July 3, 2016, my husband of three-months, Chris and I got into our car and left our home in Whitefish, MT to travel to Denver, Co. My husband had to self-surrender to Federal Prison on July 5, 2016.
I recall embracing every moment of our drive, knowing that each minute that passed would be a minute closer to being separated for the next four years. The first night we stayed in Sheridan, Wyoming, where we spent the night. The following day we made it to Denver by early afternoon. We checked into a Hampton Inn and then decided to locate the prison which would be his new temporary home. Pulling up to the prison, we spoke about everything positive we could find about what we saw in this facility; we had to keep our spirits up and hope alive.
We ate breakfast the following morning at a local diner before reporting to prison. My throat felt tight and constricted from holding in tears and emotions that I could not even manage to swallow the over-medium eggs I ordered. After breakfast, we sat in the car, desperately clinching on to every second we had together before heading to FCI Englewood. My husband took my breath away as he presented me with a huge jar filled with handwritten notes. He said to me anytime I needed to feel close to him to read one of the notes he had written for me. I had not yet recovered from swooning over the notes that he gave me when next he handed me another big jar this one filled with Hershey's hugs and kisses and told me any time I need a hug or a kiss from him to eat one of the candies. He did not just dump the candy in from the package. He touched every piece of candy with his loving hands before placing it in the jar.
We sat in the intake lobby of the prison holding the hands of each other, knowing that at any moment, Chris would be called into the unknown behind the walls where we sat. An authoritative voice called my husband's name. We stood up and embraced each other with all the love and passion in every fiber of our being. We knew this would be the closest and most physically intimate we could be with each other for the years to come.
I felt as though I would not be able to pick up all the shattered pieces of my heart and make it whole again. That night I willed myself to sleep so that the next morning I could wake up and say it is "A Day Closer" to my husband coming home.
Our marriage is strong, solid, respectful, honest, authentic, and full of an abundance of love and passion. We live the ultimate in commitment and devotion. My husband although not physically with me, still takes me on Saturday night dates through his letters. I have a bin of some of the most romantic, fun, and memorable dates. These letters transport me into a real date for the time it takes for me to read them. I laugh, cry and feel so loved and happy while on our Saturday date nights.
I feel compelled to share our most recent date. No matter the circumstances, true love does prevail. Loving someone is not a feeling it is a choice.
Saturday, August 31, 2019
We get so caught up in our lives that we sometimes forget to take time out for just each other - something that I promised myself when I got out of prison that we would never do. Work, family, children, church obligations, travel friends there are so many distractions in life - but nothing is more important to me than my wife and our marriage. I know the past 38 months have been extremely difficult on you and the number of sacrifices you've made is immeasurable, but I believe, for me, this time was necessary to get my life back on track and to realize what I have in you, and what's important in life. Mere words could never express my gratitude to you for your belief in me and our relationship and your perseverance to fly in the face of cultural norms. You are a remarkable woman whom I love so much.
I am happy that we've taken the time tonight to be alone and reconnect after a few months of hard work and travel. You are so committed to criminal justice reform and A Day Closer, and I am thrilled to be able to have you all to myself this weekend. I've taken the liberty to plan our evening, and throughout the day, I have asked you not to ask me any questions about my comings and goings, and at times odd behavior. You've been a good sport to just shake your head in utter disbelief and go about your normal Saturday routine. All I can tell you is that it is going to be a low key, relaxing evening and that you'd probably be most comfortable in a pair of shorts, sandals, and a top that you will be cool in because part of our evening will be spent outside and our Whitefish evenings this August have been warm Indian summer evenings. You don't ask any questions and simply agree. I do offer to you that the first part of the evening will be a relaxing outdoor dinner on the rooftop of Casey's in Whitefish - but the rest of the evening you will have to wait.
I am finishing up a few things downstairs when I hear you wrapping up getting ready in the bathroom and bedroom upstairs. I still smile after all these years thinking about your routine of getting ready to go out. It's never varied - yet just another one of the endless things I love about you. You are consistent, and more importantly, you are true to yourself. When I close the fridge door, I turn around to see you standing there. I tell you that I did not even hear you come down the stairs, and then you hold up your right hand, and there are your orange flat sandals. I smile and comment that you were sneaking up on me. I also tell you that I remember the first time I saw you in the sandals, it was in the visiting room in Englewood. You have on a cute pair of cotton khaki-colored shorts on that come down only a few inches off your hips and show off your long beautiful tan tell your legs your top is an orange silk spaghetti strap V-neck that drops just below your belt line your hair is down your make up is picture perfect and your smile is that of a movie star you blush when I tell you how absolutely beautiful you look your attire could be shorts or jeans a T-shirt or a ballroom gown you wear everything so well you wear things so well because of what is underneath your natural beauty and a body that you've treated so well over the years by always eating right and exercising.
You follow me out to the garage, and I open the door for you. But before you get in. I stop you take you by the arm and turn you toward me, so you are facing me I hold your hand and tell you how pretty you look and how excited I am to be going out with you this evening. I put my right hand on the left side of your neck and gently pull you into me until our lips meet, and I kiss you softly. My eyes are closed and as I kiss you I am reminded of the passion between us and I feel a ball of electricity rifle through my body it's something like I've never experienced in my life.
As we drive into town, we enjoy the silence and the beauty that surrounds us I reach out my right hand and grasp your left hand, and we hold hands on the center console as we always do. Each time I hold your hand, I experience an intense level of intimacy, it is only familiar with you and between us. If a connection can be made between two people when I hold your hand, I am immediately connected to you. Whether we are driving walking side-by-side or sitting next to each other in church, I love the feel of holding your hand; it makes me feel connected and close to you.
We climb three flights of steps at Casey's to the rooftop. I always like walking behind you because I get to see your cute butt in front of me and your sexy suntan legs. When we reach the rooftop, we are greeted by the hostess Wendy. She says hello with a warm smile says it's nice to see you again Chris and Cassie. The bar is crowded, and a young 20's something is playing his acoustical guitar as most people are engaged in their own conversation we've been here multiple times when Pete is playing, and we always enjoy his mix of soft Country, Classical, and pop music with a twist. Wendy looks at us and says your timing is perfect because I've been saving your favorite spot she escorts us back to the far corner of the rooftop, and we take a seat on the comfortable cushions facing each other. The table is at our new level and big enough that it is shared with those around us. Wendy picks up a small handwritten RESERVED sign from the corner cushions and tells us that our waitress will be over with our drinks - the usual we've been coming here long enough they don't mind holding a seat for us and know that you always start with a crown and ginger, and I have a cold Corona. As we sip on our drinks, we enjoy the background music and the upbeat vibe of the environment around us. When we get around to it, we order a light dinner, salads, grilled and marinated chicken and pan-seared broccoli. We even manage to joke around in eating pretty healthy and lean while most are eating fried food and big burgers. We laugh that there are a time and place for a big piece of red meat and sitting on rooftop with the temperature in the upper 80s was not the time. We do, however, enjoy a nice bottle of chrisp white wine (do you like how I just invented a new way to spell crisp?).
The sun starts to set to the west behind the new city hall building, and we decide to ask for the check and wrap up part of the evening. As we wait, a warm breeze blows across town, and as I am looking at you, I notice your nipples are hard, and I can see you going through your silk blouse. I ask if you're cold and you give me a seductive why am asking. I look at your chest, and you begin to laugh, knowing exactly why I was asking you. You tell me that you're not cold, but that the silk against your breast can make you aroused. After hearing that I immediately get excited and in the worst way, I want to reach out touch your erect nipples through your blouse. Instead, I lean over, grabs your arm, pull you toward me and kiss you on the lips. I also tell you how much you turn me on – always have and always well. As almost a tradition now, we drive back to the house in silence holding hands. Before we pull into the neighborhood, the silence is Broken when I tell you how much I love you, and there is no one in the world I rather be with than you. When I think back to all the adversity we've been through, someone saying that it is remarkable that we were able to stay together, yet survive. It is clearly a testament to the strength and endurance of our love for one another. But truly, it talks to the type of woman you are – strong, intelligent, passionate, and so loving. Indeed, I am a very lucky man.
As we pull into the garage and close the door behind us, I ask if you would mind going into the kitchen and have a seat and wait for a few minutes for me. While you're waiting, I ask if you could please grab two wine glasses and just relax. I then disappear.
Less than 10 minutes later, I come walking through the back door, across the dining room area into the kitchen. You were sitting so patiently at the kitchen center island looking so cute and so curious. I asked you to hold one wine glass while I take the other in my left hand. I hold out my right hand and ask if you would like to join me in the backyard. You so graciously accept and take my hand as I lead you through the house to the back door. By this time the sun has set completely, the sky is black, and the stars shine brightly in the clear Montana sky.
You close the back door behind you as we make our way across the porch and down the back stairs. At the bottom of the steps, I guide you to the left, and as we turned the corner of our backyard facing the garage, you look at somewhat of a confused state. I let you ponder for a moment of what you see before I say anything. In the middle of the backyard and on the ground, you see a couple of large blankets laid out on the ground with the big oversize pillows thrown about on the blankets. Behind us is a small table set up with a computer on it. You look somewhat confused, so I tell you that it's a movie night at the Camut household. I point to the back garage door, and you see that I've hung up a large white sheet anchored at all four corners, so the wind doesn't disturb the viewing of our movie. I have a small Lantern set on the table so that you can see the bottle of white wine that is on ice next to the blanket. You smile at me and tell me that I am always full of surprises. I thought it would be fun to do something different in the comfort of her own home. Plus I wanted the evening to be a focus on us with no distractions. With all the external noise of life, we need to always remember our date nights and that when it comes down to it – it's just you and me. Isn't that with love and commitment are all about? Two people are coming together as one for a lifetime.
As we stand at the edge of the blanket, we slip off our shoes, and we both can feel the evening moisture on the grass beneath our feet. I ask if you'd like to have a seat on the blanket while I open the bottle of wine and pour each of us a glass. I sit next to you on the blanket, and we both comment on how soft and lush the lawn feels below the blanket. We are both sitting Indian style, and I hand you a glass of wine. I say to you that I'd like to make a toast to the most remarkable woman I know, a woman who has made me happier than I could ever imagine. I look at you sitting there in front of me and realize how lucky I am. Even in the dark of the night, your beautiful green eyes are illuminated and make the world a brighter place. We bring our glasses together and then tell you that you are my forever perfect date. We both take a sip of the white wine, and then I lean in and kiss you on the lips and tell you that I love you more and more with each passing day. I ask you to get comfortable as I turn on the projector next to the computer. Within a minute, the white bed sheet acting as our movie screen comes to life.
As I sit down with my legs stretched out in front of me, I grab one of the oversized pillows and lay it on my lap. I tell you to please lay down and put your head on the pillow that's on my legs. As you get comfortable, I tell you that the movie I have chosen for us is called August Rush. It is a story about a runaway boy who comes from musically oriented parents. The boy named August Rush is the musical prodigy and becomes a composer all of the while finds a way to somehow bring his mother and father together. I figure that this would be the perfect summer outdoor movie. You smile at me as we both turn our attention to the movie screen. Throughout the movie, I find myself looking (staring actually) at you and studying every future about you so that when we are apart, I can close my eyes and feel you in my mind. I also use my hands to lightly run my fingers through your long, thick, silky hair. I could not ask for a more relaxing evening with the woman I love. When we watch the movie, I catch myself gazing at the sky and back at you. Floods of memories come in and out of my mind at all of our date nights. They all started with a very long dinner over a excellent bottle of red wine, and you had steak. Then there was the sleigh ride into the mountains and dinner on our back porch. I realize over and over how lucky we are to have found each other.
Before we know it, the movie comes to a close as we watch the credits roll across the screen. We've also managed to polish off a bottle of wine, and we are both relaxed and somewhat sleepy. I tell you to relax while I turn everything off and close down the movie theater for the night. I take your hand and help you to your feet. When you stand, I hold you close to me in my arms and thank you for another perfect evening together as husband and wife. As always, you are my perfect date.
I love you with all my heart and soul Cassie Jo. Until her next date night, I remain, forever yours.