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Forward to Freedom

Luther Hampson

Forward to Freedom

I lay on my 15-year-old mattress. Three-inch foam. It’s 2 ½’ x 6’ and makes up what the state intends to be not only my bed, but my living room as well. Gravity presses my bones into the cold steel of my bunk. Another man lies directly overhead. If I could look out of “our” window I would. 

Of the four 3’x4” hardened safety glass panes, two are covered with cardboard preventing my cellmate from being directly flooded by the afternoon sun. The other two I’d have to awkwardly peer over his body to try and get a glimpse of the concertina wire and electric lines that make up our “kill” fence. 

I release myself from my small cubby and take three steps to the other end of my house. I’m at the door. I want to step outside for a few seconds of fresh air. Push the small button that triggers the lock which opens my door that usually grants me access to another locked room. Nothing happens. In what would usually be a moment of growing anxiety for many, in the present I am free. I step back, which with the turn, takes me four steps this time. I’m back in “our” living room. Oh, wait a minute, that’s not where I’m at, it’s the office I just stepped into. I grab my composition book, my click pen, oops…did I just say that? I’m not authorized to be in possession of a click pen, too many alternative uses for it, could be made into a syringe or the springs, a tattoo needle. No sir, I grab a “pen.” I begin to write. 

No access to the internet, I must use my imagination the best I can. The problem with that is I’m not writing fantasy fiction. Documentary non-fiction is the topic. In a world that many feel trapped, I AM FREE! I’m doing what I love. I have found a career. Or has a career found me? I finally understand why enlightened individuals place true freedom as a state of mind. I continue to write, wondering if what I’m doing will actually amount to anything when I realize that what I’m doing right now amounts to everything. 

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 

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