Creative Commons License
Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at Super Friends: 10 November 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

10 November 2008

I just heard from my mother. While a similar occurrence may not have much significance to most people, at least no more so than the other daily, weekly or monthly contacts with their faithful matriarchs, getting something in the mail from my dear mum was one of the most mood-and-mind-altering events in my recent history. The last semblance of interaction with her was right after my arrest in May of 2005. It consisted of me calling her house from the county jail where I was being housed, hearing her answer the phone, then listening as she hung up when she realized who was calling.

Surely it must have been a mistake, I thought. So I tried again.
"You have a call from an inmate in..."
There are several virtues and qualities in which I am sadly deficient. Taking a hint has never been one of them.

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.

I hope.

1 comment:

MistrTim said...

Hey Whit,
I guess we don't have to be locked up in a cell to be trapped in thoughts that run wild like a hamster on a wheel.
I can't say how many times I run through a difficult scenario, time after time, testing the many possible permutations of the end result, but never really knowing.
The whole process in itself is a little nutty. I've had to develop a "brake" for the wheel..
It's called "letting go" and letting God.
No preaching here. Let "God" be whatever you want it to be. Good Orderly Direction if you will.
Anyway.. most times when I'm holding on so tight and things get crazy..I realize they are crazy because I hold on so tight.
Letting go isn't "not caring" either tho.. It's just an acceptance. Like in AA
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Letting go is letting God (or whatever) to work in my life.
Sometimes what we do in life affects the most important people in our lives so strongly that they have no option but to sever contact. I hope and pray that all becomes well in coming posts and in your life.
I started at the beginning of this journey you've undertaken.. I'll try to catch up that we are current. you with your posts and me with my comments. Where it's going? who knows.