The Other side Of the Glass

Family members talk and chat, girlfriends talk to boyfriend’s, kids run wild jumping and running in the background over the feet of people they don’t know or care about. A baby hollers, all mothers turn and make sure their child is okay; some complimenting the mother on how cute the baby girl looks. All the parents have a secret they know about. It is revealed every time they look at their baby boy or a little girl. A few years down the road, someone will ask them where their daddy is and the ones that are wise beyond their years will point to their hearts and say, “right here”. Some of the kids and some of the adults who have asked will understand; some won’t, but he’s inside of each of the kids who we’re asked the question, each moment, we’re asked the question, each moment, each gesture, smile and expression. Almost everyone gets along knowing they have at least this bond between them. It’s not Christmas time… Not the family reunion most have in mind—it’s visitation time and they all have a loved one on the other side of the glass.

Almost everybody has their best faces on. It’s only superficial though, underlying the worry and tension, knowing the next bill is in the mail, food is needed, clothes, the rent is coming due and their loved one will not be around to help provide.

Up to inches sometimes separate the warmth of human touch. A little boy is standing on the counter at the base of the glass, banging on the glass with his hands saying, “dada dada”. He loves his father, wants to touch him, wants him there but he’s too young to really understand. Judge, jury, prosecutor, defense lawyer, family, friends, Society…… Does anybody???

Some are there for staying in the Game a little too long, getting used to a lifestyle that becomes a way of life, that ultimately if you haven’t learned that important rule get it—then get legit—ends up costing you a slow rot or a quick and violent death. Some are here for proving their manhood, others for revenge. Some for simply trying to survive the only way they knew how, the only skill, knowledge, schooling that counts. Still others are here for attempting to take what they feel is rightfully theirs in a society that has been hostile to them from day one. Perhaps attempting to take what they feel is rightfully theirs in a society that has been hostile to them from day one. Perhaps the most moving, the ones that don’t know why they are here, the confused to continue to blame everyone but themselves or even the ones who have lost touch completely, in need of special help and no one cares or worse, someone does care, makes themselves believe they care and go to college, earns a degree, perhaps a doctorate or Master’s in criminal psychology and can’t help because they attack the problem with studies, statistics and theories instead of their hearts, instead of going into the streets and communities where it all starts and trying to help one or a few instead of trying to cure the whole world.

One by one as the visitors arrive and their names are called, some of the ice is chipped away, some of the Stoney hardness softens from people’s faces and hearts and the sight of themselves and their kids, a mother, a brother, a real friend comes into view, that face on the other side of the glass begins to renew.

They didn’t all come in this way, but day by day, steel bunks, concrete walls plummet their inner human temperature lower and lower in them. These are the lucky ones. Some don’t have family and those they thought were friends have long since forgotten them or moved on and got on with life. Yet, when I say, “what’s good bro,” they reply, “it don’t stop”. They are still fighting that coldness, the hardness. They are still in hopes that they will not lose their Humanity as their inner jihad moves onward.

I’ve been on the other side of that piece of glass looking in and now I’m on the inside looking out. It’s all real! You can try and comprehend my reality, but truly can’t unless you have been here and I wish this not for you nor yours. It’s okay though, just don’t forget about us, we are here. Don’t stop trying to understand. Don’t make it easy for the cold to close in by turning a blind eye.

Here, I hope this helps… These words are my eyes. Can you see???
By Colbert Davis, Sr.

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