It’s actually a few minutes since I wrote the last letter. I reread it and thought it sounded too negative. It wasn’t supposed to come out like that but it did. That’s the beauty about writing – I’m able to see how I think, no matter if it was meant to be negative or positive. I’m also able to learn more about myself from writing. I reflect back on my words and see my feelings in back and white.
An inmate passed me right before I began this second letter. While he was walking he commented, “Chad. You writing Zoey?” I talk to him on occasions and he’s aware of me having a blog and me dedicating Life, Love and Letters to Zoey on it. Guess he noticed our routine. After he got a few dozen feet away, I wondered if he had a special Zoey in his life. There’s an ambiguous reason for me writing that last sentence. What I’m trying to say is that a special Zoey could be any person in his life that helps define his very character and way of thinking. You ever know someone going through a difficult phase of their life and they seemingly can’t cope with that dark time? That’s all of us at some point in time. Their adversity may be a personal ominous storm, where all forces appear to be against them. At least to them at that particular moment. This includes a howling wind in their face, making them drop everything and lose their senses and self worth. Or it could be an endless rain, drenching their thoughts and bogging down their character and their true selves. Their storm has been too hot, too cold or just too something to them to handle.
It’s not until they find that one thing that pulls them out of that storm where they’re finally conscious aware of the cloud not being as low as they first thought. Zoey, you’ve been my one thing. Anybody can have a Zoey but saying that, a Zoey could be a person, a memory or something else entirely that they can hold onto and trek on through their storm. I’ve been fortunate in my storms. I had you, Zoey Beth. You’ve been my beacon of light on the rocky shores, you’ve been my shelter during a hurricane, you’ve been the lifeboat in a sea of distress, you’ve been my Noah’s Ark when the waters flooded, you’ve been my fire suit in out of control wildfires and you’ve been that one thing.
In the last letter, I wrote something like the roles being reversed for parents and kids these days. Guess subconsciously, it may be that way with you and I. You’ve simply been my protector. I think back to when I first got to USP Big Sandy in 2005. It was a violent environment but I became close to a handful of guys. We all appeared to be made of the same cloth, risk takers and troublemakers, but we made the best with what we had and had a good time through that storm. All together, we had over 200 years in prison to do. Little old me contributed to the most time, having an original 40 year sentence. That 40 year sentence wasn’t too much of a burden because you kept me positive and you kept me aware of a certain path I had to travel if I wanted to get out of this storm. There was always this knowing I’d be okay since I have that one thing, that Zoey.
Nearly fourteen years later, I wished my old friends during that time had a Zoey. I’m not trying to take your breath away or scare you but since that time – one committed suicide, one got killed the week he went home, one died of a drug overdose and two now have life sentences for a murder they committed while they were in prison. And the last one that I called a friend wrote me two years ago. Crow was his name. He was the one that drew the portraits of you that you had hanging in your bedroom. Well, in his letter he told me to send him a current picture of you because he wanted to draw one more picture of you before he died. I sent him one and haven’t heard from him since. These are men that I looked up to and assumed they had it all together and it’s me, the one that had the most time, probably the most scared that’s still kicking it. Where did they go wrong? Did they lose hope? Did they not have a clear path? Didn’t they have a Zoey for their storm?
I go home in about four years, less if my gut feeling is correct. No more 40 years because of one special Zoey. Maybe life is about finding that one thing to assist us through adversity. I know there will be more clouds when I get but I’m okay with that. Bring on those hanging clouds because I have a Zoey. You Zoey.