Monday, July 7, 2008

Divorce, Birth Mothers, Hospitals...Life Is Good

With all of the things going on in my life these days, I have taken some extra time to reflect on my life. I am very comforted by the fact that things could be much, much worse. About 20 years ago, I was in a very …. rough spot in my life. I was mixed up with the wrong people, into a lot of things that I should not have been and had the misfortune of landing myself in situations that would forever change my life. I wrote the following story a few years ago, when I was trying to get through some undealt with emotions. I am not sure why I am posting this other than keeping my current situation in check…things are not THAT bad.

From early in the day, the cellblock was busier but quieter than usual. This always happens when something big is coming. The quiet before the storm. The Black and Latino gangs seemed to have more distance between them than usual. As the day drifted on there was a lot of quick meetings and whispering happening within the gangs. The rec yard and mess hall were tense, yet uneventful, which was far from typical. Looking down from the third floor balcony, the common room looked like a pair of hypnotic eyeglasses, swirling groups of people on either side and a few misplaced guards in between.

Gangs in lock up are simple yet complex. They can be quite large but only the top three have any say on what happens that day. Many have no interest in being in a gang, or taking part in the insane schemes, yet protection…a family is an unavoidable need.

It was about 8PM when there seemed to be a lot more scampering around. The volume on the TV was turned up as the Latino leader and his 2 under-bosses emerged from their “office.” Simple gestures by him sent the Latino soldiers on their missions. As a group of about 15 men all converged on the level one balcony, the lookouts began signaling. There seemed to instantly be 2 dozen Black soldiers surrounding the Latinos. At first there was just a lot of tough looks, talk and pushing going on. The tension was high, it felt as if it were 100 degrees on the block. The looks on everyone’s faces were looks of fear and confusion mix with honor and duty – reminiscent of soldiers on a battlefield. With another nod from the leader everything seemed to start moving in slow motion. 3 men entered a cell. Outside it was like a scrimmage line on a football field. Hitting and pushing with nobody gaining ground. Moving nearer, There were glimpses of a fellow block-mate backing into the corner of his cell, with his comrades unable to help him. The sight was frightening, even though he was the enemy.

As the muffled calls for help emerged from the cell, it was clear to everyone that his time had come. There seemed to be a slight pause before the view of stabbing motions filled the cell. All watched quietly as the victors emerged from the cell with blood-soaked hands. Quickly, with tear-glazed eyes, the sight of people running, weapons disappearing and smiles from the balcony were seen. It was clear that many involved were filled with hidden emotions. Beneath the smiles and cheers, it was easy to see the fear and sadness. Returning to the cells, hearing the jingling of keys on the guards’ belts as they ran into the block, everyone laid in their bunks, closed their eyes…all this for a carton of smokes.

10 Comments:

Insane Mama said...

Baby, you are so brave to share this part of your past, and I know that you have grown and healed from this horrific time. You have seen and experienced a lot more than one person should have to.
M

Mama Dawg said...

Wow. I got nuttin' else except that. (and not in a bad way)

Anonymous said...

That was brave of you to post. Thanks for sharing, it must have been scary!

Lula! said...

I admire you. Good stuff...keep writing.

leezee52 said...

I'm glad you turned your life around and your writing is awesome!

Please write some more!

Lee :)

Rhea said...

Oh, man, that sucks. That certainly puts like into perspective. :o(

Rhea said...

oops, puts LIFE, I mean.

flutter said...

You are a phenomenal writer.

Jennifer said...

Wow--very scary stuff and very well-written! I like your blog and I will definitely be back to read more!

christie said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It does help to look back sometimes, even if it is just to see how good your life is now.

 

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