New Friends…   by    Rory Andes

Because prison is the unrevealing curtain that it is, I always struggle because I want to connect to society in a meaningful way. I’ve had to reach out through penpal services. I’ve put myself on a couple lists with hopes to receive any message of friendliness and meaning from a world I intend on joining in a mere three years. To be stimulated in thoughts and hopes, and to talk to someone about fear, joy, life, arts and technology is amazing. To learn someone through their life’s lessons that DIDN’T end in a prison sentence is important to me. But just as you may meet someone in your local grocery store or coffee shop and strike up great conversation about new information, inmates don’t have that option. We have each other, but I wanted connection beyond these walls. More. The real world…

After months of waiting and anticipation, one person from the other side of the country chose to engage me as a penpal and, I’ll be damned, she’s incredibly amazing. She provides a lot of dialog and asks so many questions and she reads these writings to see other perspectives and learn who my inside friends are and she’s working on her own education and has her own struggles and successes in life. And, I have to admit, I’m beside myself.

I waited a long time, two years at least, to hear a voice from the canyon. It’s the voice of an extremely compassionate nursing student. Who would have thought? And she said there’s a whole community of people out there who want to talk to us! WOW! At the end of the day, she’s made an aspect of my life very normal. I feel like perhaps I was asked about the produce or sale item in my shopping cart and it led into a conversation about who we are and how we fit in the world. What I really enjoy is the fact that I can still meet the world, a community, that I want to be a part of. She’s given me wonderful insights for the future. More importantly, her empathy was strong enough to befriend me. I’ve done a lot of yelling at the edge, but the canyon has echoed back in a beautiful way….

by Rory Andes

Isolation isn’t fun. Connect directly to someone incarcerated…

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272