28 April 06
Visited by Dad & Sis
I’ve just returned from the first visit with my dad and sister. Our Derick, all smiles, looked healthy and relaxed. Our Karen, wrinkle free and fair of skin, continues to defy her age.
As I write this, I'm still on a natural high – despite Ogre’s greeting when I returned to the yard, “Why the hell isn’t yer sis here to visit me?”
As it's Friday, there were few visitors (eight parties only), so the vending machines were full and my dad and Karen brought many quarters. I ate four bean-and-cheese burritos, five packets of chips (crisps), one granola bar and one chocolate bar. My visitors were shocked that I ate so much.
One thing we agreed on is that prison has benefited me in certain ways. I'm no longer involved in a dangerous lifestyle that could have resulted in something terrible happening – such as my death. Although I was stablising prior to the arrest, who’s to say whether or not I would have deteriorated again, and suffered worse consequences. I’ve gone from being angry that I was arrested, to accepting it, to now feeling as though I’ve somehow been saved. I know that sounds bizarre, but we agreed that incarceration has changed me for the better.
Dad offered to make a room ready for my return home into a cell, complete with black-and-white-striped pajamas, pink boxers and socks purchased from Joe Arpaio.
During the visit we walked around outside, sat at the picnic tables and talked a lot. We discussed everything from our lives in general to literature. Dad and Karen have read extensively, but I've only begun reading widely since I was arrested. Dad likes Hemingway and Kafka. Karen, who spent four years teaching in Japan, likes Haruki Murakami. Two Tonys introduced me to Tom Wolfe and I introduced them to Wolfe, and now we are all Wolfe fans.
Post Script: Excerpt from todays thought journal entry written for my psychotherapist.
I have many pleasant thoughts of the visit today. Being in the presence of family members who I’ve been unable to have close contact with for years put me on a high. A combination of good company and vending-machine products caused my thoughts to race, making the last four hours of the visit seem like one. Departed feeling happy hypomanic.
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