‘Tell me Bob,’ my cellmate says to me each night. ‘What would be your perfect day? Mine would be…’ He proceeds to describe scenes of sunshine and waves, of alcohol and girls. It varies a little each time, more girls one night, more drink on another. Overall though it remains bright and warm and filled with hope. ‘Your turn now Bob,’ he finishes.
‘Tomorrow, Jack,’ I tell him. ‘Let’s get a little shuteye.’
‘Ha,’ he laughs. ‘You say day every night. One day I’ll get it out of you. Goodnight.’
‘Night Jack,’ I reply and turn to face the wall. Not to sleep. Not to picture my perfect day.
Truth is I cannot play that game. Jack’s fantasies are sweet and they help him to keep going. That’s fine. I can’t allow myself to think ahead, to imagine a future that does not involve being locked in a cage twenty three hours a day. Focusing on what life might be like in the future would make the present too unbearable. Too much to take.
I keep my head down and concentrate on getting through the next hour. The next minute.
We all have our own ways to survive.