Time cannot be undone. Time holds our memories hostage for the duration of our lives. Those of us who are serving time suffer from this truth. When the cell door closes and you hear the final turn of an officer’s keys, you feel the loneliness. There are moments when the silence plays with your mind. You feel weak, needy, and starved for interaction. You feel soft and ashamed because of these thoughts, so ashamed that your mind wanders to the act of suicide. You contemplate where to hang the sheet, but then you feel like a coward for lacking the courage to finish the action. Once again, you’re left with your loneliness and silence. However, prison can offer more than just punishment. It can offer more than just being locked in a coffin, left to our own thoughts, and trying to understand how we became a part of the living dead. Sometimes, something amazing occurs. The same turn of a key that locked you in this coffin can also free you from your thoughts. It’s a new day! You step out of your cell and you are met with laughter, handshakes, and hugs. You not only get to witness, but to live and experience the compassion, empathy, and love us prisoners have for one another. Camaraderie—our version of the word, anyway. It means how we care for and look after each other. At times, I hate this environment. There is still pain, deception, and stereotypical views. Yet, I understand that prison has helped me become the man that I am today, a man of pride and integrity. I would have died young if not for prison. Did I want to come here? Hell no! Are you crazy? However, prison did what no house, no apartment, no family member could do. It placed me around others like myself—broken, damaged, and in search of something better.
Prison gave me a place to belong. Finally, I have a home.