Wednesday, January 25, 2023

I’m Going Home

Stepping into the sunlight I can’t believe today is the day. After twenty years, I’ll have my freedom. I wonder what I’ll do without the structure. I wonder who from my old life is alive. Who will try to contact me? How do I say no so I’m not swept back in the mess that landed me here to begin with? Am I still a part of the gang on the outside or does that life stop once I’m released? I joined for protection not idealism. These tattoos are forever, as is my loyalty? I’m not sure.

I’m quiet as I leave this place and grit my teeth as the guard tells me he’ll see me soon. Yes, I have anger issues. Yes, that did contribute to my incarceration. No, I received no guidance here for it other than solitary confinement if I acted on my aggression. This is no place for mental health other than a quick check to make sure we were alive. I learned it didn’t matter if I responded. Either way they walked to the next cell. There is no one here to help you other than the lawless whispering trade secrets. A school being taught by the ones not smart enough to avoid capture. Despite my distain, I listened and learned. Some of them know more law then public defenders. I wondered if perhaps my appeal wouldn’t have been overturned if they had been my counsel. No mind. Freedom awaits.

My sister offered me her couch until I can get I can get on my feet. If I can get on my feet. I’m not sure I can pass any background check for a legitimate job. My fear spikes that my only option might be to slip back into my old life. How am I supposed to make my way? I get into my sister’s car and roll the window down. I want to hang my head out like the dogs in movies. I want to breathe it all in, eat all the home cooked meals, drink, and find a willing partner to kick out as soon as the deed is done. My sister is talking about her job and the biscuits she left in the oven. She gets anxious as she tells me about pop’s funeral. I had lied to her and said I couldn’t go. I never tried. I can’t show up for my family in chains. Even if that means denying them as they mourn.

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