Mom called me up, sounding on the verge of tears. She then handed the phone to dad so he could tell me what was going on. Yeah, that's not a good sign.
It seems my brother in law hadn't told mom and dad quite everything about visiting my sister. It was her first weekend out of the clink and in the halfway house. He was heading there, not only to visit, but also to have her sign papers that, if she ever gets convicted of a felony again, they are automatically divorced. No alimony, no pension, no benefits, no nothing.
He gets there, they come outside on the grounds away from the building and the watching eyes, and the first thing my sister asks him is, "Got a cigarette?"
She hasn't smoked since she went in at the tail end of last year. And her first question is, "Got a cigarette?"
But wait, there's more! While talking, sis told my brother in law that she knows somebody who can get her a cheap cell phone, and if he could pick it up and get it to her, she can communicate with that instead of the expensive phone cards.
I said, That's contraband.
Dad said, "That's what he said."
You have to keep in mind I'm literally the only one in the family (well, I suspect my brother in law is not just expecting, but hoping and praying this happens) who believes sis will fall off the wagon, return to crime, and spend the rest of her life locked away. Some of the biggest arguments with my mother recently have been on this subject, with her saying, "Well, Peter, like you, I don't give up!" "I have hope!" "She's been scared straight!" Dad has been trying in hopes that sis will straighten out because, as he told me once in one of the quieter moments, "It's not easy admitting you brought evil into the world." Sis has told them "I'm going to be a full time family and a part time friend."
And now? Mom and dad not only have to face that it probably is just an act, but their son, who they frequently dismiss as clueless, naive, sometimes downright stupid, might be on the money after all.
I was thinking my sister would at least last until her parole was up, just to get herself some breathing room. Looks like it won't even take that long.