Lynnie sat lifelessly in the quiet of her dingy apartment in front of the T.V. The volume button was broken, so there wasn’t any sound. But there were little captions of what was going on and being said, so she didn’t mind. She liked the silence and hearing herself breathe for a change anyway. She was relieved when Sister Mary Ellen found her this little furnished apartment and got donations from the Church for the rest, so any T.V. was a good T.V.
Like a fire alarm, the phone rang piercing the silence and frightening her for just a second. Not that a ringing phone should be frightening or an unusual event, but it was for Lynnie Wade. This was Lynnie’s first call in her own apartment, in over sixteen years.
Lynnie's mind wandered; today was her twenty-third day out of prison. That’s right, prison; not jail, not some half way house, but the “Big House.” The “Big House” for women. What an outdated expression, she thought. But a familiar one for Lynnie. Her mom always used it when she was talking about Johnnie Wade. Johnny Wade was Lynnie’s dad, or so her mom claimed. His name was on her birth certificate, but that was about as close as he ever got to being her dad.
Everyone referred to him as Johnny Wade, using both his names, because Lynnie’s uncle, her mom's brother, was also in the “Big House,” and his name was named Johnny too. But he was called Big Johnny on account of he weighed over 400 pounds. Lynnie knew she didn’t have a “real” dad, not like the other girls did, not like Mr. Cornelli, Susie’s dad. Susie was Lynnie’s best friend and on some days, her only friend. Mr. Cornelli was always doing stuff with his daughter. Susie got to go to the Father-Daughter Dance with her Blue Bird group and got to go the Father-Daughter Dinner Date that the First Baptist Church on Howell Street put together. Lynnie wished she had a real dad, almost any dad; any dad, not in prison, any dad but Johnny Wade. Her mom would make excuses for Johnny Wade when Lynnie had to miss daughter-dad stuff, talking about how tough life was for him and all. Lynnie hated Johnny Wade even before she ever met him. And then she met him; just one time at the Clinton Correctional Facility on Family Day. Lynnie hated her mom that day too.
But, life goes on. Lynnie managed. Lynnie even graduated from high school. A big first for the Wade family.
Now we all know that life happens whether anyone is paying attention or not, just as it did for Lynnie and then her daughter Rebecca. Big life changes occur with commitments, and Lynnie found just the right man to commit to. Jason was a charming jokester and good in the sack. For the first time in a long time, Lynnie was happy, really happy. Jason didn’t care who Rebecca’s real dad was. Jason was her dad. Lynnie knew that all daughters need a dad.
The phone rang again. Lynnie was irritated and wondered who in the hell had her number.
Grabbing the phone, she answered abruptly, “Hello?”
“Hello, is this Lynnie Wade?” excitedly asked the shrill voice on the other end.
“Yeah. Who the hell is this?”
“Lynnie, my name is June Stockton. I work for News 12 and we'd like to do a story on your early release from prison.”
Lynnie gulped and held her breath.
The voice on the other end continued, “We want to know how you feel knowing that Jason Myers will be executed in just four days for the sexual abuse perpetrated against your six year old daughter Rebecca Wade? And how you helped him to cover up that poor child’s gruesome murder,” she snuck that last line in real quick.
Still holding her breath, Lynnie calmly walked into the hall, where the phone was connected and ripped the cord right out from the wall. Then deeply exhaled, deciding she liked the silence and hearing herself breathe for a change anyway.