My names on the board for release…I’m told by Paul, an Orderly for the Offender Management Unit.
“When’s your release date?” He asks.
“Monday” I tell him.
“Well you’ll only be a couple of days after that at worse – you just need another Governor’s signature”
Oh great and there’s me worrying I won’t get out on time.
To think the only thing stopping me from being released and going home to my family, is a member of staff writing their name.
Before leaving Ford, I decide to tie up some loose ends and make an appointment to see the Dentist after a knock to my face sees me with a loose tooth. Not something I’ve experienced since my childhood and I doubt tooth fairies get through reception here.
I try to book an emergency Dental appointment, but I get to see neither a Doctor nor a Dentist – I get a ‘Gordon’. Who or what a Gordon is I am unsure precisely, but I suspect he is little more than an eminently qualified hospital porter who just happens to have lived a life of wide-ranging bizarre and medically interesting episodes. In reality he is a filter for those seeking to waste the time of Healthcare and perhaps opt out of work for the day, but for a week of free treatment remaining I can do without this avenue. Unsurprisingly, he has no valid input for me regarding my dental concerns, as you would expect of a man no more a Dr, than David Tennant. I take two paracetamol; call home and book an appointment with my local surgery.
A week flicks by and George has set off on his first home leave. He has secured a single cell and I await my final day in prison. I’ve kept up with my writing and R and I are as strong as ever. Regular visits, time together and a devotion to the simple somewhat forgotten pleasure of a handwritten note have done us proud.
Written September 20 – 2011
“I love you.
My love diminishes nothing, yet reaffirms itself everyday.
And everyday I only know one thing for sure – you are exactly right for me.
Only you can be my complete companion.
How I miss you and how it’s hurt.
It feels so long this time apart but its medicated in the knowledge that thee WILL be a time I can sit by your side, hold your hand and look you in the eye.
Then I shall say to you, the next time I leave you for so long, throw a single rose upon my coffin – because I shall be yours’ for life.”
Today is the day I had expected to step out the front gate – alas the celebration has been delayed by a day. I can cope and am busied by doing my ‘paperchase’. That elusive administrative milestone that I too now look upon as a right of passage. My kit returned, I do my goodbyes.
Spending time with some of the faces whose company I’ve genuinely enjoyed, I finish my evening doing one final prison workout with my buddy Jamie. Little more than 12 hours from release, I finish my sentence in the way I began it. A pen in hand, I write away the hours. I’m pleased I’ve logged and diarised my every day. I wonder if I will look back over this some time in the future. Maybe a lonely old man sat in a musty, dusty lounge, I shall occupy my time by reading this again. I wonder if I shall reach the last passage before the end truly arrives. I wonder how different my life will be and what will I think to the time I spent away. Will it matter, will it impact, or will it be another little adventure in a life filled with stories?
For the last evening, a prisoner in an HMP, I am offender A2292CE, The Disgraced Banker. Tomorrow my life starts again………..