05/17/2013 11:29 am ET

Love Behind Bars


“I love you.” They were words I had longed to hear from Justin for years, but when he finally spoke them, something held me back. Three layers of Plexiglass and armed guards, to be precise.

Justin and I had dated off and on for years, and some part of me always believed we would end up married. Our parents were close friends, and we’d grown up together. He had always been a troublemaker. In fact, that might be what drew me to him. I was quiet, studious, painfully shy; he was full of boisterous energy and crude jokes. I loved his pug nose, his fiery red hair, and his teasing smiles. But as his school detentions led to expulsions and, eventually, arrests for possession of weed and then burglaries, we fell out of touch. I was ambitious, and my sights were set on anywhere but Delaware. I couldn’t afford to have Justin drag me down. Maybe when got his act together, I told myself, we could finally have a real relationship.

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