On June 23, 2022, I stepped out of the Jessup Correctional Institution the happiest man on the planet. I literally paused and took in a scene I had not witnessed in 31 years, 10 months, 22 days, and 16 hours: Freedom! I refused to look back and instead eagerly moved across the asphalt to my awaiting ride.
The first night after my release, I went to a discount store for fresh clothes, then to a seafood restaurant for a delicious crab cake. I ended the night hugging, kissing, and laughing with family. I spent the first weekend with my sister and her family.
Though I was absent for over three decades, it felt so natural being with them emotionally and mentally; it was as if I had never left home. I listened to family members engage in frivolous and at times ridiculous arguments. All I could do is take it all in with a slight smile and thank God I’m finally home.
Thirty days later and I have sweet and sour emotions. Sweet because of family members I haven’t seen in some 15-20 years. Siblings who were younger and very active, now talk about aliments and disabilities. Their movements are much slower.
Within days of June 23, I was navigating the Metro system. I did once get on the wrong bus and had to walk a good three miles home. Aside from the adventures of Metro, attending church, pushing shopping carts while my girlfriend shops, cooking meals, and looking forward to baking my first apple pie, life has been full of new adventures. I’m also cutting grass, pulling weeds and washing clothes, dishes, and bathtubs - - all novelties for a man constrained for 31 plus years. I love every moment of this new life.
Then, my youngest brother purchased for me an I-phone. The hand-held phone transformed my entire world. I take the smart phone everywhere. Yes, including the bathroom.
I’m texting, taking endless photos, and always searching the net. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon, not to forget YouTube, are my new friends. Netflix, however, is my best new friend. I haven’t watched on-air TV since I’ve been home.
Thirty days later and I have sweet and sour emotions. Sweet because of family members I haven’t seen in some 15-20 years. It was kind of strange embracing people that I’ve known all my life, yet they are totally unrecognizable due to my not being able to see them age. Nephews and nieces that were barely ten when I left, now have children of their own. Siblings who were younger and very active, now talk about aliments and disabilities. Their movements are much slower.
The sour is contributed to the government’s systems.
The sour is contributed to the government’s systems. I still do not have any documents such as a Social Security number or a Maryland ID card, two essential identifications needed to do anything. I’m unable to get a job, open a bank account, or take a driver’s test until I acquire proof of who I am.