I moved. Not from prison, but to a new block. I effectively live about 60 feet from where I was and the whole dynamic and experience has changed. The people are different, the conversations different, the habits of others are different. The whole step is such a change that I’m instantly feeling an increase in my pace of time. There’s a lot to learn and when I do, time flies.

My new cell is a single occupancy. It took me five continuous years of disciplined behavior to earn a single cell. No write ups, no tardiness, no perceived misbehavior. Not all units take this long, but our unit is the most populous, so it does. I’m proud of the standards I have about my conduct that got me this elbow room. And it came two days after Christmas. What a gift! Now I get to do cool stuff, too….

The stuff Marshall does and brags about, the moonwalking, the bird talking, the karaoke. In fact, Marshall lived here two occupants ago. He warned me about the massive amounts of water pressure in the sink. My floor gets wet from it. I had to know if the toilet was this gross when he moved out. He promised me that the cell was spotless. He ensured me that the biker who lived here between us was the nasty toilet culprit. The damn thing was growing grey fuzz under the rim… ick! It wasn’t anything that an old tooth brush and elbow grease couldn’t fix, though.

But, years of waiting for this now gives rise to fixing my life in more effective ways. More homework, more projects, more reading, more late nights and early mornings ensuring that the conduct that got me this room gets even better through independent studies. This room isn’t just a gift for years of good behavior for me. Its a platform for ensuring years more. Years of growth in the work being done while I’m not having to worry if I keep someone else awake. Its a space that I can make my dreams come to life and make my goals solidify. This single occupancy cell is a source of rehabilitation. One I hope you’ll be pleased with. One day this little single occupancy cell in a new cell block will be a home in your neighborhood. Here’s to you and I and the power of a little space to breathe and grow…

by Rory Andes

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