unlocked: 100 / thanks for the rainbow

Written March 20th, 2015, from the California Institute for Women.

The more I pull on this taffy-day, the longer it stretches.

The hard concrete bench stabs, the sun punishes, and I sit in exile for being injured. I am not entitled to good health or the choice to preserve it. I am a prisoner, worth nothing.

He questions my tears, but I remain silent, wearing my nothingness like he wears his badge.

In response, he activates a water mist. Rainbows burst free, crowning us in magic, fogging his uniform. He smiles in contagious delight.

Caught in the compassionate confetti of his daylight– I am refueled by this day’s tangy sweetness.


After our first brief conversation, Mr. Quinones told me that I was dignified and kind, and that he hoped I left prison with those traits in tact. The day of the rainbows, he helped make sure I would. I am grateful for the gift of hope. Unfortunately, the closest thing to a thank you he ever got from me was a badly-grilled prison patty melt. I made it myself! … I know, the poor man deserved nothing of the sort.

One day I’ll write about the C.O.’s and girls I spent the most amount of time with, rather than the ones I only knew in passing, but for now I’ll just keep posting the things I wrote from inside.

I wonder if you were as curious about my daily life as I was curious about yours?


  1. Hooray for rainbows. I thought about you every day. I apologize that I didn’t communicate it. I’m glad he saw your kindness. He is one of the good ones. Love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think times of trouble remind us that we have the option to take life in sips, rather than dunk ourselves in. We can live moment by moment, if we want to, or need to… and I needed to. 🙂 Thank you for reading, Paul. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your life is fascinating! I love-loved your letters. They were always filled with adventures and color and people. 🙂 I think maybe it’s human nature to be interested in the life we don’t have. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! True, I think after “loving”, “curious” would be the next word I’d used to describe my readers. Maybe “Open hearts and minds” would describe it all. I guess I just didn’t know how silly detailed y’all wanted me to get. You know how I am– distracted by every rainbow! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I think as detailed as you feel like writing would be the right answer. We love to go on all kinds of journeys through your words, complicated ones and simple ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Not so much curious as concerned…we still are. But not so much for you as for us — what would we do without our Rarasaur?

    We might even be forced to invent you to save us from ourselves…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You definitely have a book in you. At least one if not a million. I wondered about you all of the time and what your life was like. I am so glad you are out now. So very glad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dignity
    You not only emerged with those qualities intact, but also with the insightfulness of knowing how those two qualities can get you through anything. It’s an example that benefits everyone who reads you 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’ve obviously never tasted my cooking. 😀 He seemed appreciative, but of course, I’ve found that people who are full of gratitude apply it to everything. Plus, I made one for him and one for Guyson, who was easily the funniest COs I met, so that lightened the mood too. They ate it. I guess that counts for something. 😀


  5. Curious? Hmm does that cover it? Is that the right word when your favorite imaginary friend and dinosaur has entered a world you know nothing about? Is that the word when wonderful letters come full of stories that are so clearly only part of the story? Is that the word when you want to help and don’t know how? Curious? I’m not sure that covers it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rainbows are lovely. I am curious. What was it like to work a fire line and why is there and shop where you have to buy things like toothpaste? Like why is that not just provided as a matter of course? That whole system mystifies me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The system is a lot mystifying. Toothpaste is provided if you are “indigent” (no money on your books, or as the girls call it, a broke b*tch), but you can’t be working because that pays. I made 0.15 an hour, for instance. Of course 55% of that was credited toward my restitution so I only got almost $0.07 per hour. I wasn’t a Fire Camp girl, because I wasn’t send to the wildland fire lines. I was a Firehouse girl, so mostly we dealt with EMT such. I only “faced” one fire, and it was pretty mellow, relatively speaking… but it was awesome. Firefighting is a fabulously wonderfully amazing field. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I am writing, but I don’t really know what it is. A memoir, perhaps…. I just don’t really like telling the girls’ stories. The COs are fair game, really, but the girls… they deserve to tell their own. Unfortunately, the stories only really make sense in the context of who they are.

          For now, I’m just writing. I figure I’ll sort it out later? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Three cheers for Mr. Quinones. I’m so glad he made rainbows for you. May his simple act of kindness be returned to him in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Noelle. Kindness is the source of most beauty and joy, and usually, it’s very simple. There’s a wonderful depth to simple things that I’ve always loved. 🙂



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