Symbols can help us and haunt us

Symbols come and go. Symbols can inspire us and haunt us. Maybe they have power over our memories because they live in the body as senses. 

I had been out of prison for about a year and a half. I was beginning to lose the shuck and jive of an over apologetic felon. The Ex-Con stamp on my head was fading. There were days I did not think about prison at all. But I was still adjusting to being treated with kindness and courtesy by strangers. In a simple human encounter with a waitress, she looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you.”

I stammered out a rusty “Your welcome.”

Symbols can help us and haunt us
Shower Sandals

There were many small things about reentry that awakened memories of prison purposely forgotten and buried. One day at Rite-Aid I saw the plastic sandals I wore in prison. In a flashback, I heard the echo slap in the tomb-like corridor and felt my callused pinched toes grip the slick plastic sandals. I felt Intake-sick all over again. The shame and dread are written on the body and the darkness forces you to relive the horror that it actually happened.

“Excuse me,” a woman’s voice resuscitates me in the shoe section of Rite Aid. She is smiling at me apologetically for her full moon, pregnant belly as she tries to pass.

“Oh! Sorry.” I leaned toward the shelves of miserable sandals. But life pulled me forward.

“Thank you,” she said smiling as she passed.

“You’re welcome!” I nearly shouted as I bubbled back to the present day.

Symbols can help us and haunt us

Symbols can help us and haunt us