Three years ago, I had landed in prison for vehicular manslaughter. Today, I stood on the frigid sidewalk outside the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. For a fleeting moment, I wished I were locked up again. Was it wrong to crave the predictability of my past? The day Tyler lost his life, I’d lost a lot, too. At least I’d know how to survive when I’d been Tyler’s hostage or a prisoner of the state. Today, I was stepping into a new world full of possibilities, and it scared the hell out of me.
My teeth chattered while the wind whistled across the blank slate of freshly fallen snow. With one hundred and eighty-six dollars to my name, and my only outfit a prison-gifted pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved T-shirt, I was lacking in everything except hope.
The sound of the horn hit me before the vehicle could be seen, but the minute the blue truck did a donut in front of me, my life became brighter. The girls had arrived. In seconds, the truck was turned off, and Mickey and Holly were wrapped around me. Their loving arms reinforced my desire to push forward despite my dreadful circumstances. I had never been so grateful to see their goofy grins and feel their warm embrace.
“Shit, Megan, is that all they gave you to wear?” Mickey ran her hands up and down my near-frozen arms. She pulled the too-big T-shirt up to cover my exposed shoulder.
“I’m no longer their problem.” For the first time in a long time, I was free. Free to choose, free to live, free to love and be loved. In all my years, I’d never been free or loved.
“Put this on.” Holly took off her jacket and draped it over my shoulders. Her warmth seeped into me like hot syrup on pancakes.
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