By Santanio Cooper
Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, October 2023
Some meetings aren’t by chance or coincidence. People cross your path because they are supposed to. I’m at a point in my life where I realize that my long-standing relationships were “shams” along with my life! Now, after being fed up, I must focus on myself to better my future. I was moving with such precision and starting to learn the brand new me. But, as always, I would make the wrong decision. Either I stand by my code or go to where I know is my safe place! Now, I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Then my dilemma is to change and live or don’t and then “be forgotten”? I have to want to rectify myself and focus (real talk).
So what happens when you meet the one person you could see a future with but the time is all wrong? They say love comes when you least expect it. It can also come when you’re in the midst of a fight for your life and freedom! Love is just a word when secrets, lies and betrayal threaten its existence. But it is also a beautiful thing when handled properly.
I have recalled the consequences that come with every action that I do. That’s why I never put off tomorrow what can be done today! As I grew up, I was told to be wary of the type of people that I associate with because how I react in the scariest of moments is how I will be remembered. That’s why I stay strong minded with myself. Lies don’t care who tell them. They just want to be told. No one is exempt from slander. I’m saying life is a constant progression. It doesn’t stop. I remember things that were said to me ten, twenty years ago and realize that a lot of what was predicted has actually come to pass. When I built a certain reputation, I thought I should protect it but, it seems to me now, I need to let it go. I’m just saying that as time diminishes the muscle and getting old becomes a reality its always harder to accept that your body can no longer do what your mind thinks it can.
I entered this place called Jail in 2004 in which I thought was a place of the past that I have made into my future. All because I did not want to learn from my past mistakes. I have done half of my life in jails and penitentiaries and now I can say I have learned the skills I need to stay out. I digress! Time always reveals everything. Just be patient. Don’t become this young man cause the young man was me!