Carl's cheeseburger was rather dry and the cheese was not melted in the least bit. His French fries were cold and the milkshake had melted, and was now just mostly chocolate milk; warm, chocolate milk. He stared at his lunch for a long time. He had no idea why this had come to pass. Why had he waited so long to eat? Why did the ketchup packet sit unopened? Why was he in prison? Why did he not remember? Then, he remembered.
Carl never felt like eating after visitation day. His children - Cindy, 3 and Charles, 2 - were too much for his heart to take. They were growing up too fast, and not right in front of his very eyes. Their beauty strangled his appetite. Their gentleness burnt his soul. Their eyes forgave his shame.
Every Saturday they brought him lunch and sat in his lap and kissed his cheek. They did not know his past, they only loved him in the present. They did not see gates, nor guards, just a man who looked a little bit like a mirror.
Carl said his grace and ate his cold meal as his joy waved goodbye from the other side of the fence.