Sabrina is a waxy, white-complected woman of 27 years. If we are to live together in an 8 x 11-foot jail cell, she feels that it would be only customary that I share my commissary food with her. At the hour of three o’clock in the morning, I’m not always inclined to engage in the politeness of proper introductions and the division of communal assets. Notably, should I not be sleeping at that time, my level of social performance is not always at its peak. The enormous thunder clapping acoustics made by the prison door slamming shut are not what wrestled me from the Novocain, peaceful escape of slumber. Abruptly awakened from a dreamless sleep, I hear the sounds she makes while wrinkling a 12-ounce bag of sugar, made by the movements of her tremulous hands. Granules fall from the corners of her mouth to the floor like sheets of insecticide dropped from an airplane position to its target crops below. While adjusting to the inky purple grey interplay of shadows on the cement walls, I see her huddled figure situated against the metal frame at the foot of my narrow bed. A single shaft of light illuminates the lifeless, charcoal black, funereal dyed hair that hangs limply along the ridge of her angular, sharp cheekbones. Anorexia leaves its hollow ghastly impression on her shallow breathing body. Bones point to puncture the taut stretched surface of her translucent and wafer thin skin. Purple scab incrusted needle points pattern themselves like polka dots on a network of hard blue veins stretching the distance from the top of her wrists to biceps no larger than the circumference of a rose’s wilted stem. Inflammation scratches a trail behind them like the tail of a shooting star. Sabrina’s arching sinuous posture is that of a fragile weed struggling to grow in the cracks of a desiccated desert floor. Speaking with the staccato of choreographed spontaneity, she posits the question that would locate for her yet another bag of sugar, a gesture I am inclined to dismiss as inconsequential, not the best overture one could take to ingratiate themselves with me at an hour so early in the morning, when my only agenda is to return to the comfort of sleep. In the brief time it has taken her to gnaw the cuticle off her left index fingernail, we have exchanged only a few awkward words, ones pregnant with lacquered and skeptical reserve. Sabrina is quick to apologize with all the pretense of a politician, for having eaten two 12-ounce bags of sugar. The stream of mucous that drips from her petite slender sculpted nose travels no further than the mustache of sugar forming on her upper lip. These same lips have often formed a cry of anguish for not having enough money to procure a $10 bag of heroin. She whimpers in agony, for the oft-chartered waters of withdrawal are soon to engulf her. The muscles of her face contort themselves into the shape of panic, with the pained expression of an Edward Munch Scream, in the same manner they would if a customer refused to pay for her services, after the half an hour she had invested to prostitute herself, during a life that would span only 27 years. The anesthesia of my indifference evaporates as she moans words of lamentation in short wheezing breaths, as she falls prey to the insects she now feels are crawling underneath her skin. She scratches a violent design of fingernail lacerations that are hyphenated by pin point drops of blood. This precedes her sigh of resignation for not having sufficient energy to lift her 90-pound body off of the cold, unwelcoming cement floor, where she now lays in a prostrate position. A glistening blanket of perspiration pours from her brow, the secretion a stale pungent aroma, acrid onion like cologne, in expectation of the convulsions that will unforgivably ensue. She whispers one last plaintive plea for the sugar that her body so mercilessly craves, unrelenting and savage in its consumption of her frail, diminished body, that trembles in acquiescent malaise. The vice grip of fear and utter ignorance seize my vocal chords and prevent the formation of words, my paradigm so foreign to Sabrina’s world experience that now begins to unfurl. Fumbling to liberate a candy bar from its package, I reach to the floor to where she is tightly tucked in a fetal position with white knuckles clamped to her knees, to offer her the nourishment she has failed to provide for her very elongated, emaciated, five feet and eight inches tall, 90 pounds of life, life she fails to remember once included the sights and sounds of three children. When she last inhabited a dilapidated, abandoned house, condemned as unsafe by the Health Department, squatting in the squalor of feces and broken needles, with a denizen of fellow drug addicts, she never imagined that handcuffs could applique another form of scars on her wrists, the wrists that were free just a moment before to elevate a hand to her forearm so she could release the rubber band laced in a quick knot to increase the volume of blood in her veins, that would allow the release of the warm opiate to course through her collapsed, unyielding veins. Sobriety and a paycheck for cleaning motel rooms never arrived so she could afford the bus fare and make it to the bus stop by foot, some six miles away, by seven in the morning. She missed that bus, like so many other opportunities, that would then deliver her to the courthouse where she could then stand trial for a litany of misdemeanor prostitution violations. She would never need to search for the proper attire in her nonexistent wardrobe, to appear before a jury of her own peers, who wear much nicer clothes than the same outfit she has worn for the past 83 days. The mug shot taken by the prison official the last time she was arrested is shown daily among the ranks of other dangerous, most wanted criminals, for viewers to scan on the cable television advertisement, the very one that an anonymous viewer, her father, had seen late at night, then quickly called to inform the police of her whereabouts. This anonymous tip netted her father $50, an amount sufficient to purchase three days worth of malt liquor and lottery tickets. Sabrina shakes uncontrollably. I see her eyes roll back in their sockets. Her teeth chatter audibly when not clenched together. For but a few seconds, do I suffer the illusion that she is sleeping fitfully between the paroxysms of respite of the grand mal seizures. I observe in horror, while lying on the floor with her in an attempt to hold her still, the spasms that begin with jerking, flailing movements of her legs and arms. The severe, violent muscular contraction-relaxation cycle repeats itself for many two-day long minutes, before I scream for assistance from the guard sleeping at his desk one floor below. If only he had awakened from his drooling slumber, in response to my shrieking, hysterical cries for help, the apparition of a female’s body, Sabrina, might have joined me, with other inmates, to enjoy a breakfast of stale bread and sliced, boiled rotten potatoes. The jails’ Third Reich, unlicensed, apathetic physicians, surreptitiously unleashed to practice the art of torment and neglect on the unsuspecting inmate population, could have been summoned to respond to just another routine, non-urgent heart attack, that would deny, just another bothersome heroin addict, the opportunity to engage in yet another day of self neglect, that would ultimately lead to the untimely demise of an upper-average-income family’s suburban housewife, who volunteered at least 20 hours a week for her children’s elementary school functions. Her three unsuspecting children can’t quite remember when their mother quit returning home. They search the crowds at their soccer games, ballet recitals, and weekly worship at the Synagogue, Cub Scout events, tennis matches, and the nightly television news coverage in hopes of finding her face, for yet another glimpse of hope’s illusion. They soon discover that hope deferred sickens their heart. Watching cartoons and sleeping all demand a level of concentration they no longer possess. If only the tranquilizers and other medication the doctors prescribed had worked to help her cope with the multiple miscarriages, broken bones, and bruises she suffered, due to her gross inability to have the silverware polished perfectly and placed at the proper angles to the dinner plates, so that her husband would not have to strike her, she would not have had the opportunity to be thrown into my jail cell at three in the morning, and have the audacity to ask if I had a bag of sugar to share.