Irony has it, as I receive this image, I find myself in the center of yet another lockdown.
My already restricted space further limited, trapped inside of an 8x9 cell, cooped up with another man, the one thing we do not have is space. We are forced to eat, sleep and defecate in half a room. When my cellmate inhales, I exhale, so neither of us breathe too deeply; every sound, each movement rising tensions, stealing even more space from us both. No space means no room.
There are no unfathomable depths to prison. When we think of deep, we imagine six feet. Looking out into the world from my prison cell correlates with this very boat drifting along an empty sea, in the middle of nowhere. No one to hear the cries. No one to see the suffering. Although we on this side have little space to move around at will, those on the outside confine us more by establishing a greater distance.
My perception of space is we have none. Thus, I am given too much. The system robs us all of space. The free world hands it over without a thought. Losing a loved one inside a space small enough to suffocate. My cell welcoming the wish to be left alone. The vast space between the self and the outside world ignites the idea of welcoming all. My dreams travel not.
The walls too tight, the ceiling too low, difficult to see the horizon when concrete atop concrete kissed by steel clouds your vision.
I wish I had enough space to “feel” something other than pain. I wish I had a hint of space to “touch” something other than this hardened reality. On this side of the wall, space breeds distance, distance births separation, and separation places us apart from even ourselves. So, I need not to be in the belly of the Pacific to feel alone, to despise space, or to have a view of just how troubling it is for those of us who live inside of prison.
Prison comes with plenty: hatred, oppression, racism, steel, concrete, barbed wires… but space is not on the list.