He had been going to group ever since he got out of the hole, however, he only participated in the conversation minimally. He said his name. He checked in. He briefly smiled when something was funny and that was the extent of his interactions. But what was being discussed in this session really struck him. The topic made him push his shoulder blades back hard against his chair. This talk about love languages was bizarre to him. It was both engaging and very hoakey at the same time. To have a whole conversation about humans show love was hilarious. He didn’t laugh though. He tried to never laugh out loud in the penitentiary. He felt like it was a liability. So he just smiled for a minute while he threw the concept of “Love Language” around in his head. Dr. Joanne was laying all of the languages out but none of them really resonated with him. She talked about physical touch and that one kind of made sense but it was still off in a sense.
There were eight other convicts there—four Mexicans, three blacks and a Cambodian. He was the only white guy. Presently people were being asked by Dr. Joanne to share their love language and he started to panic a little bit. He felt like whatever his was it hadn’t been discussed yet. There was a black inmate who was right before him and started going on and on about Quality Time. And how the essence of love is the time you spend with people because your voluntarily giving pieces of your life to someone. Then he started talking about how time is the most precious thing that we have and the white man knows that, which is why when you get in trouble he takes away your time and throws you in prison. The blacks said “Hmmmm” in approval and nodded their heads. It was all cool. It just gave him more time to think. By the time it was his turn he was ready.
“Violence,” he said. “My love language is violence.”
Dr. Joanne looked down her nose at him so he went on.
“I don’t mean like in a super tough guy kind of way. I just mean that everyone that has ever loved me has either kicked my ass or tried too. When my father was in between jobs he used to punch us in the face for not ironing our clothes, or talking back, or playing in the house or sleeping too long. Whatever we did was a problem you know. When he did have a job he would beat us for being ungrateful or wearing our shoes out too fast. Then when he didn’t come home my mother would beat us because she was worried or lonely or because she didn’t want us to be like him when we grew up. I got a little older and got bullied at school. One day I couldn’t take it anymore so I chased the bully home with a knife. When he finally came back to school, he wanted to be my best friend. It’s like until I pulled that blade on him I wasn’t a fucking human being you know. Sorry about the language Doctor. So after that he became my closest friend.
So a few years ago I got a woman. And uh, you know she’s pretty and all that. Things are going good. Then one day she gets on my case for drinking. Like she’s really screaming and crying and just going all out. And uh, I punch her. She falls. I panic and I go back to the bar to finish drinking. And that’s where they arrested me.
My point is, I loved her. It’s weird. I still love her. I just uh, I don’t know. Obviously, her love language is different than mine and uh, I need to spend some time learning a different language because I have 18 months left on my sentence and when I get out I’m never coming back to this fucking place again. Excuse my language.”
He smiled briefly.
“Thank you Chris,” Dr. Joanne said. “We’ll talk more about it next Wednesday. This concludes our group session guys. Thank you all. I really appreciated hearing your voices.”