August 29, 2011

A Father's Heart - The Wayward Father 3

This writing/story originated from my twisted mind. Hence, I reserve all rights to this work.

The metal door slammed shut behind him. “It has been five years, how fast time flies.” thought James. He had served his time and now freedom but he didn't feel like a free man. Yes, he was not physically caged anymore but he still felt that he was in some sort of prison. A prison of guilt, shame and regret. This prison had no walls and no door that he could exit; He was simply in it.

James had aged a lot, the five years spent inside Kepayan prison had not been easy on him. Besides the occasional beating by fellow inmates, he had to content with nights of panic attack. On such nights, his mind would wander back to the day when he committed the crime and the realization that he had screwed not only his life but also that of his wife and son, especially his son. The walls would start to close in on him and all he wanted was to get out and look for his son. It got especially harder when in the third year of his incarceration, his wife visited him and told him that she was divorcing him and that she would be moving to the States and marry an American.

“No, James! Don't try to make me feel guilty for wanting something better for me. Joshua and I have suffered a lot because of your stupidity. I didn't put you in here, you did and in a way, you brought me and Joshua along! I've told you many times before not to get involved with that friend of yours but you choose his counsel over mine. Enough is enough!”

The words of his wife became like a mantra to him, replaying itself in the dark recess of his mind over and over again in his every waking hour. Sometimes it would come to his dream too at night, that's when the panic attack would occur. Three days after his wife told him of her intention, James tried to take his own life. Fortunately, fellow inmates found him and alerted the prison authority. He was put under observation and counseled. Perhaps the counseling worked because he did not attempt to take his own life again. However, everyone noticed that he had changed. He would spent his hours seated in a corner as though deep in thoughts.

A black Toyota four wheel drive pulled up next to James, the window wound down and James recognized the driver as the prison warden.

“Come in James.” James complied.

“Where are you headed to. Let me give you a lift” said the warden. The warden was a big burly man of Dusun ethnicity. For some unknown reason, he seemed to have taken interest in James' welfare. He oversaw James' observation and counseling when he tried to take his own life albeit not personally but James knew that he was always there in the background.

“I've no idea where to go, Tuan” replied James.

“You're not in jail anymore James, so stop with the Tuan

Yes Tuan, erh.. Wilfred” replied James uncomfortably.

The warden's forehead creased as he deliberated and then his hand reached to his back pocket and he took out his wallet.

James, you know you are a lucky son of a bitch. You married a beautiful, a good wife whom you obviously did not deserve but yet she chose you. You were not highly qualified but your employer decided to trust you with his money but you repaid that trust by swindling him. You are a good man James but my god you are stupid. And now, me, a stranger is about to loan you 500 ringgit. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, I suggest you get your act together. You can't fix the past but you can make your future from this point on. How old are you? Thirty? It's not too late for you James. This is my phone number, I want you to report to me once a week to update me on what you are doing. If you don't, I'll get my friends in the police to track you down. This is a loan, I expect you to pay me back! Understand?”

Yes Tuan! I mean Wilfred... and thank you..” James was taken aback by the warden's remark. He had thought about his stupidity many times before but no one besides him had articulated it to him.

Now get off my vehicle and decide where you are heading to but I suggest you do not head to your old friends who got you into this mess.”

James alighted from the vehicle and thanked the warden.

and James, if I ever see you back in this facility again, I will make your life a living hell! Especially if you have not repaid your loan. Even if you have repaid your loan and end up back in there, I will still make your life miserable. That's a promise James!” warned the warden.

I won't...erh..I mean I will pay you back and I won't end up back here” offered James.

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