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I have a lot of time on my hands. When I have more time than I know what to do with, I tend to think. About a lot of things. I think about my parents. I suspect most people do, especially when their parents are gone. And all four of mine were gone. 

Sometimes I think about having four parents. Not everyone has four parents, of course. Those that do probably think about them, maybe four times as much as other people think about theirs. I don’t know.

Sometimes I think about mathematics, probability, statistics, like that. I just think about those things; I don’t really know about them. Mathematically, maybe people with four parents think about their parents twice as much as those who have two parents. That makes a certain kind of sense. Or maybe they think about their parents ten times as often since a lot fewer people have four parents. I’m not sure what the probability of these things might be, or should I say, what it probably is? I’ve never read a statistical study on this, if one even exists. I really don’t know. It’s just something I think about. As I said, I have a lot of time on my hands.

I think about the idea of America, and the reality of it. It seems to me that the people who started our country wanted freedom. Some of them wanted freedom for all, and some of them wanted freedom for a select class of people. I think some of them wanted freedom to worship the way they wanted to, and others wanted freedom from any kind of government. I think that’s even the way it is today.

What is the idea of America? I think about that, and I think you would find many different perspectives on what the idea of America is if you talked to many different people. Me? I think the idea of America is a land where anyone has a chance to get somewhere if they work hard. The more like “everyone else” they are, the more likely they are to get where they want to go, I think. Those that are different have to work harder and have more chances of someone else getting in the way of their goal. Maybe even in the way of their life.

It’s not just the color of your skin. At least I don’t think so. I’ve seen white people, black people, brown people, olive-skinned people, yellow people - all kinds of people. I’ve seen some of them help other people who weren’t the same, and some of them try to stop folks who didn’t look like them. White people looking down on black people, and other white people sharing their pain. Black people looking down on white folks, other black people considering each individual on their own merits, instead of being all lumped together because they were white.

I used to think people who claimed they loved people of the same sex were crazy, and weird, and wrong. But with a lot of time on my hands I’ve had time to listen to different music, including, don’t laugh now, country music. Some fellow called Luke Bryant sang some song about people being good. Most people, anyway. Maybe he wrote the song, too; I don’t know. Sometimes I think about how some singers sing songs other people wrote, and some singers write their own songs.

Anyway, Mr. Bryant sang a line that goes something like “You love who you love, ain’t nothin’ you should be ashamed of.” That got me to thinking. I loved Lucy, and part of that love was because she was a woman. I don’t understand how a man would want to love another man. But that don’t make me right, or them wrong. It just makes us different. As Mr. Bryant sang, we don’t have to be ashamed. We can be good, like most people, he said. Anyway, after doing some thinking, I changed my mind. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with people who love people of the same gender. Or those that want to change their own gender. Or whatever. As long as they don’t hurt anybody else, or force their kind of love on others. Anyway, that’s what I think now.

But I still love Lucy, even after all these years. I don’t know why things happened the way they did, even with all my thinking about it. I wonder why they did happen, but I don’t have answers.

I think maybe they happened because they were supposed to happen. Then I think maybe they happened because there really are soulmates, and it happened because we were kindred souls. Maybe I was just crazy and thought too much of myself. Or maybe I thought too much of Lucy. Did I deserve her? I thought so then, but I’m not so sure anymore. Should she have been on a pedestal, like an angel to be admired from below? I used to think so; and I think I still do. I can’t think of her as just another woman. Then I think maybe all women should be on a pedestal.

That brings my thoughts back to Mr. Bryant again. He sang that “most mothers ought to qualify for sainthood.” I think the same thing, including that word most. I suppose that answers my other question; no, not all women should be worshiped and put on pedestals. Not even all mothers. Just most mothers, and most women. Seems like I hear a lot more about men who treat women poorly than the other way around. More about deadbeat dads than about deadbeat moms.

I think about MADD. Mothers again. There ain’t no FADD, as far as I know. If there was, they might call it something else. But I heard about some annual gathering of fathers; Christian fathers. A lot of them might qualify for sainthood, too.

I think about Angela, my best friend’s mother. If any mortal person ever qualified for sainthood it would have been her. She worked three jobs most of the time, to put food on the table for Jackson and his brothers. His father, William, was one of those deadbeat dads.

But then I think about Sarah. The only reason she had a meal to eat was that Thomas, her son, worked two paper routes and used his money to feed the family. Tommy, another one of those deadbeat dads, left Sarah when Thomas was ten. Maybe that’s why Sarah started drinking a lot, and not doing anything. So Thomas had a mother that didn’t qualify for sainthood, in my opinion, and a deadbeat dad.

I never got the chance to be a father. I suppose I never will. I think about that sometimes. Even though I should be getting out of here in two weeks. Out of San Quentin. Where I have a lot of time to think.

July 21, 2020 22:34

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1 comment

Selene Sweck
14:19 Jul 27, 2020

This is great! I look forward to reading all of these submissions. Is this going to be a book? Good luck!


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