Once the iron doors of cell 24 slammed shut, a wicked echo filled the drab, musty air, as if it were announcing my arrival to all the other inmates. The piercing sound struck my soul like a deeply depressing composition. It was hauntingly surreal and dark. There was no catchy melody, but after hearing it that first time I knew I was listening to an original track that had been heard by countless others before me — ohters who had paid the same law-breaking price for admission.
This blood chilling depiction is not some fictional exaggeration, it is both actual and factual. That harrowing sorrow of ominous agony lingered on like billowing smoke, long after the final bars had been played. It was a gut wrenching blues arrangement produced by sows we reaped, and I would remember every single note.
My birth name is Roxanne Rene Fields, but everybody called me Roxie. I am a 43 year old black “Sista-Girl” who lost her direction years ago. I was just 17 years old that summer when a fatal automobile collision claimed the lives of my parents. The horrifying tragedy had an adverse affect on my spirit, and it took me several months to recover from the shock.
When my young brother, Corey, died a year later at 16, the recovery process that had begun came to an abrupt halt. Witnessing his murder poured a ridiculous amount of salt on a wound that had never fully healed. He was standing on that same corner we had just gotten into an argument about. That infamous, concrete roost, where too slick, inexperienced, and cocky loose their lives by senseless acts of violence on a daily basis. .
After his death, life had no meaning anymore. I lost interest in it, and I started living recklessly. I was mingling with all the wrong people, doing drugs every day, and I immersed myself in mindless sexual activities. I prayed to get infected with HIV, and had unprotected intercourse in hopes of having it answered.
Had I not gotten myself arrested, I am certain that my hard work would have eventually paid off, but I got careless. The older gentlemen, a potential Trick, with the rotund beer belly turned out to be an undercover dick. When he whipped out that shiny, silver badge, and started reading me my rights, I tried to kick him in his low-hanging family jewels. But looks are very deceiving, because he intercepted my foot, spun me around, and slapped handcuffs around my wrists before I had another opportunity to try it again.
“Whore!” is what he called me, as he shoved me into the backseat of that urine smelling squad car.
“It stinks in here,” I told him.
When he didn’t respond, I kicked the seat in front of me as hard as I could, hoping I’d get a reaction out of him. I didn’t. He just kept talking on that damned radio as if I didn’t exist. I was so angry at him, my life, my parents, my brother, and the fucking world. I was angry at everybody except for the person I should have been angry with. Myself.
Now I had all the time I needed to think about my actions, and try to make sense out of everything that had gone wrong in my life. I decided that I no longer wanted to die, but was I too late? Had I already contracted HIV? That thought caused regret to lodge itself in my throat, and I started coughing erratically.
Had I blown it?
“No, you haven’t,” the voice said.
I snapped out of my intimate thoughts and looked around my cell. I didn’t see anybody, so I scanned the area just outside it with my eyes. I didn’t see a soul. My immediate conclusion was that I had finally lost my mind.
“No you haven’t,” is the response I heard. This time the voice sounded louder and clearer.
I stood up in a panic. Was there a hidden speaker somewhere in the dammed cell? I was beginning to freak out! I started rescanning every place that I had already scanned, jerking my neck in whatever direction I was looking in.
“Roxanne, you were always a scary ass cat,” the voice said with a chuckle.
That’s when it dawned on me…
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