I’m Someone Time Forgot – Chapter From ITFO

 

Listen to I’m Someone Time Forgot by Sonni Quick #np on #SoundCloud
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I’m Someone Time Forgot 

 

Jamie was stressed. It created a restlessness inside him he couldn’t get under control. He craved the feeling of walking. To go outside in the fresh air and push his legs to walk his full stride, and feel his arms swinging by his side. He wanted to walk with purpose because there was someplace he wanted to be.
     He wanted to walk and breathe deep until his body was exhausted. He couldn’t do that in his cell with only two full steps of walking space before he had to stop and turn around. If he was outside the cell, walking down the hallway, he could walk in a slow, shuffling stride of about twelve inches, the length of the chain between his ankles. If he went any faster he would fall on his face. Since his hands were cuffed behind his back it would be a pretty nasty fall. Even so, the more he craved walking, and couldn’t, the more stress he felt.
     He knew what Sonni would say, “Chant about it.”
Taking in deep breaths to chant was like meditating and it had a calming effect. But right now he felt too hopeless to chant because everything in his life was out of control. It was so hot and that made it hard to concentrate. How was he going to make it through the remaining years he had when he could barely make it through the day?

Earlier, Jamie asked to be taken to see the doctor because he was having bad dizzy spells. All the doctor did was tell him to get some rest. Beyond that there was nothing he could do for him. What did that fool think he did all day in a segregated cell?
     Jamie was afraid of falling. He had a couple bad falls during seisures and there were only hard things to fall on. He had some bad cuts and around here cuts got infected. The nurse always let injuries get infected before they did anything about it because they didn’t think there was any need to keep it from getting infected. Then, getting it treated by the doctor took time. Nothing ever happened fast. Infections could be prevented but they didn’t see it that way.
     The doctor don’t treat nothing until it’s about ready to kill you. He seemed to hate his job, especially the inmates, like they weren’t worth helping. He never even said hello, or anything like he hoped you would feel better soon. A smile of friendliness? Forget that. It was part of his job to make you feel like shit because you were in here.
     He didn’t like treating inmates. There were some scary ones he wouldn’t want to be around either, but he didn’t need to make sure everyone who needed to see him knew you were inferior to him because he was a doctor.
This job at the prison was probably the only job he could get. Why would you be a doctor in here if you could get a job a somewhere else? Did they even have a valid license that hadn’t been revoked?
     Jamie was lightheaded and passed out a couple times and now this fool told him that to fix it he was to go rest? Wasn’t it part of his job as a doctor to find out why it was happening, especially because of his epilepsy? Was it too far above what the prison allowed for the “adequate” medical care the law dictated. Ordering rest as a treatment didn’t cost the prison a cent. Running blood tests does. That ate into the profit they made off the inmates being here. They were kept alive with minimal food and care like other caged animals.
     Sleep was beyond him at night because all he did was toss and turn. When he finally did fall asleep he would jerk himself awake. He was sure it had a lot to do with not knowing what was happening with his family on the outside.
     He constantly thought about them, especially when he was trying not to. He hadn’t heard from no one in his family for a long time. Maybe no news was good news but he still needed to know. How was his son? Morgan wrote sometimes but she often put a lot of time between her letters.

Jamie lay on his bunk thinking about everyone he knew, one at a time. He didn’t have the mental strength to stop. When he got depressed this always pushed him further down the hole, and then he wanted to let it all go, but he couldn’t stop himself. He felt he was someone time forgot.
Out of sight, out of mind. He didn’t exist for them anymore, until he got out. No one thought about the effect it was having on him right now as he lived it.
     During these times of depression he always said he was going to give up, cut them off and never write to nobody again. He said that over and over through the years. He needed to hear from the people in his life who knew he was in here and that rarely happened. Almost no one took the time to do that to let him know they cared or write to tell him what was going on out there. No one cared that little Jamie needed him. Being in prison made it doubly hard for his son. He needed a relationship with his dad. All this made him terribly lonely.
     He was worried about Morgan. She was working two jobs. She had no choice with kids to take care of. He needed to be able to do his part and couldn’t, and that made him feel guilty.
     Sonni was sick and that was probably why she hadn’t written or come to see him in her dreams. Maybe she was saving her strength. Not knowing, he could only guess when it was time for her to get the liver transplant she was waiting for. She wouldn’t know until the last minute, so there wouldn’t be time to tell him.
     When too much time passed between letters he always worried the time had finally come, that she was in the hospital and no one would be there with her except her husband. No blood family. A time when family should be there to wait for her to wake up and know she was okay – to support her and make her feel loved. He knew deep down that this was going to happen. No matter what differences there were, her family should be there. They didn’t live too far away. The writing was on the wall and he felt bad about that. He knew what it felt like and would there if he could. He knew he would.

This was the worst thing that kept him awake at night, tossing and turning. It seemed to him that family thought they had the right to hurt you the most. It was important to him and important to Sonni to be there for each other. It’s hard to go through things like this and be alone. It messes up your head and makes you feel helpless to not be able to help. If only he could shut off the thoughts.
     He liked calling her Mom. She knew he needed family and because she was his son’s grandmother they really were connected like they were family. It meant a lot to him because she stuck by someone like him the way she did. Some people look down on people in prison and treat them bad even after they get out like they weren’t already punished enough. She didn’t see him as a bad person. She never tried to make him feel bad. If she wanted, she could be angry at him because he did something that made her daughter’s life hard, but she didn’t. Now she was the only connection he could count on who always remembered he was here.
     Now she needed him to be there and he wasn’t good for nothing and was letting her down, too. He loved her because she took the time to be good to him. He wanted to do the same for her.
     It wasn’t unusual to hear this same story in here. He heard it plenty of times. Family stopped writing or visiting, or the drive was too long, or they got tired of being asked for money, like somehow the inmates found a way to get the things they needed without doing something that could have far reaching consequences. So they stopped answering letters. Maybe they didn’t want to know what was happening inside. Maybe they couldn’t scrape together twenty bucks between them to put on his account. A lot of dudes were on their own with no help. He had Sonni. He would never forget that.
     Jamie knew his family hadn’t stopped loving him. They just didn’t know how to show it. Maybe they took his love for granted. He would love them no matter if they wrote. And he would, he always would, but it was hard to keep making excuses their absence. He knew they had their own problems to deal with. He wanted to know what was going on in their lives and they didn’t tell him. But he knew what was going on Sonni’s life because they wrote to each other. He could pray for her about that and feel like he did something to help because he needed to do something besides sit here.
     Whether someone prayed to God or simply prayed and put it out there, it was the focus of the prayer and the mental energy that went into it that mattered the most. So he prayed urgently that she was okay. He needed her to be okay. He didn’t want to be without her. She was all he had.

Jamie looked up at the sound of banging on the cell doors. It broke into his thoughts and he stood up to go stand at the door. It was time for the meal cart to bring dinner. It had lots of shelves with trays stacked on top of trays. He was hungry tonight. There hadn’t been much for the mid day meal except two baloney sandwiches with nothing but a slice of meat and cheap bread. That wasn’t enough for a man his size.
     He thought about a real sandwich. Lots of meat, tomato and lettuce, two slices of cheddar cheese with lots of mayo and pickles, too – and chips. That made him hungry. He laughed a little. He shouldn’t torture himself like that.
It had been a good while since he had a hot meal. No matter what they brought to eat it was always cold when it was put through the slot. Sometimes he thought they never heated the meals at all.
     The trays were prepared ahead of time and kept frozen in big freezers in the kitchen and were brought to them just as they were. They couldn’t prepare them at mealtime. How were they going to serve hot food to all the inmates? Were they going to heat them up in microwaves, or prepare trays one at a time like they would at a hospital? Fat was congealed on the meat like it hadn’t been heated again. It was bland, no seasoning of any kind. It was horrible food and he was always afraid of getting sick eating it.
     The dudes in gen pop ate hot meals because they walked to where it was served. He was trying to get back to G4 so he could walk to chow. In the chow hall it was important to have eyes in the back of your head because you never knew who was gong to start trouble with you, but it was worth it for a hot meal. It wasn’t exactly fine dining but it was better than what was slid through the food slot.
     Jamie had lost a lot of weight since he was locked up because he couldn’t choke down a lot of what was given to him to eat because it was so bad. No use complaining about it, though. It wouldn’t change anything. Jamie looked down at himself. It was getting hard to keep his pants up. He hadn’t been this skinny since he was a kid, and he was chubby then, too.
     He heard laughing and the bang of a food slot slamming shut a few cells down.
     “Oh, you thought you was gettin’ food tonight?” he heard one of guards say, laughing.
     “I’m sorry,” he added sarcastically, drawing out the words. “I guess they forgot about you in the kitchen.”
     A few seconds later he heard, “Too bad if you’re hungry. It’s not my fault. It’s too late to go get more. I’m not your servant and I’m not going to make a trip to the kitchen just for you.”
     The guard’s voice started to get a threatening edge to it because the dude in the cell wouldn’t quit talking and getting louder, too. The guard only worked here. He didn’t make the rules. If he wanted to keep his job he did what he was told, and he was told to bring food to only some of the inmates. Was he supposed to care if they were hungry? They were fucking criminals. They should be glad he brought them anything at all. Sometimes he felt like a goddam babysitter.
     “So I guess it’s no dinner for you tonight,” the guard sneered as he turned to walk away. “You’ll have to wait until morning. Deal with it,” and continued on to the next cell.
     His drawn out Texas twang had a nasally sound like he had a marble stuck up his nose. It grated on Jamie’s nerves like hearing fingers scraping up a chalkboard.
He could hear the dude in the cell raise his voice, calling him every name he could think of, but that only made the guard laugh. He turned around and stood there, far enough away from the door, hands on his hips where he couldn’t be reached through the bars. What a dick.

Jacking their food happened at at least for one meal a getting food. There was no reason for this. Messing with the inmates might feel like a sport to the guards but it would end up causing a lot of problems for all of them. You can only push people just so far before they come back at you.
     The guards were finding ways to make the segregation inmates miserable. No one was going to stop them. They were probably encouraged to do it. Even if they all filed a grievance about it nothing would come of it.
     It didn’t do it at every meal, but it happened enough times to make them all worried about being hungry. The food might not be worth feeding a dog, but it was the only food they had. Sometimes, when they brought a tray half the food was missing when they put it through the slot.
Some of the dudes planned to get even with the guards because they had nothing to lose if they got in more trouble. Some were going to be here for most, if not all of their lives anyway. They didn’t care.
     The day before, an inmate cut an officer pretty bad when he didn’t get his food. A lot of these dudes had a weapon of some sort they had made. They could get creative when finding materials they could sharpen and turn into a something they could stab into someone. This dude was waiting for just the right time and he cut him. He was lucky he didn’t kill him. What did the guards expect? They thought they could be assholes and no one would try to get even? These dudes had all the time in the world to plan what they were going to do.
     Fires were set inside the cells and there were no fires extinguishers anywhere to put them out. It caused a lot of chaos and it was a mess to clean up. Others flooded the halls by stopping up the toilets and overflowing the sinks. It stank in here. The heat made it worse. Imagine breathing in that stink with every breath you take and you can’t get away from it.
     Jamie didn’t want to be included when the officers retaliated so he drank a lot of water when they passed him by with no food and didn’t say anything. He wasn’t going to react emotionally. It wouldn’t do no good. It wouldn’t make them bring him food, so he was better off in the long run if he just let it pass.
     Joining in when they started getting crazy wasn’t a good idea, either. He tried to stay cool. The last thing he wanted was to do something stupid he would later regret that could get him written up or have more time added to his sentence.
     That is where this was headed if it didn’t stop. He guessed that was what Sonni meant when she wrote about cause and effect. What he chose to do right now could affect his future and he needed to make the right choices.
     The officers were taking it out on everyone on account of that guard getting cut. It wasn’t right, making all of them pay because of what one dude did, but that is the way they did things in here. There is no justice on the outside and there is damn sure no justice on the inside.
     Jamie tried to do his best to cope with everything, but sooner or later he knew something would happen. Things got crazier every day as it got hotter. Tempers rose. Days went by. Hopefully things wouldn’t get any worse.

The next month didn’t get any better. Each day was like the one before it. When the heat started rising in March everyone knew it was fixin’ to be a long, bad summer. No way they were going to spend the money for AC unless they were made to do it legally.
     Money the prisons paid out to families 11 people died was less than the cost of installing an AC or heating system. The winners cold get pretty cold, too. There were a few articles written each year but nothing was done and when it got hot the next year they wondered if would be bad enough to make the prisons fix it. The newer prisons were built with it, but not the older ones.
     Jamie passed out from the heat one year. When someone gets that hot, and they haven’t been given their meds every day, it puts those people in danger who have high blood pressure or diabetes and other illnesses like him with epilepsy. But it keeps happening.
     This year bad heatwaves were happening everywhere in the country, even up north. It seemed like it was getting worse every year. It was up over a hundred for weeks. That meant it was doubly hot for inmates in the south.

It was mid July and Jamie hadn’t heard from Sonni in more than a month. She had been saying the doctors told her to expect July would be her turn for a transplant because she was getting close to the top of the transplant list, but there wasn’t an exact day and all kinds of things could go wrong.
     The reason she moved up the list so fast is because two cancer tumors were growing in her liver. If one more developed they would take her off the list because her chance of surviving the transplant would be less. If one got out of the liver it would over, too.
     He wished he knew why she hadn’t written. If something happened, what if no one told him? The more he thought about it the more he worried. Add to it that it was so hot breathing was an effort and the water that came out of the faucet was rank. Terrible as it was he couldn’t drink enough of it. He couldn’t drink enough of it because he was so dehydrated.
     There was nothing to do and nothing new to read. He didn’t feel like re-reading his books again or more time so he took out his letters and began reading them from the beginning. They were in order by the date so it was almost like reading a book. Some of the letters were almost memorized. He knew all the good parts. He held the images they created in his mind and tried to imagine living inside the stories.
     He laid back down on his bed and had almost fallen asleep when he heard the mail cart outside his door along with his name being called.
     “Cummings. Mail.”
     Jamie jumped off his bunk and moved the few feet to the door. A Jpay letter was pushed through the slot. He thought it was from Sonni until he looked closer. It was from her sister, but she must have used Sonni’s Jpay account. He recognized her first name.
     The waiting was over. It was finally over. The relief was overwhelming. She had the liver transplant two weeks ago and was home now. She hadn’t been able to write or type, that is why he didn’t hear from her. He was right in feeling so unsettled. He had been worried about her because he didn’t go this long without hearing from her, but she was okay. The stress of waiting was finally over. They had talked about the transplant happening for a long time.
     The letter was dated, July 17th, 2012 and this is what her sister wrote:

“Sonni has asked me to write to you. She finally had her liver transplant on Sunday July 1. The six-hour surgery went well. She spent 10 days in the hospital and they have finally sent her home to start the slow healing process. Her recovery is amazing. She wants a normal life so bad.
When I visited her on Saturday she told me she had received a letter from you. It will be some time before she can sit at her computer but she wanted you to know her long wait and surgery were finally over. She looks like my sister again, not a puffed up marshmallow. I know from our talks she cares alot about you and she didn’t want you to worry.

Take care and I know she will write herself as soon as she is able.”

On August 6, he got his first letter from her. He could tell it wasn’t easy for her to type. He was relieved to finally hear from her. Life was going to be rough for her for awhile but she made it this far and the transplant was over now.

” dear jamie-im getting a little better every day. slow and hard. i tried 2 send u money but my card was out of date. i have 2 call 4 a replacement. im learning how to walk n talk all over again. i am bored we each have a cell but i know that yours is much worse. i chanted nam myoho renge kyo so hard in my head-screamed it. pain meds dont work on me and i have felt everything they did 2 me.but ive turned a corner n its a little better. i think of u every day hoping u werent 2 worried. everyone has their own choices and does things that cause unhappy things to happen. my grandfather taught me from childhood – To thine OWN SELF be true. no one can know u really. some think once a loser always a loser. that isn’t true because i guess that would makes me a loser 2 – former drug addict and all that comes with it. i just didnt get caught. u arent a loser. neither am i. i have to go. nurse is here. be good! Mom”

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Jamie’s letter: Open The Cage and Fly

May, 11 2017

Sonni, how are you? Fine I hope. As for me I’ve been down and depressed lately. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about everything. Me, my future, how I’m going to take care of Jamie, my uncle who you say died in which no one told me about, only what you told me. Anyway that’s just part of it. There is still us and the problems we are having with our families. Then to make things worse there is the problem of not being able to see my son.

Texas flag
Texas Flag source code: theintercept.com

I’m allowed to buy books and magazines now if I have money in my account. It’s a long process though because I have to sign papers and they have to take thumb prints. Why thumb prints? Anyway in your letter you spoke about the summer heat. Yes it is heading this way again. (Hot) Hell yeah. There have been days I would pour water on the floor and lay down in it because it be so hot. There are also times when I don’t turn on the fan only because the heat would be too much for me. Yeah the good ole summer. I have passed out at least three times from the heat. The last time was when I was put in the hospital for a few days at the Wynne unit.

So my brother Antie has married yet again. Wife number three. I haven’t been to any of these weddings but I did meet the first two wifes. I thank you for wanting to send photos, but please don’t worry about it. I don’t even look at the ones I have. I don’t think about family. Why should I? They don’t think of me. They could never get together and come see me. Not ever. No one will have to worry about seeing me when I come home. (Hell) If I make it home.

I’ve been here so long I think crazy things. Look I just want to live my life. Family and friends yes I want. But I would rather just enjoy life with my son. I’ve always wanted to tell my son’s mother that I hoped she was happy who she was with. I never once tried to bring her down. I only wanted to be a good friend and father to her and my son. I was young, unemployed with a child on the way. I was scared, but not as scared as I am now. I know my relationship with my son hasn’t been good or easy. I know because I know how it feels.

Only difference between him and I is he knows me, only a little piece of me. It’s all my fault. I have not held my son in almost nine years. I was hoping to hold him in 2015 on my birthday when my mom came with my nieces when I had my one contact visit. I only get to see him when you come down to visit.

Anyway we are on lockdown. We should be off by the time you get this. I’m trying to get help by talking to these people. It’s not helping though. They have another unit I can go to, to talk to a doctor. The only thing is I would have to sit naked in a room for a day or two first.  Why?  It’s just the way they do things. Speaking of being in a room I wish we was sitting next to each other talking. Not in here but somewhere peaceful and quiet. I would like to talk about my life. The only thing is I try to erase as much as I can. Why? Because my life has not really been a life.

It’s been painful since 2000. I don’t think I ever told you I was sent to juvy for nothing. The real reason. My life ruined as a boy, for nothing. Back then when the police busted into my house and hurt my mom I never assaulted that cop. It was my little brother who hit him with that broom. I was the one charged for it. He was really young. Too young for juvenile detention. He was only defending our mom. I went to court and the lawyer told me and my mom I’d only have to do nine months, nothing more. So I took the sentence think that was all I was doing was nine months. I did it for my little brother. Then they wouldn’t let me go for four years and put me in solitary confinement because I got angry. My life has been down ever since. I have been so lonely and left out of so much. My life has been a waste. Every one I loved rejected me. How am I supposed to deal with that? I know I need to get the hell out of Texas, but where would I go? How do I do that with my son? So many unanswered questions.

It is hard having so much time to think. I miss seeing you. I wish you could visit. My time is 2/3 done if they don’t let me out. This is going to be the hardest time to do. It’s hard not letting it get to me.

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Depression, Chronic Illness and Solitary Confinement

cartoon4 

I’m not a professional so I can’t say for sure I know what I’m talking about. I only have my own observations of people who suffer from depression and also the what I’ve read. Depression is very real and it can be debilitating. My intention is not to make anyone uncomfortable or make light of their situation. I am only trying to understand something I don’t experience except on rare times when life temporarily gets overwhelming.

I’ve read the blogs of many people who suffer from depression and other chronic illnesses. Reading experiences is a best way to understand what they go through rather than only reading medical articles.

We all have deep sadness sometimes, and it can go on for a long time before we get a grip on it. Something happens to us sometimes we can’t find a place in our brains to put it, so it is always right in the front part of our thinking and it can stop us from living.

I’ve had times when I was down. It happened more when I very sick but I would find a way to pull myself out of it. The teachings from my practice of Buddhism gives me hope. I’m sure people of other faiths rely on their faith as well. I could that but sometimes people can’t.

Jamie has suffered suffered from depression since he was a child. Would it have been different if he didn’t have epilepsy that resulted in seizures from birth to present day? How does it feel knowing it will never stop unless science comes up with a cure?

How does a child deal with a hopelessness?  Do people think, “He’s only a kid.  He’ll snap out of it?”  Jamie doesn’t like to talk about it. It took a long time for me to understand  what it did to the relationships in his life with family and friends. It knocked his self worth down to nothing. Writing about it brings it back. He prefers to keep it locked away. It will have to be his choice to unlock it. Maybe talking about it could help but it is not my decision to make.

seizure webmdcom

I know there are different kinds of seizures and they affect people in different ways. It must be a dreadful feeling to know one is starting and it can’t be stopped. There is nothing you can do. Is there a feeling of embarrassment, not wanting to show what you think is your personal failing to other people? Do they talk about you behind your back, laughing, if they wanted to be cruel or even feeling sorry for you like you are a broken. It has been this way for him since before he even knew what it was.

I asked him if he could explain to me what it felt like. He wouldn’t, really couldn’t tell me. To write about it in detail would be like reliving it. It was too much for him. It was then that I finally realized that epilepsy was the underlying factor for everything. If this one biological thing had been different it would have changed everything in his life, but it couldn’t be changed. He tells me when he has another seizure and he tells me if it was bad enough to be taken to a real hospital or if the guards just let him lay there because they don’t want to do the paperwork. The prison is messing with his meds and won’t give him what he knows will work so the seizures are more frequent than necessary. But he doesn’t go into detail about the seizure itself. We do what we need to do to protect ourselves.

Would talking about it begin a healing process? Not to change epilepsy itself, but would it change what it does psychologically? I don’t know, but I do think that years of stuffing it down has caused insecurity that is easily rattled and it begins another episode of depression he can’t stop. Being completely alone in a cell with no one talk to makes it worse.

When that happens if he feels it is hopeless why should he even try to go on. No one will bring his son to see him unless I go to Texas. Family, his son, and my daughter all live in Texas within a couple hours of the prison.  Has anyone else made one trip to this prison? No.  In the past ten years he’s been locked is he not worth visiting, even when they learned he also has problems with his heart? No. I don’t have enough money to go often enough.

His family ignores him. He recently tried again and wrote to them – with no response. Would that make you depressed on top of everything else? The total lack of caring makes me angry beyond words. He sold his food for stamps because he couldn’t go to the commissary. Not meaning to make it worse for him, I waited too long to answer his last letter because of everything else I’m writing and he began thinking I was gone. I left him. I was mad at him. He thought he did something wrong. He has lost the one person who has been there for him nonstop all these years. I’ve been his rock and it was like I died. It sank him into a depression where he stopped eating and used sleep to escape.

He wrote a letter and poured out all the pain he was feeling, convincing himself it was all his fault. I felt horrible. But that day, after he wrote and sent that letter, he received my ten page letter. Because of things happening in my life it took about a week to write it –  in pieces. Sometimes I think he’s stronger than he is. Is it because I want him to be stronger?

I do know, and always have known, if I had never written that first letter he would not have made it this far. My daughter would still not be taking their son to see him. He is supposed to understand how hard it is on her yet she doesn’t understand the power she has to destroy him – or to make him happy. She doesn’t want for him to be happy – because of me. She’s angry at me for being there for him. His family would also still not be in his life. No one would be paying his medical fee, so his care would be even worse than it is. Medical care is not free.  I’m on disability.  It takes me months to pay off the fee and still have enough for a few basic necessities. He still would have no one who cared if he was okay. It doesn’t matter that Jamie’s son needs his father. Not “a” father – but his own father.  If I wasn’t there his depression would have destroyed him –  completely.

jamie cummings
Father on the left and son on the right – both eight years old.

His mother had him in therapy as a child and other times in his young life. It didn’t begin in prison. Because there is literally no help for those in prison who need it, when an inmate is locked up alone it often causes harm that can’t be undone. There are so many articles in the media about what happens to the mentally ill in prison and no one can seem to change it. Jamie is not mentally ill, but he does need people who care about him. He does NOT need to be made worse because the people in his life think he’s not worth their time of day.

He’s a big man, 6’2″. He is physically strong. He looks like he should be strong. But no one can see inside his head to find the scotch tape piecing him together. My daughter is very angry with me because she said I’m not allowing her to “let him go,” as if I’m doing this to her. She said my relationship with Jamie is gross. She’s angry at things I don’t even understand because it makes no sense. There aren’t any sides to take even though I feel as though I am supposed to take one. What is there to choose? She is my daughter. I love her and always will, but to do this will not make her happy. 

I don’t know why she is so angry except maybe this makes her look at things she doesn’t want to see. Jamie has asked only one thing of her – one thing.  To see his son.  He loves him.  Being a father gives him purpose when he doesn’t feel he has any.  It is not a big thing he asks.  My daughter does so much for her children.  She is a good mom – except for this.  It’s too much trouble to do this one thing. Give up an afternoon and let their son spend son time with his father.  Don’t do to your son what your father did to you – ignore you.

When Jamie got my ten page and realized I hadn’t left him – I was still there – he immediately wrote another letter and apologized. I can’t take for granted he will understand if I wait too long to write. Do any of us thoroughly understand what it is like to spend years locked away from all communication – away from people? We can’t. We have never been through it, let alone for ten years. There are inmates who are locked up for three or four decades. Are they supposed to come out of that okay? Did it accomplish anything good or productive? No. It’s cruel.  I will NOT be cruel and give up on him because I know there is a reason for me being there.  I see in him what he is capable of.  And I won’t let him give up on himself.  It is not an option.

I will continue to try, to learn, and help others if I can. This isn’t about me. It is about how I can use my life in a positive way. If anyone else doesn’t understand that I can’t make them understand. Sooner or later his family and I will meet eye to eye. I can’t promise to keep my mouth shut.

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Inside The Forbidden Outside – Sometimes They’ll Give You Candy

I feel empty. My head has nothing new in it. Every day, same old thing.

I used to think the hardest part of being here was having to do the time. Don’t get me wrong, that is hard. But the hardest part is filling my head with something to think about that doesn’t end up making me crazy. Everything about my life makes me depressed – or angry. None of it has a good ending. I still have a long way to go. I better find a way to keep a grip on things.

It’s hard not to think about Morgan. It makes me feel so sad and alone. I see her life moving on without me. She has the kids. She has our son. She’s the one who gets to watch him grow and learn. She takes him to school, does his homework with him and watches him learn how to ride a bike. She’s the one who has to discipline the boys when they fight and gets to cook dinner and wash his clothes. She gets to do all the family things. She bakes birthday cakes and takes him trick-or-treating. She sees his happiness at Christmas when he opens his presents. I want to be able to do those things, but he’ll be all grown up before I get home. I’d like him to fall asleep next to me as he watches TV so I can carry him to his bed and tuck him in. I want to help him with his homework. I want that so bad. Now there’s some other dude who is raising my son and I don’t like that. He can’t love him like I do.

I know I must sound petty and jealous but I can’t help it. As more time goes by and I get done grieving about everything I’ll be better. Right now it is like a death, but worse, because I know she is out there. I know sooner or later I’m going to see her and all of this will come flooding back. Will I want reasons and explanations or will I just let it go, give her a hug and say it’s good to see her. I hope I can a bigger person than I feel I am right now. I wish I could be a bigger person but sometimes I can’t.

I make up things in my head and pretend I’m there on an ordinary day, but the way Jamie sees it, I’m not there. He doesn’t know me. I’m just this person he hears about, if his mom talks about me at all. What does she tell him? Does she tell him good things about me or does she put me down when she’s tired and angry at me? Does she tell him I’m a loser? Does she make me an example of someone he doesn’t want to grow up and be like? I don’t know. She doesn’t talk to me much so I don’t know what she says. Does she tell him that no matter what, I love him? Does she tell him I’m sorry? Because sorry is the biggest thing I feel. I let him down. He deserves a father he can count on.

Morgan used to always sign her letters with, “I love you every day and twice on Sundays.” I don’t think she thought how many Sundays it was going to be. Still, I hope when I get out we will still be able to get together as a family. I think it’s important for kids to see their mom and dad together. She rarely had that herself and I know how hard it must have been. We should try to do better for our son. I go back and forth being angry at her and angry at me. If we had a chance to talk about it maybe we could understand things better. But since she never comes that will never happen.

By the time I get out here, if I have to serve my whole sentence, Jamie will almost be an adult. He might say, “I don’t have to listen to you. You don’t have the right to tell me what to do. Look what you did to your own life.” He’d be right. Look what I have done to my own life. I wrecked it. I can’t blame anybody else for anything I go through in here. I don’t want him to end up like me. That would kill me.

The only good thing I did in my life was help make this boy, but really, all I am is a sperm donor. What kills me, there are so many men who leave their families voluntarily. They don’t want them. They don’t want the responsibility of taking care of them. They don’t care. They don’t want to give their hard earned money to their x-wife or girlfriend to help them. Their anger, when their relationship breaks up, makes it okay to punish the kids, too, while they try to get back at the woman. Some of them just don’t give a rat’s ass because they’re selfish. I would give my left nut to be able to help my son and be there for him. I love all Morgan’s kids. I loves them like they were my own. I’d gladly be their dad. When they were little I loved playing with them. They were my family. It was the happiest I ever was. I feel like I hurt their lives, too.

So yeah, when I have to think about something, what else do I have to think about that makes me feel good? I’ve done nothing but cause misery to people my whole life. I was a burden to my mom with my medical problems. This is what happens when I have too much time and nothing to do with it. My mind goes on and on and I can’t make it stop.This is why men go nuts. They have nothing else to think about.

No wonder nobody writes to me. They’re probably glad I’m out of the picture. OK, it sounds like I’m only feeling sorry for myself, and maybe I am, but what else could be the reason why I never hear from anyone? Really? What possible reason could they have? Maybe, they were too busy with there own life to include me in it. As more years go by i wonder if it will change. I’m not even close to the halfway mark. Maybe when I get over the hump it will be different. I wonder, though, do they think when I get out, we’ll just pick up where we let off like I was only away on a trip and now home and pretend everything is okay? Or are they just used to to me not being there and never give it much of any thought. We lose so many of our race to prison. We grow up expecting it. It’s no shock when people go to prison. The police in this town go after every black person they see, man or woman. It doesn’t take much to get locked up. We didn’t live in the rich side of town so no one has any money to get an attorney. If you got arrested, You were screwed.

The town I lived in, Nacogdoches, between Houston and Shreveport, La, was a university town. Steven F Austin University, added a lot of students during the school year. But I didn’t know of any black kids who went to school there. It wasn’t that long ago when the streets in the black part of town weren’t even paved. There isn’t much to offer high school kids when they got out of school. There isn’t anything there for me now. to want to goback there to live.

*******************************

I began to hear the opening and closing of food slots down the hall so it must be time for breakfast. They wake us at 3:30 and feed us at 4.:30, which is another way to mess with us. There is no reason to look forward to breakfast. There are only two different breakfasts. The bring you three tiny pancakes and a tablespoon of peanut butter or two biscuits with peanut butter. The only time it changes is when they put us all on lockdown. Then they cut the peanut butter in half as a way to punish us, but to also save money. Anything to cut costs. Who cares if we are always hungry. What could we do about it, complain? Who would listen? We get just enough food so they don’t kill us from starvation. I’ve heard about major hunger strikes that some of the prisons have had, to try to get better treatment. There aren’t many ways to get people’s attention. A hunger strike is one way to do that.

When the guards want to punish inmates they serve food loaf. I think it’s leftover slop that is on the verge of going bad. They mash it into a loaf, cook it again with something that makes it stick together, and slice it. It is some of the grossest food I have ever tried to swallow and most of the time I don’t even try. It isn’t edible. They shouldn’t be allowed to give it to us, but who is going to stop them? The longest they are supposed to be able to feed it to us is six days. You get it for all three meals a day. But the last time they did it to me they served it to me for for sixteen days. They broke their own written rule – because what they did was starve me. I would have gotten sick if I actually ate it. They do what they want to us. The inmates who go to chow have it better. They get hot meals. Most of it is still slop, but it is better slop. You also get bigger portions. Even when they bring food to the cell I’m supposed to get a hot meal every three days but that’s a joke. It doesn’t happen. Who’s going to stand by and make it does?

A bad thing about going to chow are the fights. The guards start some of them, or they get one of the inmates who owes them a favor to start it. Someone will push someone or say something to start a fight. If that happens to me I can’t just stand there. If I do, everyone will think I’m a punk. There will always be someone trying to get someone else to fight. Even if a guard sees it and know the truth you can’t expect him to stand up for you, or even tell the truth. I tried to get a guard to tell the truth one time because he knew I didn’t start the fight, but guards always back each other up. I pushed it because I knew I was right, and the guard retaliated and wrote up a case on me. I got me into trouble and was put in lock up. Sometimes it’s better not to go to chow and get my meals in the cell instead, no matter how much I want to get out of this tiny space. The guards don’t like me because I speak my mind when they do something wrong. That gets me into trouble a lot. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. It’s a no-win situation.

“Cummings. Food!” The guard yells in. I hear the bolt slide and the narrow door open. He slides the food tray in and I take it. Yum, I think to myself sarcastically, we get pancakes today. If I’m lucky, tonight I might get Chicken Delight or Porcupine Balls as the main meal. The guys in the kitchen steal food from the guys who get their food taken to the cell, so I don’t get the portions I’m supposed to. Often it is only half portions. Since I’ve eaten in the chow hall I know what the portions are supposed to look like. But if i say anything they will end up spitting in my food or worse. If I lose anymore weight all of my bones are going to stick out. So I take the tray and sit down on my bunk and pick up a book to read. I have a few and I’ve read them more than once. I read and eat. Maybe later I’ll write some letters. Even though I don’t get answers to them, I still write. It gives me something to do. Most of the time I throw them away. I write because it gives me a chance to vent. But what is the point of telling them the same things I’ve already told them? If they didn’t answer the last letters, why would they answer these?

Later, after the guard comes back for the food tray, there’s a bang on my cell door and a guard yelled in, “Shower!” Finally, I’m going to be taken to the showers. They’re supposed to take me every other day, but that never happens, either. The guards are so lazy. All they are, really, are babysitters – and people to beat you up if they want. Being taken to the showers is one of the few times I get to leave my cell. In the summer it is the only way to get some relief from the ungodly heat. In Texas, these prisons are over 100 degrees for weeks on end. Washing off the sweat and grime is the only pleasure we get. We only get five minutes so we have to wash fast. Sometimes the showers are really dirty and moldy, but at least it’s water.

I’m also supposed to get an hour of rec every day, too, but it isn’t what most people would think of as rec. That’s why they say we are on 23 hour lockdown, but that doesn’t mean they take me every day. They take me when they want to. They take me to another cell that is a little bit bigger than the one I’m in now, except it doesn’t have a bunk or a toilet. It’s an empty cell we can exercise in if we want, but it’s not big enough to run in. A few steps and we’re at the other side. But you can jump up and down and do push ups. There’s no equipment or anything to work out with. It’s a joke really. It’s not even outside so I don’t get to see the sky. It’s different at each prisons. If I had in a high security level I could go out into the yard with other people. You have to be in gen pop – general population – to go out in the yard. That can be hard dangerous with all the different gangs. And each gang will command a different part of the yard like their own kingdom. Each gang has a shotcaller; the main man who runs the crew. Being in a gang meant you had to do what you were told. If you were told to hurt someone, you did it, or the same thing will be done to you. You can get really hurt with the different weapons people make and then bury in the dirt. Enough about that, right now I want to go get my shower.

“Turn around Cummings and put your arms back out through the slot. You know the drill.” Then they cuff me, a little tighter than they need to. Two guards come into my cell, strip search me, and tell me to squat and cough in case I’m hiding something up my butt. It’s humiliating. They chain my wrists to my waist and my ankles are cuffed with a chain between them so I have to shuffle to walk. There is only about a foot of chain between my feet so I’m not walking anywhere very fast. The showers are quite a walk. They are under the prison so we have to walk down several flights of stairs to get there. It’s no fun in chains. There are six of us going and when we’re done they will take more down. They take us to this big room that has a line of showerheads along the wall. Other guards brought down other men. There is no privacy. They uncuff us so we can wash. You know some of the guys are sizing you up for possible of sex. The joke about not dropping the soap in the shower and bending over to pick it up, is very real.

I know a lot of things can happen in the shower so I’m always aware of what is going on around me. Someone could get gang raped and the guards would let it happen. It could even be consensual sex, too. A dude might not be gay but when he isn’t getting out for a long time – or maybe not at all, there are some that will have sex any way they can get it. They better not come near me. I won’t go for that – no way. That is why I was born with a hand. Some of the newer prisons have showers in the cell. That might be good for obvious reasons, but it is one less time of being able to get out of the cell. You also can’t take a shower anytime you want, or in the summer the inmates would be standing under a steady stream of cold water. The water gets turned on for five minutes and then turned off. Just like the toilets. You can’t flush them when you want. They automatically flush a few times a day, so you better be careful when you crap or you’re going to be smelling it all day. They feed us a lot of beans, so with no ventilation in a tiny cell that is over 100 degrees, it can get pretty smelly.

Prison guards push men on men. They probably do it in women’s prisons, too. The strong always go after the weak. Inmates don’t have any control over anything in their lives so they try to control each other. Weaker and smaller people often give in, for their own safety, because they think they will have someone to protect them from other predators. Guards are sexually abusive to women, too, and they don’t have anyone to go to for protection. A lot of it starting to come out in the news more and more. It’s ironic that the people put in charge of guarding the criminals are often worse than the people they are guarding. Some the guards should be locked up for the things they do. It’s not all guards.But these guards who see what is wrong can’t report it because they will get demoted or transferred or have some of the guards after them. If they want to keep their jobs they are likely told they need to shut up about it and mind their own business. Bad guards give all guards a bad name, just like cops. The only ones you hear about are the bad ones.

In the men’s prison we are made to believe man on man sex is the “norm.” It’s okay to have a “punk.” They don’t think they are gay if they just let someone give them head, or they don’t think they are punks if they are the ones who do the stickin’ and not the one getting stuck. The guards promote this to tear us down and to separate us. It causes problems and fights and sometimes people get killed because of it. A lot of men who have big time end up laying with men because to go without sex your whole life will make you nuts. They think, “You do what you gotta do.” But not me. Ain’t gonna to happen.
There are many women who work here that are willing to sell themselves or just give it away. There is no excuse for men to lay with men unless that is what they want to do. I’ve seen men who only have a two year sentence get swallowed up in that game. There are a lot of predators here who have the “gift of gab” and have finessed a great game. They can talk a dude into giving up his virginity. I’ve seen it happen and it’s been tried on me, but I’m perceptive enough that I picked up on it after their first few sentences, even if they didn’t actually say anything provocative. The only thing they got from me was a dismissal. Some will get the hint, and then there are some you have to repeatedly drill it into their head vocally or physically. I can take care of myself. You have to do something about it because word will get around that they conned you into doing something you didn’t want to do, and you will never be able to live it down.

Sometimes they’ll give you candy, which is the oldest trick in the book. If someone ever puts a candy bar on your bunk and says you can have it, “It’s free,” it’s not. After a few more times of them giving candy to you, and you taking it . . . one day he’s going to want something in return. He’ll say, “I want that same candy bar back.” And you’ll say, “How am I going to give you back that same candy bar?” That is when you find out what you are about to lose. Back around thirty years ago it often cost lots of money to keep men away from their unwanted advances. Pay or play, and not just once. You paid, over and over to keep the last of your virginity. As inmates were fighting to keep themselves intact, the guards would just stand there and watch, or turn their heads away, but they didn’t stop what was happening. They fought them off until they couldn’t fight anymore. Laws were passed so they can’t extort money from you anymore, but they have finessed it into a game that still sucks in the inexperienced. “Let’s have a smoke together,” or they’ll bring food from the commissary to share. But nothing in prison is free. These men hit on men the same way they hit on women. Buy them a meal and they expect sex at the end. That hasn’t changed. They will try to convince the guy it won’t make him gay. He’ll tell you he won’t tell anybody. Within days, though, everyone knows and thinks you’re his punk and nothing you say will change that.

Like I said before, it’s safer to stay by yourself and do your time.  Trouble always has a way of finding me, so I try to keep out of its way.

I want to thank everyone who has been following this blog and those who have been reading the chapters of the book as I write and rewrite, finding my way.  I’m very determined to do this, and do it right.  Between writing the book and writing for my two blogs, and writing long letters to three inmates, and writing music, I write from late morning until wee hours of the next morning.  Any hours I haven’t filled I am studying the art of writing.  Where do you put those damned semi-colons? Every time you share something, you help me tremendously.  Every new address on the mailing list gives me more credibility for publishing.  I hope you continue to give me pushes in the right direction.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Chapter List:
A Message From Someone Who Cares
Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story
The Nightmare
A Roof Over My Head, Three Squares a Day and Free Medical

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Sometimes I Ask Myself, Why am I still Alive?

cartoon4Mom, in your letter you said you feel sad for me. Don’t be. Lonely is something that has always been part of my life. You are the only reason I have not lost my mind. Remember that, okay? I love my family so much. No, I can’t explain why. I can’t explain anything. I don’t know why they made the choice to not help me or come to see me. Sometimes I ask myself, was I that bad? I know I caused these things to be in my life. It is my karma. No one else is to blame. But what did I do to cause me to not know who my dad is or even know if he is alive? Will I ever know who he is? It was hard growing up knowing my brothers and my sister’s dad but not mine. My mom did everything she could to take care of us kids. I love her for that. I would never turn my back on her. She has never hurt me, at least not up to my 32nd birthday when she said she almost aborted me because my so called dad wouldn’t leave his wife. That hurt. Right then I forgot all about the visit and was on another planet.

HEAL A DAMAGED HEART    by Sonni Quick  copyright 2016

I sometimes ask myself, why am I still alive? Up till now you didn’t know this, but I cut my left wrist twice since I’ve been in here. Remember when I was moved to the prison in Richmond? I was only supposed to be there for a short time. I was happy because it was closer to Megan and my son. I thought she’d come see me but she didn’t. They moved me there because of my depression. I was refusing to eat. Sometimes I have wondered if I’ll make it out alive. Not only because of what they might do to me, but because of what I might do to myself. I have fought depression ever since I was a kid because life has been so hard.

No one could know how hard it is, always being afraid of the next seizure. They are so painful. Having them in front of strangers. Making a fool of myself. Knowing they were talking about me or maybe they were making fun of me. It’s probably why I had no friends growing up. They were afraid of me or their parents made them stay away from me. I’ll bet the guards make fun of me. Maybe that’s why they pushed me so hard. Maybe they want to see me have one. All of this made me so angry and sometimes I needed to be angry to keep going. It’s easy to say life isn’t fair but if what you say about karma is true, I’m getting back in my life something I caused and I need to learn something about myself to understand it.

Unless someone had ever been here and had to be alone for so long, there is no way to understand how your mind takes control. Every day I have to fight with myself to be the one in control. I read your letters over and over about you telling me I have value so I have to fight for my life. When I read your letters I believe you. Knowing you are out there helps me. Many dudes in here have no one and they go crazy. There are lots of crazy people in here.

I’ve been waiting for six weeks for my property to reach me. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get it. I think the lady in property at Wynne unit lied to you. I have talked to the property lady here myself and still nothing. I’m trying so hard not to flip out on these people.

( Sonni’s note: I called the Allred Unit and talked to the warden’s office. His secretary did some checking and called me back. He just had his belongings delivered. They don’t send it through the mail. They send it to the main prison until they have enough other belongings to send of other inmates to warrant a trip to that prison. Then it has to be gone through to make sure there is nothing he shouldn’t have. That process took two months. It doesn’t matter if that inmate doesn’t have anything he needs. Anything that matters to him is in that locker. To lose it would be devastating. While he waited, I sent him another box of 30 paperback books from http://imailtoprisons.com so he could keep his mind busy. Melvin sent him money so when he got his new ID, because a guard at the other prison destroyed his, he was able to go to commissary and buy paper, envelopes, a pen and stamps. But he had no addresses other than mine because he memorized it. This letter I received 3 days ago. If anyone wanted to write to him, the easiest way is to send him an email to: mynameisjamie2@gmail.com. I would then forward it to http://jpay.com. They print it out and deliver it to his cell. If you want him to write back put your address in it. You can also send an email directly through jpay using his ID#1368189. It costs the value of one stamp per page and one stamp per attachment if you send a picture. If you wanted to send any money so he can buy food – coffee, Raman noodles, canned food, snacks and hygiene products – you can do that at moat, too. Right now I’m paying off his medical fee for this year so he can call medical. It costs to see a doctor our even a nurse. But If for any reason you don’t want to pay the cost, I’m more than happy to send your mail for you. Letters from the outside mean so much. Just send it to the gmail address.)

I have nothing to read to give me that encouragement. No books that you and Melvin sent me that teach me how to change my life. I fight inside myself to stay alive because I don’t want to disappoint you after all these years you’ve been there for me, trying to get me ready to have a life outside here with my son.

I’ve wondered what it would have been like for me if we had not been writing each otherBlack and white hands and you helping me. Truth be told it brings tears to my eyes because I know I would not be coming home. I would be lost in the system. So right here and right now I want to say thank you. I love you for all of your help and support as well as encouragement. And I can’t forget the love. It’s been too long for there to not be love. Sorry about that, my feelings just popped out. (smile)

Til later, love you.
p.s. Tell Melvin I’ll write soon and thank you.


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Chapter List: For “Inside The Forbidden Outside”  currently being written

A Message From Someone Who Cares
Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story
The Nightmare

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“A Person Can Have More Than One Mom,” His Mother Tells Me.

(Sonni’s note: before you get to the end of this letter you will see evidence of what I have been saying about the lack of decent medical care. Simple procedures for people in pain. They will not do anything they can get away with not doing – and that is medical among other things. It screws up their profit margin)

Nov, 29, 2010
Hello Mom, Good Evening,

So how are you doing? Fine I hope. As for me, well, I’m a lot better now that I’m out of lockdown. As for the trouble part. I’m in a cell by myself. I could be here for two or three months before I get moved. So I’m not worried about the trouble part right now, mom. Only when the time comes for me to move. However, I’m sure I’ll know how to handle the situation when it comes, mom.

As for the phone privileges, yes ma’am, it’s the one thing I pray we could get around to.It would mean a lot to me to be able to speak to you, Megan and the kids. They will only do land lines. Cell phones they won’t let us call ( Sonni:s note: That rule was changed recently and they do allow cell phones, perhaps because many people no longer have land lines. ) Well, it’s been over two years not this has been going on. The system is crazy. Officers bring in all kinds of stuff. Yes, even cell phones. Anyway, two years ago one of the inmates called the governor. They sent him and his family threats. It may seem like it has nothing to do with outgoing calls, However the lady said they can’t keep up with all the cell calls. I think it’s because not all of them are contract lines. They can’t keep up with the prepaid phones. So I’m sure they’re not going to let it happen. The only way for me to call to Pa is to put your mother on my list. I don’t want to put you through that trouble. Oh, you’re on my visitors list. Actually, you’ve been on it over a year now. I was hoping you was going to come to the prison and visit one day when you come to visit Megan and the kids. ( Sonni: note: it was exactly three more years before I was able to make that visit. I am hoping to go back this coming Sept, two years after that visit. )

Yes, it would be nice to get transferred closer to home. The weather, it gets chilly down here. It has snowed a few times as well. This prison has no heat.

it's okay to have more than one mom,Jamie Cummings, prison visits
photo credit: bing.com

Family, well nothing has changed. I wrote my brother and mom the same time I wrote you. Neither one have yet to write back. So much for help. I guess I need to give them more time. If they don’t write this week I know they probably aren’t going to. Sometimes I think they won’t write me because they don’t want me to ask for help. however, I know they will help me if they can. So I’m really trying to find out why they don’t write. Maybe I’ll find out later. Right now I have to concentrate on getting home.

( Sonni’s note: he’s still waiting for that help to come. After nine years, I don’t think it’s going to happen. On the spur of the moment, before I lost my nerve, and because I didn’t want to make it worse for him, two days ago I wrote to his mother. It was a nice text. I didn’t have her address. I talked to her one time recently about Jamie’s early life for the book I’m writing and it was a good conversation. We talked for two hours. So I wrote to her and told her I was having trouble paying the prison medical fee this year, $100, so he can call for a doctor when he needs it, because of his medical problems. medical is not free. Everyone has to pay that $100, and since many people can’t, they don’t don’t ask to see a doctor even when they are really sick because going even one time cost $100. Once it is paid then he can use it for the rest of the year. But if you have no one to pay it for you, you’re up the crick without a paddle. I’m sure he has already told her this, so I don’t know if my asking will do any good. It’s not a lot of money, except that I only have a disability check and I also send a little money for commissary and maybe a couple books. I have covered all the things he has needed by myself. I thought, what can she do? Get angry because I asked her if she would help pay for something for her son? Feel guilty for allowing me to take care of something family should at the very least help pay? This is why he calls me “Mom”. Because I took over the role of being his mother. She knows he calls me mom and said it’s okay. “A person can have more than one mom.” she says. At least I got past that hurdle. I didn’t know how she would take it knowing he called me mom. I guess he wrote to her and told her himself because she already knew. I wasn’t trying to alienate her. I’ve been trying to fill a very big hole. She will always be his mother and will love her no matter what. It’s just hard on me to hear him be so despondent at times because I know how much he wants to hear from her, and waits and waits and waits. Every child, no matter how old he gets, at times, wants his mother. He wants her to say that it’s going to be okay and it helps him get through another day. Severe depression in prison is very common. I haven’t heard anything back from her yet. yet.)

About commissary – yes, there are a lot of people who are like me. Also there are people who trade and sell hygiene products for goods. There are some whose family cares and some that don’t. I want to thank you personally for caring mom (thank you). No, I didn’t have nobody to help me with my attorney. I was talking to some dude about my case. They said I could try to get a time cut. As I was talking to them I remember my brother saying something about ten years. The thing is I was never told nothing about ten years. So I’m going to try and get a time cut. They will help me in the law library. Hopefully it would help. If not there’s nothing wrong with trying.

I feel it’s always been hard. Not just for blacks but for everyone. There’s a lot that makes it hard for everyone. Things like school, family, work and society. It’s the way life is hard. and stressful. Life isn’t easy, you’re right. We all go through struggles. We’ll make it through it. I’ve been riding it out for five years now. I pray that things will change.

About my knee. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. When it swells up it stays swollen for like a month and a half. It goes down and then swells back up. it’s crazy. Sharp pain over my knee cap. It’s both knees but I have more problem with my right. I stretch it all the time. I told the doctor it needs to be drained. SHE SAID,”THEY WON’T DO IT.” ( caps are Sonni’s) Well, I need to get this in the door before they pick up mail.

Love always, Son
P.S. Thank you Mom