Do You Take This Woman?



Do You Take This Woman?

“Will you marry me?” The woman asked. Her hands were slippery. She rubbed them up and down the coarse fabric of her shirt.

“What?” Beth groaned. She sat on a stool across from the woman. Tears smeared her makeup. Snot leaked from her nose. She wiped the mess off her face. She tried and failed to smile.

“I’ve got a ring,” the woman said. She dug into her shirt pocket and pulled out a small white band. “Made it myself. Toilet paper and spit. I dried it over the vent,” the woman explained. Her hand shook as she held it up for Beth to see.

Beth fell from the stool. Her knees hit concrete. She knew the cameras were watching, but she didn’t care. She crawled to the steel cage and stuck her left hand through the bars. She said “yes.” The sound shuddered out of her. A dying noise, like she was an animal that had been shot in the woods.

The woman slipped the paper ring on Beth’s finger. The clock in the hallway ticked.

They remained married for a little while longer. And then Beth escorted her prisoner to a small room with a black bed that looked like a comfortable crucifix.

The Good Lord and the state of Mississippi were done waiting.