An Hour Flies By
At first neither one of them knew what to say. Kitty was afraid to look directly into his eyes so she studied the prison uniform. And looked at his hands. Fidgeting on the table. They looked rough and callused as if he’d been working in the fields outside, but she thought that must not be possible. She was afraid to ask what he did all day. After all this time, all the thinking and imagining and wondering, this was not what she had thought it would be like when she finally met a member of her family again. Finally she broke the silence.
“What happened to your leg?” she asked quietly.
“Oh, that,” he said, looking down as if he could see his leg through the table. “It’s my ankle.” He still had the Kentucky accent Kitty remembered. Hearing his voice brought back a flood of memory, and she suddenly felt overwhelmed and took her brother Morgan’s rough hands in hers, whispered his name loud enough for him to hear, and squeezed tight for a moment before she let go. She wasn’t sure if touching was allowed but the guard stood mute by the far wall.
Her brother smiled then, and they began to talk freely, telling of their lives and their troubles and their memories. The hour they were allowed went by so fast that the guard had to remind them it was up.
Kitty and her brother stood, he on one side of the table, she on the other.
“I’ll write,” she said. “And I’ll come back to see you again.”
“Thanks,” he said. “Thanks for coming. Maybe I’ll get parole. It could happen. They’s pretty crowded here. Anything’s possible I guess.”
“You be good,” she said.
“You too,” he answered.
The guard led him away, shuffling, favoring his bad ankle. At the door he turned and smiled at her and waved. The guard shoved him out the door. Kitty watched until they disappeared from sight, feeling overwhelmed at the moment, at her sense of finding and losing him all at the same time.
This feeling faded as she left the huge complex with its stone face and its impenetrable walls. She began to feel lighter, more hopeful about finding the rest of her family. This was only the beginning of her search. Back at the motel she would call Cal. She would tell him how she felt, how the day had gone, how she now felt she could move on with her life. She would file for a divorce. She and Cal would start looking for their own place after the New Year. He would tell her how things had gone for him in court. They would discuss how their two families would mesh together. They would face whatever was to come. Face it together.
Things seemed to be happening fast now, but then Kitty had spent seventeen years in hibernation, waiting for her moment. Now it was time to open her wings and take off. She wondered what Alva would say.