Friday, July 21, 2006

yellow letter day

Our son writes his letters on legal paper in black pen, printing very small in all capital letters. I've grown accustomed to looking at the way he writes as though looking at his face. And through the writing and what concerns him, getting to know a person I thought I did, but the letters tell the story.

This week he was moved to a new cell, and therefore got a new cellmate. He was not happy about this. I suppose I try to imagine what it would be like to be locked into a bathroom with a total stranger and somehow find a rhythm and means of at least being civil with no privacy. He does not like this man's choice of music, and the radio is on all day. It would be a small thing if a body could simply walk away, but he can't. The boredom of a daily routine without meaningful activity compounds the difficulty. Yet he jokes and comments about tidbits of information he hears on his radio. For instance he told the the origin of the expression "pulling out all the stops" refers to the composer Mendlessohn, who used to play the organ with the literal stops out to create the most exciting and loud sound. There is some culture and civility even in such a place as that. And he mentions an add for a music program called music from the "hearts of space". He imagines lots of keyboards and Yanni playing somewhere! He has not lost his sense of humor.

Well, the letter ends for him either hours or days later. It depends on his mood as to how long a letter will take to draft. Time doesn't have a whole lot of meaning when there is little else to do. Still, he takes the time and it is a comfort to share a few sheets of paper with him if nothing else.


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