8:30 A.M. – Warkworth Medium Security Prison
For most people, life is either an adventure that should be celebrated, or a catastrophe that can’t end soon enough.
As I awoke to my 5475th morning in prison, I can definitely tell you that I belonged to the latter category.
Our cell doors had opened a few minutes ago, but I just couldn’t muster the will or the motivation to get up and face another ground hog day. The monotony of this place is like a python that finds a way to squeeze your soul just a little tighter with every passing day.
I heard someone yelling something from far away but couldn’t make out what they were saying. My mood was already in the toilet, and so this only added to my irritation. Every Federal prisoner knows that silence rules the morning hours. Some of them had to learn this lesson the hard way.
“THE GUARDS ARE GONE! “someone now yelled again but from somewhere nearby.
My irritation turned to curiosity as I immediately got off my bed, put on my institutional blue jeans and white shirt, and left to find out what all the morning commotion was all about.
Most of the convicts had already left my living block and were gathered down stairs around the central “bubble” where officers usually sat all day to monitor oru tortured lives. A few inmates were already trying to unlock the bubble’s door. I knew that there were weapons in that room and had no interest in being around for the next scene, so I quickly walked away and took another set of stairs that led to the main door of the building.
The prison compound contained four main units that face each other with a court yard in the middle. To my surprise I found the door wide open , and as I stood at its edge I looked outside and couldn’t see a single guard or staff member in sight. I hesitated for a while as I debated whether I should step outside under these strange circumstances. I have never contemplated escape, and the last thing I wanted was to get shipped back to maximum security where I languished for 13 years. I am usually not impulsive but my legs betrayed me and I suddenly found myself out in the courtyard, alone beneath the summer sky.
“Attention inside people,” the loud speakers suddenly blared, “ Please proceed to the main gate. Your days of captivity are over.”
I pinched myself to make sure that I was not dreaming
“Attention inside people…” the announcement repeated itself again.
I remained standing thee, wondering if I had lost my mind; a fear that has haunted me ever since I found myself in the belly of this beast.
This must be one of those conscious dreams, I assured myself as I began to walk towards the long dirt path that led to the main gate.
The sky was blue with mercy, and the sun was bright with friendship. I couldn’t describe to you what I beginning to feel inside because I had never felt that way before.
As the main gate became visible in the distance I noticed a single man standing there beside a black horse. His features revealed themselves to me with every passing step. He was an old man, an aboriginal man. He had long silver hair and wore brown traditional clothing. And he though he held a spear in his hand which he used to lean on, he stood there with such dignity that betrayed neither arrogance nor weakness.
When I finally reached him he greeted me while still gazing ahead into the distance as if he was peering into the soul of the universe. Though his face was worn out by the passage of years, his eyes still glittered like two bright shimmering stars. He spoke slowly. He said that his name was Gernonimo and instructed that I should make my way to the small tent that stood just beyond the gate.
I thanked him and slowly walked towards the tent. When I finally reached it I stood there and waited for permission to enter. “Tanisi” a female voice sounded from inside.
As I slowly entered, I saw an elder lady sitting cross legged on the ground all by herself. She greeted me with a bright and comforting smile that instantly soothed the wounds left behind by all the unforgiving years in captivity.
I couldn’t help myself: tears began to roll down my face and my hands began to tremble. She slowly got up and walked towards me as I continued to weep. She then held me in her embrace just as my grandmother used to, and this only made me gasp as I began to cry louder and louder.
Unshed tears don’t go away, they just accumulate…
“It’s okay , my son,” she said to me as my tears slowly began to subside. We stood there silently for a while until I finally lifted my head off her gentle shoulder. She then slowly stepped back and looked me in the eyes:
“What happened to you, my son?”
“I lost my way…”
“We all do.” She said gently.
“I’m so sorry…”
“You don’t have to be anymore. You are forgiven.”
“Is this a dream?”
“Life is a dream,” she said.
“What happened to all the guards?”
“They are not needed anymore…”
8:30 A.M. – Warkworth Medium Security Prison