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Hope is a demon, it toys with you - by N.S.

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'N' Level student-inmate from institution A4

Consolation Prize

Hope is a demon, it toys with you, it flirts, and then when you start to twist it, it vanishes. It dies. This was what I thought of hope, initially, until I realised that I was wrong. I was never there for my son, and I meant it literally. I missed almost all his important events because of my numerous incarcerations. I was serving time in 2019 when I decided that I must tackle my son back upon my release, no matter what. I made plans as my release day was nearing and towards the end of my journal, I was astonished, to say the least, when I was told that I had to go back to Halfway House.

However, that did not change any bit of my plans. On my release day itself, I went home, though for a couple of hours, to meet my son and the rest of my family. Sure, he was reluctant at first to acknowledge me being home but I was elated when he finally began to accept me just after a few tries. Subsequently, I made plans to see him on the weekends when I’m not working and we had video calls almost every night. I felt a sense of satisfaction that I was able to tackle my son completely.

Everything started to drastically change many months later when I had a traumatic miscarriage in the 7th month of my pregnancy. Days after the tragic event, I relapsed back to drugs. All my thoughts back then were distorted by grief. I barely considered the fear because the sadness of my miscarriage was so much worse – like insanity. Some days, I become disconnected from the world, like some out of the body sensation. My son became estranged. History repeated by itself – I neglected my son, again. I became so dependent on drugs that when I ran out of drugs, the wanting of it was a scream deep inside of me. The memories it evoked were too poignant now. If only I could turn over a new leaf with life. There’s so much that I would change and so much that I can’t.

Life, sometimes it twists into something we could never have imagined, right in front of us. And we beat ourselves up for not having seen it coming, but really, how could we possibly? We do the best we can. Months later, as if on cue, I was arrested. Truthfully at that point of time, I felt so hopeless that I did not mind that I was caught. I felt that it was pointless to even cry as I have lost it all. Not just my sense of autonomy but my family, my son and even most, my unborn child. Little did I know, there was a glimmer of hope when my son actually came to visit me in prison.

I still remember vividly what he said to me during the visit. He said, ‘It’s okay, mum. I totally understand what you went through. Like you, I anticipated the baby and was devastated when I heard of the tragic news. I’m going to be with you throughout your incarceration until you’re out and we can restart, mum. Time is a great healer, you never forget, but you learn to live with it. I love you, mum.’

I remember this thing about life, about feelings, that they are fleeting, they go away whether or not you them to. My son wrote to me daily, visited me frequently and slowly, with the help of prisons and grief counseling, I overcame my grief. That was when I realised that hope is like a balloon, it will follow you wherever you go.

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