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A Hawaiian Parole of the Will
Other Hubs About Social Disfranchisement
- Mary Magdalene, Untethered
Why do we banish, shun, or loathe certain individuals or groups? In mankind's history, it is especially significant that society's moral majority--claiming to be followers of Christ--turn out to be the greatest perpetrators of disfranchisement.
- Daddy's House
What if the people dearest to you on this earth could only be with you for 22 hours? What would you do? What would you say?
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The young Hawaiian man sheds his prison denims and State-issued tennis shoes. Like Superman in slow motion, wearing that same determined look of someone with a mission, he dons his new royal-blue running trunks and matching tank top and dusty, well-worn Saucony Hornets. He steps outside of his cell, slams the door shut in the same manner he would like to bury his past, and begins the long, resolute walk to the recreation yard.
He walks tall and arrogantly, his manner akin to that of a veteran matador about to confront some hideous Minotaur. Upon reaching his destination, a dirt-and-grass yard five acres in area, he surveys it to see who is running today. The track is bare. Although he is basically a loner in most respects, he welcomes the opportunity to begin his daily run with others. No such luck today. Whatever conquests he makes this afternoon--physical, mental, spiritual, or otherwise--he'll have to make alone. It's just as well.
It's a good day for escaping.
Countless laps soon mesmerize him into fantasies of running on his home island of Kaua'i. The walls melt and become transformed into rugged coastal cliffs. The towers at each corner of the yard are really palm trees dancing a hula to the melody of trade winds. The ground he runs on is not country dirt, but tropical sand on a shore washed by ocean water. It is not the stench of pig manure he smells, but the sweet fragrance of ginger. Inmates watching him are old native friends waving at him in good-natured invitation. He declines. He has business to attend to.
There is a thin line between mirage and reality for a man stranded in a desert. All too familiar with the aridity of his own prison desert, our Hawaiian protagonist shifts gears from introspection to altered perception. Rather than struggle against the mirage, he flows with it. In Thoreau-like fashion, he transcends his penal confines. The albatross that is his spirit soars high above the clouds.
Time is inconsequential. His breathing is even and effortless, in direct proportion to the number of strides he takes per minute. Everything else seems so distant, so quiet, and so tangible. He loses himself to flashback, his mind creating an ephemeral montage of yesteryear images: his mother sewing leis of vanda orchids--an island madonna in her serenity; his father--a primeval fisherman--poised in tableau with a throw net over an unsuspecting school of fish; his brothers and sisters playing hide-and-seek along a rocky beach; singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" to the accompaniment of his own ukulele, and so much more...
From far away a noise is heard. Lazarus is roused from his sleep. There is a strong desire to remain faithful to the dream, but the noise persists, becoming louder and louder. The runner unwillingly opens his psychic eyes. It is then that the noise is discerned as a voice. A voice booming from a loudspeaker. A voice that cries out, "Four o'clock lockup! Clear the yard! CLEAR THE YARD!"
The young Hawaiian runner reluctantly stops. He wipes the salty liquid from his cheeks. Sweat? Or tears?
He returns to his cell to write this narrative in his journal. He feels triumphant in having made yet another defiant struggle against his physical limitations. An intuitive smile plays across his lips.
For free people, a runner's high is an amusing distraction. For an incarcerated man, it is a long-distance run to the soul--one in which he celebrates a parole of the will.