He awakes after a bad dream. For the briefest of moments his mind expects different surroundings. The restful young eyes throw off the darkness only to be reminded of the concrete walls that house his body now and forever. For a youthful man of his age, thoughts are confusing as to how and why all this came about. Mind's pursuits all end in the same realization: never will he see the green grass of northern Georgia where he was born. His body is rigid and chiseled, ironically showing similarities to the building that confines him. Fair-skinned with freckles, his pointy chin is softened with his deceivingly delicate baby blue eyes. His crew cut is standard issue along with the faded blue uniform. Roll call comes early, just as the sun is peaking through the tiny windows high on the walls. Out they all come, each one with his own story, his own philosophy on right and wrong. He stands erect in line, always striving to fit in with the crowd. He slowly makes his way to the mess hall with an anxious but controlled gait.
Smack! The slop hits his metal plate like a wet snowball on a window. His voracious appetite takes over as he reaches his seat. There is no talk, just the fulfillment of a need. Off to the machine shop he goes. The ritual repetition almost reassures his mind. His duty is to produce detailed pads that are used to repair engines. The tools he commands are like instruments in an orchestra. His mind floats away as his meticulous fingers find a rhythm. It reminds him of his other life, when he would go fishing with his sweetheart on those beautiful afternoons in springtime. The gentle breeze through his long blond hair, he could almost feel it. The repetitive rock of that old rowboat, the gentle tap on the end of his wooden rod, these memories were like whisky to a drunk. His eyes open after the brief excursion. The return to monotony, the inevitable story of his life. 1
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.