But What Did He Do?

san-quentin-5-big.jpgI got another letter from Garry today. It amazes me at how happy he always seems. I learned he was on death row for fourteen years, but knew some of the guys in there for over twenty years. This makes me think he was/is in a gang, so although I still know he’s a murderer, at least he’s probably not a serial killer. He told me I can ask him anything and he wouldn’t be offended, but I’m still so nervous! I don’t think I’m scared of offending him, or making him uncomfortable, I think I’m afraid of knowing; even though my imagination’s probably worse. Is it wrong that I’m hoping he’s a gang member? I feels wrong.

With his pleasant letter, I got a really amazing drawing of a girl. He’s very talented–I wonder if he always had that talent or if it came with fourteen years of solitude with nothing to do other than practice. If I was locked up in a cell twenty-four hours a day, I wonder what I’d do to kill time; I’d probably read, write, and draw, but he said they didn’t get many good books. I guess those huge prison libraries you see in the movies are just for that; either that or the death row inmates just don’t have access to them. I want to send him a book, but I wouldn’t know what he would enjoy, not yet at least.

photo 1I wrote back as soon as I read the letter. I remarked a bit in response to what he wrote to me, but then I began writing about how my Aunt Angie’s death affected me and about my boyfriend, Ryan’s, arrest. There’s only a handful of people who know and who I can talk to freely about it, but for some reason I know I could trust him. Besides, who would he tell? Other death row inmates that have no real effect on my life whatsoever? It’s very relieving to have someone you can virtually tell anything to, without judgement, because no matter what I do, or Ryan, or anyone I write to him about, he’s always done worse.

I’ve decided in my next letters I’ll get the balls to ask him what he did and how long he has left, even though I’m terrified. I could easily just Google his name and probably find out, but I respect him too much, I’d rather hear it from him. That’s crazy; I respect a death row inmate. There’s so many things that are weird and uncomfortable about this whole thing. it’s like I’m thinking and feeling things I’ve never thought I would think or feel about a killer. It’s unnerving sometimes. I forget he even killed someone, like I don’t even want to believe it, but deep down I know no one gets sentenced to death row for not killing someone, or more than one.

My sister, Samantha, saw my letter at home before my mom brought it to me. She called me and started asking me a million questions. For some reason her tone really pissed me off, like she was mocking me or something. I just felt very put off by the whole conversation. Then she, like my dad, claimed she wants to do it too. I wonder why I got mad, though. Maybe I’m just embarrassed. Of what though? I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s actually pretty interesting if you think about it. Not many people you run into have a death row pen pal.