TIME PASSES

Time passes slowly, but it passes and I can see it going. They tell me it is mid April. I note the changes, the details in the day. From the early stirrings in adjacent cells, I hear the early functions of bodies waking and I add to the chorus. Then the early count comes, a preparation for others not yet awake to “rise and shine” and get ready to march to breakfast. That we literally do, march: in speechless pairs, dorm by dorm, through concrete hallways, outside between buildings, more hallways and a maze of tunnels to a dining hall which I could not find again if paid a million dollars. The thought humors me, but I must stifle the mirth as noise of any kind is verboten.
We get our food with 10 minutes to eat, with the clock starting when we hit the dining hall. It doesn’t matter how long the line is, it is 10 minutes, unless we get lucky and our C.O. gets caught up in conversation that gives us a precious minute or two more. I learn to eat with little chewing and no conversation, though most of the food is overcooked anyway and requires little mastication and delivers similarly few nutrients. Woe to those who linger after being told to “pick it up,” or the hungry sole who attempts to take back to his cell more than the allotted four pieces of white styrofoam type bread.
It’s tomorrow again and I meet with a second counselor at the same time. Two for one. They ask me how I am getting along and how I am adjusting. I hope they do not see my swollen eyes or straggly beard that I cannot seem to take care of at present. It is difficult to shave in a tin mirror – all that is in my lovely new digs.
I explain I am coping, to which they agree is progress. What’s the alternative I wonder as I do not think I verbalize it to them though they do kind of stare at me. When they do this my gaze automatically goes down and the shame returns.
They mention I seem to be adjusting according to the CO on my dorm. Translation is I am not causing any trouble and play well with others. Not only do I have no choice but I am medicated and do not feel like doing much of anything. The regiment of count, chow, dorm time, count, chow, activity, chow and count seem to normalize anyone I would think. I think the meds have evened out or maybe I am just getting used to them. Thinking is still hard, or at least weird and I am choosing not to go back very far and cannot go forward which leaves me in a not very good place – here inside corrections. I find myself able to function and observe, though my mind is still muddled in the horror of my crime. The darkness is there but at bay presently. It appears Satan had replaced whatever goodness was in me with selfishness and his egotistical ambition (on which I eagerly bit) to rule my own world. Adam all over again. The results aren’t so different. Both of us suffered shame and humiliation that will affect future generations and haunts us on the journey. Both of us need inside corrections.
The silhouettes on the hall wall as we silently parade past an open courtyard window on the way to and from meals echo the darkness that still resides in me and wants to come forward. There is light behind me obviously to create the shadows. I need to somehow bring that light forward and keep it there. The walking silhouettes remind me three times a day of the little progress I have made in that dealing. I am still bogged down in a mire of self-loathing and pity. It does not seem anyone will understand the depths to which I fell and from which I am now trying to emerge – if it is worth it at all. I see and hear others still in his grasp, conniving, lying and secretly pushing their way to and past boundaries – something I know all too well and previously mastered. Will their present transgression come to light as their past ones have? Do they not feel the remorse and shame I am living with, or are they singularly coping with it in the only way they know? What will prevent me from joining them again? Those necessary corrections could prove too difficult, inside or out. Maybe the struggle, the endless turmoil between darkness and light, yea good and evil and the resulting consequences are what keep me awake at night after lights are out. Is there to be no end to this? No cure? No hope?
A general fatigue aided by drugs and a nightly sob session seem my only escape to the few hours sleep I get. Then it all starts again as time passes.

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