A third excerpt from my half-baked novel idea:
March 15th, 2006
I have to tell you, Charlie, when I read your letter (I just got it yesterday, halfway through March, even though it says that you sent it in February) I cried the whole night. I’ve been in here for four months and it’s the first letter that I’ve gotten. I’m not surprised, I only have one friend on the outside and he probably doesn’t even know that I’m in here. He might even be in some other prison. But I was surprised that it was from you. When I got it from the mailroom, I saw your name on the return label and I started crying right then and there. I couldn’t open it the whole day, but I finally opened it at night.
You have no idea what your forgiveness means to me, Charlie. It feels more bad than good, though. It’s hard for me to tell you why, but I’ll try. I feel like I owe it to you to be honest and tell you everything that I’m feeling.
I remember when I was younger I would watch a lot of Disney movies. I loved the princess movies, but my brother would make fun of me if I asked to watch them. So I would tell my sister to ask to watch them, because he wouldn’t make fun of her. My favorite was Aladdin. Maybe you can see why? Aladdin was like me, he lived on the streets and people hated him and he had to steal food to live. But he also became rich and met a princess and went on to get rid of the bad guy to live out his dreams, as a prince, with his family. He didn’t have to steal food to live anymore. And (I bet, though Disney didn’t go this far) he would know how hard it is to be on the street so he would have probably decreed that nobody should have to steal to live or sleep on the streets.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always thought that good people would always have good things happen to them, eventually, and that bad people would always have bad things happen to them. I’m bad and I’m in jail, so that makes sense to me. But Maria, well, she was good and she had the worst thing happen to her, worse than going to prison for life. I guess what I mean is that maybe you’ve forgiven me and maybe God has forgiven me, but I haven’t forgiven myself. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to. Because I can’t understand why I did it or why I did this bad thing to such a good person.
In response to your questions (no, they weren’t too much, like I said, I don’t have anyone else to talk to outside of here), I am doing okay here. My roommate and I are kind of friends. He used to do a lot of meth, too, so we talk about that a lot. He’s from Montana, but he got arrested in the Tri Cities for beating up a guy at a gas station. The guy lived, so he only has thirty years in here. He said that if the guy had died (which he almost did), he would have been in here for life like me. The guy that he beat up was well liked in his town, so people were even angrier and wanted him to go away for more time. Isn’t that funny? If he had almost killed me, nobody would have cared, probably. The prison is okay, though. We have our own garden and a factory where we can sew clothes for money.
You asked about the life that I left behind me. It’s so bad, Charlie, I almost don’t want to admit it, but I said that I would be honest with you. The thing is, I like being in prison more than being out of it. When I was in Spokane, I was living on the streets and doing meth and I would hear voices sometimes tell me to things, like the things that I did last summer. But in here, I have a bed and three meals a day and I can garden and work and I am not on any drugs anymore, Charlie. Is it bad that I am happy that I have to stay here for life? I don’t like why I’m here, but if I’m being honest, my life is better now than before. But then I feel guilty for thinking that because of what I did to get here and how my life being better had to come at the expense of your happiness.
Oh god, I’m a horrible person. I just re-read this letter and it makes me sick to think that I actually said that my life is better now, even after all the pain that I’ve caused you and your family. I guess the letter will be the first and last one that I get from you, you must be disgusted by me.
I know I am.
God bless you, Charlie, and thank you for forgiving me, even though I don’t deserve it,