Preparing a Visit
It wasn't long before the letters I received from my penpal weren't enough. My curiosity about death row was high and I wanted more! Every letter to him was filled with questions. No matter what the badman wrote back, I still wasn't satisfied.
I laid in bed at night, thinking about my penpal, wondering what he was doing. During the day, I frequently looked at the clock, wondering the same.
One day, the badman wrote that it was my penpal's time to amend his visiting list. My penpal wanted to know if I would be on his list. He knew I probably would never come to see him but, the badman wrote, it would make him feel good to have someone on his list. I thought, why not? And sent my information to him. About a month later, I received a letter from the prison saying I had been approved.
I truly had no intentions of visiting him. It never crossed my mind-- until I received the approval letter. Then it was all I could think of.
I wrote to my penpal but really meant the letter for the badman. I wanted to know all about visiting. How did it work? Was it safe? I had questions for him but also questioned myself. How would I get down there? What would my husband say? Visiting was not one of the no-nos he laid out to me when I first came up with this idea of writing a death row inmate. But yet, he probably thought it would never get this far.
What was I supposed to tell my family? There was no way I could be gone for any length of time and them not know. I spoke to my mom every day and visited just as much. While my brother never said another word to me about the day he was over and I told him about my penpal, I still wondered. Did he forget? Did he tell my dad, or our older brother, and no one was saying anything about it? I didn't know what to think. But I knew as the days went by, my curiosity ran deeper.
I didn't have internet access then so I was left to make phone calls. I called the airlines for information. What time does the plane leave? What time does it arrive? How far is it from the town I was going to be visiting? And then questions about the return trip. I called everyday, as if something was going to change.
I wrote the badman, asking him to call me. I had too many questions for a letter. And I wanted them answered now! I didn't have time to wait for the postman to bring me a letter.
After a few days, the badman called me. I told him my idea. I wanted to visit my penpal. At least, that's what I told him. In reality, I wanted to visit death row and that was the only way I knew how to do it.
I had begun reading and watching everything I could about prison life, death row, executions, etc. This was way beyond anything I could imagine! I needed to experience this for myself.
The badman helped me out with the arrangements. He told me the names of the motels in the area. He explained the routine. He even gave me the phone number to his sister in case something happened and I needed assistance.
The only thing the badman couldn't help me with was telling my husband what I was about to do. I mulled over it for weeks, running it through my mind. I had the whole conversation set in my mind when I chickened out and decided to make the arrangements and then tell him. And that's exactly what I did.