Considering my out-date remains a whole ‘nother presidential election away, it’s important for me to discipline my mind enough so I don’t drift off into or get lost in daydreams about getting out of the joint. Of course, I’ve some big, specific plans–and some smaller, vaguer ideas–of how I want the rest of my life to go, and most of my time is spent towards making that a reality. That I can work on my self away from the prying eyes and idle consciousness of people with whom I’d regularly be interacting is one of the few benefits to incarceration. Like, one second I’m jus gone, and then, boom, I’m suddenly back, albeit 20x better in every way.
I anticipate the moment when friends’ and exgfs’ mental image of me as a beer-bellied sot is– jarringly so– replaced with the non-ciggy-smoking, healthy, muscular version with defined abs they’ll encounter. Gah, I’ll relish their astonished, and semi-admiring, looks.
More importantly, I hope I make a successful transition to civilian life, making it thru parole without a hitch and, afterwards, without relapsing into some dumbass criminal activity. Especially because MDOC’s parole board is notoriously unforgiving, heading a pseudo- penal colony.
This nebulous future consumes all my dreams and underlies every thing I do. My memory might be hazy, but I seem to recall the air feeling *better* on the other side of these barbed wire fences.
I’d never even done county time before this, so I have not an inkling what it’s like to do time and reenter society, and I can’t help asking the guys who do know, preferably those who’ve done a real bit, not the jackasses who’ve been in and out plenty of times but have never done longer than a year or two. Shit, two years isn’t even long enough for many people to realize you’re gone.
Since we were on quarantine with restricted yard, I started getting money with a dude who locks across the hall from me and who had done a five piece in his early twenties. I asked him what it was like to get out after so long. He regaled me with his experience of leaving prison the other day:
First, all food tastes amazing. No matter what it is, it tastes as if you had jus smoked pot for the first time. Apparently McDonald’s is actually gourmet food.
Next, going out to the bar an exciting excursion because “Bitches loved that I was prison.” He never got so much pussy as the two years following prison. Not only is it the whole “bad boy” vibe, but the post-prison glow of being healthy,and being in much better shape – or should be – than all schlubs around. And, allegedly, the girls who wouldn’t give him the time of day before fell for this shit hardest. (okay, I’m def hoping this remains a “thing” when I get out.)
However, he warned, everyone is gonna also think you had a lot of sex with men while in prison.
Dude said his own mom pulled him aside and asked “if something had happened”, and he joked with her, “that totally happened”. She accepted his answer at face value so I guess this is a deep-set misconception of ex-cons in the public’s view. (Actually, “gay for stay” is far from ubiquitous. At least, when you got less than 10 years.) I laughed at the stark irony: getting a ton of pussy while at the same time, people wondering/believing you engaged in sodomy like every other inmate.
Hell, idgaf what people think. I’ll laugh on the inside when a girl I jus fucked, or will be about to, is convinced that I had been a situational sodomite. I may jus play along with it. I’ll tell everyone it was a “fuck or be fucked” dilemma. Obviously, I’ll explain, I had to go on the offensive. (Perhaps, I’ll be able to persuade future one night stands into anal by boasting of all the practice I had in prison.)
But goddamn, just the thought of my release inspires a rapturous vision of boner-inducing scenarios: being balls deep in a variety of poonanie, the taste of a real beer, a nip of whiskey, eating a corned beef&coleslaw sandwich or a slice of greasy pizza.
Meanwhile, I keep my head down and take it day-by-day. I dont count the time. I dont keep a calendar. I try to lose myself in the routine of it all, thereby finding some semblance of transcendence.
I wakeup, workout, shower. I read, I write, I nap and play pinochle. I devour cable TV, the barely edible state food, and the gas station items from commissary. I pen letters, work on a novel, and call family and friends from time to time. I beat off to girls I’ve slept with, befriended, encountered, or never even met. I spin laps on the yard with other inmates, and bullshit with the best of em.
I whisper silent prayers to a god Im not even sure I believe in . In more desolate moods, I petition the Universe, a collective consciousness, or whatever cosmic entity I think of, reciting the same prayer, a desperately insistent plea:
Blessed to be alive and present; asking to amor fati–embrace everything, including all vicissitudes–and for a hope of in the future, as if all of this–all the bullshit and all the struggle– was merely prelude to the fulfillment of some great promise…that after everything, I’m here for a reason, like we all are, essential to the universe. Amen.