Finally, after all the worrying and waiting and wondering, the big day is almost here: a day from now I check in to Lompoc Federal Prison Camp. This will be a short post because my to-do list is still long and the hours are short.
In some ways I am relieved. I ran track in high school and in the days before a race would work myself up into a nervous frenzy. Finally running the race was a big relief in comparison to what preceded it. This whole process leading up to prison reminds me of that. So in a sense I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow as a chance to finally move beyond all the worry and get on with my new life.
But I’d be lying if I said I weren’t nervous. I picture myself standing before the gates of that place tomorrow – tomorrow!! – staring up at my home for the next three years. Even now, with only hours left to go, I can’t quite believe it. I don’t want to believe it. It doesn’t seem real. But I know it’s true, it’s real, that there’s nothing I can do to avoid it.
With Justin and others’ guidance I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for the big day. But it’s hard to prepare for something that’s so hard to imagine. I’ve been focused for the past weeks on my “to-do” list, which helps keep my mind off the many imponderables. I sent my new prison self some money by Western Union. And I thought of a bunch of new to-do’s this morning – packing clothes, taking one last trip to the grocery store, writing this post – to keep me focused for this last free day.
But I am feeling a little weird. It’s difficult to describe. For example, by chance a big family reunion was scheduled for this weekend in Los Angeles – one of my cousins is having her Bat Mitzvah. Earlier, I had big plans to attend, to say good bye to all my relatives. But when the time came I bailed. Not only did I not want to become the center of attention on my cousin’s big day, but the thought of saying good bye to a hundred relatives while responding to their “how are you feeling’s” filled me with dread. So I stayed home to focus on my to-do’s. I don’t regret my decision. I suppose if my children were here I’d be spending every minute with them. But they’re not – we said good bye via Skype – so I’m finding that in these last few hours I really want to be alone. So I am. All alone.