I made a mistake once. It was a moment of desperation. You could say I didn’t have another choice. But this choice led to prison—many years of prison. After prison, I’m out in the world and hated, just because of that one choice. Prison turned me into a hard person. I don’t know how to communicate anymore. My movements and speech are rough and sound angry. But it was the time in prison that made me this way. I hate that I lost so many years in prison. I hate what it has done to me. What I hate more is that people don’t seem to understand how prison and slavery changed me. They blame me for the way I act. It’s not my fault, but they don’t see it that way. I hate them. I hate everyone.
One person in a thousand makes a choice to be kind to me. I accept their kindness with suspicion. No person is kind for no reason. No person does good without expecting something in return. I have to accept their kindness because I don’t have another choice. I hate the desperation that drives me to depend upon this person. Can’t I just be free?
Then it’s right in front of me. I can be free with just one more choice. Yes, I’ll have to hurt the only person who showed me compassion, but this person is like any other person. They don’t understand me. They didn’t have to suffer the way I suffered. Even if I hurt them, they will still be okay. Don’t I deserve to be happy and finally free?
It’s just one choice. It’s no big deal. I’ll be gone before he even knows.
But that’s not how it happens. How stupid I was to not realize that anything I touch and anything I do somehow turns to hell. I’ll never escape. I’m on my way back to the person who showed me kindness. I have to see them again. I didn’t want to see them after I hurt them. I hate them. I hate myself more. How could I do this? Just a few more minutes and I’ll be in prison again. This time, I’ll probably die there. It’s the end for me. Why was I ever born?
Wait, what’s happening? I’m not going back to jail? This can’t be right. I’m supposed to be a prisoner. I’m supposed to be a slave. I should be punished for this. That’s how my world works. Nothing good is supposed to happen to me. I don’t know what to do with this. This gift, it hurts. It burns like fire. It’s worse than prison. I understand prison. I understand guilt. But this feeling? I don’t understand it. My hatred is starting to leave. I don’t want it to leave. It’s my friend.
I can’t take this anymore. I can’t stand to be me. I’m covered in filth. I disgust myself. I want to die. I could kill myself. I could jump off this bridge and drown in the water below. I could free the world of retched me. I could finally escape.
But I can’t do this. I can’t leave this world now that I have a chance to live in it. But I can’t be me anymore. I’ll become someone new. I’ll disappear. And I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to become the person he told me to be when he gave me a second chance.
I have to be good now.