Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Day 31

Wednesday September 20, 2006: Today I had my first visitor as a detained suspect of violent crime. Being 40 miles away, in the furthest jail possible from where I lived might just turn out to be a positive thing. The visit itself with my friend Tommy was nice. He tried to keep the conversation lighthearted and joke, but Sisyphus had an easier task. The fact our conversation was conducted through a pane of thick protective glass, and spoken through telephone, did nothing to lend normalcy to our chat. There was so much wrong with having to speak to someone in this manner, I hoped never to have a visit again. Leaving the visiting area, to begin the series of hand-offs taking me back to my cell, I felt an oppressive sadness come over me. Running over the things Tommy said, the comings and goings of daily life as a human being rather than a societal miscreant, seemed so far away and removed from my life. The urge to cry was felt as strong as it had been since my arrest. Already my mind was taking me through future projections, of where I might be, and who I’ll never see again, and who I might see again. Always the thoughts went to my children, with whom I already I had missed so much. Calculating their ages – in a worst case scenario - the next time I might see them made me simmer with anger as much as induce sadness. Even if one is not a criminal deserving incarceration, certainly life has been misguided at best, and immoral in scattered but consistent patches at the worst times to be in such a mess. All I could think about in the wake of my visit were the people gone from my life. The sense most were gone for good overwhelmed me. I could not exhibit the least sign outwardly of my crushing sadness, lest the jackals who feed on other’s pain would rise on their haunches at the scent of weakness – as a shark detects blood droplets in the ocean from great distance - never passing on an opportunity to derive joy from someone else’s pain. I knew letting someone read my state of mind could lead to trouble, because in my entire life, I never experienced the urge to simply beat someone senseless as I was experiencing when I could pull my mind from sadness. I fluctuated between rage searching for an outlet and sadness seeking a deeper hole inside me in which to hide. Never seeing anyone I cared about again was a real possibility, and the circumstances, regardless of my role and responsibility to them was held apart from my newborn desire to hurt someone, anyone I could perceive as deserving. Right after the visit, nearly everyone was deserving. I began to reason to myself, ‘If I’m going to prison for being a violent thug, why not get my money’s worth.’ It was natural to rationalize violence in this setting, but under no condition did I think I might succumb to the notion violence would help. Now I did not care if it helped.