A Night In A Jail Cell

Look Across the Water

A Night In A Jail Cell

My sister Liz told me about a dream she had last night. She told me the cops showed up to our door, said to her, “You’re comin’ with us,” and handcuffed her. They put her in the cruiser, and off they went.

On the ride over, she told me she had asked one of the cops what his astrological sign was.

“I’m a Pisces,” he told her.

“Oh,” she said. “Kurt Cobain was a Pisces.”

As she’s telling me this dream, I’m laughing a little to myself. Even if this wasn’t a dream and had actually happened, Liz would still ask the cop this question. Cause, well – she’s Liz. A lover of astrology, a humbling conversationalist, a gifted writer and artist of all kinds. I’ve always thought that she may be the reincarnated female version of Kurt Cobain himself. Perhaps some mysteries are better left unsolved.

She continues on with her story. Once they finally arrived at the jail, the cops took the handcuffs off of her, and put her in her cell.

“You’re friends already dropped off your bail money, but you’ll have to wait here until the bail clerk gets here,” the cop said. “He should be here around 2:30 a.m.” She told me that at the time he told her this, it was 12:30 a.m.

“Great,” she thought to herself. “Seems as though I’m breaking one of my own rules tonight- waiting around for men.”

But still, she waited. And waited. And looked at her surroundings. Four walls of cold concrete confining her from her freedom, a flat slab of stone for her to sit on, and a steel toilet for restroom use.

She told me about this place as if it were a hell she had never seen before. “Geeze, I wish I had a cigarette right now – I’m bored – I’m scared – I need a damn smoke”, she told me she had thought to herself, over and over again.

And then, she told me this. She looked around the cell once more, and told me that Amy Winehouse’s song “Valerie” suddenly came into her head. She started to sing it.

“Well sometimes I go out by myself, and I look across the water…

And I think of all the things, what you’re doing,

And in my head I paint a picture…”

She told me how incredible the acoustics were in the cell…as if her voice were echoing up to the heavens where Winehouse has been resting for almost seven years now.

“And that’s where the dream ended, Em,” she told me, as she took a sip of her coffee. With an amused look on her face, she remarked with a crooked expression, “What was it all supposed to mean?”

I gave a slight shrug, and I told her with a quiet smile,

“…Amy was telling you… to ‘look across the water’… and that it was going to be okay.”

Musicians call to us in many ways. In times of feeling lost, lyrics of musicians come to us, and revive us back to life. Back to focus. Back to a clearer mind.

Music gives us the strength to get us out of our bed, and put our feet on the floor. It gives us comfort in a jail cell. It gives us the courage to not feel so ashamed. It gives us the power to forgive ourselves – and to be okay.

Music saves us. In some ways we can’t always explain – but can feel.

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Emma Keefe
See all posts by Emma Keefe