Boxes, Locks, Ticking Clocks

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The sound of the cell door slamming shut. The hollow footsteps fading down the hall. Florescent lights clawing at my clenched eyelids. They held back tears. I was arrested. I reeked of cigarette smoke, sweat, and a whole lot of regret. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was scared.

The sound of the cell door slamming shut. The hollow footsteps fading down the hall. Florescent lights clawing at my clenched eyelids. They held back tears. I was arrested. I reeked of cigarette smoke, sweat, and a whole lot of regret. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was scared.

That was only Friday night though, and I didn’t know that I was stuck in that cell till Monday morning. My fists clenched and body tensed. I thought maybe if I hit the wall hard enough I could crack these chains, or at least knock some sense into myself. The gray painted brick walls, gray metal bunk, gray textured floor, rough gray blanket. I was stuck in a dull gray box that I put myself in. Alone with the person I hated the most.

I tried to sleep the time away, but my eyes stopped closing after a while. I was left listening to my breaths and the clamoring of thoughts. Bargaining with a god I thought I didn’t believe in anymore.

“What time is it?” I asked the footsteps every time they passed.

The answer was irrelevant though. I was just so sick of hearing my own heartbeat. They rattled away just as quick as they came. I was left alone again. I cried quite a few times. This is not how I imagined I would live my life.

I pictured a ticking clock to help pass the time. All the wasted ticks and tocks. The tocks and ticks, and then the lock unclicks. It’s finally time to go.

Transferred from one box to another. The handcuffs a bit too tight. I struggled against the chains feeling them cut into my skin. I just wanted to be free again. I would ask for forgiveness, but locks don’t listen.

The day grows cold, and unfolds so slow. I find that I’m joined by other wayward souls that have been down this road too many times before. They had strength and defiance in their voices, but their eyes didn’t share the same fight.

“What you in for young blood?” the question hung in the air like a stench. It followed me from courthouse, to jailhouse, box to box. No answer was good enough because the next question was always, “Why?”

“Because I messed up.”

“Why?”

“Because life is hard.”

“Why?”

“Because…”

“Because…”

“Because…”

I never once said out loud that it’s because I’m an addict. That I’ve been trapped in a box for years now. That chains and gray brick walls were nothing new to me. That I was comfortable in the hopelessness. I was complacent in this corner of hell I had secured for myself. See, these walls felt like home, and that scared the crap out of me. I bloodied my knuckles, and prayed to the void, but the box wouldn’t open.

I found my way out of the jail cell, but then I fell right back in. Third times the charm I guess because I haven’t been back since. I still recall those walls though, and the way I prayed they’d cave in. I find myself back in there sometimes. Like, when I look in the mirror inspecting the cracks in my skin. I can still hear them ask,

“What you in for young blood?”

I say “We all have our sins.”

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