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A Few Leap Years

A Few Leap Years

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Published by Adrien Wilkins
After 26 years of incarceration a man is released from prison with nothing. How does he find a purpose in a world that he knows hardly anything about?
After 26 years of incarceration a man is released from prison with nothing. How does he find a purpose in a world that he knows hardly anything about?

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Published by: Adrien Wilkins on Dec 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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A Few Leap Years | 1
A Few Leap YearsAdrien Wilkins
I¶m only a few feet from the courtroom when I pause at theedge of some inconceivable boundary. The feeling that I¶m stilla prisoner hasn¶t left my body and my mind can¶t escape from thecage. Somewhere inside me resides David Clark, myself infinitelyaged, but I still am inmate 518. It¶s 2008 now ±26 years² and Ican feel the time in my bones like some deep rooted illness. Ifind it hard to believe that somewhere, out in front of me inthe timeline of my remaining days that there is anythingrecoverable from my former life.In my right hand is a manila envelope filled with a bunchof pamphlets to get convicts back on track after a bid. Iremember reading some time ago that the hardest part of aconviction was returning back to life. The term used in thearticle was
institutionalized 
. I had been institutionalized. 26years of living my days by the prison¶s schedule had taken awaymy ability to function by myself. It was a purposeless time ofreckoning, of trying to find peace with myself. Now, at the edgeof 60, I had to find a purpose again after years of simplynothing.
 
A Few Leap Years | 2
As I walk down main street I start to think of all thethings that have changed since the seventies. I¶m mostly blownaway by the advent of the computer, or at least what I¶ve readabout them. Technology grew in dog years while I was in prison.When I was teacher at Oro Grande, back before Nick Monroe killedhimself and that little girl, the computer was still exotic andforeign. Now they were everywhere, even the courthouse hadseveral of them. And cell phones too, I wonder if I¶ll ever needone, if there is anyone left to call. If only Ann hadn¶tcommitted suicide.I knew this whole thing had been tough on her, but I neverthought that she would do something like that. She had beenterrified of the possibility that I could¶ve killed those kids.I remember sitting in the visiting room at the county jailtrying to get her to realize that I was innocent. The doubt shehad in her eyes was the hardest part of it. Some time in mysentence I realized that she never completely believed me. Thatwhen I had gotten my sentence appealed to life in prison shedidn¶t know how to deal with the fact that she had married amonster.A little bit of rain starts to come down and I duck underthe veranda of a coffee shop to wait out the storm overhead.Taking a seat in a cushioned wooden chair I place the manilaenvelope on a circular table and open it up. The rain taps a
 
A Few Leap Years | 3
cadence on the concrete sidewalks as I absent mindedly flipthrough the pages. Most of the pamphlets are religious innature, that somehow by finding God a person might findthemselves. I don¶t want anything to do with God now. If therewas one thing I had taken from my unjustified sentence it wasthat there was no supreme order. Just as the thought crosses mymind I hesitate on a piece of colored paper that catches my eye.It¶s an ad for a social service worker, Marie Joseph, andit reads, ³ Getting back on track is a matter of connections.Find some today.´ I linger on the paper for a moment before Imake the decision to go ahead and call. It seems like a goodstart. I didn¶t want anything to do with religion and I wantedsomeone who had a no nonsense approach to helping me get on myfeet. I think about what I¶m going to say as I walk to thecounter to see if I can find a payphone. The kid behind thecounter can¶t be any older than 17 and she smiles at me as Iapproach.³Do you know where I can find a payphone?´ I ask casually.³A payphone?´ She repeats the question with someuncertainty and I wonder for a moment how alien this requestmight be.³Yeah, do you know where I could find a phone booth, orsomething like that?´

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