My brief escape

Sharpe, Darrell

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My Brief Escape The day is cold, cloudy, and a blustery spring day. It is wet with rain, devoid of sunlight, and mimics my mind. As I sit staring between the bars of my cell, just past the fence and rolls of constantia razor wire, I gaze upon the still sleeping woods that surround me. All I see is, dismal, dank, dirty brown blemish to the landscape. The rising temperatures and shinning sun of days gone by, as of yet, have not been able to coax the colorful, luscious green leaves to appear. Both relief and pain are of equal measure in my thoughts. I fight to chase away the painful reality of my current circumstances, hoping that the relief of a comforting reminiscent memory may somehow prevail inside of my mind. I use these memories whenever possible to chase away all of the heartache, loneliness, and despair of the reality I find myself confronted with. I continue to stare outside as the raindrops pelt the windowpane that is part of my human cage. The cold wind whistles through the ancient, drafty window, and the sound of a distant jet airplane echoes in the rain soaked atmosphere. Inevitably my thoughts wander to the contemplation of the destination of this magnificent machine. As I continue to struggle to escape, knowing that any thoughts that can be used to remove myself from the reality of these mundane, soul crushing days behind these bars are welcomed. The thoughts of my children, my home, and freedom of both thoughts and acts are cherished. With a forceful fight of mind, these loving memories rush in. I now see my children; I hear their laughter and enjoy the warmth of a loving embrace as I kneel down to accept their little arms that are tossed around my neck one after the next, I truly cherish this moment. I am then standing in front of my little boy tossing baseballs to him. He swings the bat and makes contact with the lovely white objects that are really representations of my undying affection for my son. These are true memories and not just conjured up fabricated thoughts of times that once were not. I chose as a father must do, to be part of creating these loving memories. As I continue to reminisce I catch some of the baseballs. Yet others fly above my head as they were newly ignited rockets, at a rate of speed that makes it impossible for me to stop. My little boy cheers, puffs up his chest, and struts around like a game roster in- anticipation of the next pitched ball. I lovingly offer these baseballs again and again until he tires and his thirst for this activity are quenched. Afterward, I take him hand-in-hand to the near corner of our yard where a small garden that he and I started awaits. Together we till, the soil once again. We kneel in the dark, rich soil breaking apart any-remaining clumps of earth in our hands. The smell of the soil is unique and difficult to describe. Then we dig small holes of a perfect diameter and depth to accept our tomato, pepper, and bean plants. This too has been an activity purposefully chosen. It instills an appreciation for what the earth can offer my son. With these plants, planted in straight rows, and perfectly spaced- intervals , it's time to move on. The grass in both the front and back yard awaits us both. The grass has been rapdily reaching skyward, that's requiring a much needed manicure. So I gas up the John Deer lawn mower, locate my little son's toy Lawn mower, and ask him to help me by following behind me cutting any struggles that I might miss as I swipe back and forth over the yard. My little boy dutifully does his part. The Sweet smell of the newly trimmed grass permeates the air. My son and I take the time to appreciate the wonderful aroma. With Father/Son time take care of it's now my little girl's time. Daddy's little girl sits patiently waiting on the deck of our home. A tea party is about to begin. As I arrive, my little girl welcomes me, and lets me know that I arrived right on time, for her easy bake oven tea party. The table we sit at is a miniature version of the dining room table that how sits vacant in our home, piled high with the detritus of everyday life that can't wait. I struggle to sit in the pint size chair. It is a struggle that with the proper effort I know I can win, and I do. I then introduce myself to the other guest- my daughters stuffed animal collection and dolls are all in attendance I see Winnie the Poo bear and Barbie. I thank my daughter for the invitation to what I am sure is going to be a wonderful time, and the party begins. We discuss the toys advertised on the television, which are desirable, and others that are not. The tea and sugar cookies so lovingly offered by my daughter are make-believe but this matters, not. It is however very surprising how possible it is to actually taste sugar cookies, if I concentrated hard enough. The crunch of the cookies and the taste of the honey used to sweeten the tea are almost real. After much discussion, the tea party ends. We clean up our mess, and move indoors to the children's playroom. In the playroom we find a miniature version of a fully furnished home awaiting us. As I sit on the floor near the front rooms of her playhouse, my daughter sits in my lap. We start to redecorate process, moving tiny beds, chests, and drawers, the refrigerator and other furnishings to more desirable locations chosen by my little girl. I fight to keep focussed and remain in this very memory, but my concentration is broken as the slams and shuts the doors of those who had just come back from shower time. Its now count-time all over the prison. The counting of each man, as if he were a penned animal, begins as I hear another plane fly by. I listen to it's engines as it streaks by, and I am no longer sitting joyfully on the floor of my home playing house with my little girl. It is the cold, stark, unwanted reality of the present that unmercifully returns back into focus. So I shelf this memory for use at another time. This interruption is only one of the unpleasant, painful, unwelcome parts of me being incarcerated. These memories and others like them will be revisited time and time again, making a brief escape possible with my mind.

Author: Sharpe, Darrell

Author Location: Massachusetts

Date: April 21, 2017

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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