It seems unusual that a person would experience both relief and disappointment simultaneously. Tonight, those two seemingly conflicting emotions are dancing around in my brain…in full force.
On Wednesday, after a brutal one-hour parole hearing where I answered questions related to deviant fantasies, selfishness, intimacy, thought-stopping techniques, victim empathy, my parents, healthy relationships, and penpal websites, I was granted a parole date. This was a relief, because the parole board could have kept me in prison for another 5 years and 4 months.
Now for the disappointment — my release date won’t be until November, so I’m stuck here (and you’re stuck reading my blogs) for nine more months. I was convinced, after my last hearing, that I’d be getting out around February or March.
This shouldn’t be a big deal, right? I mean, let’s get real — I’ve been in here almost 10 years. What’s another 8 months at this point?! The time will fly by, I’ll be walking out the gates before I know it, and will make it home in time for my first home-cooked Thanksgiving since 2007.
I finish my treatment programs on February 23rd. Instead of just sitting around and counting down the days until November, I decided to make use of the next nine months. I’m going to be signing up for the “common fare” diet, a Kosher diet. All three meals each day will be pre-packaged, and I’ll need to microwave them, but I feel this is the best way for me to lose weight quickly. The portions are small, with all three meals clocking in at about 1500 calories a day, total (versus over 3200 for the regular “mainline” meal plan). If I can stick to it, I’ll lose two pounds a week and should have no problem losing 40 pounds by November, to get me to around 200, my perfect weight. I’m also going to walk at least four miles each day on the rec yard.
I have no excuses. I’m being given these nine months, and I’m going to take full advantage — and pretend that I’m at an all-inclusive healthy eating and healthy living camp with really uncomfortable beds and terrible TV reception. (I still remember seeing ads for 1-800-FAT-CAMP when I was a kid. Yes, that was a real thing!)
Why not get out of here in the best shape of my life? The odds will be stacked against me in life, as a felon and sex offender, so I might as well look and feel my best. Might as well look good for that registry photo, too — I’m sure plenty of people will see it. Plus, I figure I’m going to want to eat some good food when I get out. If I’m thin, it won’t be as big of a deal if I gain 15 pounds my first few months on the streets. I’d rather go from 200 to 215, instead of from 240 to 255.
Years ago, Jen sent me a picture of Eggs Benedict she was eating at her favorite breakfast spot in Redding. I’ve looked at those fucking eggs, that ridiculously delicious-looking hollandaise sauce, for almost 1000 days, imagining how good they will taste when I finally am able to get my mouth on them. She promised to take me there when I get out, and I promised her, in return, that I’d take her back to PF Changs as soon as I’m allowed to. My parents are going to take me to several of their favorite restaurants. And I have to try one of those Buddha Bowls I’ve heard so much about.
I’ve been craving a big salad for years — you know, like a chef salad or cobb salad..something you might pay $10.99 for at Chili’s or Applebees or California PIzza Kitchen. (God, I miss that Barbecue Chicken Salad with the jicama and corn and that cilantro ranch dressing.) And you know what? This may sound ridiculous, but I want a Big Mac. I want to taste that familiar flavor (of two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, special sauce, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun) and smell the greasy fast food smells that I haven’t experienced in over a decade. In the words of Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me!
I’m also eager to try the K-Cups in the Keurig coffee machine. I don’t even know what real coffee tastes like anymore. And Rocky Road — I used to eat the Dreyer’s Grand Light (or double churned or whatever it’s called now) out of the container. It’s so freaking good. “Baby, get a BOWL!” she used to yell at me. 😦
Categories: Stephen Newman