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With a quiet sigh, I stared blankly at the barred windows - by Z.Y.

Chosen Topic:

Over the Horizon

Non-student participant from Tanah Merah Prison

Consolation Prize

I awoke with a sudden jolt.

I turned my head left and the right, slightly underwhelmed by the fact that I was brusquely transported back to reality-this suffocating atmosphere made worse by these four walls. For just a moment ago, my veins were pumping wildly with adrenaline as I was being helplessly separated from my weeping mother while drifting away into a wall of patch black nothingness.

Having been incarcerated for eight years, there were several things that I have gotten used to. Apart from the trio of quarrelsome lizards that could often be seen above the panel of lights, I dreamt. I tend to wonder on who might join me in my dreams of escape and the delights that were to take place in our secret rendezvous. Some dreams had me choked up; some had me pining for more. It was mere things like this that was keeping my sanity intact. I dare not imagine how I would crumble and fall if even the adventures inside the fertile chambers of my mind were to be denied.

With a quiet sigh, I stared blankly at the barred windows. For the untempt time, my mind took back to where it all began. I was introduced to marijuana while studying for my Diploma in SIM University. There was this classmate of mine, T, who behaved in a peculiar manner. He would always be laughing at the silliest of matters and could not even hold a single conversation without being bemused by the absurdity of his own replies. I befriended him and he then offered me a glimpse into his world. Who would have known that by accepting a pull on his drag, my world would change dramatically? I soon came to realise that one is too many and a thousand is never enough - I was hooked.

We had a bunch of schoolmates that enjoyed getting “stoned out” from smoking marijuana. Night establishments were our weekly hang out spots and that was where we would party all the way into the wee hours, under the influence of alcohol and weed. A brown leather cigarette casing to store my rolled up joints - It is still, my favourite possession.

However, partying frequently and purchasing marijuana was taking a toll on my bank account. Imagine my dismay when I found out that I had almost depleted all of my savings! My party days would soon be over if I did not do something about it. T came to know of my monetary dilemma and assured me that if I worked for him, my financial woes would be solved. It was as if the Devil had made me an offer in which I could not refuse.

Ever since I started delivering parcels for T, the frown on my face quickly turned into a greedy grin. As promised, my bank account grew fatter with each successful drop-off. I never had so much money before! My newfound riches had led my parties to be wilder and more frequent. I was having the time of my life. Unfortunately, my happiness was short lived.

The sky was sprinkling with stars when I stepped out of my apartment heading for another casual drug run. I was trying to hail a taxi by the roadside when I realised I was not alone. A group of six men was approaching cautiously towards me and I immediately sensed something was amiss. I lowered my head instinctively, hoping to appear inconspicuous. I wanted to turn around and flee the scene when out of blue, I felt a vice-like grip on my shoulders. It was my last ever drug run.

I would never forget the look on my mother’s face when she came to visit me in prison for the first time. I had caused tremendous hurt to the woman who raised me by leaving the recesses of her heart hollow. It pained me immensely when I realised that my reckless actions not only affected me but also people who loved me.

Someone up there must have really taken a fancy on me. With the amount of drugs I was caught in possession for, I most definitely would be sent to the gallows. I have only my lucky stars to thank when the lawyer my mother engaged for me had miraculously managed to get me off the hook. I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment instead.

Snapping back to reality, I was incredibly grateful to still be alive and for my mother’s support all these years. I could not imagine a life without her.

I closed my fluttering eyes gently as I picture a paradise where mother and I embraced in a haven of comfort, away from these four walls, somewhere over the horizon.


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