It was now the beginning of October and Mike had been in HMP Bristol for his first month of the sentence and he knew it was not going to be a pleasant situation and he was already beginning to see how bleak things were going to be for him. He just felt so alone. He could cope with his depression but the loneliness was killing him. He had no body to talk to very much. He got on with his cellmates Phil and Andy but apart from those none of his immediate family had been to visit him and that at the heart upset him. He had always thought he was well liked; and was a popular man but with no visits and his darkness he began to doubt his popularity very much.
The prison only accommodated for adult males and young offenders, being a cat B prison so the majority of prisoners stays there were normally 1 year or less. As well as this the prison put in place emphasis on supporting the needs of the prisoners on their arrival and in their subsequent preparation for release. They dealt with needs such as housing, debt advice and maintaining family contact and also were there to supply help with employment, training and activity places and there are also interventions for the support of health, mental health and addressing substance misuse.
The prison would not promise a cure for Mike’s depression but if he wanted the advice and support for his mental health, it was there for him to approach when he was ready and this was definitely something, which he felt he wanted and needed to do. He would be so much happier if he could live no longer with his mental health issue, depression will always be a part of mental health, even if many people never thought of it as being such and Mike could easily be happy again, this would be in his hands.
Mike was to have his hopes lifted when the prison guard opened his cell door and said that it was visiting hours. Mike never bothered about visiting hours due to the fact that nobody ever visited him but today might be different. He was a little nervous but excited to know who the contact from the outside world would be.
“There is a lady in the visiting room for you. I think her name was Elaine”.
“Elaine? I wonder why after this time she has come to see me”, replied Mike. He was genuinely confused as Elaine had made it quite clear that she never wanted to see him again so why was she here now? However, part of him was excited by this news but he was not going to get carried away in the moment.
Mike walked to the visiting room with the guard in tow. He would allow them to talk but he would be standing at a distance to ensure nothing damaging took place, which might affect Mike’s prison term.
Elaine was sat at a table looking as lovely as she always had. Mike’s heart skipped a beat but seeing her face again brought everything back to him what he had done to her and why he was here.
He sat down and greeted her. “Hello, Elaine, this is a surprise. I never get visitors so never leave my cell apart from for activities and counselling”, Mike was babbling but Elaine soon quietened him down.
“Hello, Mike. It is interesting to see you again”.
’Interesting?’ what did that mean?
Elaine noticed a change in Mike already. Prison life was not treating him well. Within the month she could see he was starting to lose weight and where once he just had stubble he now had a beard growing, which Elaine found interesting as she was not sure if it suited him or not. The beard she realised was showing Mike’s age as there were flecks of grey within in it but these were all small thoughts. The main thing she noticed about Mike was that he had changed, he was not coming across as himself and she knew that he must be having his depression moments because she did not envy him having to stay in this cold, uninviting place.
Elaine had a couple of purposes for visiting Mike in prison and the first was not what she wanted to see him for and the second was because she did want to talk to him. She was finally going to allow herself to give him time to talk to her.
“I know I have kept my distance since; well you know when but I was violated, scared and hated you and loved you at the same time. I have so wanted to see you but you can understand why I could not make myself come and see you.
I know you got my letters about the rape charge. I really did not want to do it but you pushed me so far over the limit it had to be done. The other hardest part of my two decisions is our divorce. This is why I have come to see you as I need some papers signed to allow the divorce to go through.”
“Of course I will”, replied Mike “but I do so wish we could make it up to each other. I was not surprised but still shocked when I got the letter telling me you wanted the divorce but on the same letter I get a handwritten note from you charging me for rape. I understand your decisions but I really cannot bear to lose you”.
“You lost me that day in May when you raped me. You do not know how much I love and miss you but you know I cannot trust you again. What if I took you back and you did it again?”
“I know I lost you and my dark thoughts were made worse by that. That is why I took the overdose because I could not imagine life without you. I could not and will not bring to mind the thoughts of some other man kissing and holding you like I have experienced with you and that hurts too…everything hurts without you Elaine.” Mike began to cry and Elaine hated to see Mike cry because it just made him look pathetic and weak.
Elaine got up from her chair and walked over to the guard and asked him a question. “Can I give Mike one last hug?”
The guard did not know what to say but simply said “yes but only quickly”.
Elaine returned to where Mike was sitting and said “you do not take this as me taking you back but purely because I do still care for you” and with that she gave him a warm hug. She had to secretly admit that she was pleased to be in his arms again; it felt nice to be close to him again. She observed that the man in front of her; her husband was still her Mike but he felt so much thinner and had lost that sweet Mike smell. There was however still a spark in her heart for him but she was not going to let herself get involved with him again.
“My Elaine, my sweet and dearest Elaine. Why did I hurt you? And how can I let you walk out of my life?” Mike whispered into her hair as the hug went on that little bit too long. He was enjoying having Elaine back in his arms.
Elaine could not answer that question as she still had no idea why that night Mike had hurt her but he had let her walk out of his life by his own fault. She might forgive him for the rape but the fact that after finishing the act, he had simply turned over and fell asleep and made himself look a wimp and a coward, how could she ever forget that? That would be an image that was permanently etched in her mind.
“I will never understand why you did what you did to me. Our lovemaking was always natural before that night. It needed no help and we were both happy with that so I was confused as to why you restrained me with your belt. How can I ever forget that moment? More so how can I ever forget that you finished the act and then simply turned over and fell asleep? That was one of the most cowardice things you could have done and that is when you truly lost me and can you blame me? You inflicted the pain that a wife should never have to accept from her husband.”
“I really do not know why I restrained you. I have thought about it and it was not just the drink, something snapped inside me and yes I hold my hands up and admit I was very cowardly when I finished, turned over and fell asleep as if nothing happened. I knew as soon as I woke and found a cold and empty bed what I had done. I know I can say this a million times but I am truly sorry and I miss having you in my life so much.”
Elaine did not know what to say. Mike was crying again. Her Mike was crying and she had never liked that side of a relationship, seeing your soul mate cry but she knew they were genuine tears of sorrow. However, she did not feel that she could kiss them away as she might once have done in this situation.
“Mike, I really wish we could turn back the clock and that things had been different but we cannot deny what happened did and I do miss you so much too but things have changed. I do not know if I could ever trust you again.
Mike out of the blue stroked Elaine’s cheek. “Elaine. My, dearest, Elaine.” She liked the touch from Mike and knew from it he still loved her but a lot of water had gone under the bridge with their relationship so imagine her surprise, shock or whatever the feeling was when Mike started to kiss her. It was not a simple peck on the cheek but a full kiss on the lips. Elaine was scared because this is how the rape had started and she managed to pull herself away. She managed to do this before the guard watching them could intervene.
“I really do not think that is appropriate do you?” commented Elaine before saying “I have to go. I only came with the divorce papers to be signed and ended up way past the time that should have taken.”
“Will I see you again?”
“I cannot answer that. I am confused even more especially about that kiss that just happened”.
“Can I ask you one more question? Can you promise me that you will think about whether the divorce is really what you want?”
Elaine was not expecting that and so did not answer and simply gave Mike another hug to say farewell before leaving the prison.
Mike was led back to his cell. He was pleased that he had seen Elaine again and held a hope that they would be together again. He sat in his cell, locked up and alone again and wanted the feeling of happiness to never leave him but what would Elaine think of the meeting?
Elaine on the other hand stood outside the prison and wept, everything was such a mess and seeing Mike had made things worse for her and she really had no idea as to the way out of the hurt she was feeling. She thought she would be able to see Mike without feeling emotional about him but she had, what was she to do?