9th October

Inside (1)

for Carolyn Scott

I’ve done stupid things. I’m not a stupid man but some of the things I’ve done, there’s no other way of describing them. But then I think, Did I have a choice? I was doing stupid things from when I was a kid, not out of badness, just because I didn’t know any better. Who was to blame for that? My dad was a hard man. No other way of describing him. He was hard on us. He was hard on me because I was the son and he had expectations and I didn’t come up to them. I was five, for Christ’s sake, or ten, and I didn’t come up to his expectations. By the time I was in my teens it was too late. I hated him and I deliberately went out of my way to let him down, to show him up. So whose fault was that? Was I supposed to screw the nut and conform? I could never do that.

So I’ve made a few mistakes. Wrong decisions. I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why I’m here now is because I was doing someone a favour. I should have been smarter. I’ve been in trouble before, I should have seen it coming, but you don’t, you think you’ll get away with it. I saw a poster in a window once: NOBODY IS EVER OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER. I like that. That’s me through and through. I was doing someone a favour, it was a situation that involved drugs, I should have walked away but I didn’t, and I got caught, and this is me here, now, paying for it. At my age.

There are worse places to be. I’ve been in some of them. It’s safer here, most of the time. I’ve got my TV, I’ve got my music, I’ve got my sketchpad. If I fill up the sketchpad they let me have another. You get time to think in here. You think, I’m never coming back inside again. But how you think in here and how you think when you’re outside are two different things. That’s the trouble. If they weren’t, it would be easy.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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