I’ve got the prison thing down pat. I can get by in here. I’m not ready to die out there.
—Kayla, spring of 2013
Eventually, some friends of Kayla’s do put up the $500 to get her out, and we return to a stasis of daily unpredictability. I check my phone compulsively, always anticipating word of a new arrest. The winter wears on, and I offer Kayla limp, token gestures of concern. I ask around about jobs at local restaurants, pick up some papers for her at the methadone clinic, say, “You can do it!” As I say this, I’m not exactly sure what “it” means.
We meet for lunch in late March, three months since she was last in jail, five months until the birth of her baby. Kayla moves and speaks—when she speaks—with an undercurrent ...