After a few days of working out, watching people tattoo each other with staples, accidentally going to a meeting of the Nation of Islam instead of Jummah, sketching and assuring people that the nine month maximum sentencing they where facing was really, really, not a big deal, i was tipped off that ICE (immigration and Customs Enforcement) where coming to put me on my plane home back to the United Kingdom.
I shaved, said my goodbyes, gave away the few remaining items of clothing, bags of coffee and sugar, changed into the pair of jeans, shirt and jacket i had kindly been sent to come home in and shackled, given a bottle of water and plonked in the back of a plastic coated squad car with a VERY hard plastic seat, to be whisked five hours through picturesque American countryside into the hustling busy streets of New York City..
During the drive i remember looking out the window and hearing the faint rustling on the radio of a Metallica tune playing in the distance. My two cuffed hands swiftly knocked on the plastic divider and asked the two incredibly unfriendly agents to turn the music up, which they did, to a deafening level, then refused to turn it down for the rest of the journey despite the fact that we had no reception and where listening to white noise.
At first it was really nice to just sit outside the airport, albeit cuffed in a squad car being looked at like a bloody murderer, just because i was actually, kind of, in the street in New York and could just see normal people walking around doing whatever normal people do everyday. Might seem a bit weird but considering i'd only been able to see the random passers by from my window in MCC for 30 months, no one while in Brooklyn's MDC and rabbits and cows through the chain link double razor wire fence in MVCC, this was quite an experience for me.
Despite the unfavourable looks..
Two hours in though i was started to get worried, especially as the ass hole agents in the front kept looking at their watches, tutting then asking each other what they should do. What started as me enjoying watching the world go by rapidly escalated to me praying that the other agents who had come to escort me to the plane would just hurry up and get me the fuck out of here as, if they didn't, i knew it would be another couple of days until the next flight and worse than that, five more hours sitting on a rock hard plastic car seat back to the county jail and back.
Luckily for me they showed up and in typical New York fashion (the agents in MY car where country folk) where sporting fitted caps, showing bubble gum and upon seeing me shackled and looking very tired, screamed at the two morons who drove me here for not taking off my hand cuffs or getting me anything to eat or drink. After my cuffs where begrudgingly taken off by the two idiots, i walked into the black people carrier and took a quick spin to the departures part of the airport where, after apologising for their colleagues behaviour and repeatedly calling them cock suckers and assholes, they escorted me past all security checks, shook my hand, wished me luck in the future and let me walk onto to the plane on my own to begin my journey home..
Soon after finding my seat i was greeted by Marco the Italian lawyer and an American business man.
Once we where up in the air i asked them to have a drink to celebrate a very special day, which they did, after an hour or so the business man asked what we where celebrating, which i didn't respond to but after a few questions of,
He smiled, poured some more whisky out of his little plastic bottle and gave me another drink..
"So YOU'RE the guy the ICE agents where waiting for.."
I just smiled back.
"Don't worry buddy it's not where you've been it's where you're going.."
Since then a lot has changed.
After a few months resting, recuperating and thinking about where exactly i was in my life, what i wanted to do and the all important task of weening out the plans i had made over my years in prison that where not realistic and those that where in my grasp, or where realistically achievable, i was blessed with a couple hundred pounds and made my way back to London to start life again..
A lot has changed since then..
I'm currently at the end of my first year studying, have moved to a new city, live in my own apartment and with a lot of hard work and planning the vast majority of goals have been reached and new experiences seem to come every day, but the experiences I had in America haven't been as easy to move on from as I had hoped.
Due to it being a year to the day of my release, I had taken some time to think about the past twelve months, what I had hoped to achieve and whether I am happy having now achieved it and just how well i am in general being back, outside, doing the things i had wished to do over the forty four months i was incarcerated.
My experiences in America, the behavior i witnessed, what i had to do mentally and physically to get through that part of my life is not something that i have really had time to deal with.
I often think about not only my treatment by the government but also others experiences, how easily their lives where destroyed by people that knew exactly what these people had done or, more importantly, not done.
It troubles me.
It's not as easy as you might think.
You can't just keep busy, leave it all behind you and pretend it all doesn't matter anymore just because you're home.