Walk to Freedom

January 30, 2010
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The atmosphere was tense. So deep that I could almost drown. I remember glancing out of my small keyhole of a window and seeing a bird flutter past gently. For a moment there, I would have stayed just rooted to the spot, as nothing seemed to be real or seemed right. However, the reality hit me just then, as a heavy clanging on the metal bars that had separated me from the rest of the world for twenty five years, chimed and snapped me out of my state of confusion.

I awoke with a start. Stood there was a man. He was very tall and quite fearsome looking, but at the time, it was not he whom I was looking at. What had caught my eye was the big bulk of dangling keys he was holding outstretched. Tilting his head to one side, he asked, “Ready.” Trembling slightly, I peered down at the once youthful hands that were now covered with cracks and wrinkles; slowly I looked back into the man’s face...... “Yes.” I replied, breathlessly. And so the padlock turned.

Ever since the day of my conviction, I had stopped trying to prove my innocence. I was weak. Weak and also lazy. Even the face of my enemy didn’t motivate me to carry on even though it visited me every night. Night after night. Laughing and gloating, as he was embraced by the rest of the country for being brave. He put a mass murderer behind bars according to them. Someone who’d terrorized the nation and slaughtered vulnerable people. What did they know about the truth, I used to think? How I was framed and trapped in a web of betrayal by my very own best friend, the killer who now roamed around free. But what did any of that matter now, June 15th 1985 had arrived, and at last I was going to be released.

However, you are fooled if you are to think that I did not know about the horror that awaited me. Oh yes, I knew. If I wasn’t going to be attacked or beaten, I would be a victim to the nation’s angry tongues. They would feel no mercy or sympathy for the wrinkly old man and his long white beard. My people would hate me, and I knew.

Taking one last sweeping look at the secluded prison cell that had been home for more than two decades, I ran my shaking hand down one of the four walls. It had been my only comfort during the abandoned twenty five years of my life. A friend. When one finds themselves in an alone and companionless situation, they tend to do strange things. I myself cannot recount the number of times I had a conversation with a teaspoon. Your mind so corrupted drifts to far away places. Places that are icy and desolate, with nobody to turn to. You not only lose the desire to live but you lose desire itself. You’re not breathing, you’re an empty shell. You’re not living either because you’re simply just existing.

These thoughts had accompanied me through to the long, endless walk to freedom, as I followed the prison guard down the writhing passage, my stomach turned at every step. I remember vividly the eyes of fellow inmates glaring at me venomously, jealousy flashing in their eyes. Some of them snarled furiously as I chuckled lightly-heartedly under my breath, nobody was going to make me feel bad about leaving. I had done my time.

Finally, we reached the doors and the prison guard unlocked them and turned to me. “Well this is it, you’re free,” he had said. After pausing for a minute he continued. “You know there’s always been something about you. I don’t know… but you never looked like a killer to me.”

I had looked deep into the guard’s eyes, but never said anything. For a tiny moment there, in a dark corner of my tired heart, a glimmer of hope entered for a brief second. Maybe there was hope…Just maybe. “Good luck,” the guard said, “See you later.” I balanced myself on my walking stick and held tightly on to his arm. Smiling, I replied happily, “I don’t think so son!”

Very quickly, the guard pushed open the doors with all his might and hit me did the sunlight so sharp and abrupt. My hand darted towards my eyes as I hobbled through the doors. All of a sudden a sound erupted around me. What a racket, I remember thinking, so much noise. Louder and louder it grew as I walked on. What it was I wasn’t sure, after twenty five years of listening to the groans and grunts of fellow prison inmates, this sound seemed alien to me, but the uproar continued to explode in my ears. Carefully, I moved my hands away from my eyes. What I saw... well...

Thousands of people being held back by police. Crowds upon crowds of people screaming at the top of their lungs and waving their arms in delight. Delight? There was something wrong. Why was nobody cursing? Why was nobody snarling? Why was nobody throwing handbags, stones and rocks at me? And why, oh why was that little girl in the pink dress holding a sign that said “hero” upon it? I scanned the scene meticulously making sure I wasn’t hallucinating. But no, I was perfectly sane. These people were all cheering for me! Me! An old crooked man bent over his waking stick! Of course now I know why they were and so do you. But at the time, it was all too confusing. I remember looking behind me in case they’d got the wrong person, however, they hadn’t. And why should they have?

Finally after twenty five years they had uncovered the truth. It had taken them long enough. After sleeping on a moth-eaten mattress, eating prison slop and being treated like a villain, in the end my people had come through. I wasn’t attacked or hated. Instead they all loved me. And you know something, I truly deserved it.

Now I sit, writing this experience that is emblazoned on my mind, down on a piece of paper. I feel the warm breeze dance around me and ripple through my hair. I hear the birds singing their sweet song up to the heavens and I see the sky streaked red, as a golden sun rises over the mountain. The cold, empty feelings that had taken residence within my mind have been pushed out. My heart no longer tired and injured. I am the first to admit, that this life can be too painful to bear at times, but now I feel safe, complete and above all loved. I have come to realize now a message that I wish to share with you all: that if not in this life then maybe the next, justice will always be done.

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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

Maria said...
Feb. 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm
You really know how to make a person feel as though they are really there and part of the story. Amazing!
pollerbear!! said...
Feb. 23, 2010 at 3:33 am
wicked keep it up moosly your growing up day by day :)
Zeba said...
Feb. 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm
Sairish dis is jus brill!! i love it...keep it up xx
Omar said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 2:26 pm
Wow Seri this is brilliant u r reallly talented!
rahema said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 8:55 am
Well done little sis! You write beautifully!
Ambreen said...
Feb. 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Sairish!!! omg...i love this so much! seriously, this is soooo good..x
Talah said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm
yu keep getting better and better...:)
Saliya said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm
omg!!! this was sooooo gud evntho i've read it b4 it was still sooo gud!!1
amna said...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm
sairish this article is really good, i agree with mehvish, you are such a good writer keep it going...xxxx
Mehvish said...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm
Sairish this article is truly amazing, its really brilliant well done, you are like the mother of all Arnfields and Duckworths. xxx
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