On January 3rd, 1995 I was sentenced to life for the murder of my father. Its took three years on trail so by then I was nineteen. On that day I had come home from school. their loud voices were coming from down the hall, then a bang. My dad was lying in a pool of blood, my mother was shaking with a gun in her hand.
I was sixteen years old at the time.
I had knew of him cheating on my mother, I knew of him having a another that died after child birth, I knew of his drinking problems and of his gambling addiction. My mother hated it, she always hated, she would cry to me at night; when I was younger I’d see with my aunt doing the exact same thing.
I did not know she was angry with him enough to kill him.
I was scared for my mother, and I didn’t want to risk losing her. She wasn’t my real mother, but I had the need to protect her like she was my real one. So I turned my self in to the police for the murder of her parents.
No questions of evidence, no questions of motive. All they knew that I was covered in blood, a gun was in my hand and there was a dead man lying on the floor with a bullet in his head. I remember walking out hand cuffed.
My mother was at the door, cleaned up, crying her pretty little eyes out. She was good enough looking, she’d find another husband, make a family and forget about me
I remember her saying to me that I’d be out and we would meet soon. For some reason or another I believed her. I kissed her the cheek, said my goodbyes. That wasn’t going to be the last time I saw my mother.
I just knew it. And she wasn’t going to be alone.
I was tried as an adult on a San Fran court. The judge showed no mercy. He had asked me with a straight face did I have any remorseful feelings for my father. I could say with no hesitation.
When I was being introduced to my cell and cell-mate, reality set time quickly. How would a skinny, pale skinned, black haired, blue-eyed kid like me survive in here?
My assigned inmate number was sixteen on cell-block D. I had been the youngest person inside the prison at nineteen, from this day forth I’d be closely breathing the air of Molesters, Pedophiles, and true murders.
There was a intensely built Latino guy, with wise and usual green eyes, and wavy chestnut hair. His skin was decked out in vibrant colors, inky black cursive letters that said protector. :Torres fresh meat in here,” Said the gruff, short security guard with a rough southern accent.
It was beyond me how anyone could understand what he said.
“Hola.” The deep voice was followed by a chuckled as I was pushed in His attire was a white shirt, grey slacks and brown work boots. I had been assigned the same clothes, along with two pairs of briefs. “Ramon Torres. But you can call be Ray.” “Amie” I said back, shaking his outstretched hand.
His eyes were a bottomless olive green, they seemed so calm and inviting for prisoner. ‘His were all beauty and truth.’ Thats what I used to myself in journals, letters I wrote in prison to myself for later. The atmosphere around him seemed a bit edgy, somewhat dangerous, but it see-through. Like it was a small facade and what was bigger was worse than that.
Much, much worser.
“Welcome to Wonderland.” “Why do you guys call it wonderland?” He looks at him, takes a deck of cards, then shuffles them, eventually putting them down.
“Let’s just that this prison is rabbit hole. Everyone falls in, but no one comes back out. No one wake up, like a never ending dream.”
That had been the few things I had heard from Ray that said he was free thinker in most of things that happened around him.
“So what brings you to our Wonderland? You don’t seem the type to do anything serious.” And I wasn’t the type. Hell I couldn’t even hurt a fly if I had to. “I killed my father,” I said this with a monotone, like it wasn’t a lie, although it was.
“What about you?” “They caught me with drugs on my way to New York,” I raised my eyebrow at the explanation but kept quite for a second. “How’d your parents take it?” “I ain’t got no parents. My Ma died little while ago. My pops left her after she found out she had HIV,” He looked at me then took a cigarette from his pack and on up. “You smoke?” When I shook my head no he laughed.
“Your a cute kid,” He studied my face, then stared at my eyes. “You ain’t going to survive one day without Jerome makin’ you his bitch,” I froze to my spot and stared at him. I’ve always heard stories about stuff like that in prison stories, but I’d never thought that I’d be here myself.
Well shit happens you can’t stop much of the stuff that happens in life, but there some things you can control.
“Were you his once?” “Nah, Nieve. I set the record straight that ain’t nobody’s bitch.” Nieve? “What Nieve?” “That’s you, Snow. My nickname for ya.” I laughed climbing to the top bunk of the bed. “Only if I can call you ray.” “Agreed, Nieve.” And that’s the first time I met Ray.
A little later the gruff intercom voice came in summoning us all to eat. Before we went, Ray whispered in my ear and said “Stay by me and you won’t get hurt.” Then I didn’t understand what he was truly saying, but for my own safety, I followed him anyways.
In there I saw the meanest, toughest looking men alive.
They were women and I was just a boy.
“Hey Ray!”Ray turned around to a lean, buff dark-skinned guy came up to him, shook his hand, then looked at me. “Who’s this?” “Amie, the new kid on the block. Amie this is Jerome,” I looked Jerome, instantly felt fear in chest, my heart raced like a midnight train.
I stared into his eyes, the deepness of those eyes frightened me, I decided that as soon as I met him. “Nice you Jerome.” I said as I said this, I kept myself behind Ray, somewhere it was closest to being safe. “Why you hiding, boy?” “Ain’t none of your business Jerome.”Ray spat at him coolly like the conversation was nothing to him.
Jerome looked at ray, then looked at me, the stare struck thrill in me. It was not a pleasurable kind. “Ray, don’t push my ass. See you later white boy.” When he walked away the Latino boy turned around, took me by the shoulders, looking into my eyes.
“Are you alright Nieve?” “Yeah, his eyes just shake me,” Ray looked at me again, then he said, “Your just too innocent for murder. Now Amie, did you really do it?” I glanced at him before shifting my eyes back down the prison’s floors.
“No I didn’t.” “Then why did you say you did it then Nieve? There’s not man in here who would take the wrap for someone else.” His dark eyes pierced into mine, it most made me wince, like I was grazed with a bullet.
“If there was someone you loved, you’d do anything to protect that person wouldn’t you Ray?” He thought for second, “I don’t know Nieve,” then he thought again. “Who did you love enough to turn yourself in?” “My mother. Not my real one though. I panicked when I saw she shot my dad. I did the first I always do, I put another person in front of my own safety.” He reached over,
“What happened to your real mother?” By now we were sitting down eating the lunch from the cafeteria. It was meat-loaf, mashed potatoes and small cup of water. “I don’t know. My family said that she killed her,” “Because of what?” I mouthed my father, he nodded then pushed his food to me.
“Here eat.” I looked at him, at the plate, then back at him. “Don’t you need to eat?” “Nah, Nieve go eat, you need it for your strength,” I nodded at him, continuing eating. His stare was on me, those green eyes gave the same thrill Jerome did, but they caused me comfort.
“Was your mother pretty? Was she nice?” Ray smiled at me, rested his hand on his palm, the other one touched my hair.
“She was beautiful- I got my eyes from her. When I was six she contracted HIV. It was from some weird blood transfusion. My pops left her ‘cause he thought she was messin’ around, but I knew she wasn’t. My Ma was the kindest woman I knew at the time. I never told anyone how much I missed her,” “I think if I had met her, we would been great friends,”
Ray gives me peck on the forehead, which makes me rub it off.
“I’m not into that Ray.” “It means thanks, Nieve. My Ma used to do it to me all the time, so now I’m doing it to you.” A bell had signified it was time to back to our cells. Ray got up and I followed. I couldn’t sleep that night- no matter what I did. All I had on my mind was Ray.