I Killed a Man
I killed a man.
The wall is varying shades of grey, some mossy green splattered in the corners. Somebody tried to desperately scratch through but the concrete wouldn’t give away. They gave up in blood and tears. I look at the wall of my jail cell and I think of what I have done. I have killed a man. I ended a life with dreams and hopes, a life connected to the lives of others. What right did I have to kill this man?
My bunkmate is chanting sorry to the girl he raped. He does it daily, and I wonder if he thinks it would make any difference. He wishes he hadn’t done it, but would all those wishes absolve him of his sins? Would it make any difference to the girl, would it make things better somehow? His guilt, his repentance, was all meaningless, just like mine. For I took a man’s life.
It was dark, that night. He was dark skinned too, or maybe light skinned. He was thin or maybe not. I killed him that night. With a bullet to his heart. They decided I would serve life imprisonment and they were right. After three decades of my sentence, all I can recall is the light going out of his eyes. His last breath on my face was cold as I played god. How he looked like, only that night remembers. All I remember is that I killed a man.
I like to think I killed him for a reason. It has been so long that I cannot remember now. But maybe, he was a sinner too, maybe my taking his life was justified. Maybe he had murdered a family, maybe he’d raped, maybe he had done something so vile that he deserved the death I gave him. After spending half my life in this prison, within these cold, damp, soulless walls, all I remember is that I killed a man. He may have been innocent, he may have been guilty. I took his life.
The first thing they do to you in prison, is give you a number. You do not have a name, you are devoid of an identity. You are known by your sins. You killed a man. You raped a girl. You molested a child. You are not a person, you are your sins. Repent for your sins, repent for yourself. Repent, but it would make no difference.
It has been years, so many of them. I have become part of these gray prison walls. I have no identity. I lost my right to be a person when I killed a man. I live his death every day. All I am is the man I killed.
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