Wednesday, August 22, 2007


August 22, 2007 - 6:22 a.m.

Every morning at 6:00 a.m. the day shift comes on duty. Shortly thereafter they walk around the entire pod, stopping at every cell to call out your name for count. You are supposed to respond with your six-digit TDCJ number. It's become so ingrained into my Circadian rhythm that I can usually respond automatically, barely slipping out of sleep. Except every once in a while it is a female, and her voice hits a certain pitch and timbre, and suddenly its not her voice I'm hearing, but Her voice. I stumble out of sleep, and I'm suddenly turning to the left, towards Her side of bed, reaching, reaching, reaching with the logic that seems so certain in that half-state and so pathetic later, that if I can just reach her, just touch her shoulder for one second, everything will be all-right. But then my fingers hit the concrete wall, and the dream is severed and I'm back in Hell, and I can hear someone that sounds an awful lot like me repeating my numbers. I lay there afterward staring at the ceiling and the hole in my chest is so large that I don't know why my heart won't just do me a favor and stop beating. God, I pray, just kill me now. Then I think about my Dad, and about the Biblical amount of pain I've caused him, and I snap out of it, totally awake now. My awake self knows my responsibilities to my father, and my Father, but at six in the morning, in that twilight state with the sunlight barely seeping through my little window and her face burnt into the backs of my eyelids like some demented after-image, all I can think is, "More of this? More of this? Fu** that."

© Copyright 2007 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker.
All rights reserved.

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