The worst thing about prison, I think, is the loneliness. It's not the ritual beating of the new guy, or the favours system worked on money or blowjobs and sex, or that the guards are mostly total dicks. It's not even that the guy in my cell seems to hate me. Nope, it's definitely the loneliness. During the day, there's usually something to distract you, like getting to know who's friendly, who's worth knowing if you want something done, who to avoid, all that kinda thing on top of tasks and the routine they have set out here.
But at night? There's just a crushing emptiness as you realise again and again that the only way you'll get to see the guy you love for the next few years is through a sheet of Pyrex glass.
Tonight is the worst, though, knowing Kyle's in hospital and that I can't be there for him. I don't think it would make any difference knowing why he's there, to be honest.
"You gonna shut up any time soon, kid?" Aaron, my cell mate, asks irritably over the sound of me crying myself to sleep for the fifth night in a row.
"Sorry," I sob quietly, trying to be quieter about it. I'm not sure I can make myself stop any time soon, though. He sighs and rolls over, making his bunk squeak a little under his weight. A few minutes later, he climbs down and stands over me. I almost expect him to punch me or something, as he grabs my shoulder and rolls me over so I'm facing him.
Instead, he just looks at me, my face all slimy from the mix of tears and snot. He crouches down beside me and rests his elbows on the edge of my bed.
"You gonna tell me what's worth crying yourself to sleep over five nights straight, then?" he asks, his slate coloured eyes seeming almost welcoming for the first time since I've been here.
"Uhh..." the words catch in my throat, tangling with another sob as my face goes kinda red. He just waits. "M-my boyfriend," I stutter, not looking at him, worried that he might react badly. It'd be just my luck to be sharing a cell with a homophobe. He chuckles a little and I glance up at him.
"It gets easier; you just gotta stick it out."
"It'd probably be easier if I hadn't let him down," I mumble. It'd be easier if being here didn't make me wanna get so fucked up that I never came down from the high, too. It's bad enough knowing I let him down in the first place, but knowing that I wanna do it again - and would if I had the chance - is worse.
"How did you let him down?"
"I was nearly off the drugs," I sigh a little, "and then last week, there was nothing to stop me taking what was offered to me. And then I was caught with a wrap of coke and ended up in here." He nods, looking like he kind of understands.
"Well if he really cares, he'll forgive you sooner or later."
"I'm not expecting him to wait around for the next four years for me," I tell him miserably. He slaps me, his face a sudden mask of irritation at my attitude. I lift a hand to my cheek, not sure whether rubbing it makes the sting worse or not.
"Stop being so self pitying. Just get on with it and hope that he's willing to hold on." With that, he climbs back up to his bed and gets comfy. I stare at the wall, thinking over what he said. Kyle will wait if he cares enough, right?