The week before sentencing is usually a hard one for inmates in county jail. Restless nights spent tossing and turning on sheet of metal welded to the wall; growing anxious and experiencing a spectrum of emotions from anger to sadness to fear. Yet as this inmate stood, watching the lawyers and clerks walk around the room preparing for court, he felt unexpectedly calm.
He stood there thinking of all the things he’d done and the destruction he’d brought down upon everyone around him. He understood this account would have to be paid in full he would live with the consequences without complaint and do what he could from where he’d be.
Just then a good guard walked into the small room and set some papers on a table in font of the inmate. “How goes it Mr. Martinez, are you ready?”
“You know me”, he replied.
“So how much time you looking at?” When the inmate told him, the guard whistled softly and said, “Damn man.”
The guard had come to respect this inmate’s calm demeanor because he knew he’d never have an issue with him. Yet, even after all these years in corrections, he was still surprised at what these men were capable of. Humans are very adept at masking things and most never see the emotional turmoil that roils just beneath the surface.
“How are you holding up?” The guard asked.
“Good, I’ll be alright.”
“So, what now?”
The inmate stared at the wall in front of him but his eyes were unfocused, what now? A question he had asked himself everyday for the last 6 months and one he would continue asking for the foreseeable future. Things were different this time, only he didn’t know how.