Many of us spend time in prison, and the fear of the first days out are almost as bad as the fear of the first days in. Here's a piece that speaks in a very understated way of how we aren't alone even when we think we are.
I knew a guy from when I was on one of the other yards named Pete. He wasn't a close buddy or anything, just one of the guys I'd say hi to every day and occasionally sit and chat with. He left about eight months before me. About six months before I left I started writing him just to stay in touch. I found out through those letters that he was a really good guy.
The day I got out, he was supposed to meet me in Oceanside and drive me to where I needed to go. But instead of leaving round seven like I thought, the bus didn't leave San Luis Obispo until after ten in the morning. I didn't have his number to call and let him know. I could only hope he'd still be there.
Well, he wasn't in Oceanside at seven thirty when I finally got there. I had to report to parole in Escondido next morning so I caught a bus and decided I'd just get a motel room for the night. I found myself on the street alone in a not too nice part of the city at nine thirty at night. I began to get a little nervous. I called a cab and had him take me to any motel. I got a room and some dinner, Carl's Jr. (mmmm yummy). I slept soundly.
Next morning, my first real day out, I woke at four and breathed deeply for the first time in awhile. I remember that around four thirty, I wanted some coffee. I looked round the room but this motel didn't have one of those mini coffee pots.It wasn't until fifteen minutes later that I realised I was free and could just go get some coffee from the Starbucks across the street.
I got dressed and headed out. I was walking down this side-street when I heard knocking on the glass of one of the vehicles parked on the road. My first thought was that it was some creep gonna ask me for dope or change or something. But I also thought it could be someone who needs help. So I turned back and looked in the window of this minivan.
It was Pete.
He asked me what I was doing there and I asked him the same thing. I thought he had called Dave from my sober living and found out that I was staying in Escondido overnight. It turns out that Pete has transient status for his parole. His parents live in Escondido but they're older and he doesn't want the hassle of parole to affect them, so he claims he's homeless. He spends most of his time at his parent's but sleeps in this minivan.
Every morning, he wakes and drives over to this spot and waits until it gets light before he goes about the business of his day.
Unbelievable. Pete has helped me with a lot. We manage to get together once or twice a month and have lunch. He's a really good guy.
So that's what happened on my first day.