Surely it must have been a mistake, I thought. So I tried again.
*RING**RING*There are several virtues and qualities in which I am sadly deficient. Taking a hint has never been one of them.
"You have a call from an inmate in..."
The days rolled on and time numbed all of my other non-legal related pains. Or if they weren't numbed, then they certainly paled in comparison to the legitimate possibility of a sixty-year sentence being given to me (it ended up being 6 1/2). And besides, significant stretches of time between contact was nothing unusual for the two of us; ever since I was 13 our relationship has been off and on. More often off than on.
So after being sentenced and shipped from Grant County, Kentucky to Terre Haute, my days became absorbed by the monotonous routine that makes up life in prison and the absence of my mother dulled from a pain to an occasional, almost natural, ache. Like hunger.
My roommates would often ask about my family. I'd tell them about my father's translating business or my sister's soup-vending operation. For most prisoners the only family member present in their lives is their mother, so I would often be asked about my mom.
After going through the lengthy explanation of the situation between us a few times, it became too personal, too painful and too embarrassing to go over and over again.
Especially when someone reacted by informing me that "Wow, you must have been a shitty son."
Whenever someone asked me about my mother after this, I just told them she was dead. This served the dual purpose of getting people to immediately drop the issue and also assisted me in coping with the situation, because after a while I think I actually started to believe it a little.
Of course this is an exaggeration; I never consciously or subconsciously believed she was dead. But it was a convenient conversation stopper.
Mom would enter my thoughts in waves. Sometimes weeks and weeks would go by when I would be wrapped up in some sort of prison drama or recreation project and would think of her very seldom.
But when the roller-coaster went on the incline, she would consume my mind for weeks, inciting a rainbow of emotions ranging from sorrow to anger to nostalgia to regret. After a couple of years I figured she would respond and we would flip that switch to "on" again. A mix of stubbornness and fear that she still wouldn't respond prevented me from doing so. I can't count how many times I wondered who would "break" first.
I guess this means I won. Funny, I sure don't feel like a winner.
Now I find myself in the miserable position of telling my mom that I can't call her or visit with her because I have been in the hole for nearly a year. Surely this news will reignite the loving, maternal emotions buried deep inside her ever since my career as a dedicated fuck-up began. Right?
I remember my days in the streets when time passed so rapidly that my decisions were made on nothing more than impulse. Now just the opposite is true: With entire days and weeks spent in isolation, every aspect of my life is completely over-thought and over-dramatized. Concerns morph into fears which compound into delusions. I love my mum more than she knows and of course my letter will be well-received regardless of my circumstances. Paranoia be damned.