In a few minutes he’d be leaving his prison cell to face the world as the new man he’d been working on becoming. Why did Tyrone wonder if he wouldn’t once again disappoint himself along with everyone else?
An Excerpt from my upcoming book, In Search Of A Healing Place~Tyrone Wheeler’s story:
Tyrone looked around the dingy gray walls of the small space he’d called home for a little over a year now. He was quickly discarding the few things he’d taped to his wall that he had allowed him to pretend it was a home. The only thing he kept was the pictures of his daughter Diamond. The daughter he’d never seen in person but who had remained his single most inspiration to hold on each day. He’d lived for the letters from his mother that would update him on the antics of his daughter.
Occasionally, he would receive an inspirational note from Cherise–short notes, with scriptures that helped as well. But it wasn’t from Cherise or his twin brother Jonathan, that he would get any information about Diamond.
He understood. Jonathan was raising Diamond as his own daughter. And Cherise probably preferred not to remember how Diamond had been conceived. H wished he hadn’t been the catalyst in that endeavor, at least the way that it played out. But after seeing his beautiful daughter, he couldn’t feel any regret in the fact that she was here. He’d had a little over a year to accept the fact that, that one act had cost him the woman of his dreams and the privilege of his daughter calling him dad. He’d be fortunate to be relegated to the position of uncle and that only by the grace of God and the Christian charity of his sister in law.
Because of her, his sentence for kidnapping had been knocked down to assault. Because she’d never pressed charges on the rape it had made the difference between time in jail serving out the sentence of a misdemeanor as opposed to time in a federal penitentiary, doing much more time for the felony of rape. Acquaintance rape, as his counselor had explained, that he’d forced on her. While he had been imprisoned, he’d taken advantage of the mental health program made available to him. Through his regular counseling sessions, he’d learned a lot about himself and had been taught how to recognize what had become a regular, negative voice in his head. He’d started to realize the impulses that made him want to fly against standard mores and being inside had cut him off from his tendency to imbibe substances in what he now knew was an attempt to self-medicate.
All of these revelations made him come to view his imprisonment as a blessing. But that had not been the way he’d viewed it upon arriving, going through his first search, shower and then uniform issuance had scared him in ways he hadn’t imagined. He’d thought he was a tough guy up to that moment in his life where he faced the real deal of what his life imprisoned was going to be like and it was far different from the life of privilege and entitlement that he’d led up until then. Something inside him flipped the moment his prison door shut in his face. He’d turned around and looked at the cell that was smaller than the part of his closet that held his shoes and he’d wanted to begin screaming against the door for somebody to get his father down there immediately.
And if he’d really thought that would happen and actually help his situation he would have. But since he knew it wouldn’t, he had to pull up all the man within him not to punk out like that. Now he was minutes away from freedom and he wondered if he was all of the new person that he thought he’d become. He shook his head to quiet the negative voice. Focus. One step at a time. He chided himself as he took slow breaths. He looked up just as Harold, his escorting officer walked up to his cell door. “Time to start your life again Ty,” he said as he raised his palm to high five him. “Yeah man! It’s about that time.” Tyrone said as they fell in step while walking toward the male booking area.
“Sometimes guys leave here and as I am walking them downstairs, I’ve already working out in my head how long it might be before they return. I don’t think that way about you,” he said as they approached the booking office where he would complete his discharge process. “I think you’re going to make it man. I hope that I’m not wrong about you.”
The kind older man’s words meant a lot to Tyrone. He’d had many conversations with the portly gray haired man in the months that he’d been there. When he’d first arrived, despite his remorse, he’d toggled between extreme anger and overwhelming sadness. A couple of times, he’d been on suicide watch. As Harold had walked him to and from some destination, he’d always kept a hopeful tone in his words. “Hang in there young man,” “You’re going to make it,” and the one that gave him the most hope, “We’ve all fallen a bit, the trick is getting back up.” To a man barely holding on, those words had meant the difference between him wanting to see another day especially when Tyrone had felt as if he’d lost everything.
So before he turned to walk away from Harold, he felt the impulse to actually pull him into a tight hug. But instead, he looked him in the eye and said, “Thanks man!” Harold paused a moment and then merely nodded hoping to convey all the best wishes in the gaze between them. Then he turned away and headed back toward the unit they’d left.
Thirty minutes late, Tyrone was blinking in the rays of the blinding sun. He stood out in front of the facility that had been his home and wondered why he felt the slight impulse to turn around and walk back in.
A black limo pulled up and he walked slowly toward it, his heart thumped loudly and he didn’t recognize what his fear was until the driver rounded the vehicle and opened the door. He had hoped that perhaps his dad would have made the trip to welcome him home. More than anything he’d wished that his twin Jonathan would be exiting and walking toward him with his arms open inviting him into the hugs they’d shared over the years. Affection he’d come to realize he’d taken for granted, especially now that he’d broken his relationship with his brother.
Just as he closed the distance, a shapely black sheer hosed leg was momentarily suspended mid-air before its black leather shoe encased foot touched ground, joined by its mate shortly after.
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