I remember as a little girl cruising around the streets of San Francisco in my dad's bright red '68 Impala, me and my sister in the backseat and my mom in the passenger seat with my dad's arm wrapped around her. As the years went by, I've held onto that memory.
When I was three, Sunday drives changed. It wasn't the four of us in a convertible anymore; it was my mom driving me and my sister four hours away to visit my dad in prison. I remember standing in line watching the sad faces of the families who weren't able to see their loved ones that day because their shorts were too short or their shirt color blended in with the inmates' uniforms.
My dad looked different each time we saw him. His hair and beard grew quickly. For a while he wore tan clothes, then orange. Sometimes we had to talk to him through a glass window. When we were allowed contact visits, I always sat on his lap.
He'd always hand me a comb and tell me to brush his short hair, and the guards would give my parents a warning each time they got too close to each other.
In letters, my dad wrote that he'd think about us every day, even when he wasn't able to call. And he'd tell us not to worry.