Prison life is a constant grind up. You get use to being ground verbally, hell, sometimes physically, but, it all makes you a tougher human being. Hard, inside and out, you learn to carry on through whatever the next grind up may be. Some can't handle the pressure. Many have failed to adjust, and crack like an egg dropped from space. Those that survive, learn an aweful truth about the precious gift of time. You see, time is a strange thing in prison. It moves dramatically slow. As if it too is putting you through the grind-up. You must stayed mentally occupied. Some collect rocks, others read an entire library full of books, but young Kris wrote. He wrote late into the night to escape. To wrote early in the morning to rise away from the noise that spiraled around him. He had, without knowing it, beat the grind of prison life from within. He only needed time to do the rest in freeing him.
Anyway, this day brought a lot of verbal grind, the kind that is cheerful and welcomed among most crews that work behind bars. It's a cold laugher, that comes and goes quick with the territory. Crews love to joke around when time permits them a shot at laughter. It is entertainment. Kris new this all too well. Kris was new to this crew, but, he was not new to the grind.
This is his true short story;
After drinking a much desired cup of coffee, the work boss and three employees left the cold drab office and headed out to the work site. For two of the employees, whom, were dubbed the 'wonder twins' the trip outside the prison's double fences was a regular occurrence, but, for the third inmate on this work crew, it was a milestone. This was because he had already spent nineteen years behind razor-walls and fences.
As they all approached the first gate leading to the control building, Kris's heart began to palpate with excitement. Once inside, the inmate workers placed the barcode on their ID cards up against a biometric that also required finger print verification. Each worker placed an index finger on the small screen to be scanned. Orange light…Green light… Clear. The inmates handed their ID's over to the sergeant inside the control booth. He was a smug looking man with deep cold eyes that reminded Kris how bad he wanted to get beyond the razor-wire and feel a touch of freedom. "Davis," He snapped cool yet direct. "Why don't I see your name in my log book?" A name missing from the log book meant certain deferment from outside duties. "What?" Kris thought to himself. Kris stepped closer to the window and calmly answered, "Check under the receiving and discharge file, Sarg." The sergeant harvested the correct file, paused while inspecting the paperwork, and replied, "Ok, you're good to go." The steel door slid open. The work crew made their way up the ramp toward the exit, while joking about the delay in Kris's outside clearance.
The wonder twins stepped through the doors leading to the prison staff parking lot first, then the work boss, then Davis. "Thank you God," Davis said, as his eyes photographed an amazing wooden gazebo, smooth river-rocks, and the cloudless sky that often drifted above them. He wondered if it was just him, or did the blue sky look more beautiful from outside, the air smelled fresher, and sounds of nature more prevalent and clearly singing whatever it is nature sings about.
The wonder twins hopped up into the back of a Ford F-150 pick-up truck used for work details, and Davis sat in the passenger seat. The truck darted off down a bit of road, then, drove through a wooded area. The work boss stopped the vehicle at the water plant. He got out and checked the locks on all the gates. "All secure," he said to himself. Davis exited the truck and exhaled deeply. He closed his eyes and took in the freshness of both the cool evening and the wooded surroundings. Even though the trees had not sprouted their leaves, yet, Davis was still in awe over their vivacious appearance. So much so, that he walked up to one and felt it's trunk like a child examining one of God's many wonders for the first time. He surveyed the thin branches as if he may never see one as extraordinary ever again.
"Tree hugger," The wonder twins grinded him up jokingly, then, everyone violently laughed till it hurt. The work boss climbed back in the truck. They all followed suit like silent pawns in a greater game of command and control.
Next they drove to a boiler room. Inside, an unfamiliar newspaper caught Davis's eyes, Ugly sticks, camping gear, and 20 oz. of peanut butter on sale for $3.99. Good deal. While cleaning out the office, a spray bottle of lemon-scented Lysol caught his eyes. So, he sprayed it once, sprayed it twice. The smell was new to him. It was almost intoxicating. He did not remember Lysol smelling so free.
The crew wrapped up their work. They all got back in the truck keeping the same seating arrangements. The breeze that blew through the window was so refreshing, exhilarating. The boss glided back to his parking spot. Upon exiting, Davis locked the door, and rolled the window up. Back inside the prison, it was not a solemn moment for Davis; instead, it was a joyful one.
You don't know how much you can enjoy the small things God has given you, until you have been locked-down for more than nineteen years around men with deferred dreams pushing their actions. You don't know how much the little things can make you want that old feeling back. That night, Davis rested in his bed, filtering out the sounds of madness around him, remembering that great glimpse of time, while witnessing God's perfection. You see, His perfect design is for each of us, in our own ways, to get a touch of freedom.
Prison life is a constant grind up. You get used to being ground verbally, hell, sometimes physically, but, it all makes you a tougher human being. It all makes you enjoy the simple things in life. Put God first in all you do. No matter if you're behind bars or running a corporate organization, there is only one thing I am one hundred percent certain about…We will all die one day. The cars we drove, nor the amount of money in our bank accounts will not matter. How we spend our time here can help with the greater touch of freedom God wants us to belong to.