A CAT WOMEN’S DESIRE Out of Prison
It has been seven long years and he still couldn’t forget.
He remembered every single detail when he first came to South Broad Street. He remembered the clothes he wore before the ‘other clothes’ took over. He remembered the van he was brought in, even the license number. He remembered looking at the gate knowing it would take several painful years before he saw it from the exterior again.
He remembered the smirk on the face of the warden as he was brought in. He even remembered the weather; it was drizzling slightly and his hair got plastered over his face.
He remembered every damned thing just like it was yesterday.
Problem was that it wasn’t yesterday. It was exactly seven years later and the memories of that day came rushing back in waves.
The most important thing he remembered was the blatant disbelief foremost in his mind as he was brought in. He had been in absolute denial and shock all the way to the prison.
“Just admit to the crime, goddamn it!” his lawyer screamed at him in frustration.
He shook his head and rubbed his five day old stubble. He looked at the top gun lawyer he hired and despaired for his fate; even his lawyer was giving up on the case. Taking a calming breath, he asked the question he was sure he already asked some ten times or so before.
“And what do I stand to gain from admitting to a crime I did not commit?”
The lawyer turned frustrated eyes on him and heaved a troubled sigh.
“Maybe a fine, you might be asked to return all that was lost. The most important thing is that you will not serve jail term. Take the branch before you drown in this maze of a case, Henry.” The lawyer replied.
It was thus in utter shock that Henry Oliver heard his sentence delivered. He was to be sentenced to seven years imprisonment. For a crime he didn’t commit, no less. He wanted to shout that there was a mistake, that he said the wrong things but no words left his mouth. He couldn’t even cry.
So, it was with perfect incredulity that he followed the sheriff into the waiting van; he couldn’t look at his colleagues in the eye as he was taken past them in the court room. He was still thinking he was in a movie rehearsal gone bad and that he would hear the word ‘cut’ any time soon.
There was no such word forthcoming. All he could think up to the moment he got to the high gate fence of the prison was that it was a mistake. His lawyer had promised that there would be no jail term, damn it! As they drove past the gates, he knew there was nobody coming to help him. He was in Orleans Parish Prison all alone.
Now, he looked at the clear sky on South Broad Street. The weather was cool and clear as if it was mocking his memories of the last day he was outside here. There was no rain drizzling, there was no van coming in. all was silent and he imagined he could hear himself breath. It was like no time has passed at all.
All his life has passed and he felt every painful years of his life wasted away.
He was leaner, his hair was shorter and he had no more delusions about the world. Henry Oliver rubbed his hands together just to feel alive. He shook himself off the memories and looked up once more at the sky. He held tightly to the small duffel bag he clutched in his hands and squared his shoulders. He pulled up his trousers at the waist; the damned pair doesn’t even fit anymore.
It was time to move on, he might not know where he was headed, but he needed to move on. And so he would.
He did not look back at the prison yard.