Life and death are in the power of the tongue.
One can speak a simple word that can motivate, heal, edify, or encourage. Than, in the next breath, that same person could spew a word filled with venomous poison that can crush anothers self-esteem or send that person on a downward spiral towards death and destruction.
I had to be about 12 or 13 when I was pulling up to the house with my Dad from a long day of shopping.
When I glanced acrossed the street I noticed my friends houses front door was ajar. Wondering why that may be? My thoughts were immediately followed by a simultaneous flash and a loud explosion.
A GUN SHOT?
Not knowing a logical explanation. I didn’t ask any questions or say anything. I just started grabbing and unloading bags from the car.
Moments later. Our block was swarming with activity.
Neighbors on porches peering down the street. Curious kids on bikes in the middle of the street and sidewalk. Old ladies in head wraps and house shoes. Police cars and an ambulance with lights flashing.
This was broad daylight and yet an unusual dark cloud was looming above this already dark and sinister block.
While all this is going on, I am sitting on my porch watching his entire family hysterically crying with no signs of him.
Where is my partner at?
Then I get my answer when I saw the gurney carrying the lifeless body. A sight I already was too familiar with.
“Ay Loc, its all bad, Cuz smoked himself,” the block crier announced with no regard to the families pain or their right to privacy, “and Cuz did himself in, in front of his little brother and sister!”
I was just playing basketball with him the other day before he went to work. We were all just laughing and joking together. He just bought a new car.
From the outside looking in I would have never thought suicide was on his mind.
Regardless of how many questions, they will forever go unanswered.
6 years later, in prison at Monroe’s Washington State Reformatory, I was taking a college level psychology course through the University Behind Bars program.
Focused and self-absorbed.
My tunnel vision was set towards accomplishing my academic goals and exceeding my own expectations. I sold myself short before and I refuse to do it again. And, I have prided myself on being a fast learner so rarely do I ever make the same mistake twice, or so I thought.
After an indepth debate about Nature vs. Nurture and the effects of abuse and environment on a childs conditioning. This usually quiet, reclusive, unassuming kid stands up and yells, “you guys think you know what your talking about because you can talk above eachother but you have no idea what it is like… Just because I didn’t grow up in the ‘HOOD’ doesn’t mean it was easy for me.”
Amid side chatter and juvenile jokes made at his expense. He passed out a packet to each of the 15 or so students titled “Long-term effects of child abuse.”
As class dismissed, I picked up my things and headed to another class I was taking in a restricted area of the institution.
Who was that guy and how long has he been in class with me?
I think to myself as I walk about 30 ft behind him skimming through the packet.
We are headed to the same place.
Ironical so, considering I never noticed him until today, now he is everywhere.
After my second class ends, my best friend and I start walking back to the unit for lunch, when we here “a code” go off alerting the facility through an alarm to “STOP ALL MOVEMENT”.
In the middle of the breeze way I see C.O’s running towards us from every direction, with intent.
Turn around! Face the wall! Face me! Look at me when I am talking to you! Don’t look at me! Put your hands on the wall! Put your hands behind your backs! Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Why are you here?
All of their orders and self explanatory questions seemed to run together and contradict each other.
Luckily for us, they had no guns because the two of us young black kids may have been killed by their nerves, confusion, their unstable conditionand ultimately their yearning to be a hero by way of a bullet…
To be continued…
Categories: Cyril D. Walrond