As I pulled into the prison carpark yesterday, I recalled how scared I was the first time I visited.
Eight years later, it’s the most normal abnormal thing in the world.
But still, there are moments that shake my complacency …
The little girl in a pink dress, playing hopscotch beside the barbed wire fence, pausing to wave and shout “Bye Daddy” as she glimpses her father being taken back to his cell.
The children in their Sunday best, hair carefully groomed, waiting to see their mothers for a few precious hours.
A visitor cooing as a prison guard shows her snapshots of her baby.
A couple embracing and the woman calling over her shoulder as she returns to her cell: “See you in court on Thursday! I love you!”
So touching, so terrible.
I drive home feeling achingly sad. Yet again.
Visiting prison no longer scares me. But the way I feel afterwards is starting to.