I remember as a child and even as a teenager, I don't know if I was asleep or awake, I would fly over the farmhouses in my neighbourhood. I would climb beyond the height of the clouds and I would dive into a dive and before crashing I would regain control by making a U-turn. I don't know at what point in my youth I lost that paramnesia.
Once I lost the sensation of flying, I began to be attacked by dreams that were so real, so tangible, the events I dreamt of, that at the age of 30 they took shape, they materialised. Let me tell you.
For a decade, two dreams attacked me, always the same story. One of them referred to a story of a girl who became a woman, but I did not grow old. In the dream it was repeated over and over again like a time-lapse of those years of walks in the park, going to concerts, visiting museums, from primary school to high school; and the cycle repeated itself. The second dream was not as beautiful as the first one, in this one, I saw how a building I had built collapsed before me, and my entrance into a prison. In the prison, on my bed, on the top of the cement bunk bed, on my pillow, a dove always awaited my arrival and disappeared through the grille that covered the window through which the sun's rays worked their divine magic.
On my thirtieth birthday, I was certainly sentenced without trial for a crime I did not commit. I spent eleven grey years in four prisons. Eleven years, which today I believe were necessary to live through. As I experienced it in my dreams, so I felt it in reality.
During those eleven years, behind bars, I shared with so many people, young and old, who were serving their sentences without even having been sentenced, a clear consequence of a corrupt, inefficient, lethargic prison system….
Well, here comes the interesting part of my déjà vu. It turns out that my stay within the prison system came to change that impoverished judicial mechanism. Just as I had dreamed it, my job in my first prison was in the Transfer Department. There was such a mess there that, to give you an idea, I found among a multitude of transfer slips, court appointments to impose release on other inmates that were three and even five years overdue. After organising the whole mess, I prioritised the transfers to the courts and things in the penitentiary started to improve.
In my second imprisonment, I had about two years there, I had to work in the Educational Unit and as Furriel in the Custody Guard Detachment; yes, I know, it seems unbelievable, but it's true. The Educational Unit is abandoned, in three months I refurbished it, I activated the library with donations and I even got an old PC that was used to have internet. With that PC, I started a project that I completed six years later. The inmates began to study; some began to read and write, others to continue their primary school studies and others to complete their baccalaureate... It was an enriching experience.
I moved to my third place of confinement and started working in the Archive Department. I remembered that film that in my dreams had crossed my mind a few years earlier... Here I also found an organisational disaster; it was anything but an archive department, it looked more like a dump of old newspapers.
It took me about six months to organise the mess, and the fruits of the change materialised in 1999. It is important for you to know that, during my eleven years as a prisoner, I was never treated by the authorities as an inmate; rather, I was mistaken for just another civil servant. I always enjoyed the respect of the other inmates and of all the administrative, workers and custodial staff.
In 1999, some 42 inmates of this penitentiary were released in full freedom, some because their sentences had expired, and their release slips were lost, misplaced in the tangle of the archives. Others were released because their sentences had expired, that is, they had been detained for more than three years without a sentence or charges from the Prosecutor's Office… It saddens me.
In 2000, I was transferred to my last prison. It took me five years in this prison, but, once again, the experience was positive… You may ask, how is it possible to talk about an experience in these conditions as enriching? Well, I feel that way. I arrived there in September and went directly to the Educational Unit. About five thousand inmates made up the prison population, and only about 70 were studying (those statistics didn't add up for me). An agreement was made with a university that had distance learning at the time, and we managed to bring university education to this prison. The two Chairs that were started were Computer Systems and Law. We were able to install a computer room with twenty-four PCs and the State provided us with satellite Internet. With donations, we were able to get good air conditioning, stationery, blackboards, tables, and chairs. The educational unit changed, and the statistics improved, by the end of 2001, the general enrolment at all levels of education exceeded five hundred inmates. In the nighttime higher education classrooms, inmates, administrative staff and military custody personnel lived together and formed part of the first class of students endorsed by the National Open University (2005). I received an honorary plaque from the State.
In 2005, the dreams began again, this time, I was being guarded by two military officers in a lift coming out of the computer room. As I reached the surface and the lift door opened, the sunlight cut me off for seconds. Outside, everything was different. About fifty metres away I spotted three beautiful flowers, the sunlight hitting them in such a way that their glow magically attracted me and I ran towards them. I fell to my knees and cried like a child… In March 2006, the dream came true, my full freedom, no charges, no record, no guilt…, arrived. With advances in technology, DNA freed me from my 1995-2006 prison. The Penitentiary rumbled, the inmates rattled the bars, the administrative staff and workers accompanied me to the exit of the prison where a vehicle belonging to an official of the Educational Unit was waiting to take me to his home. A few years earlier, I had met his family, as they visited me on the last Sunday of every month.
Since then, having emigrated from Canada (2010), I only dream of the memory of my mother who always told me: “… things happen for a reason…”. In her dreams, she comes back every December to tell me that she is well. I love you, mum.
Responding to @galenkp's invitation in his weekly and colourful weekly call WEEKEND EXPERIENCES. Thanks to all of you for reading my post, I will gladly respond to your comments.
- The images are my own, taken recently with my Canon—EOS Rebel T7 DSLR camera.
- Title art was designed in CoolText
I know that story that you lived through my dear professor, but it is a challenge overcome. I am glad that you feel free to talk about such intimate things with ease and naturalness. A hug full of love. TQM.
Those eleven years didn't happen in a dream.
Yes, those years were productive because the author engaged fruitful than even people who had their freedom in the real world.
Its painful to learn again from another heart-touching story about a jailed person who is innocent for the crime he is sentenced for.
Yeah, my friend, I experienced it first-hand. I am passionate about two beautiful films: Dreams of Escape and Miracle in Cell 7; if you haven't seen them, I recommend them. Thank you for your appreciation—blessings from afar.