Family Time

18 Apr

I hear my name called out…

“Mason” the usual bellow

I wander over to the screw’s reception window and deep in animated conversation he  and a colleague connected via the end of a telephone, discuss me. For a second or ten I worry that right at this moment those on duty, have spotted my recent liberal approach (Some say ostentatious) to booking visits. I’m put out of my misery soon enough. As it happens, the visit had been booked for saturday not friday. So a little paper-shuffling later and possibly some grumbles over a minor workload spike and I can get across to see my parents for the second time in 5 days.

I see Dad first, I greet him with a warm embrace, one from a boy who appreciates these days how valuable time with your Dad truly is. I used to be a nasty piece of work and had little time for my parents. I cherish the ground they walk on these days; adolescent behaviour long since passed, you only get one chance at being a good son. No more days need spoiling, I love them dearly.

I suggest we sit on the picnic benches scattered outside in a grassy quad. Moments later a little blondie appears, hands stacked with snacks; its my second sister Mel. It’s the first time I’ve seen her face in 6 weeks, the last occasion was a brave faced pal sat smiling at me from the gallery in Southwark. A softening smile, pushing away the grim prospect of the near term as I awaited my fate. She was a gem to my family and offers support like it’s going out of fashion.

At Southwark she sat there, with my mother’s hand in hers and when my mother cried she was there, being the crutch for her to lean on. When my father was sad, she was there too. As my uncles gave brotherly kindness to my father, Mel was there for the ladies in my life.

She is a diamond and I am blessed for someone like her to be beside my parents at such a difficult time.

Today in comparison was almost one of jubilation. I’m not free, not for a while; but to my parents and my pal, those two hours of fizzy drinks, flapjacks and sweets felt like I was.

Time flies when you’re having fun – tell that to an inmate on home leave or a dad cradling his newborn baby in the visit’s hall; time is but an apparition, an oasis. Never long enough and always uncertainty, whether there’ll be another time.

Back at the cell and I’m a human again. I fall fast asleep and miss dinner. I still feel ropey but Cuprofen is good stuff!

Friday Classic, it’s fish and chips – I miss it, I must be duff.

I remember to tune into Annie Mac on Radio 1, a shared favourite show with R. I listen to the sounds of the latest electronic music and imagine better times with my little princess. The music I feed from with earphones that isolate me from my surroundings, is an orchestra of pleasure. My own ears have been subjected to Aural poverty. Cell doors’ slamming, snores, guard’s bellowing, it’s all I’ve heard since Rivlin sentenced me.

Now here, sat on the end of an undersized, creaking, worn out bed, surrounded by a room and it’s fittings soiled by life and sadness – I am hunched over my glimmer of happiness.

Like a school stressed teenager, this is my window into a happier future. My digital radio, playing the latest house music; that in the not too distant future, I will be able to stand on a moon soaked beach with my sweetheart dancing to.


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