This letter was written from a place that haunts me still. I think it is illustrative of the importance of “presence” at Christmas. Love is the punishment; it is what ties you to the outside world and pulls you in directions you are forbidden from going.
I hope this letter finds you sometime during the holidays. Consider this your Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well.
We haven’t had hot water for three days now. I was lucky and had my shower during the few moments when there was some. The kitchen is really messed up because they can’t do dishes. We have been served on Styrofoam plates with disposable spoons. Our cups are the same as we were issued on day one. I wonder how sanitary a cup is after several months without being washed in soap and water. Mine is brown inside, stained from hundreds of coffees and teas. At least it’s easy to keep separate from the new arrivals clean green cups.
We also haven’t had yard for four days at least. The new mesh fell to the yard floor along with support cables with its first exposure to snowfall.
One of the guys is getting out in the morning. I feel a little sad to see him go. We’ve shared this same small space for three and a half months. There were things I didn’t like about him, times I wished he wasn’t here, but when it’s all said and done we got along. That’s the most you can ask of your fellow inmates, to get along.
I received a Christmas Card today. It is a northern scene of White Birch with a blanket of snow on the forest floor. Standing out from all the white is a bright green Spruce tree. I showed it to my cellmate and we decided we would use that little Spruce as our Christmas tree. So tonight December 18th we put up our tree. It was the first tree I put up that I didn’t curse at. It was nice to receive and let some spirit into our cell and some laughter into our hearts. I wish the same for all of you. I will miss you this Christmas but I will probably think of you all more than if I was there. I know I will never forget the Christmas I spent in jail but I wonder what will make it memorable; the spirit that will creep into our day or the spirit that is absent. No doubt some of each.
Say ‘Hi to the dogs and use my name.
I still have the card…thanks Candace, wherever life finds you.