Hello… I’m Out Now

H____ called me last week, to report most happily that she’s been released from prison, found a job and still aspires to start her own catering business.

We only spoke a couple of minutes, long enough for me to learn that she is working at a quick service restaurant fairly close to my house, and then the call was abruptly cut off.  Has she gotten in trouble at work just for calling me?  Is this her own phone or a borrowed one?

I texted back to the number and suggested calling me when her shift ended, and she replied that she would do that.  But another call never came.  This was Wed. Jan. 18th.

Be patient, I told myself.  It must be hard adjusting to being freed from incarceration, and rather intimidating to reach out to me for help.

The following Monday I went over the the QSR where she said she works, a little before 5:00 when she had said her regular shift ended, but alas she was off that day.  Another employee described herself as “H____’s friend” and gave me her schedule for the rest of the week.

So back I went on Thursday, again a little before quitting time, and halfway through placing my order with a very pleasant young woman who’s nametag identified her as H_____, I blurted out rather awkwardly, “By the way, I’m David.”  After a short moment of looking like a deer caught in the headlights, she gathered herself.  “David Bass!?  Omigosh!  I’m so excited to meet you.”

And then explained that she needed to head to the bus stop to get back to a halfway-type house where she is living temporarily, because there is a house meeting tonight and she is trying really hard to do all the right things.

So I walked her to the bus stop, chatted as casually as I know how (which is NOT AT ALL!) to carry on a conversation with someone who has just been released from prison – and I know none the details.  She mentioned her desire to start a catering business, maybe someday own her own restaurant, how she got interested in food preparation and cooking, and did not come across in the least as having a chip on her shoulder about her incarceration.  I was expecting to see a woman holding a grudge against the world.  Instead I met someone cheerfully going about her business.

We agreed to meet the following morning before her work shift for coffee and further discussion.  More on that in the next post.

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