How did I get here on this top bunk anyway? There must be 40 guys in this room. Where are the bathrooms? Do they even have showers? Is this what my life inside corrections is going to be like from now on? Doesn’t look too promising right now. So little hope for anything. Guess I am not as in control of my life as I thought not so long ago. Or was it?
I remember the five or six months between my arrest and now. It really went by in a blur. Right after the arrest I moved out of my home and got an apartment and a new office instead of one in my home or new cramped digs. I felt shameful and guilty and more lonely that ever. In control? Right.
I know I did wrong, but this? Having no idea what to expect now I was really hoping I did not know anyone in here. Of course everyone in this jail is innocent or framed or in the wrong place at the wrong time. “If only I had done this or that” they lament or “next time I will” they quip as if their time in here is temporary. Of course for some it is. But me being sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years? Come on. Guys admitting to raping young girls get 2 years. How is that fair that my sentence is so long? So what if it was an election year and the DA needed notches in his belt. Guess this old guy with the high profile case played right into his hands. Or maybe it is a sign of the times. And my high priced lawyer did me no favors, especially emptying my bank account of over $10,000 without even a trial. I definitely felt there was some backroom dealing going on, me worth more than a few little fishes.
What made me even think about meeting this person, an under aged teen anyway? I should have know better, and I really did, stopping several times on the way to the mall, a public place to meet so there could be nothing hidden. No secrets. But I pressed on, somehow embolden by my recklessness and ego that said I was in control and doing nothing “wrong” in simply meeting her, a person I had chatted with for over a month and who wanted to meet. She even picked the spot, an ice cream store in a mall I had never been in. My arrogance was overflowing. But there were hidden things, including the 4 or 5 undercover boys taking hold of me, placing me in handcuffs and then the back of their unmarked car out back.
I remember being booked and photographed in the city jail after being arrested– an awful shot of me crying later pasted on the front page of local newspapers. The officer doing intake was all over me about not just the charge of “attempted dissemination of illicit material to a minor” but arranging a meeting. That’s when I said something about it would be better if I had never been born. Well that set off the bells. I was made to strip off everything, even my shoe laces in my sneakers, then placed in a short (very short) gown of some itchy material like burlap and led to a glass cell in front so all the guards could keep their eye on me. Look at the jerk in the cage, the moron who chats with young girls then tries to meet them. To say I was scared would be an understatement. I was numb.
That night grew as did my panic. After I lost that day’s meals I worked on the previous day’s. My system was starting to abandon me. How would I ever get out of there? Would it always be like this? I was so terrified I couldn’t even think about what I had done but only wanted to get out of there. There were screams and fights, with officers and medics running this way and that passed my glass house where I felt so exposed to everything. Funny thing was, nobody seemed to notice or care about me. It was a good thing they did confiscate my laces as the thought of ending it crossed my mind a few times.
I finally was let out to make my one phone call to a traumatized wife who agreed to come and bail me out along with our pastor who, unbeknownst to me, had been at our home since my arrest when several policemen searched the house and office. Nice. No secrets in the neighborhood either I guess. After the call to her I was led back to my cell to wait. Nothing was normal, nor would it ever be again in my life. The night ended with a shrink visit, meds, then out for temporary freedom.
And now this, top bunk inside corrections where there is no hope for anything. The gavel was struck, my sentence pronounced, and I was taken inside where justice would be served when I completed my bid, evening the scales of justice the judge had said. County lock up. Direct to jail. Do not pass go, do not collect $ 200.00. Only got this ugly brown jumpsuit in exchange for my clothes. What happened to them anyway? Will this panic that the meds temporarily abate ever go away? Time is passing very slowly. But right now, I only wanted everything to go away. Even my life.