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My Favorite C.O.

Wanda Beriguette

My Favorite C.O.

Mean, shrewd, loud, aggressive and disrespectful were some of his qualities according to the average inmate. For me, the list was more like charming, handsome, intelligent, sweet, considerate and amazing lover. I saw him send women to solitary for just speaking to him louder than he would have liked so I understood their logic but to me, he was everything. He had a higher rank in his department, and I liked how he carried himself and he always smelled divine.

I could not wait until my release date so we could “go public.” He told me he loved me and would make sure I did not need anything once I was released. He snuck me in treats and CDs so I could listen to the latest music. He never allowed me to get in “trouble” during my entire sentence. He checked for me when he would come in for his shift. I felt protected and loved in a place designed to make you feel the complete opposite. He was my refuge from the physical hell I was in.

No direct contact with my kids. Not many visits except for my little sister and the occasional walk around the yard that allowed us a breath of fresh air within barbed wire fences that I heard could also send an electric shock through your body, but that part was never confirmed. I was there for a long enough time to understand that “human rights” only apply to people outside of incarceration. It is mind blowing to see the staff, aka other humans, walk in and completely ignore someone in distress, fear or just plain old dying right in front of them.

I did not get along as well with any of the other correction officers, but I did keep it cordial and never had any serious altercations, however, I did notice jealousy from female officers. If a male officer showed too much attention to a female inmate there would be tension and unnecessary aggressiveness from the female C.O.’s. This is how we defined who was dealing with whom outside of work.

My favorite C.O. did not really indulge in their cattiness. He was on the clock and had a job to do, except when it came to me. I finally got released and we went to dinner and a movie. It was exactly what I expected it to be, and the night ended exactly how I expected it to end. He was such a gentleman and promised me anything I wanted to be happy. My favorite C.O. told me we would spend the rest of our lives together. This went on for a few months.

It all seemed perfect until I saw his fiancé tag him on a picture online announcing their wedding. It was them perfectly dressed in matching outfits under an arch. Their comment section was flooded with congratulations and inquiring about the venue and so forth. I immediately started typing my response. I vented so hard and hit ‘send’. By the time I looked at his page one minute afterwards the comment was gone. I called his phone. He ignored the call. I sent him a direct message; he left me on read. I knew immediately he was going to take the cowardly route and just not say anything and he never did. No explanation, no apologies.

My favorite C.O. went on to live happily into the sunset and I just dealt with it because I immediately recognized how naïve I had been and took accountability for my part. Several months later I ran into another woman with a similar story about him. Two plus two added up, this was something he just does and is probably still doing. No one will ever do anything about it either, he’s powerful and he knows it.

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 

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