Christopher, 42

I am scheduled for release in just under 12 months – September 20th, 2022 to be exact – after serving a grand total of 23 years in the Florida Dept of Corrections. To state that I am excited will be a tremendous understatement and to claim a sense of anxiety will fail in illustrating the degree of apprehension I am now experiencing. My freedom appears to be a beautiful sunset on the horizon and despite my trepidations; I am not “fearful” of seeing this “new world” which has obviously changed over the last two-plus decades.

There are many blessings in my life that I sometimes consider unearned. I have many friends and family who are awaiting my departure, and who offer various means of support. My brother Eric has already secured me a job making a decent wage for someone who’s been out of the workforce since 1999. He has also given me a car and is in the process of relocating to a new home, which has an extra bedroom. The sole reason for this move? So his little brother [me] will have his own room. Blessings for sure! Not to rob these various blessings of their glory or to diminish the awesomeness of any efforts from so many to see that my transition is wonderful, but there is one particular gift as it were; that seems to stand above the norm – presenting something that only the incarcerated / formally incarcerated can truly appreciate.

My friend of more than 23 years has invited me on a cross-country trip that ends in the state of Oregon!

Rachel’s purpose for making this trip is to find somewhere to re-settle. She’s a natural-born New Yorker and since a young child has lived in the SE US; Florida and Georgia respectively.  Now, as a single mom whose only son is preparing to take the reins of his life and move out on his own; Rachel wants to explore, and on this excursion to find a new home – she wants me of all people to go with her….

She recently told me “…there isn’t any other person in my life that I’d rather travel with than you…” and to say that I am humbled will be stating it lightly.

 Whether I am ‘truly’ the best person for this endeavor with Rachel will soon be determined. The one truth I can proclaim without any doubt is that seeing the country for the first time in my life after decades of confinement is the closest one can be to heaven on Earth and my travel companion must be an ‘angel in disguise!’ 

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