• Mrs. M

Bus Trip by: L.A. " Free" Ramsey Jr.

"I remember the bus trip I took into my destiny.

It was hard to understand it as my destiny then, but I realize it now. This bus trip wasn't a metaphorical one, but an actual bus trip. Just not the one people voluntarily take - depending on who you ask. We call it the " up-north trip".

And when I say we, I mean prisoners, inmates, convicts - those muscle ripped, hardened personalities you see on television shows and movies; the ones I've never really seen (emphasis on really). We all had to take that up-north trip; that first bus trip after the Judge announced our guilt and our debt owed to society.

But before we got on that bus - that caravan to hell, we went through the process. We experienced the enclosure of our humanity, the pad locking of our souls.

Thinking about that day, that instance of subjection. I remember being handcuffed and chained. Literally, they use a long chain to wrap around your navel. I remember feeling the handcuff kiss my wrist and the chain choke my stomach. They didn't produce pain yet, but the pain was already inflicted. Standing there, I could hear the silent screams of the other men around me, mostly black and hispanic. Not much different from the ships that brought us over here.

Some of us had not showered in a couple days. I could smell the stench of the lack of hygienic opportunity; but I could also smell the fear. For we all had it. For some of us the fear of the unknown, others the fear of what we already knew: the fear of separation, subjugation, isolation.

I stood there as the officer put on the shackles. It hugged my ankle, resting its head on my achilles tendon. I felt the gentle tug, yet not gentle at all, that the officer applied in order to grab the leg of the guy next to me. (I no longer felt like Achilles). I could hear the clicking noise as the guard locked the shackle so I may not run. It made me think of all the times I did run; that I'd been running all my life. Running from responsibility. Running from my pain. Running from my past. And running way too fast into my future... crashing into my now.

I looked down at my wrist and my ankles, glancing at the silver bracelets that had now become my becoming; my becoming of a man, my becoming of a writer, my becoming of a good becomer.

I stepped up on that bus, one step at a time, making sure me or the guy shackled to me didn't fall, not realizing that this would exemplify the rest of my sentence, and probably the rest of my life...

This would be the bus trip into my destiny."

I'd like to thank brother free for sharing this with us. I hope you all feel the emotion in his words, the way I did. The ride to Prison is more than just the bus trip up, the entire experience from the second that guilty verdict is read is designed to break you down. They call prisons correctional institutions.... there is nothing correct about it...

Be well


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