May 14, 2015

The Curse of Captivity

In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening you will say “If only it were morning!” The Bible

Prison Sunrise…I climb down from the top bunk onto a metal folding chair at 6:00am. Its a new day in prison. I can see across the entire range above the 5′ high cinder block wall that separates each 2-man cube. There are 42 men living in this space. I slide into a pair of shower shoes to avoid the fungus that my neighbor has warned is everywhere. He was a surgeon on the outside, and is a real friend and a blessing along this journey. My bed requires 30 seconds of daily maintenance as it nearly remains in a perpetual state of inspection compliance. A thin sheet covers the vinyl mattress, which I can see is blue through the sparse thread count. A cream colored soft-hand burlap type blanket is secured under the foot of the mattress with a knot tied underneath by the two corners creating the required “hospital style” appearance while anchoring it in place. At the head of the bed the blanket is neatly folded over as you would expect, just below the integrated pillow that is molded into the worn out mattress. I sleep on top of this organized package to expedite making it, thereby minimizing traffic congestion in the 30 inch width of shared floor space where my bunkee and I orchestrate our morning departure. Dane is about my height and exemplifies textbook fitness. He’s huge. I’m 6′ 4″ and look like a white collar criminal that took a hard left-turn off of Easy Street carrying 25 spare pounds of pear-shaped embarrassment. I was actually not in bad shape compared to my peers on the outside, but here in prison, I’m frequently asked “Do you have a workout partner?” I can’t think of a nicer way of saying, “Dude, hit the gym!” At any rate, Dane and I take up a lot of floor space in our 8′ x 10′ cube, each of us for completely different reasons. It’s my 17th day in captivity and we have enjoyed a solid two weeks of smoothness in our morning routine which features near silent precision and manufactures the illusion of privacy while facilitating the basics of daily readiness. We haven’t had hot water in our building for over a week as some nice equipment upgrades are in progress to fix the problem where it routinely runs out. The approximate 140 guys living here will have to wait for showers until each can coordinate a trip to the other building where its occupants are trying to do the same. The inconvenience has surprisingly been an uncomplicated disturbance as everyone works well together dealing with it, passing along the latest intelligence when the hot water next door runs out as well. We are told the new hot water system should be up and running in our building in another week or so. Dark green duds donned, chow hall opens at 6:30am. Its typically the best meal of the day for me featuring two cartons of milk that I really look forward to. After breakfast its off to teach math until lunch. I have some cool students preparing for their GED. A couple in particular are eager to learn which makes it fun and the morning seems to fly by before they announce “Recall” and we head back to our bunks to be counted before lunch. I was raised to never wish my life away, but each morning I can honestly say that I wish it were already evening and one day closer to heading home to my family.

Kevin Boardman

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