This transformed me, it was so powerful. I watched it and cried. Then I watched it again. Then I transcribed the entire scene because I wanted to be able to go back to it again and again in life. Important words.
Daniel walks into room. Avery is present. Avery is the man who runs the halfway house and leads the group meetings.
Wasn’t sure you’d still be here Dan. Have a seat.
Hell is other people.
I don’t follow.
It’s a quote from a play I read in prison called No Exit. The three characters in the play were forced to be together; just be together in a room for eternity and that was their hell.
Well, like I said last night Dan, you don’t have to be here; certainly not for eternity.
That’s the problem, I’m not sure I can be out there either; in the world.
Now that sounds like hell.
Those other guys in the house, Nate, Tyrus and Pickle, when they were in prison they were usually around a lot of other guys right? Interacting.
Sounds like prison.
I was alone; interacting with myself.
I’m aware of that.
Or the voices inside the grate.
The other inmates on the row…we would communicate with each other through the grates.
Sometimes with friends…sometimes with not friends at all, but no matter who it was I would never get to see them, or feel them there, their presence, and that’s not the same.
No, no it’s not.
And I did that; I lived like that for 20 years.
That’s a long time.
It’s a strange way to exist.
It’s inhuman. What is it Dan?…If not now, when?
After my friend was executed, I become despondent, more despondent; I guess depressed, enraged but more than anything I was lonely…so deeply lonely. He had protected me from that, more than I realized.
When you are alone with yourself all the time, with no one but yourself, you begin to go deeper and deeper into yourself until you lose yourself. It’s a perverse contradiction. It’s like your ego begins to disintegrate until you have no ego. Not in the sense that you become humble or gain some kind of perspective but that you literally lose your sense of self. And I am not sure if anyone, unless they’ve gone through it, can truly understand how profound that loss is. It’s like the psychic glue that binds your whole notion of existence is gone, and you become unglued. I think therefore I am. I think too much, therefore I am not. I am not, therefore I am nothing. I am nothing, therefore I am dead. And if I am dead then why am I still so god damn lonely.
It’s good that you’re’ talking about this Dan. What you’ve been through, and what you‘ve lost; part of the grieving process., you know?
Is there a 90-day plan for that too? A new canon house grief plan? What color binder is that housed in?
Ain’t no plan for that, but we are here to help you, we really are.
The problem with your program is I don’t fit.
You’re a human being Dan, you fit.
One of your biggest tenants, or dictums , or whatever you call it is to be upfront, be straight, be real, tell the world what you did, right?
Not tell the world, just who you need to.
The tinny little issue I am having Avery is I don’t know what real is. I don’t truly know what I did or didn’t do. Now I can say I am a convicted murderer, which is true, I am convicted. And I can say that I killed her too, Hannah, which I have said more than once. And I can even imagine that I’ve killed her, which I have imagined, because that is what I have been asked to do multiple times. But I honestly cannot say that I did in fact kill her because I just don’t remember, for the life of me. And that’s…
Yes, that’s my truth.
And what if you never know what happened?
I don’t know. And I don’t know what to do with that unknowing.
Sounds like you’ve got to accept it. What else can you do?
It’s not so easy.
Of course it isn’t but you’ve never tried, have you?
I don’t know.
Come on, you know why not?
Because I don’t feel I deserve it, is that what you want to hear?
Deserve what, a life?
I didn’t think it would end this way?
That you would get out?
Then that’s what you’ve got to decide, whether you deserve a life or not, out here; after all you’ve been through. After all that punishment, after all that suffering. Your one life, do you deserve to live? And just because you don’t remember or know for sure whether you killed that girl or not, that doesn’t mean you did it either. Right? Maybe you otta lean the other way for a while, that you didn’t do it.
But if I lean that way it means that…
That I’m just making a decision.
Okay, what else can you do? Not make a decision? And isn’t that the same thing? And didn’t you already make a decision the other way? This may sound hokey as shit but you’ve got to figure out some way to love yourself.