The Prison Gift Shop

Tips for surviving your 1st prison visit.

  •  Do NOT ask your mom if you can have one of those balloons she was up playing with all night. Even though you helped her tie them, she is pretty weird up giving you one.
  •  Don’t be intimidated by the metal detectors.They are actually unbelievably cool. It’s like going through a castle door, into a new and foreign land.Sometimes a beeping sound may ensue as you pass through and the guards pull out magic wands. You are given a tremendous amount of attention if this happens.If it doesn’t happen for you today, wait patiently. Eventually everyone gets a turn.
  •  Stick close to your siblings. You are going to need each other.
  •   Find a deck of playing cards. They are there someplace. Usually located close to the guy sitting behind the huge desk that towers over everyone. They are typically on a table with board games like checkers and battleship and whatnot. Once cards are located do not share them. Hide in a corner and teach yourself how to build the most intricately designed and structurally sound card houses ever. This skill is especially helpful as you begin to build those impenetrable walls around your heart, mind and soul for future protection.
  •   Never give any indication that you are bored. It invites adult interaction and attention. Busy, busy, busy! Happy, happy, happy!
  • Don’t interrupt your parents when they are hugging and whatnot. They miss each other a lot and need this quality time together. You are basically just along for the ride.
  •  Do find the children’s playroom! The walls are painted a horrendously putrid yellow but there is a pretty cool painting of a train with different animals in all of the freight cars. Sometimes the man who created the painting will come in and work on fixing different parts of the train. He’s very nice and has a sad smile.
  •  ALWAYS be extra cautious of anyone who is too nice.
  •  There are several  books with missing and torn pages in the playroom and at least a half dozen filthy blocks that can provide up to 3 minutes of entertainment. No dolls or anything like that but a few hot wheels cars. Usually there are several coloring books featuring Jesus and a couple of broken crayons. These coloring books may seems boring at first but try not to judge them too harshly. They will provide you with hours worth of entertainment as you navigate through the despair that is your weekend. They will also introduce you to beginning stirrings of thoughts on where God may in fact be in this entire situation
  • Try not to focus on the fact that you actually do miss your dad and it would be cool if he wasn’t in this place. Ignore the little warning bells in your head the keep insisting you might be better off without him.
  •  NEVER bring up thoughts you may have about how much all of this sucks and any feelings of sadness or being uncomfortable. Mom is depressed enough.
  •  Try not to hate your mom. She’s a victim too, she just doesn’t know it and cannot possibly process it. It isn’t her fault.
  •  Last stop? The gift shop! There are numerous drawings and paintings and a variety of beautiful handmade items for sale. Try not to look into the eyes of the lady behind the counter. Something about her gaze is unnerving. She looks unbelievably sad for you. Somehow, even without words, you know that what you see in her eyes is pity and you instinctively know it is directed towards you.
  • Ignore her and her judgement. You have to become adaptable enough to find beauty and hope where ever you can if you are going to survive this wondrous thing called childhood. Even if it is the pedophile’s gift shop.

 

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