Photo Credits Seminole County Jails, they call this, In the Ghetto.
The court room door shut behind me, and there was but only one seat for the taking left (sigh). Of course it was in the first row of three, and right smack dab in the middle. I might as well have taken a seat next to the judge we were that close. All that separated us was plexiglass.
There was a lot rambling taking place under the other inmates breaths. You could tell many of them had taken seat in that room before, and probably would several times over. A lot of muttering about how it was the weekend, and who the F gets let out on the weekend? The judge he ain’t give a S&$# F&$#, about any of us. As if they had any better place to be. I found it some what humerous. Like he was taking up there precious time.
Thankfully I had regained my composure enough to stop from crying. I was an Ortiz with an (e) in a room of about five other Ortiz’s without. The (e) was unheard of in that part of the country. Ortiz was like Smith in the phone book here. It would always make my life so much easier upon retrieving accounts if they only heard Ortiz with an (e). They never did. I had a lot of people ask me if I was Mexican? What the heck, I was a white girl from the North. Don’t get me wrong I found great beauty in the Mexican population in Florida. I just was so far from it, I practically glowed in the dark, and might as well have been the poster child for Weird Al’s; “White and Nerdy.” My Spanish was a disgrace to say the least. I always had my friends who called me mama, it was a common word used down there. Even if you were not a mom, I never got it. They would say, “mama you a hot mess.” Well yes in this moment it rang true I was a “hot mess.” I was the minority among this group. I stuck out like a sore thumb.
We sat as the judge rifled through piles of file folders each one with a name, and a story. I sat there wondering what some the people who shared the room with me were in for. I tried to calm my mind any way I could.
The room for the most part seemed right as the judge went one by one through our records, it seemed no one was going home. It was us verses Florida State each time. A long while had passed, until it was “Lisa Marie Ortize” verses “The State of Florida.” My heart stopped. It did not stop in actuality, but it sure felt like it. After those words were spoken the judge said nothing else. I saw him cuff the tiny ball of his podium style microphone. He then kinda gestured towards the Public Defender, “isn’t this the girl who was intoxicated, and knocked on her neighbors door.” “There are no notes dictating she was a cause of trouble.” I felt like yelling “yes that is me!” I was not that dumb though. I sat quiet as my case resumed investigation. Just as I put my head down praying for my release, I was interrupted by the Public Defender with a paper in hand. It was stamped ROR, my writ for release. I had been realeased on my own recognizance, at the time I did not know what ROR meant. I just knew I was leaving. What felt like an eternity was only a couple days, yet the leave part instantly put me in a state of terror.
What waited me beyond those exit doors I did not know. I was in the town of Sanford Florida. I had only driven through on route to other destinations. It was some thirty miles from home. I knew it by reputation only. The news painted it with violence, guns, drugs, prostition, pedophile’s and the like. It was not a place I would want my worst enemy having to make a way through.
As we were escorted back to our cells, I was told to hang tight for a bit while my release papers were finalized. I thought to myself I could wait here all day, how about another night? For what was out there was terrorizing in thought.
I was able to place a call to my mom. She was frantic as she had talked to my husband trying to reason with him to come get me upon release. She said honey, “he is not coming for you, he knows your lack for money, phone, and whereabouts.” It was as of he was teaching me a great lesson, and found amusement in it all the while. That is what I gathered as she talked. She cried in distress for me. She was 3,200 miles away, and had nothing as a means to help. We both cried, and I said my goodbye. I had no idea when would be the next we would talk.
The door was opened, and it was now time for me to retrieve my belongings. I had to go though the the whole routine, go up to the counter in retrieval of only my clothes. I was then shut in a gray padded room to change. I would be leaving with a graphic T, skinny jeans, and my combat boots. I imagined it to be at least ninety eight degrees plus humidity. Perfect! Great shoes for a walk I thought. My shirt had dirt all over the back, and what looked like a tread print of sorts from the neck to shoulder. It had its own story to tell. I looked scraggly. I then proceeded to the window to get my personal belongings. Which was only my purse. It had not a cent in it, as my husband had taken my debit card away from me. My phone was lost the night of my arrest. So really just something else to carry.
The next step was my exit through to the main out doors. The guard walked by my side, and shut the door behind me. I wanted to stomp the door with my hands, “wait let me back in” I was petrified! I was immoblized by the unknown. As I stood there beside a guards booth, my eyes met that of the guard who manned the booth. He slid the window opened, and asked if I needed to make a phone call for my ride. As I knew I had no ride, I still thought maybe (foolish). So I said “you could call my husband.” He took down the number slid the window shut, and mouthed “give me a minute.”
The tears came with intensity, and I sobbed as I stood waiting. I was doomed. My life was getting ready for a change that none would expect. The guard came out of his booth, he had wet eyes when he relayed the news. “Your husband said, “no he will not be coming to get you today”.
Not in a million years if the hand was reversed would I have done this to him. Even I had plans for what was the end as we knew it, I would go get him and deal with the what was next after. I had known this man since the fourth grade, we fell in love at nineteen, then married at twenty. What was I missing? I was so angry, with my recent heart wrenching discoveries, who was he to do this to me?
I asked the guard if we were around any landmarks/stores? I also asked him how to get out of the maze we were in. He walked me through with only my memory to what would be the main road. If I took a right there would be a Super Wal-Mart shopping center down about five miles. I knew of it by car, but now it was to be known by foot. I thanked him kindly, and he wished he could have been of more help. I saw he was sincere too. There was no one that could help, I was alone. Very, very, very, alone. I put one foot in front of the other until my boots, and I finally stood outside the jail.
With fear, and anger fueling my feet I began my lonely walk. It was so freaking hot, and I felt lost not only in location but in heart. For this could not be my life!