Twilight is a dim period of time: the end of a day, the end of a night, the end of life. As I ponder how best to introduce you to a life “Behind the Wall” and give you a glimpse into the twilight zone through the eyes of someone who lives there I often find myself meditating on two worlds forced into being by the breakup of one, creating fraternal twins of an individual the same person becoming two. The twin you know remains who he or she was fixed in your mind, the other twin moves into the Twilight Zone and becomes someone totally different, setting in motion a permanent separation, a separation of lives joined by sharing suddenly brought to an abrupt end. How each person responds to these events begins to mold the future at the very birth of the fraternal twins from the individual.
At times I feel as if I’ve awakened from a long coma spent in the Twilight Zone to find myself in the matrix; (but that’s a story for another day.) I’ve awakened to find this world is real for me. At the same time, I’m aware of the existence of the world that is a fraternal twin to the Twilight Zone, that being your world. I’ve grown in my understanding and acceptance of the fraternal twin to my world, your world has moved on in its own way. Far beyond anything I could have imagined. How sure am I that I should now embark on this planned journey that opens my world and the world of many thousands like me to you? I admit that I’m not very sure, but I’m absolutely sure that I must try! I must try for me, I must try for you, I must try for all I loved then and still love dearly now, I must try for all I have left behind in your world that once, long ago, was our world together and at all cost must become our world again!
Upon my taking the first step in this journey, I want each loved one; wife, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, family member and each friend to know and believe I have thoughtfully and unselfishly considered the facts that events setting into place my arriving IN the Twilight Zone of my world created an equal and opposite twilight zone for you in the separate world within which you were left. I cannot say with certainty that I am fully aware or fully know and understand all the pain and struggles you have endured in your world during this time, but I want you to know that each of us inmates here at “Behind the Wall” are grateful for your continued love and friendship. We look forward to crossing each bridge together that reconnects our separate worlds. The building materials for this first bridge we are erecting that can lead to our renewed lives of sharing is our mutual love for one another. A love that can never die, a love that lay patiently within caring hearts awaiting the life giving nourishment brought by us being together once again.
INTO THE ZONE:
Can you remember the gut-wrenching sickness you felt as the realization set in that your loved one was gone and was not coming home for a very long time, “If ever”? It still may be too painful for you to recall. Because of the loneliness brought on by the fear of sudden isolation, you began to feel your loved one had suddenly “changed,” that in someway and for some reason, this change had caused your loved one to abandon you and with each tick of the clock, those , those feeling were confirmed; or so you thought.
With the assistance of many other inmates, I aspire to bring you to an understanding that your loved one had not suddenly “changed”, a much better description would be: we are going through a “mutation”. A mutation forced upon us as the prison doors closed behind us! With the closing of those prison doors, a despair set IN, a despair cloaked in fear of the time it would be before those doors would open to freedom once again. This feeling of despair was deepened by the separation from you and all that we loved!
There are five different levels of incarceration we will share with you fulfilling our mutation: UNITED STATES PENITENTIARY (USP, Medium High, Medium Low, Low and Federal Prison Camp (FPC); each represents a different level of security. We may enter the zone at any security level, from USP to Camp. The entry is totally different at each level; therefore we are going to start at the highest security level and work our way down; Noting that an infraction of prison rules can send us from the lowest level to the highest in the blink of an eye; (this too is a story for another day).
As you were suffering in your sudden isolation wondering why we had cared enough to call, we desire to aid your understanding further that changed, no way defines what has happened to us. As stated earlier, the only term this writer can come up with to accurately explain what happened to me is MUTATED.
I’ll start in the beginning when the door closed: NOT the courthouse doors, NOT the jailhouse doors, the prison doors. A sound that given the words of Socrates, Galileo, Arius, Delh or any of the other great men throughout history, I still would not be able to convey that sound to you, a sound that would almost make “terrifying” a nice word.
Here is what we are going through, a period of orientation into the Twilight Zone. At this initial orientation, we will be telling you about the “USP Level”, noting all levels of orientation are not the same, each security level is different.
At the beginning of this USP security level orientation, we learn that we will have only one phone call per month! As you walk by familiar spots where you and your loved one has shared many happy times together, sick with your own brand of despair; we are learning how to respect fellow inmates. Picture this as you contemplate all the reasons we are not doing things we should to reassure you. We are trying to remember not to look into other’s cells as we return from orientation or other locations to our own cells. We walk by cells on the way to our own after being told that glancing into stranger’s cells and living quarters is a show of disrespect and could further endanger our lives! The positions of our heads and our body language determines our show of respect. With each task where movement is required, we fear a safe return to the cage that is now our home. A lowly room without hope of seeing you or any other loved one or friend soon.
You probably know nothing of the strange number combinations: 23-1, 22-2, 21-3, 20-4! They represent the time your loved one must spend within his or her cell, locked down each day and the time permitted out each day for recreation or other approved activity. The larger number in the combination of numbers is always the time spent locked down in cells.
We were as shocked as you were at not getting a letter on a timely basis. At this security level we live within at a USP, a pencil is considered a deadly weapon with the potential of snuffing out the life of another. Therefore, someone else, a staff member of the prison, must approve the times, places, and even our qualifications for approved use of a pencil to write letters.
Do not accept that the person you felt was so adorable, endearing, loveable, and happy in your presence just a short time ago has suddenly changed. Accept the fact that without their permission, they are mutated into a person who can remain safe within a USP. That mutation has required their isolation, and yours! There are many other adjustments in life style your loved one must make to remain safe and progress through this level of security before moving to the next level of security and a wee bit closer to home.
It is at this point when I believe most of you in the free world began your own “mutation” and your thought process began to truly mutate as you wondered through mind numbing hours gripped in fear that your life would never be the same and there could be no return to normal. You achingly concluded you must go on without us. For your mental, physical, and emotional health, you had to adopt a plan of survival that did not include us.
Remember we are starting at a high level to help you understand the transformation from from your world to the deepest level of the Twilight Zone. There are many other adjustments you will need to hear about before we move on to the next custody level.
Next, you can look forward to a brief outline of “living in the cage”.
Please, let us have the opportunity to address questions, comments, or suggestions you may have prior to moving to our next post. Your questions, comments, and suggestions are needed to assist in building our bridges that will merge our worlds successfully.
Quote for Today:
“The most insidious thing about bondage is how easy it is to grow accustomed to it.”- Author Unknown