16 months in prison, but for the first year, I hadn’t yet comprehended the actual reality. I suppose I really didn’t – or couldn’t – notice how much things inexorably changed without me until a year had passed. People move on. You can’t remember what your friends look like. They talk to you distantly on the phone. Your girlfriend becomes a friend, friends become strangers. I haven’t talked to my brother Neil in over a year. I should reach out, I know. I’m in prison; of course I’m the one that fucked up.
I wasn’t always like this. My 15 year old self would be awed, amused, yet disappointed if he knew this would be his future; the 17 year old me would be horrified; and my 20 year old self would be like, “What the fuck happened?!”
I’m scheduled to go home in November, but I’m fighting another case. The prosecutors are trying to nail me with 17 years, because an acquaintance overdosed. They allege I gave him the drugs. I didn’t.
Its surreal to watch my life bargained away, lawyers treating years like poker chips for something that, even if everything they allege was true, I had no control over what unfolded. The ensuing events were as impersonal as a card game, and almost entirely the result of the victim’s own choices. So, now I find myself in a special kind of hell: prison without an out date.
The other day I complained melodramatically to my mom that my fate is a modern day retelling of the Book of Job, of which she took exception, saying, in so many words, that I’m not saintly like Job. That’s certainly true, but I can understand – on every level – the feeling of utter helplessness in the face of fate’s cruel machinations. That’s a book in the bible I can feel, that resonates deeply.
My bunkie studies the bible everyday. He’s not exactly “Christian” but makes a big deal about the real name of God, which he believes to be Yah and Yashua. He regularly delivers impromptu sermons to no one in particular, feeling like he’s a hand-picked disciple of “Yah”. It’s really fucking annoying. Fucking A, how can you be so fixated on one book when there are so many other good ones? He also farts a lot, loud, stinky, and shameless, as potent as smelling salts. I need to change units.
My TV was stolen by the Bloods, so my days are stretching out infinitely longer. I’m trying to fill up the rest of the day after lifting weights and running in the morning, so I don’t waste all my time dwelling on getting high off dabs or pieces (1/8 of a strip). I really don’t do it, but if you put the latter in a ChapStick cap filled with water, let it dissolve, and then snort the ensuing solution, you can catch a decent buzz – more like a medicate numbness than an illicit high.
A dab is performed with a thumbtack (to apply the wax) and a rigged wire for charging tablets that incorporates a little piece of steel stolen from the scrubbing pads in the kitchen dish room which heats up as electricity runs thru it. Despite the higher than average idiocy of the average inmate, I’ve encountered other impressive feats of ingenuity: tattoo guns, repairing TVs with self-made tools, smuggling in cellphones.
Since my life is effectively on hiatus (I’m physically absent in everyone else’s), the people that are still a part of mine have grown in importance. They make me feel a little less alone whenever I get to speak to them. But its tough to watch their lives progress without me, which is egotistical but true. We’ll never make new memories together for as long as I’m locked up.
I’m frankly embarrassed about how I acted towards Kasey. I really loved her, but didn’t show it enough when it actually mattered, and now she’s moved on and it sucks. Sometimes I get the impulse to call her before I stop and remind myself, “she doesn’t wanna talk to you, you’re some fuckin weirdo in prison.” I try to imagine her as I left her on that balmy May afternoon instead of getting dicked down by some lame dude who I’m suddenly jealous of. To cope, now I fantasize about girls I wanna fuck- and could, realistically – once I’m out of prison. I’m jerking off to hope.
Without social media, my world feels pretty microscopic compared to what it was before. I’ve had multiple bunkies, a couple of TVs, a handful of workout partners, and a fistful of fights. I’ve formulated a decent routine to follow. The day-to-day monotony actually makes the time go by faster, paradoxically. Life goes on…
Everyday I wake up, realize where I’m at, and become instantly depressed as it dawns on me: this is my life. I always try to return to sleep so as to resume dreaming, but I rarely succeed. As anyone who’s ever been locked up can attest, there’s no transition quite so jarring and depressing as the segue from a deep slumber dreaming of familiar faces and places (regardless of what’s happening) to awakening on an uncomfortable prison bunk. Dreaming truly is the opiate of the imprisoned.
I’ve always wanted to write a book or something like it. Only now I’m actually making an effort. Writing is one of the few activities that allows me to transcend my surroundings, forgetting that my life has been circumscribed down to the few experiences available on this small compound, encircled by two 15-foot barbed wire fences.
Writing reminds me that I once had had fun with friends, had fallen in love, had my fair share of triumphs before I became prisoner #511007, deemed unfit for society, possibly for more than a decade, for doing what almost every individual in the same situation would do.
After some deep introspection, my previous life seems almost foreign to me at times. I’m living with everyone else’s demons in this place as well as my own, so I reflexively assume the worst of everyone. I often fail to limit this suspicion to other inmates, and extend it to my family and friends. I’m officially institutionalized.