A week ago yesterday, Monty turned 30. Sometime this morning, he went or will go to the court house to officially enter his plea. The one that will start the end, that will trade the cuff around his ankle for a barred, barren, shit-smelling room. It will surround him not with understanding in-laws and the occasional visits from the friends who remain, but with other criminals who will test him, try to intimidate him, or worse.
It will be the beginning of the end. Even so, he's still not expecting to actually go to prison until September or October. When he told me that it was time to enter his plea, he told me he was frightened. Of course, who wouldn't be. Truly, no amount of preparing can really prepare someone for this prospect, to go from being an accused felon (albeit, a guilty one) to a convicted one.
I don't really know if I had any comfort for him. I told him he had done all he could to prepare, there was nothing more to do. Worrying about it won't help either. This flood will come with or without it. He did all he could. He made his plan, he's ready to learn the hierarchy of the environment he will be in, he's counting on people on the outside to help him as they will. There are still those of us who want him to come out in a decade or so mostly intact.
He told me that day that he appreciated that he was able to speak with me candidly about this. He said he sometimes worried about how much he could tell me, and that he's trying to expect little of me once he is there, so he won't be a burden on me. While I've never been to jail, someone told me once that a holding cell smelled like an ass. I relayed this to Monty, who laughed. In laughter, I repeated, my informant said it was like crawling into an anal sphincter. We supposed the nose will adjust to it eventually. As serious as the topic of going to jail is, and as nauseating as the prospect of its smell is, it still lightened the conversation a little. It told him that his candor was equally appreciated.
It was during that conversation when I realized that I do want to help see him through this time in his life. I am willing to write a letter of character to the judge. I am willing to send him care packages, books, and letters. Depending on the logistics of where he is sent, I am even willing to visit. This last bit surprised even me. It was also this conversation that prompted me to look for books, like the one he has to help him prepare, and found nothing. I'm not used to finding nothing, I can find anything if it's out there to be found. By the way, gentle blog readers, if you know of such a book, that was written to help someone deal with and prepare for a family member or friend going to prison, please let me know. All of this will be a learn-as-I-go kind of thing, otherwise.
But, if I do visit him, I'll be able to relate first-hand if the place really does smell like an ass.