DEAR KEVIN,

May 4, 2010

Red. That is what I remember. A red toy car. I make them still. Out of pieces of rock in the courtyard. I make them for him. For an eleven-year-old boy I have never met. Whose hair is still somewhere tucked inside the grill of my truck. A red toy car. That is what I remember.

May 5 2010

What was your name? You don’t look like a James. Your dad was too brokenhearted, too forthcoming with that broken-heartedness while he held you, dying, in his arms, to have named you something as formal as James. I think maybe you were a Kevin. Yes. You’ll be a Kevin for me.

May 13, 2010

Do you know that inches become very, very important when you live inside a jail cell? They do. Maybe not when you’re eleven and everything seems bigger than you. But when you get older, and taller, and wider, every inch becomes very important – especially if you live inside of a jail cell.

May 17, 2010

Dear, Kevin. I made you a paper airplane today. The best paper airplane. I dreamt that you and I were out in the courtyard flying it. I dream about the courtyard because I can no longer remember anything but your face and this prison. I can’t imagine your smile. I never saw the front of your face. And that tears me apart – tears me apart like this little paper airplane will be torn by my cellmate once he finds it. He always does that – tears my things apart. It’s not that he intends to be mean. It is more so that he is just lonely, and it hurts him to see me holding on to something – someone – that is apart from our life in here. So I let him tear them. I let him tear them – for you. Because of you, I have allowed the world to take from me what it feels it needs to.

 

May 20, 2010

Dear Kevin, does it hurt when you die? I know it’s weird that I’m an adult asking wisdom from an eleven-year-old. But I do think about it – about dying. My cellmate did some bad things to his daughter, and so is probably going to die soon – though not by choice. Although I may feel some compassion for him – for all the tiny and big ways that he is broken, and the fact that he will never be properly aligned again – I will not be sad when he dies. Does that make me a bad person? I wonder about that too.

 

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(to be continued…)

[©2020 by Ariel Maccarone]