Life After Lockup


  The abundance of green that raced by his window made him feel slightly sick. It wasn’t a colour he was used to anymore. His palette had changed, his world view a limited skew of browns and greys. The yard he’d frequented for the last ten years had been beaten down to nothing but sun bleached soil, hard and cracked underfoot. It was strange to think that he would never set foot there again. Though they’d just left, taking off in a storm of dust under his sister’s new wheels – new to him at least – the memories were nostalgic. He was scared to be out. Relieved, yes, ecstatic, somewhat, but terrified at facing the world again. A world that, for all intents and purposes, wishes he was back where he came from, safely behind bars. Just thinking about the pen made him thirsty.

  He slid a crumpled back from his pocket and tapped out a deformed cigarette, placing it between his lips with fingers that refused to stop shaking. His sister looked over at him from behind the wheel. She was a good sister where it counted. She’d visited him and continued to visit as the rest of them fell away. Long after the embarrassment became too great for Mom and Dad. Longer still since his girl had told him we’re over through the perspex. But his sister, she’d never given up. And here she was, driving him home.

  “I forgot you smoked,” she said, covering a grimace with an awkward smile.

  “Mmm,” he grunted as he reached for the lighter embedded in the dash. He knew she didn’t approve but her disappointment wasn’t enough of a deterrent to quit day one. He’d always planned to stop when he got out but it had barely been five minutes. He lit up and sucked in and his nerves abated for now. His stint had been long and hard but at the same time unbearably easy – life lite, as it were. An extended childhood of rules and regulations and curfews and meals and friends and bullies and punishment and authority.

  Life – living free, that is – it doesn’t get much harder than this.

~ by Joseph Blame on February 1, 2011.

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