were convicted?"
"Over ten years ago," I said.
"Well next time you visit," he said, with a lot of attitude, "you need to put the year on the form."
He gave me a key, "Locker nine. Take off all your jewelry, any hair accessories, and your belt." I put my belongings in the locker. A line began to form. I went through the metal detector and a guard stamped my hand, like they do at amusement parks. Another guard behind a glass window yelled through a speaker, "Put your hand under the light." I held my hand under a fluorescent light.
I took an elevator to the third floor; then walked down a long hall with white walls to a small room with a stool sitting next to a thick plexiglass window. The window had an opening that looked like an intercom.
I sat down.
The door on the other side of the plexiglass opened.
It was G-Man.
We both smiled.
He sat down on his stool.
"Man, T," he said.
I didn't respond.
He went right into what happened.
I wondered if he was lying to me.
After he explained what happened, he adamantly admitted, "Those guns wasn't mine, T."
I believed him until he gives me a reason not to.