I wake up in my prison cell for the very last time. Today is the last day I will ever be locked up or restrained or told when it’s okay to eat or when it’s okay to take a shower. Today is the last day and I feel hopeful.
I wake up early and trudge down to the dining hall in a straight line behind killers and child abusers, thieves and drug addicts like me. I walk in the line with mothers who miss their children, wives, and daughters. I walk to the dining hall and eat the very last meal I will ever have behind bars. It tastes like shit, but I happily eat every bite. It is the last meal I will ever have in prison.
My parents, though they are divorced, wait to pick me up outside of the prison gates. I walk out of the building and down the meager sidewalk to a towering metal fence with a gate that rolls open and closed. Today, it opens for me. It opens for me and I hurry through.
I sit in the back of the same white pickup that my dad has had since I was twenty years old. I sit in the backseat with my face in my hands and I cry. The tears flood down my pale cheeks leaving streaks of redness in their wake. The tears come for all the pain I have endured, the tears come for all the mistakes I’ve made. The tears come for the hope of a better life ahead. I sit in the back of my dad’s pickup and I cry. Today I am free.
This is undoubtedly the story I am meant to write.
If only I can finish it.