Time. More time. What does it mean, Jamie thought. So many countless hours of time were spent trying to figure that out. How does he use this time he was given as a sentence? Why is it called a sentence? Because there is an end? This was time stolen from him he can never get back. Never. Time that was meant for his son.
He didn’t have a record before this. It wasn’t like he had been in and out of jail. Juvenile detention didn’t count. He did that time for his brother to protect him. Yes, he was with the dude who had a gun and robbed a club, but he wasn’t the one who did it.
He panicked and ran and got caught. What was seventeen years in prison going to change? There was no point to this. Did it take that long to know he had to pick better friends?
He had no friends. He was never free long enough to make friends that mattered. There was only Morgan and the kids. That is why it mattered so much. She was the only one out there that had been part of his life except for his family. Now he was in here and he needed someone out there where he mattered, someone to come home to. He had to face it; she wasn’t going to be there because she went on with her life. To continue thinking about her being there was stupid and it always made him feel bad.
Jamie sat there with tears in his life, like he always sat there. He closed his eyes and rocked back and forth. He tried to think of something else, but he couldn’t. He was tired of thinking about his memories. They were worn out.
It wasn’t a good feeling knowing he was as a prisoner because they said he was a danger to society. His side of the story was pointless, so he was convicted and sentenced without anything from him. That’s how they do things.
So he guessed he was lost, hidden somewhere in this concept of time. Time to eat. Time to shower. Time spent on lockdown. Wasted time. Endless time. Time to sit and think. He didn’t have enough to do to fill the time.
Jamie spent a lot of time staring at the walls. Strange, when he thought about it. He spent his time like he was feeding coins into a vending machine.
Sometimes he kicked and beat his hands on the walls when he got fed up and wanted to lash out. It was how he handled frustration. But today he sat calmly on his bunk and stared at the wall, imagining a different world on the other side. He could see through it if he concentrated. When he focused, he could see his son playing outside and talking to his mom, asking where his daddy was and if he was ever going to come home. Thoughts like this killed him with pain, so why did he do it to himself, over and over?
Jamie remembered when he was young he wondered where his own father was, and why he was the only kid in the family who didn’t have one. He learned to not think about it because it didn’t do no good. He never got a real answer so he stopped asking. He didn’t want his son to go through the same thing he did, but he was and it hurt to know it was his fault.
How could he shake these feelings when they crept up on him and went round and round through his brain? Times like this he missed Morgan and his son the most. If only things could have been different.
The feeling of loss settled on his heart like a heavy blanket and suffocated him. He felt so alone.
How good it would be if he could sit and have a conversation with someone today, just to talk about stuff. No yelling to another cell, but a real talk. Yes, he had Sonni, and they talked. It helped a lot, but that could be him going crazy. He had to think about that. It wasn’t normal. If he told anyone they would for sure think he had lost it. But he hadn’t seen her in weeks. He hoped she was okay.
Jamie sighed. The more he tried to pass the time the slower it went. He laid on his bed and stretched out. Then he turned on his right side and curled into a fetal position. He wrapped his left arm around his knees so he had something to hold and put his other arm under his head. He laid there, slowly breathing, not moving.
When someone goes to prison his head changes. He’s not the same anymore, he knew that. He had to grow up, but without experiences that would teach him the right way to do things. He had little wisdom.
Will people he knew only see him as he was years ago? What if no one took the time to see who he became? Have they changed, too? There were so many things that happened since he got here that have shaped who he is today. More will happen.
Jamie hadn’t gotten used to the changes that happened to him during his four years in juvenile detention before he ended up here. What did he learn about life? He knew he didn’t have enough practice living on his own. Here he was, a grown man, and he hadn’t experienced yet how to take care of his own life and how to deal with the problems of everyday living without someone to lean on.
He might think he would be okay and make the right choices but he only knew what he knew. He didn’t know what he didn’t know, if that made any sense. Could he count on people helping him when they weren’t helping him now? One thing was certain, though. He didn’t have to wiry about it right now. He wasn’t going anywhere.
He spent far too much time with his own thoughts. Why did no one think he needed help to survive. He wasn’t thinking just about money. He needed to know he mattered. He wanted to knowWas he not worth it anymore just because he was in a prison?
No letters came asking him if he was okay. Did he need anything? Without Sonni . . . he left it at that. He didn’t know what he would do without her, and she was so sick. It wasn’t fair to expect her to be there.
If someone took the time to find out how he was, where did they take it? Did they leave it wherever they took it for someone else to find? Did it get lost, too? If it was found, would the time be added to the end of his sentence? He was losing it.
These were the thoughts that could drive a man crazy. When he left this prison one day he would not be the same person anymore. He would be a stranger to everyone.
He won’t have to worry about that for a long time because there was still a lot of time to go. Go where? Insane? Hurry up and wait.
This was how Jamie spent his lonely hours. No matter what, his mind never stopped. Time became the enemy and he wanted to scream, to prove to himself he still existed. No wonder so many dudes in here went crazy.
Doing time, that was how a prison sentence was described. “How much time did he get?” The more time you got told people how bad the crime was, whatever you did, or didn’t do. What was scary is you didn’t have to commit a crime to get a sentence of time to do. You only needed to be accused of something to get put in here and if you or your family didn’t have the money to pay for an attorney you could kiss a chunk of your life away. It affected poor people the most, Blacks and minorities. The kids all seemed to lose their dads at some point.
Someone might say he didn’t get enough time as if how much time he got could make a difference and make everything be okay again. But frankly no one cared how much time he had to do.
Doing time. How can you “do” time? What do you do when you do time. He almost laughed trying to come up with an explanation for that. He was bored. He had nothing to do. Maybe time will stop.
This was his life – every day. Every single damn day. This was how mental illness snuck up on you if weren’t careful. He tried not to have conversations with himself, speaking both sides as if he were talking to another person. What if someone listened?
He stopped placing and stood silent for a few seconds. Did anyone hear what he and Sonni talked about? They had to. But did they hear what she said? Or was it only in his head? Maybe he spoke both parts? That couldn’t be possible because he could hear her, and he didn’t know what she was going to say, did he? He didn’t dream up her part of the conversation. At least he didn’t think he did. No one ever said anything about hearing him talk to himself. That was too weird.
Then he remembered the first time she came to visit when he called the guard to his cell. He couldn’t see her, so he thought his secret was probably safe.
Jamie wished she would come+ again soon. It had been awhile. He hoped she was okay.
The holidays had finally passed, his birthday, too. He was glad of that. Get these depressing feel good days over with because they didn’t feel very good to him. Starting with Halloween, a kid ‘s fun time he will never get the chance to experience with his son.
Then came Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and his birthday. All that happened in a little over two months, bang, bang, bang, and it was depressing. Now he waited for Valentines Day. He knew by now he would spend it alone. It was just another day.
Laying there he fell asleep. He slept so much that one day an officer came by and asked him if he was okay. Sleeping was one way to pass the time, back and forth from reality.
Everyone dreams. . .
Jamie woke up and found himself walking down a driveway. “What the heck,” he murmered to himself as he looked around.
There was snow on the ground and the sidewalk that wound around to the front door of the residence had been shoveled and cleared. Funny, he should be cold because he was only wearing his prison whites, but he didn’t feel cold even though it was January. The air felt weird, like the time he went to the hospital. He wanted to experience it as long as he could.
Jamie had never been in snow before. The only snow he saw was in pictures. He glanced at the back of a car in the driveway next door and it had Pennsylvania plates. This must be Sonni’s house. He couldn’t see any other reason to be here.
He walked over to a mound of shoveled snow and kicked it. Snow went flying. Jamie laughed like a little kid. If anyone was looking, what would they see? Snow flying up like a breeze hit it? He bent down and gathered snow in his hands and formed it into a ball. Doing this impossible thing while in a dream was amazing. He threw the snowball and it shattered apart when it hit the tree.
The last time he came to see Sonni was because she was too sick to travel. He was afraid that was the reason she had not come to see him for so long. . .
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