The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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MARK HOHN, a handwritten sign said. DEC. 19, 2013. 17 YRS. Here’s what struck me like a bus. It happened to be Dec. 19. He’d died exactly two years earlier. I sat on the ground before the cross and told myself to pay attention, that this was no coincidence.
I wake at 2:34 AM and lie in bed staring at the ceiling for a couple of hours, beating myself up for having awakened way before it’s time to get up.
Blind luck put me on this yard where the men have decided to make good use of the empty time forced upon us by the state. Yard A is downright peaceful, nothing like the prison yards where racist convicts stab and assault people.
Eschew blandness. Eschew causing others pain. We are all the target so wear bright colors and dance with those you love.
For many years — the majority of my life, in fact — acknowledging death’s inevitability exerted little psychological pressure on me. I had no fear of passing, as they say, from this world into the next, or, assuming no next world exists, simply entering oblivion.
For a term paper I demanded a Louis Vuitton purse. For a take-home midterm, a Tiffany bracelet.
No one in prison is ever coming back. Once we’ve served our time, everything is finally going to work out. We’re all going to stay in touch, so we can share our good news — except I’ve been giving out a fake phone number this entire time. I’m embarrassed to know these men, eyewitnesses to a shameful period of my life I can’t wait to live down: two years in prison for a nonviolent offense.