Dear Jane

2 August 1985

.....Dear Jane

.....I've been in here a year now and not heard from you at all. I miss you so much, why won't you come and visit me? I'm sure you must have forgiven me by now; you know I had to do what I did.
.....I haven't written to you before because they read and censor everything here. I just couldn't bear their prying eyes seeing my private words to you, love. Perhaps that's why you haven't written to me?
.....I'm going crazy with the need to see you, touch you, hear your voice, smell your perfume. You can't imagine what it's like in this place. It's hell. Because it is so overcrowded we have to be locked up most of the time. I spend much of the day stuck in this tiny, smelly cell thinking of you. If it wasn't for my cellmate, Barry, I think I would go insane. We have become very close friends - you have to, when you spend so much time with someone it's either that or become worst enemies.
.....I ache to be with you again and hold you close. You are everything to me; but you know that - I've proved it to you. I wouldn't have done what I did if I didn't love you so much. If only you would come and see me so I could explain it to you.
.....This place is so awful. The inmates are vile - there are all sorts of lowlife: thieves, rapists, murderers and worse. The wardens aren't much better: they are so brutal. I shouldn't be made to associate with their likes. I try to avoid them as much as possible and keep myself to myself. There's only Barry who's halfway decent. It's only the knowledge that one day I'll be able to be with you again that keeps me going. I reckon that with good behaviour I could be out in about fifteen years - and I can assure you that I am being very well behaved. I'm the very model of the perfect prisoner - I don't want to serve a day longer than I have to. I dream constantly of the day the gates close behind me and I'm on the way home to you. You will wait for me, won't you?
.....Something else I can't get out of my mind is the day that led to me being shut in here. Can you imagine the way I felt? To get home and find you in the arms of someone else - it was devastating. You didn't hear me enter the house, did you? No, you were too occupied. I don't know what prompted me not to announce myself when I heard the noises upstairs. Some instinct made me creep up the stairs to find you there - in OUR bed. With HIM. I could not believe it. He had always been such a good neighbour.
.....I cannot remember to this day how I came to have the knife in my hand. It's all a blank. All I know is that I went crazy. It was the savagery that shocked everybody. No one could believe that such a small knife could inflict so much damage.
.....I don't want to dwell on that day. You must know I had to do it. I have had a lot of time to think about it and I've come to the conclusion it wasn't your fault. He was always a smooth-talker and I can easily imagine him worming his way into your affections. I forgive you, love. Surely you can forgive me?
.....Thank heavens I have had Barry as company for the past year. I wish he wasn't leaving tomorrow - who knows what scum I will be sharing a cell with when he goes? But they are letting him out and good luck to him. I hope he never ends up in a place like this again - he's a good man. Barry and I have had little to pass the time but to talk and reminisce; there's not much else to do here. We must have discussed everything under the sun in this box of a cell: life in general, ourselves and how we came to be here. We know each other very well and I know I can trust Barry. Of course, I've talked endlessly about you. I think Barry knows you almost as well as I by now. He says you sound a very lovely woman and agrees with me that you could not be to blame for that day.
.....But you don't need me to tell you about Barry - you will have met him by now. He knows how loath I am to have my letters censored by the authorities here and it was his idea that if I wrote to you he would somehow smuggle the letter out when they release him. I told you he was a good man. More than this, he has agreed to persuade you to write to me. Even better, he has promised to come visit me and act as a sort of go-between, ferrying letters and messages between the pair of us. I am really touched by this; I don't think I deserve such friendship.
.....So you see, love, it's alright to write to me now. Hearing from you would mean so much and would help me through the years I have yet to spend in this terrible place. Maybe too, you will come to realise how truly sorry I am for what I did and you will find it in your heart to come and visit me as well. Oh, if only you would!
.....There is so much more I want to say to you but I will content myself for now in knowing that, because of Barry, you will read these few words and perhaps relinquish any bitterness you may feel towards me.
.....Please, please write soon.

.....Forever your loving husband.


5 March 1999

.....Dear Jane

.....How could you do it?

.....I knew something was wrong when Barry stopped visiting me. Even the few times that he did visit he was distant and restrained, but I put this down to him having bad memories of his own time inside and tried to be understanding. Gullible fool that I am!
.....He said he'd been to see you and that he thought given a little time he could convince you to write to me and maybe even come and see me. This dispelled any niggling little suspicions I might have had towards Barry's apparent discomfort in my presence.
.....Time went by, as it does even in prison, Barry's visits became less and less frequent until they eventually ceased altogether and still I heard nothing from you. By then, though, my release date was becoming more and more imminent and I had that to sustain me - that and the knowledge that soon I could be with you again and everything would be the way it once was.
.....Then the glorious day came. The doors clanged shut behind me and this time I was at the other side of them. I was free! How clean the air was, how wide the spaces. How much I was going to love you again.
.....Can you conceive how I felt when, after fifteen long, hard years in prison, I finally got home - our home - to find what I did? Can you really blame me for reacting as I did?
.....They say I will die in here, that this time life means life and I will never get out again. Surely you can understand I had to do it? Surely you can see? They also say I made a mess of Barry. I don't remember - it's all a red, bloody haze. Funnily enough, I still miss him. Nearly as much as I miss you.

.....Still your loving husband.

Copyright Scorpio Tales 1999. All rights reserved.

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