December 11, 2005

Dear Cordy,

Thank your mom for that book she sent. It's really interesting. I never really thought about the Trail of Tears and all that the Cherokee people had to go through back then, but it really was interesting. Poignant was the word your mother used, and I think she was right. It figures the first time I'd cry in jail would be over a book. I had to tell my cellmate I had something in my eyes. He didn't believe me, but after I finished it, I lent it to him and this morning he suddenly had something in his eyes, too. Ha! I guess the dust is really bad here.

I'm sorry I never called you, but you know I only have five minutes a week, and I've been using them all on Jamie. At first it was a waste, because her mom or dad would answer the phone and hang up on me as soon as they figured out who it was, but for the past few weeks, they've actually been letting me talk to her! She seems to be doing pretty well. She's been talking about starting online courses next semester. She wants to finish her degree even if she can't even pee by herself. It's weird, because over the phone she sounds exactly the same, like nothing ever happened.

The last time I talked to her, she told me she was trying to work something out with the jail for the spring so that she and I can visit high schools and talk to the kids about drunk driving. They'd only let me out for a few hours, I guess, and I'd have to have an escort, but Jamie thinks that the kids seeing me in my orange jumpsuit and her in her wheelchair might have an effect. She thinks it might be poignant. I don't know, do you think it would be lame?

Speaking of my orange jumpsuit, I know every time you drive on the country roads and see a group of us jailbirds picking up trash, you look for me, because that's the kind of thing you'd do. But a few days ago, it really was me and I saw you driving by in Jamie's car (cool of her parents to let you take over payments on it, by the way). I waved, but you didn't see me.

The food here sucks, and when I'm not working, I watch a lot of TV and lift a lot of weights. Three times a week, I go to AA meetings. They're pretty much the same as the ones you took me to back before I got sentenced, only with more drug criminals and fewer trophy wives. It's really kind of nice, though… and one of the things I figured out was how lucky I was back right after the accident when you took me to my first meetings. I just passed my 60-day mark a couple weeks ago. And I know you didn't have to do any of that for me.

Anyway, I like your letters. Keep writing to me. Say hi to Shiva for me, and I hope you two are still doing okay.



"How's Travis doing?" Shiva asked, peering over Cordy's shoulder.

Cordy shrugged. "Same as he has been. Better than in college. He says hi." He offered Shiva the letter. "Want to read?"

Shiva shook his head. "No, that's okay. I'll read it later."

"Okay," Cordy said, folding up the letter and tossing it on the desk.

"So are you ready to go now?" Shiva asked, smiling a bit.

"Yes," Cordy agreed. "My parents will kill me if I don't make it home for dinner."

"No more school for a whole month." Shiva sighed happily, looking over at his boyfriend, who was staring back at Shiva with a crooked smile on his lips.

"I thought you liked school," he said simply, grabbing his keys. "You got the car loaded up?"

"Yes, and I like school but…" Shiva shrugged. "It will be nice to have a month off, is all. Making up a month of school right in the middle of the semester is hard."

"You sound like a normal college student." Cordy stopped at the door, turning to run his hand through Shiva's two-toned hair. "I don't know why you don't just let Lydia dye it all black like she's been wanting to."

Shiva smirked. "It won't be like this forever," he answered. "Eventually all the blond will be cut off."

"And then there will be no sign you were ever anything other than what you are," Cordy finished for him.

"Lord Shiva left me with my eyes," Shiva reminded him. "He turned my hair black to show I no longer have the curse of magic, but left the color of my eyes so that I will always remember my roots."

Cordy paused to stare at him a moment, then shrugged and tossed Shiva his keys. "Lock the door, will you?"

"And then can I drive?" Shiva asked as he turned to pull the door shut behind him.

"That depends," Cordy said thoughtfully. "Are you going to do it better than last time?"

"I wasn't that bad!" Shiva protested. "I'm getting better, anyway."

"Except for when you almost ran into the guardrail," Cordy pointed out. "Before that I always thought that your life flashing before your eyes was a figure of speech."

"What if I promised we'd make it to your parents' house in one piece?" Shiva suggested.

"That would help," Cordy agreed, grinning over at Shiva as they headed out of the building. "That would definitely help."

Thanks to all of my loyal readers of this story! I hope you liked it, even though it took a while. I'm getting settled at school now and will try to write more. Look forward to my next story!