It was obvious Callie didn't belong there. She sat with her ankles crossed and her handbag, which matched her navy flats, resting underneath her slender hands. Her fingers, nails neat and short with a French manicure, lazily looped and unlooped the strap as she waited. If she was nervous among this motley crew- graphic tattoos, studs protruding from unusual places, she didn't appear it.
They had all waited through a bond hearing that was delayed an hour-and-a-half. Now that the proceedings were over, they waited again for processing. Some had left, opting to return in a couple of hours at the guard's recommendation. Seeing no reason to drive home, just to turn around and come back, Callie parked herself in a green plastic chair that looked like it had been left in the sun too long.
The first call had come last night. "Irene's been arrested again, I don't know what to do."
Irene, a name which ironically meant peace, had been in and out of trouble since she was a teen. Callie's husband was youth pastor then and the two of them had been embroiled in that family's drama ever since. When the call came, they slowly got to their knees and prayed again for the young woman and her family.
The second call came this morning. "The hearing is this afternoon and I can't get off work."
Callie's husband had a funeral to perform, so she volunteered to go alone. Now she found herself in the lobby of the county jail with the more seasoned side of humanity, waiting for what, she wasn't sure. Irene was sentenced to time served, so there was nothing financial to be done. But Callie didn't know what other aspects there were to 'processing' and the guards weren't very forthcoming. So she sat. And prayed. Time passed.
A woman in her mid-forties plopped down next to her. The patterns in her skirt and blouse were slightly off kilter, like she'd dressed in a hurry.
"Another two hours, do you believe it?"
"Another two hours," Callie said. "They said two hours almost two hours ago."
"Yeah, they never explain it right. It's an hour or two to get the paperwork from the courthouse and then another two or so for processing."
Callie's heart fell. "I've been here practically all day," she said. "Oh well, a little longer won't kill me."
"Yeah, you say that the first time. But once you hit round four, you hate every minute. I'm telling that boy it's the last time. No more, I'm finished with him."
"Yeah. You too?"
"Oh, it's not my child. One of the members of my husband's church, it's her daughter."
"You came down here and it's not your kid. What church?"
"Grace Fellowship on Bonneville."
The woman turned her attention to a magazine on the floor that belied it's age with a picture of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston cuddling. "It's worse than a doctor's office," she muttered, picking it up and leafing through it.
So she sat. And prayed. The lobby slowly filled with people Callie recognized from the hearing. Detainees trickled out, paperwork in hand, sour expressions on their faces. Irene drifted past. Callie got her attention as she hedged for the door.
"Did Mom send you?"
"She asked me to come. My car's outside."
"Whatever, my boyfriend's on the way."
"Can we talk a minute? I don't mind waiting with you."
"I have nothing to say to you," she said, tossing a cigarette into her mouth and pushing through the door.
Callie sank back into her chair. "Why was I waiting? I could have been home hours ago."
Sunday morning, she stood with her husband praying for those who came forward. A woman in her mid-forties walked down the aisle with a boy in his early twenties, the two were crying and holding hands. When they came to Callie's husband for prayer, the boy fruitlessly patted at his mohawk in an attempt to make it more presentable. The woman sparked her interest. She'd seen her somewhere. It was the woman from the jail now standing with the four time loser she'd threatened to cut off.
"The fruit of the spirit ... patience. That's why I was waiting," Callie murmured to herself. Then out of the corner of her eye, she saw Irene's mother sidle up to the altar and get on her knees. Peace filled Callie as she knelt down beside her to pray, once more, for Irene.
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