23 April, 2013

Free at Last, Free at Last

“Free” is, of course, a relative term. Three months after I came out of retirement, taking another prison job after more than three years of full-time writing, I find it an apt term. These ninety-some days I’ve suffered (yes, suffered) latex-scented hands, desiccated cuticles, and a whole miserable array of annoyances relating to the job I took when my preferred position proved unavailable — they’re finally at an end. I have thrown off the soggy shackles.

It was easy to do; I had only to wait for an opportunity. Today, after one of the serving line workers got caught with a bag full of processed chicken chunks (no accounting for taste), I leapt to speak with the sergeant in charge of hiring. A white-haired corpulent man whose aspect, even when standing upright, is of a man having himself a hard-earned sit-down, Sarge and I have spoken about a job change so many times since he hired me to wash pots and pans that I hadn’t even crossed the threshold of his office when he said, “It’s Sundays and Mondays off. Do you even care?”

“I do not.” My sad, desperate truth.

“Okay,” he said, eyes never leaving his computer screen. For an instant, I marveled at his laxness. It occurred to me that I’d never witnessed him in the act of rising from a chair, nor dropping into one. Weird. “Line server it is.”

“Thanks, Sarge,” I practically sang. Extra quietly, I pulled his door closed, not wanting to risk the slightest imposition, lest he change his mind.

It will take Sarge a couple of days to complete the paperwork. Then one of the caseworkers in my housing unit will have to make the change to my institutional file. I’ll have to endure uncomfortably dry hands and occasional splashes of filthy dishwater in my face for just a short while longer. After that, though, my pots-and-pans internment ends and I’ll take up a ladle of what’s sure to feel to me like liberty.

1 comment:

  1. This seemingly small job change is a Big Deal. I'm so pleased for you I cried.


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