The Pink House

Trish MacEnulty

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From the Journal of Nicole Parks

 

I promised Lolly that I would write the story of my time in prison. She said I should call it a memoir, so here it is. Some of it is from my journals, and some of it I remember though there is plenty I have forgotten, thank you very much. But what I can’t forget is Lolly Johanssen and what she taught us in her classes. Lolly inspired me to be a writer. Some people go to prison and end up finding God. Lolly helped me to find me.

I was in prison for possession of narcotics and for carrying a concealed weapon—an unregistered firearm at that. But what you need to know about me is that I am not, nor have I ever been, a dope fiend. I have never done any drugs, have never stuck any drug-type substance up my nose or in my arm, and have never even smoked a blunt. To tell you the truth, I pity addicts because their lives do not belong to them. They belong to the drug. I should know because even though I never touched drugs or smoked a nasty cigarette in my life, I had my own addiction: to a man. A smooth as melted chocolate, sweet-between-the-sheets man named Antwan. And that’s how I wound up in this place – this prison with its pink painted buildings up in the middle of Nowhere, North Florida. Sometimes we joke that it’s a grand palace, and we’re all a bunch of ladies in waiting, waiting, waiting.

In some ways prison is just like any place else; there’s a game to it. You can be all cool and rebellious and you can do every single day of your time and then some if they can figure out more charges to put on you. I have seen that happen to many a stupid-ass woman. They sneer at the C.O.s and refuse to do their work and get written up and locked down every day. They know they are the shit. I decided right away that wasn’t the way I wanted to play the game, and I got put into a different category. See, even those people who run the prison are willing to cut you a little bit of slack, well not exactly cut you slack.

The Pink House Description:

Jen Johanssen is a former porn actor trying to fit into the world of academia. Her sister, Lolly Johanssen, is a cancer survivor. Nicole Parks is in prison for loving the wrong guy. And Sonya Yakowski, also in prison, is a member of a family of traveling criminals, desperately missing her young son.

The lives of these four women converge in a Florida prison, where Jen and Lolly have joined forces to put on a grant-funded drama production. Despite their remarkably divergent histories, these women come together in unexpected ways, each beginning to confront and forgive her own past.

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