Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: COMMUTE (07/07/16)
- TITLE: Cries in the Night
By Pat Small
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Day drags on. Finally, the lights are extinguished. That’s almost worse than the noise. I could hear my own thoughts as I twisted and turned on my narrow cot. I punched my pancake pillow. I got up and paced in the claustrophobic 6’x8’ cell. I knelt, inches from the commode. “God, forgive me.” Sobs burned my throat. My heart pounded. Why, oh, why didn’t I listen? So many people tried to warn me. How angry I got. How wrong I was.
I never imagined I would be in prison. I never expected to be an addict. I thought I could stop anytime. After all, I didn’t NEED the drugs. It was just a way to relax, bond with my best buds, avoid the fights at home. My parents tried to talk sense into me. I laughed at their fanatical, old-fashioned ideas. My wife begged me to stop. I stormed out, slamming the door behind me, a million times.
Foreclosure papers were tacked to our door a few days before I was arrested. Still I denied the truth. My priority was the next score. I stole from my parents; I robbed my wife and child.
Eventually, I turned to dealing, my last resort. I acquired a gun. Everyone had one. My eyes constantly roved about, my mind churning. It was dangerous. One wrong word, one failure to deliver the goods, and it could mean my last breath. I could smell death as I conducted my clandestine activities or snorted a line of coke.
The cops saved my life when they arrested me and threw me in jail. Here it is safe. The first few days without drugs were rough, but the cravings are gone. It was hard, but it felt good.
Still, I ached to get out. I saw my little girl dancing; her blond curls and turquoise eyes lightened my darkness. She was too small to know what her father was. She has leukemia, they say. My wife has had to quit work to care for her. “It’s not fair!. She’s innocent.” My daddy’s heart cried out. Finally, I was thinking of someone besides myself. I have to take care of her, get better medical care. I have to do everything humanly possible to save her little life.
That’s why I was appealing once again to the Governor to reduce my sentence to time served. I’ve met basic requirements: good behavior, a place to live, and employment. Now, I was begging for mercy. The possibilities buzzed around my head like flies. Will the Governor hear my case? Will my latest letter touch his heart? I even included a picture of my little girl. That has to touch him. Who could resist her sweet face? More than anything, though, I threw myself on God’s mercy. He alone knows my heart. He knows how sorry I am for the time I have wasted, the pain I have caused. I wiped tears from my eyes.
Weeks passed. I figured Governor LePage had tossed my latest letter in the trash with all the others. I was on the brink of despair. When they said I had mail, I rushed to the bars and thrust my hand through eagerly. The governor’s seal. My hands trembled and sweat ran down my back as I tore the envelope open. Yes! I would get a hearing.
I fell on my knees, and thanked God. There was no guarantee, of course, but I had confidence that God was working. He had heard my cries in the night and tasted my tears. I remembered He had promised to redeem the time the locusts had eaten. Maybe, just maybe, the time had come.
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