12 February 2007

"I've got my nerds on"

He's a tall good-looking black man and he's pulling out a stack of typewritten paper, 130 pages of his life story. The tortoise-rimmed glasses don't usually sit on his face, so looking at him, I can only agree. He's got his nerds on.

That stack of paper is more than just his life story. He told me a few months ago that he has never before told the story of his arrest and what brought him to prison. For fifteen years, he has written about the incidents but has always couched the story in legal terms. Now he's just telling the story. It's taking a lot out of him. The effort shows.

Earlier today, he came into my office and said, "I need to write in your book." My book is full of names and dates, a record of those who have died who were related to the men in this prison. Lately the pages are filling too quickly. He wrote the name of his grandmother on an empty line and held the book on his lap for a few minutes. His grief filled the room.

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