I tried to remain calm as the clock ticked closer to midnight. I wondered if this was how every bride felt the night before her wedding, or was it just the prison bride?
My siblings and I sat in the hallway of the hotel snorting with laughter. Just about every room on that first floor wing occupied a family member, new and old. I was so grateful they were all there to support Jacob and I with their unconditional love.
The lines outside the facility would begin forming at midnight, as they did every weekend. With several weddings taking place, it was bound to be worse. I wanted all the time I could get with my husband on our wedding day. With processing taking hours, I would need to be one of the first in line.
Around midnight my sister Cassie and I began to load her van with everything we would need the following morning.
Making one final stop to the room where my boys slept with their Aunt Peanut, I kissed them gently. I would see them in the morning.
My sister drove the fifteen miles to the castle that stood lit up like a city in the dark. There was only one other visitor parked before us.
We both looked at the barb wire, gun towers, and cement wall that was my wedding destination. Attica Correctional Facility, home of the deadliest prison riot. A massacre that shed so much blood it was likely still in the water.
It certainly wasn’t the beach, or country setting I had always dreamed of. But, behind those walls lay a man, locked in a cell barely larger than he, who exceeded all my dreams. I wondered if he was sleeping. What was he thinking? I imagined he had everything out, ironed, and ready to go. Probably asking the same questions I was.
I whispered, hoping the wind would carry my message to him, “I’m here. I can’t wait to marry you today. I love you.”
I closed my eyes, dimming the lights that filled the parking lot. I pulled the blanket to my chin, curling up in the passenger seat to sleep, though I wouldn’t get much.