“As you are probably aware, Halloween is on Sunday, October 31, 2010. In order to reduce the risk…”
I could feel my chest begin to tighten as I read the words. A part of me wanted to simply wad the letter up and throw it away. But another part of me wouldn’t…or simply couldn’t. I numbly drove the short distance down to my little home and walked inside. I randomly tossed the envelope on the tabletop and sat down and reread the letter.
“…of either direct or indirect contact with minor-aged children, you are directed to remain at your residence beginning at 5:30 PM and ending at 11:30 PM, and you shall not answer the door to children.”
This is my fourth Halloween that I’ve celebrated (if that can even be considered the right word) since I was released from prison in August of 2007. Each year, the passing of all of the holidays seems to move me further away from that season of my life. From that time when there was nothing to celebrate, even if the “day” was marked on the calendar. Until today that is. Today I felt like I was back in “that” place…surrounded by the razor wire and double fences. And the sounds of the heavy iron doors and the clicking of the locks.
”You are prohibited from passing out candy and your outdoor lights should remain off in order to discourage children from coming to your door. I may be conducting random home visits during the evening hours in order to ensure compliance. “
I tossed the letter on the floor and sat there quietly, trying to figure out how I felt. It wasn’t really anger. Nor was it bitterness or frustration. There was a bit of sadness…but most of all, I think I simply felt insulted. I had never received a letter like this. I would have thought for my first Halloween out, it would make sense to send a letter like that…just for awareness. But this letter was just a reminder that “we” are all simply lumped together into one group! Each of us must be the same level of danger to our community. What should I expect in the mail tomorrow…a sign to post beside my house with large scarlet letters?
The holiday has passed, and all the kids in the neighborhood are safe (at least from me). I followed the letter of the directive and stayed back in my bedroom watching football and the world series…all of the lights turned out except for the glare of the television. I’m sure I can expect another letter next year…at least it won’t catch me off guard. And I won’t feel like I’m back behind the razor wire and lockdowns. One day…I might truly be free again.